GAYS AND LESBIANS hoping to “recover” from their sexual orientation have flocked to a religious conference in suburban Boston run by a group that bills itself as a “recovery support group for homosexuals,” organizers said June 25.
Exodus International, a worldwide Christian ministry led by “recovered” homosexuals, said the conference in Wenham, Mass., treats homosexuality as a curable addiction similar to alcoholism and compulsive gambling. Organizers said 575 people from around the world were attending the 21st annual conference to hear speakers, many of them “ex-gays and lesbians,” testify that they're happier now that they're leading a heterosexual lifestyle.
“We are not here to bash gays,” said Bob Davies, director of the group's North American office in San Rafael, Calif. “Rather, we exist to offer a choice to those who are dissatisfied with homosexuality as a way of life.”
But Steven Pepper, a gay ordained minister with the United Church of Christ in Boston, argued the ex-gay movement fosters a “misguided hope” in Christian homosexuals who believe their rejection by society means they are rejected by God.
He said Exodus uses “discredited psychology and bad theology” to prey on “ill-informed, unhappy people,” often scarred by sexual abuse.
Exodus bases its teaching on “reparative therapy,” founded by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, which claims homosexuality is caused by a perceived lack of affection in parental relationships and other developmental problems. (Wire service reports)