“Wouldn’t it be great if this book could be a one-stop resource?” So we selected the main topics associated with homosexuality —theological, clinical, social, political, and familial—then solicited contributions from a variety of authors with specific expertise. The result is a comprehensive guide providing biblically based insights into the many issues the subject raises. [p16-emph in original]
There is much ground to cover here. The book is nearly 500 pages long and most of the information contained is an organized conglomeration of things we’ve been hearing for years and rebutted ad-nauseum. However, there are many studies, statistics and sources I am unfamiliar with that are in need of investigation by the “militant homosexual activist” slueuths among us.
In regard to that, and to their credit, they’ve not only put the footnotes at the end of each chapter, but also (in addition to website urls) list the page numbers of the books they cite from.
Joe Dallas and Nancy Heche are listed as the general editors. Though most of the book is written by Joe Dallas and Nancy Heche, contributing authors are listed as: Alan Chambers, Paul Copan, Melisa Fryrear, Mike Haley, Bill Maier and Randy Thomas.
All of whom, with the exception of Paul Copan (to my knowledge), are or were speakers at Love Won Out conferences:
Love Won Out: Christian experts will address everything from why some people struggle with homosexuality to practical ways the church can respond with the truth and grace of Christ. Whether you are a parent or friend of a gay loved one, a pastor or therapist looking for help to assist those struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions…
Given the number of contributing authors, this book is riddled with contradictions. Some small, some galaxical.
IMNSHO, the willingness of the authors to participate in the construction of this manifesto makes them party to everything that is said by everyone else. I say this because there is some serious ugliness contained within these pages. (Note: If any of them publicly denounce their involvement with this book I will eat my sock.)
[This following section is mostly a description of what Exodus International stands for, and is meant to put the contents of this book in perspective. Those of you who've been following the war on LGBTs will be familiar with most of it.]
Love Won Out used to be run by Focus on the Family but is now in the hands of Exodus International:
Policy Statement: Exodus International is a Christian organization dedicated to equipping and uniting agencies and individuals to effectively communicate the message of liberation from homosexuality, as well as how to effectively convey support and understanding to individuals facing the reality of a homosexual loved one. [emph mine]
“Liberation” being the key word in play:
Liberation: Definition: freedom
Synonyms: abolition, deliverance, democracy, emancipation, freeing, liberty, release, salvation, setting free, sovereignty, unchaining, unshackling
A closer look at Exodus reveals that their definition of “liberation” does NOT mean liberation from same-gender attractions. When pressed, they admit as much.
Despite their insistence that their message is meant for those with “unwanted same-sex attractions,” they continue to bandy about similar implications like beads thrown from floats at a New Orleans Mardi-gras parade. And in doing so, they tip their anti-gay-agenda hand.
Same-sex attractions become “temptations.” Homosexual-being becomes “tendencies,” an “identity” and a “lifestyle.” Change becomes a “change of mind” about one’s same-sex orientation, as opposed to a change in orientation, etc.
This jumble of word-play is a carefully crafted script meant to convince a secular society and pro-gay persons of faith, that the human-sexuality of LGBT persons is no more than a chosen identity.
Now convinced that we are too confused to recognize our “God-given heterosexuality” and our love for our partners as “counterfeit,” the voting public can now look upon our efforts to gain equal protection under the law as misguided at best.
In their (the anti-gay industry*) quest to validate their “deeply held religious beliefs,” they regularly use mistruths, distortions, omissions and bald-faced lies to prop up their criminally unsound arguments. It’s as though none of them have ever learned how to operate a search engine.[* "family" and "traditional marriage" groups like Focus on the Family, the American Family Association, the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, et al]
Those who rely on these anti-gay “family” organizations to do their leg-work for them are another matter.
Some of them are indeed hateful bigots. Addicted to pride, they’re always looking for ways to increase their sense of superiority. And some of them are just too busy working and providing for their families to vet the information these “family” groups feed them. After all, these groups are run by “Christians,” so they must be trustworthy.
Like the politically motivated ex-gay movement, they too are pawns of the anti-gay industry.
In the introduction [p9], they acknowledge that concerns about “sexual morality” are in addition to concerns about “terrorism, poverty, violence” etc., and not in place of them.
Also, the words moral/morality, used to characterize “homosexual behavior” are sprinkled throughout like powdered sugar on a race-track sized doughnut (diabetics beware). And as usual, absolutely no explanation is given as to how consensual relationships/sex are in conflict with the Golden Rule–Jesus’ only* command.[* Technically He gave two commandments; To love God first and to love your neighbor. But if you love God then you love Love, and by natural extension you would love your neighbor.] —
I don’t recall an instance of the Bible being described as inerrant. Instead, the word “authoritative” is used.
Argument From Authority: the claim that the speaker [authors of the Bible] is an expert, and so should be trusted.
To utilize it in a sentence:
Joe Dallas: We regard both the Old and New Testaments as authoritative, much like Paul the apostle did when he affirmed:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16) [p11]
It’s also circular logic: How do I know that the Bible is authoritative? Because the Bible tells me that it’s authoritative.
I’m not passing judgment on the accuracy of the Bible, but I find it reprehensible to carry out a world-wide crusade—based SOLELY on belief—to convince others that an entire group of people are morally inferior.
Which brings me to another point in regard to those who claim that their beliefs are Biblically-based. I’ve been sparing with anti-gay activists since ’04 and I’ve almost never heard the words “eternal hell” uttered. One would think it would be a priority to warn we “godless sodomites” of such a grave threat.
Expectedly, the “clobber passages” are overused to the point of cliché. But I consider the use of this one to be especially egregious:
If a man lies with a man…They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
So, not only must gay men be murdered, but being murdered will be our own fault.
Joe Dallas: If we weren’t created, and therefore answered to no creator, we might judge the rightness or wrongness of our behavior by its rightness or wrongness in our own eyes. [p12]
One of their favorite memes, the notion that one needs to be told (namely by the Bible) the difference between right and wrong.
So blind to our “sin” are we that we refuse to see that our calling in life is to despise our own nature so much that we feel compelled to live celibate loveless lives in order to please a god who obviously didn’t see this coming before it created us…
Nancy Heche, the other general editor.:
My interest in homosexuality can be traced to my 25-year marriage to a man who, unbeknownst to me, was living a secret second life as a homosexual. It was his AIDS diagnosis (and eventual death) that finally brought our the truth. Years later, I would be dealing with this issue again from a more public perspective as my daughter, actress Anne Heche, embarked on a well publicized lesbian affair [with Ellen Degeneres]. I have recounted these experiences more fully in my book The Truth Comes Out. [p13]
It was apparent that some of the authors, some of the time, took great pains to live up to the “love” part of “speaking truth in love.” I admire the effort, but when it came down to it, it was still just candy coated toilet contents.
In the intro, Dallas says:
Wouldn’t it be great if we could equip Christians to discuss this subject intelligently and with confidence? [bold in original]
…We hope the Christian activist … will be empowered to field the tough question and argument that’ll be thrown his way. [p17]
Not to be left out, he says this about us:
Openly gay and lesbian readers seeking to know our position will scan these pages as well, and while they’ll dispute much of what’s written here, we hope they’ll at least find it to be reasonable, clear, and respectul. [p11 bold mine]
Too many things wrong with those statements to address right now. I hope to go over more of the specifics in future installments. Until then, I’ll leave you with this (An essay well worth reading in full):
Tom Cantine: Herein lies the most obvious moral danger of religious faith. In taking themselves to be guided by divinely ordained commandments, theists may be tempted to relax the rigor with which they scrutinize their actions, and are thus capable of the most unspeakable atrocities. That is, secure in the faith that God wills a certain course of action, they may be prepared to disregard any suggestion (even from their own consciences) that this may not in fact be the morally correct thing to do. … Unfortunately, it is also often a tenet of faith that to question God is itself an immoral act, and so it can become especially difficult to correct a moral error once it has been made on these grounds. This is because the difference between questioning a command of God and questioning one’s own understanding of that command is a subtle one, not at all easily recognized, and harder yet when any doubt is seen as weakness of faith and therefore sinful in itself.
…This pride is uniquely difficult to identify, for it is well cloaked in the garb of pious humility. What makes it so elusive is that it appears as a faith in God, when in reality it is a misplaced faith in one’s own judgment. It may well be that God is just and perfect and incapable of error, but we most certainly are none of these things, and to act with the firm belief that one is in perfect harmony with God’s perfectly just wishes is to lose sight of that truth. Indeed, the person who acts in this way is guilty of the greatest pride, for she puts her moral judgment on a level with God’s. She claims to know with absolute certainty that which can be known only to God. The faith here, then, is not in God at all, but in the individual’s own reliability in knowing God, and if we understand idolatry as the sin of ascribing divine significance to a human artifact, the pride involved is idolatrous when the individual believes her knowledge to be perfect in this regard.
More to come.