Christian BoyLove Forum #63748
I certainly don't blame churches specifically for what has happened in the cases mentioned, except to suggest that they contribute to homophobic attitudes within the wider community. As this is a forum that deals with issues relating to faith and sexuality, it seemed appropriate to raise the issue.
I also didn't mean my comments to be specific to churches in Australia, although the criticism still applies.
Church attendance in Australia is lower than in the United States (although, like in the US, the majority identify as Christians), and it's true that a large number of church-goers are moderates, many of whom accept homosexuals or keep their intolerance to themselves. However, while there is a decline in church attendance overall, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches (with generally conservative views on homosexuality) are expanding.
At the church I sometimes attend it's not uncommon to hear the pastor speak negatively about homosexuals and homosexuality, often quite angrily (or passionately, if you prefer). I find those sorts of views incredibly upsetting, but at the end of the day I'm a young adult who can come or go as I please. I find it much more depressing to imagine any young people in the congregation who could well be experiencing romantic feelings towards people of the same gender. Accompanying their parents, they are far less of a position to decide what church to attend and may not have access to alternative perspectives. For a young person struggling with their sexuality this could no doubt cause irreparable damage.
I'm not familiar with the range of literature promoted by such churches, but I did look at one book aimed at young males. Towards the end there was a brief mention of homosexuality. It suggested that homosexual feelings are often a result of being molested as a child, among other ignorant statements (the pastor, on the other hand, tends to suspect demonic influence as a possible cause). This sort of ugly misinformation can only have a detrimental effect on vulnerable minds.