NARTH: Forced therapy unethical and ineffective

In the recent letter from the Ugandan National Pastors Task Force Against Homosexuality to Rick Warren, the Task Force disclosed that the Uganda Joint Christian Council agreed to support the Anti-Homosexuality Bill with the following amendments:

a. We suggested reduction of the sentence to 20 years instead of the death penalty for the offense of aggravated homosexuality.

b. We suggested the inclusion of regulations in the law to govern provision of counseling and rehabilitation to persons experiencing homosexual temptations. The churches are willing to provide the necessary help for those seeking counseling and rehabilitation.

c. Even with the provision for counseling and rehabilitation in the law, homosexuality should remain a punishable offense to control its spread.

These amendments sound very much like the suggestions of Scott Lively who spoke to the Ugandan Parliament in March of this year. According to a post on his website, Lively suggested these points at that time.

My trip was quite successful, encompassing multiple seminars, sermons, media appearances and private meetings with key leaders, all packed into a single week. My hosts were very pleased. But the high point of the week was my address to members of the Ugandan Parliament in their National Assembly Hall. In it I urged the government to shift the emphasis of its criminal law against homosexuality from punishment to rehabilitation by providing the option of therapy, similar to the option I once chose after being arrested for drunken driving many years ago (in my wild pre-Christian days). Such a change would represent a considerable liberalization of its policies (currently a holdover from Colonial British common law, similar to US policy until the 1950s), while preserving sufficient legal deterrent to prevent the international “gay” juggernaut from homosexualizing the society as it has done in Europe and other countries. I thought it was an inspired compromise.

Lively’s “inspired compromise” seems to have inspired the Ugandan pastors’ coalition. Lively elaborated a bit in a recent posting:

In my view, homosexuality (indeed all sex outside of marriage) should be actively discouraged by society — but only as aggressively as necessary to prevent the mainstreaming of alternative sexual lifestyles, and with concern for the preservation of the liberties of those who desire to keep their personal lifestyles private.

The suggested changes in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill could follow Lively’s suggestions although it is not clear how the regulations would be written. Would counseling be available for those who present themselves as having temptation as framed by the pastors’ coalition or would counseling be available to those who offend the law in some way as an option to jail? Or will Bahati re-write the bill to include both options?

Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo may have signaled the direction he favors with recent comments to Ugandan television, saying:  

“…we are saying, that look… instead of killing somebody, provide mechanisms for counseling, and other supports, so that the person may actually be rehabilitated. And I see logic in that one, because already we have some former homosexuals who are being rehabilitated.”

Given how closely the pastors and the legislators seem to be there, the changes may appear in the second draft of the bill. The “kill the gays” bill may turn into the “cure the gays” bill by February, 2010.

Because the changes may appear soon, I want to engage the discussion on the topic of reorientation therapy in an environment where the other option is jail or worse. Almost immediately after there were rumblings of the bill being changed to included coerced therapy, Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International came out in opposition to the proposal. On the Facebook group dedicated to opposing the bill, Chambers said:

I am NOT for forced therapy for gay and lesbian people. While no one chooses their attractions I do believe that it is everyone’s God given right to choose what you do with those attractions (consenting adults). I believe that those who are conflicted by their faith and feelings have the right to choose therapy and those who aren’t conflicted shouldn’t be forced into anything.

I also asked the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality to give their opinion of the proposed therapy option. Past-president A. Dean Byrd responded in an email:

Dear Dr. Throckmorton, 

As you are aware, NARTH’s Governing Board has accepted the Leona Tyler Principle which states that NARTH, as a scientific organization, takes no position on any scientific issue without the requisite science or professional experience.  NARTH members, as individuals, are free to speak on any issue.

NARTH values the inherent worth of all individuals and respects individual right of autonomy and self determination.

NARTH’s position on homosexuality was clearly articulated by Dr. Julie Harren Hamiliton in a recent edition of the APA Monitor: homosexuality is not invariably fixed in all people – some people can and do change.  And psychological care should be available to those who seek such care.

NARTH encourages its members to abide the Code of Ethics of their respective organizations and such codes proscribe the coercive efforts. It goes without saying that NARTH would support the humane treatment of ALL individuals.

We are aware of the situation in Uganda but thank you for bringing this to our attention. I am sure that you are aware that as a scientific organization, NARTH does not take political positions; however, we are happy to provide a summary of what science can and cannot say about homosexuality for those who do.

Dr. Throckmorton, if history is a good indicator, you will likely not be happy with this response. However, I hope such responses will help you understand NARTH’s mission as a scientific organization. 

With warm regards,

A. Dean Byrd, PhD, MBA, MPH

Leaving aside the comments about NARTH not taking political positions, I want to point out the money quote:

NARTH encourages its members to abide the Code of Ethics of their respective organizations and such codes proscribe the coercive efforts.

Byrd’s answer did oppose coercion (although undefined), but did not comment on the efficacy of such measures. Given that Byrd’s answer was not clear, I wrote back to ask for clarification. David Pruden, NARTH administrative director answered saying:

Research tells us that forced therapy is almost always a failure. It is unethical and unworkable.

Normally, I do not look to Exodus or NARTH for research state-of-the-art on sexual orientation, but there are two important reasons to ask their position on this question. One, since the proposal may call for some kind of treatment or ministry, it seems reasonable to poll the views of the two most prominent groups who currently provide those efforts. The second reason is because the guy who recommended the option in the first place, Scott Lively, highly recommends Exodus and NARTH.

Here is a 2007 video of Scott Lively in Latvia recommending Exodus and NARTH. Note how crucial it is to Lively to convince the nation of a gay cure.

And then in Uganda, he continued his praise of NARTH by saying their website was an important source of information, second only to his.

Here is what Scott Lively could not have told his Ugandan audience but can now be told. One, both Exodus and NARTH have removed any reference to Scott Lively’s work from their websites (click the links to read about these actions). Two, NARTH and Exodus (at least informally through Alan Chambers) consider coercive therapy to be unethical and ineffective.

Let me speak directly to the Ugandan supporters of the bill. The man, Scott Lively, you brought to speak in Parliament to recommend a rehabilitation option has been removed from the websites of the organizations he recommended to you. Furthermore, the organizations which Scott Lively encouraged you to trust says coercive therapy is not ethical or effective. I know he has said that such measures were once used effectively but this is not the case.

I need to add that I do not agree with NARTH about very much and certainly think that they are wrong in the way they discuss sexual orientation as a fluid trait. However, even this group, who exists to promote the idea that some people can change, rejects the idea that a coercive environment is appropriate. While they dramatically underestimate the role of social stigma as an aspect of why people seek their services here in the US, at least they see clearly that forced therapy of the kind contemplated by Lively and UJCC are in David Pruden’s words, “unethical and unworkable.”

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  • Michael Busee

    The “kill the gays” bill may turn into the “cure the gays” bill by February, 2010.

    Heaven help us.

    …since the proposal may call for some kind of treatment or ministry, it seems reasonable to poll the views of the two most prominent groups who currently provide those efforts. The second reason is because the guy who recommended the option in the first place, Scott Lively, highly recommends Exodus and NARTH.

    Warren, I think that is a reasonsable and respectful request.

    I am NOT for forced therapy for gay and lesbian people. While no one chooses their attractions I do believe that it is everyone’s God given right to choose what you do with those attractions (consenting adults). I believe that those who are conflicted by their faith and feelings have the right to choose therapy and those who aren’t conflicted shouldn’t be forced into anything. — Alan Chambers

    I was grateful when Alan made this statement when I asked him to clarify Exodus’s position on the matter on the Facebook group — when a FB member had wrongly accused Exodus of supporting such an idea.

    Yes, Exodus board member, Don Schmeirer spoke and dined alongside Scott Lively, admits he knew very little about the conference, thought he would be the only one speaking there and really had no idea what Lively stood for. That caused some confusion.

    But you have clarified that Exodus and NARTH have both removed Scott Lively from their websites — and that both organizations have said that coercive therapy is not ethical or effective.

  • David Blakeslee

    Honestly,

    The above letter is finally explicitly saying what should have been stated at the creation of NARTH and what I encouraged them to say some 5 years ago.

    Very glad to seen Dean articulate it this way.

    If they are interested in all the data on SSA, perhaps they will post articles on adaptive gay and lesbian living.

  • http://six11.wordpress.com Shawn Harrison

    I agree with Alan 100% … forced counseling will get no one nowhere. All healing (in any part of our lives) comes from God – and He alone. When will people realize this?

  • Michael Busee

    David, why do you suppose it took them so long?

  • Michael Busee

    The above letter is finally explicitly saying what should have been stated at the creation of NARTH and what I encouraged them to say some 5 years ago.

    I would have supposed that Exodus and NARTH would have done this decades ago — clearly, unequivically and yes, officially. It might have guided them in their choice of affiliations and other important decisions. Too bad it took something like Uganda.

  • Michael Busee

    If they are interested in all the data on SSA, perhaps they will post articles on adaptive gay and lesbian living.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath. Even though they dumped LIvely, NARTH still cites Cameron. And Exodus is still affiliated with NARTH. Why?

    http://www.narth.com/menus/search.html?cx=007457206426124633447%3Adybvfspccfw&cof=FORID%3A11&q=cameron#1435

  • Michael Busee

    BTW: No need to answer any of those questions. They were rhetorical. I think I know the answers.

  • Michael Busee

    “…the guy who recommended the option in the first place, Scott Lively, highly recommends Exodus and NARTH. — W. Throckmorton.

    I just posted this link so that members of FB would know that Exodus and NARTH have both now stated that they (unlike the guy they both used to cite) strongly oppose coerced “therapy” of homosexuals.

    It still seems very odd that they say they didn’t know that Scott Lively did favor some sort of criminalization. Others seemed much better informed about the guy and his views.

    I hope Ugandan religious and political leaders will now clearly understand how both these organizations stand on forced therapy. I really think they expected Exodus to support this Bill, in addition to criminalization and forced treatment. They seemed angry and surprised that Exodus did not.

    I think they may have gotten the impression somehow that the others at the ex-gay conference would feel the same way as LIvely did. If so, how did they get such a mistaken idea? I wonder if the conference organizers even asked the presenters where they stood on such ideas? Don Schmeier says he had no clue.

    BTW, has anyone determined how NARTH feels about this Bill? We know Exodus opposes it. How about NARTH? Any indication?

  • Mike Airhart

    Alan Chambers has often made “I think” comments which were contrary to his subsequent statements to rival audiences — and contrary to the beliefs of other Exodus leaders.

    It is unprofessional for Chambers to go on offering audiences carefully parsed statements expressing whatever he thinks they want to hear, while exempting Exodus itself from any clear position and any accountability.

    To my knowledge, Exodus International has made no official statement in opposition to forced therapy.

    Such a position would conflict with the practice of Exodus’ flagship ministry Love In Action, which conducted programs of forcible therapy until 2007. Some of Exodus’ member “ministries” apparently continue to encourage parents to subject their children to less-than-voluntary ex-gay therapy. Case in point: Bryce Faulkner.

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  • Michael Busee

    To my knowledge, Exodus International has made no official statement in opposition to forced therapy.

    Official policies on these mattters, clearly posted on their homepage and supported by a youtube-type video from the head of Exodus. (Something like Rick Warren did.)

    I will say it again: I strongly believe that ALL Exodus Board members and Affiliates should sign and agree to abide by these polcies and procedures — whether or not they are speaking “on behalf” of Exodus. This agreement should be a basic membership requirement to become part of the “network”.

    This might be helpful in (1) making decisions and forming affilations, (2) clearing up confusion, (3) improving accountability and (4) preventing what Dr. Throckmorton has decribed as “errors made early on” in the Uganda matter.

  • Lynn David

    I’ll endorse what Michael said above (did you drop an ‘s’?). It seems that the ‘ex-gay’ industry (for want of a better word) has been set up to give the ‘anti-gay’ political movement tread on their issue by often being vague or by slowly setting up standards by which someone like Lively or Cameron would not be given publicity on websites or in publications. It has thus been as if NARTH or Exodus has been lacking in the creation of ethical standards or should the ‘figure-heads’ espouse such an ethic which we should all like to hear, yet the members need not abide by such. It is as if over the past several decades that the head needs to be propped up by the members layers of homophobic hypocrisy and truly anti-gay stances.

    .

    For that reason I would agree with Mike Airhart concerning an official statement by Exodus and coerced/forced therapy. It would seem if such a policy had been in place that Schmierer would have had guidelines which would have pointed out to him the folly of his actions in Uganda. I would go further and state that the Exodus letter on the Ugandan affair should be amended to be more fully explicit concerning this issue and also concerning one’s right to a free will decision. It has been the ‘religiously-correct’ (as opposed to ‘politically-correct’) language of this letter which could be construed by Ugandan Christians equivocal on the issue of coerced therapy.

    While we do not believe that homosexual behavior is what God intended for individuals, we believe that deprivation of life and liberty is not an appropriate or helpful response to this issue. Furthermore, the Christian church must be a safe, compassionate place for gay-identified people as well as those who are confused about and conflicted by their sexuality. If homosexual behavior and knowledge of such behavior is criminalized and prosecuted, as proposed in this bill, church and ministry leaders will be unable to assist hurting men, women and youth who might otherwise seek help in addressing this personal issue. The Christian church cannot and should not condone homosexual living or gay-identified clergy within its leadership, but it must be permitted to extend the love and compassion of Christ to all. We believe that this legislation would make this mission a difficult if not impossible task to carry out.

    While stating unequivocally that homosexual behavior is not what god intended nor that the church cannot/should not condone homosexual behavior, the impression given is that the only reasoning against the bill is that the work of church and ministry leaders would be hampered. That does not necessarily speak against coerced therapy. Furthermore, there is a basic Thomist issue that is avoided here. For as man is supposedly made in the god’s image and that god is provident over its universe, so too is man in that image rightful in exercising active providence over his own life, his own emotions, and his own love. That is freedom, even in the god-given sense. Well, at least Catholic Archbishop Lwanga would perhaps recognize it as such.

  • David Blakeslee

    When has anyone at Narth or Exodus endorsed coerced therapy?!?!

    It is kind of like asking a husband in a divorce proceeding, “Have you stopped beating your wife, yes or no?”

    Shall we demand that GLSEN publish a statement that they honoring religious values in teens who are struggling with SSA and identity…are they being coercive?!?!

  • Michael Busee

    To Lynn David:

    It would seem if such a policy had been in place that Schmierer would have had guidelines which would have pointed out to him the folly of his actions in Uganda.

    That’s exactly my point.

    And to David:

    When has anyone at Narth or Exodus endorsed coerced therapy?!?!

    That’s not the point. Exodus and NARTH are in the business of helping homosexuals “change”. They need to make it official that they mean voluntarily — and that their affiliates and Board members all agree to abide by that, whether they are “representing” Exodus or not.

    Question to potential Exodus affiliate: Do you oppose criminalization an coerced treatment? No? Thanks anyway, but that’s not what we stand for.

    Question for Exodus to ask itself: Should we, our Board Members or affiliates travel to a country that favors or is considering criminalization and forced treatment to spread the ex-gay message? Not unless we make it clear to our hosts beforehand that we will express stong opposition to these things.

    Should we find out beforehand (1) who else will be speaking, (2) what the conference is about and (3) who else will be speaking — to be sure we have some idea of what we are getting ourselves into and that what we are doing fits our mission and stated polices? Yes. Why wouldn’t we do that? Would that make any sense?

  • Michael Busee

    As I have said, I have attended and spoken at many confernces in my time. I have NEVER once gone without doing my homework. That would be, well, dumb. Heck, I could end up at a NAMBLA conference — and I don’t mean the North American Marlon Brando Look-alike Association. :)

  • David Blakeslee

    Church membership is voluntary…as is participation in Exodus.

    Are we going to ask parenting classes in Church to assert that they don’t endorse child abuse as a parenting technique?

    Are we going to ask recovery programs in Church to assert that they don’t endorse abrupt withdrawal from mood altering substances?

    Any psychotherapy that is coercive is unethical…NARTH is just abiding by ethical standards.

    Can we imagine a world where a Christian with SSA is referred to a “gay-affirming” therapist and that therapist has certain ethical obligations they must “explicitly” affirm?

    Can we imagine a world where a Christian with SSA is referred to GLSEN and GLSEN must affirm that they will not attempt to coerce them into identifying with their SSA?

    This feels like warning signs on McDonald’s coffee cups that “Contents are Hot.”

  • David Blakeslee

    Question to potential Exodus affiliate: Do you oppose criminalization an coerced treatment?

    Question to potential GLSEN affiliate: Do you oppose coersive identification with SSA?

  • Lynn David

    David Blakeslee….. When has anyone at Narth or Exodus endorsed coerced therapy?!?!

    I don’t know that they ever did, but then why did you encourage them to say they did not some 5 years ago? And furthermore, why didn’t they?

    .

    Could it have been that the idea of a parent forcing a teen into therapy over their expressed homosexual orientation? Or churches which cast out member which did not go into therapy or repudiate their homosexual orientation? Like I said, underlying layers of hypocrisy or homophobia which the head accepts to synergistically prop each other up.

  • David Blakeslee

    Lynn David,

    I don’t know that they ever did, but then why did you encourage them to say they did not some 5 years ago?

    You are misunderstanding my comment above…my encouragement was not a reference at all to “coercive therapy.”

    Could it have been that the idea of a parent forcing a teen into therapy over their expressed homosexual orientation?

    Parents do the same things to religiously obsessive teens…a friend here was kidnapped and reprogrammed…

    Kinda coercive…but those are parental rights and responsibilities.

  • Michael Busee

    To David:

    Are we going to ask parenting classes in Church to assert that they don’t endorse child abuse as a parenting technique?

    I would think that would be part of the course.

    Are we going to ask recovery programs in Church to assert that they don’t endorse abrupt withdrawal from mood altering substances?

    If they had real concern for the life and health of their client, I would hope so.

    Can we imagine a world where a Christian with SSA is referred to a “gay-affirming” therapist and that therapist has certain ethical obligations they must “explicitly” affirm?

    Again, I would hope so. While I was in practice, I always did and had the client sign a statement that I had told them of my ethical responsibilities. It seemed to help put them at ease. I think all therapists have that obligation to their clients — to make certain ethical guidelines clear.

    Can we imagine a world where a Christian with SSA is referred to GLSEN and GLSEN must affirm that they will not attempt to coerce them into identifying with their SSA?

    I think they should make that clear — that they respect personal choice.

  • Lynn David

    Ahh… ok…. sorry about the misconception, David.

  • Michael Busee

    @ David:

    (1) Discipline is not child abuse. I think parenting instructors (Christian and Non) should clearly explain the distinction.

    (2) Suddenly stopping certain addictive substances without medical supervision can be deadly. I think every substance abuse counselor (Christian or Non) should know that and explain that.

    (3) Professional psychotherapy association guidelines and state laws outline a counselor’s ethical responsibilities. Patients and therapists (Christian or Non) should both know these. It’s called informed consent.

    (4) And finally, no group (Christian or Non) should attempt to coerce a client to adopt an identity or lifestyle that is not consistent with the client’s own values and beliefs. That’s not what real therapy or ministry is about.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Maybe now we can hope that certain gay activists will stop insisting that Exodus and its affiliate ministries/counselors coerce gays into therapy?

  • Michael Busee

    I sure hope so. At least is a big step in that direction. Some, of course, won’t believe it no matter what the facts may show.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    I think you are confusing the responsibilities of a ministry (Exodus) and an advocacy program (GLSEN) with the responsibilities of a clinical profession.

    Professional ethical guidelines already explicitly prohibit the kinds of coercive treatment you describe.

    Implying that GLSEN and Exodus is coercive (or must explicit pledge not to be) overlooks their explicit worldview as a driver in their ministry or advocacy.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Lynn David,

    are you being sarcastic?

    My admonition to NARTH five years ago was about decoupling from political advocacy and embodying their credo of being a scientific organization.

    Are you asserting that you have evidence that NARTH encouraged or advocated for coercive treatment as little as five years ago (or ever)?

  • Lynn David

    In the last several years, I cannot think of an instance in which Exodus was said to coerce someone into therapy. I may be wrong. Parents, however, have been another story. It may have been said that the ministry in which they were placed was somehow complicit; however, I think the main onerous was put on the parents.

  • Lynn David

    Ahhh…. oh….. no, David. I tend to write the way I talk when answering someone…. sometimes.

    I assumed that your earliest statement was concerning ‘coercive treatment’ but did not at all consider that NARTH condoned the practice. I merely thought you were asking them for a statement on coersion … for whatever reason, as that was the major subject matter of this post by Warren – NARTH concerning coersed treatments.

    I think you can see why someone would ‘naturally’ make that determination concerning your earliest post.

  • Lynn David

    Coerced? Dang…. English, Lynn, English!!

  • Michael Busee

    @ David.

    I think you are confusing the responsibilities of a ministry (Exodus) and an advocacy program (GLSEN) with the responsibilities of a clinical profession.

    Not “confusing” them at all. I am consciously, deliberately lumping them together.

    I think all of these groups have an equal moral responsibility to live up to high ethical standards. These are people dealing with real people. That is where the responsibility comes from — not the type of organization.

    By the way, I not saying they “must” do it, only that I think they have the moral responsibility to the people they serve to do it. Such official policy statements and clear ethical standards can also help them make better choices about how to conduct their ministry or advocacy. (ie: avoiding errors like Uganda.)

    Ministries and advocacy groups, just as professional groups, SHOULD do it. They simply owe it to the people they serve. Of course with fewer legal/professional constraints, they can and often do, pretty much whatever they please. Develop such standards or not. But why wouldn’t they want to provide the highest ethical standards? Should they have to be pressured to do it? Should we expect less of them?

  • http://gayuganda.blogspot.com gayuganda

    Thanks for this.

    Seems one un-expected silver lining to this thing is a clarification of some things which had been taken for granted.

    thanks.

  • David Blakeslee

    A free society implies a certain trust in the individual to assume responsibility for their decisions, and the decisions that follow those decisions, and the decisions that follow those decisions.

    Religious practice is not a one time decision; we are free to chose every day.

    A society has never been more open, religiously free and more scientifically informed than ours.

    Coercion is not a word that can apply in such a society.

    Imprisoning ourselves in an illusion of helplessness and dependency (whether that is religious practice or being victims of our genes) is the predominant way to imagine we are being coerced…

    We are remarkably, remarkably free…sometimes it makes me anxious how free I am.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    David: I agree we are a free society, especially in the area of personal behavior. This is an observation which formed a basis for my reaction to the March ex-gay conference in Kampala. I was concerned at the time that the translation of the ex-gay rhetoric and “gay agenda” rhetoric into their society would create problems.

    RE: the freedom and coercion here. We are even freer now than when many of the commenters here grew up. Freer in the sense of the norms which are sensed but not imposed by law. Even today in evangelical, pentecostal and fundamentalistic (of all faiths) circles, various behaviors are taboo. I say this recognizing that I am an official in a church that has those norms. What we as leaders and followers of those norms must recognize is the great responsibility that comes with supporting those norms and implement them with the love and respect required by Christ (Rom 2 – tolerance and mercy). I don’t think I recognized this 5 years ago the way I do now. It is still a struggle to grow up with your brain and body telling you one thing and your brain and church telling you another. The more one comes from a church that makes SSA the worst sin in the book is a stigma that I do not believe NARTH gets. That is why I wrote:

    While they dramatically underestimate the role of social stigma as an aspect of why people seek their services here in the US…

    Makes me nervous at times too…

  • Eddy

    I’d like to see a statement of GLSEN’s clear ethical standards given the pornographic materials they circulate in schools under the guise of diversity education. (Several people have commented on this in the past month or so but, alas, since it isn’t the ethics of EXODUS or NARTH that’s in question, there’s little concern here for the issue.)

    Let me be clear. GLSEN has a right to exist. There is a need for advocacy. Their cause is legitimate. HOWEVER, their ethics are unclear–especially when it comes to teen sex, or, more specifically, gay teen sex.

    For this reason, I concur with David’s assertion that there is a double standard. Rhetoric has been offered that seems to gloss that over but the facts speak louder than the rhetoric.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    For the record, I agree about GLSEN’s need to articulate clear guidelines. I have focused on Uganda the last couple of months but I believe those who work with youth need those guidelines. THey signed on to some regarding worldview several years ago but I am unaware of such guidelines for those in their employ or volunteering.

  • David Blakeslee

    Warren,

    Thanks for your commenting and transparency…

    Homosexuality as a social stigma within the church is a reasonable assertion…it is by no means the worst…

    But, I could agree it is way to high on the list…(could we arrange a formal list?).

    The Social Stigma of SSA cannot be laid at the feet of NARTH or even at Christianity. It is present in many cultures (including non-western).

    Grappling with the meaning of this stigma is important…understanding its true origins is the most important.

    Not too long ago, as a race, we were highly dependent on conformity and cohesion for basic survival; only recently (last 2k years?) has the elevation of the individual and his subjective experiences of self and identity occured.

    There are probably many other reasons as well…my hunch is they existed prior to the writing of Leviticus and Romans. As well as the establishment of NARTH.

  • David Blakeslee

    Why do we use Shame to combat Shame?

  • Michael Busee

    To GayUganda: Seems one un-expected silver lining to this thing is a clarification of some things which had been taken for granted.

    I totally agree. These groups have an opportunity and a responsibility that they have missed, but should not miss again.

    Same goes for ANY organization — psychologial, professional, ministry or advocacy group — that deals with homosexuality — including groups like GLSEN.

    Forced therapy? NO. Criminalization? NO. Pressuring someone to accept an identity or behavior that does not fit their values? NO. Giving pornographic materials to kids? NO. A commitment to good science? YES. Respectable affiliations? YES.

    These things should be no-brainers and should have been formulated and expected of all who work with this population. Decades ago. Clear policies and strong ethical guidelines are win-win. Good for the group and good for the people they serve. It is simply irresponsible not to formulate them — and to ensure that they are known and respected by all members, affiliates and clients.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Why do we use Shame to combat Shame?

    It’s the Enemy’s most available door to our psyches, guilt-mongerer that he is.

  • Michael Busee

    I believe it is illegal to distribute pornographic materials to minors. If GLSEN violates the law, they should be held accountable, just like everyone else. http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=1476

  • Michael Busee

    Never mind. I found Dr. T’s article on the “little black book”. If it’s true, it’s disgusting. GLSEN denied it. Was this ever brought to court? Clear legal guidelines on distributing porn to minors, if they do not already exist, should be enacted and rigorously enforced. LAWS and strong penalties — not just policy statements.

  • Eddy

    http://www.stoptheaclu.com/…/kevin-jennings-safe-school-czar-glsen-porn-reading-list-for-students/

    Not sure if I know how to link properly. If you can’t link from the above, google ‘glsen sex education pornographic’ and click on the link that references the ‘porn reading list’. Some of the others are opinion and commentary; this one opens with commentary but then provides actual excerpts from the recommended reading material.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Never mind. I found Dr. T’s article on the “little black book”. If it’s true, it’s disgusting. GLSEN denied it. Was this ever brought to court?

    Fistgate” was. People were fired from the Mass. Dept of Education over that one. Someone ought to have been fired for “The Little Black Book.”

    Jennings still needs to go, but this is running more now to another thread.

  • Eddy

    I’m okay with off-topic as long as it isn’t COMPLETELY off the map. Since the topic does touch on therapeutic or advocate ethics, I think we can safely veer a little off the main track. The side track was actually David’s comments suggesting that we demand things of Exodus and NARTH that we don’t demand of counter organizations such as GLSEN. An argument was then made that Exodus and NARTH bring this on themselves by past questionable behaviors and even by their basic focus. It would seem that both would also apply to GLSEN as evidenced by ‘the little black book’ and ‘the recommended reading list’.

    Michael has rightly stated how things ought to be but David’s point was to how things ARE. We are willing to ‘check’ GLSEN as much as we check Exodus and NARTH….but only in theory not in real life experience. The fact that both ‘the little black book’ and ‘the recommended reading list’ have been brought up here on the site several times…with few pausing to discuss or comment…is rather telling.

    LOL. And if I’m not mistaken, the last Jennings post wound up with a serious Uganda detour; I’d have no qualms if this Uganda-related thread took a GLSEN/Jennings detour.

  • Michael Busee

    Someone ought to have been fired for “The Little Black Book.”

    Fired? If it’s true, they should have been arrested and formally charged. Did anyone call the police?

    Re: David’s suggestion that we “demand things of Exodus and NARTH that we don’t demand of counter organizations such as GLSEN”, I repeat the ethical and legal standards should be the same. I know they are not. But they should be. The type of group — professional, ministry or advocacy — should not exempt an organization from ethical and legal responsibility.

    And I submit that Christian organzations have an even greater responsibility because they represent the cause of Christ.

    Remember the Ad? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qf2j-YzZRAA

    Christian organizations should SET the standards, not fight them.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    And I submit that Christian organzations have an even greater responsibility because they represent the cause of Christ.

    I won’t argue with you there.

  • Eddy

    Re: David’s suggestion that we “demand things of Exodus and NARTH that we don’t demand of counter organizations such as GLSEN”, I repeat the ethical and legal standards should be the same

    Point of clarification. The part within the quotation marks is my summary of David’s suggestion. It may not be ‘right on the mark’ but I hope it’s close.

    .

    I know they are not. But they should be. The type of group — professional, ministry or advocacy — should not exempt an organization from ethical and legal responsibility.

    Can we please stop dancing? The point made was that the standards that we employ are not the same. And if we genuinely feel that the standards should also be applied to GLSEN, why am I not hearing a request/demand that GLSEN clearly state their ethical stance on adolescent sexual practice? The link is there…the advocacy of teen sex (sorry…gay teen sex)…is blatant. We speak boldly (and scoldingly) of Exodus…yes, even earlier today. Yet, in response to GLSEN, we get “the standards should be the same” and “Christians should set the example”. Again, there’s NEVER a call on anyone but the Christians to do the stepping up. For all others, there’s understanding, compassion, excusing, explaining, pithy speech making, down-playing, diverting…anything but calling to account.

    So, once again, the example of GLSEN’s use of pornographic materials is brought up. Once again, we’ll sail blithely by rather than acknowledge it. And, in summary, “Christian organizations should set the standards, not fight them.” (How, by the way, are Christian organizations fighting the standards? Why was the notion of fighting the standards introduced into this conversation?)

  • Michael Busee

    Yes, my error. The quote was your summation of David’s suggestion, not a quote from him.

    The side track was actually David’s comments suggesting that we demand things of Exodus and NARTH that we don’t demand of counter organizations such as GLSEN. — Eddy’s comment.

    You ask:

    Why am I not hearing a request/demand that GLSEN clearly state their ethical stance on adolescent sexual practice?

    Just for my knoweldge, has it been clearly established that GLSEN gave out porn to kids? If it has been, who gave approval for this? Did the faculty and staff know? Why weren’t they fired? More than that, were the police not called? Were charges filed?

    Tell you what, I wasn’t aware of this until today, but I will do it right now. I will contact them immediately. Further, if you can clearly demonstrate that Federal and State laws do not currently define and provide strong penalties for distribution of pornographic materials to minors, I promise I will personally begin advocating for that as strongly as I am advocating for the defeat of the Ugandan Bill.

    Further, I will personally harrass, pressure, request, suggest, work behind the scenes, invite and even “demand” that every GLBT advocay group do likewise. I’ll even start a Facebook group (as Dr. Throckmorton did with Uganda) in support of such standards and legislation. Would you join that one?

  • Michael Busee

    Yes. Let’s DO quit dancing. You know perfectly well why I am currently focussing on Exodus’ responsibiltiy to make their positions and policies on these matters official. Uganda. Remember?

    They may not be “fighting the standards”, but they sure seem to hate the idea of making them official and expecting their affiliates and Board members to abide by them.

  • Michael Busee

    I am sure that Exodus Board members have each other’s email addresses. They could and should do it TODAY.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    Simply scroll up to my post where I provided the link. It’s easy to spot since it starts out with the red link lettering.

    The books are not pornographic, per se, but definitely contain pornographic imagery the likes of which shouldn’t be expected in the classroom.

    As I mentioned above, scroll down in that link to get past commentary and read some of the selections for yourself.

    What struck me as a double standard was not only that there was no outcry, no call for GLSEN to right that wrong…there simply wasn’t any discussion either. Here where we can nipick over the tiniest thing…we simply tripped right over this stuff and moved on. It’s enough to reinforce a belief in ‘spiritual blindness’.

  • Michael Busee

    I looked at the booklet. I think it was disgusting. I am an openly gay-affirming man. If such a thing has been given out at my kid’s school, there would have been holy hell.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Eddy – When you say there was no discussion, I am not sure what you mean. There was none here but that is because I did not post on the GLSEN revelations recently. I posted on Kevin Jennings a bunch and have many posts on GLSEN and Jennings if you want to revive them.

    I would like this post to stay on topic and not get off on GLSEN. It does not matter what the standards are at GLSEN to discuss the fact that NARTH has become clear about forced therapy and that Scott Lively recommends the same organizations who do not recommend him.

    If everyone stipulates that GLSEN has not provided the same standards as we expect of other groups then nothing much changes about this post. In fact, why doesn’t someone write GLSEN and ask them what standards they use. Let me know and I will post the answer on another post.

  • Michael Busee

    Simply scroll up to my post where I provided the link. It’s easy to spot since it starts out with the red link lettering.

    Thanks, I appreciate that. As you know, I have some serious visual impairments and sometimes colors and are hard to see. I am familiar with how links work, though, and I promise I will read the entire thing. Since I have to sit about four inches from the screen and increase the type-size, it may take some time, but I will do it.

  • Michael Busee

    Of course, Uganda’s bill is a bit different than a recommended reading list or “pornographic materials” being circulated in schools. But, both are reprehensible. And these situtations point out a certain need.

    Ethical standards and policies should still be clearly enunciated and applied. Further, laws should be in place to ensure equal justice, provide pubic safety, guard basic human rights and to protect the vulnerable — especially children.

    No one should get a pass because they are a politician, a mental health professional, a religious leader, an advocacy group or a ministry. It truly baffles me. I don’t get why anyone would be reluctant in anyway to show themselves in their best light — and make their positions on these things clearly and offically known.

  • Michael Busee

    In fact, why doesn’t someone write GLSEN and ask them what standards they use. Let me know and I will post the answer on another post.

    I’ll do it, unless Eddy would prefer to take that on.

  • Eddy

    Warren–

    Fine. Everyone that has commented so far agrees that forced or coercive therapy is a bad thing and that even Exodus and NARTH agree. But, well LOOKEE THERE! 54 comments so far. Did everyone just keep repeating themselves…coercive bad, coercive bad?

    I feel I demonstrated why it was valid to pursue the GLSEN track. We had long since moved beyond ‘coercive bad’ and were judging Exodus and NARTH (speculating and projecting) and making demands. The validity for that was ‘this current situation’. HMMM. Seems there was another ‘current situation’ that flew off the radar when this more urgent ‘current situation’ took over…and it had a number of parallel dynamics. But I explained that already and evidently that’s not enough for you.

    Not inclined to follow your suggestion of moving the conversation over to one of the Jennings threads since this detour was not so much about the seriousness of GLSEN’s blunders but about the parallels of ethical responsibility and the imbalance in our expectations and demands. I really don’t see how, since your -topics do have a certain issue-related focus, how a discussion of the parallels or the imbalances will EVER be anything other than a detour. (LOL. And, just for the record, I seem to recall that on at least one of the GLSEN threads, we tolerated a serious Exodus-bashing detour.)

    I’ve been ticking you off a lot lately. Sorry about that. If it’s any consolation, you’ve been getting under my skin too. I’m sure you see it as something other, to me it feels like censorship. But it is your site…and I need to leave it to you.

    MICHAEL–

    If you do find those excerpts in that link…remember that they are quite a way down the page. (The formatting is pretty much paragraph style and then there will come a place with a list…with breaks between each line…it will come right after that.) Anyway, if you get there and find it as offensive as I do, please pursue the matter as you see fit. I don’t want to piss off our host any further so don’t bother to comment to me about it.

    Happy New Year!

  • Michael Busee

    OK. Let’s stipulate. Policies should be clear and evenly applied and adhered to. No organization should get a pass. But, here’s the more immediate concern. Ugandan papers, even today, are still outing “homos”. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2009/12/30/ugandas-red-pepper-keeps-up-the-pressure/

    Can we at least agree that the Ugandan situation is more immediate and more grave than the question of whether or not someone from GLESN allegedly passed out “pornographic materials” to school kids or what their policies should be?

    I agree with Warren. We are talking about this situation and the organizations and policies that may continue to influence it. The original intent of this thread was to;

    …discuss the fact that NARTH has become clear about forced therapy and that Scott Lively recommends (to Uganda) the same organizations who do not recommend him.

    Maybe top priority for these organizations should be to tell Scott Lively to lay off using their names in support of his agenda. Not behind the scenes. In the open.

    And to make it clear to Uganda, that despite the appearances of their Board Member (alongside Lively at conference and smiling at breakfast) to the contrary, they did not ever mean to imply that they did.

  • Eddy

    I will be making no more statements re GLSEN’s ongoing impropriety. (To my knowledge, the materials have not been pulled from the schools.) So let’s call this one a ‘no comment’. Will let Michael’s be the last word on the subject.

  • Lynn David

    Am I wrong, or while the event was one sponsored by GLSEN, the ‘little black book’ wasn’t produced by GLSEN (was it an AIDS committee intended for gay men of age?) nor even handed out by them, but was admitted to being ‘mistakenly’ handed out by a local health department. Though I thought I read somewhere that the principal at the school didn’t think anyone had gone home with any of the booklets.

    ,

    The ‘pornographic’ books on a GLSEN reading list for elder teens and all books therein are cautioned to be reviewed for content on the Booklink website:

    All BookLink items are reviewed by GLSEN staff for quality and appropriateness of content. However, some titles for adolescent readers contain mature themes. We recommend that adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability. The editorial and customer reviews listed at Amazon.com often provide information on mature content.

    .

    GLSEN’s policy statement reads in part:

    GLSEN believes that learning about the diversity of humankind is an essential part of education in a democratic society, and affirms the right of students to learn in classroom environments that nurture diversity. GLSEN encourages schools to allow students in all grade levels access to curricula, trainings, texts and materials — in all areas including but not limited to, history, literature, family life, sexuality and health education — that are relevant, comprehensive, age-appropriate, medically-accurate and inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. GLSEN calls upon public policy makers to remove any prohibitive laws that forbid or discourage in-school discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

  • Eddy

    Sorry, LD–

    Not even going to read your comment. Warren has said that the GLSEN thing isn’t suitable here. I’ve agreed to let it go and I only think it’s fair that, since I’ve been silenced on it, that the rest of the blog gang should be too.

  • Michael Busee

    Thanks LD. Last word: Professional, ministry or advocacy groups that deal with homosexuality should all have clearly posted, readily available, age-appropriate, medically accurate, highly ethical, official policies.

    They should make a personal and public commitment to abide by these standards and policies — and should insist that their members and affiliates do likewise.

    Why that idea is the least bit controversial is WAY beyond me.

  • Lynn David

    Sounds about par for the course, Eddy.

    I bet you read that!

  • Eddy

    MIchael–

    I find it interesting that even when Warren says to abandon a detour, you feel the privilege of adding a final ‘two cents’. I find it amusing that you feel the privilege and the need to post twice with urgent things that must be said re the detour he’s requested we abandon.

    Lynn David–

    Yes, I saw and read your brief comment.It didn’t have GLSEN in it. Fortunately, it did have your sarcasm.

    Yeah, I live in a world where ‘no means no’, where limitations are accepted, and where the wishes of hosts (including blog hosts) are honored. My bad.

  • Michael Bussee

    Not a detour to say that groups should have official policies. This thread was about NARTH’s.

  • Eddy

    So, are you saying that Warren was incorrect in labeling ‘it’ an inappropriate detour? (As in your opening words moments ago: ‘not a detour’.)

    Or are you suggesting that YOUR follow up comments that I referred to weren’t part of the unacceptable detour…in that case, I puzzle over your use of ‘Last Word’ to begin your statement. Did you mean ‘last word’ in that you were done posting on this thread? That doesn’t seem to be true. Did you mean ‘last word’ in that you were pronouncing the thread dead? Nah. Did you mean ‘last word’ in reference to the detour that Warren suggested we abandon? Seems so. Surely, the words ‘last word’ referred to something…and now your suggesting that they didn’t. Makes me dizzy.

  • Michael Bussee

    So, are you saying that Warren was incorrect in labeling ‘it’ an inappropriate detour?

    No. I agree with him:

    I would like this post to stay on topic and not get off on GLSEN. It does not matter what the standards are at GLSEN to discuss the fact that NARTH has become clear about forced therapy and that Scott Lively recommends the same organizations who do not recommend him.

    I believe he meant that bringing GLSEN into this was the inappropritate detour. The topic at hand was NARTH’s and Exodus’s positions — and that Lively is recommending groups that don’t recommend him or agree with his positions.

  • anteros

    “Rehabilitation” as prescribed by the homophobes and fundamentalists in Uganda, is bound to require belief in God or Allah or whichever Higher Power they imagine disapproves of homosexuality and has the ability to “cure” homosexuals. That would mean forced conversion to Christianity(or other religion) and heterosexuality for gay atheists. Is Uganda being over-run by christian Taliban? Would gay Muslims in Uganda be handed over to Muslim leaders to be sentenced and executed sharia style, like the gay teens who were hanged in Iran? Uganda’s constitution protects freedom of worship, which forced therapy would violate. Why cant they just decriminalize homosexuality and leave gay people alone? In fact, given all the homophobia in Uganda, gay Ugandans really need legal protection. Separate the church and the state, damn it.

  • Pingback: Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill: An Update


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