Tomorrow is the deadline for LIA to respond to the state of TN allegations that Christian “ex-gay” program runs a mental health facility without a license. Some news reports and blogs mistakenly proclaimed the end to LIA. It is not that simple.
LIA can find ways to skirt the state’s requirements and legally proceed with their operations. Being connected to the two largest Southern Baptist Churches in Tennessee, LIA will most likely use the power and privilege of their church connections to get pro bono legal representation and may even turn to elected officials to plead their case.
Forget about the separation of church and state. In a case like this, LIA will use every contact they have to find the loop holes that will keep them in business.
I know lots of people hope for the end of LIA, but it is not that simple. Although they like to portray themselves as oppressed underdog with little power, Christian groups like LIA draw from huge resources through groups like Focus on the Family, the Christian Legal Society and mega churches like Bellevue and Germantown Baptist in the Memphis suburbs.
Sheltered under the church banner, LIA will assert that they do the Lord’s work and as a ministry, do not have to follow the same rules as others.
Will LIA react defensively and in their relentless drive to “help” others in spite of the evidence of the harm they cause, seek to exploit soft spots in TN state law? Or will they honestly assess their history and their limitations and humbly make needed changes to their program?
I believe John Smid has some of God in him, and if he stops talking and defending himself long enough, he might hear that still small voice of God showing him a better way.