This being Sunday, "Church Day" here at the Newark USA fotoblog, I present a foto of a storefront church that doesn't look like much from the outside but which has a significant presence on the Internet. This is the Iglesia Cristiana Emanuel, Inc. (Emanuel Christian Church) on Broadway in the North Ward.
Last week I showed a church that apparently did not have a website. This week's church has several interconnected websites, including radioemanuel.com. Most of the print text on the radioemanuel.com site is in Spanish, but that on the Tripod website is in English, including a link to Kirk Cameron's monthly column. That's right, Kirk Cameron, from the old Alan Thicke sitcom Growing Pains. He has become a Christian media-missionary.
Little did I know when I took this fotoblog daily that I would discover so many interesting things about Newark from the research that I felt I needed to do about the things I fotograf.
Alas, I was irritated by one longish article I saw on the website, "Homosexualidad: ¿Congénita o Cambiable?" ("Homosexuality: Congenital or Changeable?"), in which a woman uses research from the early 1990's to assert that homosexuality is not genetic. Never mind that the bulk of homosexuals, driven underground by intolerance like hers, are not known to the public nor to researchers, so no research can be done on anything like a representative sample of gay men. And never mind that at the rate of change of science today, even a good study from 1993 would be regarded as seriously out-of-date today, and its conclusions would have to be checked against the latest findings. No, she has a case to make, and makes it. Here are three short, representative passages (Spanish original first, my English translation after).
El doctor Spitzer entrevistó a 200 hombres y mujeres que habían experimentado un cambio significativo de la atracción sexual, de homosexual a heterosexual, y que habían sostenido este cambio por lo menos durante cinco años. Muchas de estas personas habían buscado el cambio debido a la desilusión que sufrieron con el estilo de vida promiscuo, y con relaciones inestables y tormentosas. Muchos reportaron tener un conflicto con sus valores religiosos, y muchos habían deseado estar (o seguir) casados heterosexualmente. * * *For those of you who do not read Spanish, here's a rough translation:
Aun aquellos a los que no les cambió su orientación, pero que ya no practican la homosexualidad, experimentaron una mejoría significativa en su salud emocional. * * *
Este conflicto interno está basado en convicciones legítimas e inteligentes, tales como las convicciones morales y religiosas, no son el resultado de lo que llaman una sociedad “homofóbica”, la cual está forzando la culpabilidad en la gente que no se ajusta a la ética heterosexual. Para aquellos que lo desean, el cambio es posible.
Dr. Spitzer interviewed 200 men and women who had experienced a significant change of sexual attraction, from homosexual to heterosexual, and who had sustained this change for at least five years. Many of these persons had sought the change owing to the disillusionment they suffered with the promiscuous lifestyle, and with unstable and tormented relationships. Many reported having a conflict with their religious values, and many had wanted to be (or become) married heterosexually. * * *Those are fiting words, and make me very angry. What they mean is that merely telling people a billion times that homosexuality is sick, evil, and contrary to God's law does not constitute homophobia, and people who avoid homosexuality to conform to what they are told they should do, thereby reduce their anxieties by giving up the fite to be themselves, and that's a good thing.
Even others who did not change their orientation, but who stopped practicing homosexuality, experienced a significant improvement in their emotional health. * * *
This internal conflict [between what they actually feel and what they have been made to think they should feel] is based on legitimate and intelligent convictions, such as moral and religious convictions; they are not the result of what they call a "homophobic" society, which is forcing guilt upon people who have not adjusted to the heterosexual ethic. For those who wish it, change is possible.
Let's reverse the premise. What if a Great Gay Church were to arise that said that overpopulation is destroying the planet, and homosexuality and lesbianism are God's plan to end the predation upon the planet required by the unsustainable numbers of people that heterosexuality floods the world with. Whereas once it was necessary for people to become numerous to civilize the world, so heterosexuality was needed, the circumstances of the planet have completely changed, and heterosexuality is now a horrendous evil that must be suppressed because it is destroying God's green Earth. And then this church bullies straight people to convert to homosexuality or lesbianism and makes them feel that if they have children they are committing a crime against nature and setting us up for wars of desperation as unsustainable billions scramble to survive by fiting for every grain of rice. All the forces of society enlist in this new crusade to end heterosexuality's ravages and save the world for koalas and pandas more than just to prevent the birth of hundreds of millions of children who will starve to death in the Third World, and everyone who has more than one child is a monster to be loathed and banished from decent society. Heterosexual marriage is banned; conversion programs pop up in churches and mental-health clinics all over society; and heterosexuals can no longer court each other openly but must skulk around in dark alleyways. No heterosexual relationship can be acknowledged publicly, and all sexual contacts must be furtive and impermanent. Would straight people oppressed by an aggressively homosexual ruling class think themselves oppressed, and regard that society as "heterophobic"? Wouldn't some of them get tired of fiting and moving in the shadows, feeling themselves dirty and ungodly, and thus feel compelled to try to convert, or at least stop acting on their disgusting impulses? You can bet your last dollar they would.
Never do heterosexuals ask what makes people heterosexual — altho the evidence is all around them: they are raised to be heterosexual, and everything around them is designed to teach them to be straight, induce them to be straight, force them to be straight. Yet, with all that pressure and modeling of behavior on that of their elders, scores of millions of men (and some women) in this country refuse to be straight, because it's just not them. Would straights resist compulsory homosexuality as powerfully as gay men have resisted compulsory heterosexuality? Or would the great preponderance of men find sex and love with their buddies so comfortable that they would see no need to defy the New Order? Is heterosexuality congenital or changeable?
In any case, the tiny type on that webpage will disincline some people to read that long article, and I'm not about to suggest to the webmaster that he increase the type size to accommodate people who have their monitors set to higher resolutions.
My main point is that the unprepossessing building above houses a church that is using the Internet very well to spread its message. I just wish that message were more enlightened.