In recent weeks our good friend Pastor
Ted Haggard has made new headlines when he announced he was moving
away from Colorado and that after three weeks of intensive reparative
therapy had concluded he was completely straight.
Haggard the spiritual leader of
Colorado Spring's New Life Church and president of the National
Association of Evangelicals was forced to step down from these posts
when allegations of homosexual sex and drug abuse were made by Mike
Jones, a former male prostitute and masseur. Jones claimed Haggard
had paid for homosexual sex with him for three years.
These accusations were made in early
November 2006 and Jones stated they were in response to Haggard's
political support for Amendment 43 on the November 7th
Colorado ballot that would ban same sex marriage.
Haggard at first denied all of Jone's
allegations, “I have not, I have never had a gay relationship with
anybody.” Yet on November 5th Haggard wrote to his
parishioners, “I am so sorry for the circumstances that have caused
shame and embarrassment for all of you...The fact is I am guilty of
sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem.
I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so
repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all my adult
life... The accusations that been leveled against me are not all
true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and
lovingly removed from ministry.”
When a high-profile Evangelical who has
the ear of the President of the United States is exposed for the
hypocritical fraud he is it's time for massive reparative therapy.
But where on Earth do you find a therapist good enough to covert a
closeted, prostitute-paying, hypocritical preacher from gay
self-loathing to straight self-loving? The answer could have been
Pastor Donnie Davies.
Davies made headlines in January 2007
when his ministry Love God's Way decided on a new strategy to
reach-out to gay men and women who were struggling with their
homosexual sin. The pastor decided to create an MTV styled rock
video and post it on YouTube.com. His video “The Bible Says” was
quickly removed from YouTube.com and Google Video due to its hateful
message which included the lyrics, “God hates fags.”
The heart of Davies work is the CHOPS
program, Changing Homosexuals into Ordinary People. On the church's
website Davies writes, “It is a long, lonely, desolate road,
homosexuality. I've been there, friends. I know how horrible and
rough that road can be. I have been called a "Faggot". You
are not alone and guess what, God Loves You even if he hates your
Homosexuality. You just can't stay that way. Let me help you love
yourself. Follow me and together we'll C.H.O.P.S away the Gay.”
Yet unfortunately for Haggard, Davies'
ministry is made-up, it appears to be no more than a viral marketing
effort for an upcoming movie.
But what Davies highlights, and Haggard
now claims to have benefited from, is the obscure use of reparative
therapy to cure gays.
The history of reparative therapy and
the “ex-gay” movement began in the early 1970's when John Evans
and Rev. Kent Philpott co-founded Love In Action on the outskirts of
San Francisco. Their message was simple: gays could be converted to
heterosexuality through the use of prayer. Within a few years dozens
of similar ministries organically sprung up all across the nation.
However it was not until the late 90's
when the zealous Religious Right jumped on the “ex-gay” bandwagon
that the ideology entered mainstream religious circles. By embracing
the “ex-gay” theology, religious zealots could claim they loved
homosexuals and were just trying to help them.
The methods used by “ex-gay”
ministries have evolved from simple prayer to the use of an intense
psychotherapy called reparative therapy. The program attempts to
find a justification for homosexual feelings, a trigger for “acting
out” which can be suppressed.
From the very start, the “ex-gay”
ministries have produced failure, defections and scandals. The
biggest example of failure would be John Paulk, Chairman of “ex-gay”
ministry Exodus, who was featured on the cover of Newsweek under the
headline “Gay for Life?”. Yet in the fall of 2000, soon after
his Newsweek cover, Paulk was photographed cruising a gay bar in
Washington DC. Proving that it may be possible to change a person's
behavior, but efforts to change a person's sexual orientation do not
Which brings us back to Pastor Ted
Haggard who has announced to the world that he is now “completely
heterosexual” thanks to reparative therapy (what Davies would call
“CHOPS away the gay”). Haggard even goes on to suggest he was
merely “acting-out”, it was not a constant thing and he was
straight all the while.
The sad truth is reparative therapy
only serves to make people hate themselves for being gay – there is
nothing therapeutic about the therapy! Reparative therapy and the
“ex-gay” movement only serve to justify and promulgate hate.
Haggard, however, having CHOPS away the
gay can now lead his ordinary life – his fraudulent, straight,