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Good from bad

"Good from bad" Continued...

Issue: "The other campaign," Feb. 9, 2008

The trend toward outreach is also present among Orthodox Jews, Goldberg reports. But he notes that there is a significant downside to all this: JONAH does see "a subset of people who have never really acted out with a person of the same sex, may or may not fantasize about it, or may have had one experimental activity," Goldberg said. "Yet these people have begun obsessing about the idea that they must be gay because society is telling them they must be gay."

In decades past, men and women routinely brushed off fleeting thoughts of homosexual behavior. Now, though, gay activists have succeeded in planting a seed that says people not only can but should follow such thoughts with exploration and action.

Encino, Calif., clinic psychologist Joseph Nicolosi said that trend has changed the demographics in his practice. In 1991, his average client was in his or her mid- to late twenties. Now about a third are teenagers. Public-school gay outreaches such as the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network and "gay-straight alliances" have resulted in more kids claiming a gay identity at younger ages. "So that bad news is they're coming out of the closet earlier," said Nicolosi, who is president of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality. "The good news is when they announce it to their parents, their parents are getting them into therapy quicker."

In decades past, more kids waited until their college years to announce their homosexuality. By then, it was too late for parental intervention. Now though, like Timone, Nicolosi has noticed more parents intervening earlier and with positive results: "The adolescent is more inclined to renounce his gay 'identity' when he learns that it's not biological or inevitable, but the result of childhood trauma," Nicolosi said, adding that the countermanding influence of concerned parents is a factor gay activists typically overlook when promoting homosexuality to youth.

The new openness is helping not only those looking to leave homosexuality, but also Christians who are battling homosexual urges but have never acted on them. Brad, a recent college graduate living in Manitou Springs, Colo., grew up in the church and has actively fought same-sex attraction for eight years. "All I ever heard was testimonies from people who went deeply into the gay lifestyle," he said.

That didn't describe him and so, for years, he kept his battle private. But the effect was like that of a tight lid on a boiling pot. "It becomes this dichotomy where you feel you either have to live out the lifestyle or repress it in silence," he said.

But through books he ordered from Exodus, as well as openness among his Christian family and friends, he has learned that it's OK to struggle-and OK not to elevate feelings above the Word of God. Instead, there's a third option, Brad said: "You can work through temptation just like every Christian has done through the ages with every kind of sin."

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