Monday, July 2, 2012

Shifts On Gay "Cure"

The following article appeared in the July 1, 2012 Houston Chronicle. It reports what could be an important shift that has been taking place in counseling for bisexual and homosexual men away from identifying homosexuality as a psychological disorder. That views on the "cure" for LGBT's are shifting is a good thing. That it is taking so long to shift to a sane and homogenous standard of practice among those who seek to counsel LGBT's is not good at all.

The American Psychological Association as far back as 1975 declared homosexuality and bisexuality were normal expressions of human sexuality. Most licensed psychotherapists and psychologists have long since stopped treating LGBT's as people with a mental disorder. Even most Christian counselors now see it and handle it as a normal part of human sexuality and simply seek to help individuals reconcile their sexuality to the other parts of their lives.

About the only groups that continue to use restorative therapy, "the cure," or praying away the gay are Christian Fundamentalist counselors. Many of these so called counselors are nto licensed. Those who are licensed like those at the Marcus Bachman Clinic seem to be saying one thing publicly and counseling another privately as reported by ABC News. Such clinics cannot openly endorse restorative therapy because they would be putting their licenses to practice in jeopardy. 

The article below reports on one Fundamentalist group, Exodus International, which is dissociating itself from reparative therapy. This is a great step forward. Hopefully it is the first of many Fundamentalists groups to begin to see the light. However if you read the article and then watch the video from ABC news (see below) which reports an on camera interview with Exodus International President, Alan Chambers, you will quickly see that his new stance on conversion therapy is very new indeed. As of July 15, 2011, the date of the video, he was still referring to homosexuality as a sin and seemed to be shying away from directly answering questions about "helping" gays through therapy. This is a strong indication that his thinking less than 11 months ago was still muddled by his Fundamentalist background.

The good thing that I want my readers to understand is that while Fundamentalists cannot pray away the gay. Gay and bisexual men can pray and study away the Fundamentalism. There is a wealth of books written by liberal Christian scholars which do a great job of pointing out that, contrary to the claims of the Fundamentalists, The Bible has not one word to say about homosexuality as we define the term today.

Jack Scott

Christian Group Shifts on Gay ‘Cure’

Publication: Houston Chronicle; Date: Jul 1, 2012; Section: News; Page: A25


MINNEAPOLIS — The president of the country’s best-known Christian ministry dedicated to helping people repress same-sex attraction through prayer is trying to distance the group from the idea that gay people’s sexual orientation can be permanently changed or “cured.”
That’s a significant shift for Exodus International, the 36-year-old Orlando-based group that boasts 260 member ministries around the U.S. and world. For decades, it has offered to help conflicted Christians rid themselves of homosexual inclinations through counseling and prayer, infuriating gay activists.

Last week, 600 Exodus ministers and followers gathered for the group’s annual conference, held this year in a Minneapolis suburb. The group’s president, Alan Chambers, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the conference would highlight his efforts to dissociate the group from the controversial practice usually called ex-gay, reparative or conversion therapy.

“I do not believe that ‘cure’ is a word that is applicable to really any struggle — homosexuality included,” said Chambers, who is married to a woman and has children, but speaks openly about his own sexual attraction to men. “For someone to put out a shingle and say, ‘I can cure homosexuality’ — that to me is as bizarre as someone saying they can cure any other common temptation or struggle that anyone faces on Planet Earth.”

Influence wanes

Chambers has cleared books endorsing ex-gay therapy from the Exodus online bookstore in recent months. He said the ministry’s emphasis should be simply helping Christians who want to reconcile their own particular religious beliefs with sexual feelings they consider an affront to Scripture. For some that might mean celibacy; for others, like Chambers, it
meant finding an understanding opposite-sex partner.

“I consider myself fortunate to be in the best marriage I know,” Chambers said. “It’s an amazing thing, yet I do have same-sex attractions. Those things don’t overwhelm me or my marriage; they are something that informs me like any other struggle I might bring to the table.”

Exodus has seen its influence wane in recent decades, as mainstream associations representing psychiatrists and psychologists have relegated reparative therapy to crackpot status. But Exodus and groups like it continue to influence many evangelicals.

“We appreciate any step toward open, transparent honesty that will do less harm to people,” said Wayne Besen, a Vermont-based activist who has worked to discredit ex-gay therapy. “But the underlying belief is still that homosexuals are sexually broken, that something underlying is broken and needs to be fixed. That’s incredibly harmful, it scars people.”

Bachmann’s clinic

The cultural battle over ex-gay therapy drew national attention last year, after an activist with Besen’s group, “Truth Wins Out,” went undercover in a counseling clinic co-owned by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, at the time a GOP presidential contender, and run by her husband, Marcus.

The activist, John Becker, released footage seeming to show a counselor at the Minnesota clinic offering to help him overcome homosexual urges.

In earlier interviews, Marcus Bachmann had denied his practice seeks to “cure” gay people but said it was open to patients who wanted to talk about homosexuality.

While Exodus has shied away from reparative therapy, the practice still has adherents.
“To hold out the idea that one’s homosexual attractions can diminish, that the possibility of heterosexual attractions coming forth over a period of time — those things are possible,” said David Pruden of, the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, a professional association made up of about 2,000 therapists and others who still espouse such treatments.

Associated Press

Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, says he has a strong relationship with his wife Leslie despite his sexual attraction to men. His ministry is renouncing “restoration therapy” for ex-gays.

The following video which interviews Dr. Jack Drescher and Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International was recorded by ABC News in July, 2011. As you will see in this video, less than a year ago, Alan Chambers' thoughts on helping gays via therapy were at least muddled. He also unequivocally deemed homosexuality to be a sin. I for one would like to see the interview repeated to see exactly where he stands now on "helping" gays and on homosexuality as a "sin."

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Jack, I like your presentation of this important topic.


I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott