Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Rift: Belief in Gay ‘Cure’ Is Renounced

Repost: 22nd, September, 2012

“We’ve been asking people with same-sex attractions to overcome something in a way that we don’t ask of anyone else,” said Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International.

 For more than three decades, Exodus International has been the leading force in the so-called ex-gay movement, which holds that homosexuals can be “cured” through Christian prayer and psychotherapy.
 “My homosexual feelings began to dissipate and attractions for women grew,” said David H. Pickup, a therapist who specializes in "conversion" treatment.
Exodus leaders claimed its network of ministries had helped tens of thousands rid themselves of unwanted homosexual urges. The notion that homosexuality is not inborn but a choice was seized on by conservative Christian groups who oppose legal protections for gay men and lesbians and same-sex marriage.
But the ex-gay movement has been convulsed as the leader of Exodus, in a series of public statements and a speech to the group’s annual meeting last week, renounced some of the movement’s core beliefs. Alan Chambers, 40, the president, declared that there was no cure for homosexuality and that “reparative therapy” offered false hopes to gays and could even be harmful. His statements have led to charges of heresy and a growing schism within the network.
“For the last 37 years, Exodus has been a bright light, arguably the brightest one for those with same-sex attraction seeking an authentically Christian hope,” said Andrew Comiskey, founder and director of Desert Stream Ministries, based in Kansas City, Mo., one of 11 ministries that defected. His group left Exodus in May, Mr. Comiskey said in an e-mail, “due to leader Alan Chambers’s appeasement of practicing homosexuals who claim to be Christian” as well as his questioning of the reality of “sexual orientation change.”
In a phone interview Thursday from Orlando, Fla., where Exodus has its headquarters, Mr. Chambers amplified on the views that have stirred so much controversy. He said that virtually every “ex-gay” he has ever met still harbors homosexual cravings, himself included. Mr. Chambers, who left the gay life to marry and have two children, said that gay Christians like himself faced a lifelong spiritual struggle to avoid sin and should not be afraid to admit it.
He said Exodus could no longer condone reparative therapy, which blames homosexuality on emotional scars in childhood and claims to reshape the psyche. And in a theological departure that has caused the sharpest reaction from conservative pastors, Mr. Chambers said he believed that those who persist in homosexual behavior could still be saved by Christ and go to heaven.
Only a few years ago, Mr. Chambers was featured in advertisements along with his wife, Leslie, saying, “Change is possible.” But now, he said in the interview, “Exodus needs to move beyond that slogan.”
“I believe that any sexual expression outside of heterosexual, monogamous marriage is sinful according to the Bible,” Mr. Chambers emphasized. “But we’ve been asking people with same-sex attractions to overcome something in a way that we don’t ask of anyone else,” he said, noting that Christians with other sins, whether heterosexual lust, pornography, pride or gluttony, do not receive the same blanket condemnations.
Mr. Chambers’s comments come at a time of widening acceptance of homosexuality and denunciation of reparative therapy by professional societies that say it is based on faulty science and potentially harmful.
A bill to outlaw “conversion therapy” for minors has passed the California Senate and is now before the State Assembly. Earlier this year, a prominent psychiatrist, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, apologized for publishing what he now calls an invalid study, which said many patients had largely or totally switched their sexual orientation.
Defenders of the therapy say that it can bring deep changes in sexual orientation and that the attacks are politically motivated.
David H. Pickup, a therapist in Glendale, Calif., who specializes in the treatment, said restricting it would harm people who are unhappy with their homosexuality by “making them feel that no change is possible at all.”
Mr. Pickup, an officer of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, composed of like-minded therapists, said reparative therapy had achieved profound changes for thousands of people, including himself. The therapy, he said, had helped him confront emotional wounds and “my homosexual feelings began to dissipate and attractions for women grew.”
Some in the ex-gay world are more scathing about Mr. Chambers.
“I think Mr. Chambers is tired of his own personal struggles, so he’s making excuses for them by making sweeping generalizations about others,” said Gregg Quinlan, a conservative lobbyist in New Jersey and president of a support group called Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays.


Monday, September 10, 2012

When the Belizean Christain Right controls the media

Posted September 10th, 2012

Luis Wade and Scott Stirm have been appearing all last week on Rise and Shine show to chat about the Health and Family Education teachers guide see link .


On the Show, they spoke about masturbation and how too much can cause localise trauma, that it can be addictive and that it can cause men to turn away from women and turn to men. The coverage have even triggered a comment from one person who complained about a simply human sexuality class that was presented to 12 Belizean soldiers as part of a peer education program that is managed by the military. The quote said,

"Good morning Wade and crew. Members of UNIBAM have gone into the BDF and are teaching the soldiers about UNIBAM. What is going on in our country? The want us to become like the USA Army. BDF should run them away. Don’t encourage them" see links for full comments  at

Beyond that Wade and Stirm has been misrepresenting the HFLE is such a bad way that is the the classic Henny Penny story of" The sky is falling." What damage he will do to the the prevention work in the national response or for sexual health education remains to be seen. One critical analysis of Louis Wade committee concern is as follows:

"Page 99 - Rectum listed along with mouth and vagina as a "Port of Entry" Earlier this morning Louis M Wade Jr presented an emotional argument when he represented the critics view taken from Page 99 - Rectum listed along with mouth and vagina as a "Port of Entry" end quote. LOUIS COMPLETELY MISSED THE POINT. It is taken from a fact sheet #6 informing how HIV can be transmitted. It says "There are 4 factors that must exist for HIV to be transmitted: 1. one of the four body fluids that can transmit the virus, blood, semen, vaginal secretions, breast milk 2. the presence of the virus (in a human) 3. a port of entry: vagina, rectum, mouth and 4. sufficient virus to cause infection, end quote. Louis, I don't think it mature to make light of the fact/s contained herein, considering people are dying (and it could be averted given this information). How can anyone miss that that book is aiming to reduce the number of HIV Cases in Belize when the same factsheet informs that Belize has the highest HIV infection rate in Central America, that it is the 3rd highest in the Caribbean, that as of 2006 there were almost 4000 cases of HIV reported in Belize and 703 known deaths in Belize?"

And analysis points out the following:

The critics have misrepresented Chapter 6 Sexuality and Me. They did not say 'could' instead they said that what follows 'LEADS CHILDREN TO BELIEVE'. How do they know that? Critics "Page 73 – 78 “My Sexuality Starts with Me” and “The Circles of Sexuality"introduces numerous groupings of various aspects of sexuality. Page 75 guides the teacher to explain that “We are all sexual beings. Sexuality includes all feelings, behavior, thoughts of being male or female, being attractive, being in a relationship that includes physical sexual activity and intimacy.” This instruction leads children to believe that it is normal to act on such feelings. No mention is made of the complexity; of the child’s physical, spiritual and emotional self; he is a sexual being." End Quote. Once again, how do these persons with Masters Degrees know what's in the children's minds; laawd ... I always thought only God knew that.

Despite this, Wade and his expert followers have  calling for the HFLE to be removed from schools and be replaced with the Jamaican manual. Who are his experts, in a report that covers Minister Faber response to the issue. It said the following:

A full review of the manual is being done by a member of Belize Association of Principals (BAPS), Child Development Foundation (CDF), several denominational representatives, a Lions Quest representative, Belize Action, and several other trained counselors. A report will be complied by all involved in the review and submitted to the Ministry of Education in January of next year.

Concerns being expressed that it has provided enough information that misrepresent the context of HIV manual for teachers remains sustained. One report received during an oversight committee for the present Global Fund alludes to the current debate, referring to section 53, making it difficult for the Ministry of Education to perform. This seems to be true as the current HFLE manual was withdrawn yesterday 13th, September, 2012. What is known is that Louis Wade effort to influence is base on dominionism theology which is the belief that christians are mandated by GOD to control politics, business, media, art and culture, education, religion among its 9 priority areas.

For those of you who are not aware of the core HFLE curriculum links can be seen below:

How this will end as we move forward, no one can tell, but we do know the work must go on and Civil Society must respond.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Kamala Words on 30th, 2012

Posted September 1st, 2012 Her words were not nearly as bold as recent statements by other Caribbean prime ministers about lesbian and gay equality (whether Portia Simpson Miller in Jamaica's recent election campaign, the new Bahamian PM Perry Christie as an Opposition leader challenging his predecessor, St. Kitts-Nevis's Denzil Douglas in international forums since 2006, Barbados's Freundel Stuart while Attorney General, or even Guyana's Sam Hinds a few weeks ago). In fact they never mentioned sexual citizenship at all.

But in a 50th Independence anniversary address, Trinidad and Tobago's prime minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, whose government has been criticised as downplaying the anniversary to not highlight the Opposition PNM's role in winning independence, told her nation's people they "are living in an exciting new chapter and it’s in your power to carry our twin-island nation forward as a pioneer in our region". In a speech that began with an evocation of "democracy and the rule of law andthe belief that all men and women are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights", she committed "to pursue specific ways to begin a transformation of our society" through "a more mature politics which is no longer defined by religion among other factors, "but by policy that is…even-handed and all inclusive", reminded the nation: "We have to continuously work for the changes we seek", and invoked the legacy of the nation's founders "to be tenacious and brave".

She celebrated the country's "vision and courage to recognize that in order to survive as a small, independent nation of such remarkable diversity, we needed to embody and epitomize the spirit and character of democracy in its truest form – respect, tolerance and a determination to protect and safeguard our democracy and our sacred human rights and to have the willpower to let this forever be our hallmark as a nation" and declared: "We must become a nation more committed to upholding human rights."

She repeatedly called for "soul searching on where we might have done better and what kind of nation we must create", questioned "what will be our legacy of the next fifty years" and "will we be heralded as the visionaries", and appealed to Trinidad and Tobago's sense of itself as "a dynamic, trail-blazing nation in our region". And she returned more than once to the admission that "For far too long some of our citizens have sat on the sidelines watching so called development take place while their lives remain relatively unchanged."

"Society was ready to embrace progress in 1962", she reminded, continuing, "fifty years on, we…are ready to advance our democracy." Invoking a past in which people had "risen up against systems of oppression based on racial and social inequality" and "protested against unfairness, injustice and exploitation", she urged "we must now cast off the shackles of discrimination, inequity and inequality which persist in our beloved land".

"Through a number of state mechanisms", she promised, "we will ensure that the Trinidad and Tobago of the future is one where no one is the victim of stigmatisation or prejudice, and where everyone is afforded equal rights and opportunities…This is the legacy I wish to leave as we begin this new period in our history."