LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A battle of beliefs about gay and transgender life sparked a protest outside Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Monday morning — and Baptist College has released a response.
More than 2,000 pastors, preachers, ministers and other church leaders from across the country are expected to be at the seminary this week for lectures on transgender and gay life.
The event, which is sponsored by the Association of Certified Bible Counselors, brought about 40 protesters to the Lexington Road Seminary this morning. The protesters say they don’t live a sinful life and don’t need to be changed.
But the heart of their protest, they say, is that the conference will teach restorative therapy – a form of counseling that some Christian counselors use and which protesters say increases depression and suicide in the LGBT community.
“The pastor and some elders laid hands on me and poured oil on my head to cast out the demons of homosexuality,” recalls Aaron Guldenschuh-Gatten, a gay man.
Church organizers say the protesters are wrong and they do not support restorative therapy and the conference aims to advise church leaders on how to speak in public and counsel families on transgender and homosexual issues.
But ultimately, the goal is to help the lesbian, gay or transgender person change.
“The standard of sexuality in the Bible is one man and one woman within the context of Christian marriage,” said Heath Lambert, executive director of the Association of Certified Bible Counselors.
“Our message is that all people are broken and in desperate need of redemption – not just restorative therapy,” said Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “And that in matters of sexuality, we believe that wholeness and holiness can and will come to him who faithfully follows Christ.”
“We’re not calling people to embrace heterosexuality,” Lambert added. “We call people to embrace Christian fidelity.”
“This is unfortunately a recurring theme, with LGBT people constantly being targeted – obsessed – and persuaded to change the nature of who they are,” said Chris Hartman, spokesperson for the Fairness Campaign. “And we know this is a dangerous – and frankly deadly – therapy for people.”
“They say they don’t support restorative therapy, but they do,” said Henry Brousseau, who identifies as a transgender man. “They support praying for gay people to walk away, and we don’t think being gay is something you need to fix or change.”
Both sides say they believe, but have different interpretations of God’s Word. It’s a familiar argument in the Commonwealth, home to the couples who fought and won the right to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, and the clerks who refuse to follow the order.
In many ways, Kentucky has become the epicenter of spiritual debate.
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