As someone who leads an organization that works to build bridges between opposing worldviews fighting to dictate cultural normalcy, I am frequently implicated, falsely, in a variety of activist-based claims trying to support “their side.” This happens because The Marin Foundation, as a peacemaking organization, doesn’t take sides but rather focuses on how to peacefully and productively shift the medium of engagement between the two, by intentionally partnering with both and bringing them together.
The “problem” with such a bridge building philosophy is that Population A is inherently skeptic of Population B, because Population A agrees on little to nothing with Population B and feels Population B is trying to discredit and undermine all that Population A stands for, works towards and believes in.
Population B is also inherently skeptic of Population A, because Population B agrees on little to nothing with Population A and feels Population A is trying to discredit and undermine all that Population B stands for, work towards and believes in.
When you are the entity intentionally working with both Population’s A and B, seeing that each are inherently skeptic of each other, they in turn, are also inherently skeptic of the entity working with “the other.” And when you, like The Marin Foundation, are working with both of “the others,” we get implicated in a lot of LGBT advocate news used against conservatives; as well as being implicated in a lot of conservative news used against LGBTs.
I try not to read activist websites, from either end. Much of their messaging is nothing new–same arguments that are repeated over and over again. The only difference that I have seen over time is that in most cases the more an activist website or org is around, the more they become angry and unwilling to dialogue in any fashion. But it’s not that I don’t know what’s happening, especially since I get tons of emails, FB messages, tweets, etc from people from all over the spectrum who send me lots of info. And when I am implicated in any of it, I directly respond so the truth is in the open.
Yesterday I was made aware by two friends and colleagues, Dr. Warren Throckmorton and David Roberts, that a reparative therapy website that I had never heard of had an extensive “testimonial” from an anonymous person named Ajax claiming that I met with them “weekly for the duration of their college career” for reparative therapy. You can read the full comment here.
I want to be very clear:
I have never ”met with any college student weekly for the duration of their college careers.” The only person I have ever met with weekly for any extended period of time is the gay Jewish man with AIDS on a journey to figure out who Yeshua is, that I wrote about on the first pages of my book. And he is one of my very good friends today. Also, they describe The Marin Foundation as “bringing a message of hope and freedom to the gay community.” Those words have never, ever been uttered by us in any fashion or in any medium of communication. I actually make very cognizant choices to stay away from all “culture war language,” including such words as “hope and freedom to the gay community.” For those that have followed our work, you know that it is absolutely true that we never use words such as “homosexual” “lifestyle” “love the sinner hate the sin” etc. I have spoken publicly about this reasoning many, many times.
I also want to be very clear about this:
Since its inception in 2005, The Marin Foundation, nor any of its past or current employees, promote, recommend, assist or have assisted any LGBT people in “reparative therapy.” The Marin Foundation does not believe in the merits of “reparative therapy,” and have seen first hand, including by some of our LGBT employees, the extreme shame and damaged caused by such “therapy.” Anything said about The Marin Foundation to the contrary of what I have just stated is a lie.
As a bridge building organization between the LGBT and conservative communities, I am in deep relationship on a daily basis with people from all different shades of faith and sexuality–including those who consider themselves LGBT atheists (some of whom have experienced the perils of “reparative therapy”) all the way to those who consider themsevles ex-gay (some of whom have themselves gone through “reparative therapy”). But let me reiterate, I have never engaged anyone in a “reparative therapy” context. Nor have I ever engaged anyone with any goal of “changing from gay to straight.” I do not believe any amount of “reparative therapy” can change anyone from gay to “straight.”
All, and I do mean all, of my LGBT friends–whether partnered or those who are choosing to strive towards celibacy–over the past 12 years of my life will testify to those statements.
This is just another unfortuante circumstance of some activists attempting to piggyback upon whatever platform The Marin Foundation’s name may bring to, in their mind, further their “cause.”
***UPDATE 1/9/13: Since this post went live, the reparative therapy website deleted Ajax’s comment about his “experience” with The Marin Foundation.
As always, Much Love.