Friday, August 7, 2009


This article,The APA Nixes "Ex-Gay Therapy": A Win for the Religious Right? article is worth reading for the simple reason that it reaffirms the fact that fundamentalism of all stripes, particularly including that which invokes "religion" and its view of God, are antithetical to any kind of meaningful dialogue. Facts don't matter to "true believers"; they will often twist facts with which they are confronted to meet their preconceived prejudices and mind-sets.

An excerpt from this article reads as follows:

On Wednesday, the American Psychological Association made headlines by repudiating gay-to-straight therapy. In a report, the APA found that not only is there no evidence that the practice actually works, but it can also lead to depression and suicidal tendencies. Considering that so-called "reparative therapy" has been enthusiastically championed by the religious right, you might be surprised to learn that they're touting the report as a major victory.

One tragedy of the conclusion of the American Psychological Association's findings regarding the harm of "ex-gay therapies" is that the APA saw that "religion" could adversely impact a person's identity as being Gay and, therefore, one could legitimately deny a Gay identity, and deny him/herself a life as a Gay man or woman, for the sake of that religious belief.

So, we have the following possible outcome regarding a fundamentalist mind-set, be it from assorted religious leaders or from those who wish to accommodate such fundamentalists:

According to new APA guidelines, the therapist must make clear that homosexuality doesn't signal a mental or emotional disorder. The counselor must advise clients that gay men and women can lead happy and healthy lives, and emphasize that there is no evidence therapy can change sexual orientation.

But if the client still believes that affirming his same-sex attractions would be sinful or destructive to his faith, psychologists can help him construct an identity that rejects the power of those attractions, the APA says. That might require living celibately, learning to deflect sexual impulses or framing a life of struggle as an opportunity to grow closer to God.

"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."

[For the full article, see here.]

So, even the APA gives the startling conclusion to its unsurprising findings as to the harm of "ex-gay therapies" that it's OK to redirect one's sexuality to other pursuits for the sake of "religion," even, as in the case of fundamentalism, even toxic religion!

And they give this conclusion, despite their statement:

No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the resolution, adopted by a 125-to-4 vote. The association said some research suggested that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies. [See here.]

As Frederick Schiller once remarked, "Against stupidity, even the gods contend in vain!"

So, they have the temerity to state that when one's being Gay counters the client's perception of what it means to be a Christian: "That might require living celibately, learning to deflect sexual impulses or framing a life of struggle as an opportunity to grow closer to God."

Apparently, in its attempt to accommodate toxic religion, and even their client's misunderstanding of God, faith, and sexuality, the APA affirms that it might be OK to suppress these primal needs in spite of the fact that any attempt to "change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies."

This seeming attempt to accommodate those religious true believers who see a contradiction between sexuality and religiosity just goes to show how toxic religion has impacted our culture, even impacting behavioral and social scientists who should know better than to make such an accommodation.

The Chair of the APA's task force stated the veritably inconceivable as a presumed attempt to accommodate fundamentalists and other misdirected people: "But we have to acknowledge that, for some people, religious identity is such an important part of their lives, it may transcend everything else."

Rather than confront the destructive lie that "religious identity" and "sexuality" are not inconsistent with each other, save for those whom God gifted with the call to celibacy, the APA allows toxic religion to rear its ugly head in the name of "mental health." I'll never know why they wouldn't confront this destructive lie by redirecting their client to, or working in tandem with, a credible clergy person who could help their client see that being Gay is consistent with God's will for that person's life; being Gay is certainly not a sin!

The "client still believes that affirming his same-sex attractions would be sinful or destructive to his faith" because he has been taught that lie!

What kind of "faith" is it that in order to claim one of God's gifts to us, God's grace, we have to relinquish another one of God's gifts to us, our sexuality?

It is incumbent upon all clinicians and clergy to affirm God's Gay children as having been gifted with their sexuality and the capacity to love, the latter of which is tragically missing in many self-professed "Christians."

And it is not the clinician's business to help his or her client accommodate to any warped view of faith or to the toxic religion that teaches that warped view!

Indeed, the client, LGBT people, and Straight people must learn that the attempt to deny what God has made shows a decided lack of faith, a faith without which it is impossible to please God! (Hebrews 11:6)
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Buffy said...

As usual they see facts that conflict with their rigid dogma, stick their fingers in their ears and scream "la la la". Then they proceed to insist everyone warp their lives and reality to adhere to the dogma regardless of the results.

Jerry Maneker said...

You've got that right, Buffy. Like W.C. Fields said, "You can't smarten up a chump." However, when they seek to impose their ignorance and/or hatred onto society, and attempt to prevent or curtail civil rights protections, and cause untold misery to people, they must be confronted for the false gospel of legalism and perfectionism that they egregiously impose. Best wishes, Jerry.


I agree with your assessment 100%, Jerry. I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach after reading the entire statement from the APA. They have no business whatsoever helping shame-afflicted Gay people "reconcile" their sexuality with their religious beliefs. That's going over the line. This essay is very important; please submit it to Whosoever.

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks so much, Don Charles. It gets bad when the APA, or any other professional organization, can be convinced to accommodate one's self-loathing if he/she lives an authentic life. Best wishes, Jerry.

genevieve said...

Jerry, we spent some time talking with a young gay man whose dealing with being gay and the legalism of his church. He was confused about all of it. With what the APA came out with it's no wonder TGLB people reject God and science for that matter.

God has moved me to write about the compatibility of our faith and sexuality. I have encouraged a number of people that God loves them as they are. This is very important because lives and souls depend upon it.

Jerry Maneker said...

You have a wonderful and essential ministry, genevieve! Lives and souls do depend on it! The message must be made loud and clear: God created LGBT people just as God created Straight people; God doesn't make any mistakes; God didn't create people whom God could hate; being LGBT is in no way inconsistent with the Gospel! Best wishes, Jerry.