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Reparative Therapy for Homosexual Persons
[COMMENT: The following, somewhat edited, was sent to a Christian legal organization which was opposing laws forbidding professional therapy for homosexual persons. For more on this issue, see two articles: http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/22SxSo/BroSx/Html/ShrtEvid.htm and http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/22SxSo/BroSx/Html/Strtgy1pg.htm Both articles available in pdf at those sites. E. Fox]
A Response to Misters Herek
on the Issue of Reparative Therapy for Homosexual Persons
in the State of California
F. Earle Fox
The following is a response to Gregory M. Herek and A. Lee Beckstead regarding their Declarations in support of forbidding professional counselors and therapists from guiding homosexual persons, males or females, away from their sexual orientation.
1. My credentials for entering this discussion are as follows.
This discussion is not only about homosexuality, it is about the nature of science, and about how it can rightly be applied to these kinds of discussions. I received a BA in philosophy from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, an M. Div. from the Episcopal General Theological Seminary in New York City, and a D. Phil. from Oxford University in Oxford England on the relation between science and religion.
I was also trained in Clinical Pastoral Education, spending four quarters (one year) living-on-site at two mental hospitals, one at a city prison, and one at a general hospital. Clinically, the experience was the equivalent of a master’s degree in psychology. Learning about human psychology and the relation between secular psychology and Christian spirituality has been a major interest. Pastoral counseling was my self-employment for most of my adult life, as well as pastoring small churches, one for ten years, another for three years.
I have been at the same time rewriting Biblical theology so that Christians can stand up in public and again present their faith with intellectual credibility (www.theroadtoemmaus.org ). Biblical Inner Healing is my effort to develop a Biblical psychology which can quite adequately respond to secular efforts in explaining the human psyche (http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/EM/ShpMl/BIH/00BIH.htm ).
From 1989 to about 2002, I lectured at the annual conferences of Exodus International (www.exodusinternational.org ) on how understanding Biblical sexuality can be of help in overcoming sexual addiction of many sorts, including homosexuality. I still offer a seminar for churches to help them understand how to work with and minister to homosexual persons in their churches and elsewhere with truth and love wedded. I have published Homosexuality: Good & Right in the Eyes of God? on that subject (http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/EM/ShpMl/WinSxWrs.htm ), along with other works on human sexuality.
For about three years (1999-2001), I was the director of Transformation Christian Ministries in the Washington, DC, area, an Exodus referral ministry, helping people out of the homosexual lifestyle to their God-given heterosexual humanness, male and female, in the image of God.
For Biblical people, gender relations are not a personally or socially “relative” matter, they are built into the image of God Himself (Genesis 1:26-28), the most stable and immoveable item in all of existence. Human marriage is a reflection, an image of, a prior and eternal union in God Himself.
This had significant results in human history. As Jewish commentator, Dennis Prager, has explained, the Hebrews were the first society to “put the sexual genie into the marital bottle”, effectively making Western Civilization possible by teaching Westerners (via Jews and Christians) to focus their energies and passions on stable family and culture rather than spill these energies aimlessly, randomly, and chaotically in pursuit of good feelings (http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/31JdXn/Jd/PragerJudaismOnHosx.htm ).
The law of God (to love God and neighbor, Matthew 22:34 ff.) made good relationships more important than good feelings. Pursuit of good feelings does not produce good relationships, it tends to produce chaos. But pursuit of good relationships does, as a by product, produce – good feelings.
Understanding these matters is at the
foundation of understanding the issues before California, America, and the
world regarding sexual behavior.
2. How, then, does this affect the contest in California on whether pastors, counselors, social workers, psychologists, et al, should or should not engage in reparative therapy for persons who want to change their sexual attraction from homosexual to heterosexual?
The two Declarations by Misters Herek and Beckstead illustrate certain nearly universal errors in thinking about the matter.
First, there is a failure to define the real issue. In any rational debate, if the issue is not clearly defined, then truth will not likely emerge, and persons not interested in the truth of the matter will be enabled to manipulate the outcome.
In a free society, it is perfectly acceptable to raise such issues as the acceptance of homosexual behavior and lifestyle. America was founded, and the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were both written, to create a level playing field in which the government was essentially in the role of referee, and thus not determiner of the outcome. The people, in a free-market of ideas would determine the outcome, especially of legal matters, and then elect representatives to enact those values and goals.
Thus one responds to homosexual advocates, “We can entertain your request. Tell us about homosexuality so that we can make an intelligent response. As the Scottish say, ‘Take the pig out of the poke so that we can examine it.’ Homosexuality is two things, (1) an orientation towards (2) a behavior. So, please explain these two items.”
The failure in the Declarations of Misters Herek and Beckstead to explain these central issues have been almost universal in all discussions on homosexuality before and since the Stonewall riots in the late 1960’s set the homosexual movement into high gear. The single relevant goal for which homosexual advocates contend is not only the freedom, but the expressed moral approval of society, to practice the sexual behaviors common to them. But those behaviors are almost never mentioned, and never described in these debates. The behaviors are not discussed because, one must assume, those who want to practice them suspect (rightly) that the public would not approve of them. And those who indeed would not approve are too prudish, ignorant, or scared to force a discussion of the relevant behaviors.
So, the central issues not being clarified, the discussion will almost
certainly be controlled by persons who do not want truth to prevail.
3. How does one’s view of science affect these matters?
Science is about truth-seeking and truth-speaking.
Science as we know it today was a Western invention, rising up in the late Middle Ages in a Europe which had been fermenting in a growing Christian culture. The fermentation was being subtly guided by three notions unique to the Biblical worldview: (1) the world was good; (2) the world was orderly; and, (3) the world was improvable. The pagan world did not with consistency believe any of those three things. Pagans almost universally believed the world to be chaotic, disorderly, not a good place for human life, a veil of tears, and not significantly improvable. With such beliefs, one does not bother with the almost unremitting drudgery through which science leads its practitioners. How many hundreds of light bulbs did Edison have to burn out before he found one that would stay lighted long enough? What drove him on?
Those “benighted” Middle Ages began to produce a free-market of ideas which were institutionalized in the universities of the great cities, Paris, Cambridge, Oxford, and others, out of which came the rise of science. Science was invented by persons who believed the three items above, and who were, for the first time, able to combine the Hebraic focus on the historical and particular with the Greek genius for abstract, logical thinking. That had never before happened in human history.
Science has three more aspects to it. It requires a commitment to truth; it requires a commitment to community processes, not only with fellow scientists, but the the community at large; and, it requires a moral commitment. Without the “ought” (as Herek and Beckstead note, the oath of Hypocrites), science becomes merely a tool of the power hungry, exercised mainly by politicians in league with corporations.
The moral stance taken by both Herek and Beckstead is admirable, but a moral
stance without the command of God is an illusion – as both logic and human
history shows over and over (http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/EM/ShpMl/Law&Grace/00Law&Grace.htm
). If that is the case, then science as a productive enterprise not only
began in Biblical foundations, but requires those foundations to continue as
an enterprise helpful to the human race. Science broken free from its
spiritual/moral leash is adequately described by R. J. Rummel at
www.hawaii.edu/powerkills . That is why the homosexual agenda, rooted in
so-called relative truth and “pluralism”, is able to succeed in America
today. Science has been compromised by persons who are “position-defenders”
rather than truth-seekers. But the only way to a true position is to be
first, and continually, a seeker of objective truth.
4. How, then, do Herek and Beckstead fare in our analysis?
Both authors have nothing but good to say about the homosexual lifestyle, but never make the slightest reference to specific behaviors. The matter floats softly in the air, with appeals to pity and concern for the bad treatment to which some homosexual persons are subjected.
I make no excuse for anyone’s bad behavior or attitude toward any other human being. Loving one’s neighbor is a command which goes far beyond “do no harm”. God requires us to actively seek the good for those who are our neighbors. But seeking the good requires discipline as well as compassion – tough love. It requires our insisting on honest discussion of issues. The commitment to truth-seeking must precede all other commitments, or the commitments will derail.
The Declarations of both gentlemen insist that homosexual persons have no
discernible problems that all other people do not have, that they are
essentially normal persons, and that their only difference is their sexual
5. But let us look at the matter which remains left unexamined, homosexual behavior.
The list of behaviors is not long, perhaps a dozen if one includes everything. But there are half a dozen which are more or less popular among those who are practicing homosexual persons.
Research statistics vary, but a general picture is given by the following: Nearly 100% of male homosexuals engaged in oral sex, inserting the penis into the mouth of the partner. Approximately 93% engage in anal sex, inserting the penis into the anus of the partner. 92% engage in "rimming", touching the anus of one's partner with one's tongue and inserting the tongue into the anus. 47% engage in "fisting", inserting one's fist and even lower arm into the anus of the partner. 29% engage in "golden showers", urinating on each other. 17% engage in "scat", the eating of feces, or rubbing of feces on each other, and in "mud rolling", rolling on the floor where feces have been deposited. It is not uncommon for a homosexual person to declaw and defang a mouse or other rodent to be inserted into the colon. Some leave the claws and fangs in.
The sense in which these behaviors could even be called "sexual" is somewhat problematic -- other than that they give a kind of intense "sexual" pleasure. That intense pleasure is the whole intent and goal of the behaviors. They serve to sugar-coat the inner brokenness and emptiness of their lives.
Most of these behaviors were openly reported and discussed back in the 1990’s when an Episcopal priest on Long Island was accused of practicing homosexual behaviors in his church.
One asks, Which of these behaviors would God want to bless? And which of them would the State (the people as well as the government) of California want to bless? And why?
This behavior is described by homosexual persons, not the ever-targeted
right-wing Christian fundamentalists.
Among themselves homosexual persons talk
freely, even obsessively, about sexual behavior. See
The Gay Report,
by two homosexual persons, Karla Jay and Allen Young, 1979, one of the
largest studies done on the subject, a collection and categorizing of
self-reporting from hundreds of homosexual persons.
6. Is this behavior really bad for one’s health?
Almost every one of these behaviors involves intimate contact with human waste. It has been precisely our learning how to isolate ourselves from our own waste which has led to much of our increased life-span. The homosexual agenda wants to reverse centuries of health improvement. Why? Because it feels so good. But it makes no more sense to encourage homosexual behavior than to say to your child: “Sure, honey, it’s OK to play in the toilet, just wear your rubber gloves.”
In the early 1980’s, when AIDS was showing up, persons from both sides of the homosexuality debate were telling homosexual persons that if they continued to have sexual relations where body fluids would be exchanged, they would get AIDS and die because there was no known cure. The typical response was then, and still is heard, “You are attacking my being, not my behavior. My sexual attraction is who I am, not what I do!”
The inability or unwillingness to stop a self-destructive behavior is prima facie evidence of a compulsive, addictive condition. In this case, very likely fatal. The unwillingness among almost all medical professions to label such behavior as pathological is unconscionable.
There is a clear difference between our being and our behavior, which if blurred, leads to severe confusion. If I pick any behavior at all (twiddling my thumbs), and think it is my being, trying to stop that behavior will seem like suicide. No addiction can be cured so long as a person makes that false identification that some "doing" is his in fact his "being".
There should not be a medical doctor alive, at least in the West, who is not aware of the health problems caused by “innocent” homosexual behavior, that is, the damage to the colon by penal penetration, the entry of fecal matter into the bloodstream through lesions in the colon, and the penetration of sperm through even untorn colon walls into the bloodstream, all causing an erosion of the immune system, a mini-HIV-AIDS situation. The "gay bowels syndrome" had been recognized for decades before AIDS. None of this is caused by homophobia, it is caused only by homosexual behavior.
The death rate among practicing homosexual persons removes anywhere from 25% to 40% of their normally expected lifespan into the middle 70’s, far worse than that caused by cigarette smoking which receives so much public attention. Much of that was already known before AIDS set in. HIV-AIDS only added to an already tragic loss of health and life.
It is fair to say that nearly the whole of the medical field has, by silence, betrayed its moral calling to “do no harm” and to love its neighbor, i.e., us, the people, their patients and clients.
As even some homosexualists have said,
AIDS became a public relations boone to their cause. They were able to
manipulate the deadly crisis for their own ends, to foster a feeling of pity
and sorrow for themselves. How can that not be considered either
psychological or moral derailment?
7. Both Herek and Beckstead have much to say about “stigma”.
In the early 1900’s, cancer was a “stigma”. People were ashamed to talk about it. But that did not make cancer unreal. Likewise, homosexuality being, in the eyes of some, a "stigma", does not make the dangers of homosexuality unreal. The disease will not evaporate because the stigma is removed.
Herek and Beckstead are right that no one
should be "stigmatized", but that does not relieve us of the obligation to
investigate the situation honestly with all sides being invited and
encouraged to speak their piece, including those who think homosexuality to
be a serious problem. Any hindering of that freedom of discussion (as by
hate-crime laws) is evidence of manipulation and subversion of truth.
Disagreeing with someone, no matter how painful, is not by itself abuse, as
hate-crime laws tell us. No one is abused by homosexual persons defending
their case, but the whole public is being abused by homosexualists denying
anyone the freedom to speak his contrary case.
8. Herek and Beckstead gives the impression that homosexual behavior is benign.
The evidence does not show that. Just knowing what the behavior is makes that clear, which is why homosexual advocates work hard to talk all around it, but never to it. Their long histories of how the APA came to rejoice in homosexuality rather than want to change it are beside the point because they refuse to engage the vital issues. And thus they betray their own dictum to do no harm. If homosexuality is the disaster to which the facts seem to point, homosexual persons themselves are the ones most in need of honest discussion. But that is being denied them. That is not science. It is betrayal.
Herek and Beckstead have much to say also
about the alleged wrongness of reparative therapy for homosexuality.
Witnesses from the other side, from Exodus and other organizations helpful
to persons exiting the homosexual lifestyle, should be invited to give their
9. Herek makes reference to Dr. Robert Spitzer, the psychiatrist who in 1973 helped lead the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of pathologies. Two and a half decades later, in the spring of 1999, Spitzer was attending the APA conference in Washington, DC, at which Transformation Christian Ministries, which I was then directing, was picketing outside the conference in opposition to the APA recommendations that reparative therapy for homosexual persons be stopped.
Spitzer saw us and came over to talk with our people who were parading around with signs stating our cause. To everyone’s surprise, he at that point began to change his mind to believe that at least some persons could come substantially out of the homosexual lifestyle, and that he had no reason for not believing them. It was a monumental change in his view of the matter. TCM held a press conference the next day at the National Press Club, to which he came and listened quietly.
I visited him about a year later at his office in New York City, hoping to get some of our members into the next APA meeting to testify of their successes in moving toward a healthy heterosexual life. He proved to be a very easy person to talk with, and a person who genuinely cared about people. He was concerned about the “hate” which he suspected that people like ourselves might be projecting toward homosexual persons. But he became very involved with helping Exodus communicate on the issues, attending Exodus events.
He came some time later to the Exodus national conference on the west coast, at which time I had lunch with him. I asked him what he thought of the conference, to which he replied, “Well, there’s no hate here...” He had been persuaded by homosexual advocates that Christians hated them, a thought and belief which spurred much of the energy of their movement. It had never been true of Exodus people, who remember their own background and are very alert to such negative attitudes.
Herek says that Spitzer has recanted his previous change of mind, apologized to homosexual persons who were offended by his change, and that his study which he thought supported his change did not really prove that the alleged changes were real.
Just what studies could “prove” such a claim is unclear. His original statement, as I recall it, was not that he “proved” that changes were made, but the lesser claim that change was at least possible, and that he had no good reason to doubt the claims of many of those who thought they had made significant strides toward a heterosexual orientation. One wonders if the stiffer claim was invented to provide Spitzer a graceful way to recant of his previous change.
Spitzer was subjected to a barrage of
abuse immediately after making his first change, which tells of the
manipulative and insincere pleadings of many homosexual persons for their
own protection from abuse. He was surrounded by enormous and often abusive
pressure from colleagues. I have observed and experienced homosexual persons
who do not mind being abusive, but play the victim whenever they can use an
event to make it seem that their side is being abused.
By not engaging the issues of behavior openly and directly, Herek and Beckstead both lend themselves to the charge that they are not engaged in this discussion in a manner that invites the opposition to speak its case. They shift the issue away from homosexual abuse of themselves and of society to the alleged public abuse of homosexual persons.
There is no question that such abuse of homosexual persons exists, but being less than candid concerning homosexual behavior will quickly erode and subvert the cause of truth. The case in the long run goes to those with a moral commitment to truth-seeking and truth-speaking, that is, to good scientists.
Indicated, then, is that there are good reasons for thinking that homosexual behavior is less than helpful. It cannot be considered "legal" to mainstream death into the life blood stream of a society, which is what promoting homosexual behavior does. The evidence substantially supports efforts to help homosexual persons out of compulsive homosexual behavior into their God-given heterosexual nature, and supports efforts to prevent the State of California from approving homosexual behavior, and thus for maintaining marriage as between one man and one woman, for life.
For more on this issue, see two articles: http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/22SxSo/BroSx/Html/ShrtEvid.htm
Both articles available in pdf at those sites.
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Date Posted - 01/17/2013 - Date Last Edited - 01/21/2013