Daren, Andrew, and Arthur discuss this history around the JONAH case, which is the precedent setting ‘Conversion Therapy Fraud’ case in New Jersey. A travesty of justice and blatant bias in the courts.
On March 2nd, 2022, Voice of the Voiceless President Daren Mehl and board member Andrew Rodriguez testified at the Minnesota House of Representatives related to the Minnesota House Bill HF2156 introduced by Democrat Representative Athena Hollins (DFL) of St. Paul. The bill is described as “Conversion therapy with children and vulnerable adults prohibited, medical assistance coverage prohibited, and misrepresentation of conversion therapy services or products prohibited.”
In giving testimony in a Minnesota legislative hearing, Voice of the Voiceless President Daren Mehl gave testimony about the harms of “conversion therapy” bans, and called out the unconstitutional abridgement of free speech and religious practice. Conversion therapy bans establish a state religion, specifically one that adopts the tenets of the LGBTQ cult religious beliefs. It forces parents to affirm the lie that their children are not the sex they are born as, and that people are born gay and cannot change. The LGBTQ religious jihad against ex-gay Christians by necessity of their religious views, denies their very existence of our exLGBTQ community, the Christians and others who have left the LGBTQ community and no longer are romantically or sexually attracted to the same sex, and have desisted from a transgender identity.
A large portion of the narrative behind ‘conversion therapy bans’ are the demonic lies (1 Timothy 4:1) that people are born gay, and that they cannot change. This of course denies God’s created order of everyone being heterosexual by design and the ability of the human mind to adapt, heal, and change, and the powerful work of redemption and sanctification Jesus does in His disciples. It also attempts to eradicate OUR EXLGBTQ community.
Today we heard many ‘experts’ claim that it is impossible to change sexual orientation or to detransition from being transgender. However, there were many of us who testified of being changed and restored. What sticks out as particularly harmful is how this kind of legislation comes with the explicit denial of the (ex-LGBT) Christian community. Even though we do exist, the LGBTQ lobby and their supports blatantly say we do not exist. It seems by necessity to keep their illogical narrative afloat that they must deny that we exist or their legislation and religious beliefs are made out to be an obvious error and harmful to us and others.
Mehl was particularly concerned about the infringement of parental rights because the language of the legislation requires that parents and therapists affirm the transgender identity of a child, regardless if the parent believes it is not authentic to who the child is. Mehl is a licensed minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and shared a very tragic story of a parent whose child was ‘transgendered’ behind the parents back at school.
Mehl pointed out the Constitutional crisis we are in at this time. When elected officials knowingly and brazenly break their oath to uphold The Constitution, with the example of his (former) representative Bierman boldly proclaiming his desire to stifle free speech and religious speech, specifically the testimony of redemption and sanctification by faith in Jesus Christ. Representative Bierman doubles down on his Constitutional oath breaking. Here is the exchange.
LEGISLATION PASSED COMMITTEE
The horrendous piece of legislation HF2156 that was passed through committee today on party lines (Democrats Yay, Republicans Nay) is harmful to the Christian community we are called to minister to when licensed therapy is necessary. When working with individuals in pastoral care situations, it sometimes becomes clear someone is suffering from past traumatic sexual abuse or other significant events in their life that requires licensed talk therapy practitioners, and so we would refer for additional care.
LICENSED THERAPY AT RISK
It is often times the right thing to refer for the mental health and spiritual growth of the individual. However, in good conscience, we cannot refer to a licensed therapist who would knowingly work against the best interest of the Christian disciple by affirming them in a false identity other than what God planned for them.
Because every person holds a religious worldview bias, licensed therapists included, it is necessary to know that a referral therapist would be willing to allow a Christian disciple their self directed goals of diminishing sinful behavior or seeking to align their behaviors to their beliefs.
Board member Andrew Rodriguez testifies that the research used by the LGBTQ community are weak retrospectives and there is much research that is not being presented or acknowledged.
This legislation would prevent any referral to licensed therapy because every therapist would have to deny the Christian clients goal of seeking their authentic identity as created by God. It would also discriminate against Christian therapists by forcing them into a LGBTQ religious belief system which denies our Creator. It would be precluding them from working in a direction of their clients choosing, deny parents’ rights to direct their children in medical and spiritual care, and prohibit access to therapy based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
CONSUMER FRAUD LANGUAGE
On a final note, this bill is particularly dangerous to the rights of Agape First Ministries (and churches in Minnesota) to host our conferences and sell our discipleship materials in Minnesota. The language in the bill infringes on our Constitutional rights by prohibiting what they call promotion, sales, services of ‘conversion therapy’, which they’ve made clear includes our ministry conferences, books, and pastoral care sessions.
Voice of the Voiceless encourages everyone who loves their neighbor and desires to love God to write to their Minnesota representatives, senators, and even the Governor of Minnesota, and let them know your concerns about the harm the bill will have it is passed into law.
Bill Information: (It exists as two bills, different numbers in House and Senate)
Voice of the Voiceless Public Statement (This was not provided to the committee due to a procedural technicality resulting in the censorship of many emails sent in for testimony. We provided it here for the record.)
Voice of the Voiceless is a Minnesota non-profit educating the public on the rights of former LGBTQ individuals to speak of their faith in Jesus Christ in the public square, of the healing they received through the testimony and power of Jesus Christ, of being healed to from homosexuality to their natural heterosexual self. Voice of the Voiceless calls on the government of Minnesota to treat us with equal dignity and respect as other citizens of Minnesota, and to uphold our Constitutional right to free speech and practice of our faith in Jesus Christ.
We recognize the harm that HF2156 could do to our community to seek talk therapy through licensed services to align our behaviors with our religious convictions. We recognize the harm that HF2156 would do to our inalienable rights, our Constitutional rights, and 1964 Civil Rights, specifically of free speech, practice of religion, and the inalienable right to direct our children as we are convicted to do by our Creator. We recognize the harm that HF2156 would do to parents of children who may be confused by popular culture which regularly promotes rebellion against the Creator in the name of living as LGBTQ, in denial of the purpose of ones life as taught in the Bible. We recognize the harm that HF2156 would do to prevent parents from helping guide children in the faith of their family as well as interfering in the parents right in making the best medical choices for their children.
We recognize the harm that HF2156 would do to our children and community by the government forced promotion of the LGBTQ religious practice of denial of our Creator, violation of the 1st Commandment to have no other God’s, and rebellion against your parents which is a violation of the 4th Commandment to honor father and mother. We recognize the harm that HF2156 would do to prevent our community of former LGBTQ individuals and their ability to evangelize and disciple their friends out of the LGBTQ community. Effectively the state would protect the LGBTQ community from the speech and religious practice of Christians. We recognize the harm of HF2156 whereby the state is forcing Christians to affirm the abomination of sodomy as part of the Creator’s intent for mankind. We recognize the harm that HF2156 would do to to force Christians to affirm the false belief that people are born gay and cannot change, resulting in the false “gay celibate” doctrines robbing people of the hope to be healed and restored to heterosexuality and marriage to the complimentary sex. We recognize the harm that HF2156 would do to the Christian community at large, The Church, whereby the state effectively is precluding any discipleship of individuals who themselves desire to leave the LGBTQ cult practices of sodomy or transgenderism in the name of ‘fraud’, ‘homophobia’, ‘transphobia’.
We recognize the harm that HF2156 would do to our community by creating a tyranny of LGBTQ cult religious beliefs, in rejection of the Creator, who has blessed this country and prospered our families.
We also reject the false science of the LGBTQ lobby which has supported the false pretenses for HF2156. It is biased, grossly false, and unethically promoted.
If you control for when suicide indicators happen, suddenly the results show SOCE lowers risk of suicide. That is, knowing when someone was struggling with suicide, and knowing if it was BEFORE or after seeking SOCE, and then accounted for the timing of it, turns out SOCE it’s not the cause of suicide indicators but that SOCE lowers suicide risk!
The trick of the harm narrative in “conversion therapy bans” is correlation of suicidal indicators and SOCE, but that’s not causation. SOCE that happens AFTER ideas or thoughts or desires of suicide is not the cause of them. And now the data, when honestly interpreted, shows SOCE helps, not harms. But do people have the nerves to seek truth that goes against popular culture?
Tragedy affects us all. Whether it was the nearly 3,000 Americans who perished on 9/11 or a child whose sexual innocence is damaged by an abuser, ultimately as a human family, tragedy affects us all.
Unfortunately, almost every time there is a tragedy there are those who take advantage of it to manipulate public opinion or to capitalize on it for political and personal reasons. That’s why it was deeply troubling to read of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) using the sexual abuse of a confused young man as a jump off attempt to discredit sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).
According to an August 27th press release, the NCLR announced that it was “filing a complaint with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department on behalf of a former student of Bethel Baptist School in Walls, Mississippi who says he was sexually abused for three years by a teacher attempting to “cure” his sexual orientation.”
First, any feeling American can agree with the NCLR in that no child, no person should ever be put through the horror of sexual abuse, molestation or violence of any kind. Likewise, no person, whether gay or nongay should ever be the perpetrator of such vile injustice. If the facts of this case bear out against the defendant, the penalty of the law should be applied justly.
Its also important to remember that at this point, this case has not been adjudicated in a court of law, thus the claims are simply that: claims.
God only knows how many men and women who have been scarred by childhood sexual violence –including Ellen Degeneres, Corey Feldman and Cindy Lauper— understand and believe that its a tragedy no one should exploit for personal gain.
But that’s exactly what the NCLR is doing when it claims, without evidence, that there is a connection between the heinous crime committed by the defendant and voluntary sexual orientation change efforts shepherded by trained and caring professionals.
“The former student, Jeff White, now 32, alleges that, shortly after coming out in 1996, his parents turned to the local church, which ran a school it promised could “cure” their son and stop him from being gay. Beginning his freshman year, according to White, teacher Steven Barnes began subjecting White to weekly “counseling” sessions in which he regularly raped and sexually assaulted the teenager to convince him that being gay was more painful than suppressing his sexual orientation.”
If this is indeed what happened to Mr. White, it has no relationship to the scenario of what happens between an adult therapist and his or her adult client. With no evidence to support its theory, NCLR simply made an incredulous assumption of guilt by association. Guilt by association is the attempt to discredit an idea based upon disfavored people or groups associated with it. Because NCLR dislikes the work of credible SOCE practicioners, it seeks to dishonestly make the case that any instance of sexual orientation change gone awry is the fault of credible SOCE representatives. Such accusations have little value except for self-serving rhetorical effect.
Here are the facts:
There has been no concerted effort or practice among SOCE practitioners to use sexual abuse or rape as a means of facilitating the process of change. I challenge the NCLR to put up or shut up.
There is no documented evidence conclusively proving that voluntarily changing how one chooses to sexually express themselves is dangerous to the individual’s mental health or spiritual well being. Thousands of people who have done so are perfectly normal, mentally healthy and stable members of society. That’s not to say that no one has been dissatisfied with either the results of their attempts or the process itself. Perspective remains the key arbitrator of success.
White’s alleged abuser Steven Barnes never made any claim to be a representative of any SOCE organization. The comparison is about as ludicrous as saying Jeffrey Dahmer was a representative of the Human Rights Campaign. Steven Barnes was the employee of the church who took advantage of a broken and sexually confused young man. Those are the actions of a sexual predator. The church believed (like millions of other orthodox Christians) that homosexuality (like many other spiritual maladies) could be changed by faith and prayer to God and Steven Barnes betrayed that belief by his alleged actions.
Americans are still largely divided as to whether homosexuality is not some fixed, hard wired genetic condition. Rather it is fluid, changeable and subject to the individual’s level of determination to do so.
A 13 page statement entitled Legal and Ethical Concerns About Change in Sexual Orientations authors Tia Powell and Edward Stein, representing the American Association of Law Schools, said in part:
“[…] we question what seem to be presumptions undergirding laws banning sexual orientation change efforts,namely that sexual orientations are always innate and immutable and do not reflect choices. We suggest that such presumptions about sexual orientations are not only weak starting points for laws like California’s and New Jersey’s, but, more generally, that immutability, innateness, and lack of choice are poor arguments for the rights of LGB people. In sum, such claims about the nature and origins of sexual orientations are neither good science nor good politics and are not an appropriate foundation for prohibiting sexual orientation change efforts or for LGB rights generally. Instead , support for LGB rights should be grounded in an intellectually rigorous and appropriately humble approach to science and the limits of scientific knowledge .”
Its sad that homosexual activist organizations want to take away the power of choice given to every man by God. What if Mr. White were told he had no choice but to continue submitting to his alleged abuser? What if he were told there was no way he could ever be anything other than a victim? If the choice to change undesirable factors of one’s life isn’t valid for all, its not valid for any. Such a universal truth made rich with diversity cannot be refashioned into some monolithic edict because of the biased perspectives of groups like the NCLR.
The NCLR is right to stand up and fight against sexual abuse of any kind. But we have to call this what it is. Its a shallow, attention-getting stunt which exploits Mr. White’s horrific past and cheapens the suffering of many Americans who have been similarly damaged.
Pastor Darryl L. (DL) Foster is the Co-Founder of Voice of the Voiceless and an ordained minister, husband, father, and self-described abolitionist pastor. In 1990, he left homosexuality to follow Christ and subsequently founded Witness Ministries, Inc. a prominent Christian outreach focused on helping people of color gain their freedom in Christ. In 2010, he also founded and organized the Overcomers Network, an Atlanta based EXGLBT empowerment organization with chapters in 18 US cities.
This commentary is in response to Gregory T. Angelo’s opinion editorial, “Gay Rights in the Post Exodus Era” (9/30/2013). In his article, Mr. Angelo opines on a number of issues surrounding the science of homosexuality and Sexual Orientation Change Effort (SOCE) therapy (pejoratively known as ‘conversion therapy’), neither of which he is qualified to do so as a politician. Such misinformation from gay activists, as was seen in Mr. Angelo’s article, is responsible for the present clouding between science and politics.
Mr. Angelo incorrectly cited Exodus International as the “standard-bearer” and Alan Chambers as the “poster boy” for SOCE therapy. However, Exodus International never existed as a therapeutic organization, but rather, a network of faith-based ministries providing support for individuals seeking to leave homosexuality. One must be very careful to distinguish ministerial and pastoral care from professionally trained psychotherapists and psychologists that provide therapeutic services for those who experience unwanted same-sex attractions.
Furthermore, to label Chambers, a man with no therapeutic or psychological training, the “poster boy” of the ex-gay movement, especially in light of the fact that he never received psychotherapy to overcome his own same-sex attractions, is disingenuous. It is no secret that Chamber’s poor leadership and lack of resolve to do his own therapeutic work played a significant role in the implosion of Exodus. Neither can Chamber’s or John Paulk’s personal failures speak for the many that have experienced change from a homosexual to a heterosexual orientation.
Angelo goes on to justify the unprecedented laws in California and New Jersey that are prohibiting the rights of minors to undergo SOCE therapy by citing Dr. Robert Spitzer’s retraction of his 2003 study: “Can Some Gay Men and Lesbians Change Their Sexual Orientation?” But Angelo failed to include a proper context for why Spitzer retracted this study, namely, that the esteemed Columbia University professor had literally been harassed for a decade by gay activists because of this work, and suffering from an advanced stage of Parkinson’s disease, caved to their demands. To read more, click here . . .