NEW YORK Ex-gay ministry leaders say there is a new movie on homosexuality that accurately portrays the gay lifestyle and all of its empty promises, but misleads people when suggesting that society's condemnation caused the men's tortured unhappiness.
"Brokeback Mountain is a movie that has some reality in it," says former homosexual, Alan Chambers. "The reality is that gay life is not happy."
The film is an accurate look at the homosexual life, says Chambers, but what's inaccurate is blaming that unhappiness on society rather than what it really is an empty, unsatisfying relationship wrought with anxiety and confusion.
Speaking from experience, Chambers says Hollywood seem[s] to indicate that society is at fault, and that's just not the truth. Life-long committed relationships [in the gay lifestyle] aren't possible. Far more often, it's full of promiscuity, loneliness, desperation, jealousy, and abuse."
Married now with two kids, Chambers founded Exodus International, the nation's largest network of former homosexuals, in 1976. The ministry gives many the hope that they, too, can have a biblically-sanctioned, loving marriage.
The story of a pair of homosexual cowboys in Brokeback Mountain has received top ratings from major critics for best film and director (Ang Lee). On Tuesday, it picked up seven Golden Globe nominations, more than any other film. Though not the first gay film in history, its lineup of A-list actors (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal), first-rate director, and marketing tactics have caused a flurry in mainstream media.
The movie showcases the misery of a gay couple, whose relationship leads them through divorces and suicide.
Mike Ensley recently came on staff with Exodus after escaping from the gay lifestyle. He says Christians, in particular, must wake up to this "calculated and purposeful move to silence the opposition" and "desensitize people."
Chambers says homosexuality is "just not right," no matter how much a person tries to ignore their gut feelings.
"There isn't a person who struggles with homosexuality out there not to mention the mainstream who doesn't have some inclination, feeling that it's just not right," he says.
Studies have revealed the harsh realities of the homosexual lifestyle. Researchers found that depression strikes homosexuals four to five times more severely than non-gays, and youths who identify themselves as gay are four times more likely to commit suicide, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Dept. Eighty percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth report experiencing social, emotional, and cognitive isolation. About half of all HIV positives in the U.S. were infected from male to male sexual contact.
Stephen Bennet, a Christian and a former gay, knows of the lifestyle. He says, "As a former homosexual who once engaged in the deadly homosexual behavior and lifestyle for 11 years, I've buried countless boyfriends in the ground who've died from AIDS. I know the reality of Brokeback Mountain. I've lived Brokeback Mountain. I've overcome Brokeback Mountain."
The film grossed a staggering $109,000 a screen in just five theaters in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It opens in 20 more cities this weekend.
USA Today praised the film for "riding into the mainstream" and "charting new frontiers."
Chambers says the film's marketing tactics are downright "manipulative."
"Director Ang Lee knew full well that he didn't have a large enough gay population to draw into this ... so he marketed it to women as a love story, knowing full well that if you can convince a mom, a sister to see a movie, they really do have a lot of influence over their fathers, boyfriends."
Tim Wilkins, an ex-gay and founder of Cross Ministry, fears that the movie may influence children negatively in two ways: through the power of strong visual imagery and by making fathers more reluctant to show male bonding love.
"Some would argue that this is just a love story and nothing more. Not so," he says. "Visual images make great impressions on the mind."
"I am also concerned that the movie may cause men to be more reluctant, than they are now, to express genuine affection to one another," he adds. "God made us for companionship. In countries other than the United States, men more willingly hug each other. And touch is so important in helping a boy become a man."
Chambers says the cause of homosexuality is a lack of genuine relationships.
"The reason we see such a pandemic related to sexuality is because we're broken relationally," he explains. "We struggle with intimacy, marriage, and everyday relations. The closest thing that we can find is often counterfeit, via pornography, prostitution, or impure thoughts or relationships."
"Man needs a loving relationship with God," he states. "The whole thing is that God created us to be in relationship first and foremost with Him."