“How parents can help their children avoid homosexuality”

The words of the group, Core Issues, who are organising an event next Tuesday at Belvoir Church of Ireland where they will discuss the ‘merits’ of Reparative Therapy – the belief that through therapy and prayer, Gay people can be ‘cured’ of their ‘illness’.  Not surprisingly, a protest has been organised by The Rainbow Project, details of which can be found here if you are interested in attending.

Obviously, Northern Ireland has come across this type of thing before. Iris Robinson is a fan of this kind of therapy and it’s a fair bet she’s not alone in her view, especially amongst the more traditional wing of the DUP.

So far, the numbers confirmed to attend are just under a hundred but I imagine that will increase. However, how many would need to attend to force a real discussion of the issue amongst our political leaders? Considering the heavy emphasis on Christianity as part of the ‘cure’ that Reparative Therapy offers,  it could prove to be a tricky path for our church going politicians to navigate. Here, more than in England, the support of the local church or lodge is crucial and so is it likely that our MLAs’ will risk that support? Certainly, there’s little to be gained, politically at least, though obviously that comes second to doing the right thing morally.

  • Drumlins Rock

    So a publicly funded organisation is going to picket a church.

    The Rainbow Project is funded by the DHSS, NIHE, Derry CC, National Lottery, PSNI, Comic Relief, etc.

    It seem the democratic principles of Voltaire have been forgotten “I disagree strongly with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” with a quasi state group deciding what can and cant be discussed in a private place of worship.

  • Greenflag

    This is nothing more or less than dead horse flogging . The Belvoir Church can discuss merits and demerits of ‘reparative therapy’ but it’s clear from most research that ‘gayness’ is wired into the brain at some point during embryonic development and thats it . That said what’s the point of the Rainbow crowd making a protest ?

    A couple of weeks ago some hundreds of deluded people paid out large sums of money to purchase ‘pet insurance’ so that after the expected ‘rapture’ those left behind would look after their pets for as long as they could . Admittedly this was a Californian event but the same daft logic of the rapturers applies to the poor sods who are attending the Belvoir Church in the hope of curing a non existent illness.

    The ‘rapture’ of course never arrived it’s been postponed again but alas for the would be raptured the insurance agency which took the premiums for their beloved pets will not be returning said premiums .

    As to the principle of any publicly or privately funded group picketing a church – any church I don’t see why not . There have been many instances over the past decades when ‘protests’ should have been held outside many of our churches for reasons much more important than the Belvoir’s ‘dead horse flogging’ to the gullible!

  • Greenflag

    ‘there’s little to be gained, politically at least, though obviously that comes second to doing the right thing morally.’

    What does ‘doing the right thing morally’ actually mean practically in this instance in your opinion ?

  • Obelisk

    I’m just going to say it blunt, reparative therapy is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole and calling the resulting deformity ‘normality’. It doesn’t work and it psychologically damages those poor individuals forced to go through with it because it is predicated on several falsehoods.
    First that Human sexuality is a polar between straight and gay when it seems instead to be a continumn of preference.
    Secondly that Homosexuality is unnatural and a psychological ailment, which it isn’t. Numerous psychiatric organisations worldwide no longer regard it as a mental health issue and the fact that it was so regarded in the past was more to do with the prejudices of bygone eras.
    Thirdly that God disapproves it and everyone who practices it without repentance is going to hell. There’s a debate raging about that one.

    But I don’t want to see these people preach their voodoo mumbo-jumbo about how they can be miraculously ‘cured’ of something that isn’t an affliction hide behind free speech laws when what they are advocating is going to cause people in a fragile emotional state real and lasting damage. I doubt our good Lord would advocate spreading misery and despair in his name.

  • They can take their reparative therapy and shove it up their……

  • JH


    “It seem the democratic principles of Voltaire have been forgotten “I disagree strongly with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” with a quasi state group deciding what can and cant be discussed in a private place of worship.”

    Except they’re not, they’re using their right to protest. No one’s deciding what should or shouldn’t be said, but where dangerous and offensive ideas are being spread they have a right to protest against it.

  • South Down Stoop

    Will Iris Robinson be attending this shindig, as part of her public rehabilitation?

  • GavBelfast

    They are surely entitled to hold their event, the other group are entitled to hold a peaceful protest.

    What’s the big deal?

  • There is a point where free speech is not enough – it is when people are being harmed. Doctors swear “first do no harm”. Yet these “therapists” risk doing psychological harm.

  • Speranza-II

    The Big Deal is that Sin is the most important thing in life.
    How very dare The Christians Call Homosexuals ‘ill’.As MP said-‘They can stick their Therapy where the Sun Doesn’t Shine.Bi-Sexuality can Not Be Cured,Because It’s Not An Illness.Straight Homosexuality Can Not Be Cured – Because It’s Not An Illness.It’s 2011-This Is Not The Dark Ages.

    Obviously, Northern Ireland has come across this type of thing before. Iris Robinson is a fan of this kind of therapy and it’s a fair bet she’s not alone in her view, especially amongst the more traditional wing of the DUP.-Then again maybe It Is The Dark Ages.

    Witch-finder General Hopkins Methods of investigation-

    Although torture was unlawful in England, Hopkins often used various methods of browbeating, such as sleep deprivation, to extract confessions from his victims.He would also cut the arm of the accused with a blunt knife, and if she did not bleed, she was said to be a witch. Another of his methods was the swimming test, used to see if the accused would float or sink in water. The theory was that as witches had renounced their baptism, water would reject them. A suspected witch was tied to a chair and thrown in water. If they floated, they were a witch. Hopkins was warned against the use of “swimming” without receiving the victim’s permission first.This led to the “legal” abandonment of the test by the end of 1645.Hopkins and his assistants also looked for Devil’s mark. This was a mark that all witches or sorcerers were supposed to possess that was said to be dead to all feeling and would not bleed – although in reality it was usually a mole, birthmark or an extra nipple or breast.Reparative Therapists Beware-Beware Your Christian History.The witch hunts undertaken by Hopkins extended throughout the area of strongest Puritan and Parliamentarian influences which formed the powerful and influential Eastern Association from 1644 to 1647.

  • tinman

    The flyer for the event quotes the question: Given the evidence against them, why do one in six therapists (UK) still see fit to offer gay clients treatments that aim to make them straight? In response they refer to an American Psychological Association report which, according to the flyer, examined evidence for the effectiveness of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) and found little in the way of credible evidence one way or the other. Hardly a ringing endorsement, if the only response to the question Can you prove it works? is You can’t prove it doesn’t.

    But look up the report itself and you find a less nuanced view – from the abstract: …efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm, contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates. The overall thrust of the report is quite firmly against SOCE.

    So, whoever designed this flyer has taken an isolated quote from an APA report, ignoring the overall context in which it is found, presumably to increase the credibility of the events being advertised. Is that supposed to fill us with confidence in the rigour of their scientific method?

  • A quote from the Rainbow project

    “We encourage everyone to get involved in opposing this dangerous practice”

    Maybe the Church should organise a event against the Rainbow project

    To encourage everyone to get involved in opposing this dangerous practice.

  • Hedley Lamarr

    This so called psychiatric illness has been debunked by the psychiatry profession since the 1970s. A few stragglers remain but with no scientific evidence to back up their views.

    As the comedian Billy Connolly said “It’s good that these psychiatrists can cure homosexuality. Perhaps they can cure bigotry as well?”

  • Jack2

    Drumlins Rock (profile) says:
    11 June 2011 at 10:33 am

    So a publicly funded organisation is going to picket a church.


    With the huge tax breaks religions are allowed don’t forget they are in effect publicly funded also.

  • @Drumlins Rock

    I’m not sure you have a good grasp of exactly what it is The Rainbow Project does. I’d say objecting to this kind of event is well within their remit.


    I think that Core Issues and their agenda are morally wrong. I think any support for them is morally wrong. I think politicians that ignore the issue because it may harm their electoral success are morally wrong. Hope that’s clear enough.


    I’m sorry, are you actually saying The Rainbow Project is a dangerous practice?

  • Hi Ed is the Rainbow project saying the church is a dangerous practice

    How is it within their remit to picket a church ?

    I think Government departments must now look at the funding for this project !!

  • Cynic2

    If this approach is applied to children it may well amount to child abuse so I hope that PSNI and Social Services are monitoring those attending to see what is happening here

  • Hedley Lamarr

    belfastjj- I understood that the Rainbow Project meant the “therapy” was a ‘dangerous practice’ not the church.

  • nightrider
  • Doesnt say that on Facebook

    It would be interesting to know how much of my Taxes & Rates are given to this project ?


    City Council

    Health Service

    How parents can help their children avoid homosexuality – seems like a good helpful talk

  • Eddie (Eamonn) Mac Bhloscaidh

    The Rainbow project should think again.

    This event and others may well be attended by some very vunerable and torn young gay people, struggling to reconcile themselves and their faith and frankly quite open to quite a bit of christian exploitation.

  • I agree Eddie

  • Hedley Lamarr

    The Rainbow Project on Facebook state:

    “In protest to the conference ‘Interrogating the Pejorative – Considering Therapeutic Approaches and Contexts for those Conflicted in Sexual Identity’ The Northern Ireland LGBT Sector will be handing out leaflets indentifying the truths around reparative therapy outside the conference.

    People are asked to gather at the following times:

    9.30am – 10.30am
    4.00pm – 5.00pm
    6.30pm – 7.30pm

    This is to be available while people are arriving of leaving the conference and linked events. We encourage everyone to get involved in opposing this dangerous practice.”

    belfastjj- how can ‘a church’ be a practice? I know you practice worship in a church but worship isn’t mentioned, the practice of therapy to cure homosexuality is mentioned.

  • Obelisk

    The only thing parents can do to help their children ‘avoid’ homosexuality is not to have any. It is not an ideology to talk people out of, or a lifestyle to try out. It is a purely random outworking of character unique to each person in as much as hair colour or eye colour.

  • Harry Flashman


    “But I don’t want to see these people preach their voodoo mumbo-jumbo about how they can be miraculously ‘cured’ of something that isn’t an affliction hide behind free speech laws”

    Of course you don’t, because you have already made up your mind that what they want to say is “dangerous” so you don’t want them to be allowed to say it, your version of censorship is a very virtuous type of censorship no doubt.

    In doing so you are the mirror image of the decent, normal, rational, people – like yourself in fact – who only a few years ago would have believed that it was “dangerous” to proclaim that homosexuality was perfectly normal and nothing to be worried about and that vulnerable young people should be told that homosexuality is something that should be tolerated and indeed celebrated in a healthy society.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post psychiatrists in recent times believed that homosexuality was a perversion, a mental illness and something that should be cured. Now psychiatrists assure us that in fact homosexuality is perfectly normal and in fact that it is the people who are uncomfortable with homosexuality who are the sick nutters and who need to be treated for their derangements.

    You see how easy it is to decide who is “right” or “wrong”?

    Me? I’m prepared to give both sides the benefit of the doubt and accord them both the right to express their views, even if I don’t necessarily agree with them.

    I do hope that doesn’t make me ‘homophobic’ I don’t think I could afford the costs of therapy.

  • Speranza-II

    Perhaps parents need to figure out a way of avoiding Christianity?The Rainbow Project should protest against this Backward Psycho-Guilt Trippin’ of The Fundamentalists-Core Issues will find Something else To Analyze-Possibly their Own Hypocrisy-

    Don’t Knock It Until You Try It-If You Don’t Like It,Don’t Try It Again.Simple.-Sex In A Socialist Society-Now There’s A Theme That Will Surely ‘Arouse’ The ‘Wrath of The Self-Proclaimed Messengers of Christ-

    Sex In A Socialist Society-Versus- 2.5 kids and a Mortgage.

    2.5 kids and a Mortgage=Divorce Or Worse

    Sex In A Socialist Society-Well,Here’s Hoping…….

  • Hedley Lamarr

    Harry Flashman- “Now psychiatrists assure us that in fact homosexuality is perfectly normal and in fact that it is the people who are uncomfortable with homosexuality who are the sick nutters and who need to be treated for their derangements.”

    When did the psychiatric profession ever say that people who are uncomfortable with homosexuality needed to be treated for their derangements? Perhaps you are saying that with your tongue in your cheek but then why say it at all? What purpose does it have to say that if it’s not true?

  • YelloSmurf

    I’ve been going to Belvoir Parish for a while and I hadn’t heard anything about this event until today. It appears to be something that the church is hosting rather than actively endorsing.

  • Greenflag

    @ ed simpson.

    ‘I think that Core Issues and their agenda are morally wrong.’

    I would have said their agenda is stupid and possibly a psychological danger to those who are taken in by their ‘cures’. But that might be a bit crude . A waste of 20 pounds I’d say unless the sambos are top notch . I see the Californian who is the main speaker has the unfortunate last name of Pickup . If he gets a couple of hundred attendees he should pick up around 4,000 pounds for the day which should cover the sandwiches and tea and the church rental with a few bob left over 🙂

    I’d leave out the morality bit and would try to avoid the use of the ‘m’ word in the presence of politicians be they from NI or elsewwhere.

    It’s just another bit of hocus pocus not unalike the selling of indulgences or pieces of Jesus Christ’s sandals as an antidote to the bubonic plague in earlier times .

    You would think the COI Rector or Vicar would have a bit more cop but hey maybe they need the funds to repair the roof or something ?

    Anyway dead horse flogging in any event 🙁

  • joeCanuck

    Maybe some aspiring satirist could update Dean Swift’s suggestion: A Modest Proposal for Gay Children.

  • Wasted Ballot

    While I feel the writer of this piece is trying to do some good, most of the time raising it’s profile in such a way usually leads to more people supporting it.

    But, considering he is an aspiring liberal politician I guess he needs a ‘feel good’ cause to leach off.

  • Reader

    Ed Simpson: where they will discuss the ‘merits’ of Reparative Therapy – the belief that through therapy and prayer, Gay people can be ‘cured’ of their ‘illness’.
    The world would be a vastly better place if society would comfortably accept homosexuality as part of the normal spectrum of human nature, and we could all just get on with a search for happiness and fulfillment.
    But we aren’t there yet, and – besides the bigots – there will also be a lot of parents who genuinely believe that their children have a better chance of happiness if they are not gay. Others will not have abandoned hope of having grandchildren some day.
    So, among the crowd, there will be a number of reasonably decent people attending this event, pinning their hopes on a process that will most likely be harmful if it isn’t entirely futile – because that isn’t the way they see it.

  • RepublicanStones

    Drumlins, look up Evelyn Beatrice Hall.

    The thing about this kind of ‘free speech’ is it actually promotes the idea that a perfectly normal section of society are not normal, and are actually ‘wrong in the head’ as some idiots who’ll attend this event, no doubt think. Anything which promotes marginalization of a section of society (which this implicitly does by inferring homosexuality is a ‘mental’ thing) is right to be ridiculed, as any bunch of ******** should be.

  • I was of the understanding that this protest was organised by a homosexual living in South Africa who as an ex-Church Warden in a Belfast Church of Ireland Parish took umbrage that a Church of Ireland was taking a stand more in line with the Bible than with him… which of course can never be allowed.

    A phone call to the rainbow project later and a protest was organised.

    Let’s face it, this is not the first time this type of therapy has been held in a church hall in this country and it won’t be the last. What for me is sad is that the more militant homosexuals seem intent on foisting their own opinion on a church in spite of that church’s Scripture and tradition and even in spite of the congregation (of which none have complained about the event). It is a blatant attempt at intimidating those homosexuals who wish to have pastoral support from attending that conference.

  • slappymcgroundout

    “The thing about this kind of ‘free speech’ is it actually promotes the idea that a perfectly normal section of society are not normal…”

    To borrow from the other soul’s mention of grandchildren, if they were “perfectly normal” they’d be ensuring the grandchildren. That’s why he has sperm and she has eggs. What we choose to do with the abnormality is a separate matter, but let us never forget why he has penis and testes and she a vagina and ovaries (there’s a lesson in our biology). I wouldn’t myself bother with the therapy, but I would endorse the one billboard that reads: You too can have your DNA go the way of the dinosaur. Join the Rainbow Project. Call now…

    The discussion otherwise reminds me of some folks here, who wear those t-shirts that say “Non-Breeder”. Too dim to understand the implication of self existing only because some other humans did in fact breed. I wonder if the shrinks have ever thought about the notion of a profound subconscious self-hatred. Why else would your DNA resign itself to oblivion? Unless, of course, one is defective at the genetic level. And that on the theory that all I am, essentially and in essence, is simply DNA’s way of making more DNA. Hardly a novel theory.

    Lastly, otherwise love the talk of the headshrinkers. Read up on the Coed Killer aka Edmund Kemper. Had been under care following the murder of his grandma and grandpa when he was but a youth. That said by way of necessary background, good ole Ed had just manually strangled 15 year old Aiko Koo the night before, raped her corpse, dissected her, and maybe even had her head in the trunk of his car when, the next day, he met with the state shrinks who declared him to not be a danger to the community and recommended that his juvenile record be sealed. So what in the heck do the headshrinkers know? You can Google yourself silly looking for the one US Supreme Court case and other state Supreme Court cases noting how the headshrinkers do no better than a coin flip in predicting recidivism. The other way of putting the matter is, as I always say, some can’t predict the future because they don’t understand today.

  • carl marks

    lets face it the people running this therapy scheme and those who support them are basin the entire argument on what they prefer to believe what the bible says. it is that old pick and mix religion nobody is suggesting that we stone people wearing clothes made from more than one cloth or farmers who grow two different crops side by side nor are they stating that we should put our children to death if they disagree with us.
    your argument if way out there it seems that what your saying is sex without making babies is wrong thats way we have the bits sounds very catholic to me and with the world population levels being what they are a few more non breeders might be a good idea.
    as to what do headshrinkers know every profession makes mistakes sometimes tragic you pick a extreme to prove your argument.
    in light of recent events and the proven hypocrisy of a lot of the people who engage in anti gay rants i suggest that before they are allowed any credence a look at there private lives would be a good idea.

  • Found this interesting site…..

  • carl marks

    cant decide if it,s a pisstake or not but it’s a cracker cant wait till the free p’shold a sunday school lesson on this

  • andnowwhat

    I think this is a great idea.

    They could follow it up by bleaching people of colour, cutting of left handed people’s offending hand removing brain cells from the intelligent.

  • Mickles

    Good spot to flog my ‘Bear repellant rocks’. This is what I don’t get, if the Churchy folks are so keen on following the Bible’s (‘a’ Bible’s) rules about homosexuality, does that mean they also follow the bits about killing adulterers – am I to understand that these Core Issues guys want people like Iris Robinson killed? Or are they just picking out the bits of a Bible which appear to justify their own personal prejudices? Help me understand here.

    As far as I can make out, they’re either hypocrites or they advocate the murder of one of the highest profile free-Ps. Now I’m confused, call a therapist!

  • Mickles


    Using biology to legitimize bigotry = good.

    Using biology to prove Evolution = bad.


  • andnowwhat

    Honest to God (not their version of Him) I cannot see why the people running this cannot be prosecuted under anti hate laws.

    Being from West Belfast I can be sure that those gay guys that I knew back in the 70’s and 80’s were making NO lifiestyle choice.

    The most “damaged” of those that I know followed the ethos of this “church” and ignores their sexuality, got married, had kids and it all resulted in fek’n misery all round.

  • andnowwhat

    Can any “christians” on here please explain their obsession with what people do with their private lives?

    Can they also explain why they do not protest about the greater sins in our world such as greed, selfishness and unjust wars?

    One more thing. Could they please go down a rough Street in Soweto and tell some of the guys standing around that they have a “homosexual’s” disease. I’d love to see that.

  • tinman

    Statement from Canon Tom Keightley posted on Belvoir Church’s Facebook page:

    The church premises are used by a range of groups, not all linked to the parish itself and, from time to time, for one-off events. Approaches to use the premises by outside organisations are considered on a case by case basis. In agreeing to the request by this organisation for its event on Tuesday I did so on the understanding that the organisation seeks only to work with those who want its help, and that it is acceptable to allow the opportunity for open debate in this area of life in all its complexity. The church itself is not involved with the running of the event or with the organisation, nor with the event’s promotion.’

  • Icarus

    Is it any wonder that suicide rates amongst young people in Northern Ireland were a record high last year?


    It’s also strange that for religious fundamentalists, statistics that display extreme minority support for their views are presented to prove their argument – whereas in the inverse is required for everyone else in the real world.

    Groups such as ‘Core Issues’ disgust me, and yet again NI is made to look like the bastion of small mindedness and quite frankly stupidity of the highest order.

    Preaching a message that has been proven to harm people, and in particular children, is a form of child abuse; and should be treated as such.

  • JR

    I think this is Disgraceful. I have no problem with religion, I am a religious person myself but religion should not be used to warp science. Especially when it is used to target the vunerable.

  • andnowwhat

    Apparently only 15 people attended the meeting.

    One of the speakers, a psychologist, was reprimanded severely for using therapies.

    It was covered extensively on today’s Talkback.

  • Icarus

    I shudder to think of the fate a young gay person who’s parents take to this nonsense.

    I also think it would be helpful if religious people who are offended by this also (whom I assume would be the vast majority), speak out against this awful ‘therapy’ gibberish.

  • Icarus

    The Institute of Public Health, after releasing their report into NI suicides from last year – stated that one of the major factors in promoting suicide was “isolation”.

  • Brian

    I pity the children born into the families that believe this crap.