from Theological Issues
In it, Paynter describes Exodus International as a "so-called 'ex-gay' ministry" and a "gay fix-it" group.
She quotes one gay teenager who says that telling homosexual teens that they need to change in order to be happy is destructive. Gay teens are already depressed, said Bryce McKibben. "So, when a religious group comes along suggesting there's a way out by changing who they are, and then it doesn't work, it just adds to the feeling of failure and isolation. Even suicide."
According to Paynter, "... most mainstream researchers hold that 'repair therapy' rarely, if ever, works."
Paynter quotes gay Pastor David Strong with Christian Community Church of Joy who said, "Telling someone, especially someone young, that who they are is not valuable and rejected by God is dangerous. The message then is that the Bible says you're bad, not that God loves everyone, no matter who they are."
NARTH Psychologist Ned Stringham, Ph.D. wrote a letter to Ms. Paynter about her misleading column:
While reading your October 26 column on line, I was struck by your condemnation of the Groundswell Conference scheduled for the Seattle area this week. I believe your column needs a response.
You point out that the goals of the conference include "scaring teens straight," that it masquerades opinions for science, and you suggest that it trains attendees to "harass" and even "bully" other teens. You also quote a pastor who indicates the conference teaches gay teens that they are "not valuable and rejected by God." These are serious accusations. Do you have any documentation to verify your claims that Groundswell uses such divisive methods?
Sadly, when today's public schools address sexual orientation issues they seldom provide a balanced approach. Rarely are kids told that there are no studies proving a genetic cause for homosexuality. Rarely do they hear about the scientific studies conducted over the past fifty years that document the journey many have taken out of homosexuality into heterosexuality. Only occasionally are the grim statistics presented about the health risks of gay sex and the mental health problems gays experience in larger numbers than the general population.
Instead, today's students are generally given the simple argument that if they are attracted to the same sex they are gay, they always will be gay, and any attempt to change is futile and founded upon delusion and self hatred. They are also told that they are hated by religious people and mental health professionals who suggest that orientation change is possible.
As a clinical psychologist, I find it tragic that teachings about a complex issue like homosexuality should be reduced to such terms.
Like you, I have not attended a Groundswell Conference. I hope that you will attend, listen, and find out if your accusations have merit. However, I also hope that the people of Seattle will welcome this conference as an invitation to consider how to provide better balance in the teachings given by schools and churches about sexual orientation. If they do so, they will set a wonderful example for the entire nation.
Ned Stringham, Ph.D.