Tonight we are running a controversial film out of the US. It is about christian lobby groups who believe that homosexuality is a mental disorder. The story outlines how they've set up over a hundred camps to cure gay patients via re-orientation therapy. One of the key figures in the film is Richard Cohen. His life, he claims, has been transformed. Once struggling with his sexuality, he is now "exclusively heterosexual" having attended a conversion camp.
With six week programmes costing 1000s of dollars, such cures are big business. Former patient and fierce critic, Wayne Besen believes they are dangerous; "Hurting people, and creating stigma so gays want to change."
By their own admission, only 30% of patients are fully cured. The 70% left behind believe they have failed God. According to Rev. Mel White many attempt suicide; "I'm a failure and I should die." Positive Liberty says that "homosexuality is entirely irrelevant to salvation".
It's a source of great contention on the blog-o-sphere.
Positive Liberty argues that:
According to the words of scripture itself, homosexuality is entirely irrelevant to salvation. There are only three sexual states that the Bible seems to contemplate or care about at all: These are chastity, marriage, and “everything else.” The first two are allowed. The third is forbidden. And that is all. There is no special reward waiting for you in Heaven depending on whom you think about when you’re feeling frisky.
Proceed at your own risk goes further and warns in big capitals:
FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIANS AND EX-GAY THERAPISTS MAY BE HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH AND LEAD TO CHRONIC DEPRESSION, SELF-DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR AND ULTIMATELY SUICIDE.
Gay Erasmus says the theory of conversion therapy is: "an abuse of science, an abuse of the Gospels, and above all an abuse of the individual".
Whilst Eleventh Avenue South gives a distrubing portrait of gay aversion therapy in Iran.
It's all grist to the mill. Check out the film and let us know what you think.