Alan Chambers Apologizes to the LGBTQ Community

Alan Chambers is a guy in process.
In January, 2012, Chambers made news by acknowledging the rarity of sexual reorientation (“99.9% of them haven’t experienced change”). Since then, he and Exodus International have removed themselves from the reparative therapy world entirely. Today, on the eve of what promises to be a riveting television appearance on the Oprah Network, Chambers has issued a written apology to the LGBTQ community.
Please do go read the whole article, but let me pull out an extraordinary paragraph:

Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine. 

Here Alan has really turned the corner on his earlier support for Love Won Out and NARTH.

David Barton Attempts to Cover His Historical Tracks; Changes Capitol Tour Video

In the ongoing controversy over David Barton’s historical work, this is a significant development. First, let me present the components of the story.
In 2007, David Barton led a tour of the Capitol on behalf of the Family Research Council where he made several key claims. He used these claims to make dubious assertions about the intent of the founding fathers. FRC edited the tour video into an eight minute promo and uploaded it to You Tube. That video had over 4 million views. To fully understand the significance of this issue, you should watch that video which is still available on several You Tube accounts (another version is here on Vimeo):

Earlier this year, FRC made the video private after 34 Christian historians and social scientists asked FRC to remove the video from You Tube. FRC acknowledged the errors and Barton then made changes to the speech by introducing newly recorded audio clips into the old video. The new video has not been uploaded to the FRC account but was made available last week on Barton’s Wallbuilders You Tube account. Here it is:

 
Although new viewers of this video would not know it, there are several important changes to the original video.   The table below summarizes the alterations and remaining problems.

Bartonoldnewvideo2

Clearly, Barton has changed his story on some key claims he has been making for years. However, he continues to defend erroneous conclusions even as he walks back on his prior stories. For instance, on the Aitken Bible story, he continues to take Aitken’s words about his Bible being a “neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools” and make them come from Congress. He really wants that story to be about the Congressional policy on the Bible in schools when it has nothing to do with it. He continues to make the Bible a joint effort of Aitken and Congress when in fact, Aitken had nearly finished his project when he approached Congress in 1781. Prior to the 1781 petition to Congress, Aitken had already printed the New Testament and after his petition to Congress but before Congress answered him, Aitken offered the Bible for sale to the public.

The video below illustrates the Aitken Bible narratives that are now being changed. Note in these retellings, Barton says the Aitken Bible proves Congress wanted the Bible in schools. This claim, of course, is just one of several narratives which have been altered.

As Barton begins to walk back some his claims, I am curious about who will inform all of the audiences he has misled. He has told countless churches and evangelical audiences that Congress printed the first Bible for the use of schools, and that 29 out of 56 signers had Bible school degrees, and so on. Will he take responsibility for informing these audiences of the errors? Will the Family Research Council do so?

Facts and Fiction in the Jonah Case: Spitzer's Retraction

In November, 2012 on behalf of several former clients of  Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing (formerly Homosexuality), the Southern Poverty Law Center initiated a complaint in New Jersey (Ferguson et al v. JONAH). The complaint seeks damages under New Jersey’s consumer protection laws and challenges JONAH’s claims to be able to help people change sexual orientation.
In support of JONAH, Michelle Cretella, a pediatrician, filed an amicus brief with various claims regarding sexual reorientation. There are many glaring problems with this brief. I hope to examine several of them over the coming days, including her selective citation of my work.
A huge problem for NARTH has been Robert Spitzer’s retraction of his 2001 study on sexual reorientation, and Cretella briefly addresses Spitzer’s recent statements:

cretellaamicus1

I hope Cretella does not do pediatrics as she suggests doing sexual reorientation. For her patients’ sake, I hope she relies on new studies and takes into account all relevant studies to inform her advice. On sexual orientation, there have been several important studies about sexual orientation since 2001 which are relevant.
And then regarding Zucker and the publication of a retraction: This is misleading. In Zucker’s journal, Spitzer did publish a letter to the editor which apologized for what he now believes are erroneous conclusions.  Regarding Zucker’s reasons for not doing something in addition to Spitzer’s letter, I will let him speak for himself. In a widely published May 20, 2012 email, Zucker stated:

Dear Colleagues:
1. As some of you know, Robert Spitzer has recently expressed his reservations/regret/remorse about the study he published in Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2003, in which he interviewed 200 men and women who had sought out some variant of “reparative therapy” to deal with their unwanted homoerotic attractions, desires, etc. This was first reported on in an article in American Prospect and then went viral the way all good things should do in the post-modern era…the story even reached the front page of the New York Times in an article by Ben Carey and then an Editorial in the NYT.
2. Because there is a lot of interest in the original study, the author’s regret, etc., I have asked the publisher to give open access to the original Spitzer article, the 26 peer commentaries that followed it, Spitzer’s reply, my Editorial that introduced the “target” article, and Spitzer’s recent Letter to the Editor in which he expresses his reappraisal of the study. The open access period will be for 2 months, where anyone from Australia to Zimbabwe can download these papers for free. I am grateful for this kind gesture on the publisher’s part.
3. I have one suggestion: read the Discussion of the original Spitzer article and the 26 peer commentaries.
Feel free to pass this message on to colleagues and relevant listservs.
Best regards
Ken Zucker, Ph.D.
Editor, Archives of Sexual Behavior

Cretella implies that Zucker took a stand on Spitzer’s original conclusions regarding change. Rather, Zucker honored Bob Spitzer’s request to publish a letter and made the original work available.
Cretella also cites my literature reviews from 1998 and 2002 but does not include my more recent views. I will address this in a future post.

Clarification on the Glenn Beck Power Structure Destroying Announcement

Beck says he was misunderstood. Right Wing Watch has apologized for getting the story wrong, but in my opinion, Beck did not make himself clear. Here are two tweets where Beck clarified his meaning about the apocalyptic announcements.

and then the really big news comes (maybe) within the next week.

So for those who are enmeshed in that universe, there will be another tension filled wait for the big reveal.

No Glenn Beck World Shattering Announcement: Will it Come Monday and Will Beck's Fans Be Listening?

I must confess, I like watching the reaction of fans and true believers to promises made by leaders of movements and religious groups. Similar to the findings of Festinger’s book When Prophecy Fails, some people get more protective of the leader and work a little harder to bring people into the fold. And it appears that some are doing that in response to the lack of big news promised by Glenn Beck two days ago. See this post for the background.
There has been lots of activity on Twitter wondering when Beck will announce the power structure destroying news. Some fans are taking vague responses as a clue that the answer will come Monday. For instance:

The answer from Beck’s twitter account is: MONDAYmLee which could mean the news will drop Monday via an interview with Senator Mike Lee (R-UT). Who knows?
Others are getting fed up.

It all kind of reminds me of The Great Pumpkin:

UPDATE: This blogger says Beck was set up by RWW’s editing. I see the editing but I don’t see how it changes the meaning. It is not clear from the clip what Beck is referring to.

Glenn Beck Promises an Announcement That Will Take Down the Power Structure

Whatever will it be?!

He says this has happened in Washington and beyond.
He says he has a whistleblower who has a document that will take down the whole power structure.
I think it has something to do with Jason Bourne.
Readers: What do you think he is going to announce?
Unintentional parody site Before It’s News says Beck will announce that the NSA blackmailed Chief Justice Roberts into a favorable Obamacare ruling.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram on the Barton-Starbucks Fuss

Columnist Bud Kennedy serves up some thoughts on the controversy brewing between David Barton and Starbucks. Turns out Bud doesn’t find much happening in the greater evangelical world, at least if the Southern Baptists are any guide.

At the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting this week in Houston, the manager of the convention center Starbucks said lines have stayed long.

As Kennedy points out, Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore has discouraged boycotts and if the manager of the Houston convention center Starbucks is right, his brethren are following Moore rather than the boycotters.
Yours truly is quoted about half-way through the article, making a similar case as I presented here. Hope you’ll go read Bud’s column.

Exodus International Withdraws from Exodus Global Alliance

From the Exodus blog:
Exodus International Withdraws from Exodus Global Alliance

The Exodus International Board of Directors officially voted to withdraw from the Exodus Global Alliance (EGA) May 28, 2013 after 18 years of membership.  Exodus International was a founding member of EGA in 1995.  This change in relationship releases both ministries to serve the Lord, the Church and their constituents in ways that honor their respective calling.

EGA is the worldwide coalition of “Exodus” ministries, which seek to work together under one umbrella structure.  In 2005 Exodus Europe withdrew from EGA, as well.
Exodus International wishes to thank Bryan Kliewer, the EGA Board and network of ministries for their longstanding partnership and friendship.
This is a significant move as Exodus Global Alliance is more geared to the orientation change paradigm. Since Exodus is moving away from that paradigm, this move makes sense.

Paul-Cruz 2016 – Have the Kingmakers Decided?

Surely, nothing is certain, but this meet up probably offers a sign about what the kingmakers are thinking.
iowarenewal

The Iowa Renewal Project

Cordially invites you to participate in its

Pastors’ Policy Briefing

Rediscovering God in America

With Special Guests

Senator Rand Paul

and

Senator Ted Cruz

and

Historian David Barton

and

Former Congressman Bob McEwen

Who will be accompanied by

Dr. Ken Canfield

Pastor Ken Graves

Gail McWilliams

Mat Staver, Founder & Chairman of Liberty Counsel

Pastor Jason Taylor

Pastor Laurence White

Dr. Don Wildmon

and other guest speakers

To be held at

Des Moines Marriott Downtown

Located at

700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50309

on Thursday, July 18th and Friday, July 19th, 2013

 Meals and lodging are complimentary

and will be provided by the Iowa Renewal Project

To reserve your space, please RSVP no later than July 17th

by calling (800) 921-1928 or https://the.maxcelreg.net/IABriefing 

Hotel information will be distributed the week of July 10th

Reservations are limited and will be accepted on first call basis

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Thursday, July 18, 2013

5:00 p.m. Check – in and registration

6:00 p.m. Reception

6:30p.m. Dinner Session

Friday, July 19, 2013

7:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast and Morning Session

10:30 a.m. Break

11:30 a.m. Luncheon

2:30 p.m. Close

It was at one of these events that Mike Huckabee famously said he wished all Americans could be forced at gunpoint to listen to all of David Barton’s messages.

The American Renewal Project (and state branches like Iowa’s) is the project of David Lane. Lane is the fellow who recently wrote an article on waging war to restore a Christian America — which was actually removed from World Net Daily(!?).  In that article, Lane wrote:

As to the future of America – and the collapse of this once-Christian nation – Christians must not only be allowed to have opinions, but politically, Christians must be retrained to war for the Soul of America and quit believing the fabricated whopper of the “Separation of Church and State,” the lie repeated ad nauseum by the left and liberals to keep Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media. Bill Bennett’s insight, “… the two essential questions Plato posed as: Who teaches the children, and what do we teach them?” requires deep thought, soul-searching and a response from Christian America to the secular, politically correct and multicultural false gods imposing their religion on America’s children.

Lane rolls back the curtain and makes very clear the goals of his American renewal — imposition of his view of Christianity on public institutions. Those looking around the potential GOP contenders in 2016 and think Rand Paul might be a friend to libertarian policies need to examine those who are now putting Paul in front of Christian pastors.  Lane is showing up all over with Paul, and accompanied him to Israel in January, in what Lane called, “…absolutely the first step in his 2016 White House campaign.” 

During the GOP primary season, Ron Paul courted evangelical support and ended up having to back away from dominionist pastors who became a distraction.  Will Rand Paul follow in his father’s footsteps? Possibly by virtue of his low profile, Lane has not been an obvious liability to the conservatives he has supported. However, images of Christian America warring on everybody else to impose one particular version of Christianity probably won’t play well outside of Iowa.

Funny Tweet of the Day: Starbucks at the #SBC13 Annual Meeting

Southern Baptists are holding their annual meeting in Houston, TX right now. Apparently, a bunch of them need schooled on what coffee to drink.

Had to add this one: