The Planned Parenthood of Columbia/Willamette (OR) has a site called Take Care Down There which apparently receives some Title X money (your money originally).
Goofy, if you ask me. Goofy enough to be chuckled at and ignored, which means I vote no.
Tony Snow, loved and respected journalist died recently after a battle with cancer. George Archibald knew Tony Snow while they were both at the Washington Times. In this article, George remembers his friend as only an insider can.
Iris Robinson, the “first lady” of Ireland and also a MP (member of Parliament) from Northern Ireland has stepped into controversy with comments about her oppostion to homosexuality and her beliefs that gays can change with counseling. With what should seem in hindsight to be a very poor sense of timing, she made her negative comments about homosexuality in response to a question about a hate crime in Belfast, Northern Ireland directed toward a gay man. Taking a page from the Sally Kern playbook, she expressed no regrets for her comments which were more harsh than a simple recitation of her moral opposition (see this article…).
About reorientation therapy, Mrs. Robinson said:
‘I have a lovely psychiatrist who works with me and his Christian background is that he tries to help homosexuals – trying to turn them away from what they are engaged in…”
Subsequently, the psychiatrist involved, Paul Miller, gave an interview to a Belfast newspaper and appeared on radio to address the claims of change therapy. Paul Miller is a psychiatrist who is a senior advisor to Mrs. Robinson and works extensively with post-traumatic stress. He is also a former trainee of Richard Cohen. Cohen presented a workshop in Northern Ireland in November of 2007 with Paul Miller as the contact person.
In an email to me, Dr. Miller said Cohen’s training was “a very valuable part of their attempt to equip themselves for working in this area.” It must have been well received since three points cited by Dr. Miller are taken in the same order from Richard Cohen’s website.
Dr Miller said three key messages summed up his work.
“First, no one is born gay because gay identity is a complex interaction between genetics and environment; second, no one chooses to experience who they are sexually attracted to; and thirdly, change in sexual orientation is possible.”
Compare those points with the front page of the International Healing Foundation.
I have not received a reply to my questions about whether the bioenergetic and holding therapy approaches were demonstrated or make up a part of Dr. Miller’s work.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Robinson is being investigated for violating laws relating to hate speech. Unfortunately, some Christian conservatives will turn this event into a debate over free speech. As with Sally Kern, Mrs. Robinson may have the right to say what she did (actually in Ireland, she may not; we shall see…), but having the right doesn’t make it right. In response to questions about homosexuality, and in the context of discussion over a hate crime, why not simply express opposition to violence and hatred? Actually, in any context or at any time, I do not think it furthers any good purpose to engage in such ungracious and uncivil rhetoric.
Her pairing of comments about change therapy and the hate crime, along with her negative comments about homosexuality make it very clear to me that Christian sexual identity ministries should make their opposition to violence and harassment very clear.
Here is another Sally Kern moment; what will happen in it?
Because I was moved by the letter I described here, I have been seeking to verify the authorship (between grading papers, of course).
It is thus far a frustrating pursuit. I can’t find full names of Tucker or his Aunt Elizabeth. In response to the interest in the Tucker letter, someone posting as Elizabeth left this message on March 14, on the KWTV – News 9 forum:
Alex wrote: Hi Elizabeth, I hoping that you follow this forum and will check on this. I’m trying to contact you (and Tucker) in the hopes of getting permission to print his letter in other forums. If you do read this, would you please get in touch with the following site, http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do… .
I don’t check here often but was told of the interest Tucker’s letter has caused. I want to say first that I did not make that post saying Tucker was reading the letter on the Ellen Degeneris show. I don’t know who did that.
Tucker is not seeking national acclaim, he simply wants Sally Kern to know that she is very insensitive to real victims of terrorism and how her words have resulted in the abuse of gay students.
I did gain Tucker’s permission to print his letter and sent copies of it to various media outlets and everyone may do so.
The sole purpose though is for Kern to see the letter and I am quite sure that has happened by now. But she has not responded to Tucker’s emails or made any comment about it at all.
Tucker called McVeigh a Christian extremist in the letter. McVeigh may’ve or may’ve not beein into God, it depended on who asked him whenever. There are times he claims to be with the Christian identity movement and there are other times he claimed to be agnostic. The point in this is calling Islam dangerous is wrong. Most Muslims are peaceful. Most Christians are peaceful. I hear all the time that Muslims hate Jews…well so do the KKK, Aryans, and lots of other Christians too.
Sally Kern insensitively made remarks about gays being worse than terrorists in a city that next month will remember the 13th anniversary of a terrorist bombing in OKC. Kern came to Oklahoma a year after that bombing. The ones of us who were affected by that terror event are offended by her remarks.
Kern is a cold, cold woman. That stone hard heart certainly won’t get her anywhere close to Heaven.
The original post on the News9 forum provided the following context for the letter in a comment dated March 11, 2008
Today my nephew attempted to deliver a letter to Sally Kern but was stopped by a highway patrol man. With his permission I am distributing the letter to all news stations and thought I would include it here.
Maybe we can all stand to learn a listen from this smart, loving, young man. He more than most has reason to hate. He lost his mother, my sister, in the Murrah Building bombing.
My efforts to verify this letter have been unsuccessful. I spoke to representatives of three state based gay advocacy groups, none of whom had been able to verify the identity of the author. I then sought to investigate the claim of Elizabeth that on March 11th, “my nephew [Tucker] attempted to deliver a letter to Sally Kern but was stopped by a highway patrol man.”
To do so, I contacted Oklahoma Highway Patrol Information Officer, Trooper Betsy Randolph, who spoke with the Lieutenant on duty at Rep. Kern’s office on March 11. The officer was on duty inside Rep. Kerns office and said he did not stop anyone from delivering a letter to the Representative. According to Trooper Randolph, the office conducted business-as-usual that day with no one on duty remembering any effort by a young person to deliver a letter. The patrolman was there due to reports of threats but did not prevent anyone from delivering a letter. Furthermore, additional security was on the scene from March 10-12, but Trooper Randolph could find no evidence that would verify this story. “It sounds like a false story to me. We can find no evidence that anyone was prevented from giving Rep. Kerns a letter,” she stated.
I asked Trooper Randolph if a constituent might have prevented from entering the area surrounding Rep. Kern’s office and she said this would happen only if there was a disturbance. However, there is no record of this.
If this is a fictitious letter, that would be unfortunate, as the fraud would distract from the issues it raised. I do think the report from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol requires Elizabeth and Tucker to come forward if this letter is to be viewed as credible.
Since it was so much fun last year, I decided to compile a top ten list of stories of the year on the blog. Since I am the only voter, the list is subjective and regular readers might arrange them differently or think I should have included another story over one of these. The stories are arranged in the order of the interest they seemed to create here on the blog and elsewhere.
1. APA Task Force on sexual orientation – I first reported here that the APA had convened a task force to review APA policy regarding therapeutic responses to sexual orientation. Initial information released from the APA noted that gay advocacy groups sought assistance from the APA in order to negatively evaluate efforts to change sexual orientation. The charge also involves therapeutic responses to individuals who wish to alter behavioral expression of their sexuality. The issue was the subject of a CNN segment involving yours truly, an Associated Press article and was the subject of several posts on the blog. A large coalition of religious groups and interested individuals wrote the APA regarding the religious aspects of the committee’s charge. Efforts to further regulate orientation change efforts spilled over to other professions, notably, the American Academy of Physician Assistants. The APA Task Force will likely be featured as a top story again since the report is expected to be released sometime in 2008.
2. The sexual identity therapy framework – The SIT framework was the subject of national news stories and identified by Stephanie Simon of the LA Times as an important component of changes in therapy for those in conflict over sexual identity. I did numerous posts on the framework in an attempt to distinguish it from other approaches. Mark Yarhouse and I presented aspects of the framework at the American Psychological Association convention, the American Association of Christian Counselors World Conference and other local conferences. A revision of the framework and several high level presentations are slated for 2008.
3. The release of the Exodus outcomes study by Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse – After months of speculation, Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse released the results of their longitudinal study of Exodus International participants at the AACC conference in September. Although the study garnered little national media attention, many blogs, (including this one), and the gay and religiously based news services thoroughly covered the study. With additional data to be collected and reported, this story will most likely reappear in 2008.
4. Donnie Davies – For a short time in January and February, blogosphere was captivated by the “Rev. Davies” and the “The Bible Says” music video. In a kind of “Where’s Waldo” cyber hunt, numerous bloggers were eager to crack the case and learn find out who Donnie Davies was, where was he hiding, and to learn if his act for real. I did 11 posts on the subject and became acquainted via email with Joey Oglesby, the actor behind the spoof. We even wondered if Mr. Oglesby and Rev. Davies were twins separated at birth because of their uncanny resemblance. Will Donnie do an anniversary reunion tour in January? Stay tuned.
5. The Cameron Eastern Psychological Association presentation – In March, Paul and Kirk Cameron released a series of news spots claiming that data from Canada, Norway and Denmark supported their contention that gays die between 20-30 younger than straights. In reviewing their study, first presented as a poster session at the Eastern Psychological Association annual meeting, I disputed key assumptions underlying their claims. In addition, Danish epidemiologist, Morten Frisch reviewed the study here on the blog finding it inadequate. Paul and Kirk Cameron provided rebuttals to criticisms and a nine-part series resulted.
6. New Warriors Training Adventure and the Mankind Project – A post regarding the suicide of Michael Scinto in an October issue of the Houston Press led to a series of posts about the Mankind Project and New Warriors Training Adventure. I received numerous emails from men who attest to benefit and those who believe NWTA was harmful and coercive. One irony about NWTA is that public proponents of reparative therapy and gay affirmative therapy both recommend NWTA to clients to enhance masculinity. Reparative therapists believe NWTA may lead to reduced same-sex attraction and gay therapists believe NWTA can enhance security in a gay identity. I remain curious about the mechanisms inherent in NWTA and other such programs to effect either benefit or harm. With the Scinto trial schedule for later in 2008, this story will remain of interest through the next year.
7. Montel Williams show on reparative therapy – The Montel Williams show purporting to examine reparative therapy was a lightning rod for controversy. On the show, psychiatrist Alicia Salzar falsely claimed that science has shown that 96% of people attempting to change orientation cannot do so and experience harm. Her claim was based on a study, the authors of which acknowledged cannot be used to make such a claim. The unwillingness of the show to retract the statement led to a ethics complaint against Dr. Salzar, filed by Exodus International.
8. Pro-life/abortion related stories – The most viewed post on the blog consisted of an interview with Grove City College colleague and historian Paul Kengor regarding the religious beliefs of Hillary Clinton. Other such interviews have been immensely popular with readers as well. Another APA task force, this one on abortion and mental health issues, stimulated grassroots activism, reported here in November.
9. Emergence of the ex-ex-gay movement – At this year’s Exodus conference, a group of people once involved in ex-gay efforts had a parallel conference to discuss their efforts to recover from their experiences. Perhaps, the newest ex-ex-gay, James Stabile is a 19 year old young man from Dallas who encountered evangelists from the Heartland World Ministry Church in early September. Recorded on film and broadcast on the Christian Broadcasting Network, it appeared that Mr. Stabile was dramatically converted and even reported change in homosexuality. Later it was learned that Mr. Stabile had not changed and was back home with his parents after a stay at ex-gay residential program, Pure Life Ministry.
10. Richard Cohen – An early 2007 debacle on John Stewart’s Daily Show led Mr. Cohen to pledge on my blog that he would do no additional media appearances. He ended his email with a fundraising appeal. In response to this appearance, Exodus issued a statement distancing the organization from Cohen’s work, and NARTH and PFOX quietly removed references to Mr. Cohen from their websites. Cohen made something of a comeback however, with You Tube videos including his family, and a new edition of one of his books with Evangelical publisher, Intervarsity Press. Then, later, I looked into the Unification Church connections of Mr. Cohen’s assistant director and former board member, Hilde Wiemann. Both Cohen and Wiemann initially denied these connections but they were clear enough that cult expert, Steve Hassan, briefly placed the International Healing Foundation back on his list of Unification Church connected groups. Eventually, Mrs. Wiemann acknowledged, in contrast to the initial claims, that she had been involved in the church and had only recently left it. After her repudiation of Moon, Mr. Hassan then again removed the IHF from his list of Unification connected groups.
Well, that was quite a year. I suppose one could make a case for other stories, e.g., the Omaha websites advocating violence, the quick emergence and then retreat of Michael Glatze as an ex-gay spokesman, Ted Haggard’s three week therapy, the wide stance of Larry Craig, the Surgeon General nominee James Holsinger, Stephen Bennett’s public division with Exodus, Al Mohler’s comments on biology and homosexuality, the retirement of I Do Exist, and my musical comeback and resultant #1 Internet hit.
Now cast your opinion – What would your top ten list for this blog look like for 2007?
Godspeed to all and a Happy New Year!