Denominational Leaders 'Holy Sexuality' Conference Cancellation


(Spectrumbot) #1

A spokesperson for the South England Conference told Spectrum that a "Holy Sexuality" conference planned for April 21-25, and to be held at the Advent Centre, an often-used meeting facility in London, was canceled not because of public outcry, but because of a decision made by leaders of the South England Conference in concert with the British Union Conference. The event was to have featured speakers from "Coming Out" ministries, an ex-gay, conversion therapy advocacy organization. Leaders of SEC and BUC were not involved in the planning of the event, which was inspired by a Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC) event at which "Coming Out" speakers shared their message.

Over 40,100 people signed a Change.Org petition to block the "Coming Out" speakers from receiving visas to enter the country. The petition said,

This conference will promote the dangerous view that homosexuality is something to be cured. It should not be allowed to take place in the UK.

Speakers include Mike Carducci, Wayne Blakely and Danielle Harrison, who all claim to have been cured of their gay lifestyles and work to encourage others to reject homosexuality. Online videos show Mike Carducci describing gay people as 'sexually defiled'.

According to the denominational leaders with whom we spoke, the event was canceled before the petition gained traction and wide circulation. The "Holy Sexuality" event page now displays a message crafted by Union and Conference leaders:

A decision was taken on Monday, 13 April to cancel the 'Holy Sexuality' Conference originally planned for London, 21-25 April 2015.

Seventh-day Adventists are a people of peace who believe in hope and dialogue. However, it appeared that rather than drawing people together the conference had the potential to divide. The Adventist Church recognises that the individuals invited to speak at the Holy Sexuality Conference have compelling life stories to share but equally appreciate that there are those who take a different point of view.

We are disappointed that in a society that values freedom of speech and divergence of opinion that there are those whose wish it is to silence individuals who hold a different point of view to their own.  We do not believe that the potential disruptions that were being planned for this event would have been beneficial either to the participants or to our friends in the LGBT community.  As such a decision has been made to cancel the event which had been locally organised by a group of members in the South London area.

The Adventist Church strongly subscribes to a belief in freedom of speech. This also includes the freedom to hold different views. The Seventh-day Adventist Church seeks to minister to all men and women in the spirit of Jesus, recognising that every human being is valuable in the sight of God.

As a Bible believing Church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church affirms the dignity of all human beings, and as a Church is well known for its commitment to community work both globally and locally in London.

Although the "Holy Sexuality" conference has been called off, "Coming Out" speaker and co-founder Michael Carducci is still scheduled to speak to the Youth at the North England Conference "Strong Families, Strong Churches" Camp Meeting, scheduled for June 8-14. Carducci is billed as "a ministry leader addressing his history from living in the Homosexual Culture, and being sexually addicted for over twenty years." 

In 2014 after speaking at a GYC meeting, Carducci contacted Spectrum to issue a formal apology for offending any LGBT Adventists by his GYC presentation.

To the LGBT men and women who are believers of the Seventh-day Adventist message and to those who were offended by my statement in a presentation that I gave at GYC, I apologize and ask for your forgiveness.  In no way would I ever want anyone to feel that they were isolated or in any way outside of the very focus of Jesus’ love and compassion.

 

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6755

(Carolyn Parsons) #2

It isn’t really an issue of freedom of speech or different points of view. The issue is that efforts to change sexual orientation is now understood to be ineffective and even dangerous. Promoting such cures is irresponsible and should be denounced.


(efcee) #3

It could have been beneficial to include varying points of view within the same conference. This is something that is rarely done and the presentation of only one viewpoint always speaks to the limitations of a defined agenda. I’m sure that there are many individuals who would like to have seen the varying viewpoints discussed within the same venue.

It is clear that there are those who perceive conferences such as this one to be acts of violence against the LGBT community, while at the same time there are those who see it as their God-given mission to offer “hope” to those individuals seeking a transformation from one gender preference to another. Is it even possible for every point of view to be the recipient of tolerance?


(Carolyn Parsons) #4

As far as I know, this has never happened within the context of the SDA church. A General Conference sponsored Conference on Sexuality last year in South Africa did not allow any real discussion of the issues because they barred any opposing point of view.

The Coming Out Ministry members involved have had ample opportunity to speak unfettered in many locations around the world including the Conference in South Africa.

It is one thing to have a point of view, it is another to offer a distorted and dangerous message that demonizes LGBT people. This is not simply a point of view, it is an attack. The apology that Michael Carducci issued after his presentation at the GYC conference shows how these presentations are not loving and do not offer hope. Instead they offer guilt, shame, distortions and falsehoods.


(George Tichy) #5

I don’t get it, why does our Church have to be so behind on this issue and promote completely outdated data?
Do they want to attract new members by presenting old ideas that have already been debunked?

I am glad it was cancelled before more damage was done to the Church!
Maybe their next project could be inviting the condom-pastor for a series of educational meetings on condomless sex, uh?


(George Tichy) #6

What good would it do to throw more guilt on people that are already carrying a heavy burden imposed on them by mother Nature?


(ROBIN VANDERMOLEN) #7

Once again the denomination is left in an embarrassing position “with egg on its face”. Decades ago, we awoke one Sunday morning, with the whole sorry sordid scandal of Colin Cook’s Quest ministry emblazoned on the front page of the LOS ANGELES TIMES. The news story told of the ministry, funded by the SDA church and run by “cured” homosexual, SDA pastor Colin Cook.
Adventist families at great personal financial hardship, under the urging of the church leadership and local pastors, sent their gay sons to Reading Pennsylvania, to Cook’s “rehab center” to be cured of their sexual orientation. Not only was it later documented that not one of those interviewed, had any change in their sexual orientation, but that the majority of them had been sexually seduced by Colin Cook.

Due to the total lack of transparency, we do not know how many of these families sued the church for this fatally flawed fiasco.

Since that time, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association, have stated that “Conversion Therapy” is not only ineffective, but can have serious adverse psychological consequences , including depression and possible suicide.

The states of California and New Jersey, plus Washington DC, have legally banned licensed therapists from using this therapy on minors, because it is so damaging. More states will,follow in banning the practice

Even more telling, EXODUS INTERNATIONAL, the foremost “ex-gay” ministry, in June 2013, disavowed their prior position with this statement from their chairman, Alan Chambers:
“I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions did not change.” Exodus, thereafter discontinued it’s advocacy of change ministries.

Even the Mormon church, one of the most homophobic institutions on the planet ( because of their belief that polygamy will be practiced in heaven, and where will gays and lesbians then fit in with this scenario?), has finally conceded that Convesion Therapy does not work.

In the face of all this overwhelming evidence, our church ends up looking RIDICULOUS, UNSCIENTIFIC and positively MEDIEVAL. We should all be embarrassed.

The burning question is, where is the School of Medicine at Loma Linda University in this controversy? When will they issue a forthright, unequivocal statement, bringing themselves in alignment with the American Psychiatric Association, and mainstream medicine, stating that conversion therapy for gays and lesbians is not only totally ineffective but potentially damaging? Every responsible medical alumnus of Loma Linda should be embarrassed and demand such a response from their alma mater! As a physician with medical training at University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University, I am not in this unfortunate position.

Furthermore every psychology department at our North American Adventist colleges, should issue an unequivocal statement aligning themselves with their national organization, the American Psycholical Association. If they fear reprisals for their employment, maybe the different colleges should coordinate themselves and issue a joint statement. Not doing so, surely makes their graduates with psychology majors, suspect, with “inferior” degrees.

I am of the firm belief that the only event that will change the mindset of the denomination is a serious multi-million dollar law suit, brought by families whose teenagers have suffered suicide or other severely adverse and egregious consequences of conversion therapy as advocated by the likes of Wayne Blakely, and Michael Carducci. I would seriously urge such families and individuals (there must be many), to take legal action, before the statute of limitations runs out.

I travel widely and each Sabbath, in various churches, I am saddened as I watch the children go up front for the children’s story, realizing that one in twenty of these adorable little tots, will grow up gay or lesbian. How much longer will these unfortunates, be subjected to damaging practices at the church’s urging?

It is time for every responsible adult church member, not just those with gay offspring, to demand that our denomination desist from these deleterious, dangerous destructive and medieval “Holy Sexuality” conferences. They are anything but “holy”. They make us look ridiculous and expose us to potential expensive litigation!


#8

Amazing…absolutely amazing, Carolyn. I clearly remember how many here defended Charlie Hebdo, (which was the cause of people dying) and how they deserved “freedom of speech.” I’m sorry, but there are some here who have no idea on what true freedom of speech is. The whole purpose of it is to give the minority a chance to be heard also.

And what is wrong with telling young/old LGBT that God can give them (those who may be genuinely searching) victory? If they were promoting electric shock therapy, or some bizarre thing like that, then that would be one thing.

I don’t agree with everything Noam Chomsky says, but here I agree with him 100%

“Precisely for views you despise.”


#9

What is “unscientific”? What is “medieval”? Telling people they can have victory? Because thats all this was: testimonies from men who had gained the victory.


(George Tichy) #10

Tony,
Are you sure you understood Carolyn’s point, and that you are not overreacting to something she didn’t actually mean?
@bongoangola


#12

If I did, I apologize, of course.


(Pagophilus) #13

No, they are not understood to be ineffective and dangerous, they are CLAIMED to be ineffective and dangerous. I’ll echo the sentiments of others: freedom of speech must include minority views and must include the freedom to offend.


(Andrew) #14

There is freedom of speech. The event could have gone ahead. There was nothing stopping it. Perhaps the British Union Conference (BUC) was a little embarrassed about the whole thing and used the petition as a convenient way to exit. The event was organised by local churches, so the BUC probably didn’t know about it till very late.


(Andrew) #15

I think that in a country the size of the UK, if they had to travel to the US to find anyone who was ‘cured’ of their homosexuality, tells you how unlikely it really is.

Apparently the 'cured ones" will still be going to a yearly camp meeting in Northern England to push their views.


(Andrew) #16

It wasn’t the Church organisation, it was some local, Londonc churches.

The local membership in London are ethnically and culturally very different to the population as a whole. This is reflected in very conservative Adventist attitudes.

As such, these members are not looking to recruit new members. They are only interested in reinforcing their own point of view


(ROBIN VANDERMOLEN) #17

Tony there is a VAST difference between “claiming victory” by which I think you mean becoming asexual and celibate, and actually changing your sexual orientation. All of us homosexual and heterosexual, by mere strength of will, can become asexual and celibate.

Ask yourself, would you wish that a “changed” gay, marry your favorite sister, daughter, grand daughter or female cousin??

I consider it the height of cruelty, to inform a teenage gay or lesbian that they are required to live alone, for the rest of their adult lives-- condemned not only to loneliness but to a reduced standard of living.

While their straight brothers and cousins, marry female anesthesiologists, accountants and architects, thereby enjoying double income affluence, these gay guys are told to live alone. They become particularly vulnerable in times of economic downturns, when if they lose their jobs, they could become homeless. I know of many couples, both gay and straight, where one partner suffers long term unemployment, through fault of their own, but is sustained by the working partner.

Of coirse the horror is not the possible reduced standard of living, but the eternal perpetual loneliness and sense of isolation.

Let us face it, even the celibate catholic priests, through millenia, have lived in convivial camaraderie in abbeys, monasteries and group homes, enjoying much mutual support and companionship. Even on their deathbeds they are surrounded by life long friends. Likewise for the nuns in convents! Plus these celibates knowingly CHOSE to be celibate when they were adults. As a reward, they enjoy lifelong free housing, meals, medical care. etc.
Our gay offspring enjoy no such choice, nor are they endowed with any benefits. Even when celibate they are often shunned and despised by fellow church members.

Our male heterosexual SDA pastors and administrators, when becoming widowed, hasten to remarry, even when sometimes the second wife is a disastrous choice, chosen merely to avoid loneliness!

As I expansively indicated, the modern medical and psychological establishments have never documented change of orientation.
But be aware that in the vast range of sexuality, there are BISEXUALS who are able to enjoyably perform with both sexes!


#18

Robin, if you notice I only referred to why is it medieval for people like Mike Carducci and Wayne Blakely to tell people their life story and how they believe God helped them to deal with something they were struggling with. I have watched each of their testimonies and dont remember anything negative being said. However, it was some time back and I may watch them all over again. My views on certain things have changed since then.

And I am not promoting “conversion therapy.” because I simply do not know enough about it.


(ROBIN VANDERMOLEN) #19

Andrew,

My daughter, son in law and grand children live in London, and I visit them frequently, so I am well aware of the enormous ethnic and cultural differences in London SDA churches. While it seems that the “Holy Sexuality” conference was organized by a local conservative congregation, why is the North England Conference perpetuating the problem, by having the same group from US come to spread their spurious “snake oil” to unsuspecting and vulnerable Adventist teens, at their forthcoming campmeeting?
Shame on them! In my humble opinion, the drive to deny these charlatans British tourist visas should be renewed. How can we ensure that the British Union and North and South England conference brethren, plus local pastors, read these Spectrum blogs and realize the error of their position?
I am tempted to print them out and mail them!


(Andrew) #20

Robin

You will find the ethnic differences exist similarly in the North of England also. Over 90 % of the church membership of the UK is either Afro-Carribean or African. Then there is at best 6% indigenous.

Yes, I was thinking the same thing regarding alerting the conferences. Trying to think of the most effective way.

Again, it is probable, this is being organised by local members, I am not sure of the amount of jurisdiction the church has in influencing these matters.


(Andrew) #21

I hope you enjoy your visits. I trust your daughter and son in law are happy here.