Let the Real Healing Begin
A Call to Dialogue by the Bridges-Across Steering Committee

Romer Commission Report 

Steering Committee 

Appendix A:  "Justice and Respect: Our position and direction" 

Appendix B:  "The Bible and Dialogue" 


In early 1998, Ralph Blair was quoted Second Stone, a gay Christian newspaper, as saying that all the early ex-gay leaders are gone.  This is not true, nor is Gary Cooper one of the co-founders of Exodus.  We have sent letters to both the Human Rights Campaign and Salon Magazine when they repeated the misinformation about Cooper's Role.  HRC corrected this error of fact in it's "Mission Impossible" report on reorientation ministries and sent us a thank you note. 

Family Research Council (FRC) and other sponsors of the ad campaign repeatedly assert that Mike McCurry, the president’s press secretary, said that the religious belief that homosexuality is a sin is backward thinking.  This claim by the political religious right has done much to make conservative Christians irate, but it is not true!  We have sent a letter to Christianity Today concerning the repetition of the false claim about McCurry's statement. 

McCurry spoke to the secular issue of the pathologizing of homosexual attractions, not to the religious issue of the morality of homosexual relationships. Either the FRC and other ad sponsors are deliberately misleading people in order to launch the "Normandy landing of the culture war" or they cannot distinguish between the assertion that homosexuality is a sin, a religious statement which is constitutionally protected, and the assertion that homosexuality is a mental illness, a secular statement which McCurry refuted with his "backward thinking" remark. 

Family Research Council press release, August 12, 1998

"WASHINGTON, D.C. -- To view homosexuality as immoral is ‘backward thinking,’ according to President Clinton’s spokesman, Mike McCurry."
June 16 press briefing by Mike McCurry
"[Q.]: What does President Clinton think when the Senate Majority Leader describes homosexuality the way he did in an interview

 "MR. MCCURRY: He thinks that the American people understand how difficult it is to get business done in Washington sometimes when you’re dealing with people who are so backward in their thinking. For over 25 years, it’s been quite clear that sexual orientation is not an affliction. It is not a disease. It isn’t something that is part of defining one’s sexuality. And the fact that the Majority Leader has such views, apparently, consistent with some who are fairly extreme in his party, is an indicator of how difficult it is to do rational work in Washington."

Political allies of reorientation ministries have misled both their constituents and the public by misrepresenting Mr. McCurry’s statement and failing to separate their religious beliefs about sin from a medical understanding of mental illness. 

We are looking for something even more elusive than a meeting of the minds. We are looking for a way to live together in disagreement. We can agree to disagree about the religious question. However, as long as  people continue to pathologize homosexuality and to misrepresent the position of the medical, psychological, psychiatric and psychoanaltical organizations, hostilities and intolerance will continue. 

Leaders of both the political religious right and the gay rights movement have misrepresented the American Psychological Association’s resolution on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation.

APA Resolution: 

therefore be it further resolved that the American Psychological Association opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation, and mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based in ignorance or unfounded beliefs about sexual orientation.
It was a breath of fresh air last year to see the newsletter of Where Grace Abounds, a Christian ministry in Denver actually print the APA Resolution in their newsletter so that people could see for themselves what it says.    In the September, 1998 newsletter, Mary Heathman, director of Where Grace Abounds and past chair of the Board of Exodus International, wrote about the assumptions that reporters bring to their interviews.

Mary Heathman’s column, "A Measure of Grace"  September, 1998:

Over and over again, I had conversations like the following:

"Mrs. Heathman, what do  you say to gay people who are offended by the idea that homosexuality can be changed when the APA clearly condemns the practice of reparative therapy?"

"The APA has not condemned reparative therapy.  In their recent resolution they simply said that people ought not to be coerced and that they should be informed of their options.  I have read the resolution and am in agreement with its contents. I don’t understand how a gay person’s position can be justified by the using the APA ….."
(read an interruption here).

Statements from opposing sides of the culture war could be scrutinized for factual error by cross-divide people who trust each other.  For example, People for the American Way publishes "Hostile Climate" each year and Family Research Council has a publication, "The Other Side of Tolerance . Cross divide teams could investigate some of the incidents reported in these publications and  write an independent account of what happened.

Since both sides are enraged when they see the other side telling untruths, the process of dialogue will provide an opportunity for errors of fact  to be corrected. With such a process in place, the lies, distortions, stereotyping, half-truths and disrespect will diminish. 

FRC  press release
McCurry’s statement
Chritianity Today article quoting Janet Folger
Bussee and Cooper
APA Resolution

Since both sides are enraged when they see the other side telling untruths, the process of dialogue will provide an opportunity for errors of fact  to be corrected. With such a process in place, the lies, distortions, stereotyping, half-truths and disrespect will diminish..
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