Palin's Church Promotes Gay Conversion
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 12:03:24 PM EST
The Associated Press reports that the Wasilla Bible Church where Sarah Palin is a member is promoting a conference on the crackpot notion of gay conversion, sponsored by an arm of Focus on the Family, called Love Won Out.
The conference will be held at the Abbott Loop Community Church in Anchorage on September 13th

Do you know someone who struggles with homosexuality? Focus on the Family can help you respond in a Christ-like way.

"Love Won Out" is a dynamic one-day conference, that will equip you to minister in truth and compassion to a loved one who deals with same-sex attraction, respond to misinformation in our culture, and defend biblical beliefs with grace. Mostly you'll be encouraged by the power of God's love to transform lives of those impacted by homosexuality."Love Won Out" will be here at Abbott Loop on Saturday, September 13.

The conference fee is $50 in advance and $60 at the door. To register call 1-800-A-FAMILY or register online at lovewonout.com.

The AP reports:  
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Gov. Sarah Palin's church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.

"You'll be encouraged by the power of God's love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality," according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed since she was a child.

[Actually, she has only been a member of this church since 2002]

Palin's conservative Christian views have energized that part of the GOP electorate, which was lukewarm to John McCain's candidacy before he named her as his vice presidential choice. She is staunchly anti-abortion, opposing exceptions for rape and incest, and opposes gay marriage and spousal rights for gay couples.

Focus on the Family, a national Christian fundamentalist organization, has scheduled the "Love Won Out" Conference for Sept. 13 in Anchorage, about 30 miles from Wasilla.

Palin, campaigning with McCain in the Midwest on Friday, has not publicly expressed a view on the so-called "pray away the gay" movement. Larry Kroon, senior pastor at Palin's church, was not available to discuss the matter Friday, said a church worker who declined to give her name.

Ten years ago, Political Research Associates published a report on gay conversion therapy

Calculated Compassion:  How The Ex-Gay Movement Serves The Right's Attack on Democracy by Surina Khan

Based on three years of research, the report shows conclusively that:

-- The ex-gay movement provides political cover for a significant new phase in the Christian Right's long-running anti-gay campaign. For more than two decades, a coalition of "family values" organizations have used anti-homosexual propaganda to organize and mobilize conservative Christian constituents, recruit new followers, and raise money. But vitriol is no longer working the way it was, because of increasing public distaste for demonizing rhetoric, growing public tolerance of homosexuality, and an increase in the number of state, county, and city ordinances outlawing anti-gay discrimination. The Christian Right has seized the political opportunity offered by the ex-gay movement to repackage its anti-gay campaign in kinder, gentler terms. Instead of simply denouncing homosexuals as morally and socially corrupt, the Christian Right has now shifted to a strategy of emphasizing personal salvation for homosexuals-through the ex-gay movement. Behind this mask of compassion, however, the goal, remains the same: to roll back legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and enforce criminal laws against them. The evidence suggests that the Christian Right is pursuing this goal with renewed vigor.

-- The ex-gay movement is a potent tool for undermining the rationale for lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender rights. Ex-gay leaders and their Christian Right partners claim that homosexuals need not be "that way" since theirs is a voluntary lifestyle choice that can be abandoned through religious conversion or therapy. By this reasoning, legal protections for homosexuals are not necessary. This latest refinement of the Christian Right's "no special rights" argument has already been "field-tested" with ominous success. The "ex-gay" message was employed extensively in a referendum campaign that overturned Maine's gay rights law-the first time an existing state law of this kind had been reversed. Anti-discrimination laws in other states will undoubtedly now be targeted.

-- Most mainstream religious leaders and religious organizations in the US do not share the views of the ex-gay movement and the Christian Right about homosexuality. Ex-gay and Christian Right leaders have routinely sought to identify their opposition to gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender rights with broader religious beliefs and traditions. But their perspectives on the issue do not correspond with the position of mainstream communities of faith, including the Roman Catholic Church, the National Council of Churches, the United Methodist Church, the American Jewish Congress, and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Furthermore, by asserting that homosexuality is a sin that can be overcome, the Christian Right is at odds with many mainstream faith-based communities which not only advocate equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, but also affirm their full religious equality.

-- The ex-gay movement is part of a broader social and political movement that is authoritarian and anti-democratic. The ex-gay movement is an integral part of the Christian Right which promotes Christian nationalism, an ideology that seeks to use government laws and regulations to impose fundamentalist Christian values on the entire nation. If the Christian Right has its way, the constitutional walls separating church and state would be eliminated. The ex-gay movement is also located within the political Right's larger social change movement, which is pursuing an anti-democratic and authoritarian agenda of sweeping social, political, cultural, and economic changes.

Tolerance and pluralism are bedrock principles of American society. Yet, as this report shows, the ex-gay movement and the Christian Right are attacking these principles and furthering a divisive political agenda which offers fundamentalist Christian dogma and heterosexuality as the only acceptable norms. Challenging the leadership of the ex-gay movement is essential if equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, are to be defended. To be effective, such a challenge must take into account the broader theocratic agenda of the Christian Right which the ex-gay movement is being used to promote.




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