International Healing Foundation releases infomercial; ready to heal the world

Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation has released an infomercial describing their services and claims. Roll the tape…

In the video, he features his three part program designed to help people go straight, help their kids go straight, and help their clients go straight. He thinks pretty highly of these resources as is apparent in his Fall, 2008 newsletter:

WE HAVE THE ANSWERS
I am proud to announce that I have completed 21 years in public service and ministry. God called me in June 1987 to reach out and help those with unwanted SSA and their loved ones, and to spread the truth throughout the world that no one is born this way, no one chooses to have SSA, and that change is possible. I have been faithful and even more so, successful in helping thousands change their orientation and parents reconcile with their SSA loved ones. Furthermore, I have trained and educated thousands of professionals, equipping them with a systematic approach to helping SSA strugglers and their families. The International Healing Foundation (IHF) is the first organization in the world to create three landmark proven successful protocols:
Coming Out Straight–book and CD/MP3 series
Gay Children, Straight Parents–book and CD/MP3 series
Counselor Training Program–manual and CD/MP3 series
These are our three Olympic Gold Medals to help heal the world! I spent a lifetime preparing and training for this moment. I fought my way out of homosexuality. Against all odds I came out straight! That was indeed a miracle of God.

And you can have this miracle too if you sign up for the three Gold Medals. The world could use a little healing but I am skeptical it will come through IHF.
Richard has big plans for 2009. In his newsletter, he details them. Here is perhaps the most ambitious:

Loving Gays the Right Way: Exposing the Homosexual Myth is the title of a new book that I will write next year. Please read more about this in the 2009 Goals and Projects section. Together we can make a difference, saving one life at a time. Thank you for all your support this year and please contribute generously and/or purchase multiple copies of our books and CD series to donate to public and church libraries. For a contribution of $40 or more, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of the school DVD upon its completion.

He also wants to produce a video for schools which he mentions in the last line.

Over the past year I have shared about our ambitious project to create a film for use in public schools. This year we have already filmed two powerful stories of change—one youngman and his parents from the Midwest, and another from the East Coast. We will film a young woman either by the end of this year, or the beginning of 2009. Each of thesemen and woman came out of homosexuality! Their stories are powerful and will speak directly to our young people in public schools that they do have a choice—either to live a gay life, or to seek change and come out straight. We will promote true tolerance, real diversity, and equality for all!

Richard appears to have a love-hate relationship with the media. He seems to love being involved in it but it has not always been friendly to him. In the latter category is his appearance on the recent documentary, Chasing the Devil. In it he walks off camera twice when asked difficult questions about asking clients to raise money for IHF and his practice of bioenergetics. In a future post, I will review that video.

Narth fact sheet: Female homosexual development

Narth recently released a fact sheet that is relevant to some information I posted regarding reparative therapy research.
The paper has some bright spots but overall reverts to the same reparative drive theoretical formulation for which NARTH is known. On the NARTH website, Dean Byrd praises the APA for taking a more nuanced perspective toward causation and same-sex attraction, but in this paper, NARTH does not follow the APA’s lead.
The paper begins by attempting to make a case for sexual fluidity by quoting mainstream researchers. I suspect researchers such as Michael Bailey, Ken Zucker, and Lisa Diamond will be uncomfortable with how their work is integrated in this piece. The unnamed NARTH author then suggests that the reason research supporting developmental causes is minimized today is due to bias against these findings. For some reason, Rogers Wright is quoted in this context. However, Rogers is referring to psychotherapy and not research on causal factors. Regarding the research on environmental factors, the paper says:

There is, in fact, a wealth of older research identifying many common developmental, temperamental and family patterns connected to homosexuality. This research has never been scientifically refuted.

The citations for this statement are a 10 year old paper by Mark Yarhouse and a 15 year old book by Goldberg. Yarhouse and I were making a case for reorientation therapies broadly speaking several years ago. However, our model now calls for a cautious and realistic assessment of the literature on change and causal factors. Our sexual identity therapy framework is based, in part, on the observation that we do not know what causes sexual orientation in any general sense, nor do we know what, if any, factors might lead to fluidity. Our model stresses value congruence rather than change in orientation.
In fact, “the older research” has been addressed as inadequate to explain the complexity of sexual orientation (e.g, Bell, Weinberg & Hammersmith, 1981; see this post about Fisher and Greenberg’s review of psychoanalytic literature, and this post as well). In the context of the NARTH claim, I would like to ask anyone to produce the three best studies which support the “common developmental, temperamental and family patterns connected to homosexuality.” I am serious about this. Preferably I would like proponents to post them in a comment for discussion but these references may also be emailed to me.
Based on this lead, I expected the author to make a case that the observation of sexual fluidity for some meant that therapy could be helpful in promoting change of orientation. However, the paper did not quite come to that conclusion, saying

The concept of sexual fluidity, defined as the spontaneous evolution or transformation of one’s sexual preferences, is different from the concept of changeability involving intentional effort directed towards altering or changing one’s sexual preferences. As mentioned, many researchers attest to the reality of female sexual fluidity. This does not directly translate into proof that any woman can easily change or alter her same sex attraction. It does however confirm that sexual feeling and behaviors are not absolutely immutable or unchangeable. The degree to which a woman can or will experience change will be uniquely determined based on her history and motivation to do so.

While I appreciate the distinction between spontaneous fluidity and intentional attempts to change, I do not think significant evidence has established that motivation is a catalytic component for such fluidity. Certainly some women testify that they sought change and experienced it but others sought change and did not. We do not know that change is determined by “history and motivation.” This sentence almost sounds like change is related to motivation in some dose-dependent manner – the more motivation, the more the change. This can be a very frustrating and defeating message for people who are quite motivated and yet continue to experience same-sex attraction.
The paper then indicates via quote from George Rekers that gender nonconformity and a feeling of being different is associated with adult homosexuality. This is the same data Bem appeals to in crafting his erotic becomes exotic (EBE) theory. Although less so for females than males, these are true observations. In 1995, Bailey and Zucker summarized the research on gender nonconformity and adult sexual orientation this way:

As our analyses demonstrated for both men and women, research has firmly established that homosexual subjects recall substantially more cross-sex-typed behavior in childhood than do heterosexual subjects. By rough criteria, effect sizes were large for both men and women. Indeed, they were among the largest effect sizes ever reported in the realm of sex-dimorphic behaviors.

However, instead of stopping there, the NARTH paper leaves research and goes to theory and clinical anecdote by suggesting:

Typical in the history of women with same sex attraction are failures of attachment with the mother resulting in disidentification (rejection as role model).

The research cited does not suggest that gender nonconformity leads to failures of attachment, but the lay reader might not catch the shift from data to theory. The NARTH paper cites no studies which demonstrate higher levels of attachment failures, nor higher levels of disidentification with mother. The reference is to a speech given by NARTH Board Member, Janelle Hallman at a NARTH conference.
Then Elizabeth Moberly’s theories are referenced as evidence. Dr. Moberly, who was not a clinician nor did research on sexual orientation, proposed the basic reparative drive theory which holds:

…that the homosexual-whether man or woman has suffered from some deficit in the relationship with the parent of the same-sex: and that there is a corresponding drive to make good this deficit-through the medium of same sex or “homosexual” relationships.”

The NARTH paper also claims poor fathering, marital distress and sexual abuse play a role in lesbian development. Feminist researchers are quoted out of context to make a point about the need for positive attachments among women. However, the reader is not informed that no research has linked poor mother-daughter attachments to later lesbian development
In a second part of this critique, I will take the sexual abuse statistics separately. Let me say now that I reviewed the studies referenced, and I cannot determine how the NARTH author arrived at a statistic of 50% of lesbians, on average, have been sexually abused. One must take into account representative sampling when offering such data. I am looking for something more recent but one 1994 study using a representative sample of lesbians found that 21% of lesbians reported sexual abuse as a child.
The NARTH paper concludes this way:

Women who deal with same sex attraction, possess a history of disindentification with their mothers, and therefore with their femininity. This leads to a longing for connection with the feminine that becomes sexualized in adolescence or adulthood. Without a secure attachment to mother, she fails to identify with mother as a female role model losing the opportunity to develop trust and a healthy gender identity. Because of an empty or distorted view of her feminine self she has an inability to connect in a healthy way with other girls. Her sexual development is arrested.

It is possible that the NARTH author believes that since the paper mentions biological, psychological and social factors in the same paper that a “bio-psycho-social model of causation” is being advanced. However, a review of the paper finds no such model where these factors are integrated with research support.
Despite the use of some research studies in this paper, the conclusion leaves data and moves to the reparative drive theory first articulated by Elizabeth Moberly. Back in March, I posted about Dean Byrd’s review of the APA paper on sexual orientation. Then I wondered

…when NARTH would make an APA-like statement about theorized environmental factors such as child abuse and same-sex parenting deficits. What if NARTH acknowledged “what most scientists have long known: that a bio-psycho-social model of causation best fits the data?” Wouldn’t there be a need for a statement cautioning readers of their materials that evidence for parenting playing a large or determining role is meager? Paralleling Dr. Byrd’s assessment of the APA pamphlet, shouldn’t NARTH say with italics, “There is no homogenic family. There is no simple familial pathway to homosexuality.”

Still wondering.

Upcoming ex-gay documentary stirs up controversy

An upcoming documentary (Spring, 2008) regarding the ex-gay movement has created hard feelings months before release. I received this release from filmmakers Bill and Mishara Hussung responding to an email from Joanne Highley of Life Ministries in New York City. Watch the trailer on You Tube.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Bill Hussung/ Mishara Canino-Hussung

Coqui Zen Entertainment

bill@coquizen.com

mishara@coquizen.com

Ex-Gay Ministry criticizes upcoming documentary.

A New York City ministry claiming to cure homosexuals with exorcisms isn’t pleased with an upcoming documentary by filmmakers Bill Hussung and Mishara Canino-Hussung. Joanne Highly, who runs LIFE Ministry, is responding to a Youtube trailer for the upcoming documentary in a recent mailing to ministry supporters. Highley says the filmmakers are, “using our footage to make us look bad,” and she adds, “We have been made fun of before.”

A trailer for the upcoming documentary features members of LIFE Ministry singing and dancing at the groups’ annual Christmas party. The trailer also includes a sound bite from Highley saying she came to New York to minister to “homosexuals and Jews.”

Co-director Bill Hussung says he’s surprised Highley views the clips of her annual Christmas party as an effort to make the ministry look bad. “The clips show people enjoying themselves and celebrating the work of the ministry, there’s no spin or slant involved in how those clips were edited,” Hussung says.

A trailer for the film, Chasing the Devil: Inside the Ex-Gay Movement, can be found at the following website:

http://www.coquizen.com/Site/trailer.html

Bill Hussung followed up the news release with this statement in an email about the challenges of making a documentary about those who believe they have altered sexual orientation.

More than four years ago we set out to document the journeys of people belonging to the most politically incorrect subculture in America. The result is Chasing the Devil: Inside the Ex-Gay Movement, a documentary film. Spending time with those who claim to have changed their sexual orientation from gay to straight can be a bit of a paradigm rattling experience. We accept that identity is largely self-defined and acknowledge that sexuality can be fluid. Mick Jagger switches back and forth between men and women for much of the 1970s and defines jet setting chic. Self-defined identity and fluid sexuality are both left of center beliefs long associated with urban elites and secular progressives. Folks like most of those in the documentary film business. But there’s a disconnect when this paradigm butts up against the ex-gay movement. If we really believe identity is self-defined and sexuality fluid, then there’s nothing surprising, or offensive, about the ex-gay ministries and reparative therapists claiming to “heal” homosexuals of their unwanted desires. But we are surprised. And often offended. The central underpinning of gay identity is the belief that people are born gay and can’t change. The ex-gays challenge these beliefs. Their claims of having changed from gay to straight challenge our understanding of identity and tolerance. But are they living a lie?

We made this film to answer that question.

Bill Hussung & Mishara Canino-Hussung

Co-directors, Coqui Zen Entertainment

Looking forward to it.

Same-sex marriage conversation: What do we know? Part 2

As Part 2 of my series on same-sex parenting research, I am posting the transcript of a presentation delivered at the Catholic University just over a year ago. A section on same-sex marriage was provided after Michael Bailey and prior to my speech at the same comference.

(Quotes removed at the request of Brad Wilcox)

Here is a more socially conservative scholar who comes to an assessment similar to Meezan and Rauch: we don’t know much and not really enough.

Some distinctions are arising in the comments on other threads that should be sharpened going forward. Same-sex adoption of special needs kids should be distinguished from use of reproductive technologies to create kids without hope of knowing a parent of one gender. Whereas some would say public policy should not make these distinctions; others would say it can and should. What data exist to inform these discussions? Are there data that could address these issues? Or is policy to be made on the basis of presuppositional principles? How do we decide which principles apply? I would say the best interest of children would be such a principle. If research finds, on balance, discouraging results from studies of same-sex parenting (however defined), do equal protection arguments for adults trump any potential child consequences? What if research finds that some outcomes are better for same-sex parenting and some are not, then how should public policy take mixed results into account?

Let’s keep talking…

Rev. Joseph Stabile wants to put controversy to rest

Recently, I have posted about the James Stabile saga involving the young man filmed during an event sponsored by Heartland World Ministry Church. Mr. Stabile left home and became involved with the church, eventually filmed by Christian Broadcasting Network, then enrolled in Pure Life Ministries and is now back at home with his parents. I spoke with James’s father, Rev. Joseph Stabile by phone today who provided the following statement regarding the controversy surrounding his son James and the Light the Highway revival work. 

We have our son at home and we’re grateful. We are glad to be able to love and support him as we have always done. It has been a difficult time for us all. It has been a learning experience for James and I hope it has been a learning experience for Heartland Ministy and Pure Life Ministry. James is receiving appropriate medical care and is not willing to talk now about his experiences at Heartland Ministry and/or Pure Life Ministry. We would like to put this to rest.

Read the prior two posts here and here to get the back ground. Pastor Stabile did say that the posts were accurate based on his knowledge of the situation. Talking to Rev. Stabile, it was clear to me that he wants to give his son time to get his bearings after what has been a confusing stretch in his life. He did not want to throw stones or focus on details; rather he hoped all involved could reflect on what can be learned from the situation.

Cameron takes his show across the pond

Paul Cameron went to Britain last month to tell about his new research studies of newspaper clippings. The title for this talk was a cheery one: “Homosexuals Account for 29 Percent of Rape and Murder of Kids.” All of that based on reading the paper. Recently, I addressed the problems with his methodology regarding another similar “study” he posted on his new online “journal” (read: website).

Anyway, Peter Ould has an interesting post about the group he spoke to — the Christian Council of Britain. He takes a romp through a history of ideas regarding race and apartheid that are worth considering.

Hey, I read it in the papers – Paul Cameron extends his methods

Reading obituaries probably gets boring and maybe a little morbid, so it is understandable that the Paul Cameron research machine has branched out and included tragic news articles as data collection.

In his spanking new venture, the Empirical Journal of Same Sex Sexual Behavior, Cameron has released a “study” called, Teacher-Pupil Sex Across the World: How Much Is Homosexual? Apparently, the only article in the journal so far, the article’s abstract says:

In news stories in English across the world for 1980-2006, 902 teachers engaged in sex with 3,457 pupils. Teachers engaging in same-sex sex constituted 63% of perpetrators in Ireland, 62% in New Zealand, 60% in Canada, 54% in Scotland, 48% in Australia, 47% in England, and 35% in the U.S.; in smaller samples, homosexuals accounted for 71% of perpetrators in mainland Europe, 26% in Africa, and 13% in Asia. Proportionately more same-sex sexual activity with pupils occurred in the West as compared to Asia and Africa. Most (54% of 810 male, 83% of 92 female) teachers violated only opposite sex pupils; 43% of perpetrators engaged in homosexuality; and 55% of victims were boys. Findings for each country or set of countries were consistent with U.S. studies based on superintendent report, principal report, self-report, and convictions indicating that a male homosexual is the most and a female heterosexual the least apt to have sex with pupils.

Cameron begins the article noting the prevalence of sexual molestations in educational settings and then basically documents the fatal flaw in his paper:

Even though teacher/pupil sexual events are fairly common, an instance of teacher/pupil has to run a veritable gauntlet before it becomes public knowledge. Educational systems try vigorously to assure that teacher molestations are not brought to light. So such an event is likely to be suppressed. (p. 2)

Anyone familiar with schools and teacher behavior knows that these events are frequently covered up with many never getting to trial and thus are not captured by newspapers. Who knows how many actual events occur? Who knows how many of the same-sex perpetrators are married with kids? Not to mention that same sex perpetrations might actually be more likely to be reported and made public. And yet, Cameron considers news reports a source of data adequate enough to include in his inaugural issue. So since he demolished any credibility the study could have, there is no point in going any further, right? Of course, he does, and we get statistics that may end up in a news release somewhere.

Rather than me taking time to predict the next study that will emerge from the headlines, let me turn it over to my readers. What else might we learn from newspapers, folks?

Cameron’s news release on this study is here.