Ex-gay Donnie McClurkin to tour with Barack Obama

The New York Times political blog (prob a must read for about the next year) is reporting that Barack Obama will woo religious conservatives with a gospel music concert series. I wonder if there will be any GLB fallout from Donnie McClurkin’s presence?

I have no interest in Obama as a candidate, but if I was in South Carolina, I would go. Can I get a witness!?

UPDATE: Some fallout has come from the announcement. Obama has distanced himself from McClurkin’s views. Now gay activists are calling on Obama to drop McClurkin.

Maine school board votes to allow birth control in middle school

This story has been all over the media but I wanted to post it as a starter for discussion. The link leads to a NPR discussion a bit more in depth than the AP reports.

I can think of several reasons why this could backfire. I do not believe middle school kids are likely to be consistent in taking the pills but may have a false sense of safety. We know kids aren’t very consistent in implementation of most birth control methods so I suspect this will not have much effect on births and inasmuch as sexual activity increases, so might the incidence of STDs. Seems to me the best birth control method at this age is the presence of an adult. Maybe the school board could spend some money on adult supervision. I do not know what the fact on the ground are there but I sure hope this doesn’t catch on elsewhere.

GOP meet and greet at Values Voter Summit: Open Forum

This weekend the Values Voters Summit will look for some consolidation of views surrounding a candidate to offset Rudy and defeat Hillary in 2008. The New Yorks Times covers these expectations and what is stake for various suitors for the social conservative vote.

Feel free to post links, comments and observations from weekend coverage here.

Rudy Giuliani’s speech may have helped his status with social conservatives…or maybe not – 10-20-07 – The straw poll shows conservative support split between Romney and Huckabee.

Stanton Jones comments on AP sexual orientation cause article

As suspected, Stan Jones was mischaracterized by Lindsay Tanner’s article on genetic contributions to homosexuality. He wrote this explanation to me in an email earlier this evening and is reproduced with his permission.

Regarding Lindsay Tanner’s Associated Press story titled: Study Seeks Genetic Links to Being Gay and elsewhere:

It is unfortunate when through misunderstandings or miscommunications we do not recognize our own views in press reports. Such is the case here. Ms. Tanner describes my views about the genetic research going on in Chicago in the following way:

“Jones said [1] his results suggest biology plays only a minor role in sexual orientation, and [2] that researchers seeking genetic clues generally have a pro-gay agenda that will produce biased results.”

This is extremely disconcerting, as both clauses (my numbers added) in this sentence are misunderstandings of what I was trying to express to Ms. Tanner in my interview with her three weeks ago.

First [1], I did not say that our results from our recently released study of change in sexual orientation indicate low biological or genetic contribution to causation of homosexual orientation. I tried to express to her that the results of our study, in my opinion, say nothing about causation of homosexual orientation. In fact, my memory is that I complained about a conservative columnist who had, based on rumors about our study, declared (erroneously) that our study proved that homosexual orientation is a choice. Apart from our recently released study, however, my read of the scientific literature on causation, expressed in print in a number of places for the last 15 years, is that biology likely does play a role in causation, though less of a role than the man-on-the-street thinks (“it’s like eye color”). So I did make cautious comments about biological causation, but she seemed to draw the conclusion that I was speaking from the results of our study, which I was not.

Causation is likely multivariate and idiosyncratic, including biological factors. I actually applauded good research on the various factors that contribute to the etiology of sexual orientation, and expressed positive anticipation of hearing of the results of this genetic study. I expressed one particular concern about this particular genetic study based on accounts I had read in the media as follows:

That by this study concentrating on pre/self-selected subpopulations selected for higher probabilities of biological factors in causation, the importance of biological factors for the whole population of homosexual persons may be exaggerated because of the uncertain relationship of the study’s subpopulations to that broader population.

Second [2], I emphasized in my interview with Tanner that a lot of good science is done by gay and gay-affirming researchers, and that we hoped to be treated with the same respect that we hoped we demonstrated to good researchers regardless of their ideological leanings. Obviously, however, the values of the researcher interpreters influence where you go with the interpretations of the findings. My concern in this area is that implications of our research be drawn cautiously and with circumspection. Several of the comments in the article itself indicate the way people are willing to jump forward with interpretations of the implications of research.

In Dr. Sanders’s response in the article to my views as represented through Ms. Tanner, he said “We do not have a predetermined point we are trying to prove. . . . We are trying to pry some of nature’s secrets loose with respect to a fundamental human trait.” Anyone who reads our book will find that we also did not have a predetermined point we were trying to prove. We had met people who claimed to have changed, but were open to findings that this change was frequent or infrequent, and also that claimed change was transitory and unsatisfyingly complicated for the participants. Our commitment was and is to reporting straightforwardly what our research population reported to us. Good science can never result when people are trying to create sermon illustrations for pre-determined positions.

Information about the book in question, Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Sexual Orientation Change (InterVarsity Press), is available at the IVPress website. Click on the “AACC Address” link for a 13-page paper summary of the study.

Stanton L. Jones

Provost and Professor of Psychology

Wheaton College

Should a pro-life voter prefer Hillary to Rudy?

Yesterday, I posted the beginning of an interview with Dr. Paul Kengor on the religious views of Hillary Clinton and her abortion policy. Today, I post part two of this interview by discussing other Barack Obama and what a head to head contest between Hillary and Rudy would mean for abortion politics. Go to the end of the post for links to all interviews in this series. Regular readers of this blog will note a pro-life emphasis on this interview. This reflects both my viewpoint as well as an important aspect of the upcoming presidential race. The question which titles this post is already being hotly debated among social conservatives and is a topic to which I will return in coming posts.

THROCKMORTON: Currently second in the polls, Barack Obama could be included in this category of choice Christian, correct? What are his religious leanings and is he of the same cloth as Hillary on abortion?

KENGOR: Yes, that is correct. The degree to which Obama matches Hillary is so striking as to seem almost coordinated, from the way his faith influences his stance on certain “social-justice” economic issues to the way he distances his faith from the rights of the unborn. Both Obama and Hillary seem to have nearly identical strategies for trying to win the “values voter” in 2008. Abortion will be their biggest hurdle.

THROCKMORTON: Is there a pro-life Democrat in the current field?

KENGOR: As usual, no. It is a tragedy what has happened to the Democratic Party. Democrats get angry when their party is described as the “Party of Death” because of where it stands on these life issues, but they’ve done very little to try to change the label. (By the way, “death” here refers to issues like abortion and embyronic research, not war, since presidents from both parties send troops into combat.) My Catholic Democrat grandparents and aunts and uncles are no doubt rolling over in their graves. In fact, the children of all of those relatives, by and large, are Republicans.

THROCKMORTON: On the pro-life side, activist Randall Terry recently asserted that Hillary would be preferable to Rudy for the pro-life voter. How do you respond to that theory?

KENGOR: This coincides with my last answer. While the Democrat Party is being labeled the Party of Death, the Republican Party has become the Party of Life. A President Rudy Giuliani would change that. Pro-life Republicans find that unacceptable. The Republican Party would no longer be able to claim moral superiority on life issues.

THROCKMORTON: You have noted that Clinton would have a clear litmus test on abortion whereas Giuliani might not do so. In a head to head contest, is it accurate to think that Clinton be the better candidate for a pro-life voter?

KENGOR: It would be impossible for Hillary Clinton to be the better pro-life candidate. That doesn’t and can’t equate. There is no candidate more strident than Hillary Clinton on abortion. Period. The voting record makes that perfectly clear. She scores a perfect 100% from NARAL and a 0% from National Right to Life. A President Hillary Clinton who is good for pro-lifers? That would be a more amazing conversion than Saul on the Road to Damascus. The Catholic Church would need to investigate that as a certifiable miracle.

THROCKMORTON: Rudy Giuliani has promised to nominate strict original intent justices to the Supreme Court. Do you believe he would keep his word?

KENGOR: I think he probably would. But there is far more to the life issue than nominating judges. How would he respond once forced to consider supporting federal funding for embyronic research, or when it came to deciding whether to support the various “population” programs pushed by global abortion activists at the U.N.?

Thanks again, Paul for your insights. I highly recommend Paul’s books on Reagan, Bush and Clinton.

Past posts in this series:

New Book Explores God and Hillary Clinton

More on God and Hillary Clinton: An Interview with Historian Paul Kengor

Hillary Clinton vs. Rudy Giuliani: A Pro-Life Dilemma?

God and Hillary Clinton, Part 4 – Pro-choice Christians?