Pure, A Scottish-based Ex-gay Program Faces On-Line Protesters

The Times Online (UK) reports that university students using the on-line community utility Facebook have launched a protest against an “ex-gay” course that a Christian student group out of Edinburgh, Scotland hosted.

The article mostly talks about how resources like Facebook help to galvanize student protests, but what stands out to me is this under the radar ex-gay ministry that plans to spread throughout the UK.

The controversy surrounding the course called Pure, began after pilot courses were held at Edinburgh University. The pilot was deemed a success and the Edinburgh University Student newspaper printed details of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship plans to roll out the courses across Britain.

The course recommends literature that has been labeled homophobic and suggests students “Say farewell – it’s a No Go!” to homosexual relationships.

What Some of You Were by Christopher Keane is one of the texts recommended by the course. It tells the stories of “ex-gays” who have rejected the temptations of homosexuality in accordance with Christianity. It cites the case of Christopher, a “reformed homosexual”, who says: “I shudder to think what may have happened to me if I had gone to a counsellor (or to a church) who had not upheld the Scriptures and had affirmed me in my homosexuality. If that had happened I may well have been dead from AIDS now.”

Like the Love in Action protests over a year ago, a group a students have taken the initiative to counter the lies of an ex-gay program and the very possible harm they can cause to young people.

Read Online students fight anti-gay Christian course

This post has 3 Comments

  1. Jimbo on October 13, 2006 at 11:45 am

    Thanks for raising this issue Peterson, and for your comments in the Times feedback.

    I hope that the publicity raised by the students in Scotland makes folk inside the church start to question the nature of these sorts of course.

    Hopefully churchfolk might be able to directly challenge the misguided nature of these ‘change’ programs, and also challenge the perception by some parts of the church that you cannot be both gay and Christian.

  2. Contemplative Activist on October 16, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    Interesting, very interesting 🙂

    When I was an undergrad, there was a big furore over the alpha course running on campus as Nicky Gumble has very conservative views on same sex relationships. One of the LGBT reps in the Union tried to get the course banned from campus.

    I have heard of the “Pure” course, I believe it was running at another university I attended (where you stayed with me last Peterson). I don’t think the course is explicitly anti-gay or setting out to change gay people – its a course about conservative Christians’ perspective on relationships.

    In a way, I think protest groups and the media sometimes hype it up, so those involved in running the courses feel misrepresented and develop somewhat of a persecution complex. “They hate us because we’re Christians” – which can so easily lead to a sense of self-righteous justification.

    In a way, I think it is the most dangerous things in the UK – that ideas which stem from the ex-gay movement (which is often seen, even by many conservative Christians, as a wacky American thing) are hidden in a discourse which people find familiar and comfortable. It’s not typically a very prominent part of the teaching, so unless you are individually very concerned about gay issues, you may barely notice its there. Certainly, it would be easy to skip over as a “not relevant to me” section. Conseqently, it’s not recognised and its not challenged.

    Kudos to those students but I wonder what really needs to be done in order to make the injustice visable. I worry these students may be easily dismissed as “having the wrong end of the stick” because they only refer to this one part of the course, that most people involved don’t see as very major or important part to them?


  3. Peterson Toscano on October 16, 2006 at 5:36 pm

    jimbo, you are welcome. It is so interesting that many people assume that the UK is completely immuned to ex-gay ideology, yet it pops up in some of the most unlikely places, completely under the radar.

    CA, you’ve mentioned this yourself to me with the way that so many “Christian Counselors” have begun to practice in the UK. Who knows what they are saying about same-sex attractions.

    CA, you bring up a good point. The initial news reports made it sound like Pure was an ex-gay program, but at closer inspection, it covers lots of issues about purity and holiness for believers, some issues that I may actually agree with them.

    It is a problem in the “gay world”. Where do we get our moral center? The church has failed us over and over because he completely denied us our sexuality, declaring it all sinful and twisted. The secular gay world often has responded with, “Anything goes” as the attitude of the day.

    But where do we find the direction about how to live lives that are healthy, pure and fulfilling? So often we are left to sort it out on our own with few models to follow.

Leave a Comment