Charisma magazine bills itself as one of the mouthpiece publications of the charismatic movement. However, for some time, it's carried water for some of the looniest elements of the religious right. So it comes as no surprise that Chris Christie's decision to sign a bill banning conversion therapy in New Jersey has that magazine in a severe conniption fit.
Earlier today, Charisma columnist Michael Brown suggested--with a straight face--that this bill is actually a tool of discrimination.
On a practical level, this means a 17-year-old girl who was raped at the age of 14 and now feels a repulsion toward men and an attraction toward women cannot seek professional help to get to the root of her feelings, even if her parents back her decision.Perhaps Brown would feel differently if he read about the four men who are suing Jews Offering Alternatives to Homosexuality, a New Jersey-based conversion therapy outfit. The four men claim that what they were told was therapy was actually a horribly degrading bill of goods. Read more about that case here. It turns out JONAH's founder, Arthur A. Goldberg, was one of the masterminds of one of the largest investment frauds in American history--one that swindled mostly impoverished and heavily minority communities out of millions. If Brown seriously thinks that this "therapy" isn't discriminatory, there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell him.
That same young woman, however, would be allowed to seek professional help to develop her lesbian identity, even without the backing of her parents.
This is equality under the law? This is tolerance? This is a victory in the war against bigotry and discrimination?
A few hours later, another of the magazine's columnists, Larry Tomczak, wrote a maudlin open letter to Christie in which he begged the governor to think about the harm this bill could potentially do to his own teenage son.
Gov. Christie, among your four children is a young teenage boy. Since you are known for your bluntness, can I share in a transparent manner some things that happened to me when I was his age and then ask a closing question?The way I'm reading this, Tomczak is suggesting that Christie will have blood on his hands if his son ends up being molested and shows gay tendencies as a result. Talk about hitting below the belt.
As a young teen, two male teenage relatives tried to seduce me into sexual experimentation with gay sex. Additionally, I had a homosexual pick me up once while hitchhiking, and he offered me money to come to his apartment for an enema. (I was 13 and clueless as to what that was.) In a relatively short time, I jumped out of that car!
To this very day, I am grateful to God for parents and pastors and counselors who early on set me on the path to normal heterosexual sexual understanding. I knew right from wrong. I was able to discern, when faced with something that the Bible said was "unnatural" and "shameful" (Rom 1:24-27), what was the right thing to do.
Gov. Christie, I beseech you to step back and take a fresh look at this law. Think about your children. Think about the future of our nation. Think about how we can best prepare young people for a healthy and successful life. If your son when through what I did, found himself temporarily confused and traumatized, what kind of counsel—honestly—would you want him to hear?