Social psychologist David Myers opines on APA report in Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal invited Hope College social psychologist David Myers to write a column regarding the APA task force report on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation. Dr. Myers is the author of several books, including the text I use in teaching the social psychology class at GCC. I highly recommend the text, as well as his book on Happiness.

Here is a taste of the article:

Applause for the APA’s sensitivity to religious diversity has come from previously opposing sides within evangelicalism. Psychotherapist Ralph Blair, the founder of Evangelicals Concerned, the gay-supporting “national network of gay and lesbian evangelical Christians and friends,” welcomes APA’s “clear rejection of ‘reparative therapy.’?” But he also welcomes its openness to supporting homosexual people “who nonetheless think that it’s wrong for them to act on their same-sex desires.” Grove City College psychologist-blogger Warren Throckmorton, who supports those who want to control same-sex attractions and reject a gay identity, sees hope for “a larger middle and smaller numbers of people at the opinion extremes. People on both sides, he says, “can agree that erotic responsiveness is extremely durable.”

That last line you read here first.

Dr. Myers takes a pro-gay marriage position in this piece which will not set well with social conservatives, but I do think he is correct about the increasing number of issues where some common ground can be found.

I think Myers makes a good observation picking up on Focus on the Family’s language, “the aim is ‘to steward their impulses in a way that aligns with their faith convictions.’” This is the kind of language which reflects the congruence model and which I see more and more from Focus and Exodus.

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  • B.T.Carolus

    I was a little dismayed by Myers’ happy and uncritical acceptance of the birth-order hypothesis. Other than that a good article.

  • Gene Chase

    The Myers and Scanzoni book supporting gay marriage is incredibly weak in its argument, as I wrote in a 5-paged review which I would be glad to share in PDF for those who request it, or if you’re ready for Rob Gagnon’s 100-page review, that’s even more thorough, although less personal. Its weakness can’t even be excused by arguing that it is a popular rather than a technical treatment.

    I do give Myers credit for the Christian use to which he puts the millions of dollars that his justifiably best-selling psychology texts generate.

  • Jayhuck

    Gene,

    My assumption from your labeling of their book as “weak” is that you do not support gay marriage? ;)

  • Jayhuck

    Gene,

    In case you are unaware, and I’m guessing you are not, Robert Gagnon is incredibly anti-gay! I am not surprised he wouldn’t like a book that supports gay marriage.

  • Eddy

    Taken from Gagnon’s website:

    The term homosex is now in use by some advocates of homosexual behavior…. It focuses on the behavior of same-sex intercourse rather than on the homosexual persons per se and can be utilized as a shorthand adjective or noun by analogy to the term sex. I prefer to use it in such expressions as pro- or anti-homosex rather than to make use of pro- or anti-homosexual. The latter expressions are open to abuse because the term homosexual can refer to a homosexual person. The present debate about homosexual practice is not a debate about whether one should be pro- or anti-homosexual persons. All believers are called on to love persons with a homoerotic proclivity or, for that matter, any other sexual “orientations” that are at variance with Scripture. To oppose a person’s self-destructive behavior is not the same thing as opposing the person. Indeed, to support a person’s self-destructive and other-destructive behavior is, in effect, to oppose the person, albeit unwittingly. True love works in the best interests of those who experience homoerotic desires.

    I added the bold text.

  • Gene Chase

    Jayhuck, you seem to be offering an ad hominem argument. I would feel much better about your comment if you offered a critique of Gagnon’s ideas instead of labeling him.

    Eddy offers a quotation from Gagnon. It reinforces that Gagnon (in Gagnon’s own opinion) is not against gays as persons, but is against gay sexual activity, which Gagnon regards as sinful behaviors. If you would like to call that anti-gay, you are welcome, but Gagnon says himself that he is opposing “self-destructive” behaviors.

    Not to recognize that Gagnon’s informed scholarly opinion is worth discussing is to end the discussion before it begins.

    Jayhuck, I hope you have actually read his 500+ page book. I’ll even let you skip the Greek and Hebrew parts. (I had to skip the Hebrew parts.) Or even have read his 100 page critique of Myers & Scanzoni (to stay on the topic of this thread). You certainly haven’t read my 5-page critique, since you haven’t asked for it yet.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Gene,

    You are mistaken about Gagnon. He is so virulently anti-gay that he coined a new term “homosexualist” to really express his contempt.

    I was pretty much done with him when he declared that the Roman Centurion for whom Jesus healed his pais was actually Jewish not Roman, a civil servant not a centurion, and that his pais was actually his son. And in the meanwhile, of course, we are to believe that everything that could be translated in Scripture as being anti-gay is the inerrant Word of God.

    I don’t mind those who acknowledge that the sources for the gospels may have been predated by Q or some other combination of sources. But I have little respect for those who see absolutism where they wish it and see an entirely different story where the text is inconvenient.

    Gagnon starts with his conclusions and works backwards. And considering the looseness of his logic, I’m truly surprised that he has respect among those who quote him.

    Perhaps my favorite example of Gagnon’s persuasive declarations is point 4 in his argument that the Centurion’s pais could not have been, well, his pais.

    The Jewish elders in Luke 7 could not have supported a homosexual relationship.

    His evidence for the attitudes of the elders is… that he knows what their attitudes had to have been. The evidence for both the Jews’ request on behalf of a decent Roman guy and Jesus’ response is that Gagnon just KNOWS that they wouldn’t have liked a gay man.

    In other words, he proves that Jesus disapproved of relationships between Roman centurions and their pais because Gagnon disapproves of such relationships. It reminds me of Anne Lamott’s famous quote:

    You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.

    Oh, and he lost his persuasiveness with me after he called me a few choice names. He dedicated a series of articles to demeaning my intellect (logic-challenged), character (principle-challenged), demeanor (mean spirited), personality (afraid of the truth), and intentions (promoting immorality). If there is a living soul who has lost the privilege of complaining about ad-hominum attacks, it’s Robert Gagnon.

    But I suppose that he did not much appreciate my criticism of some of his wild leaps of logic. Alas.

    And, oh yes, Gagnon loves me. He stated that I should be loved but not tolerated.

    And I love him right back. But mostly I pity him. He’s a very intelligent and highly educated man that has been so warped by his own animus and personal demons that he’s become bitter, spiteful, and obsessed to the point of self-delusion. It really is very sad. We should pray for him.

  • Ann

    Eddy offers a quotation from Gagnon. It reinforces that Gagnon (in Gagnon’s own opinion) is not against gays as persons, but is against gay sexual activity, which Gagnon regards as sinful behaviors. If you would like to call that anti-gay, you are welcome, but Gagnon says himself that he is opposing “self-destructive” behaviors.

    Gene,

    It has been my observation that the term anti-gay is a common term used by some when they want to shut down a conversation with another who has a different perspective. It has been used at random and all too often and has lost the desired effect it was meant to have.

  • Eddy

    You are mistaken about Gagnon. He is so virulently anti-gay that he coined a new term “homosexualist” to really express his contempt.

    I searched and I searched and I searched some more and I could not find any suggestion via google search that Gagnon had anything to do with coining the term ‘homosexualist’. My searching did reveal, however, that the term is not a new and synonymous term for ‘homosexual’ but rather that it applies to those pushing or advancing a homosexual political agenda. (There seems to be a hint that someone coined it in response to a 2006 Time piece that coined the word ‘Christianist’–referring to Christians with political agendas.)

    But here’s Timothy…not saying ‘you may be mistaken’ but saying ‘you are mistaken’. Gee, I’m thinking that calls for Timothy to demonstrate the truth of his statement that Gagnon coined the term ‘homosexualist’ and that Timothy is privy to his motives for doing so.

    Odd that Timothy would actually launch his rebuttal with a statement of fact that seems to be made up. And that this made up statement is his primarily justification for defining Gagnon as ‘so virulently anti-gay’.

    I also found this quote ironic indeed:

    He’s a very intelligent and highly educated man that has been so warped by his own animus and personal demons that he’s become bitter, spiteful, and obsessed to the point of self-delusion. It really is very sad.

    I actually try to refrain from ever judging anyone so thoroughly–and when I do, I certainly try to add a simple IMHO to my prognosis.

    I’m reminded of that famous finger-pointing example from my youth…there’s one finger pointing outward and the rest are pointing back at the pointer.

  • Ann

    I also found this quote ironic indeed:

    He’s a very intelligent and highly educated man that has been so warped by his own animus and personal demons that he’s become bitter, spiteful, and obsessed to the point of self-delusion. It really is very sad.

    Eddy,

    I found it ironic as well.

  • Eddy

    Just wondering where the outrage is…

    A year or so ago I dared to post for a week or so under a pseudonym…I forget…was it ‘Anony2″? . I mean the hint of Anonymous was in the handle and yet there was something akin to outrage at my flouting of blog rules. Dave Roberts even flew in to make an ‘I’m outraged’ appearance. But, it didn’t end there. My major faux pas has been brought up a few times or since then…including just last week by Jayhuck. It appears we take some things pretty seriously here. Personally, I’m actually grateful we have standards.

    That’s why I’m wondering why this thread seemed to die right after I challenged Timothy on his statement that

    Gagnon himself coined the term ‘homosexualist’ as an expression of his incredible contempt for gays.

    Is that a true statement? ( I italicized all that because Timothy seemed to stress all that.) Do we wink at untruths spoken as facts? I was slow to catch on to that ‘blogging under another name even if it is “anony something” is a serious blogging evil. Is Timothy busy researching the origins of ‘homosexualist’ that he pronounced as truth in a rebuttal statement? Or was the statement untrue? Do we judge blogging under another name (even if it’s Anony2) more severely than LYING?

    Help me, Warren, I’m confused. Is lying acceptable here? What are the ground rules? Do you like have to firmly believe in your lie and then you get to say it and not defend it? Is that what it takes? Can you lie and judge motives AND be challenged and simply choose not to answer? Is that how it works? (I write what I do with some trepidation. I do regard T.K. as somewhat brilliant…he’s certainly more of a master at the web than I am. Perhaps he really does have the inside scoop…that Gagnon really did coin the term…and for the reasons that T.K. stated. Having challenged the veracity of his statement, I deserve that answer too–if it exists.)


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