Jeremy Marks, founder of Courage, has commented on the Anglican Mainstream Sex and the City conference taking place on Friday 24th and Saturday 26th April. Jeremy is evangelical, gay, and led Courage from being an ex-gay ministry in the first 12 years of its life to a ministry offering encouragement, help and support to people experiencing an inner conflict between their faith and same-sex orientation. Jeremy was once a paid up member of those attempting to help people ‘come out’ of homosexuality.
Commenting on the Faith and the City conference organised by Anglican Mainstream, Jeremy says he doesn’t know any conservative evangelical leaders who seriously believe that gay people can be changed and become straight – not in the UK at least. The conservative leaders he has known have always been cynical about such claims, even when Courage was promoting the possibility 20 years ago. It is, he accepts, different in the USA. It is always missionaries from the States who are invited to the UK to tell people homosexuals can change (where their “evidence” is thousands of miles away and can’t be verified). Why invite these people from the States? – because Mainstream can’t find anyone in this country who can present a truly convincing and verifiable case.
The only people who give the Reparative Therapy movement serious attention are those who, for the most part, are trying to deal with their own internalised homophobia by going to Christian conferences such as the Mainstream event taking place this weekend.
Courage having changed its whole strategy and mindset about the ex-gay process has the most experience to counter the arguments of Nicolosi, Satinover and Goldberg. This experience, of course makes Courage the most threatening of protestors and a group they would most want to avoid any engagement with. Jeremy knows that opposition to the conference will simply encourage those attending the Sex and the City conference to pursue their agenda in the belief that they are being “persecuted for righteousness sake” and that the enemies of righteousness and truth will naturally try and oppose what they are doing.
The only people who will attend the event are those already convinced of their need of it. You will never persuade supporters of Anglican Mainstream’s ethos to change their minds, either with reason or protest.
The only way people who seek reparative therapy will change their minds is by eventually realising the utter moral and spiritual bankruptcy of such an approach that they leave the ex-gay movement of their own accord. Those who seek out the “ex-gay” movement are going to have to discover for themselves that it doesn’t work. The pursuit of the ex-gay ministry is so often merely an escape from facing up to things in their own lives they don’t want to face up to.