For years Greg Quinlan juggled a double life, going to church, entering Bible College, chasing gay sex.
The tension nearly killed him, he said.
"I was torn," he said. "I had to either come out of the closet or commit suicide. I was more afraid of facing God."
So he dropped his faith and lived as an openly gay man who learned to lobby on behalf of gay and lesbian issues through his volunteer work for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). He was particularly enamored with the group's black-tie fundraisers. The group, he said, was a refreshingly professional organization that seemed a world removed from the often-raucous scenes in gay bars.
"The women were in skirts and the men weren't," he said.
As a lobbyist, Quinlan said he liked to research "the enemy" and began to monitor evangelical television to keep abreast of their twisted moves to protect pro-family values. During one program, the host featured the testimonies of several former gays who had successfully left the lifestyle.
"I would have two wars raging inside of me," he said. "I would wonder, 'Oh, God, is it true? Can I get out of this?'"
Nearly two decades later, Quinlan is still campaigning, but his message is vastly different.
"The gay lifestyle is shallow, lust-filled and immature," he said during a visit to San Diego for the National Education Association's convention.
Now a member of the Ex-Gay Educators' Caucus, Quinlan is pushing for access to teachers in an effort to balance the union's push for pro-homosexual issues, including same-sex marriage and gay-friendly curriculum. He and other Ex-Gay caucus members did so by working a booth at the NEA's exhibit hall, a right they had to sue for several years back.
"What the HRC taught me to do," he said, "I'm now doing for the Lord."
As an HRC volunteer in the late '80s, Quinlan said group members focused on moving their agenda forward by concentrating on several key arenas including establishing gay-affirming curriculum, seeking to allow homosexuals to openly serve in the U.S. military, legalizing gay-marriage and re-educating education.
Quinlan said numerous initiativestargeting sex-ed and science curriculum, while also implementing protections designed at preventing bullyinghave made great inroads in the public schools.
"One area where they have won, have had tremendous success, is in education," he said, adding that each generation of students becomes more and more accepting of homosexuality. "We are in a demographic nightmare."
Growing up as a young man with an abusive "Archie Bunker-type" father, Quinlan first found solace in his faith, describing a strong spiritual conversion at age 9.
"It was the real deal," he said. "I felt the weight lift off of my shoulders."
Instead of life improving at home, the father's abuse toward him worsened. Eventually he filled his desperate need for affection at the hands of a young teen boy who introduced him to sex. Quinlan said he became a willing molestation victim.
"I was getting something I wasn't getting at home, I was getting something I wasn't getting at school, and I was getting something I wasn't getting at church," he said. "I was getting attention, I was getting affirmation, I was getting affection. Someone was touching me without hitting me. Someone was talking to me without screaming."
Through the help of Christian spiritual leaders, Quinlan returned to his faith and began working on the issues of bitterness and unforgiveness that perverted his relationship with his father.
"That's when the same-sex attractions faded," he said. "That was the enemy's hook in me."
It was not, he said, an overnight healing and he held to the promises of Romans 12 by trying to renew his mind.
"There is pleasure in sin, for a season," he said. "I had spent a long time contaminating it."
Today he works with Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays and is a consultant for the New Jersey Family Policy Council.
While he bemoans the closed platform of the NEA, Quinlan places much of the blame for homosexuality advances in the public school system right at the feet of believing Christians.
"We've allowed this to happen," he said. "There are so many Secret Service Christians who need to come out of the closet, but we also need to know how to argue and debate persuasively. This conspiracy and its wheel have been around for decades."
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