A woman who testified of her departure from a “wild” life as a lesbian through prayer after joining a Bible study is being blasted by a writer for the London Guardian newspaper.
“Prayer,” concludes a dismissive Josiah Hesse in the Guardian, apparently has become a new form of the much-maligned “conversion therapy.”
The reaction was prompted by a video of Emily Thomes’ testimony released by Anchored North, an evangelical media company.
The group releases BuzzFeed-style videos, and this one is titled “Love is Love.”
While packaged similar to pro-LGBT marketing campaigns, Thomes’ message is that a person can be freed from same-sex attractions through the power of Jesus Christ.
“It’s not gay to straight, it’s lost to saved,” she explains.
See the video:
Hesse writes that Thomes’ life was “ticking along nicely, including getting engaged to a woman,” before was invited to a Bible study at a church.
Hesse then seeks out the spokeswoman of a homosexual-rights campaign who “speaks out against the dangers of conversion therapy.”
“She sees Anchored North’s suggestion that their videos don’t support conversion therapy as particularly insidious,” Hesse writes.
“I want to expose all the different subtle practices of the church that don’t have the label of conversion therapy, but clearly are,” she told the Guardian. “Any attempt to change someone’s sexual or gender identity, even through something as subtle as prayer, is conversion therapy.”
The concept of conversion therapy presumes there is an underlying cause for same-sex attractions that can be addressed. Such counseling has been banned for youth in several U.S. states, but that restriction on the First Amendment’s freedom of speech and freedom of religion is being challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The U.K.’s Christian Institute points out the Guardian has “denied the transformative effect of salvation by labeling a woman’s moving testimony: ‘conversion therapy.'”
“The video has received over two million views on Facebook, but The Guardian attacked the message of gracious, heavenly love, because it sent an ‘anti-gay message’,” the institute’s report said.
“The newspaper said Anchored North’s videos amounted to conversion therapy, which the group rejected, saying instead: ‘What we’re saying is God changes the heart.'”
Greg Sukert, co-founder of the Anchored North website, explained to the institute that Thomes had been harassed with abuse “and even death threats” for her testimony.
Anchored North explained Thomes was “outspoken about God’s acceptance of her lifestyle” during seven years of living out her same-sex attraction.
But the Bible study changed that.
“This weekly examination of the holiness of God challenged her day after day until her life completely changed. It is a powerful testimony that calls the homosexual community not to heterosexuality but to holiness.”
The ministry said Emily’s story “lovingly addresses the heart of the matter: that homosexuality is only one sin among many that manifests itself within a sinful heart. Only by the grace and mercy of God can we be transformed.”
Her story illustrates the Gospel message: “Regardless of what you have done in your life, redemption is provided to you through Jesus Christ. Just like Emily, even if you have sinful desires and affections, God died for you. He can make you a new creation and save you from a terrible fate. God is rich in mercy and full of great love, and He provided a way out. The narrow road to salvation requires that you call sin what it is, repent of it, and trust that Christ’s death and resurrection is sufficient to atone for the punishment you deserve.”