Note to One News Now: The New Genetics Study Replicated Xq28

When I read the recent One News Now blurb attempting to attack the reports of the linkage study involving gay brothers, I thought of Inigo Montoya:
Replication refers to finding the same or similar results in a research study. Peter LaBarbera says lack of replication is a problem for genetics studies of homosexuality. Inconvenient for LaBarbera is the fact that the new study, which he claims to know something about, replicates the finding of linkage at Xq28. While it is true that prior efforts have been mixed regarding Xq28, there has been prior support for the region and this study found linkage there. Thus, this study replicated prior studies, including the work of Dean Hamer.
I would be willing to bet Mr. LaBarbera has not read the study. If he had, he would know that he told ONN something opposite of the truth.

Is PFOX anti-ex-gay?

A couple of weeks ago, the Parents and Friends of Ex-gays asked the riveting question: Is Grove City College anti-ex-gay?
Now I want to know, Is PFOX anti-ex-gay? Let me explain why inquiring minds want to know.
In apparent answer to the query about GCC, the PFOX blog poster reproduced Peter LaBarbera’s call to action and the One”News”Now article about me. Because I dispute stereotypes about gays and report the research as it is, LaBarbera says I engage in “pro-homosexual activism.” Here is the crux of my crimes:

“But in the last few years, he’s basically become a pro-gay advocate who discredits the idea of change for most homosexuals,” LaBarbera explains. “He grants the idea that they can change, but he says change is very rare.

Well, OK.
Now let’s consider PFOX. On the governing board of PFOX is Chris Doyle who is a “resident psychotherapist” at Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation. IHF recently issued an apology to the gay community for “fueling anti-gay sentiment” by stating that “change is possible.”
IHF now refers clients to a host of gay-affirming organizations and resources, including GLSEN and PFOX’s pfavorite organization, PFLAG. The PFLAG reference is especially relevant to the question – “is PFOX anti-ex-gay?” PFOX has accused PFLAG of making hateful statements about former homosexuals. Now that a PFOX board member is a principle figure in an organization that refers people to an organization that makes hateful statements about former homosexuals, then it seems reasonable to ask if PFOX is anti-itself.
I also must wonder if One”News”Now and AFTAH are getting soft on gays. Consider the evidence.
On October 28, 2011, IHF made their apology for “fueling anti-gay sentiment” and posted their references to GLSEN and PFLAG on their website. To date, One”News”Now has ignored the story. And even more puzzling is the absence of an AFTAH-inspired call for PFOX to explain how their board member’s open advocacy of pro-homosexual, anti-ex-gay advocacy fits within their mission.
Almost a month has gone by and this blatant pro-homosexualist initiative at IHF has gone unchecked!
What is wrong with this picture!?
P.S. Sorry, I got a little hyperbolic there at the end. 

Things get ugly in Illinois

According to a World Net Daily report, a couple of bricks were thrown through the window of the Christian Liberty Academy which hosted the Americans for Truth About Homosexuality banquet earlier this evening. The vandalism was conducted in the early morning hours today with an email sent to a Chicago area news source.
No organization has taken responsibility for the incident which may mean that the attack was conducted by someone acting independently.
The email focused on Scott Lively, who was the recipient of an award at the AFTAH banquet.
This is an ugly episode and I hope those responsible for the vandalism are caught and prosecuted.
Reaction from WND readers to the attack reveals ugliness of another kind. One reader John Acord said gays should be confined to mental institutions (see comment below):

And then there is this comment from John Mccord:

Actually, Scott Lively and Mr. Acord are more on the same wavelength since Lively says he advised the Ugandan government to set up national gay rehab programs. He told WND this as well:

My advice to the MPs regarding the law they were contemplating but had not yet drafted was to focus on rehabilitation and not punishment. I urged them to become the first government in the world to develop a state-sponsored recovery system for homosexuality on the model we have in the United States for alcoholism.

I wonder why that suggestion would upset gays?
In any case, there is plenty of ugly to go around.
UPDATE: The comments I posted above have been removed from the thread at WND. However, if you look down the list, you can find more like them.
Chicago Tribune has a blurb out this morning in their “Breaking News” section. Since the story had already been reported several places, I assume they have a section for news about broken things.

What is violence? Scott Lively and the Uganda anti-gay bill

This weekend Moody Church pastor Erwin Lutzer is slated to speak at a banquet hosted by the American for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH). Also on the agenda is the presentation of AFTAH’s “Truth Teller” Award to Scott Lively. You can read more about Mr. Lively here. I have written much about him, his book The Pink Swastika, and his work in Uganda.
Because of the presence of Lively, a Chicago area gay activist group, the Gay Liberation Network, wrote Rev. Lutzer to inform him of Lively’s views and background in Uganda. One of the accusations from the GLN is that Lively supports violence against gays in Uganda. Lively and LaBarbera say it is not true. Which is it?
To address this, the definition of violence is relevant. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines violence as an “exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse” or “injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation.” Another definition is given describing intense force or turbulence, such as a violent storm. As it relates to interpersonal violence, the violent action may involve physical injury or “profanation” which can include verbal debasement (The Pink Swastika qualifies) or contemptuous treatment.
When it comes to the situation in Uganda, Scott Lively has rejected the death penalty associated with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. He favors a situation where those convicted of homosexual behavior would have an option for treatment. In other words, face a penalty of some kind or “choose” to go into a government sanctioned process to change sexual orientation. Here is what he wrote about the matter in an essay:

Let me be absolutely clear. I do not support the proposed anti-homosexuality law as written. It does not emphasize rehabilitation over punishment and the punishment that it calls for is unacceptably harsh. However, if the offending sections were sufficiently modified, the proposed law would represent an encouraging step in the right direction. As one of the first laws of this century to recognize that the destructiveness of the “gay” agenda warrants opposition by government, it would deserve support from Christian believers and other advocates of marriage-based culture around the world. 

Note that Lively advises support for the bill if the death penalty was “modified.” As a reminder, the bill without the death penalty would still provide life in jail for someone who “touches another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.”
Is advocating life in jail for disapproved private conduct violence toward those who engage in that conduct?
Scott Lively was interviewed by Marissa Van Zeller of Vanguard Television and asked his view of the bill without the death penalty. In that interview, he supported a bill without the death penalty as “the lesser of two evils.”
Lively said:

Like I said, I would not have written the bill this way. But what it comes down to is a question of lesser of two evils, you know like many of the political choices that we have. What is the lesser of two evils here? To allow the American and European gay activists to continue to do to that country what they’ve done here? Or to have a law that may be overly harsh in some regards for people who are indulging in voluntary sexual conduct? I think the lesser of two evils is for the bill to go through.

Scott Lively says he does not favor violence toward gay people, but he does say that the Ugandans are to be commended and that the bill, sans the death penalty, would be acceptable. If the bill was passed and enforced in Uganda, GLBT people would be subject to arrest for physical actions that someone in authority thought was sexual in nature. They could lose everything they have and spend their remaining days in a Ugandan prison. Others could be arrested simply for advocating on behalf of GLBT people. Is this violence?
What if Scott Lively had his way and GLBT people in Uganda (or here, since he likes the idea so much) were forced into some kind of “treatment.” Even NARTH who is hosting an advocate of criminalization at their upcoming conference, has said forced treatment doesn’t work. Exodus clearly denounced it. If NARTH and Exodus say treatment applied under durress is ineffective, then what model are you recommending Mr. Lively?
I surely don’t want the government to take my freedom, access to my family and possessions because because of a moral disagreement. If I was the recipient of such treatment, it would seem like violence to me.

Sexual Identity Therapy Framework resources

Peter LaBarbera today reprints Laurie Higgins critique of an article by Mark Yarhouse regarding the application of our sexual identity therapy framework (SITF). I am aware he does not mean to promote the framework but his articles have increased my emails about the framework and requests for referrals to therapists who practice in that manner. I refer them to the registry of practitioners who claim to use the SITF at the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity. However, a quick look will confirm that many areas of the country are unrepresented there. This area clearly needs to be developed.

Those affiliated with ISSI include people working in several graduate programs in counseling and we aware of other programs who inform students about the SITF. By far, the largest organization that offers information regarding the SITF is the American Association of Christian Counselors. Mark and I presented a preconference workshop at the 2007 AACC conference titled, Introduction and Clinical Application of the Sexual Identity Therapy Guidelines.”  A 3 CD set of that workshop is available on the AACC website. In 2008, Mark presented the SITF at the AACC West Region conference. A audio of that workshop is also available on the AACC website.

The website supporting the SITF is There we have posted articles consistent with the SITF and a list of presentations regarding it. On YouTube, there is a two part demonstration of how I worked with BBC reporter David Akinsanya in 2005. Akinsanya had just left Love in Action early because he felt it did not fit him and his values. This interview was conducted in 2005 as the SITF was being developed. 

Wall Street Journal reporter has followed the development of the SITF with a 2007 article in the LA Times and then a 2009 piece in the Wall Street Journal. Wikipedia has an entry on the SITF. The APA’s 2009 sexual orientation task force cited the SITF favorably as a means for clients to therapeutically explore their options.

Much needs to be done to develop the model and describe how existing models are applied with it. Between us, Mark and I have trained several hundred mental health and ministry professionals in the model and look forward to providing more opportunities for supervision and training.

Lifesitenews article: An exercise in confirmation bias

Yesterday, Lifesitenews published an article complaining about me. Many of the complains are recycled from Peter LaBarbera’s website and a OneNewsNow article. I addressed those criticisms here and here. Mark Yarhouse also did so on the SIT Framework website. Beyond rehashing LaBarbera’s issues, I think the article reflects poorly on Lifesitenews. Let’s start with their characterization of how my peers have been reacting to my work. Reporter Matthew Hoffman wrote:

Throckmorton’s defection from the ex-gay movement has been met with condemnation by Evangelicals. “Though he works for an evangelical institution, Pennsylvania-based Grove City College, which advertises itself on faith-based websites as ‘authentically Christian,’ Warren promotes a new, morally neutral paradigm on homosexuality that affirms people’s ‘Sexual Identity’ according to their feelings (and comfort level with same),” laments Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH).

Evangelicals? Let’s count how many condemning evangelicals are quoted by LSN. If you count Michael Glatze, two people are quoted as complaining about my views, the other one being Peter LaBarbera. My reason for hedging on Glatze is that he began his ex-gay journey as a member of the LDS church and is listed as an “Executive Assistant” at the Buddhist inspired Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado, which, according to an article written by Glatze in 2009, is a welcoming place for gays and lesbians.

Rather than reporting some broad evangelical condemnation of my work, the article repeats the criticisms of Peter LaBarbera. I noted to Mr. Hoffman when I declined his interview (more about that shortly), that I am on the National Advisory Board for the American Association of Christian Counselors (as is Mark Yarhouse) and that they paid Mark and me to present a half-day workshop at the 2007 conference on how to apply the sexual identity therapy framework. By any definition, the AACC would be considered an evangelical organization. Mr. Hoffman says that I am under fire from evangelicals and yet only quotes one, maybe two. At the same time, he ignored evidence that my views are promoted within a much larger, more mainstream evangelical organization (not to mention several others he could have consulted).

As an aside, it is curious that Mr. LaBarbera has not included the AACC in his crusade. The AACC still promotes the SITF via the tapes they sell of the pre-conference workshop. The SITF was featured in the AACC magazine in 2007 via an invited article by Mark Yarhouse. Perhaps, the AACC will be next.

When I declined the interview, I pointed out to Mr. Hoffman that the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) also claims to value client self-determination. I sent Mr. Hoffman a link to my recent post, “Is NARTH the next target?” which notes that Joseph Nicolosi says, on the NARTH website, that he provides gay affirmative therapy to some of his clients. NARTH is mentioned favorably at least 46 times on Peter LaBarbera’s website. I also sent a link to a YouTube video where Dr. Nicolosi says this about his practice:

The therapeutic approach is always positive. In fact, to be honest with you we never tell our clients not to have homosexual activity. If they want to do it, let them do it. It’s up to them. Our job is to help them understand what they learned from it. When a client comes in to me and says, ‘I had gay sex last night.’ My only question to him is, ‘What was going on with you just before you decided to act out? What was your psychological state of mind that made you want…?’ That’s where the lesson is. So we don’t tell clients not to act out. They can act out, but every time they do act out, it’s an opportunity to learn something about themselves.

Given that Mr. Hoffman mentions my movement away from NARTH’s emphasis on reorientation, it would have reasonable and responsible for him to mention that NARTH holds to a view of client self-determination that is arguably more permissive than my own. For instance, in the SITF, if a client seeks celibacy or monogamy, we advocate working with clients to avoid contexts which could elicit undesired behavior.

Mr. Hoffman is correct that I changed my mind about an interview with him, but failed to completely describe the circumstances, saying

After agreeing to an email interview with LifeSiteNews, Dr. Throckmorton refused to answer the questions submitted, claiming they were “slanted.” The questions sent to Dr. Throckmorton, are available at this link.

In fact, I declined his original request. After thinking it over, I asked to see the questions he wanted to ask. I did not agree to an interview although he may have thought that I did since I asked to see the questions. Once I read the questions, which he posted, I decided there was little chance for a fair representation of my views. For instance, I asked Mr. Hoffman how he formed this question (#3 in his list):

3. In a recent article you defended the thesis that sexual orientation is biologically determined in the womb, by hormonal deficiencies. Do you now believe that homosexual orientation is immutable?

I wrote to ask where I “defended the thesis that sexual orientation is biologically determined in the womb, by hormonal deficiencies.” He then wrote back citing this article in Uganda’s The Independent and quoted this section:

However, we do not know this to be the case. Most researchers around the world agree that there is no consensus about the causes of any given person’s sexual orientation. While it seems unlikely that there is one biological or genetic cause for all homosexuals, there are data which suggest that genetic and hormonal factors during pre-natal development have some impact on our desires, in different ways for different people.

In the email, Mr. Hoffman explained:

Perhaps I overstated your position slightly. You are suggesting

apparently that hormonal and genetic factors in the womb contribute to the phenomenon. Please consider my question amended to that effect.

I believe he did more than slightly overstate my position. His original question slanted my plainly stated views. That was enough for me to stick with my decision not to do an interview.

Currently, LSN is lamenting exclusion from a mainstream Catholic news source, Zenit. I know nothing of the specific issues but it relates to criticisms of LSN’s reporting. I can say after this experience, that I will not accept what I read there at face value. Perhaps in the zeal to promote a certain point of view, LSN’s reporting is skewed in a manner which concerns more mainstream outlets. Here are some tips. If you are going to advance a thesis, call it an op-ed, don’t present it as news. If you make a generalization about a trend or a group, interview more than one person from the group you are characterizing. If you want to have sources trust you, then do not slant or misrepresent their views. Follow up on aspects of a story that may lead you away from your preconceived ideas – avoid confirmation bias.

SPLC lists anti-gay hate groups

In the latest issue (Spring, 2010, issue 137) of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, the organization lists active hate groups and hate websites. These are groups which engage in campaigns of personal vilification against other social groups. The list of organizations deemed to be anti-gay hate groups are listed on the SPLC website.

There is another list of “hate websites” only listed in the print copy of the Intelligence Report. Here is the description of those websites given on page 51.

The assumption here is that some websites are not really organizations of substance but fronts for one or a handful of people who stigmatize a group of people.

The website listing for anti-gay groups looks like the hate group with an exception — Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, this year listed as a hate website.

The listings might be controversial to some, and have no impact other than to provide information to the public. The SPLC monitors the activities of groups on the lists but has no other authority. While the criteria are not completely clear, it is important to note that the SPLC does not list groups because they oppose gay rights or view homosexuality as a sin. Note the many groups which are not listed.

UPDATE: Mr. LaBarbera does not like being listed as a hate group and has stopped harassing me to respond to the SPLC.

When the Illinois Family Institute was listed on the SPLC hate group list, one of the prime reasons was the use of Paul Cameron’s discredited research in their materials and postings. The IFI eventually removed the references to Cameron, apparently agreeing that these references were inappropriate. The AFTAH website has at least two references to Paul Cameron’s work, including the study which Danish epidemiologist Morton Frisch critiqued here in 2007. The nine part series on the 2007 article by Kirk and Paul Cameron is here. The references to Cameron on the AFTAH website are here, and here.

LaBarbera also provided cover for the supporters of the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill while admitting that he had not even read it. LaBarbera also has numerous supportive references to Scott Lively, including this one where Lively defends his rhetoric in Uganda. Recall that Lively told the Ugandan people that the Rwandan holocaust was likely driven by homosexuals. On the rhetoric of Scott Lively in Uganda, watch this video for footage.

Losing my religion? That’s news to me…

UPDATE 2: Is NARTH the next target for Peter LaBarbera? Since NARTH’s website also allows for client self-determination regarding goals and objectives, they are the next logical target. Also, Dr. Nicolosi, co-founder of NARTH does not discourage homosexual behavior in his clients.

UPDATE: Jim Brown at ONN published a follow up article to the one which is the subject of this post.

Dr. Warren Throckmorton of Grove City College says he has not lost faith in God’s ability to change people who are struggling with homosexuality, but believes most of those people are not likely to experience a “diminishment” in same-sex attraction.

“To say that because it appears from the research that change is infrequent in attractions doesn’t mean I’ve lost my faith in God’s ability to change people,” he states.


In an article from OneNewsNow this morning, Peter LaBarbera says that I have lost my “faith in God’s ability to change people.”

Strange that no one asked me what I thought about this. OneNewsNow did not ask me what I think of change. LaBarbera paraphrases something I did not say and they printed it. If you were doing an article about someone, wouldn’t you make an effort to get that person’s views? (UPDATE: I am glad to report that OneNewsNow reporter Jim Brown just called and did seek my perspective)

Regular readers of the blog will understand the difference between the change and congruence paradigms of sexual identity ministry. The change paradigm seeks change of orientation as a goal and a standard of success. Some who hold to this paradigm believe that such change is an indicator of spiritual growth and what is known in Christian theology as “sanctification” – i.e., becoming holy and without sin.

On the other hand, the congruence paradigm seeks alignment with one’s understanding of Christian teaching. Change in the direction of essential attractions is viewed as infrequent and may actually be better describe as better behavioral control. A smaller subset of those people may change their attractions in a more dramatic and abrupt manner. This latter experience may be more common among women than men. Whether it happens or not is not deemed important to the objective of congruence. An assumption is that essential human desires are not likely to change much in this life and so the objective is to align behavior and will to Christian teachings.

The congruence paradigm defines change in ideological terms with meaningful cognitive and behavioral implications. Being converted to Christianity or experiencing a recommitment to one’s faith is a profound change and from the perspective of my Christian tradition is the most important kind of change.

So this accusation that I have lost my “faith in God’s ability to change people” is flat wrong. It also ignores the body of my work and efforts to bring evangelical concerns to the professions. I have been working to make the professional bodies aware that religious identity is powerful and for many evangelicals so vital that it overwhelms all other considerations. The chair of the recent American Psychological Association task force on sexual orientation acknowledged this in an interview with the Wall Street Journal:

“We’re not trying to encourage people to become ‘ex-gay,'” said Judith Glassgold, who chaired the APA’s task force on the issue. “But we have to acknowledge that, for some people, religious identity is such an important part of their lives, it may transcend everything else.”

Earlier today I posted a more detailed rebuttal to attacks on the sexual identity therapy framework. Co-author Mark Yarhouse also posted today on the same subject.

On the application of the sexual identity therapy framework: An answer to critics

Recently a brief portion of the sexual identity therapy framework was attacked by Peter LaBarbera. More broadly, his criticism challenges Christians in counseling: Should a counselor who is Christian insist that clients conform to the counselor’s beliefs?

LaBarbera argues that Christians in counseling should suspend neutrality and require their clients to conform to what the counselor believes. In my view, this confuses the roles of professional counselor versus pastor, respectively.  

He faults the SITF because he says counselors who practice in line with it must affirm behaviors with which they disagree. However, he misreads the intent of the SITF, and in violation of professional ethics, urges professional counselors to act as pastors. If professional counselors acted in this manner then there would be no restraints on ideological coercion from counselors. Here I respond to his contentions and point out the proper application of the SITF. 

The portion in question is here (The entire framework can be read here):

The guidelines do not stigmatize same-sex eroticism or traditional values and attitudes. The emergence of a gay identity for persons struggling with value conflicts is a possibility envisioned by the recommendations. In addition, the recommendations recognize, as do many gay and lesbian commentators, that some people who have erotic attraction to the same-sex experience excruciating conflict that cannot be resolved through the development of a GLB identity (Haldeman, 2002). Thus, for instance, some religious individuals will determine that their religious identity is the preferred organizing principle for them, even if it means choosing to live with sexual feelings they do not value. Conversely, some religious individuals will determine that their religious beliefs may become modified to allow integration of same-sex eroticism within their valued identity. We seek to provide therapy recommendations that respect these options.

First, it is important to understand that the SITF applies to professional counseling and psychotherapy and not to ministry or pastoral counseling. Often when people seek a professionally trained counselor with a graduate degree, they seek an unbiased relationship to discuss their conflicting values and feelings. This neutral stance is provided out of respect for clients’ status as a free moral agent. This, I believe, is a God-given freedom and must be respected, even when the outcome is a choice which is contrary to the beliefs of the counselor. Recently, Saddleback Church pastor, Rick Warren, said it this way: 

The freedom to make moral choices is endowed by God. Since God gives us that freedom, we must protect it for all, even when we disagree with their choices. 

Consistent with this Christian view of persons, all health care codes of ethics require basic respect for the moral autonomy of clients/patients. For instance, the ethics principles of the American Medical Association as applied to psychiatrists state:

The psychiatrist should diligently guard against exploiting information furnished by the patient and should not use the unique position of power afforded him/her by the psychotherapeutic situation to influence the patient in any way not directly relevant to the treatment goals.

Health care providers can exert significant influence over patients and due to the power differential must take special care not to act coercively. This duty falls to all health care providers, Christian and non-Christian alike.

In addition, the American Counseling Association code of ethics reads:

Counselors are aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals. Counselors respect the diversity of clients, trainees, and research participants.

These ethics codes apply to health and mental health care providers who enter into professional contracts with clients, may be receiving reimbursement for services from third party or government payers, and are often regulated by state certifying agencies. In other words, these relationships are regulated by several state and federal laws which require sensitivity to activities which could be coercive and damaging to clients of all belief systems. Christians who are professionally trained and credentialed are not exempt from these considerations because they of their religious beliefs and loyalties. The sexual identity therapy framework was written with this professional audience in mind.

In the ethics codes and the SITF, there is provision for counselors who cannot take a neutral stance. As noted in the SITF, sensitive referral is an option:

The need for referral can arise for reasons involving therapeutic capability and value conflicts. Therapists who rarely conduct sexual identity therapy may find their knowledge and skill base challenged by the needs of some clients.

Therapists who find themselves disappointed by a client’s choices or who even attempt to dissuade a client from pursuing a particular integrative course should secure consultation and consider referral. Moreover, if a therapist’s value position or professional identity (e.g., gay affirming, conservative Christian) is in conflict with the client’s preferred direction, the referral to a more suitable mental professional may be indicated (Haldeman, 2004). Therapists considering referral must take care to consider the therapeutic alliance and any institutional difficulties which might occur due to the referral. Referral may generate charges of discrimination and trigger legal or clinical liability exposure in certain cases (Hermann & Herlihy, 2006). When referral seems clinically appropriate, legal counsel and consultation with one’s liability insurer should be considered.

Akin to the conscience clauses for medical and pharmacy professionals, the referral option acknowledges that counselors may not be able to work against their deeply held beliefs and commitments in their professional work.

Those who believe Christian counselors should be free to take a more pastoral role and direct clients should consider an implication of that perspective. Consider the case of a Christian client who seeks counseling with a moral conflict from a non-Christian counselor. Under the current codes of ethics, the counselor must be sensitive to the client’s faith. However, if coercion and imposition were permitted, then the counselor would be on safe ground to recruit the client away from Christianity and to another faith or no faith.

Much of my work in recent years has been to persuade the professions that respect for religious liberty requires that the professions respect the choices of religious clients. In the area of sexual identity, this means that clients who do not affirm same-sex behavior can be supported to live in accord with their conscience. In August 2009, the American Psychological Association released a task force report which supported such religious clients.

Consistent with respect to conscience and professional ethics, Wheaton College Provost, Stanton Jones, endorsed the SITF, saying:

Throckmorton and Yarhouse have advanced a masterful synthesis of best practice in the confusing and troubled area of sexual orientation, sexual identity, and personal values.  No one should be forced toward a resolution of personal identity that violates their personal conscience; our commitment to being guided by the findings of scientific inquiry and respect for client autonomy and religious freedom should lead us toward empowering individuals to make informed choices about their lives. These guidelines are consistent with the ethical principles of the major mental health professional organizations and are superior to any other existing guidelines for practice in this area. 

In contrast, ministers are able and expected to operate with a more directive stance. Religious leaders are expected to lead and guide according to their understanding of their faith system. When people seek help from them, they expect such guidance. Often people seek the services of both counselors and clergy and each has a role to play in working toward resolution.

To sum up, the SITF is written as a guide to professionals who operate in a legal environment which is open to people of all faiths and no faith. Mr. LaBarbera’s stance confuses roles and if applied to professional Christian therapists across the board would expose them to significant liability.

UPDATE: My friend and co-author, Mark Yarhouse, weighs in on this discussion on his blog. His treatment of this issue is more detailed than mine and well worth the read.

APA brochure kerfuffle

The Southern Voice has an article regarding the recent breathless, echo-chamber enhanced series of articles from some conservative blogs and news services about changes in the American Psychological Association statement regarding sexual orientation.

As I noted here awhile back, the recent flurry was not new news. My first blog about it was when NARTH’s Dean Byrd produced an article for the NARTH website.

In the Sovo article, the APA’s Clinton Anderson seems bemused by the far right response to something they did over a year ago.

Clinton Anderson, director of the APA’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender concerns office, said the change was so subtle that “from our perspective, there really hasn’t been any change.”

But some conservative groups have hailed the wording change as apparent affirmation that sexual orientation is not genetically defined.

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, said the reason “so many people in the pro-family movement are delighted by this is that it seems to confirm our doubts that there’s a gay gene, that homosexuality is inborn.”

“A lot of gay activists have used the idea of genetic homosexuality as a convenient argument to further their case,” he said. “This makes it harder for them to do that, because they can chastise the religious right, but it’s harder for them to chastise the APA.”

I still wait for NARTH to issue a similar position statement regarding the nature of homosexuality – multiple factors, multiple pathways, we don’t know how any of this works very well, etc.

Instead NARTH trumpets a paper saying that research leads to a conclusion that homosexuality is not innate – despite the absence of any evidence to support the “conclusion” in the paper.