Only the gay die young? Part 9 – The Camerons disturbing views

I thought I was done talking about the Camerons. I was wrong. Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin has a post of interest both at his blog and at Exgaywatch about an article in the Family Research Institute’s (the Camerons’ non-profit) newsletter from 1999. Although old, it is a very disturbing article and due to Paul Cameron’s recent letter to me, relevant to the recent series of posts on the Camerons research.

The Cameron article from the March 1999 issue of his newsletter is titled “Gays in Nazi Germany” and leads off with this question:

How did the Nazis deal with homosexuals? This question is partially answered by Rudolf Hoss — who was in charge of some of these decisions — in a recently translated German book…so the real issue for Hoss and his Nazi collaborators was how to “control” those addicted to homosexuality. Since the Nazi regime could get away with just about anything it wanted shy of execution to suppress homosexual activity, its experience provides some insight about the “containability” of homosexuality, at least under a dictatorship.

For those who do not know who Rudulph Hoss was, you can see this Wikipedia entry. You will need a strong stomach to read even the brief excerpt of his approach to killing millions as the Commandant at Auschwitz. As incredible as it may seem, Cameron actually appears to be deriving lessons about the causes and “cures” of homosexuality from the memoirs of Rudolph Hoss. In fact, he says:

These experiences put the lie to the whole “born that way” claim or the notion that one’s sexuality is fixed after puberty. Clearly, homosexuals could and did “convert” at least some of those with whom they were housed and at a sufficient level for Hoss to consider it an “epidemic.”

I suppose I could be “cured” of a lot of things if I thought “my problem” would get me tortured or killed. Cameron quoted Hoss about the Nazi vision of “rehabilitation.”

On the subject of “curing” homosexuals, Hoss relates that some “were put to work in the clay pit of the… brick factory, separated from the other prisoners. This was hard work and everyone had to produce a certain quota… regardless of the weather… [this had] visible results with… the male prostitutes who wanted to earn their living in an easy way and absolutely avoid even the lightest work…. The strict camp life and the hard work quickly reeducated this type. Most of them worked very hard and took great care not to get into trouble so that they could be released as soon as possible. They also avoided associating with those afflicted with this depravity and wanted to make it known that they had nothing to do with homosexuals. In this way countless rehabilitated young men could be released without having a relapse…. Some men were homosexual because they became weary of women through overindulgence or because they looked for new highs in their parasitic life. These men could also be reeducated and turned away from their vice. But those who… had become addicted to their vice could not be reeducated…. they were slaves to their vice…. Since they would not or could not give up their vice, they knew that they would never be free again. This most effective mental pressure accelerated the physical decay in these sensitive characters.” (my emphasis)

As I read this article, I kept thinking there has got to be some disclaimer here, some expression of regret for the treatment these poor souls, but I did not find any. Note Hoss’ use of the term “parasitic life” to describe homosexuality. Cameron reprised this term in his response to my criticisms of his recent report when he said:

A larger question goes begging in this discussion. Our methods and credentials are being impugned primarily because we have come to believe — on the basis of empirical research — that homosexual practice is injurious to society. Further, that we as a culture will pay a stiff penalty for elevating homosexual expression to the status of a powerful ‘right.’ So I ask the following question: Is it fair to give those who live parasitic lives ‘Super Rights?’(my emphasis)

When I first read “parasitic lives,” I thought what an oddly disparaging term to describe ideological opponents. Is his recent use of the term a coincidence, or did he learn something from Commandant Hoss? The article concludes with this warning.

We can certainly feel sorry for those who are so trapped by their vice that they cannot get free. On the other hand, if society were forced to accommodate the behavior of hardcore homosexuals, how many other lives would be damaged, perhaps irreparably? True compassion dictates that we not only attempt to keep those who are bent on self-destruction from reaching their demise, but more importantly, that we protect others who might get caught in the same wake of misfortune.

So what are we to learn, Dr. Cameron? We do not live in a dictatorship but are we to learn that homosexuals are “containable?” Jim Burroway’s post draws out past statements of Cameron that are shockingly in sync with this 1999 article. This article by Ward Harkavy is also good for more background. Suffice to say that Dr. Cameron is not simply ideologically opposed to homosexuality, he is fixated on “solutions” that I find abhorrent. I call on fellow social conservatives who still refer to the Camerons’ work to take a hard look at these posts and reflect on whether someone with such extreme animosity could possibly approach social science data with sufficient objectivity to be trusted.

One side fits all, Part 2 – Evangelicals in the classroom

Yesterday, I posted about what I view as a one-sided article in the American Counseling Association newsletter about sexual identity and religion. I came across this article, now a couple of days old, on a related topic, specifically perceived viewpoint discrimination in social work schools.

I have heard similar things from some of our alums in grad school. They have described a subtle but real pressure to simply avoid discussions of religious and value conflicts in counseling.

Counseling Today article about sexual identity and religion. One side fits all?

The official newsletter of the American Counseling Association is called Counseling Today. Unfortunately, only members can get it online so I cannot provide links to the article I want to discuss. In the April, 2007 issue, a pastoral psychotherapist from DC, Stacy Notaras Murphy published an article titled “Strange Bedfellows: Religion and sexual identity in the counseling office.” I have asked Counseling Today for permission to reprint and will link to a copy of it if I hear a positive response. For now, I will have to include excerpts.

The article purports to be an examination of how people deal with religious identity and sexual identity. From early in the piece:

Most counselors agree that sexual identity is a major aspect of personality development. While more in the field are recognizing that spiritual identity informs personality development as well, the intersection of the two hasn’t received much attention. But the connections may seem more natural when both are considered under the umbrella of multicultural competency.

I certainly agree that training programs outside of religious institutions are rarely helping counselors understand the role of religious identity in integrating a sexual identity. In fact, one of the counselors quoted, Michael Kocet, agreed when he said:

“I would like to see AGLBIC [Association for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Issues in Counseling] and ASERVIC [Association for Spritual, Ethical, Religious and Value Issues in Counseling] partnering more on how to integrate their two competency models into effective practice with GLBT clients,” he says. “Right now, I think they’re very much treated separately, most likely unintentionally. I think more research should be done on that; it’s an untapped area within the GLBT community.”

I don’t think it is untapped, but I do think counselors are often confused about how to work ethically and helpfully with clients for whom sexuality and religious faith are important and/or in conflict. The AGLBIC competencies do not mention religion. There is no guidance from that group on how to handle religious conflicts. The ASERVIC competencies on the other hand do provide relevant guidance, especially the following ones:

Competency 5 – The professional counselor can demonstrate sensitivity and acceptance of a variety of religious and/or spiritual expressions in client communication.

Competency 6 – The professional counselor can identify limits of her/his understanding of a client’s religious or spiritual expression, and demonstrate appropriate referral skills and generate possible referral sources.

Competency 7 – The professional counselor can assess the relevance of the religious and/or spiritual domains in the client’s therapeutic issues.

Competency 8 – The professional counselor is sensitive to and receptive of religious and/or spiritual themes in the counseling process as befits the expressed preference of each client.

Competency 9 – The professional counselor uses a clients’ religious and/or spiritual beliefs in the pursuit of the clients’ therapeutic goals as befits the clients’ expressed preference.

Note especially competencies 7-9. Religious beliefs are relevant to clients’ therapeutic goals and should reflect clients’ expressed preference.

Now back to the article and I will cut to the chase. The article conspicuously avoided any mention of religious beliefs that view homosexual behavior in a negative manner. The only alternative presented was to adopt a religious identity that is gay affirming. Note the organization presented to counselors as “Sprituality-based Resources” to such clients:

Counseling Today, April, 2007

Courage is the only group listed that promotes a traditional sexual ethic. The ASERVIC competency does not call on counselors to endorse or impose a brand of religiousity on clients, rather to use “a clients’ religious and/or spiritual beliefs in the pursuit of the clients’ therapeutic goals as befits the clients’ expressed preference.” What if a client’s expressed preference is for a religious view that is not represented by any group on that list? Then what?

Long time readers will know that the sexual identity therapy framework works within the values and beliefs of the client so I am not advocating for one side here. In fact, what I am saying is that one side will not fit all, even if the exclusion is prefaced by claims of multicultural competence.

UPDATE: I now have permission to post the article. The staff at Counseling Today provided a legible version of the article — thanks to them for that.

Only the gay die young? Part 8 – Loose ends

I have read the Camerons replies to me in this ongoing discussion and have only a few more things to say.

Regarding Paul Cameron’s letter, I have very little to say. It does not appear to me that he really addressed any of my critiques. Instead, he convinced me that he has his mind made up about those who lead as he put it “parasitic lives.” He had a lot to say about his two quests in life, one being the public health consequences of second hand smoke and the other being the menace of what you could call second-hand-gay (we are all doomed because a small percentage of people are attracted to the same sex). If that doesn’t make sense, you’ll have to read his letter to me – but then again, that might not help either.

Kirk Cameron’s note was more substantial but I still need to see their data before I will comment more on the Denmark component of their study. Kirk Cameron says the paper is in peer review and so he cannot make the data available. When (if) the study is published, then I will review it further. He had various replies to Dr. Frisch’s critiques as well, none of which were especially convincing to me. As I read through the letter, it seemed like some fast dancing was going on. Here are examples:

As I will explain, you have apparently misread or misunderstood aspects of our methodology. Further, the ‘whole story’ about our research is not fully contained in the EPA paper, but rather in a series of separate, but related articles, each addressing a slightly different topic. Be that as it may, I do find it a bit of a double standard that you would implicitly criticize our use of the media and internet as a forum for dissemination of new information, when your blogsite is not, as far as I can tell, subject to any scholarly oversight (beside your own).

Ok, so I am supposed to read your mind? You have bits and pieces of justifications in other papers but since I don’t have them I can’t know what you intend. And Kirk compares a blog to a news release?

Yes, our estimates of homosexual longevity are preliminary and may change with additional data. But are they necessarily false or unreliable? No.

So when the news releases say dogmatically straights outlive gays by 20 years, this is “dissemination of new information?” So which is it? New information or preliminary data?

Kirk C. spends much time attempting to make an analogy (benchmark) between estimates of longevity for the general population and estimates for gays. However, one can take a representative sample of a known population, but using the same methods with an unknown population may not lead to the same results. I am not convinced that he has properly sampled homosexuals (or their deaths) in order to satisfy the assumptions needed to make the analogy reasonable.

And then there is this deflection:

Plus, there is the issue of nonrespondents. For the Canadian study this was relatively low — around 20% — but clearly still large enough to dramatically change the prevalence estimates were non-response correlated with a concealed homosexual orientation. This did not prevent Statistics Canada from asserting publicly that only 1.7% of the Canadian population was bisexual or homosexual. Were they professionally negligent in doing so? And what about the research teams from Great Britain, France, and the U.S. that have also reported low estimates of homosexual prevalence despite even larger refusal rates? Are you also criticizing them in the same vein, or is it only us in whom you have no confidence?

Statistics Canada nor have other researchers made something out of their numbers beyond the estimates of prevalence. The Camerons have read into what is essentially a black box and promoted their guesses in the press as facts. I personally don’t care what the facts turn out to be. However, I get the feeling that the Camerons do.

Unless something else comes up, this is probably part last.