Christian Literalists and Homosexuality

By Bullough, Vern L. | Free Inquiry, Winter 1998 | Go to article overview

Christian Literalists and Homosexuality


Bullough, Vern L., Free Inquiry


For biblical literalists and "true believers" in Christianity, whether Catholic or Protestant, homosexuality is equated with the sin of Sodom. The homosexual is a sinner and it is important that he or she repent and become whole. James C. Dobson of the Christian right Focus on the Family argues that homosexuality can be treated successfully but only if and when the sinner fully accepts Jesus and commits himself or herself to the believing community.

One of the duties of the true believer is to bring such errant souls to God. To aid in such tasks, organizations such as Exodus International have developed to help homosexuals cope with their newfound heterosexuality. Another group, the Reparative Therapists, is made up of professional therapists who regard themselves as dedicated Christians who "deprogram" believing homosexuals into "true heterosexuality." Writing in the Southern California Christian Times, Family Research Council Director of Cultural Studies Robert H. Knight said, "When men and women channel their lives - and sexual desires - into the God-given state of marriage, they not only maximize their sexual potential, but they also create the foundational unit of civilization."

There are individuals who experiment with a homosexual style and decide it is not for them, and either on their own or with the help of a therapist abandon the homosexual life. But most homosexuals do not fall into this category. In fact, if they do see a therapist, the therapist's main concern is to help them come to terms with their sexuality and not to cure them of a disease they do not have. Homosexuality was dropped from the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual of disorders in 1974.

The failure rate of therapy for homosexual fundamentalist Christian believers is very high. Ralph Blair, editor of Review: A Quarterly of Evangelicals Concerned, Inc., an organization and newsletter that is supportive of homosexuals, would argue that such therapy has been a total failure. Some homosexual Christians who once belonged to Exodus have come forward to say they never became heterosexual or saw anyone else change.

But within the movement of reparative therapy in the fundamentalist Christian community, however, failures are never acknowledged. The pretense remains that all one needs to do to solve all life's difficulties is to be a believer.

RELATED ARTICLE: Truth in Love and Hate

Last summer's "Truth in Love" advertising campaign - touting "cures" for homosexuality - was sponsored by nearly every major Religious Right organization in the U.S.A. While trying to project an image of religious compassion for gays and lesbians, the campaign was timed to coincide with a number of anti-gay-rights initiatives in Congress. …

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