Daniel Mattson
Daniel Mattson is a self-promoting, self-loathing anti-gay religious zealot. His message offered as love is a message of hate.

Ruth Institute, an anti-LGBT hate group, is promoting Daniel Mattson. Mattson, a gay man (he will say “same-sex attracted”) is a Courage Ministry alumnus. He claims to be celibate and extremely happy. If he wants to become a eunuch to conform to the teachings of his religion, so be it. I think that his actions are idiotic but relatively harmless.

However, things are not quite that simple. Mattson has become a very visible symbol of Catholic piety. He has appeared in a film promoting some form of conversion therapy and he has written a book. Mattson was the keynote speaker and received the “Public Witness Award” at the Ruth Institute banquet last month. Mattson also has plenty of advice to deliver to parents and children.

Most of those kids are straight; some are gay. According to Mattson:

You have to be very careful what you allow in your home, you have to monitor your computer. Computers should always be in a public place, not private. You should never allow cell phones in bed. Let’s be honest—[Satan] goes around the world like a prowling lion, seeking souls, and his easiest access is the cell phone.

Don’t give in to the pressure. You have to discern with each child whether he or she is wise enough to handle [a cell phone]. I’d recommend delaying it as much as possible.

There are good parental controls—parents need to educate themselves on that.

Mattson is a gay man yet he is suggesting that children can be influenced to be gay which he knows to be untrue. Or does he? The Courage Ministry combines antiquated Freudian techniques with Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step doctrine and Catholic dogma. It treats homosexuality as a disorder which is incorrect according to medical science. The fact is that sexual orientation is a continuum with infinite possibilities; all of which are natural variances in sexuality.

Courage claims that it does not provide conversion therapy but it was founded on the basis of homosexuality as a curable disorder. It has testimonies of people claiming to have left the “gay lifestyle” and the overwhelming theme is that being gay is a life of misery. There might be some truth to that for those people. If they are ashamed of their sexuality then they are likely to be unhappy. Shame is the principle lever to get people to conform to a religion’s rules. Shame is coupled with the consequences of not following the rules which means being prohibited from going to heaven after death.

In effect Courage demonizes a sexual orientation that it disapproves of based on ancient texts. Those chronicles also posit that the sun orbits Earth. Suggesting that people should abandon their sexuality for their god is nonsensical.

Getting back to those kids

Were a parent to follow Mattson’s advice (which goes well beyond the quoted paragraph above) a gay child will eventually learn that he or she is expected to be chaste, unlikely to ever marry and different from his or her peers. The kid is going to feel as if he is cursed by God or has been victimized by his parents. That presupposes that the child will not be subjected to toxic conversion therapy prior to parental acceptance of his sexual orientation.

As for straight kids, they are going to learn that their gay peers are disordered. Nevertheless, Mattson and the Church are full of flowery expressions of love but it is hypocritical baloney. According to Mattson:

First of all, let’s not view our neighbors as gay, or any letter of the LGBT alphabet. Instead, we need to view them as God sees them: as beloved sons and daughters of God. The key to evangelization is the same as it is with anyone else: building relationships with them and loving them and investing in their lives, because evangelism always follows from relationships. The key is the example of the woman at the well. They started with a drink of water together, and then evangelism came after that.

I wouldn’t bring up homosexuality to them. I’d let them bring it up first, and then focus first of all on the love that God the Father has for them. All evangelism must begin with that fundamental truth.

What he is saying is that he has a hidden agenda. His intention is to manipulate those gay neighbors (or shame them) to commit to chastity. That is not love — That is hate. You cannot assert that God loves someone unless God accepts them for who they are. According to Mattson, his god does not approve of gay people. Therefore, his god’s love is conditioned upon conforming with the catechism.

Mr. Mattson has an unhealthy interest in the lives of other people. Perhaps he is not as happy as he claims to be.

Catholics are more supportive of LGBT people than the general population. Ironically, the most pious set is likely to have more gay children. They have larger families which means more boys. According to the fraternal birth order effect, each successive male birthed by the same mother has a greater chance of being gay than each older boy in the family. Mattson should give some thought to science over dogma that has exceeded its sell-by date.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.