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Angel Loses His Wings
August 8, 2003 6:50 AM   Subscribe

Michael Johnston, a strong voice of the ex-gay movement, falls from grace, admitting he willingly had unprotected sex with men without disclosing his HIV+ status, after appearing in national advertisements to promote the ex-gay movement. One of his strongest supporters, the Concerned Women for America, are calling it a "severe moral failing" and equating homosexuality to alcoholism (i.e., a disease).
posted by archimago (60 comments total)

 
I think that the "moral failing" here is sociopathic bible-thumping.
posted by e.e. coli at 7:06 AM on August 8, 2003


Except alcoholism doesn't give others a life-threatening illness.

I'd equate it more with assault.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:07 AM on August 8, 2003


This website is so gay.
posted by bradth27 at 7:17 AM on August 8, 2003


From the last link - The truth is that many men and women have overcome homosexuality and lead contented, obedient lives that are pleasing to God. Some get married. Others stay single. Some, such as Stephen Bennett, no longer have homosexual attractions.

Uh-huh...... Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Stephen Bennett.

I'm sure he'll show you Jesus..... in some dark alley for 20 bucks.
posted by bradth27 at 7:28 AM on August 8, 2003


Andrew Sullivan welcomes his fellow barebacker with open ... arms, yeah, that's it.

And this Johnston was the fabulous ex-gay (guffaw) that the right wing nuts so adored?
posted by nofundy at 7:30 AM on August 8, 2003


(from the Exodus testimonies)
"... I was sitting in a lesbian bar in Seattle. My lover was dancing with another woman..."

When I looked up, there was powerful presence standing next to the table where I was sitting. Jesus spoke, "My child what are you doing here?" The voice was so real. "I have so much better planned for you than the false security and identity that you live in now."


I just love when Jesus speaks to you in NIV English. I can only imagine attending one of these conferences where "recovering" lesbians find their "recovering" gay man to start a family with. Wow!
posted by bmxGirl at 7:41 AM on August 8, 2003


Paging 111 . . .
posted by tr33hggr at 7:46 AM on August 8, 2003


Homosexual activists, with a compliant media in tow, have a simple strategy: dwell on those “ex-gays” who’ve fallen back into homosexuality but ignore those who successfully leave the “gay” life.


Huh. There's a problem with her logic there.... The "success" story of someone that leaves the "homosexual agenda" to become a christian is a far cry from someone who leaves and then returns. I'd be willing to bet that there are far more christians turned "homosexual activists" than there are homosexual activists turned christian. And probably more "homosexual-turned-christian-turned-homosexuals" than christian-turned-homosexual-turned-christians."

Crap, that sentence makes my brain hurt.
posted by bradth27 at 7:56 AM on August 8, 2003


What gets me is the Web site for Exodus featuring lots of happy smiling ex-gays. When in reality these people are probably so suffused with shame and self-loathing that they are more depressed than when they were in the closet. Hmmm, an ex-gay who returns to the gay lifestyle and practices in self-destructive behavior, such as unsafe sex and drugs? Yes, all must convert to ensure happiness.
posted by archimago at 8:02 AM on August 8, 2003


I'd love to see a study analyzing suicide / depression rates among the "ex-homosexuals" these people tout to much.

Not to mention "relapse" rates.
posted by badzen at 8:10 AM on August 8, 2003


"Woohoo! I lost the gayness!"

I love it when webdesigners hit the stock photo pile. Jeez.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:11 AM on August 8, 2003


archimago-

are you telling me that this guy isn't happy? Hell, he looks like he just committed an act of sodomy, he's so happy. He's got that " I just tea-bagged a hairy latino!" look on his face to me.
posted by bradth27 at 8:11 AM on August 8, 2003


ROTFL!
MetaFilter: I just tea-bagged a hairy latino!
posted by tr33hggr at 8:22 AM on August 8, 2003


wow, that exodus international is something! all those happy, smiling and aptly named images of ex-gay teens, ex-gay men, and ex-gay women! and lest you might suspect bigotry at work here, they've included for our perusal the ex-gay asian and the rest of the ex-gay rabble minority, all represented by this smiling black man! but wait! in the interest of fairness and christian charity, they've included images depicting actual homosexuals! can't you just see the difference between those happy ex-gays and this homosexual young woman, or this gay young male, and even this obviously miserable plain old gay?
posted by quonsar at 8:43 AM on August 8, 2003


Paging 111 . . .

Hey, 1/17,000th of Metafilter is naively homophobic. Let's make fun of that in every thread remotely related to gay people. It's still funny, after all.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:44 AM on August 8, 2003


"... I was sitting in a lesbian bar in Seattle. My lover was dancing with another woman..."

When I looked up, there was powerful presence standing next to the table where I was sitting. Jesus spoke, "My child what are you doing here?" The voice was so real. "I have so much better planned for you than the false security and identity that you live in now."


Note to self: Jesus hangs out at the Wildrose! How . . . weird.
posted by Skot at 8:51 AM on August 8, 2003


I am continually amazed at the number of people who are so breathtakingly arrogant as to think that, in a world of 6 billion people, a great many of whom are having a very difficult day today, a Supreme Being not only (a) cares with whom I get it on, but (b) takes the time to come down to a bar and tell me about it, going further to add that (c) he's got special plans for me.

No self esteem problems here!
posted by UncleFes at 9:02 AM on August 8, 2003


Alcoholism is not a disease, you've just been brainwashed into thinking it is. Probably the same goes for homosexuality.
posted by timbley at 9:05 AM on August 8, 2003


Alcoholism is not a disease, you've just been brainwashed into thinking it is. Probably the same goes for homosexuality.

In other, equally reliable news, HIV does not cause AIDS. Just because Amazon carries a book sayin' it's so.

Or, you could just go with the American Psychiatric Association, which removed homosexuality from the DSM quite some time ago. Whatever.
posted by stonerose at 9:14 AM on August 8, 2003


timbley's Profile
Name: Tim Haynes
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada, North America, Earth, Sol System, Orion Arm of Milky Way Galaxy
Gender: male


your brain is fine, however.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:16 AM on August 8, 2003


So, when to comes to a "man of god" engaging in practices that morally wrong by any stretch of the word, as well as life-threatening, we are not to make a mountain out of what is clearly a minuscule grain. But when it comes to garden-variety heterosexual blow jobs, the matter is of course entirely different.


It is sort of like defending the sanctity of life ... as well as the death penalty.

Then again, how deranged do you have to be to still consider the UN a menace to the USA?
posted by magullo at 9:22 AM on August 8, 2003


You people should have more sympathy. It's hard going through life constantly having to silently ask yourself Jesus or the cock? Jesus or the cock? Which do I worship? Jesus or the cock?
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:30 AM on August 8, 2003


Jesus or the cock? Jesus or the cock? Which do I worship? Jesus or the cock?

Uh-huh. They keep putting those scantily clad Jesus statues in front of us at church, and expect us not to be confused.
posted by stonerose at 9:34 AM on August 8, 2003


For an excellent look at Exodus, see this documentary on its two male founders who later denounced the organization and, well, got married.
posted by dobbs at 9:36 AM on August 8, 2003


I guess the old "pray away the gay" thing didn't work out.

The religious right nutbars are even scarier than the loony left nutbars.
posted by mrmanley at 9:37 AM on August 8, 2003


There is room enough for all in the closet of the Lord.

Right, that old "Jesus or the cock" question. It's right above the "barebacking or condom" question on the old Real Life Quiz, which in turn precedes the "be honest about STD or go ahead and possibly infect someone with a life threatening virus for the sake of my own selfish pleasure". Tough quiz, huh, Michael?
posted by orange swan at 9:50 AM on August 8, 2003


Just because Amazon carries a book sayin' it's so.

You should read some of the excerpts from Heavy Drinking, if not the entire book. After that, give your head a shake and ask yourself "how can something which does not conform to any definition of the word 'disease' and which is admitted to not be a disease in modern scientific literature, still get called a disease by most people?". The answer is, of course, that it is not a disease but a behavioural problem, and that few people question the agenda-directed advertising they see. Kind of like what you are doing right now.
posted by timbley at 10:26 AM on August 8, 2003


sgt.serenity's Profile
Name: NEDS LOVE ENTRYS
Email: sgt.serenity@blueyonder.co.uk
Location: Edinburgh , Scotland
Gender: free form


At least I know where (and what) I am.
posted by timbley at 10:28 AM on August 8, 2003


Homosexual activists will surely charge that this latest falling “proves” that homosexuality (“sexual orientation”) cannot be changed, and that ex-“gay” ministry is a failure

Goddamn fuckin'-a right, nimrods. And some straight people too.

Of course, such reasoning is fallacious, and is tantamount to asserting that Alcoholics Anonymous is a fraud because some of its adherents slip back into drinking.

The first thing they tell you at AA is that you'll be an alcoholic forever. They never claim to be able to change that, just to help you minimize or eliminate your drinking to avoid ruining your life. This can not be equated with repressing your sexual identity to avoid offending your bible-thumping neighbors values.

Nothing says "shitbag" like believing in that crap.
posted by scarabic at 10:31 AM on August 8, 2003


Jesus or the cock? Jesus or the cock? Which do I worship? Jesus or the cock?

Forget silently asking it, I can't get that out of my head now with the tune to Bringing in the Sheep back from Sunday school.

Jesus or the cock,
Jesus or the cock,
Which one do I worship,
Jesus or the cock?

Jesus or my ass,
Jesus or my ass,
Whert shall I find salvation?
In Jesus or my ass?

Jesus or the plug,
Jesus or the plug,
Which one fills my... heart... more?
Jesus or the plug?

And so on.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:49 AM on August 8, 2003 [1 favorite]


...with the tune to Bringing in the Sheep back from Sunday school...

XQUZYPHYR, I thought it was Bringing in the Sheaths, a stirring hymn that makes clear the church's position on barebacking...
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:02 AM on August 8, 2003


There is also the opinion out there that chunks of the Bible have undergone selective editing in order to eliminate references to Jesus possibly having relations with guys.
posted by gimonca at 11:02 AM on August 8, 2003


Sheaves, you sodomites! SHEAVES!!
posted by UncleFes at 11:03 AM on August 8, 2003


The answer is, of course, that it is not a disease but a behavioral problem, and that few people question the agenda-directed advertising they see. Kind of like what you are doing right now.

Wrong. Addiction is not a behavioral problem, it's a chemical substance dependency. Scientific studies suggest that one can be predisposed genetically to alcoholism, which would indeed make it a disease.

It's nice that you found a book that goes against years of accepted and proven thinking, but that doesn't make the book correct.

give your head a shake and ask yourself "how can something which does not conform to any definition of the word 'disease' and which is admitted to not be a disease in modern scientific literature, still get called a disease by most people?"

Really?
The American Psychiatric Association defines alcoholism as "a primary chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. It is characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial".

Disease.
dis·ease Pronunciation Key (d-zz)
n.
1. A pathological condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism resulting from various causes, such as infection, genetic defect, or environmental stress, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs or symptoms.

2. A condition or tendency, as of society, regarded as abnormal and harmful.
So, it fits both the medically accepted definition of the word, and the social definition of the word.posted by SweetJesus at 11:08 AM on August 8, 2003


XQUZYPHYR - This isn't the first time you've posted something with that tone before.
posted by tr33hggr at 11:08 AM on August 8, 2003


Sheaves, you sodomites! SHEAVES!!

Oh right Fes, and I suppose it's not "blessed are the Pacemakers" either?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:09 AM on August 8, 2003


There is also the opinion out there that chunks of the Bible have undergone selective editing in order to eliminate references to Jesus possibly having relations with guys.

Jesus was the first homosexual 'recruiter'. We wouldn't have the Book of Revelation if John hadn't been so much in denial.

Nice song XQUZYPHYR. Now I can't get it out of my head.
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:24 AM on August 8, 2003


Wow! You all are absolutely the most hateful and disgusting people I have ever heard. Whether I was religious or not I would much rather hang with a religious person. At least they have a measure of respect for people. You all are assholes. I hope someone kicks all your asses back into their places. I think you have mistakenly assumed that you are better than every one else. I have never seen such intolerance and hatred for other people.
posted by grehy at 11:25 AM on August 8, 2003


Whether I was religious or not I would much rather hang with a religious person. At least they have a measure of respect for people. You all are assholes.

So by your own definition you are not a religious person?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:31 AM on August 8, 2003


Oh, be nice!
posted by Skot at 11:31 AM on August 8, 2003


grehy, my feelings for the ex-gay bowel movement don't contribute to suicide rates and mental illness brought on by brainwashing.

The people involved in propagating the ex-gay bowel movement do contribute to these things. They're murderers, cloaked in self-righteousness, cowled with the mantle of a good religion which they've decided to pervert. Murderers of the flesh, murderers of the spirit. I have no tolerance for murderers who commit the crime with malice aforethought, and will express such sentiments freely. I will not, however, murder them back. That's the difference.
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:32 AM on August 8, 2003


I think you have mistakenly assumed that you are better than every one else. I have never seen such intolerance and hatred for other people.

You say this as if it's a bad thing.
posted by deadcowdan at 11:32 AM on August 8, 2003


equating homosexuality to alcoholism (i.e., a disease)

Meddling in the lives of complete strangers for whom you have no understanding and no sympathy is a form of addiction.

It might be called "big ego syndrome", or "I-hold-the-exclusive-truth-and-you-don't disorder" (is that different from Fascism?).

Whatever. Concerned Women, go back in the refrigerator and see what you can do about that log in your eye.
posted by Twang at 11:35 AM on August 8, 2003


bradth27 :Hell, he looks like he just committed an act of sodomy, he's so happy. He's got that " I just tea-bagged a hairy latino!" look on his face to me

LOL

I just snarfed coffee all over my keyboard. It was totally worth it though. I just might have to answer every "How are you doing?" today with " I just tea-bagged a hairy latino!" and I don't even have...uh..."tea bags".
posted by echolalia67 at 11:35 AM on August 8, 2003


Wrong. Addiction is not a behavioral problem, it's a chemical substance dependency. Scientific studies suggest that one can be predisposed genetically to alcoholism, which would indeed make it a disease.

The genetics, if they exist, play a pathetically small part. For instance, my father, my father's father, etc... were all alcoholics (ditto for my mother's side). I do not drink at all even though the genetic deck is stacked against me and I was raised in an environment saturated with alcohol, and my avoidance is by sheer force of will. How many diseases do you know of that are repelled by force of will alone? (Malaria? Parkinson's?) Now, how many behavioural problems are repelled by force of will alone? (Finger biting? Leg shaking?) I think you can see the pattern here.

For more thinking along these lines, see here and here.

If you accept the APA's rather broad definition of alcoholism as a disease, you would then have to accept nose-picking as a disease. In fact, their definition would include war, it is so broad.
posted by timbley at 11:49 AM on August 8, 2003


I have never seen such intolerance and hatred for other people.

You're speaking of Exodus and Concerned Women of America, no?

But yes, you are correct. I am intolerant of bigotry in all its forms. And it has many forms.
posted by archimago at 11:51 AM on August 8, 2003


grehy - come again? Did I miss something? Am I in the right thread here?
posted by tr33hggr at 12:04 PM on August 8, 2003


How many diseases do you know of that are repelled by force of will alone?

Quite a few are. One that I'm acquainted with, diabetes, does have a genetic component, but onset of the disease can be
delayed or avoided altogether through behavioral means (diet, exercise, etc.). And damned if you try to tell me diabetes isn't a disease either.
posted by deadcowdan at 12:06 PM on August 8, 2003


Wow! You all are absolutely the most hateful and disgusting people I have ever heard. Whether I was religious or not I would much rather hang with a religious person. At least they have a measure of respect for people. You all are assholes. I hope someone kicks all your asses back into their places. I think you have mistakenly assumed that you are better than every one else. I have never seen such intolerance and hatred for other people.

Wow! You are absolutely the most hateful and disgusting person I have seen post on this thread so far. Whether I was religious or not, I would much rather hang out with the other people on this thread than you. At least they have a measure of respect for other people and a sense of humor. I hope someone will finally give you the tea-baggin' you deserve. I think you have mistakenly assumed that you are better than anyone else on this thread. I have never seen such intolerance and hatred for other people.

By the way, all I said was this website looks like a gay chat forum, this guy is still gay, and this guy looks like had a really great time with a guy he met at this site last night. And, just so you'll know, I'm completely heterosexual - except for maybe when it comes to this guy. He looks like he knows how to have a good time.
posted by bradth27 at 12:11 PM on August 8, 2003


Yes, if state of mind/force of will did not contribute to curing of diseases, we wouldn't have terms like "spontanous remission" and "placebo effect".
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:12 PM on August 8, 2003


I do not drink at all even though the genetic deck is stacked against me and I was raised in an environment saturated with alcohol, and my avoidance is by sheer force of will

You do not have a genetic addiction to alcohol, you have a genetic predisposition to become addicted to anything - the addiction gene. Just because you're more naturally predisposed to becoming an addict over time, doesn't mean it's written in the stars that you will become one.

If you accept the APA's rather broad definition of alcoholism as a disease, you would then have to accept nose-picking as a disease.

It's not a broad definition, that's what alcoholism is. It effects the chemistry of the brain. You can deny it all you want (it's not as if the APA is some sort of fringe organization), and come up with pseudoscientific links all day but that doesn't change the facts of the world. Addiction is a chemical imbalance in the brain which causes compulsive behavior, whether it's cigarettes, booze, or heroin, it's addiction.

If you loose your job, your family, and start jacking people on the street for money to fund your nose picking addiction, than yah, I'd say you have some sort of brain disease.

In fact, their definition would include war, it is so broad.

Where the hell does war come in? It's not a condition of the body (1st definition), and its not singular to an individual (2nd definition). Your whole agument reeks of the logical denial of the antecedent.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:29 PM on August 8, 2003


I do not drink at all even though the genetic deck is stacked against me and I was raised in an environment saturated with alcohol, and my avoidance is by sheer force of will.

Which is like my saying that since I do not smoke, lung cancer cannot possibly be a disease, because I have avoided contracting lung cancer (and nicotine addiction) by sheer force of will.
posted by deanc at 12:48 PM on August 8, 2003


I have never seen such intolerance and hatred for other people.

ROFLOL! Where the hell do you live? OZ? Get a grip, man.
posted by scarabic at 1:11 PM on August 8, 2003


Woo! This is the most fun thread I've seen all week. Let's keep it up, folks...
posted by PigAlien at 2:06 PM on August 8, 2003


Mr Johnson's "Fall from Grace" shows that leopards will never change their spots...no matter how much Jesus is apparently rooting for them, and so is everyone else at Exodus International.

I love it when this kind of thing happens. To me, this is God showing the world that people are made exactly as s/he intended they be made. No adjustment to become "non-gay" are necessary for them to be nearer to s/he.

Now I'm waiting for "Jane Roe" to remember that abortion may look bad now, 30 years later, but at the time, it was pretty damn important to her to have a choice about it, and that perhaps it isn't such a good idea to remove that choice from other women now.

grehy, I think that if you stick around MeFi a little longer to get the tone better, I think you'll realize that all those comments about the people in the pictures are meant to be snarky and funny, not mean-spirited. This is acually a very lighthearted thread.
posted by aacheson at 3:19 PM on August 8, 2003


Metafilter: Actually very light-hearted.
posted by jokeefe at 4:02 PM on August 8, 2003


aacheson: I love it when this kind of thing happens.

While I can understand your satisfaction, this quote from Johnston reminds us that the whole incident goes beyond proving a point: "And I am ashamed to say that in those two years not once did I ever tell any of my partners that I was carrying this deadly disease."

Anti-gay Christians having irresponsible, potentially deadly sex. Catholic priests sexually abusing children. "Pro-lifers" killing abortion doctors. Are we seeing a pattern yet? God, protect me from your followers.
posted by Eloquence at 5:29 PM on August 8, 2003


eloquence, thy name is Eloquence.
posted by stonerose at 6:46 PM on August 8, 2003


Whether alcoholism is properly a disease depends on exactly what you mean by that word. It is obviously easier for some people to control how much alcohol they take in than for others; if we consider this incapacity to be a disease, or a disorder, we tend to be less judgmental about it, which is why many people advocate thinking of it as a disease. I mean, MS is a genetic predisposition (but only 25% of identical twins of MS sufferers end up with MS themselves, so it's obviously not only about genetics) and no one tells MS patients, pull yourself together man, and stop shaking like that! Really there's no reason to assume it's any easier for an alcoholic to stop drinking than it is for an MS patient to stop shaking. Neither condition is diagnosed by finding a virus or an antibody or any cause of any sort.

What's the harm in considering alcoholism a disease? if you can control your drinking through sheer force of will, then you are not an alcoholic, even if everyone else in your family is. If you feel completely incapable of controlling your own drinking, then you're an alcoholic. What good does it do to think of that as a moral failing? It's a character trait, and the best way to deal with it may be to give yourself absolute and incontrovertible guidelines, a la AA. Personally, it seems different to me than physical diseases, and equating it with them looks like an oversimplification, but on the other hand, if it helps people deal with it, who really cares - as long as they don't start trying to convince anyone who's ever gotten drunk that that means they're an alcoholic, I'm all for finding ways to deal.

Anyway, none of that has anything to do with this. Homosexuality doesn't ruin anyone's life, and sexuality is a fundamental part of the human experience that is being denied to those who must repress their desires in the name of christianity. Those giving up alcohol are being forced to give up an escape mechanism, not an expression of love. Those living with alcoholism are destroying their ability to communicate, to relate, even to experience life, which is not the case for gay people. What's the argument for the harm that homosexuality causes, outside of squicking out homophobic christians?
posted by mdn at 11:13 PM on August 8, 2003


Oh, be nice!

I once shouted that at Billy Bragg, for reasons I've long since forgotten, at one of his shows in Seattle way back when. He actually pretended to think it over for a few moments - 'Hmmm....be nice. Be niiiice...' - then segued back to what he was talking about. Much to the chagrin of my companions. Speaking of alcohol.

[/offtopic]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:29 AM on August 9, 2003


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