The anti-gay movement is fighting back hard these days. And when I say anti-gay, I mean virulently. With Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues, two groups in the news at the moment for their now-cancelled “ex-gay” ad campaign on London buses, we’re not talking about mere “traditional Christians,” but egregiously homophobic organizations.
I’ve documented Anglican Mainstream’s history of hateful rhetoric and actions fairly extensively on Ex-Gay Watch. In 2006, for example, the group published the book God, Gays and the Church: Human Sexuality and Experience in Christian Thinking, in which they reprinted a viciously homophonic tirade that contained comments such as these:
And, gentle reader, [the porn section of a gay bookshop] is where most [gay men] will spend the rest of their lives, until God or AIDS, drugs or alcohol, suicide or a lonely old age, intervenes.
Gay churches survive as places where worshippers can go to sleep it off and cleanse their consciences after a Saturday night spent cruising for sex at the bars.
Here is the terrifying fact: If we as a nation and as a Church allow ourselves to be taken in by the scam of monogamous same-sex couples, we will be … legitimizing every kind of sexual taste, from old-fashioned masturbation and adultery to the most outlandish forms of sexual fetishism. We will, in other words, be giving our blessing to the suicide of Western civilization.
The homosexual rights movement is rotten to the core. It has no future. There is no life in it. Sooner or later, those who are caught up in it are going to wake up from the dream or else die. … How many more children are going to be sacrificed to this Molech?
Anticipating criticism, Anglican Mainstream’s Canon Dr Chris Sugden cited “equal opportunities” as a reason for publishing the essay. “We owe it to” the author, Ronald G Lee, to give his story a hearing, he wrote, adding that “we love those struggling with same sex attraction too much to do otherwise.”
In 2011, an Anglican Mainstream book review invoked the “precious blood” of WWII soldiers to portray gay rights as a threat to Western freedom. The article also contained a video, with the advice to fast-forward to 53 seconds for an anti-gay right-wing TV commercial in which a child reacts with disgust and terror to a nightmare about having gay parents.
In 2012, Anglican Mainstream threw its support behind Lesley Pilkington, a Christian psychotherapist barred from practice after telling a gay client — who turned out to be undercover Independent journalist Patrick Strudwick — that his homosexuality could be traced to low self-esteem, suppressed memories of sexual abuse and a family history of Freemasonry. (He denied any of the three even existed.)
Not long afterwards, Dr Lisa Severin Nolland told a Christian conference (charmingly entitled The Lepers Among Us) that gay rights would lead to the corruption of children in schools, where they would be encouraged at an early age to sexually experiment with “cock-and-ball torture” and “eating faeces.”
Northern Ireland-based ex-gay group Core Issues has joined Anglican Mainstream recently to pool resources, organize conferences and promote the scientifically dubious message that gay men and women can successfully change their sexual orientation — a cure for homosexuality. Their latest joint effort to sell their claims has met with unsurprising hostility, and London Mayor Boris Johnson yesterday put a halt to their plan to cover the city’s buses with the slogan “Not gay! Ex-gay, post-gay and proud. Get over it!”
As I noted on Ex-Gay Watch, to be taken seriously, they must also battle this week’s news that Robert Spitzer, the US psychiatrist behind a 2001 study supporting ex-gay therapy, has retracted his findings. A major plank in the ex-gay argument (although it had been routinely debunked for years by all except the ex-gays who relied on it for propaganda) has fallen through.
And the campaign is also faced with the embarrassing fact that the professional body the British Psychodrama Association has revoked the membership of Mike Davidson, Core Issues’ director. Nevertheless, Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues surely knew their announcement would be met with calls for a ban, and they are doubtless pleased with the publicity Boris Johnson’s actions have given them. If nothing else, they will enjoy their shining moment of martyrdom.