A Change of Affection
For many years I was a member of a minority group, one which has been subjected to discrimination and victimisation, one which has fought long and hard for equality and one which is seeking acceptance for those who belong to it, namely the LGBTQ+ community. They have an understandable determination and desire to be treated justly; and yes of course the need for justice is beyond dispute. So the discrimination that is being levied by this group towards another minority group that I am now a member of perplexes me. That minority group is the community of Christians who once identified as part of the LGBTQ+ community, but who no longer do.
For those of us who have chosen to leave the LGBTQ+ community, because our affections have changed, our identity in our sexuality having been traded for an identity in Christ, we are being shut down, we are being victimised and discriminated against. The simple act of sharing our stories of change brings hate, accusations of homophobia, and threats from some within the LGBTQ+ community. I struggle to understand how a community who have been so mistreated in the past could mete out the very same abuse and discrimination that they are trying to protect themselves from.
Recently the threat to our minority group has been increased by the failure of those proposing a conversion therapy ban to engage with us, or to fully clarify what they mean by the term conversion therapy. A desire to ban prayer has been expressed, more worryingly a desire to ban prayer when requested by someone in our minority group, suggesting that we are too “vulnerable” to know what we want or what is good for us. Where do my human rights come into this, where is my freedom to choose what label I stick on myself or how I choose to express my sexuality? Where is my freedom to ask a friend, pastor or family member to pray with me for any concern I have, regardless of whether it is linked to my sexuality or any other aspect of my life?
It would appear that these Church based activists are happy for members of their community to receive prayer if it is targeted at helping them to accept their sexual orientation. Does that mean that the only sexual orientation that we can praise God for or pray about accepting is homosexuality? Isn’t this more about pushing through an agenda that is trying to make God into their own image, than to conform to His image. Exodus 20:3 reminds us, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Making God fit your agenda is worshiping a god of your own making, and that kind of defeats the object.
I work with a number of people who have chosen to leave the LGBTQ+ community because of their Christian faith who are fearful of speaking up. Their fear comes from a very real perceived threat of discrimination and persecution. These people see the verbal spats taking place on social media, the vitriol spewed at some of those who are more open about their change of affections, the homophobic accusations and that makes them nervous. Why should they fear coming out again?
People change, sometimes someone who was previously heterosexual comes out as homosexual. Let us treat them with love and respect. Sometimes someone who was previously homosexual comes out as heterosexual. Let us treat them with love and respect.
I stand on the side of justice and freedom, and ask that Christians like myself, or non-Christians who have shown an interest in the Christian faith, are allowed to continue to receive pastoral care, prayer and Christian teaching without being labelled vulnerable or lacking capacity to make our own decisions.
I saw some t-shirts on the Stonewall website with a strong message, I would like to suggest they add a new slogan to the set they already have - Some people are no longer Gay – get over it!