Michelle Bachmann, Ex-gay Therapy, and Another Assault on Scripture

Michele Bachmann and her husband have come under fire for offering counsel to help homosexuals become straight. Image is from http://bachmann.house.gov

Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (R – Minnesota) has recently come under fire because of some practices at two Christian counseling centers operated by her husband Marcus Bachmann (PhD, Clinical Psychology). Apparently Dr. Bachmann, or at least one or more of his employees, have counseled people struggling to leave homosexuality by telling them to turn to God.

I must admit that I don’t trust politicians much—even those who are closer to my own views. It’s difficult to trust the folks in Washington because we’ve become so accustomed to the corruption, empty promises, and lies. Since we live in a sound byte culture it is almost impossible to know when you are even getting an accurate depiction of someone because little-to-no context is provided. I am theologically and politically conservative so I may be fairly close to Michele Bachmann politically (although I don’t know enough about her to know for sure), but I still have trouble trusting her.

So let’s take a look at this story that has been all over the news. A homosexual named John Becker with a couple of hidden cameras visited one of Dr. Bachmann’s clinics and pretended to be seeking their help to leave homosexuality. Over the course of several sessions, Becker was told that God had created him for heterosexuality and he was given some advice to help him leave homosexuality, such as reading the Bible, praying, and finding a heterosexual man who could serve as an AA-type mentor. He was also referred to a Christian group that specializes in helping the sexually and relationally broken.

When this news broke, the talking heads launched their assaults at Dr. and Mrs. Bachmann decrying the notion that someone could become an “ex-gay.” MSNBC and many other organizations from the liberal side of things mocked the therapy as “pray away the gay.” Others have claimed that it is impossible to change someone’s sexual orientation because they are allegedly born that way.

My primary concern over this issue is theological in nature, but I do have a few comments to make before getting to that.

First, the notion that someone cannot become an ex-gay is contradicted by the thousands of ex-homosexuals in this country. There are numerous ministries devoted to helping people leave homosexuality and some of them have been started by ex-gays. This doesn’t mean that a person who leaves homosexuality won’t struggle with their decision or be tempted to go back to their former ways. But it is clear that a homosexual can make the decision to become straight.

Second, there is no evidence for the so-called “gay gene.” Many researchers have tried to find such a genetic trait but to no avail. I have a good friend who is married with children. He has an identical twin brother who is a homosexual. These two men have identical DNA yet one is heterosexual and the other is homosexual. I don’t deny that some people may be more predisposed to certain behaviors (e.g., alcoholism, obesity, homosexuality, etc.), but ultimately the person must decide whether he is going to give into their temptations. An alcoholic did not have to become an alcoholic, even if they were predisposed to it and grew up in an alcoholic family.

Third, John Becker came to Dr. Bachmann’s clinic asking for help to leave homosexuality. The same is true for anyone else coming to his clinics seeking help in this area. Why is it so wrong for a counselor to assist someone who comes to them for help? It seems that the main reason some people are so offended by this case is that homosexuality was being treated as something abnormal and that calling upon Jesus Christ was given as the solution. If we are supposed to be so tolerant of everyone’s beliefs, then why are those complaining about the Bachmanns so intolerant of the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality?

There are several other points that could be made about this subject, but I want to turn my attention to the attack on Scripture here. All of those people out there, including some professing Christians, who are claiming that a person cannot become an ex-gay are saying that the Bible is wrong. Let’s take a close look at what Paul said to the Corinthians.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–11, NKJV)

Notice that after listing all of those sinful behaviors Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit stated, “and such were some of you.” So some of the Christians in Corinth were former idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, etc. What happened to them? They were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. I don’t know if every bit of counsel provided in Dr. Bachmann’s clinics was biblically sound, but I do know if you deny that a person can become an ex-gay, then you are rejecting the teaching of God’s Word.

The Bible is very clear that homosexual behavior is a sin (see also Leviticus 18, Romans 1, 1 Timothy 1, and an article I wrote earlier this year on this subject). However, the temptation to sin is not the same as sin. James 1:14–15 states, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” A person may be predisposed to homosexuality and be tempted to engage in homosexual behavior. But the predisposition and temptation are not sinful. It becomes sinful when the person gives into those desires either mentally or physically.

Finally, let me clarify that some people in the church have done a poor job of handling this topic. They may have boldly and accurately proclaimed that homosexuality is a sin, but have they been willing to help a young person who may be struggling with these tendencies? Have they singled out homosexuality as a sin, but ignored the other sins that show up in those lists like adultery, idolatry, theft, and drunkenness?

We are all born with a sinful nature and are predisposed to sin. Yet God commands us not to sin. When I sin, I have no right to blame someone else for my sinful behavior. I need to take responsibility for my own actions. I am thankful that I serve a merciful, gracious, and loving God, who was willing to take my place on the Cross and die for my sins. The Bible tells us that God is patiently waiting before returning to judge this world and all of those who have rejected His offer of salvation. He is waiting so that more people will turn from their sins and trust in Him (2 Peter 3:9).

If you are a believer, are you speaking the truth boldly and lovingly? Are you willing to help those who struggle with sin or are you more content to condemn them? Or have you given into societal pressures and lies on this issue and compromised biblical truth? If you are an unbeliever, are you willing to forsake your sin and call out to Jesus Christ, the only one who can save you?

About Tim Chaffey

I am the founder of Midwest Apologetics and work as the Content Manager with the Attractions Division of Answers in Genesis. I have written (or co-authored) several books, including In Defense of Easter, God and Cancer, The Sons of God and the Nephilim, and The Truth Chronicles Series (see the publications page for more details). Please note: the opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of Answers in Genesis.


Michelle Bachmann, Ex-gay Therapy, and Another Assault on Scripture — 7 Comments

  1. Hi,
    While I agree that most homosexualism, lesbianism and pedophilia is self inflicted sin I have to point out to you that every day babies are born physically and mentally crippled – does this happen in the Midwest?
    It logically follows that some babies may actually be born hardwired to same sex attraction.- just as research shows that maletofemale transsexuals have a bit if brain like a female because there was a glitch in the supply of hormones when they were 5/6 week foetuses.
    Maybe if you can think that God cursed Eve and all creation after she ate that fruit you would be able to understand more and not cling to your midwest machismo?

    • Hi Rose,
      There are a couple of problems with your reasoning here. First, the fact that people can be born with physical and mental disabilities does not mean that it logically follows that someone may be born with SSA. As I mentioned in the second-to-last paragraph, we are all born with a predisposition to sin and yet we can consciously choose to not sin. Someone who struggles with SSA, regardless of where the desire came from (born that way, learned behavior, etc.) can still choose to not sin and give into those temptations. As I mentioned in this old article, researchers have tried to find genetic links to these behaviors but have been unable to find them.
      Second, I don’t believe that God cursed Eve since the Bible doesn’t teach this. He cursed the ground and the serpent (and probably the other animals since it seems the serpent was cursed “more than” the other animals, although the meaning hinges on whether the preposition after “cursed” in Genesis 3:14 should be taken as being comparative or separative). The man and woman were not cursed. So rather than blaming my alleged Midwest machismo for my position, maybe I’m just following what Scripture says about this point and encouraging others to do the same.

      • God told Eve she would have immense pain during childbirth unlike the animals who merely have to do a bit of pushing? He also told her she was going to die? I’d say that was an actual curse just as was His causing the vegetation to grow spines and poisonous seeds, leaves etc.
        You need to be thankful that you are straight up heterosexual with absolutely no physical or mental imperfections – as perfect a specimen of human as Adam and Eve were – are you – or do you wear glasses and have fillings in your teeth?
        I realise that the macho man and submissive homemaking woman is the stereotype but we are 6,000 years down the line from Adam and Eve.
        Then of course God forgave Saul the manslaughtering bigot so I think your stance is both unChristian, unscientific and unrealistic.

        • Rose,
          Since you seem unable to refrain from insulting me personally in your comments, this will be the last post I allow to go through from you. I allow people to disagree with me on my various blog posts, but if they refuse to hold civil discussions on the issues, then I won’t allow it to continue. Like anyone else alive today, I am full of genetic imperfections, a fact made painfully clear nearly ten years ago when I was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia.
          You claim my stance is “unChristian, unscientific and unrealistic” and yet have shown nothing to support such a claim about it being unChristian, other than your misunderstanding of what the curse in Genesis 3 implied. The Hebrew term is the strongest word for “curse” (‘arur) that they have and it refers to something that is cursed unto destruction. So it would be quite problematic if the woman and her childbearing were actually part of the curse since that is the means by which the Savior would enter the world. There is no doubt that the increased pain in childbirth is a result of their sin, but it is not technically part of the curse.
          You have not cited any scientific data to show that my view is wrong other than a generic claim about supposed research showing that male-to-female transsexuals have a brain like a female due to development when they were 5 or 6 weeks old in the womb. Where is the actual study for that and what is the evidence? Also, it’s interesting to me that you say my view is unrealistic and yet I can cite multiple examples of people who are former homosexuals, such as Rosaria Butterfield. And since Paul mentions that some people in the Corinthian church that they once were homosexual (and aren’t any longer) then it clearly is the biblical position.

  2. Great article! I am saddened that Satan has managed to make homosexuality a controversial subject when in fact it is a sin just like all other sins– the murderer, thief, liar, adulterer, the idolater… they will all face God’s judgment if they do not repent of their sins. By highlighting homosexuality, Satan has planted the idea that Christians are bigoted and intolerant which is very far from the truth. If we truly love people, we are to warn them of their impending fate. The sin of homosexuality just happens to be one of the sins we must all get away from. I pray for the LGBT people who have fallen for the devil’s lies and continue to justify their sinfulness because they “were born that way.”

  3. Enjoyed the article. Just wanted to say that even if there was a “gay gene”, your genes do not control you like a robot or puppet on a string. That is not to say your genes do not have an influence on you – they do. But, we control our destiny, we decide who we want to have a relationship with. We decide what we say, where we go, how we conduct ourselves. The devil wants people to think that they (homosexuals) haven’t got a choice. But, they do. In my opinion, to say that homosexuals (or any of us for that matter) don’t have a choice is a cop-out. It’s to deny our responsibilities. Thanks for letting put my two cents worth. God Bless.

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