Last night marked the first of a six-week course at Metro City Church in Riverview, Michigan targeting girls ages 12-16 who “think they may be gay, bisexual, or transgender.”
According to promotional material released by the church, the attendees were told “It doesn’t have to be this way”… which makes it sound like the “Unashamed Identity Workshop” is just a cover for conversion therapy. For $200, the church would help those girls “be unashamed of her true sexual identity given to her by God at birth.”
While the information is no longer available on the church’s website, the worship is still going on. But Pastor Jeremy Schossau wants you to know this is totally not about conversion therapy.
He even made a video explaining that he has no desire to “convert” LGBTQ people. He just thinks being gay is a choice, and some people might choose to not be gay, and he wants to help them convert.
But stop calling it conversion therapy!
… What’s strange to us is that we think it’s because people don’t really understand what we’re doing. A lot of people are calling this conversion therapy. And if you think conversion therapy is grabbing somebody, forcing them into some sort of pastor’s office, and then beating over the head with a Bible, and condemning them, and spitting on them, and judging them… that is wrong! We oppose that in every single way!
What we are about, is about conversation, not about conversion necessarily. We are about conversation, not about condemnation. We believe that sexuality is a choice. We believe that you can be what you want to be and do what you want to do. We find it incredibly odd that a community that has been so vocal about tolerance, about understanding somebody else’s perspective, about freedom, about choice, a community that has been so pro-choice, is seemingly very anti-choice when it comes to sexuality.
If people are thinking that we are grabbing somebody and pulling them in, or making them come to us, that’s crazy! It couldn’t be farther from the truth!…
Schossau holds this absurd belief that conversion therapy, by definition, involves physical abuse. He’s wrong. Telling a young lesbian that she can be straight if she just puts her faith in Jesus and tries really hard to suppress her urges is mentally and emotionally abusive. That’s what the church is doing, and that’s why there’s such an outcry against the workshop. What they’re teaching is the sort of faith-based bigotry that drives so many young LGBTQ people to suicide.
There’s no “lack of understanding” by the critics. We know exactly what his church is doing. We know why it’s dangerous. All the ignorance is coming from his direction.
One woman who used to attend his church was particularly disturbed by this workshop because she knows what her own son went through:
“My son had three adults laying hands on him — (he was) screaming so loud I heard him from the other room — praying that God will deliver him from (the homosexuality) demon,” Kim Tooley of Brownstown said. “A literal demon. My son thought he had a demon.”
To be sure, that’s more of a Pentecostal thing and this is not a Pentecostal church… but even if that’s an exaggeration, it couldn’t have been much of one since the church has made it clear that they don’t believe people are truly gay or lesbian or transgender.
Welcoming them to church services with open arms, which Schossau says he does, means nothing if church leaders see the entire LGBTQ community as straight people who haven’t gotten there yet.
These are monsters with smiles on their faces.
The church has every right to offer these conversion therapy sessions, but they’re wrong to pretend they’re not trying to turn LGBTQ people straight, and they’re wrong to pretend they’re the tolerant ones in this conversation.
They may think they’re decent human beings, but they’re not. They’ve chosen to be bigots. I want to help their leaders understand this so they can embrace their real identities instead of hiding behind some façade of kindness. I’m not beating them over the head with a weapon, so they should accept my offer to treat their disease.