Here the mundane is not belabored, but we promise a writer's heart and soul. Check out the latest from Sandtrap in the Heart of Jawja, a place that never was but oughta be. Or, "I'm a man of great convictions, but never served time." That's paraprosdokian; find more at the "Paradoke Corner." The section called "Silly Poems" may make you chuckle or bring a smile. Content is added regularly. Thanks for your visit, and y'all come back now, ya' hear? To get started click the "Contents" tab above or links to individual articles in the right column.

"Phil Comer, on his 'All Write by Me' blog... Definitely worth a look-see." Chuck Sambuchino, Editor, Guide to Literary Agents, Writer’s Digest Books.

Friday, November 26, 2010



Ex-Gay Mike Haley - Clap For His Kids

The Religious Right recently floated a novel take on homosexuality in my hometown.

Why'd you drag me along?

Somehow, I can't quit you. The daylong multimedia revival was billed to the largely white Evangelical audience as "a fresh Christian approach." All the speakers were affiliated with Dr. James Dobson's Colorado-based Focus on the Family and/or the Florida-based "ex-gay" ministry, Exodus International. Every presenter recommended that Evangelical Christians tone down their rhetoric toward the gay and lesbian community.

Yeah. What was that all about?

I'm not sure. The political objectives of these religious groups remain unchanged: They oppose what they term "the redefinition of marriage"; they want adoptions banned for people "living homosexually" and all "public promotion of homosexuality" ceased.

That was clear from their PowerPoints.

Their message and tactics are evolving. While opposed to "living homosexually," they appear to normalize same-sex attractions. "Living homosexually" is their preferred term for us gays and lesbians comfortable in our skins. And this just in: They feel they should be nicer to us. They're sorry for those things they've said.

Well, some of them.

The fact these folks even acknowledge we exist in small-town America is notable. Focus on the Family and Exodus International want to reach out to gays and lesbians so they can make us disappear. Their final solution is "to unconditionally love" us out of existence. People who cease to exist quit demanding equal rights.

Split all the infinitives you want, but if you go this "ex-gay" route – what happens to me?

You'll have to find your own place.

But, I live in your head.

They say you're only a figment of my crotch's imagination.

Am I that shallow?

You're only a phase, a bed habit. I meant to say, bad habit.

Take it up with Freud. We've been together since we were what? Fourteen?

I assumed the womb. I was misinformed.

Where will I go?

To life's sordid underbelly. We'll work something out.


Sit down. Shut up. Check weapons. Yikes!

Participants were patted down at the doors.

Repeated throughout the day was, "These lectures are not open to comment. Anyone who persists in asking questions will be removed." We were provided with 4-by-6 inch cards to submit written inquiries. Focus on the Family's Mike Haley explained, "People tend to ask the same question different ways, and we don't get very far." He added, "Questions are often from people who aren't friendly to our message."

And they accuse us of trying to silence them?

Sounds like the sort of thing your fellow travelers might attempt. Focus on the Family's overheads do propose clear strategies to halt what they term "the promotion of homosexuality."

In other words, ways to silence us.


Their latest position is that same-sex attractions are acceptable as long as no one acts on them. Their message to randy gays is the same as to horny straights: Abstinence until opposite-sex marriage. Only they assure the gay kids – and their parents – "It's OK to have same-sex attractions now. Through the power of prayer you will overcome them by the time you marry someone of the opposite sex."

What was that about residency programs?

Those are centers strategically situated around the country, locations disclosed for significant up-front fees, where parents can drop off their gay kids for reprogramming.

Even if the kids don't want to go?

Yes, it's one of the few incidences you find Evangelicals co-opting Mormons.

Weekend workshops like the one we attended are only the beginning. Children can be recalcitrant. The "ex-gay" movement fears states will step in to regulate their facilities. They argue that such "religious ministries" must not be touched.

For the rest of us, Evangelicals are encouraged to identify and isolate individuals "living homosexually" in their towns and love us right out of that condition. Attendees were assured that those "living homosexually" can be loved straight, or at least celibate. Participants were warned this endeavor could take years, but if pursued with godly fervor, eventually gays and lesbians will abandon beachheads in your community and retreat to San Francisco.

Focus on the Family labels this offensive the Whole Person Strategy. Their prototypical objective is "the gay guy working at Starbucks." Focus on the Family's fair-haired, blow-dried, gym-buffed "ex-gay" Haley describes this as a series of steps taken over time. Their approach appears to follow standard techniques for brainwashing and cult indoctrination. Theoretically, in many states targeting individuals might meet the definition of stalking. However, Evangelicals claim religious exemption from any such laws.

The gay guy working at Starbucks. He's their target. I don't know him. If I did, I'd I'll warn him about Fundamentalist Christians bearing hugs and smiley face stickers.

Twentysomething, wiry, mop-headed "ex-gay" Chad Thompson whooped, "This generation of gays and lesbians is going to see revival like no generation ever has! We're taking revival to the gay and lesbian community! We can't sit back and wait for them to come to us!"

Haley warned those embarking on such ministry, "Gay people tend to be intentionally offensive. It hurts to be hurt. They think, 'I believe you as a Christian will someday reject me. If I make you reject me, then I'm in control.'"

The analogy used was that of missionaries preparing for mission work in foreign lands: Learn the language and study the culture before you go. They recommend against citing abominations from Leviticus or referring to "choice," "lifestyle," and "love the sinner, hate the sin." Potential recruits were cautioned that these tend to spook skittish prey.

They've masterminded elaborate infiltrations by way of Trojan horses.

You mean really huge condoms? Computer viruses?

Homophobia was defined as "a morbid fear of homosexuals." We were informed Christianity has caused abysmal harm to gays and lesbians because of its own homophobia.

            Our first boyfriend.

            Don't bring that up.

            We wanted to hold his hand in the open. He was ashamed, convinced we were destined  for damnation.

            His minister assured him as much. Without repentance Hell awaited.

            Luke felt powerless over his "sin." He begged God's forgiveness for our caresses, then with that clean slate ended his life – before we might sin again.

            Upon reflection our tentative touch seems so innocent.

            He died for what he felt inside. His folks, no clue, asked us to be a pallbearer.

            It wasn't easy.

            They've been devastated ever since. We should level with 'em. It's not too late.

Stop saying "we." Makes me sound like a personality disorder. I accept responsibility for that decision. It wouldn't ease their grief.

            Or ours.

Many of the Good Christians squirmed at being accused of homophobia. I was stunned by any such outright admission. It was not quite reparations, but unexpectedly, I wept.

What can I say? You'll forever be a recovering Southern Baptist.


Take it, Dude.

Here goes: "Jesus wept." Shortest verse in the Bible. He'd just heard his friend Lazarus had died. He raised Lazarus from the dead. One of the Disciples was more special to Jesus than the others. More special not to His ministry, that would have been Peter, but in some other way. In the Gospel of John, Jesus eats at the Last Supper with the Beloved Disciple's head on His breast. When Jesus announces, "One of you shall betray me," all of the Disciples want to know, "Is it I?" But even Peter asks the Beloved to ask Jesus, as if the Beloved has an inside track. Jesus' last act on the Cross is to create an extended family: When He says to his Mother, "Woman, behold thy son!" He's referring not to himself but to his Beloved (John 19:26-27).

Since earliest Christianity, the Apostle John has been assumed to be the Beloved. Others claim Lazarus may have been "he whom thou lovest" (John 11:3). Or perhaps someone else...

Remember when we shocked the entire Sunday School into total silence when we asked, "Why is Jesus with a naked guy when He's arrested?"

That was you, not I. But we were beginning to notice such things. The unclothed man was already present when Judas showed up to betray with that infamous kiss, and the naked man was the last to abandon Jesus (Mark 14:50-52).

We never did get our answer.

The fact is, intimacy and emotion noted for Jesus in scripture are generally toward someone of the same sex.

Except all those times He's arguing with his Mom.

He addresses females with compassion, but generally as Woman, even his own Mother.

I'm not suggesting the relationship between Jesus and His Beloved was anything other than special. Whatever it was, neither was distressed nor concerned over what people thought, and the other Disciples were accepting. After Jesus' death and resurrection, the others wondered what was to become of the Beloved. Many concluded the Beloved would remain on earth until the Messiah's return.

Mebbe we have.

Jesus appears to bless a same-sex relationship in the miracle of the distraught centurion and his ailing dear (entimos) companion. Recorded in both Matthew (8:5-13) and Luke (7:1-10), translations struggle with the bond between the men. The original Greek uses the terms doulos and pais to describe the younger in relation to the older, words that would have been understood by some at the time to mean "servant with privileges of the heart." In any event, Jesus extends his blessings and, at the centurion's behest, restores the younger to health without questioning the nature of the men's union or suggesting changes to it.

That miracle, by the way, is as close as Jesus comes to personally sanctifying any couple's marriage or relationship in the Gospels. Oh, there was that wedding feast at Cana where, after arguing with His Mother, He reluctantly turns water into wine (John 2:1-10), but that's more like being on the entertainment committee and casts Mary in an unflattering light.

Reminds me of our favorite auntie, "Don'chu think it's five-o'clock somewhere?"

I know Jesus Christ knew the Book of Leviticus backward and forward. The only thing He ever quoted from it was Chapter 19, verse 18: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Evangelicals aren't using the King James version of the Bible anymore. No one does. I must be some sort of dinosaur or something. King James was allegedly gay. I naturally assumed that was what I was obliged to follow.

A lot of folks these days use the Internet as their Bible.


Next: Part 2, “Lesbians Are Hot!”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PART 1. THE JESUS PIECE back to top (Go!)

© Phil Comer [This piece won first place in nonfiction at the Sandhills Writers Conference.]

This "ex-gay" revival, "The Philadelphia Conference: Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would," was held Saturday, September 30, 2006, Christ Chapel at SportsTowne, 170 Starcadia Circle, Macon, Georgia. All speakers were affiliated with "Focus on the Family" and/or "Exodus International." For more information on “Ex-Gay” ministries see "Truth Wins Out". Unless stated otherwise, photos and links outside this website are not property of the author.