Ex-gay Therapist Says He Changes Gay Brains; Michael Bailey Says Prove It

Recently, on the Joni Show, ex-gay therapist Jerry Mungadze said his therapy helps rewire the brains of gay clients. Listen (see RWW for transcript):

If you want the full context, go to this segment on the Joni Show and hear the rest.
Mungadze did not say how he accomplished this or how he tested it. His website mentions neurotherapy but we are not given many specifics.
Being aware that Michael Bailey at Northwestern University has challenged ex-gay therapists to send clients to his lab for brain scans to assess change in sexual arousal patterns. I asked him if he was open to issuing the same challenge to Mungadze. As I expected he agreed enthusiastically. Essentially, the challenge requires that Mungadze send a client to his lab before and after therapy to see if sexual arousal patterns have changed. Mungadze can invite the press or any other observers if he wants to. Bailey and I have discussed this for several years and made these offers to others. Thus far, no one has taken him up on the offer. I wonder if Mungadze will.

Update on the Sovereign Grace Abuse Case

On May 29, plaintiffs filed a request to reconsider the dismissal of claims in the Sovereign Grace abuse case.  Plaintiffs are alleging a conspiracy on the part of Sovereign Grace leaders which, if granted, would allow the presentation of claims relating to that claims. Read the entire motion here.
A helpful summary can be found here.
A leading advocacy group formed out of the Catholic church abuse scandal has spoken out in condemnation of Christian leaders who have come to the defense of C. J. Mahaney, founder of the Sovereign Grace network. David Clohessy said the public stance of the ministers who defend the accused send a chilling message to the victims of abuse and may keep others from coming forward.
Related post:
The Sovereign Grace Abuse Scandal

Nigeria's House of Representatives Passes Gay Ban

Nigeria’s version of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed the Nigerian House of Representatives. Reports conflict over the immediate future of the bill. The AP reports that the bill goes to the President for signature, while others indicate that the bill will go to the Senate first.
According to the AP, the bill bans marriages or civil unions whether in a church or not. Any public displays of homosexuality will be punished. Penalties range from 10-14 years depending on offense. In the Muslim areas of the country, gays could face death by stoning. Human rights workers expect a court challenge.
It is difficult to say what effect the Nigerian action will have across Africa, most notably in Uganda where the Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been on the Parliament’s list of business to come for months.
Here is the text of the bill as of July, 2011.  The Senate passed essentially this version in November, 2011 and, according to the AP, the version passed by the House is the same bill.
Related articles:
Nigeria moves to criminalize same-sex unions
Senate passed version of bill
American Anti-Gay Campaign in Africa Opposes “Fictitious Sexual Rights”

The Sovereign Grace Ministries Scandal

I have only recently learned about the lawsuit alleging wide-spread child abuse at Sovereign Grace Ministries, a neo-Calvinist denomination based in MD.  Check here for local coverage of the lawsuit, much of which was dismissed earlier this month.

I don’t know what to make of this yet, as I am still reading about it. However, the story is pitting some evangelical heavy weights against each other.
Christianity Today is covering this scandal and notes that Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Justin Taylor, and Ligon Duncan have come to the defense of SGM founder C.J. Mahaney.  On the other side, supporting those who allege abuse, are Rachel Held Evans, Scot McKnight and Liberty University professor Boz Tchividjian.
For summaries of the situation, the following sites seem to have good coverage.
Rachel Held Evans
SGM Survivors
Internet Monk (Update)
Wartburg Watch
World Magazine
Christianity Today
Given the seriousness of the allegations and the notoriety of the those who are taking sides, this set of events could be the foundation of a major disruption in the evangelical world.

David Barton Debunks Himself Regarding the Aitken Bible

On May 16, David Garrison, professor at Ohio Christian University, hosted David Barton to discuss “Jefferson Lies, the Founding Fathers, and Academic Elites.” Guess who the academic elites are?
Barton spent about an hour misrepresenting history and the position of my book with Michael Coulter, Getting Jefferson Right. Apparently, in June I will get a chance to respond on the same program.
There is a lot I could talk about but I want to note something surprising. Barton seems to have reversed his position on the printing of the Aitken Bible. In fact, despite some inaccurate embellishments, he debunks himself.
At 47:32 into the segment, Garrison raises the issue of the Aitken Bible by saying, “and they commissioned a Bible, as I recall, I forget the name of it…”
Barton interrupted Garrison at that point and explained the history of the Aitken Bible. Barton calls Aitken the official printer of Congress and claims,

Aitken says, “hey let’s print a Bible here in America…He said, let’s print this, and Congress said, ‘good idea’ and so Congress assigned a committee to oversee the accuracy and the printing, had both the chaplains of Congress go through the thing to make sure it’s accurate, to make sure this thing is not being printed with non-Scriptural stuff in it. And so when the Bible rolled off the presses, it was printed by the official printer of Congress, Robert Aitken. He printed 10,000 copies. In the front of that Bible, it has the recognition of James Duane, who was the chairman of the committee in Congress that oversaw the project and has the two chaplains, White and Duffield, who sign off on the accuracy of it. It contains a Congressional endorsement in the front of the Bible, which says, ‘Resolved the United States Congress assembled recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States.” So Congress didn’t officially print the Bible. It was the official printer of the Congress who printed the Bible with a Congressional endorsement with a Congressional committee oversight, with the approval of the Congressional chaplains.

Although Barton admits that Congress didn’t officially print the Bible, he still frames it as a kind of joint effort of Congress and Aitken. While Aitken did print the first two Journals of the Congress, he was not the only printer used by Congress. Congress secured several printers for various jobs.  John Dunlop (who also printed the Declaration of Independence) assisted Aitken and printed the third edition of the journals. David C. Claypoole, not Robert Aitken, had the title of “Printer to the Honourable the Congress” at around the same time Aitken approached Congress with his petition.
In any case, Congress responded favorably to Aitken’s request to check the Bible for accuracy and they endorsed the work as a benefit to religion and the arts but they did not say “let’s print this.” In fact, Aitken had already printed the New Testament and started printing the entire Bible before he approached Congress. He petitioned Congress on January 21, 1781 but there was no official action by Congress until September, 1782. In the mean time, Aitken offered his Bible to the public, publishing a circular on August 11, 1782 which was titled, “Sir, Various inducements have led me to print a neat and correct edition of the Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, which, I expect, will be ready for sale by the beginning of October.”
Despite Barton’s spin and additional embellishments, his admission that Congress did not print the Aitken Bible is significant. This admission is in contrast to what he said on the Monumental movie, on the recently removed Family Research Council video and to the Montana prayer breakfast crowd in March. For instance on the FRC video, Barton said

This is a copy of what the first Bible printed in English in America looked like. This Bible was printed by the U.S. Congress in 1782.

Now he says Congress didn’t print the Bible.
While this may seem like progress, it is only of minor significance until Barton publically admits that he has misled millions of people and takes responsibility for it.

Christopher Doyle Misinforms Public on New Jersey Sexual Reorientation Bill

Like Matt Barber before him, Christopher Doyle is misleading his evangelical peers about a New Jersey bill which would prohibit sexual orientation change efforts for minors. Here is what Doyle told Christian Post readers:

The bill is being dubbed the Jerry Sandusky Victimization Act, because when sexually abused children are denied treatment to resolve the symptoms of trauma, criminals like convicted pedophile and former Penn State University football coach Jerry Sandusky, go undiscovered, sometimes for decades.
If this legislation becomes law, monsters like Sandusky will have more protection to victimize, because children who develop SSA as a result of abuse may never tell their parents. They may never tell their parents because organizations such as Garden State Equality, the largest gay activist group in New Jersey, are indoctrinating young people to believe that homosexuality is in-born, and if a child believes they are born gay, then the possibility of resolving homosexual feelings that result from sex abuse may never enter their mind.

Either Doyle has not read Senate Bill 2278 or he is deliberately withholding information from his readers. The New Jersey bill specifically addresses the concern about abuse. The entire bill will legislative comment is below.

SENATE, No. 2278
Sponsored by:

Senator  RAYMOND J. LESNIAK, District 20 (Union)
Senator  STEPHEN M. SWEENEY, District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)
Senator  LORETTA WEINBERG, District 37 (Bergen)
Protects minors by prohibiting counseling attempts to change sexual orientation.
As introduced.
AN ACT concerning the protection of minors from counseling attempts to change sexual orientation and supplementing Title 45 of the Revised Statutes.

     BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1.    a. A person who is licensed to provide professional counseling under Title 45 of the Revised Statutes, including, but not limited to, a psychiatrist, licensed practicing psychologist, certified social worker, licensed clinical social worker, licensed social worker, licensed marriage and family therapist, certified psychoanalyst, or a person who performs counseling as part of the person’s professional training for any of these professions, shall not engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under 18 years of age.
b.    As used in this section, “sexual orientation change efforts” means the practice of seeking to change a person’s sexual persuasion, including, but not limited to, efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward a person of the same gender; except that sexual orientation change efforts shall not include counseling that:
(1) provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual persuasion-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices; and
(2) does not seek to change sexual persuasion.
2.    This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill prohibits counseling to change the sexual orientation of a minor.
Under the provisions of the bill, a person who is licensed to provide professional counseling, including, but not limited to, a psychiatrist, licensed practicing psychologist, certified social worker, licensed clinical social worker, licensed social worker, licensed marriage and family therapist, certified psychoanalyst, or a person who performs counseling as part of the person’s professional training, is prohibited from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under 18 years of age.
The bill defines “sexual orientation change efforts” as the practice of seeking to change a person’s sexual persuasion,including, but not limited to, efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward a person of the same gender.  The term, however, does not include counseling that: provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person’s coping, social support, identity exploration and development, including sexual persuasion-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices; and does not seek to change sexual persuasion.

Please note the section which addresses the issue of sexual abuse:

…except that sexual orientation change efforts shall not include counseling that:
(1) provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual persuasion-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices;

The bill correctly separates sexual abuse recovery from sexual reorientation. If a person is confused in their attractions after a trauma, then recovery from the trauma may bring some clarity to sexual attractions. This facilitation of coping and identity exploration is allowed by the law. Furthermore, the law allows therapists to discuss issues surrounding abuse (“unlawful conduct”).
In his Christian Post article, Doyle takes his opponents to task for presenting false witness. However, it seems clear that he has misrepresented the bill in his comments. Oppose the bill if you believe you should but don’t do it for false reasons.

David Barton: AIDS is a Consequence of Homosexuality

History is not the only disciplined tortured by David Barton.
Either unaware or uncaring that AIDS is transmitted primarily among straights in Africa, Barton today said AIDS won’t be cured because it is God’s judgment on gays. Then he added, even if the disease is cured, some other disease will come along as punishment.
Religious leaders can be a force for good in stopping the spread of AIDS in Africa but not with messages like Barton’s.

Does the APA consider hebephilia to be normal?

That question is being asked by Ray Blanchard in a letter to the editor (read entire letter here) of the Archives of Sexual Behavior. Blanchard is the former chair of the Paraphilias Subworkgroup of the APA’s DSM V Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Workgroup. DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. The new 5th edition is slated to be released any day now and has attracted much controversy for a variety of reasons.
Generally, there is no more controversial area of the DSM than the section on sexual disorders. Blanchard’s subworkgroup recommended including reference to hebephilia in the section on paraphilias in the new edition. Hebephilia is defined as primary sexual interest in children who are in early puberty (i.e., at Tanner Stages 2 and 3, often corresponding to development between ages 11 and 14). Blanchard begins his letter by noting that “on December 1, 2012, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) announced that its Board of Trustees (BOT) had voted to reject the changes to the diagnostic criteria for pedophilic disorder proposed by the Paraphilias Subworkgroup for DSM-5 and to retain the diagnostic criteria published in DSM-IV-TR [i.e., a sexual preference for prepubertal, i.e., Tanner Stage 1, children, nowadays about age 10 or younger].”
Blanchard believes the proposed change would have allowed more precise diagnosis and research of people who have sexual preferences for early pubescent children but not younger, pre-pubescent children or adults. However, for reasons that are not clear, the APA Board of Trustees did not accept the recommended changes.
The fact that the APA did not make this change raises questions. Blanchard asks if the APA wants to discourage research on hebephilia. Furthermore, Blanchard wonders if the current DSM allows for hebephilia to be diagnosed under the category “other specified paraphilic disorder.” In other words, can clinicians and researchers use the “other” category to give label to individuals with hebephilia.  Ultimately, according to Blanchard, the answers to these questions may provide insight into the APA’s stance on normal sexual preferences. He writes

It remains to be seen how the BOT [board of trustees] will respond to these questions when they start to arise in real-life settings, which they will. It seems to me that there are only two possibilities. If the BOT denies that it meant to assert that the sexual preference for children in early puberty is normal, then it has to allow the diagnosis of ‘other specified paraphilic disorder (hebephilia).’ If the BOT, or someone officially speaking on behalf of the BOT or the whole APA, states or testifies that the BOT intended to prohibit the diagnosis of ‘other specified paraphilic disorder (hebephilia),’ then that is tantamount to stating that the APA’s official position is that the sexual preference for early pubertal children is normal.

Elsewhere in his letter, Blanchard states that sexual preference for early pubertal children doesn’t “square with the average layperson’s concept of sexual normalcy and probably does not square with the average clinician’s either.” I agree and believe Blanchard raises some important issues which I hope the APA will address.
Note: On May 16, I asked the APA PR dept for comment on Blanchard’s letter. No response as of today (May 17). I will post anything I get.

Did Limited Access to Abortions Keep Kermit Gosnell in Business?

On one hand, the responses of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) have not surprised me. Because they are advocacy groups, I expected them to defend abortion even as they applauded the verdicts.
On the other hand, I wondered if perhaps they would seek some common ground. Surely, everyone should be able to agree that killing babies after they are born should be condemned.  In addition, it seems that all concerned should welcome strict enforcement of laws regulating abortion as a means of finding and stopping any future Gosnell-like clinics.
Such reactions are not happening.
Planned Parenthood tweeted:

NARAL issued a statement missing any direct reference to the babies murdered by Gosnell. The statement begins by citing Ilyse Hogue, president of the group:

“Kermit Gosnell has been found guilty and will get what he deserves. Now, let’s make sure these women are vindicated by delivering what all women deserve: access to the full range of health services including safe, high-quality and legal abortion care.”

It seems to me that these statements confirm the worst fears of every pro-life advocate. Whether deliberate or not, by failing to even mention the murder of infants, these groups communicate a callous disregard for the lives of these children.
Apparently hoping to use the verdict to advance the cause, a NARAL tweet blames pro-life sentiment for Gosnell’s crimes:

NARAL spinners find numbers they like, but regarding both regulation and funding, they miss the facts of this case. Regarding funding, sources existed to pay for abortions at Gosnell’s clinic or for options other than his clinic. Delaware Pro-Choice Medical Fund paid for abortions at Gosnell’s clinic as well as at other abortion providers around the Philadelphia area. In fact, this funding source and others helped keep Gosnell going.
In 2007, three representatives from the Delaware Pro-Choice Medical Fund toured Gosnell’s Womens Medical Society in West Philadelphia. They saw nothing wrong. Even though the representatives were greeted by two people who called themselves doctors, the funders did not check credentials and continued to pay for abortions at Gosnell’s house of horrors.
When Gosnell’s crimes were first exposed in 2011, pro-choice advocates blamed the Hyde Amendment for driving women to low-cost providers like Gosnell. At that time, I responded that Gosnell had access to funding for the women who were seeking his services. As noted, various medical funds paid for abortions at his clinic. As this rate sheet demonstrates, it appears he billed Medicaid for allowed abortions. I suspect he stretched the truth on some of those billings.
As is now obvious, none of these funding sources provided adequate oversight. The funding was there but the horrors continued.
Despite the smoke screen from NARAL, one central issue in this case, whether one is pro-life or pro-choice, is the appalling lack of regulation of a so-called medical clinic.
The issue here is oversight, or rather the lack of it, and let’s not forget why that oversight was lacking. Kenneth Brody, Department of Health lawyer said there was consideration given to restarting abortion clinic regulation in 1999. However, the state did not resume inspections. Why? Brody told the grand jury:

…there was a concern that if they did routine inspections, that they may find a lot of these facilities didn’t meet [the standards for getting patients out by stretcher or wheelchair in an emergency], and then there would be less abortion facilities, less access to women to have an abortion.

Worries over access kept Gosnell unregulated. Generally, pro-choice advocacy groups oppose laws which tighten oversight on clinics. Why should those who operate properly fear rational regulation? Only those acting in the darkness fear the light. For the sake of women and babies, let the light shine.

Kermit Gosnell Found Guilty of Murder and Other Charges

A variety of sources are reporting what is emerging from Philadelphia. The first source I saw was this tweet from J.D. Mullane, reporter for the Bucks County Courier Times who is in the court room.

Here is the AP story which provides more details.
According to Mullane, he is guilty of most of the other 200-plus counts against him.

When this story first broke, I posted extensively about it, including some original reporting:
Gruesome abortion/murder case in Philadelphia (1/19/11)
Abortion clinic regulation scandal in PA (1/20/11)
PA Senate to hold hearings on failure of abortion clinic regulation (1/21/11)
PA Abortion clinic inspections stopped to avoid barriers to abortion(1/21/11)
Did the Hyde Amendment keep Kermit Gosnell in business? (1/25/11)
National Abortion Federation quietly removes reference to Gosnell’s Delaware clinic (1/29/11)
National abortion funding network member visited notorious Philadelphia abortion clinic (1/31/11)
National Abortion Federation suspends Delaware abortion clinic(1/31/11)