Individuals who once identified as gay are speaking out against a resolution in the California Assembly that calls upon pastors and other civic leaders to affirm homosexuality and transgenderism, and condemn “conversion therapy.”
The resolution, ACR-99, Civil Rights: Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people urges counselors, pastors, churches, educators, and others to avoid supporting the historic Christian view of sexual ethics. The measure says such support can result in “disproportionately high” rates of suicide, attempted suicide, and depression among persons who identify as LGBT. The resolution makes a point to condemn in broad terms what is often referred to as conversion therapy, calling the practice, also known as sexual orientation change efforts, “harmful.”
Notable among the supporters of the resolution was Kevin Mannoia who is the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals — which represents tens of thousands of churches from many denominations — and the chaplain of Azusa Pacific University.
In a letter expressing “various levels of support” for the measure on behalf of some pastors and church leaders, the APU chaplain wrote that “the call to compassion and caring treatment is consistent with our deep desire to reflect Christ in all we do. Though we start from differing points regarding human sexuality, this call to compassion resonates with the heart of Jesus in relating to everyone.”
Last week Mannoia spoke in favor of the resolution in Sacramento, stressing the importance of changing the tone on the subject and the necessity of greater dialogue with those who hold opposing views.
Pastors Ken Williams and Elizabeth Woning, both of whom once identified as gay and now co-lead a ministry called Equipped to Love, which is based in Redding, California, spoke to legislators in opposition to the measure. While they expressed appreciation for Mannoia’s compassion for LGBT-identified men and women, the content of the resolution and his backing of it is detrimental to many others, they added.
Williams noted in an interview with The Christian Post on Thursday that the resolution and its Christian supporters left him feeling like he no longer has a voice, particularly since a notable leader in the church is now backing it, sending the message “that there should be no place for me or the therapies and church ministries that helped me.”
“If there is no resistance to the idea that homosexuality must always be encouraged, then there is no ground for people like me to stand on,” Williams said.
He elaborated: “How are people who have certain convictions about sexuality going to be able to get any help? Comments like Mannoia’s have completely eroded any notion that there are any people in the Church who believe that homosexuality is not condoned by God, and therefore no redemptive solution. For if even God doesn’t oppose it, then there is no transformation possible for a struggling person who does not want to embrace it.”
Considerable time in the debate in the hearing over the resolution centered around equality as it pertains to LGBT-identified men and women, which is emphasized in the resolution’s summary. Supporters of the resolution are backing the measure as a seeming no-brainer under this rationale, Williams explained, stressing that such framing is unfair.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter