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Southern Baptist Leader Renounces 'Reparative' Therapy

Southern Baptist Leader Renounces 'Reparative' Therapy


Russell Moore acknowledges that so-called ex-gay therapy is "severely counterproductive."

It's another crack in the foundation for the crumbling "ex-gay" movement, which purports to "cure" people of same-sex attraction. A leader of the famously conservative Southern Baptist denomination today called the concept of "reparative" therapy "severely counterproductive" and said that gay and lesbian people have been treated "really, really badly."

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said, "Faithfulness to Christ means obedience to Christ. It does not necessarily mean that someone's attractions are going to change," at a church conference on "The Gospel, Homosexuality and the Future of Marriage," Religion News Service reports.

Moore didn't affirm LGBT people or same-sex relationships, but he did call on parents of LGBT children to treat them with love and not to "shun" them or turn them out onto the streets. (A large percentage of homeless youth are LGBT, many rejected by their families.)

Last June, prominent ex-gay organization Exodus International shuttered -- a move that seemed to mark the beginning of the end for such groups. Alan Chambers, who was the president of Exodus, renounced reparative therapy and the "false hope" it offered. John Paulk, formerly a leader with the Focus on the Family ex-gay project Love Won Out, has also apologized for his role in the ex-gay movement.

Spoofed in the campy film But I'm a Cheerleader, reparative therapy has serious consequences in the real world. Known to be ineffective and harmful, it has been condemned by professional associations such as the American Psychological Association. Ex-gay therapies have been recognized as a factor in influencing depression and increasing the risk for suicide. California and New Jersey have banned licensed therapists from performing reparative therapy on minors.

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