This month IN THE LIFE looks at the power of religion to shape our lives, our worldview and our political convictions. The Bible, the Koran, and the Torah are tools for spiritual guidance, comfort, and direction, but those same texts are often used to promote intolerance and hatred of LGBT people. In this episode, we look at the intersection of religion and sexuality, to see how gays and lesbians reconcile their faith within their religious communities: In God We Trusted explores the tragic consequences of the ex-gay ministries of fundamentalist Christianity; In A Conversation With....Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum and Bishop Gene Robinson discuss their spiritual journeys; and a Real to Reel encounter with Muslim director, Parvez Sharma's ground-breaking film, A Jihad For Love, and the struggle of gay and lesbian Muslims to stay true to their Faith and themselves.
IN GOD WE TRUSTED Believing that homosexuals have no place in the Christian church, evangelical ex-gay ministries, such as EXODUS, have been established around the country to re-program LGBT people to make them heterosexuals…often with tragic consequences.
A Conversation With... Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum and Bishop Gene Robinson Sharon Kleinbaum, rabbi of New York's largest LGBT synagogue, leads Judaism's national dialogue on the issues of gay rights and social justice. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Bishop in the Episcopal Church, has been at the center of the Church's heated debate on homosexuality. The rabbi and the bishop discuss their spiritual journeys, faith, religion, and politics.
Real to Reel: "A JIHAD FOR LOVE" In the world of Islam, "Jihad" translates as a "struggle in the way of God." For gay Muslims, reconciling one's homosexuality is a struggle against oppression, against tradition, and fear. In our final story, Director Parvez Sharma's ground-breaking film, A JIHAD FOR LOVE, looks at gay and lesbian Muslims who strive to be true to their Faith and themselves.
I never really, i mean really, realized until now that there may be gay people who come to your site Wayne and read our comments and stay silent themselves for whatever reason they are personally feeling. First i want to say i think Wayne Besen is a credit to all communities and thank God, yes god, that he is out there combatting this oppression. I am a gay survivor, not and ex gay survivor. I am so grateful i have always loved and liked who i am inside. I have often battled societal bashing and narrow minded ugliness from people who feel it is their place and right to judge me so personally when they have absolutely no idea who i even am. This thread is for all those gay people who are not feeling right with the world. You are gay and being gay is not the pressing issue unless you make it so. If someone out there needs a support system then it has to be that someone who reaches out.
posted by mail, at
1/13/2009 10:05 PM
I am one of those people who have come to this web site and read your blogs and have not posted until now. I am thankful that even at those times I was closeted and felt being gay was wrong I had good information of the harm exgay ministries caused. Therefore, I never entered into an exgay program were I almost certainly would have. I certainly tried to pray it away on my own, but would "not go that far" when it came to entering in exgay program. I tired to come out a couple of times, but did not have the support I needed. I finally found some help through the Truth Wins Out website. I originally found them through one of the exgay survivor videos in August of last year.
I am very touched by the video in this blog post I am commenting on. I am very excited about the future and have a lot of great plans that are starting to come together. I am a complete person and feel great with my faith and being gay. Thank you for the work you do. I would probably still be in the closet otherwise.
posted by Justin, at
1/14/2009 1:03 AM
I am glad to see that so many LGBT people have seen the ex-gay movement for the pack of lies that it is. I also thank god/dess that I never got involved with any of that sort of thing. The harm that these "ministries" do to the unwitting LGBT people who become involved with them is incalculable
I think the important thing for parents to do is love their kids THE WAY THEY ARE.
posted by Merlyn, at
1/14/2009 6:50 PM
That was the BEST clip I have seen. Wayne, your soundbites were perfect. It made me cry, it made my angry, it made me motivated. Thanks for bringing this to us. I am sending it to my Mom and a few others. Good, Good, Good, Work. Thank you.
posted by Maurice, at
1/14/2009 7:51 PM
It is time we as gay and lesbians in this country stand up for what is right, what is just and demand that we no longer be stuck in the closets or pushed aside. With education, activism, networking and confronting the darkness of intollerance with the light of the truth we can overcome. I wasted 10 years of my life trying to win God's approval and change who I was. it was'nt until I stopped lieing to myself and everyone around me that I found true peace and acceptance. God Does not make mistakes and if we were to beleive the religeous right we are Gods biggest one. If this is true than how can anyone serve a God who is not big enough or strong enough to change 10% of the population? I choose to beleive we are wonderfully created in his image young or old, male or female, black or white, straight or gay; we are all his children!
posted by rob, at
1/14/2009 10:26 PM
BRAVO!! BRAVO!! I stand by what I've said in the past; Wayne Besen should be our national GLBT spokes person. He has done it again. Awsome clip
posted by xlynch, at
1/15/2009 9:51 AM
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