Sunday, February 20, 2011

First Presentation to a Religious Group – Seminar or Sermon?

The only way to get me to go to church is for a protest like last Sunday's Freedom To Marry Protest 2011 at Holy Name Cathedral as a member of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network.  And now for the first time, just this past Friday, I addressed a religious group: the Changing Conversations program of the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago. The presentation (Myth and Science of Sexuality – Disordered or Just Different) was the same talk that I gave to the Ethical Humanists on October 10th 2011 except for one new PowerPoint slide shown below.

The slide is entitled: Protest at “Holy Shame” Cathedral by the “Intrinsically Disordered.” Photos I took during the Freedom To Marry Protest 2011 were used to prepare the collage in the new slide. The slide shows Gay Liberation Network members and supporters, the new blue-shirted “reparative therapy” Catholic bigots who want to give “love” rather than civil rights (GoFirst Ministries), and an out and proud young gay man who spoke to these bigots about the horrors he suffered during four years of “reparative therapy” (lower right photo). Read the story here.

Catholic teaching insists gay and lesbian people are “intrinsically disordered.” The science in my presentation shows that LGBTI people are natural variants and that the cause of our distress is not intrinsic, but extrinsic – due to the cultural prejudice and discrimination stemming primarily from religious ideology.

I added this sarcastically-titled slide to emphasize the damage that organized religion with its implicit Adam and Eve binary-gendered restrictions has done to LGBTI people. I can only wonder if medicine would have ever pathologized LGBTI people if not for the religiously-inspired prejudice that the medical doctors unconsciously entrenched in their respective specialties.

So I wasn’t preaching to the choir this time. As I reminded these churchgoers during the talk, Presbyterians are still among the religious groups that discriminate against LGBTI people. The nonreligious humanists I’ve spoken to in the past do not discriminate against LGBTI people and many actively support LGBTI rights. The science I presented makes it clear that religious anti-LGBTI discrimination is not justified by the facts. The best I can say about these religious “good guys” is:
• They are followers, not leaders, doing “too little, too late” in the LGBTI human rights struggle
• They have been too reluctant to confront the anti-LGBTI bigots in their own and other religious groups
• They share guilt for LGBTI suffering as they continue to enjoy the perks of their religious affiliation, and
• They have a moral imperative to repent and make reparations for their sins against LGBTI people.

Now, if all religious people made such reparations, that would be true "reparative therapy" for LGBTI people that is long overdue.