Friday, March 4, 2011

Ways to "convert" gay Christians (not)

Here are some ineffective ways to “convert,” convince, coerce or change gay Christians.
  • Quote scripture at them. Using, or misusing passages from the Bible bent to suite your purposes does not work! Many of the same verses are used over and over, without the user fully having studied the context or meaning of the text.
  • Question their salvation. Pretty presumptuous for any human to determine for another their spiritual destiny.
  • Call them an “abomination.” You mean like eating shellfish, coming to church with glasses on, or playing football without gloves on “abomination”? Another selective (mis)use of scripture (more at this link).
  • Use the “sinners aren’t going to heaven” argument against them. What about: “there are NONE righteous” and “ALL have sinned”? (Ro. 3:10 & 23). A Christian is only saved by grace and faith. Name one single person that attacks LGBT individuals who is not a "sinner."
  •  Telling them their love is a “counterfeit.” Really? How? And don’t say because “gay couples cannot (naturally) conceive children from their union.”
  •  Telling them they are not good (or even “fit”) parents. It is not true, and it will only push them farther away from anyone or anything like the person attacking their parental nature!
  • Label them “reprobate” or aberrant. This is definitely not how to “win friends and influence people”! I know those trying to “convert” gays are not trying to “make friends” but seriously, this is not at all an effective influence tool.
  • Use shame.
  • Lump them in with pedophiles or porn addicts. Baseless and cruel, solely for the purpose of fear mongering.
  • Use condemnation.
  • Tell them that their “lifestyle” is unacceptable. What is all this about “lifestyle”? What is so different about what “I do” than “you do”? I work, feed my kids, pay my bills, go to church, go to the grocery store, help in my community (more at this link).
  • Treat them like “lepers.” It was my first day in Grad school. It was ethics class. There was a very large couple sitting amongst the students. When talking about various individuals one might encounter and have an ethical obligation to, the gay population came up. The couple then said in concert together: “I could never counsel THOSE people!” How sad! Definitely not a “WWJD?” perspective, but unfortunately, all to common amongst Christians and their gut reaction to gay persons.
  • Look like you are going to “vomit” when you find out someone you know is gay. After a wedding attended with friends, one was talking about how much she liked one of the bridesmaids. The other looks at her and said: “Duh! She is gay!” And that person, no kidding, looked like she was going to vomit! I knew right then, no matter what, I could never “come out” to them.
  • Withdraw relationship/fellowship from a person. You will be “rid” of that “sinner” friend or family member that way, but you will not have moved them to “covert”… only moved them to find a more loving and affirming place to hang out.
  • Send them to go to a fundamentalist retreat in order to get them “healed.” Ex-gay “ministries” or the like are simply fruitless.
  • Telling them “If God doesn’t judge you people, He will have to apologize to Sodom.” I have heard it said: “People don’t know what the Bible says about homosexuality, they only know what they have been TOLD that the Bible says about it.” Why is it, that of all the things mentioned in the Bible, this is THE one that is at the top of their worst “sin” list? I heard a professor answer a class that was clamoring about “gay marriage” with a question to them. What is the ratio in the Bible of number of times “homosexuality” (or references to it) is mentioned vs. the number of references to how God expects us to treat the poor? Silence, then some guesses. 7 to 1? 10 to 1? No, he answered: “700 to 1. So until we get it right as far as how God expects us to treat the poor, I have no right to condemn gay people.”