Commercial for Ex-Gay Conference

Exodus International, the Christian group that purports to “cure your homosexuality,” has its annual conference this summer.

Here’s the commercial for it:

They don’t actually define what “change” is. They don’t mention what methods they use to “cure” you. Let’s face it: the girl in the video is headed for a lot more heartache if she goes through their program.

The blog Good As You has this to say:

If only sexual truth and biological reality were pieces of musical theatre wherein dramaturgs and directors could mold the script in any way they see fit, then their play-acting might be valid. But considering that for the vast majority of us, the only script we’ve ever needed to get in touch with our characters is the one that’s been dictated to us by our mind since birth, we personally think that Exodus should focus less on the smoke and mirrors that come with slick productions and pseudo religo-psycho-babble, and more on what’s TRULY going on in in their participants’ heads.

I’m also curious as to whose attendance is higher at the conference: Those who want to “fix” their gayness, or those who want others to “fix” their gayness.

(Thanks to Grazatt for the link!)


[tags]atheist, atheism, homosexuality, gay, lesbian, LGBT[/tags]

  • Jen

    Things that cure the gayness, apparently:
    1. Buying expensive books
    2. White boards and markers
    3. Playing soccer
    4. Opening a window
    5. Attending a boring, homophobic conference to listen to “Christian celebrities” pray away your gay, at high personal cost to yourself. Induce years of self-hatedred, and seek expensive Christian therapy. Have gay sex on the side of your straight marriage, get elected to Congress, get found out.

  • BZ

    What do these people actually do to try to “cure” homosexuals?

  • Siamang

    Quoting the Daily Show”

    “That’s not how ‘gay’ works”.

  • The Unbrainwashed

    Sounds eerily like an Obama campaign ad

  • Jonah Emery

    The American Psychological Association – a group charged with scientifically examining treatments has explicitly stated that homosexuality is not a mental illness and ex-gay minisitries do not “heal” as this commercial would like to give the impression of. Ex-gay ministries destroy… that’s fact demonstrated in statistics.

    Case closed.

  • Siamang

    “What do these people actually do to try to “cure” homosexuals?”

    Wasn’t there famously one of these “ex-gay” counselors whose methods consisted of long slow hugs of his “client” on a couch? I mean, if it wasn’t so horribly sad, it’d be comical.

  • Mriana

    :roll: They get more insane all the time. I guess they don’t want anyone to be happy. Does this mean they need to cure the Gay 90s too? :lol: And what about that song that was so happy?

    Sorry for the bad puns, but with something so nievely rediculous and lack of knowledge concerning psychology, it deserves such comments.

  • Siamang

    Just watched that video.

    Parasites living on the blood of human suffering that THEY CAUSE.

    Hey, where the hell is Ted Haggard? Howcome he’s not speaking? Isn’t he 100% heterosexual now?

  • Richard Wade

    Of all the awful things that Big Money Religion does, this is perhaps the most cruel. This is the psychological version of the fraud committed by Benny Hinn and his kind, who prey on the desperation of people with cancer, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. After the victims have poured out all their hope, all their tears and all their money, the parasites fold their tents and steal away, leaving them weeping in their wheelchairs with nothing but the explanation that the failure was due to their lack of faith. The ultimate cop-out. Blame the patient for the failure of the treatment.

    As time drags painfully on these “gay cure” clinics will build up a large number of “failures,” some of whom will eventually wake up to the fact that they have been conned. Then first in a trickle and later in a flood we will hear from them, denouncing the charlatans just like in the Catholic Church pedophile scandals. But the quacks will fold their tents and steal away, leaving in their wake a trail of empty bank accounts, broken hearts, bitter apostates and suicides.

    The irony of it all is in what Siamang points out, that unlike Benny Hinn’s victims there’s nothing wrong with the gays at all except that they live in a bigoted society made so by the same Christians to whom they come for help.

    All that is needed to create an atrocity is a slick talker, a holy book and people in pain. May these bastards all get what they so richly deserve.

  • Robin

    The “ex-gay” movement thrives on the testimonies of men and women who’ve convinced themselves that their basic natures have changed, and then given their anecdotal evidence to prove the case.

    While I personally have never fallen into this bullshit ex-gay con game, over the years, I’ve met more than a few ex-ex-gays, and their stories are all heartbreakingly similar. They leave behind broken marriages, broken families, broken lives…over and over again.

    It’s sad, it’s pathetic, and it’s completely unnecessary.

    And the saddest part of these stories to me is that, in their effort to preserve “family values”, conservative Christians fail to see that acceptance of their gay and lesbian family member’s sexual orientations (and their partners) is what prevents families from destruction. Their hearts are definitely in the right place, but it’s the blind devotion to “Biblical principals” and their hideous little book that prevents them from seeing the real truth.

  • Arlen

    Richard Wade:

    Of all the awful things that Big Money Religion does, this is perhaps the most cruel… The ultimate cop-out. Blame the patient for the failure of the treatment.

    I agree, these camps and campaigns tend to be tremendously destructive to the very people who most need a sign of love and acceptance. I have seen no indication that these sorts of “ministries” are anything more than an old-fashioned scam, and that is true whether the folks leading these conferences have good intentions or not.

    All that is needed to create an atrocity is a slick talker, a holy book and people in pain. May these bastards all get what they so richly deserve.

    Don’t fool yourself—all you need is a slick talker and a power imbalance (maybe not even a slick-talker). Religion and superstition are both powerful forces, and like any object of power they can be abused to the detriment of all. But religion is not the only power that motivates humans, and when wielded accurately and responsibly, it can cure the very power imbalances that it may otherwise exploit.

  • Chris

    I won’t lie, I want to go and get “saved” while wearing a Cher T-Shirt!

  • http://hoverFrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    Whenever I see a message like this I like to swap out the word for the target (in this case “homosexual”) with a more obvious word like “Jew” or, if it really annoys me I insert a derogatory term for a race of my choice. That way I really know that it’s offensive rather than just thinking it is.

    Do all the ex-gays get to take off their pink triangles when they’re “cured” or do they have to keep them on to prevent backsliding?

  • Richard Wade

    Arlen,

    I agree, these camps and campaigns tend to be tremendously destructive to the very people who most need a sign of love and acceptance.

    Yes, but no more than any other people need love and acceptance. They don’t need more of it because there is something wrong with them. There’s nothing wrong with them other than they have been beaten mentally and physically every day of their lives by the cult of love. What they need more than others is an apology and reparations from the institutions that have organized and sanctified their persecution.

    Don’t fool yourself—all you need is a slick talker and a power imbalance (maybe not even a slick-talker). Religion and superstition are both powerful forces, and like any object of power they can be abused to the detriment of all. But religion is not the only power that motivates humans…

    I agree, and I wasn’t saying it’s the only weapon used against people, just a very well used one and the primary one responsible for the suffering of homosexuals.

    …and when wielded accurately and responsibly, it can cure the very power imbalances that it may otherwise exploit.

    That would be nice. Please remind me when that has happened.

  • http://aidanmaconachyblog.blogspot.com/ aidan

    The New Testament doesn’t say much about the topic of homosexuality. Certainly Jesus didn’t (assuming there actually was such a historical figure). Paul did but then he was a raving moralist who had all sorts of hidebound views about the place of women also.

    The focus on sexual orientation is quite simply wrong. Male and female, gay and straight aren’t necessarily watertight categories. You can be married with kids and still relate to another guy sexually. There are degrees – always. Tagging a person “gay” and then working on a “a cure” is truly warped thinking. There isn’t any pathology requiring a cure.

    A woman may be lesbian given the choice, but this doesn’t necessarily exclude the possibility of sex with a guy if it feels right. It’s never as cut and dried as it seems.

    As for associating “sin” with homosexuality, this is really just a Christian bias that derives from Jewish morality. It’s a prejudice that became socially acceptable after centuries religious law and unyielding custom.

    If we are talking “cure” – truth is there are probably way more heterosexuals in need of treatment when you look at crime stats relating to rape, pedophilia, sexual performance/control and dominance issues. When sex becomes warped it may get to the point of becoming ‘a condition’ requiring treatment – but to view healthy and loving gay sex as a condition in need of a cure is absurd.

  • Karen

    One of the sad things about this is that coming out as gay in the U.S. is now easier and far less stigmatizing probably than any time in modern history. There’s no NEED for a “cure” – unless you grow up in a certain kind of religious family and church that rejects you for being you.

    Case in point: My kids’ chemistry teacher came out in an article in the school paper last year. He was interviewed about how he’d grown up Christian, tried ex-gay therapy and anguished when it didn’t “take.” Eventually he came to terms with himself and his god, found a life partner and the two of them now own a home together.

    He was interviewed about all this in a Southern California public high school newspaper, and there were absolutely no negative repercussions. I wrote a letter to the editor commending him for his honesty and courage – that was it. Hardly an eye batted.

    Compare this to 30 years ago, when my high school music teacher was picked up in a police sweep of a gay bar in Orange County, immediately suspended from work and then fired. He had been one of the most popular teachers at the school for 20 years and we students didn’t even have the opportunity to say goodbye to him. It was shameful.

    Here’s hoping that ex-gay ministries will become obsolete before the end of the decade.

  • Richard Wade

    He was interviewed about all this in a Southern California public high school newspaper, and there were absolutely no negative repercussions. I wrote a letter to the editor commending him for his honesty and courage – that was it. Hardly an eye batted.

    Time doesn’t flow evenly through the universe. The outcome of such a story today in the American Midwest or the South would be very different.

    Here’s hoping that ex-gay ministries will become obsolete before the end of the decade.

    They may close down but a new hate fags fad or hate somebody fad will replace them. The root problem won’t change until fundamentalist Christians take a razor blade to their Bibles the way Thomas Jefferson did and cut out the asinine parts.

    That’ll be on the second Tuesday after the sun becomes a red giant.

  • The Unbrainwashed

    I’m sorry but I don’t feel bad for these ex-gays or those duped by Benny Hinn and other frauds. These people choose to engage in this “therapy” and choose to give their money to charlatans. If their weakness can so strongly override their judgment, then so be it. I’m not advocating taking advantage of people in more grotesque ways. But taking the credulous and deluded peoples’ money, that’s fine with me.

    I’m also making a clear distinction between taking money and deriding someone for who they are (in this case their sexuality). However, these “ex-gays” are so caught up and indoctrinated that they believe the bullshit. So my sympathy for them, considering their own delusion, is minimal.

    I am open to hear someone disagree with this opinion though.

  • Karen

    That’ll be on the second Tuesday after the sun becomes a red giant.

    I don’t think it will be quite THAT long … ;-)

    Younger religious people are getting away from strict literalism, and in particular are bugged by the anti-gay rhetoric of the old-liners. I think we’re going to see Christianity adapt – late, but eventually – to respect homosexuals as much of larger society has done. Whether that means ignoring their scriptures or “interpreting” the offensive part away, well – it won’t be the first time.

    We’re still in a struggle, much as we are with racism and with anti-atheist propaganda, but I think there’s a clear trend that acceptance and empathy will win out. The minority of religious folk who hang on to their hatred will die off – hopefully during my lifetime.

  • Richard Wade

    Karen, I hope you’re right. I’ll be glad to be wrong.

  • Richard Wade

    I am open to hear someone disagree with this opinion though.

    Unbrainwashed, I’m very happy that you are open to disagreement because I think that your stance that suckers have it coming is a serious mistake. The idea that someone who is vulnerable deserves to be abused is the “morality” of a con artist and of a sociopath. Some people are born with not so much intelligence as others. That does not make them deserving of being tricked. Others are of average or even above average intelligence but have been born into two disadvantages: They have been indoctrinated from infancy to believe in their family’s religious prejudices and they have been tormented first within themselves and later by others for inborn traits, such as homosexuality, that conflict with those prejudices. Or they have grave illnesses. In either case they are in terrible pain, anguish and conflict. To expect them in the midst of their desperation to use cool and objective judgment and reject all their upbringing with the ease of someone who has never been so “brainwashed” is absurd. It is an uncompassionate view born of aloofness.

    Please think carefully about what you are saying. There is a difference between encouraging people to take more responsibility for protecting themselves from abuse, and callously blaming the victim. If you really think that the “credulous” merit the suffering they get, then say that straight to the several atheists here who came from strongly religious families and for many years believed it all.

  • Arlen

    Richard Wade:

    Yes, but no more than any other people need love and acceptance. They don’t need more of it because there is something wrong with them.

    Certainly, there is nothing wrong with them. I only imply that they are especially in need of love because many of them have been made to feel evil and immoral because of an ascribed trait. I think we are in agreement on this point. To the extent that these people need an apology from a church or the church, I hope that they can find one of the hundreds of churches (or more) across the country (including my own) that embrace homosexuals for who they are and that have taken a stand against injustice and prejudice in all of its forms. Simultaneously, faith communities like mine will continue to work to expand the short-sighted, bigoted viewpoints of Christians who may have them.

    Time doesn’t flow evenly through the universe. The outcome of such a story today in the American Midwest or the South would be very different.

    Maybe, but maybe not. It’s probably both unproductive and untrue to imply that folks from the South or Midwest are necessarily more bigoted than other folks. I’ve lived on both sides of the Mason-Dixon, and in my experience people are no more or less bigoted on either side—people on one side are just better trained at being outwardly P.C.

    They may close down but a new hate fags fad or hate somebody fad will replace them.

    Probably so; it seems like there is something inherent in human nature that makes people inclined to find something different from themselves and hate it, preferably en masse (and occasionally in mass).

    The root problem won’t change until fundamentalist Christians take a razor blade to their Bibles the way Thomas Jefferson did and cut out the asinine parts.

    My inner librarian is cringing. I think it might be better yet if people just realized that there is a lot of garbage in the Bible that is a product of its authors and the time in which they lived rather than a reflection of divine will. But that’s easy for me to say; I’m not a literalist.

    Karen:

    …I think there’s a clear trend that acceptance and empathy will win out. The minority of religious folk who hang on to their hatred will die off – hopefully during my lifetime.

    I share your opinion. I think that, by and large, homosexuality will reach mainstream Christian acceptance in the next fifteen to twenty years, and almost all of the major critics of homosexuality will be dead or quiet within a few years of that.

  • Robin

    Unbrainwashed:

    Can’t agree with your position on this.

    People are not sheep, and don’t deserve to be fleeced. (Of course, Jesus compares his followers to sheep–shouldn’t they be offended? Sheep aren’t exactly the sharpest animals in the zoological family tree…but that’s another post…)

    If one approves of “fleecing the sheep”, as it were, one also has to approve of Benny Hinn’s, Jerry Falwell’s, John Edward’s, etc. doing the exact same thing to their flocks. And approval of their ill-gotten gains, as well.

    I just cannot go there.

  • Richard Wade

    Arlen, Thank you for your thoughtful and positive outlook, and for your work in trying to raise the consciousness of bigoted Christians. Perhaps I am being bigoted about bigotry in the Midwest and South, and I will watch my own attitude for that. This issue brings up anger and frustration for me because it has harmed several family members and friends.

  • kelsey

    so i guess this is exactly like AA. replace your “addiction” with God and poof, you can magically contain your desires… if its not just like AA, than it makes no sense, you can pretend to be straight without a bunch of people telling you that you can be.

    a friend of mine, whose family is very baptist, used to attend church camp every summer. apparently tons of gay stuff goes on there when all the counselors aren’t around.


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