Houston Press on the ManKind Project’s transparency

Chris Vogel, the reporter who broke the Michael Scinto story, files a post about the new transparency from the MKP. Like me, he has been unable to get confirmation from MKP. I do trust my source however.

Vogel interviewed Kathy Scinto, Michael’s mother, who is very happy with the prospects of a change at MKP.

“I’ve got chills,” the mother of Michael Scinto, Kathy, tells Hair Balls. “Honestly, Hallelujah. I can’t believe it.”

“I’m just so happy because that’s all that we ever wanted, and for it to actually happen is just like a miracle,” says Kathy Scinto. “It’s so wonderful.”

Michael Bailey reacts to “blatant misquotation” on LDS website by Byrd, Cox and Robinson

Researching sexual orientation and health and mental health correlates, I came across a reference to Michael Bailey’s 1999 commentary on the topic in a book review by Dean Byrd, Shirley Cox and Jeffrey Robinson. The way Dr. Bailey was quoted had him saying things that I did not think he believed. I sent the link to him and asked him if the way he was quoted accurately communicated his views. Baliey’s response is below and as I thought, indicates that he was not quoted properly. First, let me provide some background.

In 2004, the book In Quiet Desperation: Understanding The Challenge Of Same-gender Attraction by Fred & Marilyn Matis, and Ty Mansfield was published by Deseret Book, a publisher owned by the Latter Day Saint (Mormon) church. About the book, the publisher says,

Most likely, someone you know is living a life of quiet desperation, struggling with feelings of same-gender attraction. In an effort to help Latter-day Saints understand and reach out to those who suffer from this difficulty, Fred and Marilyn Matis discuss how they’ve dealt with the knowledge of their son Stuart’s challenge with same-gender attraction, and how parents and others can reach out with love. In addition, Ty Mansfield discusses his own challenge and how he continues to go forward with faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. “The Lord promised that he will change our hearts, but he didn’t say when,” writes Mansfield. “He never promised it would happen in mortality. He only said it would happen.”

Here is a video news clip of the authors describing their hope for their book.

This is gut wrenching to watch. I could write an entire post just sorting through these stories in the context of the LDS church (in fact, there will be additional posts on this topic). For now, I offer this information as context for understanding why NARTH past-president Dean Byrd, Brigham Young University Social Work professor, Shirley Cox, and private practitioner, Jeff Robinson quoted Michael Bailey’s work on mental health and homosexuality.

Even though the In Quiet Desperation authors advocate living faithfully as LDS adherents, Byrd et al wrote a sharply critical review in 2005 of the book, published on a website dedicated to defending Mormonism (FAIR -Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research).

Titled “A Slippery Slope that Limits the Atonement,” the review is a harsh rebuke of the authors and the publisher. They begin:

While we, the authors of this review, are critical of the content and message of In Quiet Desperation, we want to be clear that we do not place all of the blame for any harmful effects the book may have on the shoulders of the Matises and Ty Mansfield. Indeed, In Quiet Desperation is symptomatic of the confusion about same-sex attraction commonly had throughout society. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not immune to such confusion.

Specifically, because the In Quiet Desperation authors are realistic about the prospects of sexual reorientation, Byrd et al condemn their work and message.

Byrd et al also fault the In Quiet Desperation authors for recognizing the negative effects of social pressure and stigma on the mental health of gays. Even though the Matises’ son demonstrated evidence of stigma and self-hatred, was clearly depressed and committed suicide, Byrd et al attacked the concept that stigma can lead to emotional problems. This is the context for their misrepresentation of Michael Bailey’s views.

Byrd et al criticize Ty Mansfield’s views on stigma as follows:

Much of the difficulty with homosexual challenges, Mansfield places on a homophobic society (p.128). He notes:

* The negative rhetoric voiced in society (p. 189).

* The bias or ignorance in society (p. 195).

* The closed-minded society (p. 221).

Readers should be aware that the above statements can be frequently found on gay activist Web sites. While Mansfield and others suggest that society’s view of homosexual men and women is a causative factor in their resulting mental illnesses, such does not appear to be the case. There is a high correlation between engaging in homosexual practices and a greater than normal risk of suffering from mental illness including suicidality, anxiety disorders and clinical depression.12 While one might suggest that society’s view of homosexual men and women is a determining factor in their mental illnesses, such does not seem to be the case since the study was duplicated in The Netherlands with the same results,13 and The Netherlands is arguably the most gay-affirming country in the world!

Activist researcher J. Michael Bailey offered other hypotheses: “homosexuality represents a deviation from normal development and is associated with other such deviations that may lead to mental illness,” or “the consequences of lifestyle differences associated with sexual orientation” leads to mental illness or “behavioral risk factors associated with male homosexuality such as receptive anal sex and promiscuity” leads to mental illness.14

Reading this passage, one could come away thinking that Dr. Bailey believes “other hypotheses” are superior to the one involving stigma. One might also think that Bailey believes certain sexual practices lead directly to poorer mental health outcomes among gays. (It is worth pointing out that no one in the book In Quiet Desperation advocates or apparently lived or lives a promiscuous life.) When Bailey examined how his work had been cited, he reacted as follows:

I was dismayed to read Byrd, Cox and Robinson’s summary of my views. In the context of a debate about the reasons for higher rates of mental illness among homosexual individuals, Byrd et al cites me as “offering” several hypotheses other than the increased stigmatization of homosexual people. It is unfortunate and misleading that they did not indicate that I discussed some versions of the hypotheses they mention alongside the stigma hypothesis. I was noncommittal about the merits of the hypotheses, because the required scientific research had not been conducted (and still hasn’t for the most part). I concluded: “it would be a shame—most of all for gay men and lesbians whose mental health is at stake—if sociopolitical concerns prevented researchers from conscientious consideration of any reasonable hypothesis.” But I also wrote: “It would indeed be surprising if antihomosexual attitudes were not part of the explanation of increased suicidality among homosexual people, but this remains to be demonstrated.”

One of Byrd et al’s out-of-context quotations is so egregiously wrong that it amounts to a blatant misquotation. They suggest that I believe that “behavioral risk factors associated with male homosexuality such as receptive anal sex and promiscuity leads to mental illness.” I do not. I brought up receptive anal sex and (relative) promiscuity as factors that help explain increased rates of HIV infection among gay men. I said explicitly that it was unclear how these could help explain the increased rates of suicidality and depression among homosexual people. I favor open debate on controversial issues, including those related to sexual orientation. But constructive debate depends on responsible, accurate reporting of facts (and facts include what other people actually said and meant). In these remarks Dean Byrd, Shirley Cox and Jeff Robinson fail to live up to these requirements. For those interested in what I really said, please see the actual article that Byrd et al mischaracterize.

In fact what Michael Bailey says in his article about the stigma hypothesis is the following:

Consider first the idea that increased depression and suicidality among homosexual people are caused by societal oppression. This is an eminently reasonable hypothesis. Surely it must be difficult for young people to come to grips with their homosexuality in a world where homosexual people are often scorned, mocked, mourned, and feared, and there is considerable anecdotal evidence that the “coming out” process is emotionally difficult. The hypothesis would be strengthened by findings that issues related to self-acceptance, or acceptance by others, often trigger homosexual people’s depressive and suicidal episodes. Furthermore, homosexual people should not, by this model, be more suicidal than heterosexual people in reaction to stressors of equal magnitude. It would indeed be surprising if antihomosexual attitudes were not part of the explanation of increased suicidality among homosexual people, but this remains to be demonstrated.

And then as Bailey notes, Byrd et al really distorts his meaning regarding lifestyle differences. In the 1999 commentary, Bailey writes:

Another possible explanation is that increased psychopathology among homosexual people is a consequence of lifestyle differences associated with sexual orientation. For example, gay men are probably not innately more vulnerable to the human immunodeficiency virus, but some have been more likely to become infected because of 2 behavioral risk factors associated with male homosexuality: receptive anal sex and promiscuity. It is unclear how an analogous model would account for homosexual people’s increased rates of suicidality and depression…

In my opinion, Byrd, Cox and Robinson owe Bailey an apology and a retraction. Here I have only dealt with the misrepresentation of Bailey’s views. According to this rebuttal by Ty Mansfield, the entire review is a lengthy misrepresentation of his book. And I am not the only one who believes Byrd et al have done an injustice to this book and to the science of sexual orientation. Other LDS authors have also weighed in on the matter and in a post to come this week, I will review their critique of Byrd et al’s treatment of In Quiet Desperation.

And it is not the first time…

The persistent rumor that the APA wants people to change churches

I addressed it here and now here but it continues.

This morning I read an article on the website of the National Catholic Register by Father Benedict Groeschel, host of Sunday Night Live on EWTN (Catholic network). Father Groeschel is laboring under a significant misunderstanding of the APA report when he writes:

On top of all that, in an almost bizarre ignoring of the purposes of his own discipline, one of the members of the task force that composed the report claimed that people who belong to religions that expect celibacy from the unmarried and monogamy from the married but find such expectations too difficult or onerous should simply change to a religion which requires less of them.

I should say I am pretty sure this is misinformation. I don’t know if a member of the task force speaking for him or herself might have said people should switch churches. I have not been able to find a quote to this effect. However, I do know the APA denied this intent and the APA report does not support the idea that a church switch would be promoted as some kind of easy way out for its own sake. Any switching would be done for reasons based in belief change and could go either direction – from gay affirming to non-affirming or vice versa.

How did Father Groeschel become misinformed? A familiar suspect appears later in the article.

It is necessary to register a strong objection to this recent statement. For valid and reasonable information I suggest the writings of an outstanding researcher and therapist in this area, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, who has long been the inspiration behind the National Association for Research and Therapy for Homosexuality.

Recently, he was quoted in this newspaper pointing out that research used by homosexual activists shows that public opinion regarding homosexuality will change if people believe it is genetic. “To the extent people are not responsible,” said Nicolosi, “their behavior will be tolerated.” (See “Scientists Outing ‘Gay Gene’ Myth,” July 26-Aug. 8.)

More information regarding NARTH and Nicolosi’s work can be found at NARTH.com and JosephNicolosi.com.

I would strongly suggest that Register readers register their protest with the American Psychological Association for what amounts to an abuse of research and demand that the APA distance itself from this pseudoscientific presentation. For those interested, the website for the APA is APA.org.

I actually hope Register readers do contact the APA. When the APA responds that these charges are off the mark and refers people to the actual report, people will find they have been misled.

Social psychologist David Myers opines on APA report in Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal invited Hope College social psychologist David Myers to write a column regarding the APA task force report on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation. Dr. Myers is the author of several books, including the text I use in teaching the social psychology class at GCC. I highly recommend the text, as well as his book on Happiness.

Here is a taste of the article:

Applause for the APA’s sensitivity to religious diversity has come from previously opposing sides within evangelicalism. Psychotherapist Ralph Blair, the founder of Evangelicals Concerned, the gay-supporting “national network of gay and lesbian evangelical Christians and friends,” welcomes APA’s “clear rejection of ‘reparative therapy.’?” But he also welcomes its openness to supporting homosexual people “who nonetheless think that it’s wrong for them to act on their same-sex desires.” Grove City College psychologist-blogger Warren Throckmorton, who supports those who want to control same-sex attractions and reject a gay identity, sees hope for “a larger middle and smaller numbers of people at the opinion extremes. People on both sides, he says, “can agree that erotic responsiveness is extremely durable.”

That last line you read here first.

Dr. Myers takes a pro-gay marriage position in this piece which will not set well with social conservatives, but I do think he is correct about the increasing number of issues where some common ground can be found.

I think Myers makes a good observation picking up on Focus on the Family’s language, “the aim is ‘to steward their impulses in a way that aligns with their faith convictions.’” This is the kind of language which reflects the congruence model and which I see more and more from Focus and Exodus.

Writer Journeys into Manhood undercover

According to a Salt Lake City newspaper, writer Ted Cox wanted to know what an ex-gay program was like so he signed up for a Journey into Manhood weekend in Utah. He planned to write a story about it but was derailed by JIM founder Rich Wyler.

Cox, a former Mormon, is a heterosexual who, earlier this year, pretended to be gay in order to attend a JiM workshop for men wanting to “overcome same-sex attractions.”

Upon learning of Cox’s story proposal, JiM founder and life coach Rich Wyler quickly intervened, urging City Weekly not to run Cox’s story because Cox signed a confidentiality agreement barring him from speaking about the weekend. City Weekly decided not to publish Cox’s proposed story but rather to ask Cox why he went undercover to get the story.

Richard Cohen got Ted interested in the ex-gay world.

This started in 2007, after I saw a segment on the Daily Show where the correspondent interviewed Richard Cohen, who is a pretty infamous ex-gay therapist, and I was surprised … that they didn’t at all delve into the religious motivation behind the ex-gay movement.

I found local ministries, and I’ve attended different support groups. I’ve also gone to a couple of conferences that deal with the ex-gay movement. All of it is a look of what is going on, who goes to these things, and do they work—which is, of course, the really big question.

The article doesn’t reveal much more but the agreement that Cox signed is reproduced at the link above. This seems much like the ManKind Project confidentiality agreement. If what we reported earlier this week is accurate, MKP may be doing away with their confidentiality agreement. Will JiM follow suit? JiM grew out of MKP’s NWTA and apparently uses some of the same processes, without the nudity.

C’mon Rich let him publish his article. Co-write it with him. MKP says they are letting the sunshine in, how about little brother JiM?

Speaking of the Daily Show with Richard Cohen, Crooks and Liars has it…

Update: I spoke to Ted Cox by phone earlier today. He declined to discuss the JiM weekend but he did say on the record that he did not become aware of the confidentiality agreement until after he had paid a non-refundable deposit and paid for a non-refundable plane ticket. Then he was given the option of signing or not attending and not getting any money in refund.

PFOX loses appeal of NEA discrimination case

In a confusing press release this morning, the Parents & Friends of Ex-gays (PFOX) claimed victory in a discrimination appeal to the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. However, in fact, their claim was denied. The National Education Association did not discriminate against them in 2002 when they denied PFOX exhibit space at the NEA national convention.

Here is the PFOX release:

Court Rules that ‘Sexual Orientation’ Laws Include Former Homosexuals

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 /Christian Newswire/ — In a precedent setting case, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia has ruled that former homosexuals are a protected class that must be recognized under sexual orientation non- discrimination laws. The Court held that, under the D.C. Human Rights Act, sexual orientation does not require immutable characteristics.

“We are gratified that the ex-gay community in Washington D.C. now has the same civil rights that gays enjoy,” said Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), which had filed the lawsuit against the District of Columbia government for failing to protect former homosexuals in the Nation’s Capital.

In a discrimination complaint filed by PFOX against the National Education Association (NEA) for refusing to provide public accommodations to ex- gays, the D.C. Office of Human Rights (OHR) had agreed with the NEA that sexual orientation protection did not extend to former homosexuals. “By failing to protect former homosexuals, the sexual orientation laws gave more rights to homosexuals than heterosexuals who were once gay,” said Griggs. “So PFOX asked the Court to reverse OHR’s decision, which it did. The Court held that ex-gays are a protected class under ‘sexual orientation.'”

“All sexual orientation laws and programs nationwide should now provide true diversity and equality by including former homosexuals,” said Greg Quinlan, a director of PFOX. “I have experienced more personal assaults as a former homosexual than I ever did as a gay man.”

“PFOX calls on the NEA to add ex-gays to its sexual orientation resolutions which favor gays, bisexuals, and transgenders while denying equality to former homosexuals,” said Griggs. “The NEA must also stop its bias against the NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus by appointing an ex-gay caucus member to the NEA Sexual Orientation Committee. This committee is staffed with members of the NEA’s gay and transgender caucus, although the ex-gay caucus has asked for inclusion.”

The NEA successfully argued before the Court that it was not guilty of sexual orientation discrimination because its gay caucus would have protested the presence of PFOX’s ex-gay exhibit at the NEA’s annual conference. “Gay activists demand equality while denying it to others,” said Griggs.

This statement of Griggs is accurate but confuses the matter: “So PFOX asked the Court to reverse OHR’s decision, which it did. The Court held that ex-gays are a protected class under ‘sexual orientation.'”

On that point, the court said

Therefore, the Court reverses the OHR’s ruling that exgays are not protected from discrimination under the HRA because it directly contravenes the plain language and intent of the statute.

However, the court found that the NEA did not discriminate against PFOX. The way the press release reads, it sounds like a victory for PFOX against the NEA. Not so.

In fact, the DC court said that the DC Office of Human Rights did err by saying a protected class must demonstrate an immutable characteristic. Originally, the NEA did not want to give PFOX space because they felt their message was offensive to gays. PFOX claimed sexual orientation discrimination and appealed to the DC Office of Human Rights. The OHR said no discrimination occured because ex-gayness was not immutable (by definition I suppose). However, as Judge Ross pointed out the DC Human Rights Amendment protects many practices and preferences which are mutable.

the HRA [Human Rights Amendment] clearly does not limit itself only to immutable characteristics. The premise of the HRA is simple: to end all discrimination based on anything other than individual merit. Numerous protected classes listed in the HRA include mutable traits. Furthermore, the definition of sexual orientation defines an individual’s sexuality as a “preference” or “practice.”

The conclusion of the decision provides the real scoop. In fact, the main event was a denial of the discrimination claim.

PFOX asks the Court to reverse OHR’s final decision finding no probable cause that NEA discriminated against PFOX on the basis of sexual orientation when it denied public accommodation services to PFOX by refusing to provide PFOX with exhibit space at EXPO 2002. As a matter of law, OHR erred in determining that ex-gays are not a protected class under the HRA. Regardless of whether or not OHR erred in its classification of ex-gays, it correctly found that PFOX’s exhibit booth application was rejected for non-discriminatory reasons. Furthermore, while EXPO 2002 was held in Texas, OHR did have jurisdiction over the charge because the rejection of PFOX’s application occurred in D.C., where NEA was headquartered. Therefore, Petitioner’s request to reverse the OHR’s decision, the requested relief, is DENIED. An order denying PFOX’s request will be concurrently issued with this Memorandum Opinion.

The approach of PFOX is interesting. They want ex-gays to be a protected class in the same way gays are a protected class. However, many social conservatives might quarrel that gays are not (or should not be) a protected class. Has PFOX conceded this point?

At one time in the past, I defended PFOX in their fight to exhibit at the NEA convention. I regret that now. Not because I do not believe in free speech or the right to speak about identity change. I do. However, I know PFOX as an organization better now than I did then. I am not interested in supporting misleading messages such as today’s press release.

I was then and am now interested in defending a right to live in line with one’s values and beliefs. At heart, my interest in the ex-gay concept has been much more about congruence with values than about change in orientation, evolving since 2005. That is what I liked about some of the groups I supported at that time. At least I thought that is what they were about. In 2003, I saw the NEA as trying to stifle the message that people who did not want to affirm same-sex attraction were inferior in their life paths. It is the right of the NEA to do so. It is the right of PFOX and other groups to protest that decision but the government cannot compel the NEA to host a message they believe to be at odds with their mission and message. The problem with PFOX is not so much that they advocate for people who want to live in contrast with their homosexuality but the way they promote that idea. The NEA looking at those facts continues to defend their right to keep that approach away from delegates.

As the result of the protests back in 2003, the ex-gay educator’s caucus was created among NEA members. The NEA allowed this because it came from within the organization. I believe they met again this year and while I am not directly involved with the group, I am told that they promoted the congruence approach and not the change model at their booth.

Mankind Project goes transparent

In 2007, I took some heat over my interest in and criticism of the Mankind Project. My initial interest was sparked by the suicide of Michael Scinto shortly after attending a New Warriors Training Adventure, the signature program of MKP. In addition to my interest in strange approaches to counseling, this program was doubly intriguing because reparative therapists and their supporters (e.g., Joe Nicolosi, Richard Cohen, Arthur Goldberg, Paul Miller) recommend NWTA as a way to reduce same-sex attractions.

Since then, MKP has made it plain that they do not recommend NWTA as a reparative therapy adjunct and they have become quite gay friendly. However, these reparative therapists have not back away from their support. For instance, Richard Cohen, in his book for parents of gay children, recommends that fathers and sons attend the weekend together.

One regular criticism of MKP relates to the secrecy of the activities on the NWTA weekends — and for good reason. Some men would surely not go if they knew of the sometimes odd things they would be asked to do. Some of the odd things are harmless but sometimes they can be upsetting. I list links to some on this blog, such as this one, called Killing Daddy. See this page for more about MKP and click this link for prior posts on the topic.

And so, it was with interest that I read a note from a reader who follows MKP. He noted that MKP is now going transparent. All of this is on my MKP page but here is a couple of sections of the memo.

Transparency and the NWTA: Next Steps

At the February 2009 Annual Meeting in Glen Ivy the Project Council approved a proposal moving MKP toward greater transparency. The full proposal is included at the end of this note, which is intended to let you know the work we’re doing to put the plan into action.

External Communications

This is the main focus of the initiative designed to increase candor regarding FAQ’s for men coming to the training as well as specifically addressing inaccurate criticism of MKP and the NWTA on the web.

· We are developing a set of FAQ’s to guide men in speaking with potential initiates about the training and the organization. You are encouraged to share information about the NWTA to the extent that it is requested, encouraging men to step into the mystery while answering questions honestly.

· The MKP public website is being revised to include the above material and appropriate “spoiler” warnings. It will include direct responses to some of the specific criticisms and misperceptions on the web (Houston Press, Haven Ministry, Rick Ross, Warren Throckmorton, Reid Baer, etc.)

MKP is going to talk more freely about what they do but they are going to respond to what some of us have published as “misperceptions.” Well, I look forward to finding out what those misperceptions are.

In any event, the proposal for transparency was apparently approved and will result in significant changes if this memo can be believed. Here is the context of the proposal for transparency and some of what is supposed to happen.

Transparency Regarding the NWTA

Context

In our Confidentiality Agreement and the processes Secret Male Ritual and Integrating the Training we ask men not to share the processes on the NWTA. As an institution we maintain this secrecy in how we speak and write about our training. In the last few years we have been criticized on blogs, on websites, and in a suit for not providing sufficient details for men to make an informed decision about attending our training. The ManKind Project has been labeled a cult by some for our refusal to disclose what we do on the training. It is likely that at least some of these attacks could have been avoided if we had provided more information about the training. The cost of these attacks has been significant to MKP and to our centers. At the same time, most, if not all, of our processes have been described in various media, and in some cases our protocols have been made available on websites.

In many contexts, MKP as an institution and we as individuals highly value transparency, and around the globe organizations are being increasingly called to provide transparency about their activities. Nevertheless we have continued to hold an expectation that we can and should keep our NWTA processes secret. Many of us are concerned that knowing more about the training will make it less effective for participants. Others who read about our processes before attending the NWTA say it was still extremely impactful. I have spoken in depth with the Leader and Center Councils about how we hold secrecy and transparency, and the overwhelming response has favored transparency.

Proposal

I believe that on balance, it will serve the ManKind Project to release our expectations of secrecy and step into transparency about our processes. I propose that MKP begin to provide disclosure about our processes to the extent it is requested by potential initiates and the general public. This means:

· Men who have done the NWTA will be released from any obligation to maintain secrecy about our processes, and will be encouraged to share information about the NWTA to the extent it is requested. This applies particularly to men involved in NWTA enrollment.

MKPers can now sing like birds about their experiences. Might as well, many of the processes and procedures are already on the web anyway. But this way, new initiates will know more directly from the people involved what they are getting into. While I still think MKP is a risky proposition given the lack of training of the leaders and the questionable efficacy of the processes, this move is a good one.

Not sure how many MKP or anti-MKP readers I still have but if you are out there, what are your reactions to this move? Do you believe it? Is it enough? Too much?

AHO!

Blog post at US News & World Report: Does the APA advise a church switch?

Here’s the blog post over at Dan Gilgoff’s US News and World Report blog, God and Country.

The backdrop: The initial article about the APA sexual orientation and therapy report to hit the wire was by David Crary at the AP. However, some (many?) papers truncated the article in such a way that it seemed as though the APA was recommending either celibacy or a church switch as a way to resolve sexual orientation conflict.

Not long afterwards, OneNewsNow picked up that point and ran with it. From the US News blog post:

A news report from OneNewsNow, the information arm of the American Family Association, said the APA report “suggests that if a person with same-gender attractions has problems because of their religious beliefs, they should just change churches.” About the APA report, spokesperson for the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and executive director of Evergreen International, a ministry to homosexuals of the LDS Church, David Pruden, told OneNewsNow:

“The suggestion was as a Christian, when your conscience comes in conflict with what’s going on in your life — temptations, attractions, concerns, whatever they happen to be — that what you simply do is jettison your standards so that it becomes easier to live with your temptations.”

Both OneNewsNow and Mr. Pruden stand by their statements. But is it accurate to say that the APA report advises that conflicted people switch churches or “jettison” beliefs?

Of course it is not accurate. In the US News & World Report post, I quote Rhea Farberman who directly denies the claim. I then quote from the APA report which finds benefit in social support groups even if not gay affirming.

This is not to say that the APA discourages someone from changing churches if the client feels it is best. I suspect this goes in any direction. For instance, a client might decide to leave a gay affirming church if this seemed more in keeping with identity development. According to this report, psychologists would not try to prevent such a move, but neither would they encourage it.

I approached both NARTH and OneNewsNow with no change.

Guest blogging tomorrow at US News and World Report

Just a head’s up to watch for the tomorrow’s God and Country Blog at US News and World Report. Yours truly will have an article about the recent APA task force report and the contention that the APA advocates that conflicted people just switch churches if they can’t work out the conflict.

Check out the week’s other guest authors and thanks to host Dan Gilgoff for the opportunity.