Christian conservatives once latched on to Exodus International as proof that God could cure homosexuality.
Now Exodus itself, which has a Nashville affiliate, says that’s not always the case.
Ninety-eight of its longtime members participated in a study published in the October issue of the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, a peer-reviewed scientific journal. After seven years, 72 still were participating in the study, and of those, nearly a quarter said their orientation had changed. A third said they had lessened same-sex attraction and were celibate.
Even with its mixed results, both the researchers and the American Psychological Association fear the study could be used to force people into ex-gay ministries like Exodus, which neither group believes is appropriate.
Stanton Jones, a psychologist and provost at Wheaton College, an Illinois evangelical school, said he initiated his research to show whether people who claimed their sexual orientation had changed were anomalies. Jones co-authored the new report with Mark Yarhouse, a professor of psychology at Regent University, a Christian school in Virginia Beach.
He said his study shows that people’s sexual orientation is flexible and some change is possible if it isn’t forced.
“If change is difficult, then mandatory change is impossible,” he said.
People who have emerged from ex-gay ministries have long cited varying results. John Smid, former director of Memphis-based Love in Action, an Exodus partner that promised that God could cure same-sex attraction, said he used to be a poster child for the Christian ex-gay movement. He had overcome his attraction to other men, he said, and was happily married to a woman.
Today, he acknowledges he remains attracted to other men but says he is faithful to his wife. He also says that he no longer believes a person’s sexual identity can change and that promising otherwise was a lie. That’s one reason he left Love in Action in 2008.
“The banner of the ministry was ‘You can Change,’ ” he said. “That was duplicitous.”
But Richard Holloman, who runs a Nashville-based program called the Sight Ministry, said ex-gay ministries helped save his life. He used to have two lives — one as a happily married Baptist preacher, another in secret, having one-night stands with other men.
Hiding his same-sex feelings made him miserable, he said.
“I felt I had to earn God’s love — because I was sure that he didn’t love me because of what I was doing,” he said.
Being involved in Exodus, he said, taught him that God loves him despite his faults. He’s now open about being attracted to men but has decided to remain celibate.
The Sight Ministry teaches that God’s plan is for people to be heterosexual, but it doesn’t judge people who say they can be gay and Christian. Changing people’s orientation is not the goal, Holloman said.
“We don’t cure people,” he said.
Psychologists warn of harmful effects
The American Psychological Association warns that therapies promising to change sexual orientation don’t work and contends they can be harmful, especially to teenagers and young adults.
“The research evidence does not support the idea that such efforts work,” said Clinton Anderson, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns Office for the American Psychological Association.
Researchers who studied members of Exodus say their goals were modest. They wanted to see if change in orientation was possible, even if rare.
Anderson contends the study’s scope was limited because it included no control group of people without ties to Exodus. He believes ex-gay ministries do cause harm because they reinforce the idea that being gay is wrong, he said, and they shame people who drop out.
“Our concerns are people get into a situation where they are highly likely to fail, but their failure is blamed on a lack of faith,” he said. “That plays into their self-loathing.”
That was the case for Peterson Toscano, who spent 17 years in the Christian ex-gay movement. Two of those years he lived at Love in Action’s residential program in Memphis. He was ashamed of being gay and of not being able to change his orientation.
“It was a terrible, awful, soul-sucking experience,” Toscano said.
Toscano wrote a play called Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo’ Halfway House about his experiences at Love in Action.
He also co-founded beyondexgay.com, a website for other survivors of ex-gay ministries, with Christine Bakke of Denver. Bakke and Toscano are skeptical of the new study. Many of their friends from ex-gay ministries have since left the movement, and the study doesn’t look at those dropouts.
They said they’ve noticed the recent change in the ex-gay ministry world to not insisting God will change everyone with enough faith, but they are suspicious of this kinder, gentler approach because the ministries still think homosexuality is sinful.
Toscano said he hopes Christians change their minds about homosexuality the way they did about slavery and divorce.
“The Bible didn’t change,” he said. “But the way they interpreted the Bible did.”
Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, said he’s not ashamed of his group’s beliefs that God wants people to be heterosexual.
He said he’s grateful for the new study because it shows that human sexuality is complicated. That means change is possible, he said.
A married man, Chambers said that he has chosen not to be defined by his attraction to other men. But that doesn’t make living according to his beliefs easy.
“I am married, but that doesn’t mean that I am never tempted or that I don’t have some residual same-sex attraction,” he said. “Change is really living in congruence with your faith.”
from The Tennessean
Archive for November 5th, 2011
Christian conservatives once latched on to Exodus International as proof that God could cure homosexuality.
A new lawsuit suggests that Adam Lambert may have violated the rules of American Idol when he agreed to appear on the eighth season of the hit reality competition show. The singer is now facing a lawsuit that alleges that he’s still under a Music Services Agreement and a Co-publishing Agreement from a company he worked with prior to hitting it big on Idol, and that he has violated the company’s rights in his mega-selling post-Idol career.
The claims come from Colwel Platinum Entertainment, which has been marketing a new Lambert album entitled Beg For Mercy.
The appearance of the new album has generated such discussion among Lambert fans that on October 6, Lambert felt the need to tweet: “Beg For Mercy project is same as ‘Take One’. some songs I worked on 5 yrs ago and never finished. This release comes as a surprise to me…”
Lambert’s reps sent takedown notices to Amazon.com, which had the album up for sale, and on October 14, the album was removed for sale.
Now Colwel Platinum is striking back in a lawsuit filed in California federal court on Tuesday.
The complaint sets up the allegations by introducing Lambert as a relatively unknown artist who hit it big in 2009 when he finished as runner-up on the Fox competition show.
Lambert auditioned for the show in 2008. According to the complaint:
“Upon further information and belief, the rules governing appearances on and participation in American Idol when Lambert was a contestant provided, among other things, that contestants were ineligible if ‘as of the date of [the] audition, [they had]…a music recording contract…or any other contractual arrangement that would prohibit [them] from entering into a…recording contract…” A violation of this provision was grounds for disqualification.”
Lambert accepted these rules, but according to Colwel, Lambert had an operating agreement with one of its divisions, Welsford Music Productions.
According to the lawsuit, between April 2007 and September 2008, Lambert performed compositions that he had written, alone and with others, for Welsford.
On February 12, 2008, a few months before he attended auditions for Idol, Lambert is said to have executed a Music Services Agreement with Welsford. Around the same time, Lambert is alleged to have entered into a Co-Publishing Agreement with Wilshire Publishing Limited.
As a condition of these agreements, Lambert allegedly agreed to record music and “without limitation…[render] all other services reasonably required.”
Welsford says Lambert got paid for his work, agreed that the material would be “works made for hire,” and that Welsford would have the right to use his name, nickname and biography in connection with advertising and promoting the recordings.
The company says it spent more than $200,000 to produce the recordings and advanced money to Lambert so he could make his living expenses at the time.
Lambert is said to have recorded 13 songs, including one that was ironically titled “MP3′s Killed the Record Companies.” Lambert allegedly uploaded four of those 13 songs to his MySpace page without authorization of the publishing company.
In July 2011, several years after the original recording session and when Lambert had suddenly become famous, Welsford says it began the final stages of preparing to release the album.
Now, having put the album out only to see it taken down, Colwel Platinum is suing Lambert for making a false claim under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act:
“Upon information and belief, Lambert, through his authorized agent and representative, knowingly materially misrepresented to Amazon.com in the ‘takedown notice’ that Amazon’s promotion and sale of the Album infringe Lambert’s rights.”
The plaintiff also is seeking declaratory relief that it owns a 50% publishing share of the recordings, that it has an unconditional right to promote and sell the recordings, that neither the Music Services Agreement nor the Co-Publishing Agreement was validly rescinded, and that these agreements remain in effect.
Colwel is represented by Joseph Golden.
Lambert and his reps did not respond to requests for comment. A rep for Idol said “no comment.”
On Nov. 5, Lambert tweeted, “Remember than in any dispute, reserve judgement until all the facts surface from ALL parties. Guilt and innocence come with a complete story.” He followed it up with another message that said, “Eyes on the prize.”
from The Hollywood Reporter
This week Conan O’Brien returned to his home turf, New York City, to host his TBS talk show from the Beacon Theatre. O’Brien capped off the week by doing something that, for now at least, he can do in New York but not California: He officiated a gay wedding.
On Thursday night O’Brien’s longtime costume designer Scott Cronick married his partner David Gorshein. While Gorshein waited underneath the chuppah, Cronick walked down the aisle accompanied by his favorite celebrity, Andy Cohen of Bravo.
Onstage, the couple exchanged heartfelt vows. “Anyone in the world would be happy to wear one of your designs, but no one is possibly happier than I am to wear your ring,” Gorshein said.
“I have only one vow for you. I vow to fill your every day with so much love. Cameras or no cameras, I am here today and I am yours forever,” Cronick promised his partner.
After the men stepped on two glasses (one for each groom), O’Brien declared, “By the power invested in me by the state of New York and the Universal Life Church, I now pronounce you husband and husband. You can kiss the groom.”
After they kissed, the newlyweds rode off into the sunset with some help from “Ted Turner,” a recurring character on the show.
Watch the ceremony below, but make sure you’ve got some tissues handy.
from The Los Angeles Times