What George Rekers told a Florida court

The blogs continued to blow up over the continuing disclosures regarding George Rekers relationship with a Miami gay man. Apparently the young man has disclosed details of their European trip and is set to go on CNN with more.

In addition to the current event, some reports have looked into Dr. Rekers’ views and beliefs. That is more my purpose with this post. Dr. Rekers has provided controversial testimony in several court cases, the most notable Arkansas and Florida cases which contested adoptions by gay people. I saw in this report from NBC Miami that Rekers was paid between $60,900 and $87,000 to testify in favor of a ban on gay adoptions. In addition, and what really caught my eye, was his testimony that Native Americans could be excluded from adopting children. Here is the exchange included in the news article:

Q. Well, Dr. Rekers, earlier you testified that Native-Americans have a higher rate of alcohol abuse than the general population does, right?

A. Yes.

Q. It’s a very significantly elevated rate of alcohol abuse, I mean compared to the general population?

A. Yes.

Q. So if Native-Americans have significantly higher rates of alcohol abuse, and if they also have significantly higher rates of psychiatric disorders, and if they also have higher rates of relationship instability, is that enough for you to say that all of a sudden they should be categorically excluded?

The Court: I think you can add violence to that, as well.

The Witness: Yeah, violence, yeah.

Q. And violence, as well.

A. Yeah, if it turned out that a majority of the individuals in the Native-American population, that a majority of them were high risk for one of these things happening, as a lifetime prevalence, there could be a parallel rationale for excluding them, as adoptive parents, because it would be not only them, they would tend to hang around each other. So the children would be around a lot of other Native-Americans, who are doing the same sorts of things, you know. So it would be a high risk, and, in fact, since you can’t perfectly predict human behavior, the best you can do and the best the State can do is to look at risk levels, and if a particular kind of household poses multiple high risks for condition that would be detrimental for children, then that would be a rationale for excluding that group.

I was unable to find the entire transcript of the testimony, but did find the ruling from the case which initially upheld the adoption of Jane and John Doe, decided by Judge Cindy Lederman. In that case, Judge Lederman noted on pages 20-21:
There is no question that Dr. Rekers supports the continued ban on homosexual adoption and even the imposition of a ban on homosexual foster parenting based on the high rates of disorders, distressing conditions and relationship instability reported in the studies he considers telling. The witness testified that he does not support such a categorical exclusion of a demographic group based on one variable; rather, his opinion for the  exclusion is based an overall sum of variables. Thus, according to the doctor, any demographic group with overall high variable risks poses a threat to an adoptive child and should be excluded. As applied to the instant facts, the witness opines that Petitioner is in a high risk group; the majority of individuals sharing Petitioner’s demographic characteristic of homosexuality suffer from a disorder or have the propensity to suffer from a disorder; therefore, even if Petitioner is studied to determine his individual risk factor, the prediction for his propensity to succumb to a lifetime prevalence of risk cannot be overcome. Based on Dr. Rekers’ theory, as Native Americans have a high rate of alcohol abuse, substance abuse, domestic violence, depression, and a life time prevalence of these risks, Native Americans should also be considered a high risk group as prospective adoptive parents as well.

I wrote briefly about such thinking in 2006 when I received criticism from NARTH leaders over my view that homosexuals could lead normal lives. NARTH has continued to champion the view that homosexuality should be changed and opposed due to research finding higher levels of depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns. Currently, on their website, they promote an article which conflates orientation and certain sexual practices. Furthermore, NARTH leaders, including George Rekers, make up the majority of the advisory committee for the Facts About Youth website. A project of the splinter-group American College of Pediatricians, the FAY website parrots the NARTH view that “[t]here is significantly greater medical, psychological, and relational pathology in the homosexual population than the general population.” By saying in his Florida testimony that members of other groups (e.g., Native Americans) are not fit to parent based on group differences, Rekers was just taking the NARTH view to a logical conclusion — a conclusion which is shockingly elitist. 

If this view is advanced as a basis for public policy, then perhaps female physicians should not adopt since at least one study found that the rate of suicide is four times higher for them than other females. I think rather, the real basis for concern over homosexual parents relates to Rekers professed moral views which were also on display in the Florida court. According to Judge Lederman’s ruling, Rekers said psychology as a profession and the law should recognize evangelical theology:

An honest scholarly search for the truth about homosexuality should not stop with psychological or medical information alone. Wise professionals should also consider evidence for moral truth as well. The bible teaches that people are foolish if they deny God’s reality and live their lives as though he were not there…. What happens when psychologists and psychiatrists search for truth about homosexuality, but close the door to any possibility of information from the creator of the human race? What happens if scholars deliberately discard all moral evidence as irrelevant to their professional judgments? Roman’s describes the consequences in suppressing truth revealed by the creator…. Those verses indicate that the existence of God is evident within each person, so psychologists and psychiatrists who proceed as though he does not exist are deliberately suppressing truth. To search for truth about homosexuality in psychology and psychiatry, while ignoring God, will result in futile and foolish speculations.

To me, this line of thinking makes it clear why evangelical scholars must face the data with an awareness of our theological biases. Moral concerns are not irrelevant but they must not guide one to preset conclusions in opposition to data and research. To wit, Rekers also testified in the Florida case that children who were bonded to a homosexual parent should be removed from that home and placed with a heterosexual couple. Judge Lederman’s noted: 

Furthermore, according to Dr. Rekers, if children are bonded to a homosexual foster parent, such a placement may continue because the foster care laws permit regular monitoring. However, adoption should not be an option because of the absence of monitoring and safeguards. Dr. Rekers astounded the Court when he testified that he favors removal of any child from a homosexual household, even after placement in that household for ten years, in favor of a heterosexual household. To this Court’s further astonishment, the witness hypothesized that such a child would recover from the removal from his family of 10 years after one year in a heterosexual household. The Court finds this testimony to be contrary to science and decades of research in child development.

The hypotheses regarding bonding and what is better for kids were driven by Reker’s moral posturing and not research. It is not surprising that Judge Lederman dismissed Rekers’ testimony as unscientific and biased:

Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court can not consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.

Dr. Rekers’ recent actions have put the spotlight on his views. While Dr. Rekers may find less personal influence in coming days, it is an open question whether his actions will cast a negative light on those who hold similar positions.

  • Mary
  • Timothy Kincaid

    Mary,

    Funny. I didn’t like it at all.

    It seemed to me that Alan was just using the kid as an excuse to rag on gay people. Not unusual, not surprising, not out of the ordinary. But certainly not admirable.

    Alan offered, of course, to “listen” to Jo-Vanni, but it is the gay community he so despises that is creating a safety-net for the kid right now. Legal advice, counselors, folks to talk to who can really listen.

    Alan wants to offer grace and to “restore” him. We want to make sure he is certain of his next meal.

    I think after 10 days in Europe massaging Rekers, Jo-Vanni isn’t much in the mood to listen to the Christian counsel of another ex-gay activist. He feels betrayed enough already.

  • Ann

    Mary,

    I liked it too – a lot.

  • Mary

    Timothy,

    From a gay activist point of view I could certainly understand your perspective.

    From my view as a woman who is ex gay (for lack of a better word) I am tired of the battling that goes on with this issue. I feel sorry for the young man who is caught up in this and yes, I do consider him a kid. The brain continues to grow until at least the age of 23. He has a lot on his shoulders and mind right now. I also, think that Rekers used poor discernment by involving such a young man (barely a man) in his world and took advantage of him. I think the gay community is also sacrificing this young man for their own purposes. Remember he’s not even old enough to drink in many states, he’s barely out of high school and pretty niave it seems.

    I;’d like to see the barbs stop and the healing begin for everyone. Just because Reker’s makes a mistake – he does not represent people like myself. As is the case with many gay people for whom a flamboyant gay does not represent them.

  • Mary

    Timothy,

    Also, to generalise the whole christian community or even ex gay (for lack of a better word) community by one or even a few people is not good reasoning. If that were the case, we ought to throw out everyone – gay, straight, believer, athiest, moms, dads etc….

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Mary,

    Here’s what Alan had to say about my community in just one commentary:

    * those now reveling over what must feel like a victory beyond their wildest dreams

    * carnivorous gay bloggers

    * seem most concerned with the downfall of a man, a marriage and a movement

    * not to mention the titillating photos and full bodily description of this boy barely out of high school

    * the gay communities’ lack of regard

    * gay community seems hell-bent on forcing everyone to be tolerant of their “just like everyone else” lives

    * they seem completely incapable of showing Jo-Vanni Roman any compassion or care

    * the counterfeit … community

    Any thoughts?

  • Mary

    Timothy,

    I agree with him and his statments. TWO had numerous blogs about Rekers as well as other blogs in the gay community. They were mostly focused on the downfall of Rekers.

    Not one mentioned the idea that if Rekers had indeed behaved in the the way he is accused of behaving that he admit his mistakes and look for the healing and grace that has thus far been absent from his life.

    As a christian, I know well that judgement makes confession difficult and without confession, I have no way of healing from my mistakes or challenges. I would rather Rekers took the path of confession and healing than that of facing the harsh judgement of others. He seems thus far, to have lost A LOT. Also, I would like other ex gays (for lack of a better word) to hear or read of those who know the challenges of being ex gay (FLOABW) and who instead of condemening others for errors in judgment are willing to step in and say – it’s time to get honest and begin the journey of really knowing what this is all about. Some ex gays (FLOABW) really do make good examples, some do not.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Mary

    I agree with him and his statements.

    Ok, then I’ll just assume that when you said “I;’d like to see the barbs stop”, you didn’t mean the barbs that Alan was directing at my community.

  • Mary

    Timothy,

    The barbs are coming from everywhere. I would like to see them end. The gay community is not being civil and almost getting drunk over this event.

  • Mary

    Timothy,

    On the other hand, the christian community has been too harsh with gays. I’d like to see all of it come to an end.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Ok, sure Mary.

    You want the barbs coming from everywhere to stop… except the ones from Alan directed at the gay community. Those you agree with.

    But the barbs from the gays, those are not civil and should stop.

    Got it.

  • Fg68at

    then perhaps female physicians should not adopt since at least one study found that the rate of suicide is four times higher for them than other females

    And not only female. You speak from my mind. This is what i think often when i crawl through ex-gay-sites.

  • Mary

    Timothy,

    I cam understand how you take his comments as barbs and yes, a different tone on his part would have been better. I see that now.

    I want the attacks to stop.

  • Teresa

    Why is it when Rekers or other ‘change’ ministers get caught living a double life, it’s just ‘a mistake‘. This is nothing short of duplicity, and a man of Rekers educational background, and ministry … should be handed over to the authorities. Could this be like the Catholic Church scandal ready to erupt in the Exodus, NARTH, etc. group?

    First, I’m very tired with this constant ‘change’ issue. I’m a lesbian who is trying to lead a chaste life. I’m never going to be ‘straight’ … period. I am who I am. I’ve had it with Exodus and NARTH. In their minds, even if I’m chaste, I’m still not good enough. Every brick dismantled from the NARTH, Exodus, etc. groups is one step closer to some sanity on this issue.

  • Sammie

    Teresa _ I agree completely. Whether this hypocrisy is a big part of NARTH or Exodus I dont know but I agree NARTH’s change gig is up.

  • Teresa

    Mary,

    What do you mean when you say you’re ‘ex-gay’. Does that mean you were gay and now are married? Do you still have same-sex attractions?

    Why is it when I go to an AA meeting, I only have to listen to other alcoholics tell me how to get sober? Why, oh why, do I have to continually listen to straights telling me that I need to get ‘fixed’, or poseur ex-gays telling me the same thing … or telling me how I should live my life. Where are the folks like me who are gay and always will be but want to live a chaste life? Straight folks need to find something better to do with their time and money … maybe, help the people in Haiti.

    The only straights I listen to are Dr. Throckmorton, Andrew Marin, and Janelle Hallman and Associates … although, I’m none too happy that Hallman seems to be aligned with Exodus at times.

  • Mary

    Teresa,

    It’s not my job to tell you how to live. I respect your decisions to live openly as a lesbian or in the closet or however you choose. That I am ex gay (FLOABW) speaks only about my choices for my life and my body and my mind.

    I am not married. I do date and am attracted to men, Sometimes I remember what it was like to be a lesbian and remember the good times. It is a part of my past. I still support gay rights. I have gay friends as well as friends who are somewhere on the continuum of the whole religious/sexuality thing. We are all pretty much different people – wouldn’t you agree?

  • Mary

    Sammie,

    It seems that women have more success with change than do men. And I believe NARTH helps women, too. And of course, there is the whole discussion of exactly what does change mean and how is it defined (which I am not going to get into)

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    This is drifting off-topic.

    To see why I had an unseemly outburst at Dr R’s activities, please have a look at this – http://wakingupnow.com/blog/the-evil-of-george-rekers

    This is the household he was quite deliberately trying to break up.

    The children arrived…on the evening of December 11, 2004. John, the elder sibling, arrived with his four-month old brother wearing a dirty adult sized t-shirt and sneakers four sizes too small that seemed more like flip-flops than shoes. Both children were suffering from scalp ringworm. Although John was clearly suffering from a severe case of ringworm, the medication brought from John’s home to treat his scalp was unopened and expired. James, too, suffered from an untreated ear infection, as evidenced by the one-month old, nearly unused, medication. John did not speak and had no affect. He had one concern: changing, feeding, and caring for his baby brother. It was clear from the children’s first evening at the Petitioner-Roe home that the baby’s main caretaker was John, his four year old brother…

    For the first few months, John seemed depressed and presented a void, unresponsive demeanor and appearance. Upon arriving at the Petitioner home, John did not speak a word for about one week. After two weeks, he began to mumble imperceptible utterances. After about one month, John finally began speaking. Petitioner quickly learned that John had never seen a book, could not distinguish letters from numbers, could not identify colors and could not count. He could not hold a pencil. He had never been in an early childhood program or day care. Nevertheless, John’s potential for educational development was apparent. Although he had not had any formal education, John could sing and pick up lyrics very quickly. Early on, Petitioner and Roe noticed that John hoarded food by requesting additional servings at the start of dinnertime and later hiding the extra food in his room. John eventually grew out of this behavior, due in part to a tactic employed by Petitioner and Roe of showing John, in advance of mealtime, the more than sufficient amount of food on the stove prepared and available for the family.

    James was a very happy baby and was content with anyone, even strangers. After approximately two months, James began to exhibit signs of attachment to his primary caregivers, Petitioner and Roe. John, however, took about two years to fully bond. At one time, John shunned hugs from Petitioner and Roe. However, in his own time, John developed bonding and today, initiates goodbye hugs each morning before going to school.

    On weekdays, the household wakes up at about 6:30 a.m. Petitioner usually prepares breakfast, permitting each child to assist with an assigned kitchen duty. Each morning, the family eats together without distraction from the television. As each child finishes his breakfast, he puts his dish in the sink and proceeds to the bathroom to brush his teeth and hair. Petitioner and Roe purchased a Ford minivan, which Petitioner jokes was not his dream car, however, to accommodate the family size, is the most feasible. Tom Roe, Jr. is dropped off at school first. Afterwards, Petitioner takes John and James to school, walking them into their classrooms and usually speaking to their respective teachers. In the afternoon, after Petitioner picks the boys up from school, they generally go to the park for tennis lessons. At the conclusion of their lessons, the family heads home for dinner. At mealtime, the family blesses the food together and takes turns sharing the highlights of their day. Phones are not answered and the television is off during dinner. After the children are excused from the table, the older children load the dishwasher.

    After dinner, the children spend one hour doing their homework. Although James does not have homework, he spends time at the table pretending to do homework. John requires more supervision and one-on-one interaction to complete his homework. If a child finishes his homework early, the remaining time is spent reading. After homework is completed, the children are allowed to watch television. At bedtime, the boys retreat to their separate beds. By morning, however, James seems to always find his way into John’s bed.

    The family attends a non-denominational Christian church and have as pets, a dog, rabbit and kitten. John and James refer to Petitioner and Roe as “papi” and “daddy” respectively. John and James have lived in the same neighborhood, attended the same school, day care and aftercare since their arrival in the Petitioner-Roe home. As a result, each child has created friendships from school and in the neighborhood. John and James are closely bonded to Tom Roe, Jr., and their extended family. The boys consider Petitioner and Roe’s parents, brothers and sisters their grandparents, uncles and aunts. The extended family sends the boys gifts for their birthdays and the holidays. Roe’s mother, who lives in Tampa, visits the family regularly.

    I defy anyone to look at the actions of this 4 year old boy, and not feel moved.

    Dr George Alan Rekers was paid, as it turns out, not $60,000 but $120,000 to break this family up, by the state of Florida.

    This goes well beyond academic disagreement. It goes well beyond even wilful blindness and prejudice, people committing enormities because “God is on their side”. This is now in the realm of true Evil.

    I’m sure that not all of NARTH, nor FOF, nor the fake pediatricians, nor the TVC nor MassResistance nor AFTAH nor…. well, the lot of them, I’m sure that most are doing what they see as the right thing. They’re not all in it for the money and the power. They’re not all sadists, nor deliberately evil. Very few, I think. I hope. But their guiding lights turn out to be even worse than their critics claim. The whole shibboleth is tainted, fair-seeming on the outside, but within a mass of corruption. History repeats.

    And Warren, entirely guiltless in this, trying to be academically honest and calling ‘em how he sees ‘em gets tarred with the same brush, because so many see these “Evangelical Christians” and think that’s what Evangelical Christianity is all about.

    And to a large degree, they’re right, aren’t they? It wasn’t supposed to be like this, but it’s become so. What are we to do about it, Warren? Because I trust you. You’ve earned that trust, as has Michael Brown, someone who I disagree with vehemently on many issues.

    And how are we on “my side” going to make sure we don’t end up in the same boat?

  • Teresa

    Mary,

    Where are the statistics that women have more success with change than do men? I totally disagree. I’ve seen statements that women have more ‘fluidity’, but that term has never been adequately defined, imo. Can you point to any studies with women vs. men that substantiate your statement?

    Did you ‘spontaneously’ become ex-gay, or were you ‘fixed’, or are you in fact ‘bi’? Not my business, for sure, so don’t feel any necessity to answer … just curious.

    I agree, Mary, that we are different people. Now that you’re ex-gay life has far less prejudice for you. You’ve been on the other end of that stick, and it’s none too comfortable. Groups like Exodus, NARTH etc., imo, lie, distort, and conjure statistics and etiology that destroys any credibility these organizations have. The tone of many of their essays is condescending, arrogant, and anything but Christian. IMO, and I repeat, just for me, these groups are a huge part of the continued prejudice against gays … the sooner they leave the better.

  • Mary

    Teresa,

    I don’t spend a lot of time answering questions about myself because most people who are hostile are going to form their own opinions now matter what I say about myself. And I really don’t like the arguing.

    Pointing towards fluidity is the best thing we have for hard research right now. Fluidity doesn’t always mean going back and forth. It (if you read Diamond’s research) also means moving in a direction and staying in that direction.

  • Tim

    @Mary:

    “And I really don’t like the arguing.”

    You seem to be at best passive-aggressive and at worst dishonest. All you do in your prolific posting here is argue and provoke. And then you are quick to proclaim your desire for peace. Your strange mind game was just exposed by Tim Kincaid above and believe me, this was not the only example. You should look at yourself and your motivations, because they are fairly transparent to others.

    I also find it amusing that you are so shy about sharing your testimony. This is an anonymous comments section. Even if 9 out of 10 people are hostile, why would you begrudge that 10th person the chance at vaginal-penile salvation?

  • Mary

    Tim,

    If you read my last post to Timothy you will see that after reading his, I understnad that there are barbs on both sides.

    Yes, I have conflicted with others on this blog in the past and regret some of my remarks.

    I’m not begrudging or doing anything to anyone. It’s for my own self preservation and peace.

  • Teresa

    @Mary,

    I’ve watched this blog for several months now without posting. I have to agree with Tim that most often when reading your posts, you have been quite in the Exodus, NARTH, etc. camp, and often quite provoking, perhaps unintentionally. Those groups without the slightest doubt ‘hate’ gay people; all, of course, under the guise and sham of we really love you and so does Jesus; that is why they are all about ‘change’ or being ‘fixed’. A classic case in point is Jeanette Howard and her last book, Into The Promised Land. Her first book, Out of Egypt, was a big Exodus recommendation because of the hope that Howard was in the process of being ‘fixed’. When that didn’t happen, and Howard came out with Into The Promised Land which point-blank said she was still a lesbian, but chaste, Exodus pretty much abandoned her.

    “I am not married. I do date and am attracted to men, Sometimes I remember what it was like to be a lesbian and remember the good times. It is a part of my past. I still support gay rights.” The only “gay rights” the groups that you like promote are ‘change’, disappear, or die. Of course, since you’re now ‘changed’, Mary, you’re A-OK. What gay rights do you support, or is that being provocative?

  • Teresa

    @All,

    This is considerable off-topic, but I could find no where else to post this, and it may be obliquely tangential. Why do all the therapists with NARTH, many with Exodus, etc. charge clients to get ‘fixed’? If this is such a Christian activity, why do I have to pay someone to affirm me or ‘unconditionally’ show me love (NARTH’s and Exodus’ supposed approach)? Doesn’t seem unconditional to me. The first condition of unconditional (oxymoron) is can you pay … no pay, no play.

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

    Tim – I will let that one go and Mary, if you want to have one reply, that will be ok, but no more than that. The thread is not abou Mary or anyone else except Rekers and Narth.

    Teresa – We can discuss NARTH but I think it would be good to leave Exodus out of this for now since it is the ministry group who does not charge for services while NARTH therapists do charge. Most of them are licensed folks who charge for their professional services. Given that there are only about 200 professional members of NARTH, I guess the market is speaking.

  • Mary

    Thanks Warren.

    Tim, you say have read this blog for some time. If you have then you know I am supportive of gay rights – else you have not been reading this blog for some time.

    And this thread is about Rekers, whom I hope can find healing. As well as any Christian who struggles and any gay person who has suffered at the isolation they feel from those who have chastised them.

  • Mary

    Gay and christian are not exclusive of eachother.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    One may wonder about the professionalism of NARTH since Dr R is one of the leading lights of their “Scientific” advisory committee, is he not?

    How come they didn’t spot him?

    There is indeed a huge market for therapists whose ideology conforms with that of powerful religious or political groups. One may wonder though if it’s their professional abilities that are in demand, or that they are willing to tailor their therapies to what is demanded of them, rather than what actually works.

    The danger is that I cannot in all conscience say that the “other side” does not have an exact equivalent. :( Those who let ideological bias blind them to the objective research.

    I’m sorry, for personal reasons I can’t be objective here.

  • Teresa

    Warren,

    Thank you for correcting me about Exodus, and keeping this posting directed and away from personalities.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Teresa,

    1. If you are looking for likeminded gay Christians who are seeking to live a life of sexual responsibility, you may want to check out the Gay Christian Network:

    http://www.gaychristian.net

    2. While I think it is likely that on average women do experience more sexual fluidity than men, it’s hard to point at good research. Part of the reason for that is because when it comes to research on matters of sexual orientation, it seems to be primarily research on men – it’s almost like women don’t exist.

    That is also reflected in groups like NARTH and Exodus. The overwhelming majority of emphasis is on gay men with lesbians being a sort of after thought added on.

    There are a lot of reasons for that (historical, cultural, biblical, anatomical, etc.) but it does seem a bit unfair.

    3. I am a critic of Exodus/NARTH. A harsh one at times. But I truly do not think that Exodus operates out of hate. And I suspect that hatred is not the central motivator of NARTH.

    I think that the the Rekers story illustrates that there is far more going on than just a simple matter of hatred. Dr. Rekers is personally involved so as to address his own demons, which I suspect is the motivation for at least a few others.

    There are also, no doubt, those with professional curiosity, those who ideologically oppose the “accepted explanation” of just about anything agree upon by “the liberals”, some who are trying to atone for their own “bad parenting”, others see themselves as champions of their faith. Lots of reasons.

  • Mary

    LIsa Diamond published her work on women. That is the most recent and valid (IMO)

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Zoe,

    It certainly can seem like a blindness on the part of NARTH to not see the Rekers disaster in the making. And I am troubled by their response.

    NARTH does seem to have a habit of keeping in positions of prominence those certain individuals who have rather peculiar histories or ideas.

    Schoenewolf is still an adviser even after embarrassing the organization by saying that Africans were better off as slaves in America than in the savage jungle. And though Berger was denounced for advocating peer abuse as a tool for enforcing gender conformity, he’s still there.

    I suspect that Rekers will remain as well. The little problem with erotic massage and touring Europe with a gay prostitute will just be ignored. Or, at least for now he is still showing as being on their Board.

    But, interestingly, they did take the immediate action of removing Arthur Goldberg when he was exposed as a convicted con-man. I’m not sure exactly what that says about their criteria for leadership.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    There’s more, a lot more I’m afraid. You see, Dr R edited a little tract not that long ago, which revealed his thinking. At least he’s consistent.

    This piece:

    The Christian World View of the Family

    Edited by Dr. George Rekers, Ph.D., Chairman; Jerry Regier, M.A.B.S., Co-Chairman; With contributions by members of the Family Committee of The Coalition on Revival; Dr. Jay Grimstead, General Editor; E. Calvin Beisner, M.A., Assistant to the General Editor

    9. We affirm that a man’s authority as head of his wife is delegated to him by God; that this means that his legitimate authority over his wife is limited by what God’s Word allows him; and that all authority is established by God and no one and no social institution has the right to exert any authority contrary to God’s laws or the bounds God has set for the man’s office in the family (Romans 13:1; Ephesians 5:22-23)….

    ….

    42. We affirm that sexual abuse and parents’ willfully depriving their children of shelter, clothing, food, sleep, or essential medical care, thus endangering their lives and physical health, should be treated as unlawful assault or attempted murder and the offenders punished accordingly by civil government and disciplined by the Church. We deny that the state has a right to impose unrealistic standards on families; that the so-called offenses of “emotional neglect,” “emotional abuse,” “educational neglect,” etc., which form the bulk of substantiated reports of “child abuse and neglect,” are in fact crimes against children; that the state has any right to administer criminal penalties or usurp custody in neglect cases except when a child’s life or physical health is obviously endangered; and that the state should ever administer criminal penalties or usurp custody in cases where the only accusation concerns mental health, since the state should not mandate what particular beliefs and attitudes are healthy or acceptable. We further deny that involuntary circumstances should ever be treated as a crime, and that even sinful families are helped more by the threat of removing their children rather than by prayer, godly instruction, and loving assistance.

    45. We affirm that Biblical spanking may cause temporary and superficial bruises or welts that do not constitute child abuse, but that proven brutality to a child resulting in permanent disfigurement or serious injury should be punished by law (Exodus 21:23,24; Proverbs 13:24; 22:15; 23:13,14)…..

    Temporary disfigurement is A-OK though. Just don’t break bones. Major ones, anyway. And any amount of psychological torture is fine.

    He told his “companion” that he was a “child psychologist”, and appears to have practiced as one. In view of Dr R’s propensity to ignore facts in favour of ideology, I’d be interested in what Warren thinks of this as a professor of psychology. Would it be safe to have this therapist near children in any capacity whatsoever?

    And what does that say about NARTH, and PFOX, and all the rest whose claims are largely based on what this man has written?

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

    Zoe – The devil is always in the details and I doubt Rekers and I would agree on what are “unrealistic standards on families.” I do think the state has a role to protect its child citizens when the parents fail to do so. Raging at children, even without physical aggression, might make it appropriate for the state to say a parent needs some help. That said, the law is not clear in many cases and most agencies err on the side of leniency. Witness the Phelps tribe in Kansas. I think those kids are being abused by the patriarchs and parents, but where are the protective services people?

    The other issue I want to discuss more is Rekers statements about Native Americans. Did any NA groups react to this? I am in disbelief that he said that without a firestorm. Schoenewolf did not advocate slavery in the present, he minimized it in the past. Rekers is advocating a public policy that would exclude entire groups based on groups averages on certain traits or behaviors. And yet there he sits on every board NARTH has.

  • Mary

    What’s bothersome to me as an ex gay (FLOABW) is that there is such presure to conform to the liberal perspective that our choices for leaders is very small. And of course, as in any group there will be the good and the bad. That’s every group. It’s just that when ONE gets highlighted out of so few, that poor light seems to shine on all of us who are “ex gay”. And it simply isn’t true.

    Men like Reker do not speak for people such as myself. He is ignorant, unwilling to learn about the lives of others (it seems), and perhaps unwilling to be honest with himself (I don’t know) Anyhow, I am eager to see how this plays out.

  • Teresa

    @Timothy,

    Thank you for the link to Gay Christian Network. I heartily agree that there is a paucity of research data or support for gay women. That’s been the way of the world on issues concerning both men and women since the beginning of time.

    I think I’ve been a little testy as of late concerning NARTH and Exodus. I quite agree that for most people involved in these groups hatred is not motivating them. I’m sure they truly are trying to help people. However, I think they often are very misguided. I’ll be a little more temperate in my language.

    @Mary,

    I think the study of Dr. Lisa Diamond has been misconstrued. As far as I understand (and I could be mistaken), she states that change for women is not at all willful, and sometimes against one’s will. Is that how you understand it, Mary?

    Following is a youtube link of Dr. Lisa Diamond and what she thinks about NARTH’s use of her study.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64A2HrvYdYQ

  • Mary

    I think her issue with Narth or any other group using her research is that they are using it to change others against their will or say that when a woman does not change it is because she is not trying hard enough.

    I think the result of her research is that women can and do change – she does not – nor does anyone else thus far – document what and how that change occurs.

    She documents that change occurs – that’s all.

  • Ann

    As far as I understand (and I could be mistaken), she states that change for women is not at all willful, and sometimes against one’s will.

    Teresa,

    It has been my observation and experience that any change in behavior comes with a willful decision based on personal values – change in feelings regarding desires, etc., if it does happen, comes either spontaniously or through safety in a friendship that develops over time. No one should be forced against their will to engage in any relationship.

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

    Teresa is right, the women in Diamond’s work reported change that seemed to happen to them.

    And in my work, I know a handful of women who were not seeking change but did so anyway without any therapy or desire to move in a different direction. Along with those women, I know some who sought change and found it, but I know more who sought change and did not find it to be as complete as they hoped.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Ann wrote:

    Is it fair to say that in some women feelings of desire for the opposite gender comes spontaniously whereas any change of behavior away from the same gender comes from a willful decision?

    No, I do not think that is true. The women I was referring to in my last comment were moving from same-sex to opposite sex attraction with no attempt on their part.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Ann,

    In discussing “change” it is not enough to discuss “away from”. That is, for all practical purposes, a meaningless discussion without any recognition of “towards”.

    Obviously not doing something – whether it be engaging in a specific sex act or wearing a cantaloupe as a hat – is by means of willful decision. But so what? Most every act (or conscious non-act) is by means of willful decision.

    For example, George Rekers spent decades (we presume) changing his “behavior away from the same gender”. And the very first time he hired a gay prostitute to give him erotic massage, we find that he had not “changed” at all.

    I think we err by equating a non-action (not engaging in a specific act) with movement.

    If I am on the side of the pool and I am choosing not to jump in, it doesn’t mean that I am any further from the pool. I’m not “changing” my location. I’m not inside watching TV and eating a sandwich. I’m right there by the pool.

    As I see it, the only interesting change is one that is a tangible change.

  • Mary

    We don’t know that Rekers did not engage in such acts previous to this event. Nor do we know what happens inside of his mind.

  • Mary

    Considering change – standing by the pool and not jumping in is the change

  • Mary

    For some.

  • http://zoe.brain.on.teh.net.au Zoe Brain

    Warren –

    And in my work, I know a handful of women who were not seeking change but did so anyway without any therapy or desire to move in a different direction.

    (Zoe puts up her hand)

    Look, I’m just so anomalous in so many ways I can’t possibly generalise from my own experience. Some people would deny that I’m female anyway. Objectively and biologically speaking, the best that can be said is that I’m more female than male. Psychologically, I fit the classic profile of a transsexual woman, about the only “normal” thing about me. (OK, I didn’t cross-dress before the change, that’s about the only unusual feature)(OK, so technically it’s GIDNOS not GID as I’m Intersexed, please let’s not be pedantic!)

    I was asexual before the change. Any attraction I had was lesbian. When young, I’d actually tried to make myself feel attracted to boys -I thought that was an essential part of being a girl, and I’d never heard of the words “homosexual” or “lesbian”. But it didn’t work.

    When I acquired a Libido (with a capital L) just before surgery, about 9 months after the change started, it wasn’t that I was attracted to guys, more a fascination. This wasn’t intellectual, it was instinctive. Animalistic even. From an objective viewpoint, it would be far better, and certainly much safer, if I were lesbian. I’m not though, and if I can’t be attracted to the love of my life, the mother of my child, there’s no other woman on Earth who could be remotely interesting to me.

    Women are supposed to be more gender fluid than men. I wish I was. Maybe I’m just afraid of being in a situation of unrequited attraction, because my partner’s straight too. We both wish the other were male!

    Warren, do you have any idea how disorientating it can be for a very staid, conservative, prim and proper person to have their sexual orientation change? Or more accurately, to acquire a sexual orientation, something they didn’t have before? Five years on, it’s still the only issue about the change that I haven’t completely internalised and dealt with.

    Not high on my list of priorities though, I’m rather busy being a parent, looking after elderly relatives, doing a PhD etc etc.

  • http://zoe.brain.on.teh.net.au Zoe Brain

    Warren:

    I think those kids are being abused by the patriarchs and parents, but where are the protective services people?”

    Scared off by Lawyers. Also, no-one wants Waco again, so the standard of proof required has to be quite high when dealing with an organisation, as opposed to an individual. The Westboro baptist compound is mildly fortified.

    The other issue I want to discuss more is Rekers statements about Native Americans. Did any NA groups react to this? I am in disbelief that he said that without a firestorm.

    It flew under the radar. NA people have few advocates, and few MSM groups reported what was said outside the GLBT press. I’m not sure that any did, in fact. I’ve found one story pre-scandal in the GLB blog of the Miami Herald.

    Were you aware of it before this all blew up?

    NBC Miami posted something on May 7th. I’ve not seen it taken up anywhere else.

    There’s another reason why I don’t think any NA groups want a fuss to be made over this. Because enough states already have laws banning adoptions by gay couples. None, as far as I know, have laws banning adoptions by NA ones. But if NA people make a fuss, then it’s possible such laws would be encouraged by Focus on the Family, NARTH etc. Rekers has a point, that the number of NA people with substance abuse problems etc is high, relative to other demographics. So if you believe that there is a “tante de sangria”, that individuals should be judged by attributes of others in their group, not on their own merits, then such laws are inevitable. Keeping a low profile, not disturbing somnolent canines seems wise.

    I confess my main interest is seeing what can be done for the patients he treated in the infamous UCLA “Feminine Boy” project, and afterwards. A much, much milder form – without the physical beatings – is practiced by Ken Zucker, a totally different man (inasmuch as he’s not evil). Even then, I can’t think that any therapy that results in anxiety attacks in children when they see the colour pink is ethically acceptable.

    Bradley has been in therapy now for eight months, and Carol says still, on the rare occasions when she cannot avoid having him exposed to girl toys, like when they visit family, it doesn’t go well.

    “It’s really hard for him. He’ll disappear and close a door, and we’ll find him playing with dolls and Polly Pockets and … the stuff that he’s drawn to,” she says.

    In particular, there is one typically girl thing — now banned — that her son absolutely cannot resist.

    “He really struggles with the color pink. He really struggles with the color pink. He can’t even really look at pink,” Carol says. “He’s like an addict. He’s like, ‘Mommy, don’t take me there! Close my eyes! Cover my eyes! I can’t see that stuff; it’s all pink!’ “

    But mentioning Zucker and Rekers in the same breath is like mentioning Chalk and Cheese. Zucker modifies his beliefs in accordance with facts.

    Warren, Rekers is still an accredited psychologist. Can something be done about initiating an investigation here? While one could give him the benefit of the doubt regarding his editorship of “The Christian World View of the Family”, and assume that like yourself, he could separate out religious conviction from professional behaviour, I think that in Dr Rekers case, we now how proof from multiple court cases that he cannot. I hope that he’s not done the harm I fear he has. I certainly think an investigation is warranted. I’m concerned that, not to put it too finely, he’s a few kangaroos short in the top paddock.

  • Teresa

    @Ann,

    I think Warren, you and I are saying pretty much the same thing concerning Dr. Lisa Diamond’s study.

    @All,

    Can we come to some agreement as to our common vocabulary about what we mean by ‘change’. I equate ‘change’ as having my attraction altered substantially (not minimally) or completely from homosexual to heterosexual … from women to men. I in no way (just me now, not others) equate ‘change’ to behavior modification. So, I agree with Timothy on this … I’m not in the same location by the pool (being attracted to women). Not jumping into the pool (pursuing women for a relationship) is modifying my behavior.

    However, I can also understand what Mary says about this. If I have acted out on my desires, and subsequently do not want to do that (that’s a change), and subsequently don’t act out (another change) … we’re left without a common base of understanding of our definitions … we have no common ground for discussion or no foundation to understand what scientific studies really mean. Perhaps, Warren can help us out with some sort of common vocabulary so that we’re not talking past each other.

    Final thought: Please Warren correct me here where I’m wrong, it appears that women as a group can experience more percentage of ‘change’ (substantial or complete alteration of sexual attraction) than men … some of that ‘change’ can be categorized as spontaneous. However, women throughout history have tended to be more secretive, afraid, taciturn about disclosing anything to do with sexuality. Often women lie about what’s going on sexually. Women have, sometimes often, throughout the centuries entered into marriage without any sexual attraction to there partner. Because biologically women are not the ‘active’ partner (so-to-speak) in the conjugal act, we often participate in sex without any physical enjoyment. Men cannot participate in the conjugal act without experiencing sexual pleasure.

    It has been my experience as a woman that attraction to other women is principally an emotional drive coupled with a sexual attraction that can diminish over time, but the emotional affectivity (redundant ?) remains. Can I generalize this to the whole, I cannot.

    I see sexuality as a continuum from 1 to 10 … with 5-1/2 being true ‘bi’. The further one is away from the center, the more one’s sexual attraction remains fixed (unalterable). People at 1,2,3 and those at 8,9,10 (1,2,3 = SSA and 8,9,10 = str8) will be unable to experience ‘change’ in sexual attraction.

    ————————–

    This is one of the best websites I have found concerning sexual identity, principally SSA, on the internet. Thank you Warren for providing the information you have, and the opportunity for all of us to participate (sometimes a little testily) in a much needed discussion concerning this topic.

  • Pingback: Rekers resigns from NARTH — Warren Throckmorton

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Ann – I’m not very comfy talking about the details of my sexual response on an open forum. Yes, I know, I’m supposed to be a scientist and have proper objectivity over such matters. But I’m a bit of a prude too, I’m afraid.

    As near as I can tell, I came equipped with all sorts of neural circuitry that lay dormant. I had reflexes – not just instincts – for actions that were probably psychologically blocked while my body looked male. And some were for actions that were physiologically impossible.

    When I was young, my father told me in a “man-to-man” talk (and how strange it feels to say that!) that all I had to do was relax and let things proceed naturally. My body would know what to do.

    It didn’t.

    Sex was always an intellectual exercise for me, something I did to please. No problems with the physiological response of erection, and certainly no problems with “premature ejaculation”. Quite the contrary, I could stay erect for hours, but was completely anorgasmic. It was nice, I liked it, just … I had to think about what I was doing all the time, I had no instincts for it.

    Love is a powerful aphrodisiac, and making love to the woman I loved was great. Just … intellectual.

    It wasn’t until 9 months after the change started that I experienced what most people do in their teens, and it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks.

    I was giving some after-hours tuition to a tutorial group. One of them was an Olympic gymnast, and he came in wearing jeans and a singlet, still faintly whiffing of fresh sweat and soap after a shower after training.

    I could hardly take my eyes off him. It took all my powers of concentration to talk about the matter in hand, he was just so…. yummy. When within a metre or so, so I got the effect of the pheremones, I felt all the stereotypical signs of sexual arousal in a female. Erect nipples, the works.

    It rather shook me. I never thought I’d be straight. I was happily lesbian. Other girls were safe, I could relate to them, men were like another species, and a dangerous one at that.

    After that experience, all the stuff that I thought was exaggerated, poetic license, all the stuff I’d read about “electric shocks” and “fireworks” suddenly made sense. The first time I got kissed by a guy – and that was post-op, there was no way I’d be involved in any sexual contact with an ambiguous body – I reacted exactly like a 15 year old girl. At least, that’s what he told me. And “reacted” is right, my body did know what to do, I was just along for the ride.

    It’s embarrassing to me as a scientist, as a rational human being, to realise that I have just as much control over my sexual response as a lab rat undergoing lourdosis. Stroke a female lab rat’s back, she’ll raise her rump and move her tail aside preparing to be mounted. No conscious thought involved, pure reflex.

    Of course I can decide who I get to that stage with. And I can over-ride my instincts with actions. But I can’t consciously control the arousal, the erectile tissue response, the vaginal lubrication, the flushing once things start happening. I hope that I am never in a situation where it happens and I don’t want it to, I have enough psychological baggage to deal with without the trauma of rape. I suspect that if I was sexually assaulted, there would be no involuntary sex response involved. I’ve talked with rape survivors though, and sometimes there is – that can be particularly traumatic for them. I’d rather forego the experiment.

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

    Teresa: I think there is evidence to support much of what you are saying. I am grading papers now and can’t get into details but I think the differences between men and women are driven to some degree by the different investments in reproduction as well as the social expectations of women.

  • Mary

    but I think the differences between men and women are driven to some degree by the different investments in reproduction as well as the social expectations of women

    Totally agree wbout this one

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Teresa wrote:

    Because biologically women are not the ‘active’ partner (so-to-speak) in the conjugal act, we often participate in sex without any physical enjoyment. Men cannot participate in the conjugal act without experiencing sexual pleasure.

    It has been my experience as a woman that attraction to other women is principally an emotional drive coupled with a sexual attraction that can diminish over time, but the emotional affectivity (redundant ?) remains.

    Looking back on my own experience – and the fact that my partner and I still live each other just as much now as when we married… I think you’re right, Teresa.

    I really hate being a stereotype. But yes, even when I had a masculine body, my whole sexual response was so feminine it was a cliche, wasn’t it?

    *SIGH* I hate it when that happens.

  • Teresa

    <blockquotebut I think the differences between men and women are driven to some degree by the different investments in reproduction as well as the social expectations of women

    As Timothy said there is very little data regarding women with SSA. I have a theoretical hypothesis that many women are ‘bi’ … many more women than men. I, also, think that the ‘attachment disruption’ theory does fit women far more than men.

    Questions, questions, questions: does the drive to want a child (and be protected) override a woman’s concern about attraction (in that way) to a man? Have there been far more lesbians throughout the centuries than what we think, but women are better at hiding it? Did many lesbians enter convents when there were no other occupation choices and hide out there? Because of the choices offered to women now to chart their own courses without the necessity of men … does this explain the heightened awareness and the ‘coming out’ of many lesbians in the last year or two?

    I think Janelle Hallman’s book, The Heart of Female Same Sex Attraction is still the best work of lesbianism that I’ve read incorporating some varied research footnotes. Being a same-sex attracted woman, I find that there is some common ground with SSA men, but often we’re a world apart in many, many ways. I guess if I had more of a maternal drive, I could have hid out in a marriage (with my SSA) and masked my sexual responses and did what lots of women did throughout history … do what was expected of us.

  • Teresa

    Sorry about the previous comment. I’m trying to do the quote thing.

    Warren said: ” but I think the differences between men and women are driven to some degree by the different investments in reproduction as well as the social expectations of women”

    As Timothy said there is very little data regarding women with SSA. I have a theoretical hypothesis that many women are ‘bi’ … many more women than men. I, also, think that the ‘attachment disruption’ theory does fit women far more than men.

    Questions, questions, questions: does the drive to want a child (and be protected) override a woman’s concern about attraction (in that way) to a man? Have there been far more lesbians throughout the centuries than what we think, but women are better at hiding it? Did many lesbians enter convents when there were no other occupation choices and hide out there? Because of the choices offered to women now to chart their own courses without the necessity of men … does this explain the heightened awareness and the ‘coming out’ of many lesbians in the last year or two?

    I think Janelle Hallman’s book, The Heart of Female Same Sex Attraction is still the best work of lesbianism that I’ve read incorporating some varied research footnotes. Being a same-sex attracted woman, I find that there is some common ground with SSA men, but often we’re a world apart in many, many ways. I guess if I had more of a maternal drive, I could have hid out in a marriage (with my SSA) and masked my sexual responses and did what lots of women did throughout history … do what was expected of us.

  • Teresa

    @All:

    I also have a theory that SSA men and women are at the high end of IQ … most being 130+. So, if this were true, most boys and girls suffering from attachment disruption when young wouldn’t respond in the same way (being around 100 IQ) as those with significantly higher IQ. The brain processes that disruption (attachment, sex abuse, etc.) in far, far different ways.

    Just a thought.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Teresa: What attachment disruption?

  • Mary

    I probably would have (in another time and place) been married and skipped over the whole SSA thing, too.

  • Mary

    I don’t know about the IQ theory. Many geniuses are not SSA. I do believe that people who have had or have SSA can be more sensitive to many things.

  • Teresa

    Warren,

    OK, thanks for the additional prodding. I’m speaking of the attachment that develops maternally for a little girl to her mother from early months ’til about the age of 2-3. If that is broken in some manner, I think (just me) that can be a major contributing factor for SSA development. I know you’ve cited studies that dispel that theory, but I’m not convinced they apply to women … just men (and fathers).

    Am I wrong? Please disabuse me of my false notions, if so. I see this issue, along with sexual abuse, as pretty huge factors in my SSA.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Teresa,

    I know of no studies that show that SSA men or women are disproportionately genius.

    I do know that if we define “genius” as being those who contribute to society in a world-changing way, history does have a disproportionate number whose primary sexual attraction was to the same sex. Some of History’s Biggest Names.

    But I don’t think we can assume that this is necessarily due to increased IQ. It may simply be that these individuals were less encumbered with spouse and children to provide for than were an equally bright heterosexual. It’s hard to know from our vantage point.


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