Holsinger says he would resign before muzzling science

This New York Times piece provides a summary of the stance of Dr. James Holsinger regarding his views on a number of issues.

I thought his responses to the criticisms of his 1991 paper were reasonable and, as a professor, understandable. Most of us writes tons of stuff for various audiences and I certainly do not agree with some things I wrote 16 years ago. As an academic matter, I would wonder how his views have changed and why. Those who oppose him might want to know that to since I doubt they have much trust. Those who were inclined to favor him may now feel he has vacillated.

Note his top priorities:

…tackling childhood obesity, “making America a tobacco-free nation” and improving the ability of the Public Health Service to respond to emergencies.

All three are admirable but the second is, I suspect, a pipe dream…

ILGA responds to accusations about NAMBLA

A recent commenter accused International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) of secretly keeping NAMBLA (a pedophilia supporting group) on its membership rolls. I was curious about this so I wrote ILGA and asked if NAMBLA was still on a secret list. Here is the first reply from Stephen Barris, at ILGA:

Dear Warren,

There is no such thing as a secret list of ILGA members and our lists are available to the public. We do have though members which wish to remain confidential for the simple reason same sex is criminalised in their country. NAMBLA was expelled in 94 and a series of amendments where voted by ILGA members to ensure groups condoning paedophilia would not be able to become members of the federation. Our federation has not had any such group since 94. You can find a public statement on that matter under the section “About ILGA” on ilga.org.

On the home page, you will also find a report on State sponsored homophobia in the world. As you will notice, 85 UN members states still have discriminatory laws against LGBT people. Those are the same states who sit at the United Nations. The NAMBLA case is but an excuse not to recognise LGBT groups as representatives of the civil society at the UN. After 13 years though and thanks to our ECOSOC campaign, things are slowly changing and three groups, including the European Region of ILGA obtained observer status last year. You can read the full report on this campaign on ILGA’s home page.

I then wrote and asked if there was a published list of organizations which belong to ILGA and Mr. Barris sent this list. He said some member groups from countries where laws prohibit homosexuality are not listed.

By including this information, I am not supporting the work of ILGA. I know very little about it or the political issues involved. I simply provide this information in the service of fairness.

Stephen Bennett declares “public divide” with Exodus

Stephen Bennett weighs in on the recent LA Times article and CNN appearance of Alan Chambers.

Stephen takes issue with suggestions from Al Mohler and others that biological factors may be involved in homosexuality:

There is ZERO biological, scientific “evidence” for homosexuality to this date. The biblical evidence for homosexuality is very clear: it’s sin.

Ominously, he declares:

“What we see here is the public divide of the pro-family movement.”

Well, since he brought it up…

I think there have been some significant tensions among social conservatives that may be a part of the broader development of evangelicalism. Of late, divides have occured over environmental policy and abortion. I think we are seeing tensions now over sexuality.

Racism on You Tube revisited

Last week, I posted briefly on the racist videos on YouTube and was glad to see that one racist’s account (johnsmithxp1) was suspended. However, johnsmithxp1 is now back as johnsmithxp2 with most of the same videos. Conspicuously missing is the video that sparked interest in the site in the first place — the clips of It’s Elementary (posted now at MassResistance).

For several days now, I have been reporting several videos (for examples, this and this) as hate speech with no change that I can see. If anyone reading this knows a better way to register protests at You Tube over this matter, let me know.

Days of conflict: Sexual orientation and public schools

Today (April 25 in MA) is the GLSEN sponsored event, Day of Silence and then tomorrow is the Day of Truth, sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund. This year a coalition of social conservative groups have urged parents to keep their kids home on the Day of Silence. Racheting up the rhetoric is the Massachusetts version of opposition to the Day of Silence called Day of Defiance.

My view is that none of these “days” belong in the schools. However, I do believe that issues surrounding sexual identity, safety and education must be discussed and resolved in a manner that respects all points of view. In a perfect world (and perhaps in some districts), both sides will respectfully express their views and perhaps some communication will take place. In the real social world of most high schools, I fear that the result will more often be a more polarized and tense scene. For this reason, just over a year ago, Chad Thompson and I wrote an article that was initially published on Townhall.com (and later removed) called Sexual Orientation: When Conflict Rules the School.

In that article, Chad and I wrote in support of the First Amendment Center’s effort to address the conflict in schools called Public Schools and Sexual Orientation: A First Amendment framework for finding common ground. One aspect of this framework I like is the creation of “common ground task forces” in school districts. These task forces are to be comprised of parents who hold conflicting views and are designed to come to agreement about school policy and practice. The guidelines acknowledge the current state of affairs which has only escalated in the year since they were released. The guidelines observe:

These differences are deep – and difficult to negotiate. Current efforts to legalize or ban same-sex unions in the courts, in legislatures and on ballot initiatives have only exacerbated the debate in schools and raised the stakes for public school officials. Every act by one side is seen as a hostile move by the other. A “Day of Silence” to promote awareness of discrimination against gays and lesbians is now followed by a “Day of Truth” to promote conservative religious views of homosexuality. A T-shirt proclaiming “Straight Pride” is worn to counter one professing “Gay Pride.”

However, I do not believe the framework has had much impact. What Chad and I wrote a year ago seems even more accurate today:

Thus far, the guidelines have built very few bridges. Groups on the political right and left have found fault with them. One recent headline from a conservative source said: “Christian education group caves to homosexuals.” Conversely, liberal Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) said the Framework was designed to foster discussion of gay issues in schools and that the views of ex-gays should not be considered. We believe critics are missing the central aim of the guidelines: “Educators can and should require that all viewpoints be expressed in a respectful manner, but they may not exclude some views merely because they don’t agree with them.”

I can see no real resolution of issues until something like what the First Amendment Center has proposed is actually implemented. Otherwise, where will this go? If conservative parents keep their kids home on the Day of Silence, isn’t it likely that liberal parents will keep their kids home on the Day of Truth? Who will hear what message? Will schools be any safer for any kids? Will another half week of instruction be further compromised by adult inspired activism?

To read the First Amendment framework, download this pdf file.

Conservative reaction to Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter found a way to get attention again — this time by using the slur “faggot” and John Edwards in the same breath. I saw the video clip of her speech and it just looks like a Middle School kid who likes to say things to shock people. Anyway, Hugh Hewitt leads a well-deserved conservative backlash against Ms. Coulter.

UPDATE – 3/6/07 – This story about Ann Coulter and John Edwards would be incomplete without knowing the context. I have not followed this closely but it appears Mr. Edwards has had experience with name-calling in his own camp. Just three weeks ago, two staffers for the Edwards campaign resigned due to insulting remarks made against conservative Christians. In addition, one of the former staffers, Melissa McEwan has had quite insulting things to say about ex-gays, or at least one ex-gay, Greg Quinlan. Apparently, the resignations did not come due to pressure from Edwards. I do not point this out to excuse Ms. Coulter. Rather, it seems to me that there is an unsavory history of insults going back and forth between the Edwards camp and social conservatives that Ms. Coulter continued. This is March of 2007. The election is a long way away. Heaven help us.

American Psychological Association responds to “external organizations”

The American Psychological Association has issued a call for nominations titled: Call for Nominations for the Board of Director’s Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. The charge of the Task Force is threefold:

(1) To revise and update the APA resolution Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (1997);

(2) To generate a report that includes the following:

(a) The appropriate application of affirmative therapeutic interventions for children and adolescents who present a desire to change either their sexual orientation or their behavioral expression of their sexual orientation, or both, or whose guardian expresses a desire for the minor to change;

(b) The appropriate application of affirmative therapeutic interventions for adults who present a desire to change their sexual orientation or their behavioral expression of their sexual orientation, or both;

(c) The presence of adolescent inpatient facilities that offer coercive treatment designed to change sexual orientation or the behavioral expression of sexual orientation;

(d) Education, training, and research issues as they pertain to such therapeutic interventions;

(e) Recommendations regarding treatment protocols that promote stereotyped gender normative behavior to mitigate behaviors that are perceived to be indicators that a child will develop a homosexual orientation in adolescence and adulthood;

(3) To inform the Association’s response to groups that promote treatments to change sexual orientation or its behavioral expression and to support public policy that furthers affirmative therapeutic interventions.

Why convene a task force?

The call for nominations refers to a need to revise the APA guidelines on therapeutic responses and to “research and scholarship” relating to conversion therapy. What I think is amazing is this lenghty sentence:

Several external organizations have recommended that APA update its policy, because of their concerns about the continued visibility of reparative therapy practitioners and treatment facilities and about the role of advocacy for reparative theory in attempts to shape public opinion about the nature of sexual orientation and to support an anti-gay activist role in legislative and judicial arenas.

I wonder which extermal organizations did the recommending? I wonder what they want the APA to say?

I know of several individuals that have asked the APA to consider the need for guidelines when religion and sexuality conflict. However, I do not see this issue in the call for nominations. I hope there will not be a move to prohibit sexual identity therapy.

UPDATE: 2/23/07 – Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink interviewed APA’s Clinton Anderson who identified PFLAG and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force as two groups who recommended that the APA review their policies. This was a short report and so I understand my concerns over sexual identity therapy could not be fully articulated. As any regular reader of this blog will know, I am not an apologist for reparative therapy but I am concerned that advocacy groups can move the APA to form a task force to craft scientific policy for political use.

Why Can’t Heterosexuals get it Right?

An article today in the Daily Mail, Betrayal of a Generation, outlines the difficulties experienced by children in the United Kingdom. The UK performed as follows:

Rates of teenage births were the worst in the developed world. British children were most likely to be drunk from the age of 11 onwards, most likely to have had sex by 15 and highly likely to smoke cannabis. Their diet was also poor.

The Netherlands ranked highest according to the UN study. The difficulties cited by the article suggest that pro-child social programs in the UK have not been effective at improving the plight of these children.

It leads me to the question which has long troubled me in the same-sex marriage debate: how can heterosexuals who have so neglected their obligations as parents dictate to gays and lesbians the limits of marriage and parenting rights?

It has been my opinion that if we indulge the selfishness and self-gratification of heterosexuals (sex without love, love without commitment, children as an afterthought) then we have no right to refuse gays and lesbians in their assertion that there should be exemptions from moral absolutes as well.

Kinsey, in his landmark studies on sexuality, from a population of participants sought to “describe” what America’s sexuality really was. To dispel myths and “get down to the facts.” We now know how agenda-driven his research was, and how flawed his population selection was. Kinsey is the left’s, Paul Cameron. Nevertheless, his work was championed and set the foundation for a sexual “revolution” which has had enormous negative consequences for multiple generations of children.

I may not agree with gay marriage based upon my religious beliefs and my interpretation of some social science data, but my larger concern, and the larger concern of our society’s future should be how heterosexuals are treating sex, love, commitment and parenting.

NARTH adopts Leona Tyler Principle

February 8, 2007 – The Leona Tyler Principle, adopted by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1973, has just been unanimously adopted by NARTH’s Governing Board on the advice of its Scientific Advisory Committee.

In essence, the principle states that when psychologists are speaking as members of their profession, any advocacy in which they engage should be based on scientific data and demonstrable professional experience. Perhaps Dr. Tyler, then APA’s president, was able to foresee the day when organized psychology would be influenced by activism, and she wanted to ensure that psychology as a profession would not be eroded.

Read the rest on the NARTH website