There was a man bites dog story in the Australian press that caught my eye this week. It was not this story from the Sydney Morning Herald entitled “Man bites dog, goes to hospital” but an article in The Age reporting on reactions to the closure of the US-based ministry Exodus International.
The cynic in me was not expecting much from an article entitled “‘Gay cure‘ therapy will continue”. As my colleagues at GetReligion have pointed out the media has not distinguish itself in its reporting on the Exodus International story. Yet The Age published a story sympathetic to the ex-gay ministries movement and, dare I say it, was perhaps unbalanced in their favor?
Under a photo of the silhouette of two men kissing behind a rainbow flag, the story begins:
Australian religious organisations will continue using homosexual reorientation therapy, despite the closure of a leading US proponent, Exodus International, which has apologised for the “pain and hurt” it caused.
Surprise one — a non-pejorative description “reorientation therapy.” Surprise two follows — a ministry spokesman describes what they do and don’t do.
The Reverend Ron Brookman, the Australian director of Living Waters Ministries and a member of Exodus Global, said the organization had acknowledged damage caused by treating homosexuality as something that could be “cured”. ”We don’t like to call it healing, we call it transformation,” he said. “I minister to a lot of people struggling with same-sex attraction who never budge but we don’t condemn them, we don’t shame them. We stand with them and support them.”
A third surprise follows — The Age gives space to critics of Alan Chambers.