Eight supposedly ex-gay people appear in a video attacking California’s pending AB-2943. Their claim is that the measure banning conversion therapy as a commercial service means that they are frauds. Well, according to the science, conversion therapy — at best — teaches people how to pretend that they are heterosexual. Sexual orientation is simply not something that can be changed. There is no peer-reviewed research published to a mainstream scholarly journal that says otherwise.
Pray away the gay is no different than dying one’s hair or wearing colored contact lenses. The underlying condition remains the same.
As for relegating these folks to fraud status, that depends upon whether or not they are taking advantage of other people through their pretense. Elizabeth Woning of Bethel Church in Redding, California appears in the video. It’s not her first shit fit over AB-2943, She is a fraud and a fraudster. Out of Bethel Church, Woning runs a pray-away-the-gay operation; Equipped to Love. She opposes this bill because she is lining her pockets with false promises. Following the money remains a reliable indicator of motivations.
In order to teach a few people how to mimic heterosexuality, these efforts damage many people. Perhaps Ms. Woning can show that she is not a con artist with full disclosure including financial records. Unless she proves otherwise, she is just a common thief.
Bethel Church runs healing rooms. Some are at remote locations and connected through video. Bethel claims (or at least implies) that through their efforts and prayer they can cure cancer and all manner of ailments. The blind have become sighted and so on.
Bethel Church is a cult operating out of a $100 million dollar facility. While they are not required to file an annual report with the Internal Revenue Service, we can safely assume that there are some extremely well paid individuals with parsonage allowances and a host of perquisites.
According to the video and a piece at Christian Post:
Ken Williams, who is also a pastor with Equipped to Love, recounts that he once heard a family member express gratitude for AIDS because it was God’s punishment for gay people.
“So you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that it’s not going to be ok for you to say that you’re having some unwanted same-sex attractions,” he says.
I have no clue what to make of that. Gay people have “unwanted same-sex attractions” due to religious disapproval of their sexuality. Mr. Williams sounds very toxic. Williams is a graduate of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Seriously and it took him three years. Accreditation? Are you kidding?
Williams says he ended up connecting with a Christian counselor to address his struggle, having no guarantee that his desires would ever change, but he knew he was supported and loved.
“Change is possible because of Jesus’ death on the cross. We can live a new life, we are a new creation in Christ Jesus.”
There are proven scientific means of assessing someone’s sexual orientation by evaluating arousal. Perhaps Williams would volunteer to prove that Jesus changed his sexual orientation. He will not because he makes a living as a fraudster for Bethel Church.
Church United submitted the video to Vimeo. It is clearly a lobbying organization. While it looks significant it has revenues of less than $25,000/year. I am guessing the Bethel Church produced and paid for the video.