Statement: Exodus International has no involvement in Scott Lively’s Oklahoma City event

Because Draper Park Christian Church has a history of involvement with Exodus International ministries (e.g., First Stone Ministries in OK), I asked Exodus President, Alan Chambers, for a comment about the upcoming series of talks at Draper Park by Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively.

Chambers quickly sent the following reply:

We have learned that Scott Lively is slated to speak on April 27-29 at Draper Park Christian Church, a location where Exodus International held a regional conference in 2009. We want to say clearly and without question that Exodus International has no connection to this event. Furthermore, due to our vast differences with Mr. Lively’s viewpoints, including his stance on the criminalization of homosexuality, we will not participate in, support or promote any event involving Mr. Lively.

Lively often says his opposition derives from gay fascism; however, I don’t believe anyone could say that Exodus is such an organization. The opposition to Holocaust revisionism is not a gay vs. straight issue, it is not a liberal vs. conservative issue. Mr. Lively is not being opposed because he is preaching the evangelical gospel; he is opposed because he promotes a revision in the historical record regarding the Holocaust and for his support of criminalization  of homosexual behavior. These are not gospel issues, but rather positions which are unpopular among those or many religious views.

The Pink Swastika and Holocaust revision

Inexplicably, Scott Lively, co-author of The Pink Swastika, has been invited to speak at an evangelical church this coming weekend in Oklahoma City. Draper Park Christian Church plans to have him in for three days of meetings.

Evangelical organizations Exodus International (scroll down) and Campus Crusade removed links to Lively’s article on the Pink Swastika in 2009. Even NARTH removed the article.

During the summer of 2009, with the help of historian J.D. Wyneken, I reviewed the claims of Lively and his co-author Abrams made in the Pink Swastika (click the link to read those posts).

With the Oklahoma appearance coming up, I reviewed those posts and here want to point out two which demonstrate Lively’s selective approach to the Holocaust. Unless something changes, Draper Park’s families will be exposed to Holocaust revisionism for three days.

The first is my post on how Lively and Abrams used Gunter Grau’s book The Hidden Holocaust. In this post, I point out how Lively and Abrams read all the way through Grau’s section on how the Nazi’s treated gays to pick out a segment more friendly to their position. No real historian does that. Real historians report what happened in toto. Grau reports the horrible treatment many gays received and Lively and Abrams do not.

The second is Lively and Abram’s treatment of German Nobel Prize winning author, Thomas Mann. Mann never came out as homosexual but disclosed same sex fantasies in his diaries which were barely hidden in some of his literature. Because of Mann’s interest in Nietzsche, Lively and Abrams view Mann as a contributor to the National Socialism, albeit indirectly. Although no one knows whether or not Nietzsche was gay, Lively assumes he was and because Nietzsche’s sister used some of his later writings (probably under the influence of mental illness) to praise National Socialism, Mann, the same-sex- attracted-married-to-a-woman man, is an indirect contributor to Nazism because he wrote favorably of Nietzsche. Pretzel logic much?

The strange moves don’t stop there. Mann, who we know was not completely straight, was an ardent enemy of Hitler and the Nazis. He recorded messages beamed in by Allied forces to the German people, urging them to resist Hitler and promising that help was on the way. Summarizing the post, I wrote in 2009:

First, it is worth noting how Lively and Abrams’ devotion to their thesis leads them to treat Thomas Mann. Apparently the primary reason he is mentioned at all is to make a stronger case that Nietzsche was homosexual. Mann was a great writer, one of the best fiction writers in modern history. He was a resolute opponent of Hitler and the Nazis. He left his homeland in service of his convictions and used his fame and gifts to try to bring down Hitler. In The Pink Swastika, his personal life is disparaged and he is discounted as an apologist for Nietzsche and thus an unwitting contributor to Nazism.

Lively and Abrams thesis collapses into absurdity when one considers the vigor of Mann’s opposition to Hitler’s fascism. People of all orientations and worldviews supported and opposed Hitler. The Nazis used anyone, gay or straight, religious or not, to get to power. And once they attained power, they systematically crushed opposition both gay and straight, religious and not.

The revisionist cannot rest on one or two revisions. He must continue until the revisions lead to absurd twists and turns. In the case of Mann, it is the same-sex attracted man who actively combats the Nazis. This glaring contradiction, along with so many others, must be either avoided or explained away.

Revising the Holocaust is not the same thing as denying it, but it is morally objectionable. Revising the causes and course of the Nazi evil does a disservice to an accurate view of human nature. Lively locates this evil in a variation of sexual attraction, thereby exonerating others. Such revision is a massive exercise in deception.

In 1961, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram began his famous experiment on obedience to authority figures. Much to the astonishment of his peers, Milgram found that 65% of his sample consented to supply what participants perceived to be dangerous shocks to another person in obedience to an experimenter. This and other studies provide ample evidence that many of us, straight and gay, are capable of terrible evil under certain conditions. Revisionism takes our eyes off of this ball, and reassures the self-serving urges in us that we would never do something like that. Only those other people (insert the group you dislike) could do that.

Thus, such faulty revisionism also leads to stigma directed at the scapegoated group. As we have seen through history, ancient and recent, stigmatizing people based on their group affiliations or innate characteristics has led to the most awful atrocities.

When will we learn?

 

 

 

Oklahoma City Church to host Scott Lively

As unbelievable as that sounds, Draper Park Christian Church is hosting Scott Lively for a weekend of seminars April 27-29, 2012.

On the church Facebook page, they prep their congregants with an article from MassResistance.

Upcoming DPCC keynote speaker featured in this article…thanks Stephen Black of First Stone Ministries. Church, the Lord said “Be alert and ready for service!”. This Christian lawyer Dr. Lively needs our fervent, effectual, righteous prayers.

It is not clear what the role of Stephen Black and First Stone Ministries is. If that Exodus affiliate has anything to do with this appearance, they would be flying directly in the face of the policy of the national Exodus ministry, who denounced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as well as Lively’s role in Uganda. They also removed Lively’s article about the Pink Swastika from their website.

I want to believe that the Draper Park people don’t understand what they are getting into. They read information from MassResistance calling Lively a martyr, but they will not hear Lively’s real message until he is inside their doors.

Most likely, he will tell them that the Holocaust was animated by homosexuals and gays want to recruit their children. He may tell them that he doesn’t support forced therapy, but he won’t tell them what would happen to gays who refuse state-sponsored ex-gay therapy. He might tell them that he didn’t support the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill but he might not be as candid as he was with Mariana Van Zeller here:

 

He might tell the church what he thinks causes homosexuality, as he did below to the Ugandans in 2009, but he probably won’t tell them that both Exodus and NARTH have removed his articles from their websites.

I know there other Christians of conservative theology who are grieved by this.  It is sad when Christians are tricked into thinking they are fighting evil when instead they mislead and misrepresent. Mr. Lively, as a Holocaust revisionist, should not have a platform in a Christian venue.

For more on the distortions and misleading presentation that is the Pink Swatiska, see this link.

Reparative therapy and the power of an explanation

Yesterday, I posted a link to an article titled “My So-called Ex-gay Life” from the website of the American Prospect and written by Gabriel Arana. In that post, I focused on psychiatrist Robert Spitzer’s desire to retract his 2001 study of ex-gays. I also reported on my brief exchange with Bob about his study and his current views on sexual orientation.

Today, I want to comment about Arana’s description of Narth co-founder Joseph Nicolosi. Arana summarizes his three year therapy episode with Nicolosi which ended with Nicolosi’s prognosis to Arana’s parents that their son would never enter the gay lifestyle:

Late into my last year of high school, Nicolosi had a final conversation with my parents and told them that the treatment had been a success. “Your son will never enter the gay lifestyle,” he assured them.

I once had an experience with Nicolosi which is similar to what happened with Arana and his parents. I was in a meeting with several psychologists, including Nicolosi, debating the merits of his theory of paternal deficit as the sole cause for adult male homosexuality. I presented the basics of a clinical case involving a young adult who consulted me about his distress over his same-sex attractions. The young man told me that he came out to his father because he was closer to his father than to his mother. In addition, there were other indications of paternal warmth and closeness that I mentioned in the presentation. In the midst of some discussion over the case, Nicolosi abruptly interrupted me and said, “He’ll be fine. He’s not gay.” Nicolosi then explained that a boy like that who has such a close relationship with his father could not possibly remain attracted to the same sex. In fact, the young man did remain attracted to the same sex, although he did not come out as gay at that point. The only follow up I ever heard was that he had determined to live a celibate life. That case was presented as an illustration of other cases with the same basic narrative — gay men with close warm relationships with their fathers.

Nicolosi’s theoretical statements reveal the most obvious confirmation bias. Despite the fact that Nicolosi has been exposed to evidence which would invalidate his narrow theory, he persists in holding on. Witness what he said to Arana:

What about people who don’t fit his model? “After almost 30 years of work, I can say to you that I’ve never met a single homosexual who’s had a loving and respectful relationship with his father,” he says. I had heard it all before.

He said the same thing in the meeting where I introduced cases of gay males who had a loving and respectful relationship with their fathers. However, in the face of the disconfirming evidence, he simply changed the rules – those men weren’t gay, they couldn’t be because they were close to their dads. Even though the clients were attracted to the same sex; according to Nicolosi, they would not continue with those attractions because of their closeness to their dads.

Arana articulates well how different explanatory narratives can become inculcated into an identity. Arana describes how he perceived the therapeutic narrative:

Continue reading “Reparative therapy and the power of an explanation”

Robert Spitzer Retracts 2001 Ex-gay Study

Psychiatrist Bob Spitzer, author of a 2001 ex-gay study, told American Prospect journalist, Gabriel Arana, that he wants to retract his study:

Spitzer was growing tired and asked how many more questions I had. Nothing, I responded, unless you have something to add.

He did. Would I print a retraction of his 2001 study, “so I don’t have to worry about it anymore”?

Knowing this article was coming, I talked last evening with Bob and asked him what he would like to do about his study. He confirmed to me that he has regret for what he now considers to be errant interpretations of the reports of his study participants. He told me that he had “second thoughts about his study” and he now believes “his conclusions don’t hold water.” He added that he now believes that the criticisms of the study expressed in the 2003 Archives of Sexual Behavior issue are “more true to the data” than his conclusions were.

He told me that he had expressed these thoughts to Ken Zucker, editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior several months ago. He wondered aloud to Dr. Zucker if there was some obligation to say the critics were right and that the study should be withdrawn. Although Spitzer said he did not recall Zucker’s exact reply, he did not feel encouraged to withdraw the paper. The Prospect article also references the issue of a formal retraction:

I asked about the criticisms leveled at him. “In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques are largely correct,” he said. “The findings can be considered evidence for what those who have undergone ex-gay therapy say about it, but nothing more.” He said he spoke with the editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior about writing a retraction, but the editor declined. (Repeated attempts to contact the journal went unanswered.)

However, when I asked Zucker via email about his stance, he told me that Bob had not submitted anything for review, but he is free to submit a letter to the Editor or other communication expressing regret and his current views. The ball is in Bob’s court. My guess is that Bob will take him up on that offer.

There is much else to consider in this article which I will get to later today.  The material and personal experience with Joseph Nicolosi is well worth reading.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: America a Christian Nation?

Religion writer Ruth Ann Dailey penned a thought provoking op-ed examining the  notion of America as a Christian nation for today’s Post-Gazette. She mentions one of my heroes, Roger Williams, and then refers to my work debunking David Barton’s claims about the Founders.

Roger Williams was not mentioned as much by the Founders as John Locke but Williams preceded Locke in time. I especially like this Williams quote which Dailey worked into her piece:

Their persecution drove the great theologian and linguist Roger Williams to flee the Massachusetts Bay Colony and establish Providence Plantations — now Rhode Island — where, as he envisioned it, “the most paganish, Jewish, Turkish [Muslim] or antichristian consciences and worships” could live together in liberty.

Williams’ story is well worth examining for anyone, but is especially instructive for Baptists of today who seem to have more in common with the Congregationalists of the Colonial period than the Baptists Williams, Leland and Backus of earlier times.

The Jefferson Lies: Does the Jefferson Bible include the miracles of Matthew 9?

These days I am working toward completion of Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims About Our Third President. A prominent focus of the book is David Barton’s new book, The Jefferson Lies. With GJR coming out, I intend to write more about both books going forward.

I have had many headslapping moments reading The Jefferson Lies. One of them is the subject of today’s post. In TJLs, Barton includes a chapter on what is commonly called The Jefferson Bible. In our book, co-author Michael Coulter and I fully explore the development of both of Jefferson’s efforts to extract what Jefferson considered to be the gold from the dross of the Gospels for his own use. The only surviving version of those efforts was titled by Jefferson, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth extracted textually from the Gospels in Greek, Latin, French & Latin. The term “Jefferson Bible” has become a short hand for this book completed sometime between 1820 and 1824 (we describe evidence in the book which seems to place the binding of the Life and Morals of Jesus closer to 1824).

In TJLs, Barton claims that Jefferson did not remove all of the supernatural and miraculous aspects of the Gospels. He claims this was not Jefferson’s intent. Despite the fact that Jefferson said on several occasions that such an extraction was his intent, Barton makes this claim based on passages he says Jefferson included. Most of the passages Barton offers as proof are verses about the afterlife. Truly, Jefferson did believe in an afterlife with rewards and punishments as appropriate. Jefferson did not believe in the atonement of Jesus but rather that good works in this life were necessary for a happy afterlife. In that sense, there is a supernatural element in Jefferson’s extraction. However, Barton includes as evidence of miracles, three miracles from Matthew 9 which are not in either the 1804 or 1820 version. Barton writes:

That abridgement also contained the miraculous resurrection of Jarius’s (sic) daughter (Matthew 9:1), the healing of the bleeding woman (Matthew 9:18-26), and the healing of two blind men (Matthew 9:27-34), all of which are clearly acts of a miraculous or supernatural character.

The footnote for this paragraph leads to Charles Sanford’s book on the religious views of Jefferson. Consulting that book, I find that Sanford does list those verses but when one examines the 1804 and 1820 extractions from Jefferson, Matthew 9 is not included in the 1804 version at all, and in the 1820 version, only Mt. 9:36 (where Jesus was moved with compassion on the people gathered around him) is there.

Apparently, Barton did not check the versions but rather simply accepted the erroneous citation of Sanford. And these are not only verses which Barton includes which were not included. We fully document all of this in the GJR book. There are several prominent instances like this in TJLs — where Barton cites a source but that source turns out to be in error or quite suspicious. When  we explore the source, we learn the story is not true or quite implausible.

This observation is relevant to fact checking. Barton and defenders almost always make a point to note how many footnotes he uses while criticizing books with fewer notes. However, many footnotes do not a fact make if the citation is unverified or in error. We may not get all of them in GJR, but we do get some major ones.

Stay tuned…