Category archives: Human Sexuality

Cardinal Dolan and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

by Hon. Bob Marshall

September 8, 2014

New York’s Cardinal Dolan, appointed as Grand Marshal of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, praised the decision to allow an openly gay group to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. “I have no trouble with the decision at all … I think the decision is a wise one,” he said.

His action has left many Catholics, including elected officials like myself, puzzled and disheartened especially when we measure Cardinal Dolan’s new policy with that of his predecessor, Cardinal O’Connor.

In 1993, when LGBT groups and government officials demanded that openly homosexual groups be included in the Parade, Cardinal O’Connor vowed in a St. Patrick’s Day sermon that he “could never even be perceived as compromising Catholic teaching. Neither respectability nor political correctness is worth one comma in the Apostles Creed.”

Would Cardinal Dolan, as Parade Marshal, applaud the inclusion of Irish abortion clinic owners or Planned Parenthood employees in a Parade honoring a Catholic Saint? On what logical grounds does he applaud openly LGBT group marchers and reject openly pro-abortion Irish Catholics, including some “Catholic” nuns?

Perhaps organizations which advocate to legalize prostitution and pornography should also be permitted to march? What about promoters of euthanasia for the elderly and disabled or those who champion physician assisted suicide? Where does Cardinal Dolan draw the line?

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, sponsored by the Irish Catholic Ancient Order of Hibernians under the auspices of and with the blessing of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, is not a purely secular event, despite the fact that secular politicians participate. It honors a Catholic saint who converted pagans in Ireland away from immoral behavior.

Promoters of homosexual behavior take part in many “gay pride” marches and parades, but these are not events sponsored by the Catholic Church or a Catholic organization. Therein lays the problem.

Same sex “marriage” advocates say they feel marginalized by the Church, yet the Church has been very clear that it is a hospital for sinners, and no one is sinless. Jesus saves us from being “marginalized” by our sin, so long as we seek Him and seek to do His will.

Everyone who rejects God’s word, or who ignores or violates the Ten Commandments (and we all are guilty of that at times) feel “marginalized” but we don’t re-write the commandments to make us feel less marginalized.

News reports indicate that NBC which televises the Parade, New York’s Mayor, Guinness Brewery and others were pressuring the Parade sponsors to include openly LGBT groups. Choosing money over truth is never a good choice.

This situation is not about judging individual souls. God loves all his children, and fortunately He is the only one who judges men’s hearts, but we live in a world of actions that have individual, social and legal consequences. Equality of persons is not the same as equality of behavior. What message does this decision give? Federal judges and policy makers are also influenced by the words and actions of moral leaders.

We do our brothers and sisters no service by pretending that God’s teaching or the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” are not as important today or giving the impression that millenia-old truths can change. No one can change Natural Law or the Word of God, written in the blood of Our Savior for our wellbeing and redemption.

God invites us to lead lives of love and peace and joy by following Him. Just as parents seek what is best for the children they love, try to protect them from harm, set limits and standards of good behavior, and hopefully set a good example for them, so too does the Church do the same for Her universal family.

Jesus told His disciples, “Go, teach all nations.” The English words “disciple” and “discipline” come from the same Latin word, “docere” which means “to teach.” Sadly, this action breeds confusion and scandal.

As society continues to disregard what America’s Founders wrote about the laws of Nature and Nature’s God, the moral fabric of our nation is disintegrating to the point of becoming thread bare, unable to hold together even the most basic values upon which our nation was founded. For a Church authority to embrace political correctness at such a time will have consequences which extend far beyond the parade route.

Delegate Bob Marshall
Virginia House of Delegates
Co-Author, Virginia Marriage Amendment approved in 2006 by voters

Truth Matters in Ex-Gay Debate

by Peter Sprigg

August 29, 2014

[Note: A condensed version of this post appeared at The Christian Post on August 28, 2014 under the title, “Ex-Gay Therapy Debate: The Truth Matters.”]

The fact that some people change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual (some spontaneously as a developmental change, some through religious counseling, and some through professional therapy) is a big problem for the homosexual movement. It seriously undermines the myth that people are “born gay and can’t change” This myth is essential to making the public believe that disapproval of (or even failure to actively affirm and celebrate) men choosing to have sex with men and women choosing to have sex with women is exactly as loathsome as “discrimination” based on race.

The organized ex-gay movement is small and poorly-funded, but it poses such an existential threat to pro-homosexual mythology that homosexual activists have mounted a furious assault upon it. The principal form this assault has taken is the introduction of laws that would ban any and all “sexual orientation change efforts” (or “SOCE”) with minors by licensed mental health providers. This idea was pioneered in California where they originally wanted a ban across the board regardless of age. However, it was concluded that this shocking violation of a long-time ethical principle of client autonomy might be too much to take, so the ban was limited to minors on the grounds of “protecting” children. Such laws have been adopted already in California and New Jersey, but similar bills died in more than a dozen other states over the last year or so.

As noted, “protection of minors” has been a key selling point in the legislatures that have considered these bills, and the threatened loss of licensing has been the legal stick employed. However, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a wealthy, left-wing, anti-Christian political advocacy group that was linked to domestic terrorism in federal court, has executed a pincer movement in New Jersey by suing SOCE providers, including unlicensed counselors who work with adults, charging “fraud” under that state’s consumer protection laws.

Most “sexual reorientation therapy” today consists of “talk therapy” — a client simply talking with a counselor about his or her feelings, experiences, relationships with parents and peers, etc. Some therapists add other positive techniques that have been validated in a variety of contexts — not just SOCE.

However, to generate opposition to SOCE, its opponents have reached back decades to techniques some therapists once used called “aversion therapy” — attempting to associate homosexual feelings with some sort of negative stimuli. No one has been able to identify a single therapist actually practicing today who uses “aversive” techniques in SOCE — but that hasn’t stopped homosexual activists from pretending that they do.

In a hearing before the New Jersey legislature, one witness in support of the ban was a young person who is a male-to-female transgender and goes by the name Brielle Goldani. Christopher Doyle is ex-gay, a therapist himself, and a founder of the ex-gay advocacy group Voice of the Voiceless. He was also present at the March 18, 2013 hearing, and described Goldani’s testimony in a piece for WorldNetDaily the following week:

QUOTE

Twice a week I was hooked up to electrodes on my hands,” she said. “I, a child, was shocked repeatedly by people who had my parent’s permission to torture me.” Goldani, now 29, claims that she had no rights when her parents sent her away as a male teenager. She claims that the torture occurred at conversion camp called True Directions. “This is nothing more than legalized child abuse,” claimed Goldani at the hearing.

Having attended and testified at the hearing myself, I was shocked and horrified to hear about such abuse… . So I tracked down Goldani and talked to her on the phone to find out more information.

Goldani claims that an Assemblies of God Church in Columbus, Ohio, ran the True Directions conversion therapy camp:

There were 12 boys, and 12 girls. The first Sunday I was there, I was forced to sit in their church service, which was nothing but hate speech. Then, on Monday, the heavier therapy began. We were forced to masturbate to heterosexual images and soft-core pornography, such as Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. Twice a week, my hands were hooked up to electrodes for two hours at a time while we were shown positive images such as a nuclear family, a female with children, a male construction worker and a female receptionist. I was also subjected to forced IV injections twice a week for two hours each while being made to watch negative images of what they didn’t approve of. … The injections made me vomit uncontrollably. Every Friday and Saturday evening, we were forced to go on ‘flirting dates’ where a camp counselor coached us on how to talk to the opposite sex romantically. … We were also given uniforms to wear, black pants and white shirts for boys, black skirts and white blouses for girls.”

END QUOTE

Doyle wrote in his article, “As a former homosexual and practitioner of Sexual Orientation Change Effort (SOCE) therapy, I had never heard of such inhumane treatment, except from anti-ex-gay activists who often claim that SOCE employs such barbaric methods.” So he did further research to see if he could verify any of Goldani’s account.

The Assemblies of God in Ohio denied that any such camp existed, or that they had ever participated in such activities. The state government of Ohio could find no record that a camp named “True Directions” had ever existed there. Goldani claimed that her family’s church in New Jersey had paid for him to go to the camp for a month and a half, but the pastor of the church scoffed at the idea that they would ever have done such a thing.

Doyle did find one reference to a “gay conversion camp” called “True Directions,” though. It was part of the plot of a fictional 1999 movie called But I’m a Cheerleader, which starred drag queen RuPaul. It would be hard to conclude anything other than that Goldani took the plot of this far-fetched movie, and tried to pass it off as her own life story.

The latest debate over the issue occurred on June 27 at a committee hearing on a bill similar to the California and New Jersey measures that has been introduced in the District of Columbia. You can read my account of the hearing on the Family Research Council Blog, and my testimony on the FRC website.

One of the witnesses at that hearing who testified in support of the proposed ban was Dr. Gregory Jones, who introduced himself as a “gay identified” licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in “Affirmative LGBTQ Mental Health.”

In his testimony, Jones included this quote from a recent article on the SOCE bans that appeared on Time magazine’s website on June 23, 2014:

QUOTE

Sam Brinton says that his father first tried physical abuse to rid his young son of homosexual feelings. When that didn’t work, Brinton’s parents turned to something called reparative therapy. Some of the memories are hazy more than 10 years later, but Brinton does remember the tactics the counselor used. There was talk therapy, about how God disapproved, and there was aversion therapy, during which pictures of men touching men would be accompanied by the application of heat or ice. “It was pretty much mental torture,” Brinton says. “To this day, I still have light pain when I shake hands with another male.”

END QUOTE

I had seen the Time article — and it, in turn rang a bell. The name of Sam Brinton had first come to my attention the week before that, when a piece appeared in Politico that was authored by John Paulk. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, John and his wife Anne were former homosexuals who worked for Focus on the Family promoting the ex-gay message. In 2003, they fled the spotlight to move to Oregon, where John opened a catering business.

John Paulk has now renounced his ex-gay advocacy and, apparently, returned to homosexuality. (Anne Paulk, his now-estranged wife remains active in the ex-gay movement.)

A sidebar article accompanied John Paulk’s piece in Politico: “Gay-Conversion Therapy: How It Works (Or Doesn’t),” By Elizabeth F. Ralph.

It included this:

QUOTE

Electroconvulsive Therapy

One former patient described his course of electroconvulsive therapy, in use today, as “The Month of Hell.” The treatment, he told the Huffington Post, “consisted of tiny needles being stuck into my fingers and then pictures of explicit acts between men would be shown and I’d be electrocuted.”

END QUOTE

This refers to Samuel Brinton, a Kansas State student whose story was reported almost three years ago in the Huffington Post:

QUOTE [emphasis added]

I grew up as the son of Southern Baptist missionaries and without knowing what the word “gay” was (we just called them abominations) I asked my father why I was feeling attracted to my best friend, Dale. I don’t remember the second punch but I do remember waking up in the emergency room for the third time asking the doctors not to send me back and telling them that I had not fallen down the stairs again. When “punching the gay out” didn’t work we moved to conversion therapy. Being told I had AIDS and was going to die if the government found me was only the beginning. I would be strapped down with blocks of ice or heating pads placed on my hands while pictures of men holding hands were shown. The conversion ended when I told my parents I was straight to stop the electrocution by needles in my fingers while gay sex acts where shown to me. When I would later come back out to them for a second time I was told never to walk back in that house if I wanted to walk out alive.

I tell you the story of my conversion therapy not for dramatic effect but to explain why I do what I do. I cannot let another child go through that torture because their parents think this is the only way to have a normal child.

END QUOTE

Brinton received an award from “Campus Pride,” the college LGBT group, for sharing his horror story of therapy. This report was so shocking that even some pro-“gay” media tried to verify this report — and couldn’t.

Even Wayne Besen, the most rabid “anti-ex-gay” activist, refused to use his story because it remains unverified. Here’s the full statement Besen posted in the comments section of the Queerty article which questioned Brinton’s story.

QUOTE [emphasis added]

Wayne Besen

Samuel came forward and told a story presumably in an effort to help others. There are groups like mine who would be thrilled to use his example to demonstrate the harm caused by “ex-gay” therapy. We live for real life examples like this.

However, until he provides more information to verify his experience, he makes it impossible for us to use him as an example. Indeed, it would be grossly irresponsible for us to do so.

If a group like mine puts out or promotes a story that turns out to be exaggerated or fake, the religious right would rake us through the coals and by extension the entire LGBT community. This would cast an ominous shadow on all of the legitimate ex-ex-gay testimonies that have helped so many people come out of the closet.

So, for the sake of the movement he is trying to help — it is critical that Sam reveal exactly who the therapist was that tortured him. He could do this publicly or privately, but we need more information before we can use his narrative.

We very much hope he will provide enough information so we can help people by sharing his compelling story.

Sincerely,

Wayne Besen

Truth Wins Out

Oct 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm

END QUOTE

Here is part of Brinton’s reply to Besen:

QUOTE

I was indirectly in contact with Wayne and although I know he wants me to send the information of the therapist that is simply not an option. Counselor after counselor has seen me revert to near suicidal tendencies when I try to dig deep into the memories of that time and I simply don’t have his name. I can picture him clear as day in my nightmares but his name is not there. The movement can’t use me I guess.

I have no problem with people not believing my story. It is not for me to try to prove. I don’t want to be the poster-child of the anti-conversion therapy movement since graduate school at MIT is plenty tough as it is.

. . .

Oct 14, 2011 at 2:11 am

END QUOTE

Brinton’s memory does not seem to have gotten any better since 2011, since Time reports “Some of the memories are hazy more than 10 years later.” And he seems to have dropped the claim that he was electrocuted as part of his therapy (or perhaps even Time thought that strained credulity). Yet what even Wayne Besen said would be “grossly irresponsible” (using Brinton as an example), Time is perfectly willing to do, thus making Brinton exactly what he coyly claimed he didn’t want to be — “the poster-child of the anti-conversion therapy movement.”

For once and for all, I am telling you: “Sex” means “transgender,” and it also means “gender identity.”

by Travis Weber

August 20, 2014

You had better get with it. I’m not sure why people continue to insist that your “sex” is something integral to your created being, a function of your unique biological identity and who you were born to be — what an anachronistic concept. So says the Department of Labor (DOL), in a recent directive stating that the Department will now interpret “sex discrimination” to also include discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” and “transgender” status. The DOL relies on a 2012 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) decision stating as much, along with other “case law principles” which supposedly support this reasoning.

One theory on which the government relies here is based on “sex stereotyping” as a form of “sex discrimination” — because a male chooses to identify as female, the theory goes, discriminating against them constitutes a form of stereotyping how males are supposed to act, and thus constitutes “sex discrimination.” Such thinking is far-fetched to begin with, but even the legal issues are not as clear cut as the government would have us believe. For while other protected classes are clearly rooted in easily-identifiable inborn characteristics, “sex stereotyping” is based on one’s actions — thus individuals are not protected based on any “gender identity” status alone if they can’t show they were stereotyped, according to this theory.

In addition, the DOL points to the EEOC’s argument that “treating a person differently because the person is transgender is by definition sex discrimination because it is ‘related to the sex of the victim.’” But a person “is transgender” based on a choice not a biological reality, unless someone is prepared to introduce a new biological third category of sex, beyond male and female. Absent such a creation, being “transgender” is still only “related” to sex as an action taken with regard to one’s sexuality.

Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter even if the “case law principles,” (as the EEOC refers to them), support the government’s wishful thinking on human sexuality here. A person’s sex is not determined on our own, but by God who crafted us distinctly as men and women. We must recognize this truth and submit our sexuality to God for the purposes and ends for which he designed it. Anything else will only produce misery for us, for our society, and for our entire human race.

Robin Williams, Rehab, and Reorientation

by Peter Sprigg

August 18, 2014

Robin Williams, the brilliantly talented comedian and actor, was found dead in his California home on August 11, the victim of an apparent suicide.

News coverage of his death reviewed his eclectic career, from the 1970’s TV hit Mork and Mindy to his Oscar for Good Will Hunting.

However, the media also reviewed his long history of drug and alcohol abuse. That began during his early days of television stardom. Williams reportedly gave up cocaine and alcohol, though, after his friend John Belushi died of an overdose and Williams became a father.

Williams spoke candidly about his addictions in a 2010 interview with the British newspaper The Guardian while on a publicity tour for his film World’s Greatest Dad (in which, ironically, he played a writer who fakes a suicide note and journal and attributes them to his late son).

Apparently, Williams quit alcohol and drugs cold turkey in the early ‘80’s, without any professional therapeutic intervention. He reported that he stayed sober for twenty years, but then began drinking again while working on location in a remote town in Alaska. After three years of drinking, a “family intervention” persuaded Williams to enter “rehab” (residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation) at the Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center near Newberg, Oregon, where he stayed for two months. After that, Williams told The Guardian, he continued to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous every week.

Then just last month, news broke that Williams had again returned to rehab, this time at a Hazelden center in Minnesota. A spokesman for Williams said that he had not relapsed into substance abuse, but was “simply taking the opportunity to fine-tune and focus on his continued commitment [to sobriety], of which he remains extremely proud.” That was on July 1 — but six weeks later, he was dead.

In the wake of Williams’ suicide, many TV commentators and friends of the late star talked about the challenges of mental illness (Williams suffered from depression), addictions — and rehab. I saw comedian Andy Dick say, “I’ve been to rehab seventeen times.”

In light of this history, I have only one question for socially liberal political activists — why aren’t you trying to outlaw rehab?

I ask the question because such activists are trying to ban a form of mental health treatment — not drug and alcohol rehabilitation, but “sexual orientation change efforts” (“SOCE”), also known as “sexual reorientation therapy.” Such therapy involves assisting people with unwanted same-sex attractions to overcome them.

Why would someone want to change their sexual orientation? Some such individuals are simply disillusioned by their experiences in homosexual relationships. Some have legitimate concern about the well-documented health problems associated with homosexual conduct (especially among men), such as high rates of sexually transmitted diseases, of which HIV/AIDS is only one example. Others may seek help in conforming their behavior and lifestyle to the teaching of the religious faith to which they are committed. Some may aspire to a traditional family life, raising children in a home with both their mother and father present.

Whatever the motivation, there are those who have simply made a choice to walk away from the homosexual lifestyle, without clinical help — much like how Robin Williams simply stopped using drugs and alcohol in the 1980’s. Others have sought professional help, perhaps at the urging of family members, in the form of “sexual reorientation therapy” — much like when Williams entered a formal alcohol rehab program in 2006. Whether simply through personal development, religious counseling, or with the help of a licensed or unlicensed counselor, thousands (if not millions) of people have experienced significant changes in one or more of the elements of their sexual orientation (attractions, behavior, or self-identification).

Homosexual groups, however, have successfully pressured professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association to discourage such therapy. More recently, following an example set in California, legislators in several states have introduced bills to forbid licensed mental health counselors from engaging in SOCE with minors at all. Meanwhile in New Jersey (which already passed such a ban), the Southern Poverty Law Center has sued even unlicensed SOCE providers, charging them with “consumer fraud.”

Critics of reorientation therapy make two charges — that it is ineffective, and that it is harmful. But they support these charges only by holding such therapies to a standard of “effectiveness” and “safety” that is impossible for any mental health treatment to meet.

Some (but not all) clients of reorientation therapy testify to a complete transformation from homosexual to heterosexual, experiencing a change in their identity, behavior, and attractions. Others may change their identity, control their behavior, and begin to experience heterosexual attractions, but still experience occasional homosexual attractions as well. Still others may change identity and behavior, but continue to struggle with primarily homosexual attractions. Some clients change little with respect to their sexuality, but still find the therapy beneficial in exploring their feelings, family dynamics, etc. Some may seem to achieve significant changes for a period of time, but then suffer relapse. And finally, a few may simply experience little substantial change.

This range of outcomes is no different from any other form of mental health treatment — such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Yet critics of reorientation therapy claim that “it doesn’t work” because the proportion of clients who achieve complete transformation on a permanent basis is less than 100%. Can rehab live up to this standard?

There is actually no scientific evidence that reorientation therapy is more harmful than helpful. There are, however, anecdotal accounts of people who claim they found it harmful, or who had negative experiences after such therapy, such as depression or even suicide. However, mere chronological correlation is not scientific proof of causation — any more than Robin Williams’ suicide was “caused” by his recent return to rehab.

The real reason why homosexual activists object to reorientation therapy has nothing to do with science or mental health. Instead, it has everything to do with politics and ideology. If it is tolerable for some people to try to change from “gay” to straight — and for others to help them with the process — that might imply that it is tolerable to believe that there is something wrong with homosexuality itself. For ideological reasons, that is a belief that homosexual activists want stamped out at all costs.

If we were to apply the same standards to drug and alcohol rehabilitation that the homosexual activists want to apply to reorientation therapy, why not ban rehab? After all, since some people go to rehab and still suffer relapses afterwards, rehab is clearly “ineffective.” Robin Williams actually went to rehab, and shortly thereafter took his own life. Does that not clearly indicate that rehab is not only ineffective, but downright harmful? In addition, there are surely people who consume alcohol or use illicit drugs but are still able to function and make productive contributions to society — so there is obviously nothing inherently wrong with alcohol or drugs. Allowing people who struggle with their alcohol or drug use to seek professional help to discontinue them implies there is something wrong with them — thus reinforcing the unfair social stigma which attaches to people who use alcohol and drugs. And surely “family intervention” to force someone into rehab is a violation of their personal autonomy. In light of all these concerns, how can we allow the fraud of “rehab” to continue?

This kind of reasoning, of course, would be clearly absurd. There is no kind of mental health counseling that can guarantee it will substantially change the lives of 100% of its clients for the better. Those who do experience improvement may still struggle with temptation (hence the weekly AA meetings for support). Even among those who succeed in rehab, there can be no guarantee that none of them will, at some time in the future, relapse into the problems which caused them to enter treatment in the first place. Furthermore, the fact that a negative outcome (like suicide) follows a treatment like rehab chronologically does not mean that the treatment caused the negative outcome. It is far more likely that an underlying pathology (in Robin Williams’ case, depression) was the cause of both his substance abuse (which led him to rehab) and his suicide.

It would be absurd to ban rehab because it doesn’t work for everyone; doesn’t work 100% by eliminating all temptation; isn’t always permanent; is sometimes undertaken because of family pressure; or because bad things may happen afterwards. It would be equally absurd to ban rehab in order to protect the self-esteem of people who do not consider their alcohol or drug use to be a problem.

But the argument that we should ban sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) is equally absurd — because it relies on all the same fallacious arguments.

We Are Not All the Same Inside

by Rachel del Guidice

July 21, 2014

Reducing the unique beauty and mystery of the male and female human person to a hamburger. Believe it or not, that’s what Burger King just did in their recent gay pride celebration stunt, “We Are All The Same Inside”.

Without disclosing the contents of their new product, the “Proud Burger” was advertised to customers and packaged in flashy rainbow wrapping. When opened, the inside wrapper read, “We Are All the Same Inside.” Nothing about the burger was different. The goal of this effort by Burger King was to communicate to all their clientele that, regardless of our sexual orientation, we are all the same.

While it is true that humans are the same in that we each have a heart and soul that is built for God (Ephesians 3:17), we are not exclusively the same. We are not a cookie cutter commodity void of differences evident in our bodies that define us as male or female. Rather, “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27). There simply is no “grey area” to cause any doubt. The verse clearly states “male and female,” not female and female, male and male, or male and female at the same time.

Because we live in a broken and sinful world, there will be times when we face doubts about who we are, human persons, and why we were put on this earth. However, we must never disregard the fact that we were created as males or females, and this is a blessing, not a curse. Why is it dangerous to accept the “anything goes” attitude that the gay agenda propagates? Not only is this philosophy morally wrong, but it is simply dangerous for the wellbeing of this nation and future generations.

We were created with our differences for a reason. As men and women, we are built to complement each other. It is our challenge to witness to the world the blessings of our uniqueness as image bearers of God. Rather than likening humanity to a hamburger to illustrate our supposed “sameness,” we must understand that we are each a gift to this world with a distinctive mission and purpose. It is in our unique and divine differences that we are blessed.

Strong Opposition to DC Ex-Gay Therapy Ban Voiced at Hearing

by Peter Sprigg

July 1, 2014

On Friday, June 27, it was my privilege to join a number of former homosexuals and other “everstraight” allies like me in testifying against a bill to ban sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) for minors in the District of Columbia.

The politically correct mental health establishment turned out in force, with representatives of a variety of professional organizations voicing support for the bill, which would actually function by denying licensing as a mental health provider to anyone who helps minors overcome unwanted same-sex attractions. And all but one of the thirteen members of DC’s City Council has co-sponsored Bill 20-501, so it might seem as though the bill would be sure to pass.

Advocates of the measure who assumed it was on a fast track may have to think again after Friday’s hearing, though. Although defenders of therapeutic freedom were in the minority, we did bring forward eleven strong witnesses — eight of whom are themselves ex-gays, therapists, or clients who are currently in the change process. It takes great courage for such people to “out” themselves as ex-gay, given that typical reactions rage from skepticism to incredulity to outright vilification. Few things can challenge the unfounded conviction that “people are born gay and can never change” better than a face-to-face encounter with someone who has changed.

In contrast to the eight first-person testimonies against the bill, bill supporters had only one witness who claimed to have personally experienced (unsuccessful) reorientation therapy — Sam Wolfe of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a wealthy leftist political organization best known for slandering conservative organizations as “hate groups.” (Floyd Corkins, who came to Family Research Council headquarters on August 15, 2012 intent on mass murder and shot and seriously wounded my colleague Leo Johnson, told the FBI that he chose FRC and other targets by looking at the “hate map” on the SPLC website.)

Wolfe reported going “undercover” at a seminar sponsored by the International Healing Foundation — whose director, ex-gay Christopher Doyle, was in the audience as a witness against the bill. (Later in the hearing, Wolfe was scolded to his face by an ex-gay witness, Chuck, for having violated confidences by writing publicly about private and personal conversations he had with him at the conference.)

Encouraging, in a back-handed sort of way, was the apparent disinterest of the DC Council members in this topic. The Committee on Health has five members, but only the chairman, Yvette Alexander, was present for the whole hearing. Even the sponsor of the bill, Mary Cheh, failed to make an appearance — not even to give a three-minute testimony like the rest of us (Cheh is not a member of the Health Committee, and she did have a staffer present to monitor the entire hearing.) It appeared one other member sent a staffer for only part of the hearing. Local media also ignored the hearing with only the “gay” media and a crew from CBN News showing up.

The only other actual Councilmember to show up at all was the openly “gay” David Catania, who is currently an Independent candidate waging a long-shot campaign for mayor. Catania only stayed for about ten minutes, but that was plenty of time for him to make a negative impression.

One point that many advocates made is that SOCE is based on the premise that homosexuality is a mental illness — a position that was abandoned by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973, in response to a campaign of intellectual terrorism undertaken by a small but zealous band of homosexual activists within the organization. Strictly speaking, however, this claim by SOCE critics is untrue. The more fundamental premise of SOCE is the undeniable and observable fact that some people who experience same-sex attractions experience them as something unwanted.

Therefore, no premise is needed to justify SOCE beyond the long-established ethical principle in counseling that the client — not the therapist — has the right to establish the goals for therapy.

While none of the witnesses against the proposed ban claimed that all homosexuals are mentally ill, Councilman Catania did not hesitate to declare that all of us — therapy clients and straight allies alike — are mentally ill.

Those with same-sex attractions who seek sexual reorientation therapy to overcome those attractions are, according to Catania (who is not a mental health professional), suffering from the “illness” of “internalized hatred,” a condition which causes them to “deny who they are” and “seek to be something they are not.”

Heterosexuals who support the freedom of homosexuals to choose to seek change, on the other hand, suffer from the “illness” of “internalized superiority.” This condition causes them to believe “they are superior to us who are LGBTQ.” In a remarkable display of unqualified psychotherapy of people he has never met, Catania declared, “If you take that superiority away from them, what is left? An emptiness, a void, a profound sadness.”

The low point of Catania’s shameful performance, however, came when he decided to browbeat one of the youngest witnesses at the hearing, a man in his mid-20’s named Nathan who is a current client of IHF. Nathan did not claim to be “cured” of homosexuality, admitting honestly that he is a “work in progress.” Catania wanted to know if Nathan felt “shame, guilty, inadequacy, and inferiority as a teenager, and asked, “What other than self-hate makes you want to change?”

Catania appeared to be fishing for an answer related to religion, family shaming, or a belief that homosexuality is a mental illness, in order to mount an attack. Nathan, however, did not take the bait, insisting calmly that “personal dissatisfaction with two years in the gay lifestyle” was the only reason he made the free choice to seek therapy. At one point Christopher Doyle of IHF became so disgusted that he interrupted Catania’s interrogation saying, “I find this whole line of questioning offensive;” whereupon Catania snapped, “We ask the questions!” Catania left shortly thereafter, without asking any questions of any of the professional therapists opposing the bill.

Chairman Alexander is a co-sponsor of the therapy ban, but in her questioning of the witnesses she betrayed such a naïve ignorance of the entire subject that she ended up playing devil’s advocate toward both sides. For example, the bill bars SOCE for anyone under age 18, but Alexander asked more than once how that could be squared with the fact that the legal “age of consent” for sexual relations is only 16. Advocates of the bill stammered to find an answer. She also reacted to the testimony by several of the ex-gay witnesses that they had been sexually abused as children, voicing the politically incorrect speculation that for those people, at least, homosexuality might not be biologically determined.

David Pickup, an ex-gay who is a licensed therapist, spoke of having been sexually abused at the age of five, and warned that the bill would make it illegal to help a heterosexual boy reduce homosexual feelings perpetrated by sexual abuse. This left the mental health representatives who support the bill scrambling to explain that it would not prevent therapy for sexual abuse, while failing to explain how the therapist would dance around the question of whether such abuse contributed to same-sex attractions.

In my own testimony, I focused on research by the nation’s leading expert on homosexual teenagers showing how fluid teen sexuality can be. In one major survey, of the adolescent boys who identified themselves as exclusively homosexual one year, only 11% continued to identify as exclusively homosexual just one year later, and nearly half had become exclusively heterosexual.

During questioning, I also had the opportunity to clarify some misunderstood points about SOCE. One involved the terminology itself — “sexual orientation change efforts” is the broadest term, including religious interventions as well as professional therapy; “sexual reorientation therapy” is a general term for a variety of therapies; and “reparative therapy” is actually a particular therapeutic approach (most closely associated with Dr. Joseph Nicolosi). “Reparative therapy,” in turn, is not based on the theory that homosexuals are “broken” and must be “repaired,” as most assume. It is based instead on a belief that homosexuality itself is a “reparative” drive which springs from other underlying hurts. If those underlying issues (not directly related to “sexual orientation”) can be relieved by other means in therapy, then the “need” for homosexuality goes away, and with it the same-sex attractions.

I also emphasized how unprecedented it is until now for any form of mental health treatment to be forbidden by law merely because of the goal toward which the treatment is directed (as opposed to the particular technique). This is a direct violation of the ethical principle of the client’s autonomy to determine the goal of therapy.

Notwithstanding the large number of co-sponsors for the DC bill, it is to be hoped that the strong showing by opponents of the measure will lead it to die a quiet death — like in most of the other states where such bills have been introduced in the last year.

What Judge McShane thinks he knows — but is unknowable

by Peter Sprigg

June 3, 2014

Earlier, I wrote a blog post about the May 19, 2014 decision by U. S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane (Geiger v. Kitzhaber), striking down Oregon’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman — one of a series of such decisions in recent months.

Those interested in why these judges, in general terms, have it wrong should refer to the recent FRC paper, Marriage on Trial: State Laws Defining Marriage as the Union of One Man and One Woman Are Valid under the Constitution of the United States.

I noted that one maddening aspect of the Geiger decision in particular was Judge McShane’s sense of certainty in asserting things which are either a) blatantly false, or b) inherently unknowable.

In the former category (blatantly false) is virtually everything McShane says about the research on children raised by homosexual parents, including his declaration that “children fare the same whether raised by opposite-gender or same-gender couples.”

On the issue of homosexual parenting, however, McShane has a body of methodologically flawed and biased research that tends to support his view, as well as a collection of ideologically-driven policy statements by large professional organizations.

Even less defensible, however, are the blanket statements he made about the impact redefining marriage would have on the institution of marriage in the future — or rather, the lack of impact it would have.

For example, McShane declared:

Opposite-sex couples will continue to choose to have children responsibly or not, and those considerations are not impacted in any way by whether same-gender couples are allowed to marry.”

Quoting another judge on the next page, McShane added:

Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages.”

To both of these statements, my response is: “How can you possibly know?”

Decisions about public policy issues (which are actually not the purview of judges — but that’s for another piece) must, of course, rest on at least some informed predictions of what the consequences of a particular course of action will be. 

I made my own set of predictions about the consequences of redefining marriage in a 2011 FRC booklet, The Top Ten Harms of Same-Sex “Marriage.” My predictions directly contradicted those made by Judge McShane, and included these points:

  • Fewer people would marry
  • Fewer people would remain married for a lifetime
  • Fewer children would be raised by a married mother and father
  • More children would grow up fatherless; and
  • Birth rates would fall.

However, there are two key differences between my predictions and McShane’s. I, at least, qualified them with the statement that they were “ways in which society could be harmed by legalizing same-sex ‘marriage’” (emphasis added), whereas McShane declared dogmatically what “will” and “will not” take place. In addition, he did so in the absence of any supporting evidence, whereas I offered specific, tangible evidence in support of my predictions.

Let me offer an updated overview of at least one of these issues, perhaps the most fundamental one. McShane declares, “Opposite-sex couples will continue to choose to have children . . .”

Will they? Of course, we may assume that some will continue to do so, but birth rates in many countries have been falling, with negative consequences already evident or easy to anticipate. (See, for instance, the books The Empty Cradle by Philip Longman, and What to Expect When No One’s Expecting by Jonathan V. Last.)

Would same-sex “marriage” result in lower birth rates? It is too early to identify a causal relationship between the two. It may be that a retreat from a procreative view of marriage contributes to both declining birth rates and the redefinition of marriage to include intrinsically non-procreative relationships. Yet while there are multiple confounding factors at work, there is evidence of at least a correlation between redefining marriage to include homosexual couples and lower birth and fertility rates.

For example, early this year, I researched the latest state-by-state data in the U.S. regarding three key measures of what we might call “reproductivity.” The “birth rate” as such represents the number of annual births per 1,000 total population. The “general fertility rate” is the number of annual births per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years (a general estimate of the childbearing years). Finally, the “total fertility rate” represents the “estimated number of births over a woman’s lifetime” (per 1,000 women).

The most recent national data available, published in December 2013, was a final report for 2012. I took the state data reported and listed the states in rank order for each of the three measures. I then compared these lists with the list of U.S. states that had authorized the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Omitting states with recent (2014) court rulings, but including Illinois (which did not issue such licenses until this week but whose legislature authorized the change last year), there were seventeen states that had redefined marriage. Here is how they stacked up, compared to those states retaining a one-man-one-woman definition.

With respect to the birth rate:

  • All of the bottom 6 states in birth rate have same-sex “marriage” (SSM)
  • None of the top 9 states in birth rate have SSM
  • 8 of the bottom 15 states in birth rate have SSM
  • Only 2 of the top 15 states have SSM
  • Average rank of SSM states in birth rate: 32nd

With respect to the general fertility rate:

  • All of the bottom 6 states in general fertility rate have same-sex “marriage”
  • None of the top 7 states have SSM
  • 10 of the bottom 15 states have SSM
  • Only 2 of the top 15 states have SSM
  • Average rank of states with SSM in general fertility rate: 34th

With respect to the total fertility rate:

  • All of the bottom 6 states in total fertility rate have same-sex “marriage”
  • None of the top 7 states have SSM
  • 8 of the bottom 12 states have SSM
  • Only 1 of the top 12 states has SSM
  • 12 of the 17 SSM states are below the national average
  • Only 5 of the 17 SSM states are above the national average
  • Average rank of states with SSM: 33rd

Overall:

  • There are 12 states which rank in the top 15 in all three categories; only 1 of them has same-sex “marriage” (Hawaii)
  • There are 8 states which rank in the bottom 10 in all three categories; 6 of the 8 (the 6 New England states) have SSM

Judge McShane should re-think his certainty that redefining marriage would have no impact on the larger institution.

Why avoid sexual risk?

by Elizabeth Folger

June 3, 2014

Living in today’s culture, it seems as if one can’t escape the constant exposure to the world’s many sensual messages. One such message that has permeated almost every aspect of influence (our churches, schools, TV programs, etc.) is that sex before marriage is OK. Not just OK, but desirable. Today’s younger members of society — particularly teenagers — have been exposed to this message since they were children. Therefore, they are the most susceptible to its influence. After all, it’s just sex, right? How bad could it really be?

What my generation might not realize is that there actually are harmful (and sometimes devastating) consequences for choosing to have sex before marriage. However, today’s society goes so far as to glorify it. TV shows like 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom 2, and Pregnant and Dating would like to tell me and my peers that there are few (or no) negative consequences for sex outside of marriage. It could serve to get you a glamorous spot on TV!

In a depraved and confused world that glorifies sex before marriage, is there really even still a place for sexual risk avoidance, aka abstinence? I believe there is. I think we can and should applaud the reality that young women are choosing to carry their pregnancy to term, rather than choosing an abortion. However, we do our sisters, daughters, and friends a disservice if we pretend that sex outside of marriage is the same as sex inside marriage.

I realize that not everyone reading this post is a teenager facing the pressure of having sex before marriage, but more than likely most everyone reading at least knows a teenager who is. Either directly or indirectly, most people are, in some way, affected by the choice to avoid the risk of extra-marital sex.

So my next question is, why choose abstinence?

One practical reason for choosing abstinence is the decreased risk of receiving a STD/STI. According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “Nearly half of all STIs (48%) occur in youth 15 to 24 years of age. Human Papillomavirus accounts for half of STI infections among adolescents.” One plausible explanation is that this particular age group is the most susceptible to participating in “casual sex” — and should, therefore, be made aware of the risks of sex before marriage.

Another practical reason to abstain from premarital sex is the reality that there is no guarantee that “protection” that is used will actually work. No protective measure has a 100% guarantee, so if you don’t want to risk having to deal with the consequences of the activity, don’t engage in the activity to begin with. Plain and simple.

However, there aren’t just “practical” reasons for choosing abstinence. While most people may not realize this, there are also psychological effects associated with engaging in premarital sex. According to Arina Grossu’s online publication “Sexual Risk-Avoidance Education,” “[s]exually active teenagers are more likely to be depressed and attempt suicide.” In the same article, Grossu cites a study that reveals the increase in negative psychological effects as the number of sexual partners also increases. In essence, those who engage in premarital sex are decreasing­ — not increasing — their likely overall happiness and well-being. Sure, random hook-ups may seem enjoyable in the moment, but the long-term effects far outweigh the temporary pleasure that is received.

Christians have even deeper, more compelling reasons to encourage sexual risk avoidance. More importantly than the practical and even the psychological reasons for choosing abstinence, there are spiritual reasons as well. What does God have to say about premarital sex? Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (English Standard Version). So, in the end, “choosing” abstinence isn’t a morally neutral choice: you either sin by having premarital sex, or you avoid sin by abstaining. Not only that, but God also indicates that sexual impurity isn’t simply a sin against any other person but, also a sin against one’s self… and fundamentally against God.

So, the question remains relevant: why choose abstinence? Not only do the physical and psychological health benefits of abstinence outweigh the “benefits” of premarital sex, but abstinence from sex outside of marriage is also a way to honor and obey the God who created sex in the first place. Our culture may turn sex upside down, but God promises to honor those who honor him.

Obama Milks Homosexual Support

by Peter Sprigg

May 27, 2014

The White House announced that on May 22, 2014, it would unveil a new postage stamp honoring Harvey Milk — the openly homosexual San Francisco Supervisor who was assassinated in 1978.

Milk is an icon to the homosexual political movement. When Obama, in his first year in office, granted Milk a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, I researched his life. I’ve linked to that research here, as published by WorldNetDaily:

A presidential medal based on a sex life

When President Obama today awards a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to Harvey Milk, it may mark the first time in history that the nation’s highest civilian award has been granted primarily on the basis of someone’s sex life.

As the White House announcement explained, “Harvey Milk became the first openly gay elected official from a major city in the United States when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.” Yet Milk served in that office for less than a year, so that hardly qualifies him for the Medal of Freedom. Milk was also assassinated in November of 1978. But that cannot qualify him for this award, either – San Francisco Mayor George Moscone was killed by the same assassin the same day, but he will receive no Medal of Freedom. At least lesbian Billie Jean King, who will also be honored by Obama, was a genuine tennis star.

But Milk is famous only for winning one election, being murdered – and having sex with men. In his “gay rights” stump speech, Milk once said, “Like every other group, we must be judged by our leaders and by those who are themselves gay.” What can we conclude about the homosexual movement in America based on the life of Harvey Milk? I recently decided to find out by reading “gay journalist” Randy Shilts’ 1982 biography of Milk, “The Mayor of Castro Street.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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