The Malta Independent 22 May 2019, Wednesday

Indepth: ‘You cannot be Christian and gay at the same time’ – Matthew Grech

INDEPTH online Friday, 22 February 2019, 10:39 Last update: about 4 months ago

In the eyes of Matthew Grech, who describes himself as “ex-gay”, one cannot be Christian and gay at the same time.

Grech, who shot to prominence when a clip of him labelling homosexuality as a sin was aired by TVM as part of the first season of X-Factor Malta, was a guest on the latest episode of Indepth where he was joined by Gabi Calleja, a prominent and long standing pro-LGBTIQ activist who is also the head of the Human Rights and Integration Directorate within the Ministry for Equality and EU Affairs.

It was a debate, moderated by The Malta Independent Editor-in-Chief, which mainly focused on the differing views on homosexuality that Grech and Calleja hold, with the discussion falling onto the subject of religion – Grech had said that he had left the homosexual “lifestyle” after finding God – on numerous occasions.

One such occasion was when Calleja pointed out that while Grech thinks that he is speaking in the name of all Christians, there are people who are LGBTIQ and are devout Christians. She mentioned the organisation Drachma, which describes itself as a space for LGBTIQ persons and their friends who wish to meet to pray together and explore the intersections between sexuality, gender, gender identity, faith, spirituality and religion.

Calleja quoted Drachma picking a statement the organisation made which affirms that LGBTIQ persons are “part of God’s creation” and are a “regularly occurring variant in nature”.  The statement also adds that there is nothing mentally wrong with LGBTIQ persons and their dignity is rooted in the divine personhood of God as with anybody else. 

She quotes Drachma as saying that being gay is not a matter of choice and is not curable or reversible but an identity rooted fundamentally in the person’s being. Indeed, the statement continued, so-called reparative therapies have been harmful to gay people and their dignity precisely because it urges them to eradicate their own being in the name of a lie; that reparative therapy try to propagate more often than not for a hefty price.

Grech however terms this statement as a “lie” and says that it is not possible for a Christian to be gay as they would have forsaken their faith and the word of God.

Asked by Attard then if, by regularly giving mass to members of Drachma Archbishop Charles Scicluna was in the wrong, Grech replied that he was  not aware of whether the Archbishop gave such masses, but added that if he was then he was going against the word of God and that this did not shock him at all.

Speaking on the latest episode of Indepth, self-described 'ex-gay' Matthew Grech said that in a democratic country, he had "every right to believe and proclaim that homosexuality is a psychological disorder."

Grech, who recently described homosexuality as sinful on TVM's X Factor Malta, was joined on the latest episode  by prominent LGBTIQ activist Gabi Calleja, who also heads the Human Rights and Integration Directorate within the Ministry for Equality and EU Affairs.

During the interview, Grech said that the very idea of fixed sexual orientation had been questioned by the American Psychological Association (APA), which in 2014 issued a statement affirming that there was no evidence to suggest a genetic link to sexuality.

When asked by The Malta Independent editor-in-chief and debate moderator Rachel Attard whether he was implying that homosexuals suffered from some sort of psychological disorder or disability, Grech said that it was not he who was saying that, but the 'highest psychological body in the world'.

He argued that 'every case' of same-sex behaviour was tied to 'psychological events'.

"I myself come from this sort of background. I know the psychological events that led to my same-sex behaviour before I met Jesus. Every gay person I've met has been influenced by past environmental factors  which contributed to their same sex-behaviour," he said.

He described the study as 'authoritative', adding: "In a democratic country, I have every right to believe and proclaim that homosexuality is a psychological disorder. Therefore, the country is refusing to provide psychological help to those who believe this; to those who want, and have every right, to seek it. It is a denial of basic human rights."

On her part, Calleja refuted Grech's claims, saying that such assertions were not supported by scientific research.

Asked whether he accepted gay people, Grech replied in the affirmative, prompting Calleja to accuse Grech of simply not wanting homosexuals to enjoy the same rights as others. She also criticised his insinuation that homosexuals were attracted to the same sex because they were somehow traumatised in childhood. 

Calleja said that Grech sought to portray gay people as broken, sick or traumatized, when this was not the case, inviting viewers to take note of APA statements on so-called conversion therapies and sexual orientation, before adding that the APA itself had supported and endorsed every US law banning such practices.

Calleja also took aim at the term 'ex-gay', which she said was misleading and only used in the context of 'conversion therapies'.  She noted that a sexually inactive heterosexual would not be described as 'ex-heterosexual'. "That person was simply chaste," she said.

"Similarly," she said, "just because a gay person is not sexually active does not mean they are not gay; You remain gay - a gay person who chooses not to have a sexual relationship," she said.  

 

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