Here are the ten most visited pages on the blog for 2013. Two posts were written prior to 2013 but continue to be quite popular. I designate them in the list below by the year of publication.
1. On The Allegations of Plagiarism Against Mark Driscoll
2. Janet Mefferd Removes Evidence Relating to Charges of Plagiarism Against Mark Driscoll; Apologizes to Audience
3. Ingrid Schlueter Resigns from Janet Mefferd Show Over Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy
4. John Piper Calls Out Famous Guys (Like Mark Driscoll) on Ghostwriting
5. Was the National Rifle Association Started to Drive Out the KKK?
6. A Major Study of Child Abuse and Homosexuality Revisited (2009)
7. Mars Hill Church Alters Statement of Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy
8. Narth Loses Tax Exempt Status
9. Mars Hill Sermon Series Battle Plan Reveals Source Behind Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter
10. The Trail of Tears Remembered (2011)
Clearly, posts about the controversy surrounding Mark Driscoll and allegations of plagiarism and ghostwriting were popular. With Driscoll’s apology the attention left the issue, even though he did not address several other instances in other books. To some degree, he was probably also aided by Christmas break and the Duck Dynasty hullabaloo. I was surprised that the most popular post about David Barton was about his claim that the National Rifle Association was started to counter the KKK. There are so many other claims that are even more outrageous. As far as I can determine, donations to NARTH are still not deductible. The two posts from past years have consistently shown up on the top ten lists since they were published.
The move to Patheos has been smooth thanks to the great folks there and I want to thank readers for making the switch and welcome all the new readers here.
Stephen Fry of the BBC interviews Jospeh Nicolosi and a former patient (Dan Gonzales).
Nicolosi: “We resolve the conflicts behind the homosexual attractions, that’s what we do.”
Nicolosi covers familiar ground in that he claims homosexuality is the result of psychological trauma with the parents, particularly the father.
He still insists without any evidence that one-third are not cured, one-third gets some improvement and one-third experience significant change.
Sixty percent of his clients are teens.
Fry acknowledges that his dad was aloof but his dad was aloof with his brother, who is straight, as well.
After the 9th Circuit court upheld CA’s law banning reorientation therapy for minors, NARTH issued a statement in response. For context, I reproduce the entire statement with comments to follow:
NARTH finds today’s ruling by the court to be disappointing and plans to appeal this decision. If left standing, this ruling will constitute a serious intrusion by government on the freedom of minors and their families to choose their desired form of psychological care.
At a time when adolescents who experience themselves as being the wrong biological sex are allowed to pursue sexual reassignment surgery, licensed therapists who are willing to assist youth with unwanted same-sex attraction and behaviors will be prohibited from even talking to minors in a manner that could be construed as promoting the pursuit of change.
Politicians and non-elected judges have seen fit to approve of such encroachments on personal and professional freedoms in spite of the fact that the American Psychological Association admits the exact causes of same-sex attractions are not known, virtually no research exists directly addressing the modification of same-sex behaviors and attractions with minors, and the prevalence of harm from such change efforts is unknown and has therefore not been established as being any greater than the rates of harm documented for psychotherapy in general. Furthermore, much research has documented that fluidity in sexual attractions and identity often occurs naturally and is particularly pronounced in adolescence and early adulthood, which suggests the viability of therapeutic change efforts for some youth.
These facts make it clear that science is not at the forefront of this effort to restrict freedoms. If that were the case, gaps in our knowledge of this area would be addressed through a bipartisan program of research, not by the heavy hand of government squelching professional practice in order to appease powerful interests of activists within professional associations and lobbying groups. NARTH sincerely hopes that these crucial facts will be considered by a more receptive judicial audience in the future.
Strong point of the statement: They are correct that more research is needed on minors who are in conflict over their attractions to the same sex.
Given the concerns over safety and effectiveness, it seems reasonable to take seriously adult reports about when they were minors. In one sense, retrospective (but still inadequate) research has been done by asking adults about their experiences while teens.
Weak point of the statement: Spontaneous developmental change in attractions does not “suggest the viability of therapeutic change efforts for some youth.”
Being situationally or temporarily attracted to the same sex is not the same experience as exclusive attraction to the same sex throughout adolescence. The CA law allows therapists to discuss sexual orientation issues and engage in self-discovery. However, when a youth declares a gay orientation, a therapist is not allowed to engage in therapeutic techniques designed to change orientation.
Weakest point of the statement: The hypocrisy of NARTH whining about research.
Opponents of reorientation therapy are reacting to many stories of youth and young adults who felt harmed by being dragged to the conversion therapist and asked to do something they couldn’t do. There are some studies that link parental lack of acceptance (one manifestation of which is forced attendance at conversion therapy sessions) with mental health adjustment in GLBT youth. Surely those studies are relevant and are unanswered by NARTH.
It is just as accurate to say “science is not at the forefront” of NARTH’s effort to maintain access to conversion therapy. “If that were the case (science at the forefront), gaps in our knowledge of this area would be addressed through” a program of research led by NARTH. However, this has never been the case. Despite numerous calls for such research from various sources, NARTH has done just one survey of adults since the organization was founded in 1992.
The lack of research complaint is a dodge. While I haven’t been on the inside for quite awhile, I was at one point. I actually did some research on the subject and attempted to address concerns of both sides. I did it on my own dime and worked to get it published. However, where has NARTH been? It is my settled opinion that the defense of conversion therapy is not based on science because if it was, there would be some NARTH-generated science to talk about.
Perhaps those who defend NARTH should ask why NARTH has not tested it’s claims. And perhaps NARTH should stop talking about science until it has some to talk about. If NARTH’s leaders were serious about research, they would channel all of their funds and efforts into a large multi-year study of their efforts designed by legitimate scholars instead of legal fees.
In an opinion handed down today, the 9th Circuit Court upheld California’s ban on conversion therapy for minors.
The staff summary of the opinion begins:
Reversing an order granting preliminary injunctive relief in Welch v. Brown, 13-15023, and affirming the denial of preliminary injunctive relief in Pickup v. Brown, 12-17681, the panel held that California Senate Bill 1172, which bans state-licensed mental health providers from engaging in “sexual orientation change efforts” with patients under 18 years of age, does not violate the free speech rights of practitioners or minor patients, is neither vague nor overbroad, and does not violate parents’ fundamental rights.
Here is the full text of the decision.
Note: I edited this post to reflect the fact that the quote above is from the staff summary of the opinion and not the actual opinion. The meaning is the same.
In 2003, I spoke at the annual conference of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) on public opinion and homosexuality. In that talk, I noted that favorable shifts in attitudes toward gays were associated with having a gay person as a friend or family member. I added that increased public support for gays would mean that more people would develop friendships with gays, thus building up a momentum for public acceptance of gays and bisexuals. Seeking to make the talk relevant to the audience, I predicted that the public would become more skeptical and critical of various NARTH claims about homosexuality as a consequence of more people knowing and accepting gays as friends. I noted that as the non-gay population became more aware of gays in their families and as friends, they would doubt the claims that gays are incapable of happy lives and/or that their homosexuality derived from problematic family relationships. People will know by their own gay friends and family members that the stereotypes are not generally true. Thus, for NARTH to survive, I suggested that the group incorporate biological research, and stop promoting the view of homosexuality common to reparative therapists (e.g., distant same sex parent, overbearing opposite sex parent).
As I continue to document here, NARTH didn’t listen.
My history with NARTH is for another post, but I was reminded of that 2003 talk and the negative reaction to it from NARTH and eventually from Exodus when I read this attributed to Alan Chambers:
But the belief in “reparative therapy was one of the things that led to the downfall of this organization,” Chambers said in an interview, noting that Exodus in recent years redirected its focus to helping men and women work through their sexual identity.
“I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents,” Chambers said in the announcement. “I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly ‘on my side’ who called you names like sodomite—or worse.”
Alan is sorry about the problems caused by these therapies but he apparently also sees the damage done to the organization as well.
Alan is on HuffPo Live now…