Sunday, August 23, 2015

During Papal Visit Popre Francis to Meet with "Ex-Gay" Quacks

Gays being burned alive by the Church
It took the Roman Catholic Church centuries to admit that it had been wrong in supporting slavery, and centuries again to formally admit that its treatment of Galileo was wrong.  How long will it take the Church to admit that its treatment of gays nearly 800 years was wrong?   It would seem that such an admission will not be forthcoming anytime soon as we learn that while in America on his papal visit Pope Francis will be meeting with the Catholic Church's own fraudulent "ex-gay" organization insanely called "Courage."  What Courage peddles involves anything but courage.  Lies, fraud, self-deception, self-hate, and snake oil marketeers all better describe what is being promoted.  The fact that Francis will meet with a group promoting "therapy which is condemned by every legitimate medical and mental health association in America and is  legally banned in California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, and Washington, D.C., speaks volumes to the sad reality that Francis is not the reformer some like Andrew Sullivan continue to want to see him as being.  He may be better than the Nazi Pope, Benedict XVI, but on issues of human sexuality, Francis is still back in the 13th century.  Think Progress looks at the group Francis will legitimize by meeting.  Here are story highlights:
[W]hen the pope travels to Philadelphia next month to attend the World Meeting of Families, he’ll be rubbing elbows with people known for advocating a very different kind of conversion: Ex-gay therapy.

Ex-gay therapy, or attempts to change an LGBT person’s sexual orientation, has been widely discredited for being ineffective at best and destructive at worst. Some former advocates of the practice have publicly recanted and apologized for promoting it, the American Psychological Association has condemned its use, and it is legally banned in California, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington, D.C.

Yet so-called “reparative therapy” has long enjoyed pockets of support with conservative Christian circles, and some of its backers will be present at the World Meeting of Families next month.

Courage  . . . . officially rejects the label of ex-gay ministry, claiming instead that its employees promote a lifetime of celibacy for homosexual Catholics, saying the organization “prefers to think of itself as a ‘Pro-Chastity’ ministry.”

Yet Courage has repeatedly challenged the validity of this distinction. It has invited professional ex-gay therapists to lead trainings at conferences, and the suggested reading list on the Courage’s website includes several publications promoting ex-gay therapy written by ex-gay counselors.
The group’s executive director, Rev. Paul Check, has also voiced support for more explicit forms of ex-gay therapy. . . . he does not support laws banning ex-gay therapy organizations for children, arguing that it is an “unproven assertion” that such “change” counseling “does harm to people.”

Several other Catholic leaders with connections to ex-gay therapy are also expected to give talks or lead discussions at the convening. Dr. Janet Smith, a speaker for Courage who has publicly promoted a pamphlet that advocates for the “prevention” and “treatment” of same-sex attraction in children, is scheduled to lead a breakout session at the conference. So too is Christopher West, a theologian who has positively reviewed books on “reparative ministries” and is listed on the board of references for the Restored Hope Network, an ex-gay group.

[T]he Archdiocese of Philadelphia has refused to allow a local parish to host a workshop on gender identity during Pope Francis’ visit, forcing organizers — the Catholic group New Ways Ministry — to relocate a nearby Methodist church.

Ex-gay therapy is also widely rejected by most Catholics. A 2011 poll from the Public Religion Research Institute found that an overwhelming majority of American Catholics (69 percent) don’t believe that sexual orientation can be changed, and the group is actually more supportive of same-sex marriage than any other American Christian denomination. . . . the majority of Catholics embrace LGBT people while the Church hierarchy continues to push back against acceptance — and sometimes firing people for being “publicly” gay.
My advice to gay Catholics: walk away from the Church and encourage your friends and families to do likewise.  The Episcopal Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America provide the same liturgical services - they are basically Catholic masses - without the corrupt Church hierarchy and the daily denigration of LGBT individuals.  That Francis will meet with "ex-gay" charlatans speaks volumes and none of it good. Being gay and remaining Catholic is like a black individual joining and participating in a pro-slavery, pro-segregation Southern Baptist Church.  It's insane.

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