Thursday, September 17, 2009

University Of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) Gay-Straight Club Attempts To Censor Ex-Gay Preacher Edward Delgado, But Chancellor Brian Rogers Resists

A preacher who was once a homosexual but successfully overcame the desire after he became a born-again Christian has launched a crusade at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF), and the university's Gay-Straight club is calling for the promotional banners to be taken down. Media stories published by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and picked up by the Anchorage Daily News; public comments appended to both stories illustrate the differences between the more conservative and traditional Fairbanks vs. the more liberal and cosmopolitan Anchorage.

Edward Delgado, who is a deacon at Dimond Boulevard Baptist Church in Anchorage, was once a homosexual. He then accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and became a born-again Christian. As a result, he was able to gain control over and re-direct his sexual desires in a more traditional direction, and has been married to a woman for 16 years. The union has produced two sons.

But like many Christians, Delgado doesn't want to hide his light under a bushel. So he went to Fairbanks to launch a short crusade, offering 14 lectures through Friday entitled “From Sin’s Bondage to Christ’s Freedom.” His visit is being promoted by Campus Bible Ministries as an example of someone who can successfully choose to leave the gay lifestyle, and how it can be a legitimate choice for many others. After all, those who are truly concerned about the welfare of gays would not want to deny them access to any information which might help them make a more informed decision about homosexuality.

But some do not favor free speech. Some students and faculty at UAF have been offended by the visit, particularly a prominent banner in the Wood Center with the words “Gay? Lonely? Confused?” The UAF Gay Straight Alliance is among those who have asked that it be taken down. Jessica Angelette, the local GSA president, said she’s heard from students who feel threatened by its message that equates homosexuality with sin, and states, “I’m all for freedom of speech and being able to have your opinion, but not to hurt anyone with it”.

Angelette's statement is, of course, absolutely ludicrous. Since when can we guarantee that no one will be offended? Since when can we determine in advance if we will hurt their feelings? And how can Angelette be both "for free speech" and for taking down the banner? That's political schizophrenia.

Fortunately, UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers quickly spiked any censorship notions. During a convocation speech on Tuesday September 16th, Rogers briefly mentioned the controversy, saying he wouldn’t order the banner removed. Rogers said he wants a “welcoming and inclusive university” but said tolerance of opposing views and freedom of speech are at the core of the campus’ values. “The university community must be one where we protect the freedom to speak, even when we find the speech disagreeable,” Rogers said. This is good news, because the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has previously characterized UAF as an intellectually repressive environment rife with political correctness.

Delgado speaks about his life of homosexuality as a Southern California teen, when he’d had 10 male sex partners by age 19. He said a suggestion by a friend to read the New Testament led to a religious awakening, which has allowed him to live happily as a straight man. Delgado said the homosexual lifestyle leads to promiscuity, abuse, alcoholism and drug abuse. Delgado also panned a 138-page report entitled "Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation", issued by the American Psychiatric Association in August 2009. This report criticized gay-to-straight therapy (also referred to as "reparative therapy"), saying there’s little evidence it works and that it can lead to depression or suicidal thoughts. Delgado added that the report is incomplete and doesn’t take the transformative effects of religious faith into account.

In reality, reparative therapy is one of many strategies available to gays. It is probably more likely to work better with those in whom homosexuality is not deep-seated. Being that Delgado was 19 years old when he got his head straightened out, he probably had temporarily turned to homosexuality simply because his sexual identity was not firmly seated yet. Just because a young kid reaches puberty and becomes sexually alive doesn't necessarily mean the kid's sexual identity is firmed up; while most gravitate naturally towards the opposite sex, some take longer. Cement doesn't always dry at the same rate. Then there are those few who are likely to be biologically gay; the latter are probably locked in for life.

But reparative therapy should not be foreclosed simply because it hurts someone's feelings. Other leading organizations prescribing reparative therapy include Exodus International (nondenominational Christian-oriented) and Evergreen International (LDS-oriented). Evergreen also noted with interest the study “Ex-Gays? An Extended Longitudinal Study of Attempted Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation”, released at a symposium at the same meeting of the American Psychological Association by psychologists Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse showing that sexual orientation change is not only possible, but sustainable.

2 comments:

  1. We have a few college students online from college of University of Alaska Anchorage and we love your blog postings, so well add your rss or news feed for them, Thanks and please post us and leave a comment back and well link to you. Thanks Jen , Blog Manager, University of Alaska Anchorage

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  2. I see where these oddly "gullible" religious activist are coming from. He was obviously a VERY confused person and wasnt in a healthy mental state threw his childhood. But I will respect his obnoxious views anyways. I think the whole idea is wrong to project on a college campus. He is not only calling us liers, hes refering to us as reckless drug heads. Hes practicing prejudgmental harrassment and its just not right.

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