Saturday, February 25, 2006

Truth will win out

Love Won Out went to St. Louis today, and Gay Culture & Spirituality writer Colleen Keating was at the protest/vigil outside.

She writes, in part,
The only chants our contingency were shouting included "Jesus Loves You" and "Jesus Loves Gays." Despite what Alan Chambers said about our vigil, I thought that we succeeded in being quite positive:

"Anonymous defamation from any party is offensive, but the public protest planned by the gay community is particularly disturbing," he said. "Contempt for those of us who have chosen to leave homosexuality behind is not an action consistent with the call for tolerance and diversity."

What Chambers doesn't seem to understand is that none of us have "contempt" for the attendees (at least no one I spoke with). We felt badly for the young kids in the backseats of SUVs, looking down guiltily as they saw us--were their parents taking them to the event in the hopes of a "cure"? I know I felt badly for the parents hoping for a cure, and blaming themselves.
You can check out the rest of what Colleen wrote here.

I agree with her response to Alan Chambers. If I was there and protesting the event, I would not be protesting the right of Love Won Out to assemble, nor would I be protesting the right of ex-gays to exist or meet. What I protest is the idea that all gays can and should change because there are a few people out there saying they have (and their claims of change usually don't end up including their orientation, just behavior).

The "anonymous defamation" Alan was referring to in his quote was the
vandalism of one of their billboards ("I questioned homosexuality"). This was also discussed by Colleen over at Gay Spirituality & Culture. Her thoughts (which strongly echo mine) include
This enrages me. If there were a Pride billboard up, or a PFLAG, or an HRC, etc., which were treated in this manner, our community would rightly be outraged. Whoever did this reflects poorly upon the intentions of those of us who are trying to fight misinformation with truth.
So I agree with Alan Chambers that the anonymous defamation of their billboards is offensive, but I disagree with him that a protest or vigil is disturbing. When you consider the lies that are masquarading as science, and the political activities of Exodus, our community should question and hold up the truth in response to Love Won Out, and show support for those who may question the "truths" presented about sexuality at some later date. I have to admit that I do struggle with feelings of "contempt" for Alan Chambers and a few others in leadership positions at Exodus and Focus on the Family (and definitely for Paul Cameron and his ilk), but it's rare that I feel that for the people who actually attend these events (like Colleen rightly points out, many are strugglers or parents of gays and lesbians who are just looking for hope and answers). After all, only a few years ago, I was one of them too.

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