The good thing about this initiative is that it tells haredim to treat people struggling with same sex attraction as human beings, to be nice to them, to be welcoming and caring, and it comes out against parents shunning gay children and evicting them from family life (although if the child is openly gay and not at all interested in trying to change, that kind and gentle policy may shift back to shunning and eviction.) This should help some kids by keeping them off the streets, out of homeless shelters and out of early graves.
On the other hand, there is much bad.
Gays who are content being gay and who reject the mumbo jumbo of the rabbis don't appear to merit the same love and compassion the rabbis reserve to those who are confused by their sexuality and/or struggle against it.
The letter rabbis are expected to sign also insists that all homosexuals can change, that no human being is born homosexual, and it claims great success for widely discredited therapies which purport to "heal" homosexuality and make participants straight.
And the rabbis say they know with absolute certainty that no person can be born homosexual because God doesn't play tricks on his creations, and since in the Torah God forbade homosexuality, God creating homosexuals would be a violation of that rule.
These same rabbis will tell you with a straight face and with no sense of hypocrisy or shame that God created the world old, with fossils buried in the earth in time-stamped layers to make it appear as if the world was really hundreds of millions or billions of years old, when it is really exactly 5772 years old.
So when rabbis need to say that homosexuality is an illness, that people are not created gay and that people can always stop being gay, they say God does not deceive his creations to prove it.
When these same rabbis need to say the world is only 5772 years old when science has clearly shown that it is exponentially older, they say God put fossils in the ground to test our faith.
Hypocritical much these haredi rabbis?
The rabbis have, as usual, ignored the science and the empirical research and have instead decided to rely on interpretations of Talmudic passages, quack science and Christian fundamentalist 'science.'
That is bad news for any rational person who cares about the truth.
It is also profoundly bad and dangerous news for gay Orthodox teens, not simply because of the illogic of it all but because the therapies they will be directed to are for the most part quackery, and what will happen to these kids when their sincere attempts to "heal" fail is anyone's guess.
[Hat Tips go the many readers who send Jayson's post to me.]