Marcus Bachmann defends his clinic

Speaking to the Minnesota Star-Tribune, Marcus Bachmann defended his clinic, protested that a recording of him was doctored, and defended the option to seek change of orientation.
Bachmann said a 2010 Point of View radio show was edited to make it appear he considered gays to be barbarians. He said he was speaking about teens in general and not gays specifically.
Bachmann also told the Star-Tribune that his clinic does not specialize in change therapy but would pursue it, at “the client’s discretion.”
Bachmann’s clinic has received $137,000 in Medicaid payments but defended this sum as helping low income clients.
I did not think Bachmann was a big player in gay change circles. While I was more involved in that world, I never heard of him or anyone in his clinic. To my knowledge, he has had no involvement at NARTH.
Sounds like his clinic needs an inservice in the SIT Framework.
If the radio program has been edited to create a false impression, then some red faces need to speak up. Someone surely has the original program and should make it available to the public today.
Update: The fellow who posted the audio of Bachmann referring to gay teens as barbarians says he did not doctor the audio and challenged the radio program to release the full podcast.

MTV's True Life features sexual reorientation

In a reality TV format, Thursday’s MTV’s True Life featured two young people, a man and a woman, who are attempting to change their sexual orientation.
Both Melanie and Kevin describe ongoing struggles with their feelings of attraction to others of the same sex. It is interesting to hear friends and family speak in favor and opposition to being gay. The pressure seems to run both ways, for and against affirming gay identification. Both people seem to acknowledge that their attractions are a part of them but they are moving behaviorally to an adjustment they seek.
I would say that the male, Kevin, is more in line with an Exodus model of seeing same-sex attraction as a spiritual struggle. His therapist, Mitch Whitman, operates as a Christian counselor, speaking of same-sex attraction as temptations. Kevin describes a frequent theme that his life was a mess and saw his homosexuality as the cause of that.
I don’t know if these episodes will be online, but others are which may signal that these will be soon. On balance, I suspect that change ministries will see these segments as more friendly to their perspective than will gay advocates.

Politifact rates Tim Pawlenty's views on sexual orientation

On the July 10 Meet the Press program, Tim Pawlenty was asked by David Gregory whether or not homosexuality is a choice and if it is genetically caused. Politifact rated Pawlenty’s answers and overall did a pretty good job of it.
They rated Pawlenty as mostly true on the genetics question but false on the question of choice. Go give it a read. Also, what do you think of this money quote from Michael Bailey?:

“If you can’t make a male attracted to other males by cutting off his penis, castrating him, and rearing him as a girl, how likely is any social explanation of male homosexuality?” Bailey asks.

More on The Response: Did Hitler mimic the Indian reservations?

Here is a tale of two supporters of The Response.
John Benefiel is founder of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network and endorser of the upcoming prayer meeting, The Response, initiated by Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and funded by the American Family Association. Benefiel has focused on repairing relationships with Native Americans. His reasons are spiritual. For instance, he teaches that Oklahoma’s high divorce rate is due to the fact that Oklahoma was once home to the Indian Territory, a place where the government broke covenants with Native Americans. Over the years, people have been inspired by dark forces to break their marriage vows because the government broke vows with the native nations of the land. Thus, the support for making amends with native people is not simply to do the right thing, rather the big picture is to clear the land of demonic influence so that Benefiel’s version of Christianity can take hold.
Bryan Fischer is an Issues Analyst for the AFA, the group funding the event endorsed by Mr. Benefiel. Mr. Fischer has said that Native Americas were morally disqualified from ownership of their lands because of their savagry and immorality. The AFA website provides Mr. Fischer a forum to say the Indians got what they deserved because they refused to convert to Christianity. Fischer and Mr. Benefiel surely seem to disagree about this matter.
Mr. Fischer also preaches that the Nazi party was full of gays, Hitler was gay and needed gays to enforce his evil intentions. According to Fischer, gays in the Nazi military gave the world 6 million dead Jews.  
Mr. Benefiel has something to say about Hitler and the Nazi era as well. Roll the tape:

The only reference to this possibility that I can find is John Toland’s biography of Adolf Hitler, where he wrote:

If we believe Bryan Fischer (which I don’t), then Hitler was some kind of gay and his brutality was because of it. Now we hear, from Apostle Benefiel and author John Toland, that the Nazis were inspired by the cruelty of the Christian nation America toward our indigenous people. Wow.
Benefiel and President Obama have something in common according to Fischer. According to Fischer when we consider America’s treatment of Native Americans, there are two conceptual options:

The template that the left has generated is that the displacement of indigenous tribes by European colonists and settlers was irredeemably evil. All the land which now comprises the United States was stolen from its rightful owners. Our very presence on this soil is a guilty, tainted presence. 
So the question is whether that template is right, or whether the displacement of indigenous nations was consistent with the laws of nature, nature’s God, and the law of nations and history. 
A lot is at stake here. If Americans believe that the entire history of our nation rests on a horribly evil foundation, then there is nothing to be proud of in American history, and our president is correct to identify America as the source of all evil in the world and to make a career out of apologizing for her very existence. 
If, however, there is a moral and ethical basis for our displacement of native American tribes, and if our westward expansion and settlement are in fact consistent with the laws of nature, nature’s God, and the law of nations, then Americans have much to be proud of.

On the matter of native people and the evil perpetrated, Benefiel and President Obama are on the same page.   
Obviously making amends with Native Americans is a big deal to Benefiel. And to his credit, he has investigated and documented the evil treatment of indigenous people by the American government. However, given his belief in curses and apologies, it is hard for me to understand how he can endorse an event like The Response, funded by the AFA, which condones Bryan Fischer’s derogatory views of Native Americans as a race of people.   
One observation that I can make here is that Christian conservatives are not as monolithic a group as those outside the group think we are. Since I would be somewhere in there, the boundaries expand to even greater reaches.
It does raise for me a question about the intent of events like The Response. To which god are these folks praying? Are they praying to the one who demands an apology for evil done to Native Americans, or the one who empowered the Europeans to displace the indigenous people?
Well, at least The Response is bringing people of competing ideologies together.
(Thanks to Kyle Mantyla at Right Wing Watch for the tip.)
Video is derived from this sermon.

The fuss over Michele Bachmann and reparative therapy

Been writing away on my book while current events come and go. One big story which I posted about here is about whether or not reparative therapy is conducted at Michele and Marcus Bachmann’s therapy clinic.
I am writing about same-sex attracted people who marry heterosexually. In addition to clinical experience, I conducted several in depth interviews of men and women in what are termed, “mixed orientation marriages,” and I surveyed over 300 same-sex attracted men and women who are or have been married to someone of the opposite sex.
The survey was not a pre and post examination of therapy or even change efforts. However, many people disclosed change efforts and many of the participants were involved in member ministries of Exodus. I figure if change in orientation happens a lot, I would find it in this group.
That is not what I found. On the whole, the group assessed themselves as more gay in their attractions and fantasies than when they were 18 and when they were married. Most of the people were still married, but it would not be accurate to say that their orientation had changed.
The therapist quoted in the hidden camera report appeared to say that it was possible to change orientation completely. Saying this is not consistent with research and clinical experience, nor is it consistent with the APA’s recent task force report. It is also is not of necessity an indicator that reparative therapy is taking place. Reparative therapy is a subtype of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) which acts on the premise that being gay is the result of poor parenting. Find some way to address the parenting problems and with time and effort, the same-sex attractions fade a lot or a little.
As I have discussed here many times before, there is little evidence for the reparative drive theory and even less that such approaches actually have potency for orientation change.
On the other hand, some (many?) people who are evangelical find ways to maintain commitments to their marriages or to remain chaste to the degree that they feel loyal to their faith. A recent New York Times magazine article provided an in depth look at that approach to situations when religious belief and sexual attractions seem to conflict.
Nuance often goes out the window when a political, especially presidential, campaign is a part of the mix. In this case, that seems to be happening. Given the reporting about the Bachmann’s statements about homosexuality, there seems to be little doubt that they have aligned with the political side of the ex-gay movement. On the other hand, I doubt that Marcus Bachmann and his associates operate like Joe Nicolosi’s Thomas Aquinas Clinic, as a reparative therapy office, subjecting large numbers of patients to fables about how the past and present relate. I suspect the Bachmann’s interest in ex-gays is because the change is possible narrative reinforce their biases about homosexuality in general. Let me add that I am pretty sure I am right about that last statement, although I could be wrong about the one before it.
Politically, the matter is unlikely to hurt Michele Bachmann in Iowa or among rank and file religious conservatives. It may however, help illustrate why she cannot win the nomination. Whatever they are doing at Bachmann and Associates, it is not transparent, nor state of the art. Trust is not inspired by incompetence or a lack of transparency. The Bachmanns will need to face the issues deliberately, spell out their beliefs and let people decide what it means for their support. It may not need to be before the Iowa caucus, but it will be some time after that.

Romney rejects the Iowa marriage pledge; Pawlenty on the fence?

Today, Mitt Romney called the Iowa Family Leader marriage pledge “undignified and inappropriate for a presidential campaign.” He is, of course, correct.
Meanwhile, Tim Pawlenty has not decided about his support for it.
UPDATE: Gov. Pawlenty refused to sign the pledge.

The strange bedfellows involved in Rick Perry's prayer meeting

On the video below, at least four people who are associated with Governor Rick Perry’s The Response prayer meeting speak in favor of an apology to Native American people for the atrocities committed against them by European settlers. Jay Swallow, Lou Engle, Sam Brownback and John Benefiel appear and support the Native American Apology Resolution. In fact, John Benefiel’s ministry made the video.
Lou Engle, who is not listed as a The Response endorser but is a part of the International House of Prayer which is providing support, speaks about the apology as a way to remove the curse on the land due to how the American government treated native people. He leaves the impression that abortion today might be related in some way to the government’s practice of making and breaking treaties.
On the other hand, the event is being funded by the American Family Association, a group which condones and provides a platform for the views of Bryan Fischer. Fischer believes the native people were wiped out because they were so savage and immoral that God favored the occupying European settlers. If confessing national sins is on the agenda, I wonder if the prayers of all of these people will cancel each other out. Some will pray thanks for removing the land from the native people, and others will ask forgiveness for taking it.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT0ekWNUjL8[/youtube]
While I do not link any of our present day issues to curses, I do believe that Christians should be in the front of the line to support the Native American Apology Resolution. I repeatedly asked the AFA to do so back in the Spring with dead silence from them. In taking the view that America was acting as a proxy for God, he and the AFA stand in direct opposition to those they are partnering with to put on The Response.
Additional notes:
After I posted the above, I explored the work of John Benefiel a bit more. Right Wing Watch has a couple of posts bringing to light Benefiel’s views about the Statue of Liberty (demonic) and homosexuality (big Baal conspiracy). You can read more about Benefiel here. Benefiel and Cindy Jacobs have a fixation on Baal which strangely enough is a tie to the Native American Apology Resolution. It is all explained here in this prayer alert from Jacobs’ Generals International.
I don’t really understand it all, but it appears that the Resolution was used as a kind of talisman to appease spirits in places around Route 50 all through the nation. The Resolution is important because it represents a necessary step to keeping a covenant given by God to the Pilgrims to evangelize the native people. So when the settlers breached treaties, they were also breaking covenant with God. According to this line of thinking, God won’t hear our prayers until we get things right with indigenous people.
The passage of the Resolution was viewed as a means of entering into a second phase of repentence from idolatry — which is divorcing Baal via a rejection of freemasonry and the occult. Enter the statue of liberty. According to Benefiel, this pagan symbol is idol worship. Benefiel and the Generals folks want to pray all of that away.
What a gathering The Promise should be. I think if God could be confused, this meeting might be the one to accomplish it. David Barton will be thanking God for George Washington’s faith, and John Benefiel will be divorcing himself from Washington’s freemasonry. Bryan Fischer and the AFA might pray in thanks for delivering the land into the hands of the Europeans, and John Benefiel and the apostles will be in remorse over it.
Since God is not the author of confusion, then I am not sure what is going on with The Response.

Article on The Response and the AFA published at Indian Country Times

I believe the Indian Country Times is the largest Native American news service on the web. Today, they published my article asking why Governor Rick Perry would partner with the American Family Association given the vilification of Native Americans by Bryan Fischer and condoned by the AFA earlier in the year. I am glad that the ICT folks consider the issue relevant and important enough to bring before their readers.
Click the link for the article.

Iowa Family Leader calls for theonomy

A group tied to GOP Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is calling for Iowa legislators to base law on Christian teaching.  On their website, the group urges Iowa ministers to sign a letter which says

Because God is God of all, there is no structural difference between religious and civil marriage. The essence of marriage remains the same in both the religious and civil realms. (Col. 1:15-19) The acknowledgement (sic) of, and reference to, marriage in the laws of our state and nation does not create a second realm of marriage that is somehow divorced from the only definition determined by God.

By saying that there is no difference between the civil and religious realms, the Iowa Family Policy Council advocates for what Christian reconstructionists call a theonomy. Most opponents of same-sex marriage propose that negative consequences will occur if such marriages are legally recognized. However, here the Family Leader advances what is primarily a theological argument. In essence, they hope pastors will write their legislators and tell them that the laws of Iowa must be the same as the teachings of the Bible since God is over both.
In the second clause of the letter, the Family Leader casts aside the 14th Amendment.

Keeping in mind that the concept of fairness is subjective, it should never be used as a mechanism to overturn the plain truth of the Scriptures. The laws of Iowa can never be “fair” to everyone, but instead ought to be designed to promote justice.

In other words, the Family Leader wants Iowa legislators to place the Bible over the 14th Amendment and equal treatment under the law. According the Family Leader, the law cannot be fair to all Iowans, just those who believe the right things. In a theonomy, the Bible is the law of the land. Apparently, the Family Leader wants Iowa to be a theonomy, never allowing fairness to citizens “to used as a mechanism to overturn the plain truth of the Scriptures.”
In the fourth clause, the rights of some Iowa citizens to advocate for their viewpoint is considered more important than other citizens.

Freedom of conscience is not the issue. We acknowledge that everyone has a right to their own beliefs. The issue is whether or not certain citizens have the right to use their beliefs to redefine that which God has already defined, and then force the rest of society to accept that redefinition. We submit that they do not.

Apparently, some citizens cannot “use their beliefs” in ways that others can. The Family Leader can use their beliefs to write letters to legislators, urge Iowans to toss out unpopular judges and advocate for candidates that promote their theonomic views. Other Iowans, who don’t believe in the same God or interpret His will in the same manner must not be allowed the same right.
What if the Family Leader used such thinking to other matters such as church or family? Since the New Testament is interpreted by some as requiring women to “keep silent” in church, shouldn’t the Family Leader petition the Iowa legislature for gag laws on mouthy women in their churches, and probably by extension any other situation where a woman might exercise authority over a man? Give a suffragette an inch and she’ll take a mile.
By their reasoning, since God is the God of all, shouldn’t all areas of life be considered a part of the civil realm?  Theonomists would answer in the affirmative. Rousas J. Rushdoony, the dean of modern reconstructionism, said in his Institutes of Biblical Law

Neither positive law nor natural law can reflect more than the sin and apostasy of man: revealed law is the need and privilege of Christian society. It is the only means whereby man can fulfill his creation mandate of exercising dominion under God. Apart from revealed law, man cannot claim to be under God but only in rebellion against God

A review of the Family Leader’s letter to Iowa legislators indicates harmony with Rushdoony’s statement that “revealed law is the need and privilege of a Christian society.” According the Family Leader, there is “no structural difference” between the religious and civil realms.
The ready endorsement of Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum to
the materials and pledges of this group exposes them to questions about the role of religion in civil society. Do they want a theonomy?

Marriage pledge authors backtrack on slavery reference

The Family Leader organization removed a reference to slavery in their “marriage pledge” in the midst of complaints and negative media scrutiny. According to Politico:

A social conservative Iowa group has retracted language regarding slavery from the opening of a presidential candidates’  pledge, amid a growing controversy over the document that Michele Bachmann had signed and Rick Santorum committed to.
The original “marriage vow” from the Family Leader, unveiled last week, included a line at the opening of its preamble, which suggested that black children born into slavery were better off in terms of family life than African-American kids born today.

Given the spokesperson’s explanation, I don’t think the group really gets why they were wrong:

“We came up with the pledge and so we had no idea that people would misconstrue that,” she said. “It was not meant to be racist or anything. it was just a fact that back in the days of slavery there was usually a husband and a wife…we were not saying at all that things are better for African-American children in slavery days than today.”

A husband and a wife who may not live together, with one on one plantation and the other on another.
The Bachmann campaign said Michele Bachmann only meant that she agreed with the pledge part, but not the rest of it. Really? You mean you don’t read what you sign?

A Bachmann spokeswoman said earlier Saturday that reports the congresswoman had signed a vow that contained the slavery language was wrong, noting it was not in the “vow” portion.
“She signed the ‘candidate vow,’ ” campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart said, and distanced Bachmann from the preamble language, saying, “In no uncertain terms, Congresswoman Bachmann believes that slavery was horrible and economic enslavement is also horrible.”