My Space, that is. Dr. Julie Harren, NARTH president-elect has launched a MySpace page extolling her Homosexuality 101 video. The description reads:
Committed to educating the church and the world on the origins of homosexuality, we believe that freedom is possible! Although the two largest schools of thought on the issue today are that individuals are either (1)born gay or (2)choose to be so, we advocate that both views are incorrect. Based on scientific and psychological research along with hundreds of testimonies from ex-gays and supporting therapists, we support a developmental origin. Please see below for further information, including a video presentation on our perspective and other available research and resources from the following sites:
NARTH, her Homosexuality 101 site and Exodus are then listed. I take issue with the assertion that “the two largest schools of thought on the issue today are that individuals are either (1)born gay or (2)choose to be so…” There are many researchers who believe prenatal forces are at work to a greater or lesser degree in sexual orientation, but I cannot think of one researcher of any stripe who believes people choose to be same-sex attracted. Instead, Harren offers reparative drive theory as a developmental alternative; one which is based “on scientific and psychological research.”
Regular readers will not be surprised to read that I do not think research provides basis for confidence in any theory as settled truth about the causes of same-sex attraction. Simply asserting that the theory makes sense to some is not new and, by itself, might not prompt a post. What is troubling to me about this site is the use of John 8:32 (“Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free…”) underneath the video clip of Dr. Harren’s Homosexuality 101. Using (misusing) this Scripture sets just the kind of tone I believe continues to be a problem in the Evangelical world regarding homosexuality – unsupported theory set forth as fact. The presentation of the video and the Scripture, not so subtly, suggest that since the teacher is Christian, then the teaching about homosexuality on this video is “truth” which will, when heard or believed, set one free. I am persuaded via my conversations with ex-gays and ex-ex-gays that the promise of freedom from homosexual attraction figures prominently in the frustration many same-sex attracted Christians experience in current sexual identity ministry.
UPDATE: A reader alerted me that Dr. Harren has removed the reference to John 8:32 as a caption to her video on the MySpace page.
This is a question often debated among therapists in situations where an identifiable potential partner can be identified. For instance, here is a case where a husband’s sexual activities will be made a part of an action by an ex-wife where the husband may have (alleged by the ex-wife) infected her with the virus.
If you were a friend of this couple and you knew one of them had HIV, would you tell the other? If you were their marriage counselor? Recently, on the BoxTurtleBulletin blog, Daniel Gonzales said that HIV status should never be disclosed. His advice was in contrast to advice given on a gay dating website (although I don’t fully agree with the advice columnist either) Essentially, the question posed by the scenario was this: If a friend knows the HIV+ status of someone who might be a dating or sex partner, should the knowing friend warn the unsuspecting friend? The gay dating website published advice suggesting that the friend should be warned. Daniel said the unknowing friend should not have been told.
I disagree with Daniel. I would probably inform a friend about much less, if I knew it. And certainly in this case, I believe that such disclosures should be made where there is a clearly identified partner. I sometimes link to Box Turtle Bulletin when Jim and the gang discuss research since he often provides thoughtful commentary and analysis of research on gay related issues. However, I strongly disagree here. While I do not think that HIV status should always be disclosed, and I am sensitive to the issue of stigma, but, in a case like this, I cannot understand why privacy should trump safety. I do not believe it does.
UPDATE: Jim Burroway posted a lengthy response to the dust-up over the advice on his blog regarding HIV+ disclosure. I still disagree and left a comment about it there:
Bottom line, if I knew two friends who might hook up and I knew one of them had a disease that could be spread via intimate contact, I would tell my unsuspecting friend as well as the friend who had the condition that I was going to do so. Sure, I might have to deal with fall out; but I believe I might have to deal with a different kind of fall out if I say nothing.
Today’s Christian Post has an article by Lillian Kwon regarding recent responses to the Annals of Internal Medicine article regarding MRSA among gay men. Yours truly is quoted:
While Throckmorton believes it’s good to give warning to groups at greater risk of infection, he said the latest study to him is “just a warning about sexual purity” in general.
Referencing a comment made on his blog, Throckmorton said, “When you single out one group, the unintended consequence is people in other groups would say ‘it’s not a health hazard for me’ when it’s the behavior that’s the issue, not the social group identified with.”
The discussion on this issue has been vigorous and I hope helpful to inform an accurate picture of the situation.
First, the Donnie McClurkin kerfuffle and now the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell endorsement. That is not a sentence, but I’ll bet a few Barack Obama supporters muttered that and more after it was recently learned that Rev. Caldwell’s church promoted Metanoia (ex-gay) Ministry on it’s church website. In a Politico.com article, Rev. Caldwell said this about the ministry:
By Monday, Caldwell’s church, Windsor Village United Methodist in Houston, scrubbed its Web site of any reference to the gay conversion program, Metanoia Ministry.
In a Politico interview Tuesday, Caldwell said his 14,000-member church – one of the largest United Methodist congregations in the country – is not affiliated with Metanoia.
“I got to tell you, this is going to sound real stupid, but I didn’t know it was on our website,” Caldwell said. “I was surprised and embarrassed by it. I’m embarrassed from the standpoint that I should have known. We have 120 ministries at the church. You can’t be on top of everything.”
When asked if he opposed such programs, Caldwell said: “It’s not a ministry of the church. It is not supported financially by the church. It is not located at the church. That is pretty much where I am with it.”
The Google cache of that website is here. I have written Barbara Hicks to find out if she still is affiliated with Metanoia and how the ministry functioned. Rev. Caldwell’s statements are curious in light of the Metanoia webpage. The webpage looks and sounds like the reader is to get the impression the ministry is a part of the church.
UPDATE: The cache has been removed but here is a saved web capture and a pdf file of the Metanoia Ministry and the Windsor Avenue church.
After the San Francisco Chronicle printed an article linking MRSA with homosexual zip codes in San Francisco and Boston, the Unversity professors behind the original study are in the New York Times clarifying the intent and meaning of their remarks. See this article and let’s continue the discussion…