On Tuesday, April 20 Florida State University hosted a seminar entitled ‘All God’s Children: LGBTQ Members of Faith & the Ex-Gay Movement’.
The event was organized by the campus’ Pride group, and Seminole Christian Life. The latter is described as a “very conservative Christian student body.”
One of the guest speakers was none other than the infamous Arthur Abba Goldberg, a founding member of JONAH, Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality.
Goldberg, of course, was the man exposed by SFGN in February, for having been convicted of committing fraud in connection with a $52 billion municipal bond scam.
He served time in jail, and eventually embraced heterosexuality and Orthodox Judaism, resurrecting himself as a leader of the ex gay movement.
Kim van der Linde, evolutionary biologist and doctoral fellow at FSU, also attended. Originally from the Netherlands, she is astonished by American’s tug-of-war with religion and LGBT issues.
“First of all it was incredibly stupid of Pride to provide a platform to these people,” she stated. “As expected they deliberately distorted what we know about homosexuality, and claimed there’s no genetic component.”
Van der Linde summed up their claims in a word beginning with “bull” and ending in “it.” There was a “sh” in between the two. As a biologist she knows which gene to manipulate in order to make flies court the same sex.
LGBT-supportive panelists were Rev. Mark Byrd, of Gentle Shepard MCC, Winston-Salem, NC and Cantor Tanya Greenblatt of Temple Israel, Tallahassee who has been involved with the university in terms of scriptural groups. Frank Carrasco and Christine Sneeringer of Exodus International, represented ex-gays along with Arthur Goldberg.
“I replied we were an uneven match for them, because we had two educated religious and they had three lay people,” Greenblatt added. “Goldberg used his time to promote himself, his new book, and how he wanted to make more appearances speaking. It was all thinly veiled self-promotion and in terms of the Jewish perspective and the Law, he doesn’t know his stuff.”
In turn, she didn’t know Goldberg. “I skimmed SFGN’s article about Goldberg, and learned enough. I heard of the ex-gay movement but never took it seriously.”
Goldberg contended that Orthodox Judaism is the most mainstream form of the faith. “This isn’t true. As far as affiliation goes Reformed is the mainstream. He also shook my hand. I didn’t extend mine when we met because an observant Orthodox Jewish man will not shake hands with a woman other than his wife. It made it difficult to take anything he said about Judaism seriously,” Greenblatt added.
The event wasn’t successful. Both van der Linde and the Cantor felt attendees were not swayed one way or other, defeating a panel’s purpose.
Yet, while he wasn’t successful at FSU, Goldberg could be problematic. As one student said, “A person who can sway people out of millions can convince people that they can change their sexuality.”
On April 25 Goldberg will again appear with JONAH in Manhattan. The invitation promises to comply with kosher diets. Truthwinsout.org coyly states “Well, at least it’s good to know there are still some laws observed by Goldberg.”