Pro-Gay, Ex-Gay, and a Few Mistakes
INTERFAITH WORKING GROUP
Thank you for the excellent coverage of sexual orientation debates and discussion in the last issue. I do, however, have two corrections from your interview with me. First, my wife and I are coordinators of the Interfaith Working Group, not just of the Interfaith Working Group's web page. Second, the Domestic Partnership debate in which the TV stations showed only religious people who were opposed was a Philadelphia City Council hearing regarding coverage for city employees, not a denominational issue as you stated in the article. As a direct result of our actions over the last two years, the local news media have been providing more balanced coverage of religious opinion in what has turned out to be an annual debate in Philadelphia.
Thank you for including Courage in your article on Christian ministry and homosexuality.
We would like to make one clarification about the ministry of Courage. At one point in the article, Courage was described as "a gay organization that is officially recognized by the Catholic Church." We would prefer to call Courage "a ministry to men and women with homosexual inclinations, that is officially recognized by the Catholic Church." At Courage, we try to avoid using labels such as "gay" and "lesbian", as such terms often give the impression that one's sexual attractions are the most important part of an individual, and that such attractions are always fixed and permanent.
We agree with the Letter from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (October, 1986), that "every person has a fundamental identity: a creature of God, and by grace, His child and heir to eternal life." Also, some Courage members report that they experience a decrease in homosexual inclinations and temptations, after living chastely for a period of time.
The focus of Courage is the development of a life of interior chastity in union with Christ, which, as you very correctly pointed out, involves strengthening one's entire spiritual life, rather than focusing simply on the person's sexuality.
In the second paragraph of the second part of "Pro-Gay and Ex-Gay," the sentence that reads, "Still unsettled over this incident, Ms. Heineman turned her attention to the mailing list she oversaw, an unofficial PFLAG discussion list," should instead read, ". . . Ms. Heineman turned her attention to the list for which she was the Webmaster . . ." [Editor]
World Feature: Pro-Gay and Ex-Gay – Is There Room for Dialogue? By Heather Elizabeth Peterson. For nearly three decades, the pro-gay and ex-gay ministries have competed for the souls of gay men and women, each movement convinced that the other is tragically mistaken in its views on homosexuality. Now a small number of people on both sides of the issue are striving to find common ground. (December 1997)
© 1998 Chris Purdom,
Christina Nair, and Heather Elizabeth Peterson