(LifeSiteNews) — Netflix recently debuted a documentary titled Pray Away, aimed at discrediting reparative therapy for those who experience unwanted same-sex attraction while also undermining and impugning the testimonies of legions of men and women who have left homosexual lives behind and who continue to experience freedom in Christ.
The movie profiles several early leaders of the “ex-gay” movement — epitomized in the now defunct Exodus International organization — which began in the 1970s, and who have since disavowed their participation and returned to homosexual lives.
Pray Away comes at a time when the number of people who formerly identified as homosexual or transgender is on the rise and are becoming increasingly visible in the public square via the “Changed Movement” and “Freedom Marches” which have been held in major cities across America.
It also comes at a time when new research studies are underscoring the damage being done by the widespread suppression of sexual orientation change efforts for those seeking to deal with unwanted same-sex attraction.
Nobody was told go home and ‘pray away the gay’
“I was first struck by the misleading nature of the title, ‘Pray Away,’” said Joe Dallas, director of Genesis Christian Counseling in California, in an online video discussion hosted by Restored Hope Network. “I don’t recall anybody telling anyone that if you were dealing with same-sex attractions, just go home and pray them away.”
PETITION UPDATE (6/29/2021):
The Pope has written a note to Fr. James Martin, SJ, praising his fellow Jesuit’s controversial pro-LGBT ministry, saying it "reflects the closeness of God" and is in the "style of God."
The Pope’s note was written in response to a communication that Martin had sent Francis earlier, informing him of an upcoming LGBT conference organized by renegade New Ways Ministry (NWM), which has been denounced as non-Catholic ministry by the U.S. bishops and whose leaders defied the Vatican’s order to cease their affiliation with NWM decades ago.
In spite of the fact that Francis has done this, the Church still teaches that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered," and "under no circumstances can they be approved." (Catechism of the Catholic Church Para. 2357)
Therefore, when a priest, like James Martin, SJ - and, New Ways Ministry - adovcate for the normalization of homosexuality and transgenderism, without calling for chastity and repentence, we know that this style is most certainly not in the style of God.
Please continue to SIGN and share this petition asking the bishops of the United States to stop Martin's LGBT advocacy.
'On eve of LGBT Catholic conference, Pope Francis praised Fr. James Martin, SJ’s pro-LGBT ministry' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/on-eve-of-lgbt-catholic-conference-pope-francis-praised-fr-james-martin-sjs-pro-lgbt-ministry
PETITION UPDATE (2/4/2020):
Fr. James Martin, SJ, can't resist telling bishops how to run their dioceses.
He recently opined that dioceses should stop firing homosexuals who are "married" by the state, saying that this is tantamount to discrimination.
But, of course, when it comes to such relationships, Bishops must discriminate between what is authentically Catholic and Christian, both under the natural law and in Revelation.
And, such people, who enter into a homosexual relationship and then have it publicly recognized by the state as something which nature and religion know can never be fruitful -- but, which conversely, can cause grave scandal to children -- cannot expect to hold positions in Catholic schools.
The two positions are contradictory, and not just in the way that other things are contradictory.
Homosexual "marriage" is a contradiction in terms, and is not only unnatural, but also confusing to young minds. And, not just about human nature, but also about the way that God has designed man and woman to be together, in marriage, in a lifelong, monogamous bond.
What Fr. Martin suggests is that bishops are free to take a sledge hammer to God's design...which, of course, is totally, totally wrong.
Bishops, please continue assert your right to protect the innocence of children as well as defend the institution of marriage.
Fr. James Martin, SJ recently issued a tweet questioning the Bible's condemnation of homosexual acts.
Fr. Martin’s tweet quotes an article from the Center for Action and Contemplation in which Fr. Richard Rohr, a priest with a long record of dissenting from established Church teachings, favorably shares a pro-homosexuality missive from his “dear friend,” Methodist minister Walter Wink. In June of 2018, Fr. Rohr declared in a speech that “historically, scientifically, culturally,” the Bible is “a mass of contradictions from beginning to end.”
This is decidedly NOT what the Catholic Church teaches.
Thankfully, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, and Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, South Africa, have both responded to Fr. James Martin’s tweet highlighting an article that questions the “biblical judgment” of “same-sex sexual behavior.”
Bishop Strickland issued a response yesterday evening on his own Twitter account:
“Thank you for acknowledging that you question scripture. If we go down that road where do we stop? I know you have lots of support but you are challenging the Deposit of Faith that I promised to defend. As a bishop I’ll keep defending it.”
This morning, Cardinal Napier also took to the popular social media platform to give his response to Fr. Martin’s tweet.
“How convenient to use slavery to justify support for homosexuality, totally overlooking the fact that the Bible is overwhelmingly the story of God freeing His People from all slavery — physical & political but also slavery to idols & false gods, to moral & spiritual aberrations!”
We give thanks to God for these examples of strong leadership from the episcopate!
But, we need more Shepherds to come out against Fr. Martin's LGBT advocacy, which is a stain on the Church's teaching and on Christ's admonition to, "Go, and sin no more!"
Thank you for SIGNING!
Fr. James Martin is perhaps the most notorious pro-LGBT priest in the Catholic Church today. His public statements are opposed to the Church’s perennial teachings on sexuality, marriage, homosexuality, and transgenderism. They blind souls to the truth about human nature and the harsh reality of sin.
And, in spite of meeting with the Pope recently, which gave the veneer of respectability to his morally dangerous positions on the Church's teaching on sexuality, no-one has the authority to declare morally good or neutral, something which is actually intrinsically disordered -- not even the Pope.
Thankfully, however, there are some pastors of the Catholic Church who continue to place the constant teaching of the Church on faith and morals, and on sexuality, above human respect.
This petition, therefore, asks the Bishops of the Catholic Church to stop bowing to human respect, and ban Fr. James Martin from spreading his spiritual poison in their dioceses..."spiritual poison", because encouraging someone to continue in mortal sin is like giving poison to someone's soul, no matter how well-intentioned one may be.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia released a statement noting that Fr. Martin’s “statements and activities” have caused confusion.
- “A pattern of ambiguity in his teachings tends to undermine his stated aims, alienating people from the very support they need for authentic human flourishing,” Chaput wrote. “Due to the confusion caused by his statements and activities regarding same-sex related (LGBT) issues, I find it necessary to emphasize that Father Martin does not speak with authority on behalf of the Church, and to caution the faithful about some of his claims.”
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois quickly issued a statement supporting Chaput, saying that aspects of Martin’s teachings are “deeply scandalous,” and his “messages create confusion among the faithful and disrupt the unity of the Church.”
Bishop Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee has also opposed some of Martin’s statements.
And, in the Fall of 2018, Texas Bishop Joseph Strickland asked his fellow bishops to discern whether or not fraternal correction demands they ban from their dioceses Fr. James Martin and his pro-gay "marriage" message.
- Strickland said of Martin: “There’s a priest that travels around now basically saying that he doesn’t [believe the doctrine of the Church on marriage], and he seems to be very well promoted in various places.”
- “Brothers, I think part of the fraternal correction...we offer each other is to say, 'Can that be presented in our diocese? That same-sex ‘marriage’ is just fine, and the Church will one day grow to understand that.'”
- “That’s not what we teach,” he stated. “And I think we really have to ask those serious questions.”
Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has called Fr. Martin “one of the most outspoken critics of the church’s message with regard to sexuality.”
And, Cardinal Raymond Burke has called Martin’s teaching “not coherent with the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.”
Over the years, Fr. Martin has made numerous remarks that indicate open hostility towards and deep opposition to unchangeable doctrine on matters related to men, women, and sexuality. Bishops need to stop allowing him to spread his un-Christ-like message in their dioceses. Below is an extensive list of things he has said or done. For instance, Fr. Martin...
- Wants active homosexuals to be “invited into parish ministries” like eucharistic ministers.
- Once claimed “some” saints were “probably gay.”
- Told a gay Catholic journalist that he hopes that during the exchange of peace at mass “you will be able to kiss your partner or soon to be your husband. Why not? What’s the terrible thing?”
- Tweeted support for transgender bathrooms, claiming that “It doesn't hurt anybody" which bathroom "they" choose to use.
- Believes God made “LGBTQ people…who they are.”
- Wants the Catechism’s use of the term “intrinsically disordered” scrapped. He believes it is “needlessly hurtful" to homosexuals and thinks “differently ordered” is preferable because it is more “pastoral.”
- Has said a Catholic attending a same-sex “wedding” is just as acceptable as a Catholic attending a Jewish wedding.
- Claims to have discovered a "very high correlation between people who are against [same-sex marriage] and people who are in fact homophobic."
- Received an award from a pro-homosexual group for his “lasting contributions to the safety and/or equality of people who are LGBTQ, their families, and allies.”
- Thinks the Church should recognize the “special gifts” homosexuals bring to the Church because of their sexual attractions.
- Claims the Bible has been taken out of "context” in its condemnation of homosexual acts.
- Urged homosexual priests to “come out” as “LGBT” in order to facilitate “dialogue” with bishops.
- Praised the “fidelity” of a “married” transgender couple and wondered what the Church can “learn” from them.
- Retweeted a liberal journalist who complained priests can’t bless “committed gay couples.”
- Was given the “Bridge Building Award” at the 2016 gathering of the pro-gay New Ways Ministry, a dissident group censure by the Vatican and the U.S. Bishops Conference.
As a young man, Dallas, now 66, was an active homosexual and has since devoted his life to ministering to the same-sex attracted.
“As I recall, we had sponsored conferences for decades to help equip people to deal with their sexual feelings,” said Dallas. “So, it’s quite a misrepresentation to say that we that we have simply offered the advice, ‘pray away.’”
The end game is to tell the Church what it may or may not say about sin
Those behind the film “are misleading people into believing what God has declared a sin is in fact now something that God has declared to be righteous,” noted Dallas.
Dallas said that the term “conversion therapy” is misleading and used as a pejorative to describe counseling offered to those dealing with unwanted same-sex attractions.
“As long as homosexual people exist, there will be homosexual people who come to Christ. As long as homosexual people are coming to Christ, there will be people who realize that homosexuality is not God’s will. And as long as there are [homosexual] people coming to the church who realize that homosexuality is not God’s will, they’re going to look for support and direction.”
“The end game is to tell the Church what it may or may not say about sin.”
Bottom line of Pray Away: Punishing the same-sex attracted who follow their convictions
“The bottom of this film is that if you’re gay, and your convictions would lead you out of the gay community and towards a life that would be ‘heteronormative,’ that would reflect a biblical sexual ethic, you are internalizing your own homophobia, and you are at fault,” she observed.
Members of Changed unanimously declare, “We left LGBTQ beacause we wanted to.”
Ann Paulk, founder of Restored Hope Network drew attention to the stunning similarity of Pray Away’s makers’ messaging to that of the Westboro Baptist Church, whose members have displayed protest placards proclaiming “F*gs can’t repent.”
Interestingly, Paulk, a former lesbian, was once married to John Paulk, one of the former leaders of Exodus International prominently featured in Pray Away.
The movie asserts that large numbers of those who try to escape homosexuality become suicidal because they are deny their true selves.
“Nothing made me more suicidal than believing my life and whole identity was wrapped up in having sex with men,” said Gabriel Pagan, pastor at Love Revolution Church and a former homosexual man, now married to his wife and the father of one with two on the way.
“I have yet to be convinced or shown what makes someone gay outside of sex and knowing that – I was dying from lack of purpose and identity until Jesus saved me,” continued Pagan in a Facebook posting. “My story is literally one of thousands of people who are daily waking up to the goodness of God and choosing to carry our cross out of love for Jesus.”
Don’t pray away the gay; pray away pride and repent
Pray Away is “yet another thinly veiled attack on Christianity by Hollywood,” said Beckett Cook, another former homosexual in a commentary titled, Netflix’s ‘Pray Away’ Seethes with Contempt for Christianity.
Cook should know: He spent much of his career working in Hollywood.
“The secular world will eagerly lap up this one-dimensional film with a side of relish,” he continued. “Misunderstanding and mischaracterizing the Christian life is a favorite pastime of Hollywood—as I know from experience. Faithful Christians are consistently portrayed as buffoons while, in this particular film, the ex-ex-gays are beacons of enlightenment.”
“But do not be deceived,” cautioned Cook, author of A Change of Affection: A Gay Man’s Incredible Story of Redemption and host of The Becket Cook Show on YouTube. “Eternity will show that those who choose to live according to God’s beautiful purposes for sexuality — rather than taking pride in their own self-made sexual morality, however acceptable it becomes — are the ones on the real right side of history.”
“My plea to those in the LGBTQ community is to realize this before it’s too late — not to ‘pray away the gay,’ but to pray away your pride and repent. The treasure of eternal life with Jesus is worth the struggle of living a wisp of time here with longings unresolved and desires denied,” he concluded.
Greg Quinlan, one of many former LGBTQ who came to Washington, D.C. in June to lobby against the so-called “Equality Act,” which threatens to hinder severely those seeking to deal with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria, made a simple statement which crumbles the foundation of Pray Away.