The backdrop: The initial article about the APA sexual orientation and therapy report to hit the wire was by David Crary at the AP. However, some (many?) papers truncated the article in such a way that it seemed as though the APA was recommending either celibacy or a church switch as a way to resolve sexual orientation conflict.
Not long afterwards, OneNewsNow picked up that point and ran with it. From the US News blog post:
A news report from OneNewsNow, the information arm of the American Family Association, said the APA report “suggests that if a person with same-gender attractions has problems because of their religious beliefs, they should just change churches.” About the APA report, spokesperson for the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and executive director of Evergreen International, a ministry to homosexuals of the LDS Church, David Pruden, told OneNewsNow:
“The suggestion was as a Christian, when your conscience comes in conflict with what’s going on in your life — temptations, attractions, concerns, whatever they happen to be — that what you simply do is jettison your standards so that it becomes easier to live with your temptations.”Both OneNewsNow and Mr. Pruden stand by their statements. But is it accurate to say that the APA report advises that conflicted people switch churches or “jettison” beliefs?
Of course it is not accurate. In the US News & World Report post, I quote Rhea Farberman who directly denies the claim. I then quote from the APA report which finds benefit in social support groups even if not gay affirming.
This is not to say that the APA discourages someone from changing churches if the client feels it is best. I suspect this goes in any direction. For instance, a client might decide to leave a gay affirming church if this seemed more in keeping with identity development. According to this report, psychologists would not try to prevent such a move, but neither would they encourage it.
I approached both NARTH and OneNewsNow with no change.