It is never about the violence to, but always about the control of. I had this thought this morning as I reflected on another church digging its heels into the very real topic of homosexuality. Bethel Church stepped up and into the ring of promoting gay conversion therapy. If this is unfamiliar to you, please buckle up. I will let the experts at the Human Rights Campaign give their definition of what this “therapy” is:
“So-called ‘conversion therapy,’ sometimes known as ‘reparative therapy,’ is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. […] Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.”
“Dangerous and discredited” are the two words that stick out to me the most regarding this practice. I have a very personal relationship with this corrupt therapy. I have seen it in action and have been apart of the rippling effects that are so deep and so hard to unravel. I cannot stress how traumatizing this is to anyone in the LGBTQ+ community, and the confusion it creates. Any healthy person in the field of psychology and sciences know how harmful this is to the human psyche.
But here we are.
In the delusion to be behavior focused, I have found the Evangelical church is first to try to “fix” this. Fixing, as it turns out, looks a lot like control. When this happens, we have draconian abortion laws proposed and passed, and a rampant belief that someones gay can be “prayed away” and movements formed around this discriminatory idea.
Whenever I hear the Evangelical church is diving into what they perceive to be an issue, I often wonder what they aren’t talking about; this is the violence to. We have mass shootings, an uprising of neo-nazi and white supremacy domestic terrorism, men, women, and children shoved into overcrowded modern-day concentration camps, the sexual abuse of children, police brutality on black bodies, and laws protecting LGBTQ+ individuals being challenged.
Bethel Church — with its extremely wide influence — is playing a masterful role in drawing distraction. Christians: wake the hell up. This control of others is nothing short of demonic. If we really believe Satan came to “steal, kill and destroy” then we have to call this for what it is: a distraction from the literal warfare we refuse to see elsewhere.
See, it is easier to manipulate someone into believing their sexual orientation is wrong than it is to face white privilege head-on. Or acknowledge the border crisis for what it is. Or say aloud, “Hey, I think our President is racist.” All of this keeps us all in the hands of a clever thief who steals attention, kills self-awareness, and destroys the human ability to remain in relationship with each other. And I have no problem calling it all for what it is and calling you and me to be better.
To my LGBTQ+ family and friends – I am so sorry. I will never fully be able to comprehend the anxiety and/or depression you experience because you simply love who you love. I hope you know I am forever your ally. Thank you for being some of the greatest teachers I could have ever asked for. You have all played a role in deepening my relationship with God along the way.