SPLC lists anti-gay hate groups

In the latest issue (Spring, 2010, issue 137) of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, the organization lists active hate groups and hate websites. These are groups which engage in campaigns of personal vilification against other social groups. The list of organizations deemed to be anti-gay hate groups are listed on the SPLC website.

There is another list of “hate websites” only listed in the print copy of the Intelligence Report. Here is the description of those websites given on page 51.

The assumption here is that some websites are not really organizations of substance but fronts for one or a handful of people who stigmatize a group of people.

The website listing for anti-gay groups looks like the hate group with an exception — Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, this year listed as a hate website.

The listings might be controversial to some, and have no impact other than to provide information to the public. The SPLC monitors the activities of groups on the lists but has no other authority. While the criteria are not completely clear, it is important to note that the SPLC does not list groups because they oppose gay rights or view homosexuality as a sin. Note the many groups which are not listed.

UPDATE: Mr. LaBarbera does not like being listed as a hate group and has stopped harassing me to respond to the SPLC.

When the Illinois Family Institute was listed on the SPLC hate group list, one of the prime reasons was the use of Paul Cameron’s discredited research in their materials and postings. The IFI eventually removed the references to Cameron, apparently agreeing that these references were inappropriate. The AFTAH website has at least two references to Paul Cameron’s work, including the study which Danish epidemiologist Morton Frisch critiqued here in 2007. The nine part series on the 2007 article by Kirk and Paul Cameron is here. The references to Cameron on the AFTAH website are here, and here.

LaBarbera also provided cover for the supporters of the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill while admitting that he had not even read it. LaBarbera also has numerous supportive references to Scott Lively, including this one where Lively defends his rhetoric in Uganda. Recall that Lively told the Ugandan people that the Rwandan holocaust was likely driven by homosexuals. On the rhetoric of Scott Lively in Uganda, watch this video for footage.

Paul Kengor: God Gets His Healthcare Bill

Note: The recent healthcare reform certainly is historic, in the sense that it most likely will be considered an important, perhaps defining, event in the Obama Presidency. Whatever eventually happens politically as a result, there are important elements of public discourse which marked the debate. One of those elements –religious rhetoric– is the subject of Dr. Kengor’s column.  

God Gets His Healthcare Bill

By Dr. Paul Kengor 

The most frustrating thing I’ve dealt with in professional life was eight years of outrageous, baseless charges against President George W. Bush on matters of faith. Even when Bush was simply asked about his faith, and responded with utterly benign statements, like saying he couldn’t imagine surviving the presidency “without faith in the Lord,” or noting he prayed before committing troops, echoing every president from Washington to Lincoln to Wilson to Carter to Clinton, he was viciously assaulted.

“We are dealing with a messianic militarist!” thundered Ralph Nader.

“He should not be praying,” intoned Lawrence O’Donnell to the MSNBC faithful.

Repeatedly, I was called to respond to this nonsense. My retort was agonizingly simple: I merely ran through example after example of American founders, presidents—Democrats and Republicans—saying either precisely what Bush said or something far more extreme, like Woodrow Wilson claiming God called upon him to found the League of Nations, or FDR mounting a battleship leading troops in a rendition of “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

What I said rarely mattered. Every Bush mention of God was a signal, somehow, that this Bible-quoting “simpleton” was trying to transform America into a “theocracy.”

Alas, there was another tactic I used: I quoted current Democrats on the campaign trail, from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, invoking the Almighty. I knew that if these politicians reached the White House, they’d say the same as Bush, or much worse—with no backlash from the secular media. Quite the contrary, liberals would roll out the red carpet, enthusiastically welcoming faith into the public square.

All of that is prelude to my point here today:

The Religious Left, from “social justice” Catholic nuns and Protestant ministers to the Democratic Speaker of the House and president of the United States, have been incessantly claiming God’s advocacy of their healthcare reform. That’s no surprise, just as it’s no surprise that the press is not only not outraged but silently supportive. There’s nary a whimper, let alone howls, of “separation of church and state!”

Consider a few examples, most telling in light of passage of the healthcare bill:

Last August, President Obama addressed a virtual gathering of 140,000 Religious Left individuals. He told them he was “going to need your help” in passing healthcare. Obama penitently invoked a period of “40 Days,” a trial of deliverance from conservative tormentors, from temptation by evildoers. He lifted up the brethren, assuring them, “We are God’s partner in matters of life and death.”

Like a great commissioning, in the 40 Days that followed the Religious Left was filled with the spirit, confidently spreading the word, pushing for—among other things—abortion funding as part of an eternally widening “social justice” agenda. The Religious Institute, which represents 4,800 clergy, urged Congress to include abortion funding in “healthcare” reform, adamantly rejecting amendments that prohibited funding. To not help poor women secure their reproductive rights was unjust, declared the progressive pastors. As the Rev. Debra Hafner, executive director of the Religious Institute, complained, federal policy already “unfairly prevents low-income women and federal employees from receiving subsidized” abortions.

Here we see the Religious Left’s continued perversion of “social justice.” Behold: social justice abortions.

Early last week, a group of 59 nuns sent Congress a letter urging passage of the healthcare bill. This came in direct defiance of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which insisted the bill “must be opposed” because of its refusal to explicitly ban abortion funding. What the bishops said didn’t matter, one nun told Fox’s Neil Cavuto—supporting the bill is what “Jesus would do.”

The liberal media cheered on the nuns, gleefully exaggerating the sisters’ influence. In a breathtaking display, the Los Angeles Times beamed, “Nuns’ support for health-care bill shows [Catholic] Church split.” Quoting the nuns, the Times reported that the letter represented not more than 50 nuns but over 50,000. (I’m not kidding, click here.) Like Jesus with the loaves, the militantly secular/liberal Times had displayed miraculous powers of multiplication.

Finally, last Friday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Roman Catholic, invoked the Solemnity of the Feast of St. Joseph on behalf of the healthcare bill. She urged American Catholics to “pray to St. Joseph”—earthly guardian of the unborn son of God. Such overtures are hardly new for Pelosi, who routinely exhorts Democratic disciples to vote the liberal/progressive agenda as an “act of worship.”

All of that is prelude, of course, to what happened the evening of March 21, 2010, A.D., with a rare vote not merely on a Sunday—God’s day—but the final Sunday in Lent, the week before Palm Sunday that initiates the Lord’s Passion. To President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and the Religious Left faithful, Jesus, presumably, has gotten his healthcare package.

Amid that process, secular liberals got religion, as their political soul-mates spearheaded this “change” in the name of Jesus Christ. It’s a quite radical departure from eight years of scourging George W. Bush every time he confessed he prayed. At long last, there is room for Jesus in the inn, so long as the Savior “supports” a certain agenda. Who says conversions don’t happen?

Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His books include “God and George W. Bush,” “God and Ronald Reagan,” and“God and Hillary Clinton.” The topic of this op-ed will be discussed at length by several speakers at our coming April 15-16 conference on “The Progressives.” Click here for more information.

Exodus International Board and members condemn Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill

As a follow up to a letter delivered to Uganda’s President Yowari Museveni, the board and many member ministries of Exodus International have issued a statement condemning Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.

Due to the continued threat of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, introduced before the Ugandan parliament on October 14, 2009, and bills like it in other nations, the Board of Directors of Exodus International and its North American membership felt a vital need to issue the following statement:

The statement is very similar to the letter which was delivered to the Ugandan President in November, 2009. The statement in full after the jump:

Continue reading “Exodus International Board and members condemn Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill”

Health care reform: Who must buy insurance?

The Christian Science Monitor takes a simple stab at this question here.

But here’s a key thing to remember: There is a simple concept at the center of this rambling, Rube Goldbergian machine. Democratic healthcare reform would expand insurance coverage in America by requiring people to obtain it.

That’s right. The healthcare reform bill would mandate that most US citizens and legal residents purchase “minimal essential coverage” for themselves and their dependents. They can get this either through their employer, or, if their employer doesn’t offer health insurance, they can buy it through new marketplaces that will sell policies to individuals.

Those marketplaces would be called “exchanges.” We’ll talk more about them in a later story. (We’ll also cover subsidies for health insurance, when it all would take effect, how it would be paid for, and what it means for businesses.)

I feel sure that the requirement to purchase health insurance will be challenged in court. Forcing a purchase with the penalty of fines seems to compel associations which could give rise to constitutional challenges.  The forced purchases, however, are key to the provision which is attractive to most people: elimination of pre-existing conditions as a reason to refuse coverage.

Why is Congress doing this? It’s a pretty obvious way to expand coverage, for one thing. Also, it will help bring in a flood of new customers for health insurance firms, including healthy young people who might not need much healthcare.

For insurance firms, those new customers could balance out the losses they might incur if they can no longer deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions. (Yes, that’s another change the bill makes.)

And remember, many people will not be buying this coverage purely on their own. Uncle Sam will be helping them. The bookend to the individual mandate is federal subsidies for insurance purchases, which reach deep into the middle class. We’ll talk about those next.

In essence, you and I (via taxes) will be providing coverage for people who may not want it so that people who need coverage for serious conditions will have it. Insurers may still benefit by virtue of the millions of new subscribers. I suspect there will be severe fines for insurers who attempt to limit coverage or benefits. But I don’t know. And the lack of knowledge is what is politically troubling. There will be legislators who approve this bill over the weekend that have not read it.

According to the NY Times, key votes are still in play approaching a Sunday vote.

Mankind Project provides journalist with a “very weird weekend”

The Mankind Project has been off my radar for months. However, UK journalist Tom Mitchelson put it back on with his eyewitness account published in Saturday’s UK Mail Online

I first heard about the MKP’s New Warriors Training Adventure at a NARTH (National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) conference in 2003. Various members, including then President Joe Nicolosi, were recommending it to those in attendance as a way to support healthy masculinity.  A few same-sex attracted men who tried it thought it was great and a few others thought it made no sense to be naked in the woods with other guys. New Warriors is still recommended on the NARTH website. In view of the current critiques of the sexual identity therapy framework (SITF), it is worth pointing out that the SITF discourages experiences like NWTA. More about that after I review Mitchelson’s weird weekend.

The next time I recall thinking much about MKP was when I read Chris Vogel’s Houston Press article about the suicide of Michael Scinto. You can read all of the articles on MKP and NWTA here.

For veteran NWTA watchers, these experiences will seem familiar. Mitchelson grabs your attention out of the gate:

How our man found himself with 65 naked men chanting, drumming – and screaming their rage against women to ‘reclaim’ their lost masculinity…

The temperature has plunged to freezing. I am deep in a remote English woodland outside Exeter.

I have been blindfolded and I am standing, holding hands, with a long line of men – who, until about 24 hours ago, I’d never met before.

Together, we are stumbling through the scrub as beating tribal drums guide our way. Oh yes, and we are naked. Totally naked.

Abruptly, my blindfold is ripped off and I see we have been led to a shadowy candle-lit room. There are about 65 of us in a double horseshoe formation.

This is a ceremony where we are to become ‘new warriors’. And then the dancing begins.

I wish I were somewhere else. Anywhere else. So why on earth am I here?

Why indeed? On its website, MKP proclaims:

We’re redefining mature masculinity for the 21st Century – and we want your help!

Along the way Mitchelson seems amused that the NWTA is viewed as a path to redefined masculinity.

A leader holding a wooden staff decorated with feathers rambles on about the mission of the weekend, using the pompous jargon that would later become very familiar: words like ‘shadow’, ‘warriors’, ‘masculine’, ‘commitment’ and ‘responsibility’.

He tells us how to be a man. It’s hard to take from a man wearing face paint, carrying a feathered stick.

Whatever healthy masculinity is, it seems to involve making the world into a giant man-cave, free from those pesky women.

Everything I read from them is baffling non-speak. They claim the weekend is a ‘process of initiation and self-examination that is crucial to the development of a healthy and mature male self’.

They claim they help move men away from the ‘comforting embrace’ of their mother – something, on the face of it, some wives might even encourage. Then I am told I will ‘confront’ my ‘dependence on women’, to help me move into the ‘masculine kingdom’.

The fun begins when they arrive at the camp. Continue reading “Mankind Project provides journalist with a “very weird weekend””

The value of self-determination in counseling

In response to the recent attacks on the sexual identity therapy framework, a supportive reader contacted me with a story of one of her experiences in counseling. I do know the person and can confirm the accuracy of the situation. Why should therapists avoid imposing their beliefs on clients? Read and see what you think.

As someone who has been in counseling, I enormously appreciate your emphasis on self-determination.  As you wrote the other day, any therapist can force any views at any patient. When I was in grad school, I had just started with a female therapist.  She was given plenty of information about my Christian beliefs and how it was important to operate within that for me to succeed.  And then within 5 weeks (before I quit), she sent me to the library to read a book that was essentially how to be a lesbian. And then she basically told me that if I’d just go and have sex with someone that I wouldn’t have problems with it anymore.  And then I quit.  Why is respecting beliefs a better way? I really had a hard time with that, because she tried to force me out of my beliefs.  And it was awful.  I had a hard time trusting any therapist after that.

That therapist should have made a referral. Apparently, the value conflict was so great that the therapist apparently was not able to get past it. Therapists are not machines and have strong beliefs about many things so when the conflict is great, referral is indicated. The sexual identity therapy framework allows for such referrals while at the same time requiring respect for clients and their values.

Ugandan religious leaders speak out against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

There are many problems still here but this statement represents some movement. The consensus for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as written appears to be waning.

Position of ICRCU

Tuesday, 9th March, 2010

IRCU is an initiative that brings together different religious institutions to address issues of common concern.

Its membership comprises of the Roman Catholic Church in Uganda, the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, the Church of Uganda, the Uganda Orthodox Church and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Vision: A divinely Peaceful, prosperous and HIV/AIDS free Uganda

We the Council of Presidents of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) gathered this 10th day of February, 2010, at IRCU Secretariat;

Having read and considered carefully the provisions in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill yet to be debated by Parliament;

Aware of our mandate to nurture and protect the moral fibre of our society, guided by the Holy Scriptures of the religions we subscribe to;

Hereby state that:

1. The Bible, the Quran and other Holy Teachings treat homosexuality as a sin. Both the Bible and Qur’an are  categorical in their objection to same sex relationships (Lev. 18:22; Surah Ash’shura 26:165-166). Homosexual acts are contrary to the natural divine law, and under no circumstance can be approved.

2. The IRCU Council of Presidents, therefore, condemns homosexuality as an undesirable evil that should not be allowed in our society.

3. Our religious teachings promote respect, compassion and sensitivity. We, therefore, condemn the sin but welcome the sinners to confess, repent and seek a new beginning. This is based on the belief that all people are called by God to fulfill His will in their lives; IRCU, therefore, decries the proposed death penalty and life imprisonment in the proposed Bill as unwarranted. We believe homo-sexuals need conversion, repentance, support, and understanding and love in order to abandon their practices and return to God fully.

4. Since the proposed death penalty and life imprisonment do not provide the sinner an opportunity to repent, hence falling short of compassion to those who need conversion, repentance, support and hope, they are unnecessary.

5. Even the proposal to prosecute those who fail to disclose information regarding homosexual acts is inconsistent with the trust, confidentiality and professional ethics of persons such as parents, priests, counselors, teachers, doctors and leaders, to whom the sick, troubled and repentant sinners turn in search of support and advice for rehabilitation. The proposed law does not provide for the rehabilitation of repentant homosexuals. Yet as Religious Leaders, we are mandated to reach out to all people of God in a show of love and compassion (Mt. 9:10-13). The proposed Bill also has the potential to destroy the family as it is likely to undermine the important role of parents in providing guidance to their children.

6. Additionally, in our view the proposed Bill may not be called for considering that acts of sodomy are already condemned under section 145 of the Penal Code. However, we recognize the need to improve on the Penal Code as it has gaps which can be addressed by some provisions contained in the proposed Bill.

7. We the Council of Presidents of the Inter – Religious Council of Uganda, therefore, advise government, and all well-meaning groups and individuals to take remedial measures against this evil that has crept into our society by:

a. Exposing the people and organizations funding homosexuality in the country;

b. Providing enough information on recruitment and funding to the public in the interest of transparency and accountability;

c. Establishing facts on homosexuality and gay activities in Uganda and publishing a brochure which IRCU can distribute through its structures;

d. Emphasizing our core cultural and religious values and undertaking moral education in schools; and

e. Counteracting the distortion and misrepresentation of the debate on homosexuality by the media.

SIGNED:

His Eminence Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga: Archbishop of the Uganda Orthodox Church; Chairperson, IRCU Council of Presidents

His Grace the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi: Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda/Member IRCU Council of Presidents

Pr. Dr. John Kakembo

President, Seventh-day Adventist Uganda; Union/ Member IRCU Council of Presidents

His Eminence Sheikh Shaban R. Mubaje: Mufti of Uganda/ Member IRCU Council of Presidents

His Grace Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga

Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese/

Member IRCU Council of Presidents

Is NARTH the next target?

As I noted yesterday, Peter LaBarbera of American for Truth About Homosexuality doesn’t like the sexual identity therapy framework, saying

As you can see above, Throckmorton’s and Regent University’s Mark Yarhouse’s “Sexual Identity Therapy” model grants the possibility that some clients may come to embrace a positive “gay identity” that “modifies” their religious beliefs in such a way as to “allow integration of same-sex eroticism within their valued identity.”

If he is consistent, he will need to expand his crusade to include an organization and therapist he often cites approvingly. On the AFTAH website, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality is referenced at least 46 times (e.g., here). However, on the NARTH website, co-founder of NARTH, Joe Nicolosi says that gay affirming counseling should be available.

The developmental model we suggest must deeply resonate with the men we work with, or they will (rightfully) leave our office and pursue a different therapeutic approach. We explain that our position differs from the American Psychological Association, which sees homosexuality and heterosexuality as equivalent, and along the way, we encourage them to clarify and re-clarify the direction of their identity commitment. Gay-affirmative therapy should, of course, be available for any such client.

A few gay-identified clients do decide to stay with us. Out of respect for diversity and autonomy, I affirm them in their right to define themselves as they wish, and I accept them in their gay self-label.

Nicolosi affirms these clients in “their right to define themselves as they wish,” and he accepts “them in their gay self-label.” Of course, here Nicolosi is speaking as a professional therapist and as such acknowledges that such affirmations come from a respect for autonomy. There is little difference between these options and the options LaBarbera criticizes in his article on the SITF.

There are many problems with LaBarbera’s recent crusade. One, highlighted by this post, is that his critiques of the SITF are devoid of any proper context. The SITF is intended for mental health professionals and professional relationships with clients of all ideologies. Pastors and ministry workers follow a more directive line in keeping with the teachings of their faith. Will NARTH now become a target since they support acceptance of some clients “in their gay self-label” and affirmation of “them in their right to define themselves as they wish?”