5 December 2023 |
Coming Out Ministries (COM), a Seventh-day Adventist-affiliated group, is reportedly under contract to purchase a building directly across from Andrews University, according to Volume 104, Issue 9 of The Student Movement. This development has sparked debate and concern among students and faculty, as the ministry’s views are not endorsed by Andrews University or the official Seventh-day Adventist Church.
COM, known for its belief in the possibility of conversion from homosexuality to a closer relationship with God, mirrors the philosophies of now-discredited conversion therapy groups such as “Homosexuals Anonymous” and “Exodus International.” Conversion therapy, widely debunked and condemned by medical and religious professionals, has evolved into subtler forms focusing on behavior change.
H. Meyer from the Williams Institute criticizes such practices, stating they reinforce stigma and convey LGBTQ+ identities as abnormal and sinful. This aligns with COM’s viewpoint, which suggests LGBTQ+ individuals prioritize their identity over their faith. Their mission statement criticizes those who offer sympathy rather than promoting what they perceive as redemption from “natural, yet sinful inclinations.”
Pastor Ron Woolsey, COM’s Senior Speaker and Co-Founder, expresses enthusiasm for the proximity to Andrews University, citing it as an opportunity for presenting an alternative viewpoint under the guise of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” However, critics argue that the ministry’s presence near the campus could threaten the mental, physical, and spiritual safety of students, particularly those identifying as LGBTQ+.
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