By Alexander Samuels
Last weekend, the United Methodist Church's Lake Junaluska Retreat Center in North Carolina played host to a pro-homosexuality rally called "Hearts on Fire," an event sponsored by a group within the church known as Reconciling Ministries. Several hundred members and leaders of the UMC who advocate same-sex marriage, gay church membership and ordination of actively gay ministers attended the four-day event over the Labor Day weekend.
Also at Lake Junaluska last weekend was a group known as . . . Transforming Congregations, which offered a different message, one that reaches out to those wishing to escape the homosexual lifestyle. Karen Booth, Transforming Congregations' executive director, told AgapePress' Jim Brown in an article posted Thursday, "We hosted the prayer breakfast in order to share our testimonies. We took in four people - male and female; two United Methodist, two not United Methodist - who shared their testimonies of how they had been freed from homosexuality and from transgender confusion through their faith in Jesus Christ."
The AgapePress article goes on to report:
Booth says her group was not at Lake Junaluska to protest the "Hearts on Fire" conference, but to share the truth about the sin of homosexuality. She firmly believes the retreat center made a big mistake in hosting Reconciling Ministries.
"I think it was an unwise decision. I think it is one that backfired on Lake Junaluska," she offers. "And I frankly believe it was intentional on the part of Reconciling Ministries to choose that location to generate as much controversy as possible."
Booth adds that in her opinion the pro-homosexual event points to "continuing sexual ills" in the United Methodist Church.
Also present last weekend, but in a protesting role, were members of the Ku Klux Klan from Georgia. This racist organization with a long history of domestic terrorism has no place at a legitimate table of discussion between Christians and homosexuals. Most Christians would prefer for the Klan to stay away from such events so that opportunities for a true Christian witness would not be inhibited.
And in that Christian-homosexual discussion, one of the most persistent and culturally damaging myths is that God made homosexuals the way they are and that they were born that way. Current research, however, from professional organizations such as the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), dispute the pro-homosexual position in this matter. On its Web site, the Traditional Values Coalition offers its "Homosexual Urban Legend Series," which contains articles that challenge such myths.
Here's an excerpt from an article titled "Born Gay" from the Traditional Values Coalition:
[H]omosexuals have used this particular urban legend to fight for anti-discrimination laws and for "hate crime" laws that provide special legal protections for homosexuals not accorded to heterosexuals. They have also used this fraudulent claim to push for homosexual recruitment programs in public schools under the guise of providing "safe schools" for "homosexual" teenagers. Homosexuals have also demanded sensitivity training for those who are repelled by homosexual behavior. . . .
Great cultural and legal changes have taken place in our society because of this Homosexual Urban Legend - but it is slowly but surely being debunked. . . .
Dr. Robert Spitzer, a NARTH associate, was one of the main forces behind the American Psychiatric Association's 1973 decision to remove homosexuality as a mental illness from the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
Dr. Spitzer is now convinced that men and women who have a homosexual orientation can change through therapy. . . .
NARTH summarized his findings on its web site. Dr. Spitzer interviewed some 200 men and women who reported changes from homosexual to heterosexual orientation that lasted five years or longer. According to Spitzer, his findings show that "the mental health professionals should stop moving in the direction of banning therapy that has, as a goal, a change in sexual orientation." . . .
The authors of this study carefully quote a number of homosexual researchers who have worked for years to locate a "gay gene" or some other genetic basis for homosexuality. They have failed and are now admitting that such evidence may never be found.
Homosexual researcher Dean Hamer, for example, attempted to link male homosexuality to a bit of DNA located at the tip of the X chromosome. He has written: "Homosexuality is not purely genetic . . . environmental factors play a role. There is not a single master gene that makes people gay. . . . I don't think we will ever be able to predict who will be gay."
Homosexual researcher Simon LeVay, who studied the hypothalamic differences between the brains of homosexual and heterosexual men, noted: "It's important to stress what I didn't find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain."
The Bible describes the beginning of homosexuality in Romans 1:21-27 in the following manner:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
I know many Methodists who were very upset over the way in which their conference center was used during the Labor Day weekend. We must keep the unity of the Methodist Church in our prayers and also pray that God would do a mighty work of salvation in the lives of homosexual men and women.
Alexander Samuels is a regular contributor to Carolina Christian Conservative.