Nearly 1,500 people from the largest Christian community in the world that primarily ministers to homosexuals recently felt a sense of affirmation regarding their sexual identity to the point of learning to influence their society to be pro-gay.
Metropolitan Community Churches just came out of its General Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., where it hosted delegates from 25 countries, including those where homosexual behavior is outlawed. While the five-day conference, which ended last Friday, gave participants a chance to discuss sexuality and spirituality, it also taught them how to stand up for "human rights" and how to get their governments to favor homosexuality.
"Homosexual activists understand that the Church is really the last bastion of disagreement over the issue over homosexuality," said Caleb Price, gender issues analyst for Focus on the Family, according to CitizenLink, the news publication of the conservative pro-family organization. "They know that if they can somehow change the Church's view of the issue and declare that it's no longer sinful, that that will be the linchpin that will allow everything else in society to become pro-gay."
MCC, which launched its international movement in 1968, claims to represent 43,000 members and adherents in almost 300 congregations in 22 countries. It fights for LGBT rights and equality, and aims to become "leaders in the world about the union of spirituality and sexuality."
Regarding the recent conference, Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, told Family News in Focus that he doesn't like the idea of a conference in America influencing other nations to embrace homosexuality.
"There's certainly no reason why immoral American standards should be exported to the developing world," he said. "If a country like Jamaica criminalizes homosexual behavior, that's their right."
According to a recent Gallup Poll, gay tolerance in the United States is reaching record marks with 57 percent of the American public saying should be sanctioned as an acceptable alternative lifestyle – the highest the Gallup Poll has recorded since 1982.
Last week's MCC-sponsored conference came as the U.S. Senate was reviewing a hate crimes bill that would expand federal hate crime categories to include violent attacks against gays and people targeted because of gender. Conservative Christians are rallying against the bill, arguing that it would censor the free speech of pastors and Christians who express their biblical views on the sin of homosexuality.
As Michael Marcavage, president of Repent America, put it, "As Christians we do not advocate violence against other people, so that's not an issue.
"However, the lawmakers in Washington are attempting to criminalize Christians because of their faith in Jesus Christ and because they choose to speak the truth of God's Word."
The pro-gay church conference also came as greater media attention is being given to the ex-gay movement.
Most recently, Michael Glatze, founding editor of Young Gay America Magazine and a leading activist in the homosexual community, announced that he has been "healed." In a column entitled "How A 'Gay Rights' Leader Became Straight," Glatze said, "It became clear to me, as I really thought about it – and really prayed about it – that homosexuality prevents us from finding our true self within.
"We cannot see the truth when we're blinded by homosexuality," he wrote.
Later, in a follow-up to the column, Glatze announced that he is "going to do what I can to fight it (homosexuality)."
Christian Post reporter Eric Young in Washington contributed to this article.