Did the leading association of pediatricians say schools are forcing kids to be gay?

David Barton says they did (via Right Wing Watch).
On his radio program Friday, August 5, Barton told his co-host Rick Green that the “leading pediatric association in America” wrote a letter to the superintendents of all the nation’s public schools warning them to stop indocrinating students in homosexuality. Barton said the pediatricians told the educators:

If you’ll just let this develop naturally, they’ll end up being heterosexual unless you force them to be homosexual.

The only part of this narrative that is correct is that school superintendents got a letter from some pediatricians about homosexuality. Everything else is wrong.
First, the only group that sent a letter to school superintendents with this kind of information was the American College of Pediatricians, a small group of socially conservative pediatricians and other interested people. In 2003, the group broke away from the 60,000+ member American Academy of Pediatrics due to disputes over homosexuality and abortion.
On their website, ACPeds says they have members in 47 states and five countries. I cannot find any information about how many members they have and others I know who have asked them the number say they have not gotten a response.  If the group reports their membership dues income properly, then the number of pediatrician members is very small, probably less than 200.
ACPEDS IRS 990 form reports $38,380 in membership dues and assessments for 2009, the most recent year for which a 990 is available on Guidestar. According to the ACPeds website, the dues is $225/year.  If all members were pediatricians and paid that fee, then ACPEDS would have around 170 members. However, because ACPEDS probably has various member categories including people who pay nothing (honorary, student, etc.) and some who pay only $100 (associate health professionals who are not physicians), I guess they had between 200-25o members in all categories in 2009. 
In contrast, as noted above, the American Academy of Pediatrics (the real leading pediatric  association in America) has 60,000 members. Barton and Green clearly portrayed a false situation; namely, that the AAP recently sent a letter to school superintendents saying that same-sex attracted teens will grow out of it if only schools wouldn’t indoctrinate them with pro-gay propaganda.
Right Wing Watch has much of what Barton and Green had to say about the letter (which actually was sent in April, 2010, not recently) but I am providing even more context because I want to demonstrate just how misleading this segment is. Barton and Green had just expressed pleasure about how the state legislature in TN overruled an ordinance in Nashville which would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. He follows this by blaming the National Education Association for indoctrinating kids with pro-gay material. Then, at about 17:40 into the show, Barton sets the stage for his segment on the ACPeds letter:

Barton: What’s interesting is, you know medical groups do not tend to be very conservative. Any professional medical group, the American Psychiatric Association, the association of psychologists, even the American Medical Association is a particularly friendly conservative group, they’re not a pro-life group and what’s really interesting is the American College of Pediatricians; now think about that, is that a conservative group?
Green: You’d think they would be, looking out for the kids, right?
Barton: But yeah, don’t spank your kid, don’t touch your kid, you know, and think of the way pediatric stuff has gone, and you don’t want to help shape these kids, let ’em be what they want to be. And so, all that anti-parental influence, and it’s remarkable that you have the American College of Pediatricians, who has just, they sent a letter to all 14,800 school superintendents in the United States and it’s a letter warning about what’s happening in the schools and the American College of Pediatricians is cautioning educators about what they do with same-sex attraction or symptoms of gender identity confusion in schools.
Green: You’re kidding, this is the pediatric association?
Barton: Got it, get this. The letter reminds school superintends that it is ‘not uncommon for adolescents to experience transient,’ that’s a big word, ‘transient confusion about their sexual orientation,’ and is telling 14,800 superintendents that ‘most students will ultimately adopt a heterosexual orientation if not otherwise encouraged.’ And they’re saying, guys, back off. This indoctrination you’re doing—

You can read the rest at Right Wing Watch.  Listening to this, there seems to be only two possibilities. One, Barton really thinks the ACPeds is the American Academy of Pediatrics and is so misinformed that he doesn’t really understand that the ACPeds is a tiny breakaway group; or two, he knows the difference but wants to make his listeners think that mainstream pediatricians would give that kind of advice to school leaders.
A reader who tipped me off to this story wrote Barton for an explanation and I will report which one of these options is the accurate situation if Barton answers.
For now, it is apparent that Barton badly misled his audience, some of whom are going to oppose anti-bullying programs because they trust Barton to pass along good information. Everybody makes mistakes but I think we should expect more from an adviser to Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry. I shudder to think about Barton advising them as GOP candidates or one of them as President on school policy relating to bullying or sexual orientation.

The Response – Good and bad

Rick Perry’s not-as-big-as-hoped prayer meeting, The Response is underway in Texas. You can check out the live stream at the website. As I take a break and write, a gospel choir is belting out some sweet praise music. As an evangelical, these songs touch me deeply and as is customary for me lifts my emotions.
But then I think about who is paying the bills (host entity) for the event.
The folks who think there is honor in the displacement and elimination of Native Americans from the land, who blame the Holocaust (6 million dead Jews) on gays, and who think the First Amendment is only for Christians, among many other offensive things are paying the bills.
To onlookers, I just want to say sorry.

Do broken parental attachments cause homosexuality? An interview with Diana Fosha

Earlier this week, NPR produced a report briefly telling the stories of Rich Wyler and Peterson Toscano. Wyler is the co-founder of People Can Change and Journey into Manhood, both of which seek change of sexual orientation via a variety of highly provocative techniques. Toscano sought change for 17 years and then accepted that he was not changing despite a variety of methods.
In that report, Wyler and Toscano both referred to the belief that attachment disruptions with the same-sex parent contribute to homosexual attractions (Toscano now believes the theory to be completely false). Regular readers of this blog know some about the source of those ideas.
One of the more recent theorists and therapists who traffics in the reparative therapy is Joseph Nicolosi, co-founder of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.
Nicolosi often refers to mainstream theorists and therapists in his talks about reparative therapy. Specifically, of late, he asserts that he has incorporated the research and insights of therapists who focus on assisting clients with disruptions in important attachments. This is not unexpected given that reparative drive theory proposes that attachment disruptions help create homosexual strivings. One such therapist referred to often in Nicolosi’s recent book, Shame and Attachment Loss: The practical work of reparative therapy, is Diana Fosha. Fosha is an accomplished psychotherapist who is widely credited as a leader in experiential therapy. She is author of the book The Transforming Power of Affect and Director of the Accelerated Experiential-Dynamic Psychotherapy Institute.
Nicolosi describes Fosha’s work with the label, Affect-Focused Therapy. In fact, if you search for Affect-Focused Therapy and Diana Fosha in Google, Nicolosi’s references to her are the first few hits. Generally, Nicolosi credits Fosha and other like-minded therapists for making reparative therapy more effective.
Over the years, I have appreciated the contributions of attachment theorists to various approaches to therapy and so Nicolosi’s reference to Fosha made me curious. I decided to contact her to find out her views on the idea that attachment disruptions play a part in orienting sexual attractions toward the same or opposite sex. I also asked her if there was new research in her area of practice that might shed light on the prospects for sexual orientation change. Here is what she had to say.
Throckmorton: Dr. Fosha, are you aware of any evidence that past attachment problems with same-sex parents can lead to homosexual attraction?
FOSHA: No. If you really think of it, half of people who have attachment problems have attachment problems with the same-sex parent. There are no studies that I am aware of that in any way link attachment problems of any kind with gender identity, sexual identity and issues of attraction. None. Attachment problems predict interpersonal problems and affect regulation patterns, and are a risk factor for compromised resilience in the face of trauma across all sexual orientations
Throckmorton: Do you know of any evidence that affect focused therapy (AFT) can change gays to straight or in some way alter a person’s sexual orientation?
FOSHA: None
Throckmorton: So then, you know of no evidence that sexual orientation can be changed from gay to straight by addressing and ameliorating attachment issues with parents or others?
FOSHA: No, none. When attachment disruptions are addressed successfully, people are generally happier and may develop stronger adult relationships, greater resilience and greater well-being, but their essential sexual orientation stays the same, whether they are straight or gay.
Throckmorton: Do you or your organization offer any trainings or educational experiences using AFT to achieve sexual reorientation?
FOSHA: No.
Throckmorton: Do you or your organization have any position on using AFT to try to achieve sexual reorientation? Are you neutral about it; favor it or oppose it?
FOSHA: I have not read Nicolosi’s work, so I would not presume to be definitive, but based on what I know from the popular media about such methods (whether this applies to his or not, I do not know) leads me to strongly oppose such efforts– and view them as misguided at best, and dangerous at worst.
While Dr. Fosha is candidly unaware of the specifics of reparative therapy, it is informative that she does not see any relationship between attachment problems and sexual orientation. If such problems were frequently associated with sexual orientation changes, I would think she would see evidence of a relationship in her work. Her experience mirrors my own – attachment problems are so pervasive among same, other and both-sex attracted people that one cannot point to these disruptions as the general driving factor behind sexual orientation.

NPR addresses controversy over Journey into Manhood story

Via the Advocate.
Called, “The Furor over Conversion Therapy” NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos attempted to address the issues raised by critics in the aftermath of the report.
Go give it a read but I don’t think NPR still gets it.
Just want to get the link up now, I will have more to say shortly, especially about NPR’s characterizations of Wyler’s therapy.
UPDATE: Well it took me awhile but here are some links to posts at Religion Dispatches about the NPR’s non-apology.
Change v. Change at NPR (my post)
Blaming the Listener: NPR’s non-apology
Ex-Gay NPR Report Closets Mormon Side of the Story

NPR fails to take a Journey into Manhood in ex-gay segment

National Public Radio aired interviewsof Journey into Manhood’s Rich Wyler and ex-ex-gay Peterson Toscano this morning on the subject of sexual orientation change.
The segment omitted some key details of Rich Wyler’s involvement in gay change therapy. I posted my quick thoughts on the subject over at Religion Dispatches.
Most troubling to me about the portrayal of what Rich advocates is the omission of the touch therapy and highly provocative, ball bat wielding elements of JiM. The NPR reporter Alix Spiegel made Rich’s work sound like calm cognitive therapy. Hardly.
Here is a Nightline segment about JiM:

As I pointed out at RD, JiM is fringe even in ex-gay circles.

Ghanaian prof says homosexuality not a US import

Two Saturdays ago, I interviewed Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr by phone about the recent upsurge of anti-gay rhetoric in Ghana. Dr. Okoampa-Ahoofe is a Ghanaian who now lives in the US and is a college professor at Nassau Community College. I intend to incorporate his input in future articles on Ghana. For now, I am just going to refer to a column he wrote for Myjoyonline about our interview. He included just about everything we discussed so it is a pretty efficient way to get across his views.
In short, he is concerned about the level of anti-gay sentiment in Ghana and hopes the country does not move toward a Ugandan approach. Please note, this is a Ghanaian observing Ghana and making this comparison.

John Adams to Rick Perry: Don't meddle in religion

This morning, Religion Dispatches published my article with advice for Rick Perry from our second President, John Adams.  
David Barton is right about one thing: John Adams was a religious person. Adams twice called for national days of prayer and fasting during his presidency and attended many churches of different views. Although Adams had no patience for Calvinists or Catholics, Adams had immense respect for Jesus as an enlightened teacher.  
Knowing this, Benjamin Rush lamented to Adams in an 1812 letter, just prior to war with Great Britain, that his Presbyterian church voted down a petition to call on the government for a day of fasting and prayer. Rush must have expected Adams to agree. Instead, Adams did not and said that his national fasts had caused the loss of the presidency.
Essentially, Adams said meddling with religion by political leaders can lead to all sorts of mischief, including people worrying that the leaders favor one religion over another in national affairs.  Adams wrote to Rush:

That assembly has allarmed and alienated Quakers, Anabaptists, Mennonists, Moravians, Swedenborgians, Methodists, Catholicks, protestant Episcopalians, Arians, Socinians, Armenians, &c, &c, &c, Atheists and Deists might be added. A general Suspicion prevailed that the Presbyterian Church was ambitious and aimed at an Establishment as a National Church. I was represented as a Presbyterian and at the head of this political and ecclesiastical Project. The secret whispers ran through them [all the sects] “Let us have Jefferson, Madison, Burr, any body, whether they be Philosophers, Deists, or even Atheists, rather than a Presbyterian President.” This principle is at the bottom of the unpopularity of national Fasts and Thanksgiving. Nothing is more dreaded than the National Government meddling with Religion.

Note to Rick Perry and the AFA: the opposition and criticism you are getting over The Response is not of necessity the sign of an America in moral decline. Complaints about government leaders meddling in religion go back to the beginning of the nation.
Go over to RD and read the entire piece.