MIDLAND DAILY NEWS
May 7, 2006
Group believes that homosexuals can be saved, changed
by Gary Glenn
The American Family Association of Michigan believes that homosexual behavior is harmful and wrong. Without apology, we oppose attempts by the Triangle Foundation and other homosexual activist groups to force their political agenda onto our children, our public schools and society at large.
We approach the public policy debate surrounding homosexual behavior with sincere Christian care and concern for individuals who we believe put themselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually at risk by engaging in such behavior, and with a spirit for protecting children and others put at risk by those who promote and enable such behavior.
We personally know parents who in 2004 helped gather signatures to enact a Marriage Protection Amendment to our state constitution — reaffirming marriage as only between one man and one woman — not because they “hate” their children who are involved in homosexual relationships, but because they love them.
The sincere Christian compassion which motivates our stand is marked by warning against — and protecting those we love from — harmful self-destructive behavior, not by the false compassion of enabling or passing special laws to protect such behavior.
That’s in sharp contrast to the self-described, expressly hate-motivated message of the Kansas “reverend” who has picketed three recent military funerals in Michigan.
Fred Phelps insists that individuals who engage in homosexual behavior are beyond hope or redemption, a false doctrine that — while at odds with the true Christian gospel of repentance and forgiveness available to all — is much closer to that of homosexual activists who echo Phelps’ insistence that individuals involved in homosexual behavior have no hope of abandoning that lifestyle.
We strongly disagree. The false gospel preached by Fred Phelps and the Triangle Foundation is proven wrong by the life experience of individuals who through faith, with God’s help, have abandoned homosexual activity and now live their lives in normal loving relationships between a man and a woman, many married with children. In four Michigan cities, counseling services are available staffed by individuals who themselves abandoned homosexual behavior and are compassionately committed to giving others hope and help in doing so. (For example, see www.corduroystone.com in Lansing or www.recmin.org in Sterling Heights.)
Compared to sincerely compassionate voices who warn young people and others about the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual hazards of such activity, Phelps gives the repulsive appearance of gleefully celebrating the life-threatening disease, premature death and other severe health consequences medically associated with homosexual behavior.
Recently, Phelps has expanded his expressly hate-driven activities to include despicable attacks on U.S. military personnel who gave their lives in service to this country, parading “God Hates America” signs and desecrating the American flag at their funerals without regard or compassion for their families or the certainty that many such families are people of faith who themselves sincerely believe homosexual behavior is wrong.
Phelps’ bizarre demand to erect celebratory public monuments to the murder of homosexual college student Mathew Shepard has also motivated officials in at least one city, rather than grant his demand, to ban all public displays and thus remove a Ten Commandments monument that had for half a century been displayed in a city park.
Phelps’ twisted message serves only to falsely caricature and fuel prejudice and bigotry toward people of faith who sincerely espouse traditional Judeo-Christian moral views on issues such as marriage and protecting the lives of prenatal children. He has become a near-indispensable propaganda tool for homosexual activists intent on promoting homosexual behavior in our public schools and elsewhere and demonizing anyone who objects.
Despite the fact that they actually share a central tenet of Phelps’ false, misguided doctrine — that individuals who engage in homosexual activity are incapable of choosing otherwise — homosexual activists understandably leap at every opportunity to portray anyone who dares oppose their own political extremism as “hate-mongers” comparable in motivation to Phelps, something that’s as unfair and untrue as claiming that every single individual who engages in homosexual behavior is also a child molester.
The American Family Association of Michigan will continue its leadership role in standing against homosexual activists’ political agenda and their attacks on traditional family values and institutions such as marriage. We also condemn Fred Phelps’ rejection of the Christian gospel of redemption and his expressly hate-motivated attacks not only on individuals ensnared in the homosexual lifestyle, but on American military personnel and their families who have nothing whatsoever to do with the issue.
We respectfully offer our condolences to the families of those killed in the War on Terror and salute these young men for their courageous sacrifice in the cause of keeping all of our families safe and free.
Further, we endorse state Rep. Rick Jones’ legislation to outlaw Phelps’ brutish disruption of military funerals, and we also urge our two U.S. senators — Sen. Carl Levin and Sen. Debbie Stabenow — to support this summer’s scheduled vote on a constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the American flag by Phelps and others.
Finally, as we have since he first appeared here four years ago, AFA-Michigan once again urges Phelps not to bring his false gospel back to mid- Michigan or anywhere else in our state.
Gary Glenn, Midland, is president of the American Family Association of Michigan and state chairman of the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors. He served eight years in the Army National Guard. Contact him at www.AFAMichigan.org.