Newspaper ads say homosexuals can change
The Presbyterian Layman, July 17, 1998
Full-page ads in three major newspapers proclaiming that God can help homosexuals change their lifestyle have caused outrage among gay activists.
The three ads appear this week in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today. The $206,000 cost is being paid by 15 conservative Christian groups.
“I’m living proof that truth can set you free,” an ad says in a bold headline in the July 13 New York Times. It shows a photo of Anne Paulk, a self-described “wife, mother, and former lesbian” who says she changed her identity through prayer and faith in God.
“Leaving homosexuality was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. As I grew in my relationship with God, I knew he had changed me forever. Gone was the hardness. Gone was the hurt. And gone was the shrill cry inside, replaced by God’s still, small voice.”
An ad in The Washington Post July 14 shows a photo taken at a recent Exodus International convention and is intended to show that there are numerous former homosexuals, Bob Davies, head of Exodus International, told Religion Today. An ad in USA Today July 15 focuses on public figures who have spoken out against homosexuality and urges more Christians to speak out, Davies said.
“The whole issue of homosexuality has become very one-sided in the secular media, and it is now a ‘given’ that homosexuality is inborn and cannot be changed,” Davies said. For more than 20 years “thousands of people have been proving that message wrong. Even if one person had successfully changed, that proves the gay message is wrong.”
Homosexual-advocacy groups reacted to the ad with hostility. “The bigotry, hatred, and intolerance that this ad represents is the real perversion,” said Tracey Canaty of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The Human Rights Campaign said it would respond with its own newspaper ads.
Paulk’s story “doesn’t reflect the vast majority of experiences of gay people in America,” Elizabeth Birch of the Human Rights Campaign told the Associated Press. “It also perpetuates the myth that gay people are not people of faith.” God’s creation is “filled with infinite variety and diversity” and the divine plan includes “every one of God’s gay and lesbian children,” said Troy Perry, moderator of the homosexual denomination Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.
The ads have made homosexual supporters “hopping mad,” Davies said. A representative of an ex-gay ministry appeared on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America July 14.