Michael L. Brown

Wednesday, Michael L. Brown writes: California’s ‘stay gay’ bill is about to become law. Why Christians must refuse to obey it. Aside from the fact that Brown is wed to the notion that sexual orientation is a choice — a mental illness which can be cured — his advice would be a bit difficult to follow.

Brown prattles on:

As California appears poised to pass a draconian bill that directly attacks your religious freedoms, it’s time for you to draw a line in the sand. If the bill passes, you must choose to obey God rather than man. It’s time for civil disobedience.

I’m speaking about AB 2943, which the Senate just approved with by a vote of 25-11. Next is the Assembly, then the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown, then the length and breadth of your great state.

I am not at all sure whose religious freedom is at stake. Nor do I know who it is that is supposed to engage in civil disobedience. What I am reasonably sure of is that the measure will pass and that Governor Brown will sign it into law. Then what?

Perhaps coherence will eventually follow. Meanwhile:

In an August 16 email, Greg Burt, Director of Capitol Engagement, California Family Council, explained … “With Thursday’s [Senate] vote, elected leaders told churches and those with biblical beliefs about gender and sexual orientation that advocating for their views could get them sued.”

No. That is not at all true. They can advocate for the conversion of unicorns (which is as improbable as conversion therapy in general) and not be the subject of enforcement or litigation. The law is really quite specific. It bans conversion therapy as a commercial service. What part of that does Mr. Burt not understand? Actually, skip the rhetorical question. Mr. Burt clearly does not understand far more than I could possibly explain in my spare time.

I will have to wait longer for a coherent argument:

He continued, “This bill attacks the freedom of Christians . . . to find the services and resources from counselors, schools, and faith-based organizations that help them live out their biblical convictions regarding sexual behavior and gender identity. Shouldn’t these people have the freedom to find true joy by embracing and living out their faith without government persecution?”

I only wish that were true since many of the objects of conversion therapy are kids who are shamed into the futile attempt to change their sexuality. When the child doesn’t change parents will add blame to the shame. “You weren’t sufficiently motivated!” Nevertheless people are free to obtain such services as long as money doesn’t change hands.

Fortunately a ban on pediatric conversion therapy is already in place in California. However that does not protect an 18-year old high school student living at home.

There’s more of this BS where that came from:

The potential impact of this bill should not be downplayed. As Burt noted without hyperbole, “The implications of AB 2943 are staggering. Legal experts confirm that by targeting financial transactions, AB 2943 threatens religious non-profits, churches, and pastors who provide paid resources to help people practice their faith.”

Well, those legal “experts” are wrong. This reminds me of the uproar created by the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Act. We were guaranteed that the intent of the measure was to lock up Christian pastors. Guaranteed! It might not be a bad idea but it hasn’t happened.

The good news (albeit a little late) is that many church leaders who previously sat on the sidelines have gotten directly involved. They have spoken out publicly against the bill. They have urged their congregants to contact their elected officials. And they have stood together with many ex-gays who have testified to the life-changing power of gospel-based counsel.

“Many ex-gays?” Are there any who do not have an economic interest in claiming to be ex-gay and are they really ex-gay? There is no real research to support conversion therapy and every mainline professional medical and counseling peer organization asserts that conversion therapy is ineffective and potentially harmful.

The Christian groups have a shitload of money. Nevertheless, they never seem to invest in real research submitted to a respectable peer-reviewed academic journal. Why do you think that is?

There is a very cute French film on Amazon Prime called Hidden Kisses. It is about two gay teens. In exasperation one parent finally tells another: “He doesn’t have to change. We have to change.”

Most Christians know that conversion therapy is nonsense. The literalist fringe knows better. Or so they think.

Yet the California legislators continue their march of oppression, all in the name of saving people from the alleged harm of so-called conversion therapy. And they have done so despite hearing first-hand testimonies of transformed lives, despite peer-reviewed, scientific evidence that change is possible, and despite the fact that such “therapy” is completely voluntary and non-compelled.

I left the links intact. The first is to OnceGay.com which is a website of Equipped to Love which is really Bethel Church in Redding, CA which is a cult with healing rooms, video healings and all the trappings of a massive con game. The church claims that their healing has restored sight to blind people. The lame have walked and Stage-4 colon cancer has miraculously disappeared. Sure.

The second link is to a study that is neither peer-reviewed nor scientific. I wrote about it most recently on Sunday. The short explanation is that it is published by the Catholic Medical Association. Compelling! Furthermore, conversion therapy is not really voluntary. It is motivated by shame and a desire to be part of a community that rejects people for being LGBT.

I suppose that I never will find out who is supposed to be civilly disobedient and how they are supposed to do it:

If you get sued for doing what’s right, so be it. If you get arrested, so be it. Great is your reward in heaven! Our brothers and sisters around the world are being exiled or stoned or burned alive or imprisoned or kidnapped for their faith. Surely we can take a little opposition for our faith here in the States.

Yes indeed!

But I don’t believe it will end there. I believe that, if AB 2943 passes, we will see it overturned, either through legal challenges that make it to the Supreme Court or through the voice of the people saying, “Enough is enough.”

So, let’s make holy history together. And let’s make a solemn determination: No earthly power will stop me from loving my neighbor as myself.

Conversion therapy is the justification for discrimination and opposition to nondiscrimination laws. That is why it is fiercely defended. If they were really dedicated to loving thy neighbor then they would accept LGBT people for who they are. What they really mean is loving thy conservative Christian, white, heterosexual, cisgender, Republican neighbor — especially if that neighbor is male. Michael L. Brown is just one more sanctimonious hypocrite among them.

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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.