A RECENT shock declaration by a young American evangelist that homosexuality is not a sin seems not to have sunk into the consciousness of Lesley Pilkington, 60, a British psychotherapist who agreed to “convert” a gay man who said he wanted to change his sexual orientation.
Pilkington, 60, is to appear before a professional conduct panel and faces losing her accreditation with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
She agreed to help Patrick Strudwick become heterosexual without realising he was an undercover journalist and gay rights campaigner who had a tape recorder strapped to his stomach.
Mrs Pilkington, a devout Christian who says she “understands the issues” because her son is gay, has – according to this report – treated around ten patients using the controversial Sexual Orientation Change Efforts programme over the past decade.
In tapes of her sessions with Strudwick he asks her if she views homosexuality as:
A mental illness, an addiction or an anti-religious phenomenon.
It is all of that.
He complained to the BACP and it launched disciplinary proceedings against her, accusing her of “praying to God to heal him [Mr Strudwick] of his homosexuality” and having an Â “agenda that homosexuality is wrong”.
Mrs Pilkington, who is fighting the case, accuses him of entrapment. Her defence is funded by the Christian Legal Centre.
She said she wanted to help Âothers who were in a “similar place” to her 29-year-old son who, she insisted, was:
Heterosexual. He just has a homosexual problem.
She told the Sunday Telegraph:
We say everybody is heterosexual, but some people have a homosexual problem. Nobody is born gay. It is in the upbringing.
But Mr Strudwick, who runs Âcampaign group the Stop Conversion Therapy Taskforce, said:
Every major mental health organisation in Britain and America is opposed to attempts to change someone’s sexuality… because there is good evidence not only that it doesn’t work but that it is harmful. If a black person goes to a GP and says, â€˜I want skin bleaching treatment’, that does not put the onus on the practitioner to deliver the demands of the patient. It puts the onus on the healthcare practitioner to behave responsibly.
A spokesman for the Christian Legal Centre said it was defending Mrs Pilkington because she was “lied to and misrepresented.”
The evangelist who sent shockwaves through America’s conservative Christian population is Jay Bakker, son of disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker, of the infamous Praise the Lord Ministry, who served five years on fraud and conspiracy charges. During his time as a televangelist, Bakker was closely associated with the late US evangelist, Jerry Falwell. The two had a falling out and Falwell called Bakker a liar, an embezzler, a sexual deviant, and:
The greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in 2,000 years of church history.
Gay friendly Jay – heterosexual and divorced – is quoted here as saying:
The simple fact is that Old Testament references in Leviticus do treat homosexuality as a sin … a capital offense even. But before you say, ‘I told you so,’ consider this: Eating shellfish, cutting your sideburns and getting tattoos were equally prohibited by ancient religious law.
The truth is that the Bible endorses all sorts of attitudes and behaviors that we find unacceptable (and illegal) today and decries others that we recognize as no big deal.
Leviticus prohibits interracial marriage, endorses slavery and forbids women to wear trousers. Deuteronomy calls for brides who are found not to be virgins to be stoned to death, and for adulterers to be summarily executed.
The church has always been late. We were late on slavery. We were late on civil rights. And now we’re late on this [the acceptance of gays].
Hat tip: BarrieJohn (Pilkington report)