Yesterday we told our readers the story of Jason Thomas – a gay man from Dallas excluded from church for being gay. When the story received public attention, Mr. Thomas gave an interview to Dallas Morning News in which he said about other gay church members and a set of measures aimed to change their sexuality.
“[In the church] I met a man who has become a dear friend. He shared with me that he was gay and trying to change his orientation to heterosexuality, and he encouraged me to open up to several others.
“I connected with programs designed to help gay church members, spent time with the gay success stories at Watermark, and read books about how to change my orientation,” he said, adding that the church forced him to break all the connections with his gay friends and even to give up his hobby volleyball.
He went on: “My new community group [at the church] urged me to attend Watermark’s 12-step program to overcome homosexuality, or ‘struggles’, as they put it. So I did. I felt hopeful that God would come in and save the day and remove my ‘struggles’. Then, I began to hate myself. I wanted so badly to change and yet, nothing came. I’d never felt so alone, sad and angry with God. Why wouldn’t he help me? For my own safety, I quit the program halfway through. I started dating a guy shortly after.”
At the end of the interview he said: “The group brought in church leadership due to my ‘rebellion’. Nine of them sat in a half circle across the room from me. They interrupted me, talked down to me, and accused me of not giving effort. And they removed me out from official church membership. After getting kicked out, I was picked up by a couple of gay friends that I met at Watermark who’d also left or been pushed out the door. We are now a growing group of people connected to the Gay Christian Network. There are so many gay people who have been deeply hurt by the church. It is not uncommon to hear of suicide attempts from people who went through these similar experiences. We are people, we have feelings, desires, and morals just like everyone else. We desire to be loved just like everyone else. We deserve to be loved just like everyone else.”