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.