Minnesota Religious Group Set for "Humility," But Poised for Humiliation?
An anti-gay Christian group has targeted Twin Cities Pride for some good old-fashioned "hate the sin" loving.
According to GLBT news site JoeMyGod, Trinity Works is set to launch what it calls "Humility 2014," a push to proselytize to gays attending Pride -- and their leader has gone so far to claim that the group's presence will effect miraculous cures for HIV amongst the event's celebrants.
The JoeMyGod article quoted the following paragraph from a June 27 report at The Colu.mn, a site devoted to Minnesota's LGBT population:
"Trinity Works, in coalition with what it says are 30 Twin Cities churches, is planning 'Humility 2014,' an infiltration of Twin Cities Pride by outreach workers hoping to convince members of the LGBT community to leave the 'lifestyle' as well as their partners, family, and friends, and become heterosexual born-again Christians. The group even had a failed plan to rent out the Gay 90s [nightclub] as a church during Pride. The group says it has about 300 outreach workers scheduled for Pride, and those workers will be based at First Baptist Church on Hennepin Avenue along the Pride parade route. Its leader Steven Uggen told a group gathered in April at The Well, A Living Church in Robbinsdale, that people will be cured of 'HIV or AIDS' at the Pride festivities. Uggen says that by healing those with HIV, it will prove to the LGBT community that they should find Jesus and leave 'the lifestyle.' "
The JoeMyGod article further quoted the leader of the Church group as saying that Pride-going attendees should plan on testing his claim of miraculous healing:
"Go to your doctor, get tested for HIV or AIDS and when you come back negative, you've got a decision to make whether you're gonna serve the God who just healed you," the article quoted him as saying.
Though medical science has made considerable advances in treating HIV and preventing its transmission, all those gains have been based in scientific principles of pharmacology and epidemiology. Recent "cures" of people with HIV include several newborns subjected to intensive treatment regimens and a cancer survivor who received blood stem cells from a compatible donor with a HIV-resistant mutation. No verified case of a prayer- or faith-based "cure" for HIV has as yet been documented, and there is no scientific basis to believe anyone at the Pride event -- whether celebrant of religious "outreach" participant -- who arrived HIV-positive will leave the event HIV-negative.
That opens the question as to whether the religious group's membership, upon witnessing a failure of their so-called humility, will in turn experience anything in the way of humiliation, or whether the response will simply be to shrug off the failure of any verifiable cures to manifest.
Dubious claims about HIV "cures" have included such non-scientific advice as the drinking of concoctions made with beet juice and sexual intercourse with virgins. Those strategies, along with stubborn denialism and social stigma, www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=&sc2=news&sc3=&id=84066|helped propel AIDS to crisis levels in Africa.>
In the U.S., some churches have similarly resorted to attempts at exorcism to "cure" homosexuality by casting evil spirits out of the bodies of gay people. No such "cures" seem to have resulted. Similarly, anti-gay faith traditions have posited that "reparative therapy" can "cure" gays and convert them into heterosexuals. The mainstream medical establishment has rejected such "treatment" as ineffective and prone to inflict harm; some youthful survivors have gone so far as to describe their experiences with "reparative therapy" as "torture" that did nothing to convert or "cure" them.
Even so, the Texas Republican Party recently embraced "reparative therapy" as a genuine and effective means for gays "seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle."