~VP of Exodus International, Randy Thomas on the radio show entitled “Drivetime with Bill Bunkley Concerning Gay Marriage Protests,” November 17, 2008 @ the 12:29 mark of the second portion of the interview (first part here).
Thomas’ musings on the whole affair are here.
There is a sewage plant’s worth of material here, but two things in particular stood out for me.
This, from the first part of da interview:
Randy Thomas: "Bill, at the end of the day, I’m going to vote, I’m going to exercise my religious liberties, I’m going to do whatever I can to preserve the image of God in public policy in a way that ensures freedom for Christians and for everyone. But I would rather lose my rights than one person be driven away from the Kingdom because of my hateful actions."
And this from the second part, in regard to why he was "angry" as a gay man:
Randy Thomas: "I watched a popular evangelical leader at the time say that I was a pedophile in the making, and so, there was a lot of Christian leaders being portrayed, not all of them, the only one’s who seemed to make it on the news, were lying about me."
First of all, being “driven away from the Kingdom” is code speak for an eternity of infinite suffering in a place called hell.
Secondly, in regard to being an angry gay man, Randy Thomas, Vice President of Exodus International, expresses his disdain for having been lied about by Christian leaders when it came to them painting all gay people as pedophiles (especially gay men).
Yet apparently it's ok when he does it.
From the FAQ section of the Exodus International website, the very first FAQ:
Is there a connection between homosexuality and predatory behavior, like pedophilia?
We cannot presume that all homosexuals are at a higher risk level to molest children or develop into pedophiles than are heterosexuals. Nor would it be appropriate to allow the label homosexual and pedophile to become interchangeable. At the same time, homosexual men who are unable to sustain healthy peer relationships might well find the potential for age-inappropriate attractions more real than they thought possible.
In the last two decades, the issue of child molestation has become front page news as adults have come forward with accounts of being abused as children. The most sensational of these accounts have involved Catholic priests who were known by their superiors to have molested. These men were often transferred to new parishes by these same superiors and the abuse continued. In most of these publicized accounts, the victims, though not always, were male children. To most observers, the speculated connection between homosexuality and pedophilia once whispered about went from speculation to declared fact despite any proof to justify that sweeping connection.
As a community, however, gays and lesbians attempt to distance themselves from pedophiles despite statistics that show a higher ratio of young victims for homosexual males compared to heterosexual males as well as a higher per capita ratio of offenses. By definition, however, pedophilia is neither a homosexual nor a heterosexual condition.
As with homosexuality, there is no conclusive genetic link for pedophilia, suggesting the potential that both share stages of development that have strong environmental components. At the risk of generalizing, homosexuals and lesbians lack healthy same-gender identification; pedophiles lack a healthy ability to feel connected in their position as adults among other adults. Perceived as rejected by the adult world, fixated pedophiles find children to be trusting recipients of their attention and eventually of their sexual advances.
The male pedophile lacking healthy same-gender identification as well as a tangible connection to the adult world is most apt to have male victims. The male pedophile secure in his gender identification but feeling out of control in the world of adults—especially in terms of developing intimate relationships—will be more likely to have female victims. In both, however, the element of control is a primary focus whether that control is through emotional manipulation or physical violence.
Both homosexuality and pedophilia share an arrested sexual and emotional development. While similarities exist that might promote arguments for the link implied in the question, one condition does not necessarily lead to the other.
Bob Van Domelen has been affiliated with Exodus International since 1992, is executive director of Broken Yoke Ministries, and currently serves as a Regional Representative for Exodus International. Editor of Into the Light and Wellspring (bimonthly newsletters) and author of several booklets, he has spoken at conferences, directed workshops, and interviewed on both radio and TV. Booklets written on the issue of child molestation and sex offenders include: Darkness Now Light, Help for Adults Attracted to Children, and The Church, the Sex Offender, and Reconciliation – all available through Regeneration Books.
How's that for a Fa-Q? (oh and BTW, Jesus loves you).
Yet Thomas would have us believe that not only was he angry about Christians who LIED about their portrayal of him as a pedophile, but also that he would rather "lose [his] rights than one person be driven away from the Kingdom"
It has been suggested before, that if they are "ex-gay," then according to their own logic, they must also be ex-pedophiles.
But I disagree. I think that it is wholly unfair to associate ex-gays with ex-pedophiles. In fact, I am loathe to even use the term ex-gay and pedophile in the same sentence. I certainly wouldn't want anyone to think that all ex-gays are ex-child molesters, because clearly, it would be wrong to say that all ex-gays were once child molesters, no matter how much evidence that there may or may not be that says definitively and conclusively, or not, that all ex-gays used to go on child raping murderous rampages for sport. It just wouldn't be ethically responsible to make that kind of a direct and sweeping baseless connection between the strugglers who currently run Exodus International, and child predators who fuck kids and then stab them to death.
For those of you who feel that you still have too much peace of mind on your hands, I managed to transcribe the first 13 spiritually-vacuous patronizing
Bill Bunkley: Welcome back, 5:20 on this Monday afternoon. It is November the 17th here on WTBN AM 579. I want to remind you that Drive Time is sponsored in part by the Tampa Bay Christian Counseling Center, and we’re so happy to have them on board.
My guest this afternoon is Randy Thomas. He’s the executive Vice President of Exodus International, and they’ve serving since 1976, proclaiming freedom from homosexuality in the name of Christ.
Randy, I want to get back to--I remember one of the times that I had you guys on before was when--in one of the gay pride marches over here, we had a ministry that was out with some bullhorns, really giving it back to them, and I noticed this Saturday, some Christians felt compelled to go to some of these protests sites and, of course the media and cameras will always gravitate toward the yelling matches going back and forth.
You know, how do we process that? I know that often times in the way that I approach the problem, I always mention that adultery and fornication are on an equal playing field, because sometimes I think that some Christians, they pull the hypocrisy button, when they’re all railing against homosexuality when we know we’ve got other problems within the family. How should we be responding? Should we go out to sites, should we not, what is your best counsel?
Randy Thomas: Yes.
Bill Bunkley: Go ahead Randy. I’m sorry, go ahead.
Randy Thomas: That’s ok, can you hear me now?
Bill Bunkley: Yes, yes. I had to flip a button there from the break, and so you’re flipped in.
Randy Thomas: Ok, great. Well, you know I think that, there’s been different people who’ve done different things. Like, I know one particular group out in California, they went out and they were simply offering to pray for people, and I think that’s a great idea. You know, going out and praying, and offering water at parades and that type of thing. They weren’t out there beating people over the head with the Bible, or, you know, screaming and yelling and talking about hell and all that other stuff. That doesn’t work, it never has, but, the Christians that were out there that were praying, now they still got yelled at this past weekend, I don’t know that this past weekend was a good idea for people to go out there, but, you know, when it comes to, you know the Christians that, show up with the Leviticus signs, and ‘you’re going to burn in hell message.
Bill Bunkley: Yes. Yes. They show up at the Southern Baptist Convention all the time, and I’ll walk by, and I’m like, is that so foolish or what, but go ahead.
Randy Thomas: Yeah, and ‘there’s the modern day Pharisees,’ You know, it’s just like, where’s the redemptive part of that, and there isn’t. So, I believe it’s unrighteous, and I confront them probably more than I do anyone else, but, the message of, I mean there should be social engagement. I love that we live in a country where people with same sex attraction can go out and say what need to say, and not have to worry about it.
At the same time, Christians, if you have a loving and servant’s heart, if you have a loving servant’s heart, sure, go ahead, go out and engage them, and engage them in dialogue, if they’ll have that.
At the same time, we could be doing plenty of other things. We could be writing op-eds for local newspapers, we could be doing whatever we can to get the message out there of why marriage is so important. So there’s plenty of ways to socially engage the gay community in such a great free country that we live in, and it not be this futile debate. I mean, the Lord says to not throw out stumbling blocks, and that’s what I think that those hateful preachers do is--it’s just a wasted effort.
Bill Bunkley: Randy Thomas, let’s try to understand, some of the individuals that are out there in these protests, and what I want to do is I want to talk about where this anger comes from, but by and large, we have many people that are in the homosexual lifestyle today, who they have had some very unfortunate things or circumstances happen in their past, many while they were children or certainly early in life, and so they have gravitated to these relationships.
Now, from my point of view, it’s a counterfeit relationship in the Lord, just like adultery is a counterfeit relationship, sex outside of marriage is a counterfeit, it’s taking what God meant in the sanctity of a marriage and fulfilling that outside.
Now, as far as the world’s concerned, if you want to have a worldly standard, well it’s not counterfeit, because the world is getting to the point where everything goes, but, in that, I see the hands of God on every homosexual, especially when they’re trying to find this relationship, they’re trying to find fulfillment, and they want that fulfillment validated, and when some entity, be the state of Florida, California, Arizona, or any of the thirty states that know that’s not valid, then this righteous anger, or for them they think it’s righteous, and it comes from behind them--from within them.
Could you walk us through, maybe from your own experience, or how you counsel others, about how we can understand a homosexual’s emotions, as they are just out there, some of them just so fiery and angry right now?
Randy Thomas: Yeah, um, sure, I’ll try to do that.
You know, I’m forty years old right now, and I became a Christian…
Bill Bunkley: Randy, you don’t look like you’re past 25, brother.
Randy Thomas: I appreciate that.
[chuckles and giggles all around]
Well, I am. And uh…
Bill Bunkley: That’s alright. I’m a little ahead of ya, so we’re all going to get there…
Randy Thomas: Well, thank you very much, but, you know I became a Christian 16 years ago at the age of 24, and I felt like I was gay at the age of 10. The culture war didn’t start in 2003 with gay marriage in Massachusetts, it started a long time ago. And at ten years old for me to think that I was gay, and I was not raised in the church, there was already messaging out there leading me that way. And so when I had my first experience at the age of 16, I just thought that that’s who I was, they didn’t have any moral compass to challenge that.
At 19, I was angry with Christians. And I could not stand Christians. As I mentioned…
Bill Bunkley: Why do you think you were angry? Can you process that, is that where--[that’s where I?] begin to have the understanding.
Randy Thomas: Well, that’s what I’m saying, back then, I know why I was angry. Because the only examples I was given of Christianity were calling me “deserving of hell,” they said that I was “an abomination,” they said that I “deserved jail time.” I watched a popular evangelical leader at the time say that I was a pedophile in the making, and so, there was a lot of Christian leaders being portrayed, not all of them -- the only one’s who seemed to make it on the news -- were lying about me.
And so I was very angry, by the time I was 19, I wanted nothing to do with Christians. And so, because they didn’t--It was obvious they didn’t understand me, and didn’t want me, and so that was the messaging, you know, 21 years ago, that has been repeated, from the boomer generation, to the generation X, to, now the millennials, is this ongoing messaging that Christians hate gay people. And so this is manifesting now in this cultural backlash over marriage, so its got a long history here.
The people, most of the people in the streets don’t understand a Christian worldview, they were brought up in the Church. So when we talk about…
Bill Bunkley: Randy, there’s a lot of Christians in the Church that don’t understand a Christian world view, my friend. Go ahead, I’m sorry, I had to get that in there.
Randy Thomas: That’s true, That’s completely true. We live in a very confused culture, and so when we talk about, there’s level ground at the Cross, that just flies over the head of most of the people out there. Right in the streets, they're like, what are you talking about?
And, the only love that I knew at that time in my life, the best scenario for me at that time for me in my life was identifying as gay, and my gay friendships and my gay relationships. Now, again, I did not know the greater love of Christ until I was 24, but at that time in my life, that was my whole world, that’s who my friends were, that what my identity was. And so when Christians came in and blithely said, you know, you need to turn away from you sin and become a Christian and put your faith in Christ--you’re asking me to die to everything I know, on a bumper sticker -- You know, don’t tell me that stuff until you’ve invested in me -- And then at 24, this girl that I used to hang out with all the time, we’d smoke cigarettes, and hang out at Denny’s ‘till two in the morning, talking about everything, she became a Christian. She drove me crazy, but we were friends. And after about six months of her wearing me out about Jesus, I decided to visit her church.
Bill Bunkley: Took a look? You went and took a look, go ahead…
Randy Thomas: Yep, and, they freaked me out. But you know, I encountered the spirit of God there, and it made me thirsty. And I went home, and I prayed, after the second time I visited the church, and I prayed that the Lord would enter my heart. And he did that day.
It was the love a friend who was willing to stick it out with me, who was willing to put up with my stuff, to let me argue with her, that lead me to the Lord.
It was her kindness, or His kindness expressed through her. Through friendship, through that unconditional friendship, that lead me to the Lord.
And that’s what we need to realize, is that these people who are in the streets…God loves them, He wants to invest in them. It’s not enough to have talking points. I mean, yes, we need to be concerned about public policy, we need to write those op-eds, we need to vote, we need to understand marriage, but we also need to be committed to unconditional friendship. Because that’s truth and grace, that’s truth and mercy. And the Gospel is not lacking in either one of those. We can’t be all about just truth, and we can’t be just about mercy. We have to present both, because that’s why we call Him savior. He saved us from our own ideas, and our own leadings down paths that He knows would ultimately would not be fulfilling for us.
Bill Bunkley: And you know, there’s a lot of counterfeit strategies, but I think what I’m hearing, and what I’m trying to have our listeners just really penetrate their hearts with this, is that we’re looking at a group of people who don’t understand, that everything they’re depending on is counterfeit, but yet when they, if they--if they’re reached out to, and make a decision as you did, to go and to listen, and to take a chance, and then to consider it, would you say now, looking back, you really can determine that the anger that you had developed, rightly so as some of the things that were being saying, that were just unhelpful, but the fact of the matter is that even though, and you and I have had conversations where we're here about a particular Christian, mouthing off, or doing one of these things we just said, and I know you get frustrated, but at the same time, that anger is gone now. I mean, that frustration is gone. ‘Doesn’t mean you have righteous anger again when you see things happen, but, it is conveying that this feeling that your having Mr. homosexual or Miss. Lesbian, if you will consider the claims of Christ and let us reach out to you, if you cross over that bridge and accept Him, some of that turmoil is going to go away, wouldn’t you agree?
Randy Thomas: I would agree. And I also tell my gay friends, um, which I do have them, that the Christian Church is not what’s being portrayed on TV. I’ve never belonged in a church that didn’t allow me to be transparent, where people didn’t love me, who didn’t care for me. And I challenge the gay community, I understand why you’re angry, but at the same time, the Church is not the caricatures that are being portrayed most of the time on the main stream media, or being taught through the gay community. The gay community taught me a lot of my anger, but when I went into the Christian community, I found out that the body of Christ is one of the most loving communities, if not the most loving community I’d ever been apart of. And so I challenge that anger with, ok, this is the real picture, let’s deal with the anger in healthy and productive dialogue, but let’s also get to the truth of the matter, and the truth of the matter is, is that Christians are not all that bad…
P.S. Randy Thomas, you may inspire the worship of a god, but so far, at least for me, it’s a porcelain one.