Latest in the “Homosex is the Source and Summit of Good in the Universe” News

A reader writes about the new California law that conflates sexual orientation and activity:

I wasn’t upset about the new CA law until I actually read the text of it. As advertised on the news, it is about attempts to turn gay teens straight, reparative therapy, etc., which as a catholic I don’t so much care about, because my church teaches one can bear the cross of same-sex attraction and yet remain virtuous by not acting upon it. A catholic counselor needn’t try to turn a gay kid straight, but he can encourage a gay kid to live chastely.

But not according to the state of California! The new bill prohibits sexual orientation change efforts, which includes (but is not limited to) “efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions.” So, any attempt to change sexual behavior (such as encouraging chastity) are understood to be sexual orientation change efforts.

More of my thoughts here.

I assume that the next bill to be signed into law in CA will prohibit dieticians and physicians from encouraging their clients to change their diet and excercise more. We wouldn’t want to engage in food-and/or-activity-level orientation change efforts, now would we? Now, where’s my remote…

Homosex is the source and summit of all that is noble, true, good and beautiful. It is always right and never wrong, always good and never bad. Anybody who so much as *thinks* otherwise should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Children must be taught never to think anything else and punished if they do.

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.” – Alexander Pope

  • http://gloriaromanorum.blogspot.com/ Florentius

    How true. As a college student back in the 1990s at a “Jesuit but not Catholic” university, it became apparent to me that tolerating homosexuality on campus was not enough. I used to joke that it was only a matter of time before it became mandatory. The joke is fast becoming reality now–and it’s not funny anymore.

  • http://Www.HundredsOfCustomers.com Justin West

    Deuteronomy speaks of the Israelites bearing their love of God as a sign on their right hand and as a pendant upon their foreheads, that the Lord might rule over their thoughts and deeds. Nevertheless, I have always wondered about the more literal interpretation of Rev’s “mark”, and I do enjoy a good conspiracy theory now and then. There is a company called “Digital Angel” that, a few years back was making sub-dermal rf-id chips that could be used to pay at rfid-compatible checkouts (those “swipe and go” deals)… It sounded too blatantly obvious to actually be a threat at first…

  • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

    One of the problems, I think, is that the people (Europeans and their descendants) who hitched their wagon to philosophical inquiry performed by philosophical specialists have abandoned much of what those specialists teased out about reality.

    To the point that you now construct, as opposed to discover, an ontological category of human being that does not exist, namely heterosexual and homosexual, as though a human being can be described, in his essence, by where he likes to put his dingaling.

    When the truth is, if you’re going to posit such a teleological category, your options are far far too limited. Some like putting it in men, some on in women, but most human beings are much more particular than all this. Most people like putting it in people they have paid, or in people who are overly endowed in one way or another, or in people lacking in intelligence, or in people who have drank too much booze, or in people who come from broken homes… Just because I got sick of making the list doesn’t mean I think it’s all inclusive either.

    The inclination to, for example, put it in people you have paid, is problematic because of the act and what it is intended for, namely putting it in the same person of the other sex over and over again for the rest of your life, and lovingly raising together whoever pops out of that same place.

    I am not trying to be sarcastic or crude. I am just trying to simplify something that, at this point, is foriegn even to a lot of thoughtful Christians.

    WRITE THIS ON YOUR FOREHEADS: Hetero/Homosexuals don’t exist! We made it up! All are human!

  • j. blum

    Strangely, and not to the same end, Mr. G., Gore Vidal made the same point some time in the seventies, that sex is something someone does not something someone is.

    • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

      I’ll take Capote over Vidal any day, if for no other reason that sheer parochialism.

      But I don’t think, if I remember correctly, that he was arguing toward different ends. He obviously believed different things than we about chastity, marriage, begetting and all that.

      But my end and his in this case are the same (must. resist. cheap. joke…) that is, human beings are defined by being, not any kind of doing. I think this IS the starting point for evangelisation, and why I am such a nasty so-and-so in political discussions. Whether it’s their dingaling, their job, or their bank account, Modernity has replaced the human being with the human doing. God loves human beings. But human doings nailed Him to a tree.

  • kenneth

    The CA law has nothing to do with enforcing any religious or social movement’s ideals about virtue and vice on anyone. That’s the job of pastors, parents etc. This deals purely with the medical and psychology professions. Reparative therapy employs methods which have been proven harmful, to attempt to “cure” something which is not, medically or scientifically understood to be a disease or disorder. The patients who undergo these procedures are almost always under the age of consent and at a very vulnerable and chaotic time of their lives. More than a few struggle with real disorders like depression, cutting or addictions that are driven in part by the bullying of a family and community culture which has branded them “disordered” for their orientation.

    The shake-out of all this is that we have the state banning a service by state-licensed professionals, based upon the overwhelming consensus of the professionals themselves, not nearly all of whom are gay or liberal themselves. Reparative therapy is a useless, harmful, and unnecessary service for profit, which is unethical. It is no different than sham surgeries or selling chemo treatments to a patient without cancer. It is no different than performing frontal lobotomies to manage behavior. It is no different than banning the prescription of unlimited narcotic painkillers to help a celebrity deal with stage fright or social anxiety.

    If a priest or spiritual director of some sort wants to encourage chastity based on the tenets of the religion and is not purporting to treat orientation as a medical/psychological condition, that’s no problem at all in the law. As Mark mentions, this approach is very consistent with Catholic doctrine. As I read it, it basically says “some people are like this, it’s for real. Here’s how we think you ought to live with it, and why.”

    I simply see no loss whatsoever in the purported loss of physicians as religious chastity advocates or virtue coaches. It’s not their job, or their training, or area of competence or authority. They can and do encourage behaviors which are medically sound. They can and do tell patients about the relative risks of chastity, monogamy and other choices.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      What if the priest is also a psychologist or psychiatrist? Such do exist. Would the Golden State cite that priest’s practice in the psychology profession to ban him from counseling chastity for people with same sex attraction?

      • kenneth

        Is the priest acting in his capacity as a pastoral counselor or a psychologist in the encounter? There’s really no gray area where that is concerned. Either someone is your patient, with a file in your practice, or they are not. If he’s advising them on a religious basis, the law has nothing to say about that. If he’s counseling chastity as part of a treatment purported to fix one’s orientation, that’s another.

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          That can actually become a grey area; for instance, when such priests counsel other priests. Or if a Catholic deliberately seeks out a priest who is a trained psychologist/psychiatrist because they hope he will provide professional counseling with a spiritual aspect. It’s not going to stay so clear-cut in real life.

          Besides, a government bent on cracking down on a certain practice might not make such fine distinctions. He’s a psychologist, he counseled a gay man to change his behavior… he’s guilty! Gay activists sometimes carry out “sting” operations against reparative therapists (actual or suspected). What if one such activist goes to a psychologist/priest under the pretense of seeking spiritual help, secretly records him advocating celibacy and brings it to the authorities? I guess the hypothetical priest would get his day in court and might even prevail, but why should he have to go through all that in the first place?

          • kenneth

            There is no nightmare “gotcha” scenario in this. First of all, and most importantly, the law only bans the use of this therapy on minors. Second, the fact that a therapist might suggest celibacy is not a trigger for any sort of prosecution. Therapist can and to recommend periods of celibacy for people struggling with real sex addictions or emotional turmoil while they get other thing sorted out etc. The law only becomes an issue when the therapist, acting as a therapist, and the client, enter a course of therapy with the understanding that it will “cure” them of their sexual orientation, and again only when minors are the target of the therapy. I just don’t see why Catholics would want to back a harmful, disproven therapy or to cast this as some sort of civil liberties issue. Catholic theology around chastity in general, and chastity for gay people in particular, in no way rests upon conversion of orientation, and its underlying claims about the reasons for chastity do not appeal to medical science for legitimacy.

            • Albert

              Then the language of the law is deficient, for it does more than what you say it does. abstaining from sex is a change in behavior, no? I understand the law is purportedly about gay to straight conversion therapy, but the language of the law goes further than that. The clause about orientation and attraction has no effect on the clause about behavior.

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              I’m not backing this therapy and I don’t think anyone else here is. I’m just concerned about how the law is worded and could be misused by activists with an axe to grind.

        • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

          Just ugh.

          First, we’re catholics. You’re dealing with the wrong boogermen here if you’re worried about re-orientation. Read the Catechism if you doubt me. I mean, you’re a pagan, so in the 21st century that means you are literate, because it isn’t like you’re learning that stuff by rote, right?

          Second, what kind of overbearing government starts determining what is pastoral counseling and what is psychology? Oh, yeah, the same one that considers buying taser bracelets for sheep to wear as they’re herded aboard aircraft.

          Second, as an adherent of SCIENCE(tm), aren’t you the least bit bothered by a governmental agency determining the scope of a scientific discipline? (I’m granting that psychology is a science. I don’t actually buy that crap, but you probably do, so I am willing to pretend in order to discuss.) What’s next, passing laws that differentiate between Newtonian physicists and billiards sharks? Both do their work based on angular motion and refraction/reflection, afterall.

          Or does your dedication to SCIENCE(tm) end where your ideological commitments end?

          • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

            The second second should obviously be “and C’. ;-)

    • Andrew

      Kenneth, I think you said it perfectly, so now I don’t have to!

      I will add that in my experience, I have known quite a few men (as in more than 10+) who have gone through some sort of this therapy in their teens (and unfortunately this does include electroshock therapy in some cases). Although this is not empirical evidence, it generally has a negative lasting psychological effect on all of them and generally is going to make them resent and hate their families and turn them away from religion. Most of these folks have been either Mormons or Protestants (I grew up Mormon, and it’s a fairly close knit community since there aren’t a ton of us – in the whole Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Lake Forest Park, Shoreline area, there are probably as many Mormon families as there are just at St. Pius X and St. Mark). I know a good number of gay Catholics as well, but none of them were ever subjected to this kind of therapy and some of them have strained relationships with their family.

      • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

        Doesn’t your last sentence contradict your first? Or do you also preach on the evils of red meat on the vegan forums?

        • Pathfinder

          Andrew is telling the truth. Some of the excesses of these therapy centers are truly horrendous and a violation of human rights.
          I’m not Catholic, so speak for their teachings; my wife is, and she said there would be no way any Catholic in their right mind and with even a little understanding of Church doctrine in regards to the sanctity and respect of life would support what has gone on there.
          While I’m sure there are some gay Catholics that wind up having strained relations with family and church due to coming to terms with being gay, it probably has more to do with bad communication and/or no communication at all…not resentment over being carted off as a minor to receive “therapy” in the form of electroshock treatment and other odious things (truly, some horrible stuff).
          The law could cause problems; unfortunately certain groups have insisted upon this sort of thing, abuses have happened, and now there is a need for a law to protect people (and from what I have read about it, people, especially minors, do need protecting) — which to me leads back to the old problem: the less moral/ethical a society is, the more there will be calls for laws to protect others, and in the end there will neither be freedom nor protection from the state.

          • Pathfinder

            “can’t” can’t speak for their teachings…although they are roughly in accordance with my own church

      • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

        Forgot to add…

        Lord, deliver me from Jack Mormons!!!

    • Ted Seeber

      “The CA law has nothing to do with enforcing any religious or social movement’s ideals about virtue and vice on anyone. That’s the job of pastors, parents etc. This deals purely with the medical and psychology professions.”

      Pastors are a part of the psychology profession, and have been for a very, very long time.

    • Aaron

      I am just going to say this flat out, because I have heard it repeated so many times by well intentioned people. The statement “Reparative therapy employs methods which have been proven harmful, to attempt to “cure” something which is not, medically or scientifically understood to be a disease or disorder.” is false in its entirety.
      There have been no studies that prove reparative therapy by a LICENSED professional is any more harmful than any other therapy for addictions. There are anectodotal stories from people bitter about attempted therapies that didn’t work for them (what therapy works for all patients?) and there are studies that prove that reparative therapy is as effective as any other therapy for addiction.
      I researched this when my wife told me she was gay and destroyed our marriage. She was getting a docorate in psychology and I challenged her to find studies against and I would find studies for. I produced, she came up empty.
      There have been no scientific or medical studies that say homosexuality is not a disorder. There have been professional organizations such as the APA that voted to change the diagnosis based on political maneuvering by activist groups as several past presidents of the society attest to.
      This false meme is repeated so often that people by it wholesale and it is a lie.

      • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

        Aaron,

        You have swallowed the lie that science is the objective inquiry into the material. Science is about power. Studies are not needed, if one can marshal enough political pressure.

        • kenneth

          The psychology and medical professions are comprised of the wealthiest and most influential people anywhere outside of the financial sector. The innumerable number of academic professionals and researchers in these areas are some of the most contentious and contrary people anywhere – people who live to challenge orthodoxies and paradigms. Gay Americans make up 3.5% of the population, at least if we count those who identify as such. Gay activists are, at most, a few percent of that few percent.

          If the latter group can truly cow the former into submission, then they are master strategists who make Sun-Tzu and Machiavelli look like hippies. They deserve to rule if they’re that cunning.

          I don’t think that’s the case, however. What’s happening is the same cry of sour grapes as we hear from Six Day Creationists, who claim their science is being held down by “The Man.”

          The truth is that they, like the “gay is a mental illness” crowd, have simply not produced any convincing evidence. They’re all lab coat and no science. Most of their “experts” are not people of any serious standing or credentials in the fields in question. More importantly, they don’t do serious science. They don’t conduct methodologically sound original research, and they don’t publish in real peer-reviewed journals.

          If they had any real evidence, or even any real scientific proposals, they would do the science, period. The don’t, and they haven’t. It’s the same jazz we hear from the UFO crowd, and cold fusion and the rest of the hucksters. They’re holding a hand of junk, claiming it’s a royal flush, refusing to show their cards, and claiming it’s because “they” won’t let the truth get out.

          • Aaron

            Kenneth,
            A lot of declaratives with no basis in reality. People will know the truth in time if they care to.

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    My quick take? The issue of homosexuality is complex, and I have always doubted that there is just one reason behind it all. Can this therapy hurt? I don’t know. Does it always hurt? Does it sometimes hurt? Does it sometimes help? Is it aimed at eliminating only one particular approach to counseling people away from homosexual lifestyles that has been proven to always hurt and never help, or does it aim at any and all approaches that suggests homosexuals can put that identify behind them? What about the religious aspects? What about those who claim to have been helped by this particular approach? Are they, as some opponents of the therapy have said, either dolts or liars? Or did it really help? In an age where everyone is running around worrying about religious liberty, I would suggest that unless these questions have already been answered, and based upon how they were answered or if they weren’t answered at all, this is another reason to be worried about religious liberty.


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