This has been widely reported by now but the AP has a story making the rounds that report statements by Michael Bussee, Jeremy Marks, and Darlene Bogle lamenting their work in ex-gay ministries. Actually, this is old news as Michael has been ex-ex for a long time, Darlene since 1990 and Jeremy since 2000. What made it irresistable to the AP, I suspect, was the tension between the ex-ex-gay conference and the Exodus conference occuring this week.
By now, the dinner is over I suppose. I wonder if anyone who was there will be giving any kind of report. My understanding is that such disclosures would not occur but we shall see.
I have lots of mixed feelings about the entire series of events. I have little time to explore this now but I do have one question for anyone involved in any of the ex-ex-gay organizations to react to: What are you wanting to accomplish? Ok, a follow up question. Do you want to see your vision of reform at Exodus or do you want to see Exodus shut down?
To the degree that the objective is to see Exodus discredited to the point of closing up shop, there will continue to be polarization and distance.
Wednesday June 27, at 8pm (est), Paula Zahn will examine changes in attitudes among people doing sexual identity therapy and ministry. I was interviewed for this segment as was Alan Chambers. Not sure what the exact focus will be. But the Zahn website has this brief description:
Boys who want to be girls… women who want to be men.. and gays who want to be straight! Uncovering changing attitudes and changing lifestyles, this Wednesday on “Paula Zahn NOW,” 8 p.m. ET.
UPDATE: Apparently it is a kind of GLB-fest today on CNN with several segments devoted to research about causes and change of sexuality. Here is a segment that was posted today online. Douglas Abbott takes the environmental view. You can read more about his views here.
Today begins the Exodus Conference in Irvine, CA. I have attended the last two meetings but cannot attend this year. Anyone who is there and would like to offer comments or observations are welcome to chime in. Let us know what’s happening this year…
The Toronto Star features an article about genetics and gayness. I thought the contrasts between Canada and the US were interesting and the explanations about behavioral genetics enlightening for a lay audience. Discussing Hamer’s early Xq28 research, the article notes the media fascination with the topic:
Because of the social, political, and cultural implications, his results â€“ inevitably headlined “Gay gene found” â€“ were hailed globally as a major breakthrough. Wrongly so, said the genetics community. The coverage was inflated, simplistic and misleading. No “gay gene” had been found, nor ever would be. Why? Because behavioural genetics is much more complex than “Mendelian” genetics. In other words, traits such as eye colour are 100 per cent inheritable but the genetic contribution to various behaviours, aggression, shyness, extroversion and so on, is considerably less, below 50 per cent.
Ruth Hubbard, Harvard emeritus professor of biology and biochemistry and author of Exploding the Gene Myth, has said that searching for a gay gene “is not even a worthwhile pursuit.
“I don’t think there is any single gene that governs any complex human behaviour. There are genetic components in everything we do, and it is foolish to say genes are not involved, but I don’t think they are decisive.”
Behavioral genetics research is going to continue to explode. The fun is going to be in examining pathways for the expression of various traits under various conditions.
Here is a recent article quoting Michael Bailey and Lisa Diamond among others regarding sexual orientation research.
A recent commenter accused International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) of secretly keeping NAMBLA (a pedophilia supporting group) on its membership rolls. I was curious about this so I wrote ILGA and asked if NAMBLA was still on a secret list. Here is the first reply from Stephen Barris, at ILGA:
There is no such thing as a secret list of ILGA members and our lists are available to the public. We do have though members which wish to remain confidential for the simple reason same sex is criminalised in their country. NAMBLA was expelled in 94 and a series of amendments where voted by ILGA members to ensure groups condoning paedophilia would not be able to become members of the federation. Our federation has not had any such group since 94. You can find a public statement on that matter under the section “About ILGA” on ilga.org.
On the home page, you will also find a report on State sponsored homophobia in the world. As you will notice, 85 UN members states still have discriminatory laws against LGBT people. Those are the same states who sit at the United Nations. The NAMBLA case is but an excuse not to recognise LGBT groups as representatives of the civil society at the UN. After 13 years though and thanks to our ECOSOC campaign, things are slowly changing and three groups, including the European Region of ILGA obtained observer status last year. You can read the full report on this campaign on ILGA’s home page.
I then wrote and asked if there was a published list of organizations which belong to ILGA and Mr. Barris sent this list. He said some member groups from countries where laws prohibit homosexuality are not listed.
By including this information, I am not supporting the work of ILGA. I know very little about it or the political issues involved. I simply provide this information in the service of fairness.
The organizers of the Ex-gay Survivors Conference have invited Exodus conference participants to a dinner on June 29, 2007 in Irvine, CA. The invitation does not say who is coming or who will speak. I would want to know this in advance if it were me. The invitation provides an email address for RSVP which I suppose could be used to ask questions. It seems to me just sitting down together would be an accomplishment, without the speeches. Having both sides offer comments might be something worth considering as opposed to one side having the program.
I won’t be in Irvine but I will post an open forum next week for those who are there to offer observations.
Jim Brown of OneNewNow reports an interview with Alan Chambers regarding the LA Times article on Monday and Stephen Bennett’s critical reaction.
Chambers tells OneNewsNow he has never met someone who had a “sudden or complete change when it came to homosexuality.” He says he believes that God gives people the ability to overcome on a daily basis, rather than “a complete transformation in an instant.”
In a column today, Peter LaBarbera joins in Stephen Bennett’s criticism of Alan Chambers remarks in the LA Times and CNN. In it, he gives me a new label:
There are many people â€” perhaps due to the â€œweirdnessâ€ of homosexuality (after all, this is a lifestyle whose advocates now proudly embrace the moniker â€œqueerâ€) â€” who would have us focus incessantly on the â€œcauseâ€ of homosexuality and the â€œfeelingsâ€ of homosexuals. They have come to sympathize with people caught up in homosexualityâ€™s embrace in a way that drives them to become de facto apologists for â€gaynessâ€ â€“ more suspicious of pro-family groups engaged in the uphill fight against â€gayâ€ activism than they are of the homosexual activists themselves. (I would put Groves City College (sic) psychology professor Dr. Warren Throckmorten (sic), who has emerged as a â€œSwitzerlandâ€ of sorts in the culture war over homosexuality, in that camp.)
Peter, if you’re going to nail me, at least spell my name and school right. But hey, no problem. I have never been to Switzerland, but now I can be the country. You know maybe Peter is right. After all, I do get love notes from all sides. To wit, this post from Wayne Besen – DR. WARREN THROCKMORTON HIDES BEHIND ANONYMOUS SOURCE IN CHICAGO TRIBUNE ARTICLE.
All I can say is I call them as I see them; and when I think I have been wrong, I breathe deep and say so. If that makes me Switzerland, all I can ask is: “Does anyone have a Ricola?”
Stephen Bennett weighs in on the recent LA Times article and CNN appearance of Alan Chambers.
Stephen takes issue with suggestions from Al Mohler and others that biological factors may be involved in homosexuality:
There is ZERO biological, scientific “evidence” for homosexuality to this date. The biblical evidence for homosexuality is very clear: it’s sin.
Ominously, he declares:
“What we see here is the public divide of the pro-family movement.”
Well, since he brought it up…
I think there have been some significant tensions among social conservatives that may be a part of the broader development of evangelicalism. Of late, divides have occured over environmental policy and abortion. I think we are seeing tensions now over sexuality.