In a new article in the conservative Charisma magazine, Exodus International youth activist Mike Ensley tells parents “What To Do When Your Child is Gay.”
Beginning with its patronizing title — parents struggle with the coming-out of older teen-agers and adult offspring, not a “child” — the article proceeds to declare that homosexuality is a disease, that family members are doomed to a lifestyle of depraved promiscuity, and that parents are to blame.
Ensley’s first bits of advice:
- homosexuality can “afflict” any family, as if it were a disease
- parents should “put some space between you and your child” and get help not from licensed family-therapy professionals, but from an unlicensed “Christian counselor” via Exodus’ referral network of amateurs
Ensley says he sympathizes with parents’ desire to “fix” their gay family members, “considering all the danger, sin and uncertainty we associate with the gay lifestyle.” Ensley apparently wants parents to project an unseemly ex-gay lifestyle of furtive anonymous sex, self-suppression, conformism, sexual dishonesty, and loneliness onto their own family members.
Ensley positions himself as a neutral voice of reason in parents’ choice of support system:
Is an Exodus ministry right for your child? It can certainly help, but everyone in your family needs to understand what Exodus is and what it isn’t, and what they should and should not expect.
But Ensley fails to tell parents just how little they should expect. He fails to mention that most people who seek (or are forced into) treatment by Exodus’ amateur counselors receive little benefit and that many suffer years of counterproductive emotional and spiritual advice.
Then Ensley bashes parents: He tells them to “Discover your part in the problem.”
Ensley is a bit too timid to spell out his vicious and presumptuous accusation against parents in detail. Distant father? Possessive mother? Molester uncle? Too little football for the boys? Too little lipstick for the girls? Ensley does not say.
Like so many hacks in the ex-gay industry, Ensley sugar-coats his poison with soothing godtalk that has nothing to do with the subject:
We’re so often given the impression that God is concerned only with our becoming holy and giving Him glory that, in the midst of crisis, we lose sight of the fact that He cares very much.
He does not coldly survey the brokenness in our lives; He collects our tears. And there is no distance to which you can flee or fall that is out of the reach of His saving grace. “The Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,” the Bible tells us (Is. 59:1, NKJV).
There is a long road ahead, but God will never leave you alone. You can trust Him to provide all you need to restore your family to Him and to one another.
There is nothing holy, glorious, or Biblical about blaming parents, isolating parents from professional family counselors, scaring parents away from mainstream support groups such as PFLAG, and lying to parents about their family members’ values and lifestyles.
Ensley’s poison pill is a reminder of Exodus’ spiritual and moral corruption, and of the threat that Exodus poses to family values.