Core Issues Trust, Anglican Mainstream and Christian Concern have organised another day conference to which I have been warmly invited.
The conference on Friday, 13 June 2014 from 10:30 to 17:00 at Emmanuel Conference Centre, Marsham Street, Westminster is titled “Debunking the myths: Same-sex attraction, science and the gospel”.
The Conference has three goals:
1. To highlight the loss of freedom for individuals in the UK to seek and provide professional help to move away from homosexual practices and feelings
2. To encourage reflection on and interrogation of the “Harm” agenda as a means of understanding how ideology has replaced science
3. To consider a Biblical framework by which to clarify the theological underpinnings for Christian… (and there the text of the publicity leaflet sent to me ends, so I’m not what is going to be theologically underpinned).
The Conference is based on the so-called traditional, orthodox, conservative evangelical interpretation of the Bible to promote prejudiced, homophobic attitudes to those of us who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and unashamedly confident and Christian in our faith and identity.
I attended the last conference they organised and reported on the event. The title of that conference was “Setting Love in Order: Protecting the freedoms to believe, to exist and to change when homosexual feelings are unwanted.”
Core Issues Trust, Anglican Mainstream and Christian Concern purse with dogged familiarity ideas which are rejected by the majority of people in British society and the majority of Christians in the UK.
They believe variously that:
- there is no such thing as a gay identity or ‘being gay’;
- that LGBTI people are wrong when we say that the homophobic teaching of these organizations harms our well-being;
- that claiming to be gay is simply ideology with no substance in science;
- that gay marriage harms heterosexual marriage; that gay people (or in their parlance, same-sex attracted people or, to justify the need for “professional” help, people with “unwanted same-sex attraction) are losing the freedom to move away from homosexual practices and feelings;
- that there is a Biblical framework which provides, from God’s design, a binary, heterosexual model for every created being.
Many of the people involved in Core Issues Trust, Anglican Mainstream and Christian Concern are nice and friendly. Some advocate ideas and actions which are dangerous to the well being of LGBTI people and deeply damaging to Christian values and truth.
Many people who have endured reparative therapy testify to its ineffectiveness to change sexual identity and to the emotional and psychological damage it can cause.
At the extreme, the belief system of these three groups, based on their interpretation of the Bible (and it is, despite their assertion to the contrary) their interpretation, leads LGBTI people into depression and suicide and is one of the prime motivations for those who abuse, assault, judge, imprison and murder LGBTI people.
The distorted Christian ethos of these three organizations continues to be taken seriously by some bishops and Archbishops in England and by many bishops and Archbishops in other Provinces of the Anglican Communion. I am in contact with LGBTI Anglicans from many parts of our Communion who live diminished, vulnerable lives as consequence of this unchristian teaching.
The Conference and the teaching it will present in as calm and rational way as possible underpins the internalized homophobia of many LGBTI Christians who have been infected with false teaching about their God-given identity. Their freedom to continue to organise these events is a given. But at their last conference in the Emmanuel Centre, a conference I attended, the poisonous attitudes towards myself and all LGBTI people which is implicit in their theology began to erupt when those attending began to vent their true feelings. Be in no doubt, all three organizations fuel the prejudice which still afflicts LGBTI people in Church and society.