September 15, 2012

 

I never knew that I was a delusional slave to paganism and the occult and a pathological liar just because I am gay, but according to a recent Orthodox forum, I am. The theme of the recent conference sponsored by St. Stephen Orthodox Church in Lima, Ohio, a parish in the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church in America, held from August 24-26, 2012, was “same-sex attraction”.  Endorsed by the Midwest diocese of the OCA, it was the latest in a series of conferences sponsored by the parish on “current issues”.

All one has to do is read the list of topics to understand that there was little objectivity at this forum and no true to desire to understand the gay person. Some of the tiles of the sessions included: “The Fall, Bondage, Paganism and the Occult”, “Orienting Ourselves, Delusion, Passion”, “Where the Lies Come From: Cultural Paradigms”.  To be fair, there was one possibly compassionate and objective section of the forum entitled “Love and Acceptance in Community”, or so I thought until I read that the gathering also featured “testimonials from individuals who have left the gay lifestyle”. One might leave the “gay lifestyle” whatever that pejorative term means, but one cannot cease being who God created them to be.

One theme of the conference that was front and center was “bondage”.  Bondage is defined as slavery or involuntary servitude. It is also the state of being bound by or subjected to some external power or control. (dictionary.com) In the King James version of the Bible, the word is used 37 times. In the majority of those cases it is primarily used to indicate the state of the Hebrews under Egyptian rule. It is also used to describe the state of the Jews while in Babylonian exile. In certain Orthodox patristic texts the word is used to indicate a spiritual false affection for the temporal world and its passions.  It can also mean a delusional devotion to evil.

In most of the Scriptural references, bondage is something that is done to the disenfranchised, the oppressed or those in the minority by those in the majority or those with more power or those wanting to hold to the status quo.  If one holds to this definition, then indeed, gay people are held in bondage by many societies around the world, and certainly by the Orthodox Church.  Gay people have certainly been exiled numerous times for simply being who they were created to be. We have no more or less false affection for the temporal world and its passions than do heterosexuals and yet we are placed into a separate and unequal category of the delusional and perverted.

One of the notes speakers at the forum was Dr. Lynne Pappas, a board certified psychiatrist from California whose views on homosexuality were recently published in an interview on the Orthodox website Pravoslavie (link below). Dr. Pappas equates the love between two adult males or two adult females with bestiality and pedophilia. Let me state this again, in case you might have missed it.  The love expressed between two adult males or two adult females is placed in the same category as adults having sexual relations with animals or children by Dr. Pappas. It is shocking that someone who is educated, trained and board certified in child psychiatry does not understand or perhaps accept the difference between two adults being in and expressing mutual and consenting acts of love and the criminal act of pedophilia. She loses all sense of objectivity as a medical professional when in the interview she states that “no one who engages in homosexual activity is psychologically healthy.” Dr. Pappas liberally uses powerfully derogatory words such as “delusional, aberrant, distorted, tormented, depressed and even suicidal” to describe gay people. She also expresses anger and indignation at the recent gains in securing civil liberties for the gay community in California and across the United States. One can only wonder if her political views have seriously clouded her objectivity as a medical professional. This is always a dangerous thing when treating vulnerable patients.  

Balanced, happy, successful, faithful gay Orthodox people in long term loving, caring same-sex relationships were not officially invited to speak at the forum. It is unknown if any transcripts of the proceedings will be made available to those unable to attend. The cost to attend the forum was only $30. That is not a bad price to pay to find out that you are a delusional pagan and an abhorrent practitioner of the occult ready to commit suicide because you enjoy sexual relations with animals. At least the cost included lunch; I would have probably gotten heartburn. 

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/47957.htm

  1. J Said,

    The church's "hate the sin, not the sinner" dogma notwithstanding, it's upsetting that Pappas would espouse such hateful views…. by bringing in speakers such as Pappas, the church helps to perpetuate an environment that is hostile to gay Christians. Shame on the those parishioners who accept this. Unfortunately, as we garner more social rights and more power within the public sphere, I see this situation only getting worse….

  2. andre Said,

    J, Thank you for your comment on the website. While Dr. Pappas’ views are seen as extreme by some, other “Christians” see her ideas as acceptable. I have met and corresponded with numerous LBGTQ Orthodox Christians and have met numerous parents of LGBT sons and daughters and know that they either disagree or question the teachings of the Church on this issue. They may even be the silent majority in the Orthodox diaspora. But as Christians we are people of hope and God can move mountains and certainly change minds when love and faith are involved.

  3. Larissa Said,

    Dear un-named bondage person:
    There is actually nothing in this impoverished and inaccurate assessment of the conference in Ohio that leaves me with any reason to believe that you were even present there.
    The last line is the giveaway: "I would have probably gotten heartburn." Only if you had been there would there have been a risk of indigestion. 
    I like the idea of taking a critical look at something and discerning with the heart and with intellectual honesty whether or not the ideas, progression of logic and spiritual teaching are sound or off-base. But please: why not attend the conference and get information first hand.
    Otherwise, the distorted reporting of information creates confusion more than honest dialog.
    Thanks.
    Larissa

  4. andre Said,

    Larissa,

    Thank you for your comment. It is true that I did not attend the conference, the lack of funds prevented that. However, the views of Father Hopko and Dr. Pappas are well known as they have been published. I do not need to hear something vocalized to have an opinion on the topic or to know when something is not sound, spiritually, mentally or emotionally. I have looked at this issue – homosexuality and the Orthodox Church – for decades as an active priest – through prayer, fasting, conversations with bishops and priests and educated laypersons BEFORE I started to write publically on the issue. I do not see exposing someone’s published idea as distortion. Saint Vladimir Press has published the ideas and words of Father Hopko on homosexuality long before I drew attention to them. The views of Dr. Pappas are available in interviews with her online – both are cited on my website. I am open to honest dialogue which is why my name is one every reflection and on the website. Andriy

  5. Anonymous Said,

    I was Eastern Orthodox for 10 years. I have since returned to the Catholic Church. You will wait a lifetime and beyond before the Eastern Orthodox will ever underwrite your lifestyle, and even longer before you will gain acceptance by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. Having said that, I completely understand your desire that the historical apostolic Church should endorse your passions. I have a few passions of my own which I wish the Catholic/Orthodox Church(es) would endorse. But I am honest enough (by the grace of God) to see the failure as my own, and not of the historical apostolic Christian Church.

  6. andre Said,

    I am sorry that you felt the need to leave the Orthodox Church, but I would like to address your comment. First of all, LGBTQ people do not have a lifestyle – we have a life. A life created by God and that includes the creation of our sexual identity. My life does include passions which are sinful. However, my life also includes that which is wholesome and sacred such as love for someone of the same gender. While I might be too hopeful for a change in the Church, Christians are called to faith and hope. The Church has changed its mind over the centuries on numerous issues and accepted changes in Scriptural interpretation and Canonical precepts. Allowing marriages between Orthodox Christians and other baptized Christians is one change. Another is the acceptance of the Western calendar (Gregorian) Paschal celebrations of the Orthodox Church of Finland – something that is prohibited by the First Ecumenical Council. I am neither accepting nor condemning these decisions – but they are examples of the Church changing. We are people of hope and as LGBTQ people we hope for change.

  7. AnotherAnonymous Said,

    Dr. Pappas’ views are shocking and offensive. Just as shocking and offensive, though, is that a Church-sponsored forum invited her and did not, apparently, invite anyone else to challenge her views.

  8. andre Said,

    Yes, that is quite true – not a single speaker was on the panel to challenge her. Of course, I have no way of knowing if any challenging speakers were invited. Had I had the funds I would have traveled to Ohio to at least attend the conference. Those that preach such views need to hear from us. I do not always fault those who say such hateful things because I think at times that they simply have never truly known or spoken to those of us who know differently.
    Andriy

  9. Julie Anon Said,

    I am saddened, but not surprised to read this. As a single mother who has lived often on the margin of the church, I have to admit that I would understand someone just becoming a rather fatigued Pilgrim upon the way, and looking for a home where he/she would be welcomed.

  10. andre Said,

    Julie,

    Thank you for your comment and support. Single mothers should not live on the margins of the Church – they are the Church – the faithful, just as the homeless are, blind people, transgendered, gay, all of God’s creation are part of the Church. Yet, many people feel ostracized by the very Church that is supposed to love and nurture them.
    I hope that you have found a spiritual home.
    I bid you peace.

    Andriy

  11. Georges Said,

    How is it that Pappa’s license has not been revoked because of her unscientific assertions?

    Once a “Catholic psychiatrist” wrote BS in a newspaper in Belgium. Later I found out that he had no official/legal recognition as a psychiatrist.