Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Divine Incarceration

Thanks to Nik for bringing this tragic situation to my attention. If only it were an isolated incident. My next SX article follows.

Today, certain branches of the Rancid Religious Right are legally permitted to inflict what can only be described as psychological abuse and torture on children.

If this sounds a little melodramatic, you may not yet have heard about 16-year-old Zach, a gay blogger in Tennessee whose parents responded to him revealing his homosexuality by sending him, against his will, to Love in Action International, a fundamentalist Christian “ministry” designed to isolate people and “cure” them of their homosexuality through extensive Bible bashing – er, teaching.

According to LIA’s website: “There is no such creation as a ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ person. There is only homosexual attraction and behaviour; accordingly, there can be no change from a sexual identity that never existed in the first place.” Despite being forbidden from contacting the outside world, Zach has been able to post the 112 rules by which detainees at the “refuge” must abide. Some range from comical – “the clients may not wear Abercrombie and Fitch or Calvin Klein brand clothing, undergarments, or accessories” – to disturbing: “No sexual/emotional misconduct. Any temptations, fantasies, or dreams are to be presented to one’s staff worker only.” The ministry’s director, who “left the homosexual lifestyle in 1984”, claims he “would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle”.

The ministry operates on the standard RRR chestnut that homosexuality is a mental illness which may be cured through accepting the love of Christ, despite the reality that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counselling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Social Workers, together representing more than 477,000 health and mental health professionals, have all taken the position that as homosexuality is not a mental disorder it thus cannot nor should not be cured.

The blogging world at least has been quick to highlight Zach’s plight, with his latest heart-breaking posting receiving over a thousand replies. Though he has drawn strength from this support, he naturally feels great anguish as a teenager forced to cope with his parents’ betrayal, and writes: “All I can think about is killing my mother and myself. It's so horrible. This is what it's doing to me … I have this horrible feeling all of the time …”

Unfortunately, LIA is but one US example of these horrendous brainwashing prisons. Exodus International – “freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ” – is a “global alliance” with a co-ordinating office in Brisbane. Such camps can only continue to exist legitimately when a pope refers to “the homosexual inclination…as objectively disordered” or our own Anglican Archbishop likens homosexuality to alcoholism. Such seeds of extreme hatred will always bear dangerous fruit.

To offer your message of support to Zach, go to http://blog.myspace.com/specialkid. He needs all the genuine love he can get.


At 14/6/05 5:26 pm, Blogger Nic White said...

Good stuff, Sam. I was hoping someone would respond to that article on the LIA website, because I couldnt do a counter-argument justice.


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