Who Will Replace Fred Phelps?

Hopefully, he won’t be replaced but there are those who come close.
By now, most people know that the pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps, died earlier this month (March 19). Phelps was the personification of hatred toward gay people along with the church which was mostly his family members. I am sure others have speculated about who could replace Phelps so this might not break much new ground. However, I thought of this list while reading about Martin Ssempa’s march to celebrate the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda.
Most people, me included, do not want to see a replacement for Phelps. It is tragic to be known for one’s hatred and such a stance is surely a misrepresentation of Christianity. But there are those who seem to want the position. I’ll start with the reason this post even came to mind.
Martin Ssempa: Today, Ssempa is leading a march in Uganda to celebrate the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill late last year.  A person who would celebrate a law that makes life in prison a possibility for simple affection between two consenting adults has to be on the short list for a Phelps replacement. Once known primarily for his work in Uganda against HIV/AIDS, now he is known world wide as one of the most vocal and absurd anti-gay crusaders. His pornography shows in Kampala and hateful rhetoric rival Phelps for showmanship and degradation. Ssempa seems to revel in his status as an anti-gay icon in Uganda and in the United States. In fact, he is on the list while bill sponsor David Bahati is not, because Ssempa has cultivated his image in the U.S.
Paul Cameron: Paul Cameron has been discredited widely but still finds his way to the media, recently telling a talk show host that he would be open to the death penalty for sexually active gays. In the past, he has suggested that the Nazis methods of handling gays might also have merit. Cameron has for years called for criminalization of homosexuality and has produced mountains of junk studies to attempt to vindicate his views.
Scott Lively: Many might place Lively at the top of the list because he is widely believed to be the force behind the Uganda bill and the tightening of laws in the Soviet bloc nations. He favors laws which limit free speech on homosexuality but doesn’t favor the death penalty as did Ssempa before the law was amended. He says he favors rehabilitation and has often cited NARTH as a favored organization. Where he rivals Phelps is with his historical fiction book, The Pink Swastika, which essentially lays blame for the Holocaust on homosexuality.
James David Manning: Like many people who yell fire in a crowded room, this New York City preacher posted provocative rhetoric and then said he didn’t mean anything hateful. Manning posted “Jesus would stone homos” on his church sign and then said later he is not a hater. We’ll have to see if he escalates his rhetoric once the attention dies down.
Christian Reconstructionists: Many adherents of Christian reconstructionism (like this supporter of Ron Paul)  think gays along with disobedient children and adulterers should be stoned.  I am not sure any one of these fellows is going to rise up to the status of Phelps but their belief in their view of Mosaic law could be a foundation for such a move.
Some might object to my omission of Bryan Fischer. Fischer gets a dishonorable mention because he parrots some of Lively’s and Cameron’s views but doesn’t seem to want to kill gays. Criminalize same-sex relationships yes, but not kill them.
I hope it is clear that the focus here is not disagreement over biblical interpretation or moral objection to same-sex behavior, but rather the obsessive effort to demonize an entire group of people. Certainly, Ssempa, Cameron, Lively and Manning have demonstrated the latter. We don’t yet know the full consequences of their work.
Update on Ssempa’s march: At least three dudes showed up.

Based on Biased Reading of New Mortality Study, Paul Cameron Gives Sen. Portman Parenting Advice

In this month’s edition of the International Journal of Epidemiology, Morten Frisch and Jacob Simonsen reported a new study of mortality in Denmark. Paul Cameron wasted little time trotting out the study to give Senator Rob Portman advice on how to parent his gay son – tell him to get married to a woman. Apparently, any woman will do. After all, in the words of the song, what’s love got to do with it?
Cameron says he even went to Ohio to deliver his advice:

COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 24, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — Dr. Paul Cameron, the first scientist to document the harms of secondhand smoke, went to Ohio’s capital to call upon U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to reconsider his recently announced support for gay marriage. “Sen. Portman, gay marriage is hazardous to one’s health. For the sake of the son you love, urge him to marry a woman.”

Cameron did say at least one thing that was true in his presser:

Cameron said, “Bad science is bipartisan…”

Proven by Cameron’s own press release, bad science is indeed everywhere.  And bad advice. One of the findings of the Frisch and Simonsen study is that mortality for same-sex married men is better than “unmarried, divorced and widowed men.” It is also important to note that the mortality rates for gay married men have improved since Frisch’s last study. Cameron doesn’t tell you that.
Cameron and Frisch tangled on this blog back in 2007 and 2008. Cameron made his mortality claims in a “study” presented before the Eastern Psychological Association and Frisch responded to him as a part of a nine-part series I did on gay mortality claims. Frisch’s first study on gay mortality was done in part to address Cameron’s spurious claims.
To understand more about Paul Cameron and his feelings about gays, read part 9 of the series. Disturbingly enlightening.
I have asked Morten for additional reactions and will have more reflections on the study in a coming post.

SPLC myth #4: Homosexuals don’t live nearly as long as heterosexuals

As anticipated, the groups identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “hate groups” have reacted with defensive distraction. Instead of responding directly to the charges made by the SPLC, they have organized a significant effort to change the subject. Called Start Debating/Stop Hating, the website   consists of endorsements from some prominent conservative activists, politicians and ministers. The website also asks visitors to sign a petition which reads:

“We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women of America, National Organization for Marriage, Liberty Counsel and other pro-family organizations that are working to protect and promote natural marriage and family. We support the vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans.”

That sounds fine until you realize that the SPLC did not place groups on the list because they favored “natural marriage and family.” There are other unlisted organizations (e.g., Focus on the Family, Alliance Defense Fund) which clearly and publicly oppose gay marriage.  The SPLC clearly stated reasons why the new groups, including the FRC and the AFA were listed. The issue is a systematic effort to vilify gays, such as this gem from American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer:

Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews. Gays in the military is an experiment that has been tried and found disastrously and tragically wanting. Maybe it’s time for Congress to learn a lesson from history.

That is SPLC myth #5. For this post, I am going to look at myth #4 which focuses on the claim that gays don’t live as long as straights. I have addressed this before extensively and so I am only going to point out again that the groups and their defenders are changing the subject instead of addressing actual problems in the information they present to their constituents.

A recent case in point is a column by Bryan Fischer of the AFA where he did exactly what the SPLC complained about in myth #4. Watch:

While drugs have been found to mitigate the damage done by HIV, there is no cure. Once someone contracts it, he has it for life, a life often tragically shortened by between eight and 20 years, according to the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Smoking will cut six to seven years from the lifespan of the smoker, meaning a cigarette habit is less dangerous to human health and longevity than gay sex.

Given the reference, I assume he is referring to the 1997 study by Hogg et al in the International Journal of Epidemiology which found the following:

In a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men.

Does Mr. Fischer have a get-off-the-hate-list-free card because he cited a peer reviewed journal? Those who really want to support these groups might be inclined to stop right there and cease their investigation of the question. Indeed, that is what the American College of Pediatricians do on their Facts About Youth website. They say:

The only epidemiological study to date on the life span of gay men concluded that gay and bisexual men lose up to 20 years of life expectancy.

I have pointed out to the people who put that website together that Hogg et al is not the “only epidemiological study to date on the life span of gay men” but they have not changed their website. In any case, the point is that people who count on these organizations for accurate information would not get it by trusting them and reading their claims.

The Hogg et al study was conducted using data from 1987 – 1992 when AIDS claimed many lives. In 2001, Hogg et al countered the incorrect use of their study – the same study that Bryan Fischer and ACPED cites as current information – by noting that life expectancy had improved significantly, saying:

In contrast, if we were to repeat this analysis today the life expectancy of gay and bisexual men would be greatly improved. Deaths from HIV infection have declined dramatically in this population since 1996. As we have previously reported there has been a threefold decrease in mortality in Vancouver as well as in other parts of British Columbia.

This is not reported on the ACPED site nor is it referred to by Bryan Fischer. Why not? If these groups were interested in presenting accurate information in debating and not hating, then why not present the whole picture?

However, there is more. A more recent 2008 studyby Danish epidemiologist Morten Frisch and statistician Henrik Brønnum-Hansen found that the trajectory of gay mortality is improving there to the point where, according to these researchers,

Despite recent marked reduction in mortality among gay men, Danish men and women in same-sex marriages still have mortality rates that exceed those of the general population. The excess mortality is restricted to the first few years after a marriage, presumably reflecting preexisting illness at the time of marriage. Although further study is needed, the claims of drastically increased overall mortality in gay men and lesbians appear unjustified.

The authors found that mortality improved dramatically with the introduction of antiretroviral treatments and while the mortality rates were still not as favorable for gays and lesbians, they were not compatible with the claims of a 20 year difference. Indeed, the Danish researchers found that the mortality picture of married GLB people is improving over time.

More research needs to be done and these studies need replication but the accurate picture is that life span differences are not dramatic and are not comparable to those produced by smoking. If anything, the mortality picture is improving substantially, not declining. If this new effort from the FRC is supposed to be about debate and dialogue then, please discuss this.

Here is a question:

Why haven’t the groups (or their supporters) singled out by the SPLC disclosed the update provided by Hogg et al in 2001 or the study by Frisch and Brønnum-Hansen in 2008?

Regarding mortality, the truth is more in line with what Hogg et al noted in their 2001 update:

It is essential to note that the life expectancy of any population is a descriptive and not a prescriptive mesaure. Death is a product of the way a person lives and what physical and environmental hazards he or she faces everyday. It cannot be attributed solely to their sexual orientation or any other ethnic or social factor. If estimates of an individual gay and bisexual man’s risk of death is truly needed for legal or other purposes, then people making these estimates should use the same actuarial tables that are used for all other males in that population. Gay and bisexual men are included in the construction of official population-based tables and therefore these tables for all males are the appropriate ones to be used.

In addition to avoiding information inconsistent with their premise, the groups identified by the SPLC often use the information they do disclose in an incorrect manner.  If these groups want to debate, then I suggest they use all of the information available and they use it in accord with accepted scientific standards. For instance, generalizing from Hogg et al in 1997 to all gay people everywhere in 2010 is improper and can easily lead to charges of purposeful negative stereotyping. Instead of changing the subject, I would like to see these groups change the way they defend their views.

What George Rekers told a Florida court

The blogs continued to blow up over the continuing disclosures regarding George Rekers relationship with a Miami gay man. Apparently the young man has disclosed details of their European trip and is set to go on CNN with more.

In addition to the current event, some reports have looked into Dr. Rekers’ views and beliefs. That is more my purpose with this post. Dr. Rekers has provided controversial testimony in several court cases, the most notable Arkansas and Florida cases which contested adoptions by gay people. I saw in this report from NBC Miami that Rekers was paid between $60,900 and $87,000 to testify in favor of a ban on gay adoptions. In addition, and what really caught my eye, was his testimony that Native Americans could be excluded from adopting children. Here is the exchange included in the news article:

Q. Well, Dr. Rekers, earlier you testified that Native-Americans have a higher rate of alcohol abuse than the general population does, right?

A. Yes.

Q. It’s a very significantly elevated rate of alcohol abuse, I mean compared to the general population?

A. Yes.

Q. So if Native-Americans have significantly higher rates of alcohol abuse, and if they also have significantly higher rates of psychiatric disorders, and if they also have higher rates of relationship instability, is that enough for you to say that all of a sudden they should be categorically excluded?

The Court: I think you can add violence to that, as well.

The Witness: Yeah, violence, yeah.

Q. And violence, as well.

A. Yeah, if it turned out that a majority of the individuals in the Native-American population, that a majority of them were high risk for one of these things happening, as a lifetime prevalence, there could be a parallel rationale for excluding them, as adoptive parents, because it would be not only them, they would tend to hang around each other. So the children would be around a lot of other Native-Americans, who are doing the same sorts of things, you know. So it would be a high risk, and, in fact, since you can’t perfectly predict human behavior, the best you can do and the best the State can do is to look at risk levels, and if a particular kind of household poses multiple high risks for condition that would be detrimental for children, then that would be a rationale for excluding that group.

I was unable to find the entire transcript of the testimony, but did find the ruling from the case which initially upheld the adoption of Jane and John Doe, decided by Judge Cindy Lederman. In that case, Judge Lederman noted on pages 20-21:
There is no question that Dr. Rekers supports the continued ban on homosexual adoption and even the imposition of a ban on homosexual foster parenting based on the high rates of disorders, distressing conditions and relationship instability reported in the studies he considers telling. The witness testified that he does not support such a categorical exclusion of a demographic group based on one variable; rather, his opinion for the  exclusion is based an overall sum of variables. Thus, according to the doctor, any demographic group with overall high variable risks poses a threat to an adoptive child and should be excluded. As applied to the instant facts, the witness opines that Petitioner is in a high risk group; the majority of individuals sharing Petitioner’s demographic characteristic of homosexuality suffer from a disorder or have the propensity to suffer from a disorder; therefore, even if Petitioner is studied to determine his individual risk factor, the prediction for his propensity to succumb to a lifetime prevalence of risk cannot be overcome. Based on Dr. Rekers’ theory, as Native Americans have a high rate of alcohol abuse, substance abuse, domestic violence, depression, and a life time prevalence of these risks, Native Americans should also be considered a high risk group as prospective adoptive parents as well.

I wrote briefly about such thinking in 2006 when I received criticism from NARTH leaders over my view that homosexuals could lead normal lives. NARTH has continued to champion the view that homosexuality should be changed and opposed due to research finding higher levels of depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns. Currently, on their website, they promote an article which conflates orientation and certain sexual practices. Furthermore, NARTH leaders, including George Rekers, make up the majority of the advisory committee for the Facts About Youth website. A project of the splinter-group American College of Pediatricians, the FAY website parrots the NARTH view that “[t]here is significantly greater medical, psychological, and relational pathology in the homosexual population than the general population.” By saying in his Florida testimony that members of other groups (e.g., Native Americans) are not fit to parent based on group differences, Rekers was just taking the NARTH view to a logical conclusion — a conclusion which is shockingly elitist. 

If this view is advanced as a basis for public policy, then perhaps female physicians should not adopt since at least one study found that the rate of suicide is four times higher for them than other females. I think rather, the real basis for concern over homosexual parents relates to Rekers professed moral views which were also on display in the Florida court. According to Judge Lederman’s ruling, Rekers said psychology as a profession and the law should recognize evangelical theology:

An honest scholarly search for the truth about homosexuality should not stop with psychological or medical information alone. Wise professionals should also consider evidence for moral truth as well. The bible teaches that people are foolish if they deny God’s reality and live their lives as though he were not there…. What happens when psychologists and psychiatrists search for truth about homosexuality, but close the door to any possibility of information from the creator of the human race? What happens if scholars deliberately discard all moral evidence as irrelevant to their professional judgments? Roman’s describes the consequences in suppressing truth revealed by the creator…. Those verses indicate that the existence of God is evident within each person, so psychologists and psychiatrists who proceed as though he does not exist are deliberately suppressing truth. To search for truth about homosexuality in psychology and psychiatry, while ignoring God, will result in futile and foolish speculations.

To me, this line of thinking makes it clear why evangelical scholars must face the data with an awareness of our theological biases. Moral concerns are not irrelevant but they must not guide one to preset conclusions in opposition to data and research. To wit, Rekers also testified in the Florida case that children who were bonded to a homosexual parent should be removed from that home and placed with a heterosexual couple. Judge Lederman’s noted: 

Furthermore, according to Dr. Rekers, if children are bonded to a homosexual foster parent, such a placement may continue because the foster care laws permit regular monitoring. However, adoption should not be an option because of the absence of monitoring and safeguards. Dr. Rekers astounded the Court when he testified that he favors removal of any child from a homosexual household, even after placement in that household for ten years, in favor of a heterosexual household. To this Court’s further astonishment, the witness hypothesized that such a child would recover from the removal from his family of 10 years after one year in a heterosexual household. The Court finds this testimony to be contrary to science and decades of research in child development.

The hypotheses regarding bonding and what is better for kids were driven by Reker’s moral posturing and not research. It is not surprising that Judge Lederman dismissed Rekers’ testimony as unscientific and biased:

Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court can not consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.

Dr. Rekers’ recent actions have put the spotlight on his views. While Dr. Rekers may find less personal influence in coming days, it is an open question whether his actions will cast a negative light on those who hold similar positions.

Homosexuality: we can still avoid foreign bad press – removed from Ugandan website

UPDATE: The link was changed and the article is still available on the Uganda Media Centre.

The following article was posted briefly on the official Uganda Media Centre and then removed late the same day. Here the cache version which won’t last long. I have a saved version as well. It seems quite possible that there are competing views within the leadership of Uganda about the best way to resolve the Anti-Homosexuality Bill problem.  I post it since it has been removed but yet may reflect one side of the conflict internally.

Homosexuality: we can still avoid foreign bad press

By Obed K Katureebe

The Anti-Homosexual Bill 2009, yet to be tabled on the floor of parliament, has attracted unnecessary hullabaloo. Some western countries, with their characteristic condescending attitude, are already threatening to cut aid if that bill is passed into law.

The bill is sponsored by Hon. David Bahati, the Ndorwa West County MP, as a private member’s bill. If passed into law, it will be able to establish a comprehensive consolidated legislation to protect the traditional family by prohibiting any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex.

The bill also aims at strengthening the nation’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional heterosexual family.

According to Hon. Bahati, there is need to protect the children and youth of Uganda who are made vulnerable to sexual abuse and deviation as a result of cultural changes, uncensored information technologies, parentless child developmental settings and increasing attempts by homosexual to raise children in homosexual relationships through adoption, foster care or otherwise.

Apparently, according to Bahati, the proposed legislation is designed to fill the gaps in the provisions of other laws in Uganda like the Penal Code Act.

Hon. Bahati has a strong point. However, I personally think that there is no need to have a fresh legislation on such unnatural offences. What Hon. Bahati should have emphasized is to improve the penal code just to widen the definition already existing.

According to the Penal Code Act (cap 120), any person who permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature, commits an offense and is liable to imprisonment for life. There is no question about that homosexuality, long regarded as taboo (culturally and socially) in the highly-religious society of Uganda, has of recent been raising its head and profile in the field of public debate.

No longer content to remain in the closet, proponents of homosexuality and lesbianism are actively seeking to be heard. They are up against an uphill task as they are pitched not only against culture and religion but against public perception of morality.

What is required at this moment is to let all Ugandans be rational and put their views across before parliament moves to debate the contents of the bill. Calls by rights organisations that Uganda’s obligations under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights would be undermined are uncalled for.

The siege the country seems to be facing from these rights groups is misplaced. The absurdity of it all is even to go to the extent of branding ‘the regime in Kampala’ as a fascist establishment. Africans have an aggregated value system and retain a right to say ‘no’ to a movement whose ultimate outcome will be the destruction of the family; the basic social cultural unit.

The promoters of homosexuality, who happens to have vast resources at their disposal and a global reach, have confused human rights groups to portray homosexuality as a human rights issue. But rights must be based on values.

However, the country should recognise the impressionable body politic and civil society groups in developed economies of the west. With their clever portrayal of the fight against homosexuality as a human rights abuse, the attachment of the adjectives like fascist to regime may lead to policy reviews.

Which is why I call on the government to avoid the bad press. Since homosexuality is already criminalised in Uganda, one wonder whether parliament is utilising its time optimally by focusing on homosexuality when the majority of our people are suffering from hunger, lack of access to water and disease and collapsing infrastructure.

Moreover, as pointed out by the gay lobbyists, same sex marriage is not a common social practice in Uganda therefore legislating against it is redundant and is likely to attack more attention to them. Perhaps parliament should be spending its time on real issues that impact on the lives of long-suffering Ugandans.

As a country, let us also engage other remedial institutions to try and counter this vice that is slowly but steadily coming into our lives. We ought to know that homosexuality community across the world is now 10% of the world population. Since we are part of the global community how feasible would it be to kill off 10% of the population.

As research has shown homosexuality is not a mental illness symptomatic of arrested development or that gays desires are genetic or hormonal in origin and that there is no choice involved. Homosexual behavior is learned. According to research by Dr. Cameron, no scientific research has found provable biological or genetic differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals that were not caused by their behavior. Dr. Cameron is the chairman Family Research Institute in Colorado Springs, USA.

ENDS

One wonders if Paul Cameron has inserted himself into the fray via this writer. Perhaps the writer was aware of Cameron and quoted his views.

My Genes Made Me Do It and brain plasticity

Just a postscript to my earlier posts on brain plasticity and sexual orientation…

Neil Whitehead first authored his signature work, My Genes Made Me Do It in 1999. Now he maintains the book on his website saying that “It is under constant review to keep it up-to-date so readers can be asssured (sic) of its on-going relevance.”

In chapter 8, on page 6, Whitehead recommends Norman Doidge’s book on brain plasticity. He takes some of the same liberties with Doidge’s book that he does in the Anglican Mainstream article and again fails to quote what Doidge actually says about sexual orientation.

Doidge gives a neurological principle: Neurons which fire together wire together. In human sexuality this means that if something extraneous is often associated with sexual arousal it will tend to become part of it. In brain maps genital response regions lie alongside the response region for feet, and Doidge wonders if this might relate to sexual fetishes involving feet. It also becomes very reasonable to suppose that (for example) intense emotional focus on someone of the same sex might get triggered together with sexual excitement, and if frequently repeated ultimately seem to be very deeply ingrained homosexuality.

Because of brain plasticity it’s quite possible that homosexuals can become more heterosexual and heterosexuals could become homosexual, though persistent work could be needed, about equivalent to learning a new musical instrument

A prediction of plasticity principles though not mentioned by Doidge, would be that any brain structures associated with sexual activity would be much changed in those very old people for whom such activity has long ceased eg those brain regions would have shrunk and lost function.

Doidge’s conclusion about sexuality is that “Human libido is not a hard-wired invariable biological urge, but can be curiously fickle, easily altered by our psychology and the history of our sexual encounters.” And “It’s a use-it-or-lose-it brain, even where sexual desire and love are concerned.” This would apply both to same-sex attraction and opposite-sex attraction.

There are numerous problems with Whitehead’s extension of Doidge’s ideas into the area of sexual orientation. However, I will note again that he selectively quotes the book and adds his own ideas as if they come from Doidge’s book.

Whitehead’s predictions that sexual reorientation should be as easy as learning a musical instrument should be offensive to celibate gays, ex-gays, post-gays, and ex-ex-gays. I have heard hundreds of narratives from people who sought change, are seeking change and/or congruence with their nongay-affirming religious beliefs and no one has ever described the process in those terms.

Another problem with this book is a reference to Paul Cameron’s anti-gay pamphlet, The Medical Consequences of What Homosexuals Do in chapter 6. He even incorrectly says the Family Research Council published the thing (Paul Cameron’s DBA Family Research Institute is the actual publisher). He quotes him two additional times in the book as well. One might understand these inclusions better if they occurred in the 1999 version. One could make the case that the degree of Cameron’s bias was not clear at that point. However, since this is an effort “under constant review,” I am assuming that the presence of these references is intentional.

Related posts:

Brain plasticity and sexual orientation: Train it to gain it?

NARTH authors again mislead readers: More on brain plasticity and sexual orientation

Paul Cameron to appear in Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Bruno”

This may make it worth the price of admission.

Paul Cameron – yes, that Paul Cameron – will be in Cohen’s new film, “Bruno”, out Friday. From the NY Post, via Fox News:

The Post talked to six people involved with the film — including four victims duped into appearing — to get their stories and figure out how, even after the massive success of “Borat,” there are still people unfamiliar with Cohen’s shtick. One didn’t even know he was in the film until The Post phoned.

Victim: Dr. Paul Cameron, chairman of the Family Research Institute, Colorado

Scene: Bruno comes to him for advice on going straight.

“I did a German thing a year ago. Is that this? I wondered what had happened to that. I’m in this bloody film? Well, I’ll be jiggered. I guess you never can believe when people are in distress.

“I had to go to Kansas City. I was told that this chap was a homosexual in Germany, had a popular TV program in Germany, was perhaps suicidal and wanted to [become straight]. And I was supposed to see if I could help him in some way.

His producer was telling people what to do. He’d say, ‘Here’s the setting. This will be your office. He’ll come in, give him the kinds of advice that will be useful for him.’ It took about two and a half, three hours. To put it mildly, a few of his questions seemed strange. When he tried to sit by me and he wanted to give me a b – – w job, that kind of stuff pushed it.

“If it’s a gag, it was pretty well staged. I’ll be another laughing stock. Oh, well.”

I’ll be jiggered…

Follow the money: Pro-Family Charitable Trust

This post is mostly about information without much commentary. Recently, I noted that NARTH (National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) had removed references to Scott Lively from their website. In that post, I reported that Mr. Lively’s foundation, the Pro-Family Charitable Trust chose NARTH as one of the first recipients of grant funds.
While the amounts are not large, Lively’s organization has funded other groups, including Paul Cameron’s Family Research Institute. Here is the list.
According to Lively’s website, NARTH has received $2000 total. PFOX, Exodus, Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, JONAH, Mission America and Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation have all been recipients.
Discuss…

NARTH removes references to Scott Lively from website

Recently, Scott Lively, Director of Abiding Truth Ministries clarified his opinions presented in Uganda regarding criminalization of homosexuality and compulsory therapy, saying:

I did promote therapy as an option to imprisonment, citing my own experience benefitting from optional therapy after an arrest for drunk driving many years ago. In fact, it was during that period I accepted Christ and was spontaneously healed of alcoholism and drug addiction.
I don’t think under the circumstances homosexuality should be decriminalized in Uganda since it seems to be the only thing stopping the international “gay” juggernaut from turning Uganda into another Brazil.

These views are consistent with his public statements elsewhere, including this statement to the Russian people made in 2007.

Homosexuality is a personality disorder that involves various, often dangerous sexual addictions and aggressive, anti-social impulses. This combination of factors causes homosexuals to have an intense loyalty to each other and a common goal to change any society in which they live in organized “gay and lesbian” communities. They have no acceptance in a society that restricts sex to heterosexual marriage, so they work to eliminate sexual morality and remove all limitations on sexual conduct. Importantly, their initial strategy is not promote homosexuality, but to spread sexual immorality among heterosexuals, especially the young people. Only later, when the culture has become sexually corrupt, do they openly step forward to take power as the natural leaders of such a society.

In response to the “personality disorder,” Lively recommends a number of things. One is a limitation on free speech:

Third, criminalize the public advocacy of homosexuality. My philosophy is to leave homosexuals alone if they keep their lifestyle private, and not to force them into therapy if they don’t want it. However, homosexuality is destructive to individuals and to society and it should never publicly promoted. The easiest way to discourage “gay pride” parades and other homosexual advocacy is to make such activity illegal in the interest of public health and morality.

In that same letter, Lively recommends therapy for gays and pointed people to NARTH (National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) as a referral source consistent with his ideas.

The homosexual movement tries to win public sympathy by claiming that homosexuals are “born that way” and cannot change. This is not true. There is a large association of doctors and therapists in the United States who help homosexuals to recover (see www.narth.com) and many thousands of former homosexuals who now live normal lives.

Lively’s referral to NARTH made me wonder if NARTH incorporated his views in a similar manner.
Until yesterday, the answer was yes. There were six references to Mr. Lively on the NARTH website. I asked Dave Pruden if NARTH supported the positions Mr. Lively stated above (criminalization, therapy as an option to jail and limits on free speech), and he reacted quickly to remove all but one reference to his past involvement with NARTH. According to Mr. Pruden, Mr. Lively asked to address the convention luncheon in order to make a donation. The 2005 conference report says:

Also during the luncheon, attorney Scott Lively noted that NARTH’s critics are supported by tens of millions of dollars from foundations on the left, which effectively permits them to “steer the culture through grants.” In an effort to begin reversing that trend, he recently created the Pro-Family Endowment, with one of its initial grants being made to NARTH.

If you search on the NARTH website for “Scott Lively,” you can see the links to articles which are either not there anymore or have the reference to Mr. Lively removed. In addition to the reference above, there was a reference to a book authored by Mr. Lively, another article on gays in schools which referred readers to Mr. Lively’s website and an interview with Brian Camenker which included a favorable reference to Lively’s books.
Mr. Pruden explained that Mr. Lively was not invited by NARTH to speak at the 2005 luncheon but instead asked for time to make the presentation and was granted permission. However, he indicated that this did not indicate NARTH’s agreement with Lively’s views as outlined above. Mr. Pruden said that after some investigation, he determined that Mr. Lively’s views are not consistent with the policies and views of NARTH. Consequenty, the articles and references were removed.
Exodus International also took a similar step recently….

Year in review: Top ten stories of 2008

As in year’s past, I have enjoyed reviewing the posts from the year and coming up with the top ten stories.
1. Cancelation of the American Psychiatric Association symposium – Amidst threat of protests, the APA pressed to halt a scheduled symposium dedicated to sexual identity therapy and religious affiliation. Whipped up by a factually inaccurate article in the Gay City News, gay activists persuaded the APA leadership to pressure symposium organizers to pull the program. Gay City News later ran a correction.
2. The other APA, the American Psychological Association, released a task force report on abortion and mental health consequences. Basing their conclusions on only one study, the APA surprised no one by claiming abortion had no more adverse impact on mental health than carrying a child to delivery. I revealed here that the APA had secretly formed this task force after a series of research reports in late 2005 found links between abortion and adverse mental health consequences for some women. New research confirms that concern is warranted.
3. Golden Rule Pledge – In the wake of Sally Kern saying homosexuality was a greater threat to the nation than terrorism, I initiated the Golden Rule Pledge which took place surrounding the Day of Silence and the Day of Truth. Many conservative groups were calling for Christian students to stay home. This did not strike me as an effective faith-centered response. The Golden Rule Pledge generated some controversy as well as approval by a small group of evangelicals (e.g., Bob Stith) and gay leaders (e.g., Eliza Byard). Some students taking part in the various events were positively impacted by their experience.
4. Exodus considers new direction for ministry – At a leadership training workshop early in 2008, Wendy Gritter proposed a new paradigm for sexual identity ministry. Her presentation was provocative in the sense that it generated much discussion and consideration, especially among readers here. It remains to be seen if Exodus will continue to move away from a change/reparative therapy focus to a fidelity/congruence ministry focus.
5. New research clarifies sexual orienatation causal factors – A twin study and a study of brain symmetry, both from Sweden and a large U.S. study shed some light on causal factors in sexual orientation.
6. Letter to the American Counseling Association requesting clarification of its policies concerning counseling same-sex attracted evangelicals. Co-signed by over 600 counselors (many of whom were referred by the American Association of Christian Counselors), I wrote a letter to the ACA requesting clarification regarding how counselors should work with evangelicals who do not wish to affirm homosexual behavior. The current policy is confusing and gives no guidance in such cases. Then President Brian Canfield replied affirming the clients self-determination in such cases. He referred the matter back to the ACA ethics committee. To date, that committee has not responded.
7. Paul Cameron’s work resurfaces and then is refuted – Insure.com resurrected Paul Cameron’s work in an article on their website about gay lifespans. The article was later altered to reflect more on HIV/AIDS than on homosexual orientation. Later this year, Morten Frisch produced a study which directly addressed Cameron’s methods.
8. Mankind Project unravels – This year I posted often regarding the Mankind Project and New Warriors Training Adventure. Recently, I reported that MKP is in some financial and organizational disarray.
9. Debunking of false claims about Sarah Palin’s record on support for social programs – I had lots of fun tracking down several false claims made about Sarah Palin during the election. Her opponents willfully distorted her real record to paint her as a hypocrite. I learned much more about Alaska’s state budget than I ever wanted to know but found that most claims of program cuts were actually raises in funding which not quite as much as the agencies requested. However, overall funding for such programs increased.
10. During the stretch run of the election, I became quite interested in various aspects of the race. As noted above, I spent some time examining claims surround Sarah Palin’s record. I also did a series on President-elect Obama’s record on housing, including an interview with one of Barack Obama’s former constituents.
I know, I know, number 10 is an understatement. (Exhibit A)
Happy New Year!