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Jason Evert
Jason Evert
Image: Chastity Project

'Untold damage could be done': Talks by US chastity speaker cancelled amid criticism

Jason Evert has described homosexuality as a disorder and is critical of contraception.
Jan 10th 2020, 7:43 PM 51,671 241

A CATHOLIC AUTHOR and public speaker from the US who refers to homosexuality as “disordered” is due to give talks about chastity in Ireland next week, although it appears at least three of the events have now been cancelled.

Jason Evert founded the Chastity Project, an organisation that promotes chastity, and has written several books and delivered speeches all over the world on topics such as sexuality, love and marriage.

Evert is also critical of contraception, saying it is bad for women’s health and makes them feel they have to be “more sexually available“. 

Evert has a master’s degree in Theology and runs the Chastity Project with his wife Crystalina Evert. The couple has eight children.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Ian Power, CEO of youth organisation SpunOut, said telling any young person they are disordered could do “untold damage”.

“For anybody, but particularly for somebody who is struggling with their identity, to be told that they are in some way disordered or wrong is extremely harmful to hear. 

“This could have really serious consequences for the mental health of young people coming to terms with their sexuality - as you struggle with that, you’re so much more vulnerable to the things other people say, particularly for younger people.

“Untold damage could be done if someone like this is allowed unfettered access to a young, captive audience,” Power said, adding: “It’s not okay for somebody to address students with anything under than objective facts.”

A number of talks Evert was due to give in Dublin and Waterford next week were listed on the Chastity Project website but the entire list has since been removed.

A video where he discussed his upcoming trip to Ireland also appears to have been removed from his YouTube channel amid criticism of the visit online in the last 24 hours. 

jason unav Source: Chastity.com

TheJournal.ie has contacted the organisers of the events and the venues where they were due to take place and it appears that at least two of the events are now not going ahead.

Evert’s website previously listed that he was due to deliver a presentation called ‘Love or Lust?’ to students at Blackrock College in Co Dublin and Rockbrook Park School in Dublin 16, two fee-paying boys’ schools, and Rosemont Secondary School for Girls in Sandyford in Dublin 18, also a fee-paying school, on Wednesday, 15 January. 

When contacted by TheJournal.ie today, a spokesperson for Blackrock College said: “He’s not now speaking in the college.” However, they would not elaborate on whether the event had previously been expected to take place, or why it was not now happening.

TheJournal.ie also contacted Rockbrook Park School and Rosemont School but had not received replies at the time of publication. No such events are currently listed on the schools’ upcoming events sections on their websites.

A talk by Evert at an Incite 2020 student retreat happening in University College Dublin from 16-18 January has also been cancelled. The UCD LGBTQ+ society welcomed this decision and thanked members of the public for their “support and solidarity“. 

‘Homosexuality is objectively disordered’

In a previous talk about gay people, Evert stated: “The Catholic Church [says] you can acknowledge you have same-sex attractions, you can tell your family members or whoever it is you care to disclose that information to but to realise that your other options isn’t just to come out and make up your own rules with sexuality but you can actually lead a pure life with the grace of God. This option isn’t even proposed to people who struggle with these attractions.”

The Chastity Project website references research on homosexuality and notes that one study states: “Sometimes the person (who is gay) experienced sexual abuse. Certainly not everyone who suffers sexual abuse develops homosexual attractions, and not everyone who has homosexual attractions was abused. But if a man abuses a girl, she may subconsciously think, ‘Men must all be like you, and no man will do that to me! I don’t want to be hurt that way again’.”

The ‘homosexuality‘ section on the website also includes the following quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.

“Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”

TheJournal.ie has contacted the Chastity Project to enquire about the Irish events but had not heard back at the time of publication. 

Other talks going ahead

Evert will speak at an event called ‘It Starts With The Heart! Ireland 2020′ at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church on Merrion Road in Dublin 4 on Wednesday, 15 January.

The parish priest, the Very Reverend Fergus O’Connor, confirmed to TheJournal.ie that the event is taking place but did not wish to discuss previous comments made by Evert.

The event is free but people had to pre-book and it is listed as ‘sold out‘ on Eventbrite. It is open to people aged 13 and older.

The church’s website includes the following listing: “We are happy to collaborate with the university students of the Joyful Living Team, who have invited Jason Evert, the very popular Catholic lay speaker, to come to Ireland for the first time in January 2020 with his message of hope and renewal.”

The listing states that Evert “has devoted his life to sharing the message on love and chastity to the world”.

Evert was also due to speak in Waterford at two events on Thursday, 16 January. A listing on the website for the Catholic diocese of Waterford and Lismore notes:

“This event is not to be missed, as this is Jason’s debut visit to Ireland. He will be addressing; IS ROMANCE REAL?  

“Most importantly, Jason brings a message of hope, that each person has immeasurable value, and that it’s never too late to begin again.”

The event was due to take place at the Tower Hotel. Earlier today a spokesperson for the hotel and a spokesperson for the diocese both said the event was going ahead.

However, a spokesperson for the hotel this evening confirmed that the event has now been cancelled. They would not elaborate on why.  

A spokesperson for the Holy Family Mission in Waterford confirmed that Evert will speak at the church on Thursday afternoon.

They said no complaints have been made about the event taking place. When asked about Evert’s previous comments on homosexuality, they stated: “What the Church teaches on homosexuality is in the Catechism.”

Note: This article was updated on 13 January to confirm that Evert’s talk at Incite 2020 had also been cancelled.

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Órla Ryan

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