Unintended Consequences

Does any good ever come out of “ex-gay” programs? Yes! You can make some excellent friends and maybe even find the love of your life.

That is exactly what happened to Stephen Parelli and Jose Ortiz of New York City when they attended an “ex-gay” group at Calvary Baptist Church. On Sunday evening at a church in Philadelphia, the two will speak about their “ex-gay” experiences and their lives together.

Sarah Blazucki at Philadelphia Gay News writes about the couple and the upcoming event. Blazucki also spoke with and quotes Wayne Besen, Daniel Gonzales at Ex-Gay Watch, Randy Thomas of Exodus and me.

Thomas claims that Exodus “is criticized by both conservative religious groups and liberal activists.” Perhaps it is his liberal views concerning same-gender loving people going to heaven.

Thomas, who has been involved with Exodus for 14 years and an employee for four years, is careful to walk a line of nonconfrontation, though his language belies the group’s assumptions.

“We are not out to convert gays — that’s a misconception,” he said. “We provide help and hope to those that want it.”

He does, however, believe that Christianity and homosexuality are not mutually exclusive.

“I did not become a Christian to not be gay. I do believe people who identify as gay and Christian. I will question their view of sexuality and what is appropriate and not. But this is not a salvation issue.”

Thomas said the group receives approximately 400,000 contacts per year.

Ah, there is that magic and astounding 400,000 figure again. Alan Chambers quoted this figure back in March, and I did the math. But how many of those calls were monitored by the NSA?

Since my brother is flying in from Spain with his partner, Teresa, on Sunday, I will not get to Philadelphia to check them out, but if you do (Tom!), let me know how it goes. Read Former ‘ex-gay’ couple to speak on movement.

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