Praying The Gay Out Of Bangor (UPDATED)

Picture 2American Christianists have become very skilled at euphemizing their desire to pray the gay away. See the verbiage coming out of Portland, ME, where Bishop Dick Malone has announced the formation of a chapter of "Courage," the worldwide Catholic ministry for people "struggling with" same-sex attractions. From The Bangor Daily News:

“This service is being initiated in response to requests from people who desire the church’s assistance,” Sue Bernard, spokeswoman for the diocese, said in the press release.

… “Courage offers hope and encouragement to men and women who desire to live in accordance with the church’s teaching on homosexuality — specifically that the dignity and identity of every person is not determined by their sexual attractions, but by their relationship with the Lord and their striving to live the virtues of faith, hope and charity,” Bernard said.

This is the most flowery admonition to stop sexin' and start prayin' that I've ever heard.

Identities of Courage members are kept in strict confidence, and chapter meetings are held at times and locations disclosed only to participants. The therapeutic approach is based on the 12 steps, which rather annoys Rev. Mark Doty, a Congregationalist Portland cleric and out gay man, who tells the Bangor Daily News that it's "presumptuous and wrong-headed to equate homosexuality with addictive behavior."

The Bangor Daily gives the Courage chapter a good bit of free PR, explaining the five "five goals" of participants …

• Live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality.

• Dedicate their lives to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist.

• Foster a spirit of fellowship in which all may share thoughts and experiences and so ensure that no one will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone.

• Be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in a chaste Christian life and in doing so provide encouragement to one another in forming and sustaining them.

• Live lives that may serve as good examples to others.

… and offering the relevant contact deets for anybody who'd like to sign up. One hopes the respondents will be misguided adults, but I've got a queasy feeling they'll mostly be parents afraid for the souls of their gay kids.

UPDATE: Although the creation of the Courage chapter has been mandated by a bishop in Portland and reported upon by a paper in Bangor, I note that it's being operated by a chaplain in Augusta and is intended to serve struggling souls across Maine. I've got no idea where they'll host their meetings, and, as noted, Courage isn't saying.


  1. Michael Murphy says

    Let’s hope it’s ONLY the parents of those poor kids… not the kids themselves. I just wish we could sue these people for defamation, assault… something!

  2. BobN says

    So… the bishop has opened a franchise of an organization that has been around since 1980, indicating that the local community hasn’t had much interest in it for 32 years.

    Odd they don’t put it that way….

  3. Alex Parrish says

    There should be an organization for recovering roman catholics — someplace where they can go for refuge from the church and its continual abuses

  4. says

    It is pretty simple people. If are so stupid as to believe any church can pray away your desire for the same sex then you deserve to go through life as an unhappy and unfulfilled person. You will live a false life and a life of lies and desolation. No matter what anyone tells you, if you believe in God then know that God made you just the way you are. Gay and proud.

  5. Akula says

    I like the line “specifically that the dignity and identity of every person is not determined by their sexual attractions” .. um isn’t that what we’ve been asking for all along dumb ass.

  6. jack says

    I don’t think that, for most people, it is possible to live a full and satisfying life as a celebate. I was a member of the Franciscan TOR order for six years. There were wonderful men in that order. Many of them homosexuals as am I. But the life of celebacy is for most a cold and lonely life. Most humans need sexual intimacy at some times in their lives.To say that my students or my parishishoners are my family is not enough.After leaving the Franciscans, i worked for 35 years as a social studies teacher and guidance counselor in a Catholic High School.There I worked with many wonderful priests who were giving there celebate lives for the catholic people. But, in my opinion the toll on them , attempting to lead celebate lives was enormous.These good men should not have been required to lead loveless lives in the service of others.

  7. Shelly says

    Thanks for posting that, Jack. It’s interesting to hear from someone who has been there.

    Personally, this seems like a non-story to me. While I passionately condemn forcing innocent children into programs designed to “pray the gay away,” if we’re talking about adults looking for support in following a particular spiritual tradition that entails specific rules of behavior and they’re not harming anybody else, who cares? I may not think eating pork is immoral, but if there was an Orthodox Jewish support group for folks who wanted to keep kosher but feel powerless to resist the lure of bacon — meh, whatever floats your boat!

    Unless this group starts forcing its “support” on children or others against their will, doesn’t seem worth noting.

  8. Pete n SFO says

    It really DOES seem that a child should be able to sue, or the State allowed to step in to remove a child forced to suffer the psychological abuse of sexual “disorientation”

    Next generation, I guess. It’s f’d up for sure.

  9. Seamus says

    Why, oh why, do people like this bishop, people like Christianist ministers and reverends and so many of the others, get a free ride in regard to taxes? They are always politicizing, contrary to the law of the land. As a result, I, as a taxpayer, actually underwrite their expenses just to have them demonize me. It is past time that these church-related moochers pay taxes.

  10. TruthSeeker_Too says

    We need to stop lumping all religious folks together and start talking about “anti-gay Christians.”
    The quicker people start realizing that several mainstream Protestant Christian religions embrace gay couples (and even MARRY them INSIDE their CHURCHES), the better we will win over hearts and minds of others.
    Besides, the vast majority of lay Catholics don’t hate us. It is the Roman hierarchy starting with their Hitler Youth Pope a.k.a Joseph Ratzinger (one of the ringleaders protecting all those pederast priests) that spew out the anti-gay hatred.

  11. Jack M says

    Our new priest told us he wanted to bring Courage into the parish to “help” the gay and lesbian congregants. I promptly left the parish and haven’t found a substitute so far.

  12. Tim says

    I think this group would be an excellent place for making dates. All those repressed self-hating homosexuals, desperate for a little human contact. You’d probably never be turned down! I’d go and talk about all my adventures with priests, and leave with a pocketful of numbers.

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