By MAMAMIA TEAM
Pills, meditation, name calling, bullying, abstaining from sexual contact, physical exertion, avoiding art galleries, praying, hypnotherapy.
The list of ways humanity has tried to ‘cure’ homosexuals of their attraction to the same sex is as long as it is bizarre. But if you thought that these outdated practices (that are so deeply rooted in homophobia) were confined to the history books, think again.
Welcome to Australia in 2013, where several organisations continue to practice ‘conversion therapy’ on homosexual believers. Conversion therapy practitioners believe that homosexuality is an affliction; an affliction that the church is able to “cure” through a combination of prayer and psychotherapy.
Last week, Fairfax spoke to a number of leaders of Australian groups who practice conversion therapy, who all confirmed that they have no plans to change their current practices.
Reverend Ron Brookman is the Australian director of Living Waters Ministries. He told Fairfax that:
“We don’t like to call it healing, we call it transformation … I minister to a lot of people struggling with same-sex attraction who never budge but we don’t condemn them, we don’t shame them. We stand with them and support them.”
Living Waters International runs several groups in Australia that offer ‘transformation.’ They work willingly with members of the community who suffer from ‘sexual brokenness’, such as homosexuality. The Living Waters Australia website describes their services in the following terms:
“We believe that the power of Jesus’ death on the Cross, His resurrection life, healing, mercy and grace is sufficient to bring healing to or deliverance from the sexual and relational brokenness of our lives. We seek to be a ministry through which Jesus, the Good Shepherd can restore our souls.”
The public spotlight is firmly on organisations like Living Waters this week after a US group which had shared similar views about homosexuality as a sickness, dissolved itself. Exodus International has issued a formal and lengthy apology for the harm they have caused since their inception in 1976.
37-year-old president of Exodus, Alan Chambers has published a 1,600 word apology on the Exodus website in which he apologises to all gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people whom the organisation had ever caused any pain.
In it, Chambers said that he was “deeply sorry” for the role his organisation had played, in increasing the pain and difficulty in the lives of the already-conflicted young people – and older individuals – who had come to them.
Particularly among young people, the suicide rate of gay teens is much higher than average – a statistic that recently moved California to become the first state in America to ban conversion therapy on minors. New York is reportedly considering a similar move.