The Latest Plan for "Recovering" Gays and Lesbians

January 19 2011, 1:00 PM

The Catholic Diocese in Colorado Springs has a new plan for gays and lesbians seeking refuge from their homosexuality: an Alcoholics Anonymous-like program dubbed the Twelve Steps of Courage, the first of which requires participants to declare they "were powerless over homosexuality" and that their "lives had become unmanageable." As Reverend Larry Brennan tells the Gazette, "the exercise of sexuality is reserved for marriage, and that can only happen between a man and a woman." After all, the Catholic Church views homosexuality as a sin and expects those with same-sex attractions to be celibate. Call to Action, a progressive Catholic organization in Chicago, is skeptical of the program, saying it "restricts people's freedom to be the kind of person they were created to be."

The urge to "rehabilitate" gays and lesbians isn't new. Back in 2004, John Dicker, then working for the Colorado Springs Independent, went undercover into the "gay recovery scene" at the Denver ministry Where Grace Abounds after searching unsuccessfully for a program in the Springs, home to socially conservative evangelical institutions like Focus on the Family and New Life Church. Dicker revisited the issue three years later for 5280—after former New Life pastor Ted Haggard had been famously "de-gayed" following the gay prostitution and drugs scandal that outed him.

New Life paid for Haggard to leave the Springs, but he returned recently to start a new ministry, which he discusses in Ted Haggard: Scandalous, a documentary that aired Sunday on TLC. In it, Haggard says he's now catering to "sinners" rather than the "self-righteous," adding, "I'm a broken man. I know why poor people drink. I think I know why rich people drink. I think I know why they take drugs. I know why they get to a place where they'll just have sex with anyone or anything. And that's not the best that God has" (via the Christian Post).