For those of you who have not been following along at home, Bil Browning is a gay activist and the founder of www.bilerico.com. I am the Director of Operations and Public Policy at the Indiana Family Institute. A couple of months ago I invited Bil to the Love Won Out conference, which subsequently led to him inviting me to a screening of "Inlaws and Outlaws."
I have already commented on my experience attending Bil's event. So, now it is time to discuss the Love Won Out conference. Unfortunately, Bil was only able to attend less than half of the conference (as the conference was on Saturday, Nov. 3rd and he was running Scott Keller's campaign for city-county council). However, he seemed to get a taste of what the Love Won Out Conference was all about.
It is amazing how two people can see the same thing and come to two completely different conclusions about it. As Bil and I talked about Love Won Out afterword, in some aspects it seemed that we had not been at the same conference.
Bil thought the first speaker, Joe Dallas, was attempting to literally, hypnotize the audience into believing his perspective on the causes of male homosexuality. I have to laugh at this…sorry Bil! I found Joe's presentation, detailing the complex reasons why some men struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction, quite compelling, especially since Joe used to be active within the gay community himself. However, I did not find his presentation compelling enough to slip into a trance or bark like a dog. J
Bil felt that the speakers spent too much time blaming their parents and that people should take responsibility for their own actions. I heard the speakers repeatedly tell parents in the audience that it is not necessarily their fault if their son or daughter struggles with same-sex attraction. As far as the stories of the speaker's parents, I had a hard time not blaming some of them more. For example, Joe Dallas' father physically abused Joe and his mother when Joe was just a little boy. This caused Joe to miss out on critical male bonding that boys need to have with their fathers. Joe later was molested by a man who took advantage of Joe's desire for the natural love his father would not give him. This led him into the gay lifestyle. However, Joe did take responsibility for his own actions through counseling and now is married with children and helps people who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction to change their lives.
Even though Bil and I predictably disagreed on much of the content of Love Won Out, there were many positives to our attending the conference.
I thought Bil showed great courage in attending an event that many of his friends had probably demonized beforehand and that centered on an issue that strikes a very personal chord with him. Despite this, it seemed to me that he had come to learn what the conference was really all about. That impressed me.
Additionally, Bil said he felt welcomed by the staff of Traders Point and Love Won Out. He "didn't think it was horrible." He was impressed that a church would even host an event like Love Won Out where an open discussion of homosexuality could take place. He was pleasantly surprised that Love Won Out wasn't telling parents to "throw their kids out of the house if they were gay." He also stunned me by saying that, "The Christian Right has moved on to a little bit of love."
So, although we definitely processed the content differently, I guess love did win out after all.