This weekend, State of Belief offers some thoughts on how we can begin to comprehend the tragedy of this week’s mass shooting at Washington’s Navy Yard. We will also learn more about so called “ex-gay therapy” and its negative impact on some who feel their faith compels them to struggle against their sexuality. Download Icon

Comprehending another tragedy
As the nation once again struggles to cope with a mass shooting – in what has become far too common an occurrence – the portrait emerging of a deeply troubled young man with easy access to firearms  is a tragically familiar common thread in this kind of violence. Is this really something that is simply beyond us, as a society, to comprehend? And is it beyond us, as a society, to do anything about it? In looking for a way to address the Navy Yard tragedy on this week’s show, we turn to Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago – a community that’s been particularly hard-hit by gun violence. Rev. Moss also has deep personal experience with the tragic toll that mental illness can take, and he’ll share his story with us in addition to his own reaction to this week’s tragedy in Washington, DC.

Survey of ex-gay survivors
After the humiliating failure to capture July as “ex-gay pride month,” the small but vocal group of activists that see a benefit to creating a false “debate” on so-called “reparative therapy” are now trying to claim September for “ex-gay awareness.” Dr. Jallen Rix, a self-described survivor of this abuse-masquerading-as-therapy and author of the book Ex Gay No Way: Survival and Recovery from Religious Abuse, works with the community “” to help fellow ex-gay therapy survivors in the struggle to re-integrate their sexuality, spirituality and humanity in the aftermath of this destructive process.  Dr. Rix will join us to share the results of a recent survey of ex-gay survivors, and his insights on the damage this pseudoscience can do.

God or homosexuality: you have to choose
Maybe the worst thing about the “ex-gay” distraction is the way it can leverage sincere faith in the service of a false dichotomy. “God or homosexuality: you have to choose,” LGBT persons and their families are still too often told. What that can lead to is far too obvious.  It was July 1st of this year that the Huffington Post published an article titled, “Just Because He Breathes: Learning to Truly Love Our Gay Son.”  In it, Linda Robertson tells the heartbreaking story of encouraging her teen-aged son to make the “right” choice. Tragically, it didn’t work. Driven to hate both himself and the God he grew up devoted to, Ryan died of a drug overdose. Today, Linda and her husband, Rob, share their story with other parents – hoping to prevent their making the same sincere, well-meaning mistake that they now feel they made. This intimate interview with a  still-grieving mother won’t be easy to listen to – but the courage of her decision to speak out is something you won’t be able to forget. CLICK HERE FOR EXTENDED INTERVIEW VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT.

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