You will find that I infrequently express public opinion on beliefs held by others. However, I find it unconscionable that archaic standards of “higher morality” are being shoved down the throats of persons who

are homosexual. We each make foundational choices that shape who we become, but sexuality resides at the very core of who we are at birth. We cannot pray the gay away.

A 17-year old young lady simply identified as Sarah is locked away in a camp that strips her of contact with the outside world for one year. She has been sent there by parents who have mistakenly judged Sarah to be lacking in some moral way. Sarah wanted to attend her high school prom with her girlfriend, and was sent for “mental” shock therapy instead. As a parent, I’ve made many mistakes and paid a hefty price for those decisions. I do not fault any parent taking action, even extreme, to save and protect their children. But at some point, acceptance must enter the picture. The strong-handed parental action taken against Sarah will undoubtedly foster trust and confidence issues for the remainder of her life. A camp that promotes conversion of sexuality is antediluvian at best and Machiavellian devastation at worst.

Don’t mistake my shock and dismay at “gay conversion therapy” for a statement of religious beliefs. I am heterosexual in every sense of the word and am grounded in well-founded instructional religion. I was born and raised in the Bible Belt and practice my beliefs freely in a country that fought both on the battle field and in the courtroom to protect my rights to do so. In light of this, how do we as contributing members of a free society hold that to exclude and, in some instances, publicly persecute one group of individuals for their beliefs is acceptable?

The teachings I have tried to follow and emulate warn that “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” None are without blemish, and we walk this earth by mere grace. So how is it quietly acceptable that we continue to return to a dark place of sanctimony that promotes ignorance and ill-born bias against our neighbor? Must we dwell in a place where self is greater than societal cohesion and tolerance? It relegates one into a disconcerting belief that fear of other justifies behavior intent on creating same.

Our founding elders fled to America from all nations to escape tyranny and prejudicial treatment wrought upon them by a judgmental government. Yet, again and again we easily harm our fellow human as a means to control things beyond our nucleic understanding of world view. History is fraught with examples: Hitler’s Holocaust, the roundup of Native Americans, slavery, suffragist persecution. We must not continue to allow oppression in any form. In each tragic historical era listed above, before we learned the hard lessons that accompany change for improved existence, lives were snuffed out because of aversion to different.

I implore you to pray to your higher being, whoever that may be, for tolerance and wisdom of acceptance. But do not try to pray the gay away. It is a reversion of the evolving world we live in today. As a straight female, I shudder to think of being locked up in an Orwellian dystopia until others afflicted with self-importance tried to Pray Me Gay.


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