• The Multi-failure of Mathew Vine's 40 questions.

    In the light of the decision of the US Supreme Court, a decision that has legal holes running through it like Swiss cheese (not least that two of the judges who gave ruling should not have been involved due to pre-judgement statements) Evangelical pastor Kevin DeYoung has posted 40 Questions for pro-gay marriage advocates. These questions are:
    1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?
    2. What Bible verses led you to change your mind?
    3. How would you make a positive case from Scripture that sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is a blessing to be celebrated?
    4. What verses would you use to show that a marriage between two persons of the same sex can adequately depict Christ and the church?
    5. Do you think Jesus would have been okay with homosexual behavior between consenting adults in a committed relationship?
    6. If so, why did he reassert the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman?
    7. When Jesus spoke against porneia what sins do you think he was forbidding?
    8. If some homosexual behavior is acceptable, how do you understand the sinful “exchange” Paul highlights in Romans 1?
    9. Do you believe that passages like 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Revelation 21:8 teach that sexual immorality can keep you out of heaven?
    10. What sexual sins do you think they were referring to?
    11. As you think about the long history of the church and the near universal disapproval of same-sex sexual activity, what do you think you understand about the Bible that Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, and Luther failed to grasp?
    12. What arguments would you use to explain to Christians in Africa, Asia, and South America that their understanding of homosexuality is biblically incorrect and your new understanding of homosexuality is not culturally conditioned?
    13. Do you think Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were motivated by personal animus and bigotry when they, for almost all of their lives, defined marriage as a covenant relationship between one man and one woman?
    14. Do you think children do best with a mother and a father?
    15. If not, what research would you point to in support of that conclusion?
    16. If yes, does the church or the state have any role to play in promoting or privileging the arrangement that puts children with a mom and a dad?
    17. Does the end and purpose of marriage point to something more than an adult’s emotional and sexual fulfillment?
    18. How would you define marriage?
    19. Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married?
    20. Should marriage be limited to only two people?
    21. On what basis, if any, would you prevent consenting adults of any relation and of any number from getting married?
    22. Should there be an age requirement in this country for obtaining a marriage license?
    23. Does equality entail that anyone wanting to be married should be able to have any meaningful relationship defined as marriage?
    24. If not, why not?
    25. Should your brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with homosexual practice be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs without fear of punishment, retribution, or coercion?
    26. Will you speak up for your fellow Christians when their jobs, their accreditation, their reputation, and their freedoms are threatened because of this issue?
    27. Will you speak out against shaming and bullying of all kinds, whether against gays and lesbians or against Evangelicals and Catholics?
    28. Since the evangelical church has often failed to take unbiblical divorces and other sexual sins seriously, what steps will you take to ensure that gay marriages are healthy and accord with Scriptural principles?
    29. Should gay couples in open relationships be subject to church discipline?
    30. Is it a sin for LGBT persons to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage?
    31. What will open and affirming churches do to speak prophetically against divorce, fornication, pornography, and adultery wherever they are found?
    32. If “love wins,” how would you define love?
    33. What verses would you use to establish that definition?
    34. How should obedience to God’s commands shape our understanding of love?
    35. Do you believe it is possible to love someone and disagree with important decisions they make?
    36. If supporting gay marriage is a change for you, has anything else changed in your understanding of faith?
    37. As an evangelical, how has your support for gay marriage helped you become more passionate about traditional evangelical distinctives like a focus on being born again, the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross, the total trustworthiness of the Bible, and the urgent need to evangelize the lost?
    38. What open and affirming churches would you point to where people are being converted to orthodox Christianity, sinners are being warned of judgment and called to repentance, and missionaries are being sent out to plant churches among unreached peoples?
    39. Do you hope to be more committed to the church, more committed to Christ, and more committed to the Scriptures in the years ahead?
    40. When Paul at the end of Romans 1 rebukes “those who practice such things” and those who “give approval to those who practice them,” what sins do you think he has in mind?


    Doing an internet search I can find no proper answers to these questions. Instead, Matthew Vines - who claims to be an "evangelical" but advocates gay marriage - has responded by posing his own 40 questions. The best response to these that I have found is here from Dr Michael Brown so I will not waste time by answering them. Instead I wish to point out failures in Vines' understanding of theology, psychology and history.

    Firstly Vines continuously refers through out his questions to gay Christians. If you read Vines's website and book it is clear that this refers to people who identify themselves as gay first and Christian second. The centre of their identity is their homosexuality. As Paul wrote to the Phillipians this worldview is wrong - the centre of our identity is not our sexuality, it is not our denomination, it is not our ethnicity, it is Christ! Vines and those like him, including groups like Changing Attitudes, Accepting Evangelicals, the Marin Project, Gay Christian Network and Thinking Anglicans, and even more "orthodox" writers like Wes Hill, fail to witness Biblical truth by allowing their identity to revolve around their sexual identity.

    Secondly Vines suggests gay marriage is OK, without giving any verses to support this. He asks the question "What do you think the result would be if we told all straight teenagers in the church that if they ever dated someone they liked, held someone's hand, kissed someone, or got married, they would be rebelling against God?" The problem is, as Vines has shown by his silence on Bible verses on gay marriage, this is a false question. The Bible is clear that marriage is between male and female. Churches provide pre-marriage courses and counselling to help those who are engaged or who want to enter heterosexual marriage to do so. Part of this is making sure that the person they are married to is the right person. So Vines is being dishonest by asking this question. There are no theological grounds to tell teenagers wanting to enter into heterosexual marriage not to do so, quite unlike homosexuality where there is no Biblical grounds for gay marriage.

    In his questions Vines asks whether people are aware of the higher attempted suicide rate amongst teens not supported by their parents when they come out. But he ignores the fact that those who identify as homosexual are four times as likely to suffer from mental health conditions than heterosexuals while those who are in gay marriages are around 8 times as likely to have mental health problems than heterosexuals. Vines does not differentiate between those who "come out" whose parents accept them and help them accept and embrace their sexuality, those whose parents accept their decision but do not accept their lifestyle choosing instead to walk with them through the following years thereby keeping the door open for change of heart and possibly sexual orientation, and those whose parents are truly homophobic. As such Vines fails to be honest about the situation, trying to use statistics to shame his opponents.

    On the shaming of opponents tack Vines then, in a number of questions, attempts to liken homosexual rights to the battle against slavery. It is not a coincidence that while Vines was posting his questions South Carolina was debating the removal of the Confederate flag with all its reminders of the slave trade. But this is a false association. There is no evidence that people are born gay, as the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the World Health Organisation, and the American Psychological Association, have all recognised. Also we see a major difference between slavery and homosexuality in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation homosexual behaviour is seen as sin, sin so great it can exclude people from heaven, sin so great it does against God's created order - from before the Fall sex was only to be between male and female. With slavery we see an evolution in human rights, just as we do with the rights of females even ending up with female Apostles such as Junia. In the books of the Law (Exodus to Deuteronomy) we see restrictions put on how slaves can be punished, how people can be enslaved with the release of slaves at set times unless they become bond servants. We see that slaves and servants can also inherit the estates of their masters. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul writes to Philemon concerning liberation from slavery as an ultimate goal. The slavery of recent US and European history was often based on the misrepresentation of one verse from the story of Noah where the descendents of Ham were cursed, that because of this curse those tribes that come from Ham were somehow less worthy than those that come from Shem and Japheth. This was compounded by the theory of evolution that saw white males, and more specifically white upper class males, as more evolved than Africans. (This is the root of the IQ test that was developed by Galton to prove that working class men and women were not "evolved" enough to have the vote, and is the root of the cartoon leprechaun which appeared in anti-Irish Home Rule posters and is based on the ape suggesting that the Irish were not evolved enough to rule themselves.) As part of this we must also mention the issue of bestiality which Vines challenges people over what is worse, homosexuality or bestiality. Again this is a false question, though we are now seeing efforts to legalise bestiality - or zoophilia as practitioners call it - in the US and elsewhere. Bestiality is sin, is condemned, as it goes against God's created order as man was made for sexual relationships with females. The creation story tells us that God had all the animals pass before Adam who named them but that there was no mate there for Adam. This is the context of the phrase "it is not good for man to be alone". The same story tells us that God created a mate by making Eve, so that man and woman would become "one flesh". What Vines and others who promote homosexual marriage do not realise, or do not want to realise, is that by rejecting the Biblical mandate of sexual relationship between male and female as shown in the Creation story they are also rejecting the Biblical mandate of the creation story of animals not being suitable partners for humans. Why? Because we are stating that God was wrong in seeing only opposite human sexes as suitable partners for the other.

    We must now look at the failure of Vines concerning the history of homosexuality. While homosexuality and lesbianism are modern, Victorian, ideas and terms the idea of same-sex love is not. In his Symposium Plato (written 385-370BC) quotes Aristophanies who sees male-male love as the most noble form of love - especially when it ends in sexual union and the relationship lasting over life. (Plato also speaks against homosexual relationships in other works). Paul, who was able to quote Greek scholars and uses philosophy in his theology, would have been aware of this work and philosophical idea yet still wrote the condemnation of homosexual and lesbian practice in Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, and to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:10). There is also the Pseudo-Lucian "Affairs of the Heart" where the Athenian Callicratidas argues for homosexual love as "ordained by divine laws" (that is from Greek gods such as Zeus and Apollo who both had male lovers). Lucian wrote after Paul, between AD 125-180. Against these writings the Church actually stood against homosexual relationships. Ptolemy of Alexandria (2nd century AD) wrote about women born under a certain star sign who - contrary to nature - engaged in sexual relationships with women (Tetrabiblos 3) and the Church Father Clement of Alexandria wrote at around the same time about women who married women and how this was contrary to nature (Paidogogos). Ptolemy's view is interesting as he argues a "nature" argument - that some women are "lesbian" because of their star sign. While the most common form of homosexual behaviour in Greek culture was the paedestry relationship, though this was only amongst males not females, the early Church was aware of the "born gay" and loving gay arguments and opposed them. (This though does not contradict the concept of homosexuality and lesbianism being modern philosophical concepts as the terms did not exist before the Victorian era, and also the arguments of Aristophanies and Callicradites are more religious based than the scientific arguments used today being more inline with the theology of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and other pro-gay bodies than the "science" of Kinsey, the APA and others as their philosophy and the science that came with it were born out of religion rather than from a rejecting of religion.)

    Finally we must look at the issue of change and celibacy. The Bible is clear that sexual relationship are between a man and woman within marriage - anything else is sin. As such those who identify as homosexuals are in the same situation as heterosexuals who are not married - they are expected to be celibate. To do anything else is to sin. Change though is not easy, but contrary to Vines and other anti-change voices, it is no harder than dealing with an eating disorder, loosing weight or dealing with a serious addiction. Neither is attempting to change any more harmful than dealing with these issues and it is falsehood to claim otherwise. The problem is, to quote the Pentecostal minister F S Boswell, people are missing the healings that occur because they are looking for miracles. People expect massive change rather than a journey to wholeness.

    I agree though with Vines that to speak of celibacy as the only option, as some groups within the ex-gay movement do, is dangerous. I recently received an email from a friend from one such group announcing his engagement to a male. When I contacted him to ask why he told me that he had lost hope through being told all he could do was be celibate. God calls us not to be celibate but to holiness, whatever our struggles. He also calls us to wholeness, and change will often happen to a greater or lesser extent (but people need to learn to walk in the testimony of their healing). Celebrating brokenness through gay marriage does not pursue either holiness or wholeness. This is the message of the ex-gay movement, through groups like Restored Hope Network and Hope for Wholeness as well as Exodus Global Alliance and Live In Christ, and the failure of the gay Christian movement in all its hues.

    That is the choice to pursue holiness and wholeness or celebrate brokenness. Vines has chosen to do the later. I hope those who read this will join me in doing the former.

    (Edited to correct typos and to remove link to video where Vines was quoted but did not participate).

  • Holding Out Hope

    At the Transformation Potential Conference held on April 14th in London someone asked the question why we speak about change when it would be safer for people to just talk about celibacy. I did not get the chance, as I was not on stage, to answer the question - so I am going to do so through this blog.

    I know of a number of ministries, both in the UK and elsewhere, that emphasise faithfulness to the Word of God/Bible and celibacy rather than talking about change. Some are quite anti-change, feeling that we should not encourage a process that may leave people like failures, while others are not anti-change but de-emphasise this option. I have spoken with a number of therapists in the UK and USA who are now being contacted by members of these groups because they believe there must be more because as they read the Bible, especially 1 Corinthians 6 verses 9-12, they believe it offers more than just being celibate. They believe that the Bible actually speaks of change. Those ministries that offer change agree that the Bible holds out more to the struggler than just being celibate, that it offers out the hope of change, the hope of wholeness. This is not a promise that people will become "straight" but a call to trust in God to heal brokenness and to hope in transformation into who God calls us to be.

    And this hope is important. I recently received an email from a friend who announced that he was engaged to a guy (I met this friend through one of the ministries that de-emphasises change). I asked him what had led to this as he had been part of the ex-gay/post-gay movement. In a nutshell, this friend told me that the message emphasising celibacy had left him without hope. Because of this he decided that he might as well embrace his sexual feelings and get married to a guy. He told me that they aimed to remain celibate within the marriage so he would not be breaking any Biblical laws.

    This worries me, though I know the Church of England has such a demand on their clergy. Whole swaithes of people are being left, by well intentioned people, without hope. This is why I speak of the possibility of change, offer the hope for healing and wholeness. And what is Biblical hope? It is the enlightening of our minds and hearts to be sure of a future, of what has not yet happened but will either in this world or the next, so that we are cleansed and made righteous in Christ.

  • The Neurosis of the Anti-change Brigade

    On April 14th I attended the Transformation Potential Conference in London put on by CORE Issues Trust, Christian Concern and Anglican Mainstream. Of course the media decided to attend and reported the conference with varying degrees of inaccuracy claiming that we were trying to "pray away the gay" (The Independent) or were into "conversion therapy" (The Telegraph), but this was nothing to the attitude of the BBC.

    If you read the details of the BBC Trust they are meant to be independent and to provide equal access to both sides of a debate. This though is not the case as they manipulated the subject both on Newsnight and on the Victoria Derbyshire programmes allowing the pro-gay and anti-SOCE (sexual orientation change efforts) voice to interrupt the pro-SOCE speaker and by not allowing the pro-SOCE speaker the right to reply. Considering how many people believe the BBC can be trusted - despite the deliberate misquotes of politicians by their chief political editor - this institutional bias is concerning. But through this bias something more was exposed - the neurosis of many anti-SOCE campaigners, in this case Dr Christian Jessen and Patrick Strudwick.

    Dr Jessen, famous for his part of the Embarrassing Bodies show on Channel 4, "debated" against Dr Joseph Nicolosi. When, on Newsnight, Dr Nicolosi stated that through SOCE therapists help people become the people they want to be Jessen lept up and stated that this was false and all SOCE did was make people into what society wanted them to be. As Jessen knows this is nonsense. The various UK mental health bodies have taken a position, supported by the outgoing government, that to change sexual orientation is "unethical". Stonewall, despite High Court rulings that their adverts are in breach of equality guidelines, continue to run posters claiming that people are "gay" and have on their website discredited science claiming a higher percentage of twins where one is gay the other is gay than actually exists as well as claiming that a higher percentage of the population is gay (they claim 10% when the reality is 2%). Programmes like Challenging Homophobia In Primiary Schools (CHIPS), Schools Out, and Stonewall's own anti-bullying package tell people that they are gay, and this is fine. Both Schools Out and Stonewall through their work on Gay History make claims about people being gay which are extremely dubious (someone must be gay because they slept in the same bed as someone of the same gender in an age where this was common as people did not have separate bedrooms). These same programmes tell people that they were "born gay" and cannot change - despite the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the World Health Organisation saying differently. This is why clients tell me that they are rejecting the mindset, the idea that they are gay. Rather than helping them be who society wants them to be we are helping them go against the flow of media like the BBC, The Independent, The Telegraph and Dr Jessen's pseudoscientific "Cure Me, I'm Gay". Jessen knows this but cannot admit it, interestingly the presenter did not give Nicolosi a proper chance to reply allowing Jessen's statement to go unchallenged.

    The case of Patrick Strudwick on Victoria Derbyshire's programme is even more enlightening. Strudwick is the journalist who has called for "war" against those who offer SOCEs, who attacks gay rights activists who question the born gay argument because he knows that he was born gay and let no-one tell him differently. In debating with Dr Mike Davidson, of CORE Issues Trust, Strudwick told Davidson that he was as "gay as a goose" and should accept who he really was. Again this was allowed to go all but unchallenged - something I experienced on the Big Questions when Sharon Ferguson, then head of the Gay Christian Movement, stated that Jesus had blessed the homosexual relationship between the Centurion and his slave, and that the "vast majority" of Biblical scholars believe this to be the case but no-one was allowed to correct her. Strudwick has shown that he cannot accept the scientific truth that sexuality can change. Even gay rights activists who are psychiatrists and have written reports against SOCEs such as Jack Drescher and Michael King recognise this - hence the recent change of statements from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the World Health Organisation. So now we must ask why this is the case?

    Why can Jessen not admit that the overwhelming message from society, from films like the Imitation Game to soaps like Eastenders to comedies like Modern Family to education programmes, is that homosexuality is normal? Why can he not admit that some people want to reject this message to become who they want to be? Why can Strudwick not admit that people can and do change from gay to straight? Why can he not admit that there are people who do not want to be gay?

    Firstly, their sexuality has become their identity. Jessen and Strudwick can no longer see themselves as anything but homosexual. Jessen is not a doctor, he is not even a doctor who is gay - he is a homosexual doctor. Strudwick is not a journalist, he is not even a journalist who is gay - he is a homosexual journalist. Their meaning and reason for being has become their sexuality above and beyond anything else.

    Secondly, despite their sexuality having consumed and subsumed everything else (and because their sexuality has consumed and subsumed everything else) their sense of self is extremely brittle and fragile. For Davidson and others to speak of their own experience of change is a direct attack on what they have become, on the idol of sexuality that controls their life. We also see this phenomena in the US amongst activists such as Wayne Bessen and Dr Jack Drescher as well as here in the UK in Dr Michael King, Dr Qazi Rahman, and Peter Tatchell amongst others. Like anyone who allows something other than self, whether that be sexuality or work, Jessen and Strudwick have started to appear neurotic and paranoid concerning other people. They need to control things to protect their false sense of self, and the way they do this is to attack, often in the nastiest of terms. This is worrying as, putting sexual orientation aside, can alienate people and leave them more and more isolated making the sense of self more and more brittle. It is those who, when the crash comes, cannot cope as their sense of identity crumbles because of a loss of job or whatever - leading sadly to attempted suicide, drug/alcoholic abuse or some other form of self-harm.

    This is also why the pro-SOCE issue must be careful of their language, just as any therapeutic movement must be. While someone is willing to allow sexuality, work, or any behaviour pattern to become their identity people will feel under attack from those who could be the very ones who can help them when the sky falls in.

  • Does the Cross Count in the 2015 election? The Green Party - Update

    Having done some digging I thought I would update this blog concerning the Green Party with their specific anti-Christian and anti-religion policies.

    1) All religion instruction would be banned in schools
    2) No acts of worship will be allowed in schools
    3) The sex industry will be legalised with research into contraception to prevent over-population
    4) Churches and other places of worship will have to provide marriage ceremonies for homosexuals
    5) Euthanasia will be legalised
    6) Abortion would be available, without question, on the NHS with nurses being forced under law to provide them without a religious op-out option.
    From comments from the one and only Green MP the Green Party would also make it illegal to help someone who has homosexual feelings but wants to change to do so.

    Other policies would include not only the removal of the UK's nuclear armament but
    i) The UK would leave NATO
    ii) The army, navy and air force would be scrapped with the bases being turned into nature reserves with the defence industry being made to build wind turbines.

    Then there is the taking of all airports and train services into public ownership alongside the government not building anymore roads, airports or railways. The opening of all borders to all people without any form of checks. Inheritance tax being put on gifts and presents - including Birthday and Christmas presents. And you having to live on under £80 a week for whatever work you do.

    All this from a party who claims to be environmentally sound but the council they run is in the worse 7% of all councils in England for recycling and which sends more rubbish to landfill per person than before the last election.

    If you live in Scotland you need to ask the Scottish National Party why they support such policies as the "citizen's income", the policy to make membership of Al-Qaeda and similar parties legal, the taxes on goods imported from the EU against EU policy - while remaining a member of the EU thereby opening the UK to the possibility of billion of pounds worth of fines. Why ask the SNP why they support this? Because Nicola Sturgeon is calling on people in England to vote for the Green Party.

  • Does the Cross Count in the 2015 election? The Green Party

    Taking a sideways step from the normal issues I have decided to look at the policies of the various political parties as given on their websites and (when they are actually published) their manifestos. Some websites give little or no actual policy detail but others are much more informative. The reality is that manifesto and websites promise nothing as the Conservatives had nothing about gay marriage on their website or in their manifesto for the 2010 election and pushed ahead with this despite the scientific evidence being against homosexual marriage as a stable alternative to heterosexual marriage, and despite the reality that to push ahead with the policy would cause them to haemorrhage members.

    Putting all this aside, I have decided - partly because their website is so informative - with the Green Party. Many people will be aware of the car crash of an interview the leader of the Greens gave recently where Natalie Bennett was unaware of her party's policies and how much they would cost, but the website gives some answers that Christians should be aware of.

    Firstly though, how green is the Green Party? People in the UK will have seen members of the Green Party protesting against fraking, against nuclear weapons, against genetically modified crops, and on other environmental issues but what is their track record in government? For this answer we need to look to Brighton and Hove, the only Green Party run council in the UK. What may surprise people is that they are one of the worst councils in England for recycling - number 306 out of 326 - recycling less than a quarter of all rubbish. For a party built on the credentials that they are the ones who care for the planet this is an embarrassment and they should hang their heads in shame.

    But what about non-enviromental policies? How would you like to live on £72 a week whether you are a high flying city executive who runs a multinational, a shop worker stacking shelves in the local supermarket or someone who is unemployed? Well, if that is what the Green Party would allow you to earn, calling it a "Citizen's Income." Why this amount? To allow "current dependence on economic growth to cease, and allow zero or negative growth to be feasible without individual hardship should this be necessary on the grounds of sustainability". Don't believe me? Check out policy number EC201 on their website. The Green Party want the UK to have no economic growth thereby putting the manufacturing and service industries in a position where they can do nothing but lay off people causing a depression to rival that of the early 20th Century. The only way around this would be for the Green government to nationalize all industry, so everything from British Aerospace to the Tescos to Lloyds Bank would be owned "by the people". But as these are all multinationals we could see them just as easily pull out of the UK and move elsewhere.

    Other economic policies are just as worrying. The Green Party would remain a member of the European Union but impose taxes on all imported goods from the European Union, as well as from elsewhere. This would lead the European Union to levy billion pound fines against the UK. So from the £72 pound you would need to be able to buy food that not only is taxed to the hilt but also carries levies to help the government pay for the fines they have incurred. Then we have the claim by the Greens that they will be able to raise £45 billion in tax on assets of £3 million or over. In France they have a wealth tax for those with an income of £800,000 (1089704 Euros) and raise less than £4 billion - so how much would the tax be? And there still appears to be no answer as to how the Green Party will actually finance the house building that they promise - the policy that caused their leader so much embarrassment.

    The Green Party also has policies to make it legal to be a member of Al Qaeda, Al Shabab, Islamic State, and other terrorist organisations - which considering their treatment of Christians, homosexuals and others raises questions as to why the Green's would see this as acceptable - while removing the UK's nuclear capability and all but shutting down the armed services, and to legalize hard drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine - while banning pate. More worryingly, for many Christians, is the Green Party's policy that they would legalize euthanasia - euphemistically called "assisted suicide" - by putting in safe guards to protect the vulnerable which have failed in The Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and elsewhere.

    I will do an update when the manifesto is available but, even now, there is much to raise concerns about economically and socially.

    But before those who live in Scotland state that this is only the Green Party in England and Wales........ Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party, has (via social media) encouraged people in England to vote for the Green Party.

    If you want the Cross to count, both the Cross of Christ and your X in the box, then ask the Green Party candidate about these issues as well as others such as gay marriage in religious buildings, get answers and vote from an informed position.

  • What Really Motivates The Ex-ex-gay Movement Pt 2 - An Example of Narcissism In The Debate

    On my previous post on narcissism as the root of the behaviour of the so called ex-ex-gay movement I received the following comment. Rather than adding it to the thread of comments I thought it would be best to use it as a basis for a post to show how the ex-ex-gay movement manipulate science and attack the credibility of those who have changed. My comments are in italics:

    So much of the debate on this issue is due to the fact that "ex-gays" are not heterosexual as the public is led to believe by ex-gay claims; they are merely changing what they call themselves to "SSA (same-sex attracted) instead of "gay." Mere word play. There is no such sub-species as the homosexual who has turned heterosexual.

    The commentator is out of step with the science as viewed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UK's Royal College of Psychiatrists (UKCP). As part of their discussion for the next edition of the International Classification of Diseases the WHO states that homosexuals can change. The UKCP made the same admission in their statement on homosexuality when they said "It is not the case that sexual orientation is immutable or might not vary to some extent in a person’s life" Thhe UKCP and WHO admit that ex-gays exist - but the ex-ex-gay movement still have their heads in the sand.

    Dr. Nicolosi has been asked to produce such beings in more than one interview, but he has failed to do so. His "success story" David Pickup, now a fellow reparative therapist, is roughly 60 years old and still working on getting a wife or LTR with a woman (with no prospects in the works in the foreseeable future). If I am wrong, please make a list of homosexuals who have turned heterosexual (and who do not have a financial stake in said claim, nor a history of mental health problems and substance abuse). This is the 'Bigfoot moment' because you are like the people who claim that the Bigfoot exists somewhere, but you can't produce any such species.

    Again the commentator ignores the research, but this time chooses to attack certain people. Dr Nicolosi has produces evidence, aloong with other psychologists and psychiatrists. The problem is that the gay rights movement refuses to accept the evidence. It goes further in its duplicity. The committee at the American Psychological Association, which we will look at in more depth in a moment, who wrote the statement against Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCEs) dismissed the peer reviewed papers published in leading psychological journal by Nicolosi et al as not good enough because they were not "gold standard" (in this case meaning a longitudinal study with a control group) despite this not being a requirement for any other form of therapy and testimony based research being a standard form of research for other therapies yet they listed the same research by Nicolosi et al in the list of research that showed SOCEs to be harmful. If they study is good enough to show harm why was it not good enough to show benefit and change?

    The commentator also shifts the sign of success. In picking on David Pickup because he is not married the commentator falsely suggests that people go into sexual orientation change therapy with the aim of getting married - they do not but by having this as a false goal in their minds the ex-ex-gay movement can dismiss those who do not get married as failures.

    The commentator claims that we cannot find successful ex-gays, ignoring the testimonies on sites such as Voices of Change One there, Michael Glatze, was not only a gay rights activists before he started therapy with Dr Nicolosi but is now married. Others on there who are married include James Parker. Both Michael and James have had their marriages called false with the gay rights movement denying that they could have changed. Like the Pharisees of Jesus' time who chose to ignore the evidence of the miracles, people like the commentator who I am replying to choose to ignore the evidence instead dismissing ex-gays as a crypto-zoological creature.

    Meanwhile, no scientific medical associations endorse reparative therapy. The larger medical associations have explained there really is no such thing. The word "therapy" means "to cure an illness" but sexual orientation is not an illness.

    In 1974 the American Psychiatric Association was the first to remove homosexuality as a mental health disorder, with other bodies following suit. The problem is, as exposed in the books Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis by Robert Bayer and American Psychiatry and Homosexuality: An Oral History by Jack Drescher and Joseph P Merlino (both gay rights activists) this was done without the pro-gay lobby being able to produce any scientific evidence to support their claim but because of what would now be seen as bullying and manipulation. According to Nicholas Cummings, past-president of the American Psychological Association, there has been no research into homosexuality to show that it is normal. I have looked elsewhere on this blog at the research of Evelyn Hooker and a look at the other research quoted by the APA's committee as showing homosexuality as normal fail the same tests of objectivity - as does the committee which was made up of gay rights activists, the majority of which are gay and all who had already taken a public position against sexual orientation change. As to homosexuality being healthy, the more evidence we get the less healthy we see homosexuality to be. Homosexuals are more likely to suffer from serious health issues including HIV (according to the Centre for Disease Control, not a right wing think tank, homosexuals count for over 60% of all HIV cases in America despite being only 1.6% of the population), they are more likely to suffer from serious mental health problems (the rate of which increases when someone is in a gay marriage) and are more likely to be victims of domestic violence. Research keeps coming out that this is because of the behaviour patterns found in the homosexual community not because of societal homophobia. The fruit of the homosexual lifestyle is that it is not healthy, but if we are for gay rights we can ignore this can't we.

    Also, we have counselling and therapy for a number of issues that are not seen as illnesses. What next, will we ban bereavement counselling because counselling refers that somone is ill? Thankfully more and more psychologists and psychiatrists are coming out of the woodwork and supporting sexual orientation change efforts as healthy, safe and effective.

    And homosexuals don't need repair since there is nothing wrong with acknowledging your God-given sexual orientation. It's merely a trait found in humans and other species. Science shows that homosexuality exists in every species studied (Google over 1,500 species known to have homosexuality so far). Brain scans have shown since 1991 that there are visible differences in brain areas of people who are homosexuals as opposed to heterosexuals. In recent years brain scans of fetuses show those differences form in utero. And with the advances in epi-genetics, scientists now know there are at least 3 genes involvd in sexual orientation, along with genetic markers that function like switches when combined with certain hormones in the womb to create a person's sexual orientation.

    Again the poster shows a misuse of science. Mankind has studied over 100,000 species and sub species - a trip to museums shows that - yet homosexual activity not homosexuality has been seen in only 1500 of them. In every case of homosexual activity seen in non-human species this has been seen to cease when either the male becomes the dominant in its group or there are enough members of the opposite sex for there to be normal mating. In nature homosexual activity is a temporary stage more in line with the behaviour of tribes like theAranda of Australia, Siwan of Egypt, Batak of Sumatra, Anga of Melanesia and others than the intelligent west. We even have Micronesian tribes where homosexual activity does not exist! This questions the "God-given sexuality" claim. As does the actual science. Yes Simon Le Vay claimed to have found differences in the brains between homosexual and heterosexual males neither he nor anyone else has replicated the findings - every scan is different suggesting different areas being affected. The same is true of the scans of brains show differences in females. Also as we know that the brain is plastic, that activities and drugs change how the brain reacts it is just as likely if not more likely that homosexual activity causes any differences in the brain rather than being caused by any differences.

    As to the gay gene, epigentic argument epigenetics rely on genes. Only around 13% of identical twins who are gay have a twin who is also gay. As to the "3 areas" this refers to a paper presented to secular journalists in February 2014, a paper which of October 2014 still has not been peer-reviewed, which claimed to have found two areas genetic code, including Xq28, that "have an influence on the development of homosexuality . But reading the reports, even in liberal papers such as the UK's Guardian, we find that no such evidence was found. The paper is the work of Bailey of the now questioned (unless you are a gay rights activist) Bailey and Prittard twin study who went on and, in studies less quoted by the activists, found the rate of covalence (where one twin is gay the other also being gay) at the rate I mentioned above. Reading the reports we find that of the three areas some twins had a different one of the two areas and many had none. The researchers are actually not even sure where the areas are on the genome. Unlike the commentator who I am replying to the researchers were honest about the difference between cause and influence saying “We found evidence for two sets [of genes] that affect whether a man is gay or straight. But it is not completely determinative; there are certainly other environmental factors involved.”. Notice that this is 2 sets of genes not the three, this comes from a flawed study on epigentics which looked at various previous studies, none of which were on homosexuality, and extrapolated a finding with no supporting data. None of this supports the claim that homosexuality is a "God given sexuality".

    So-called ex-gays are either celibate persons or people who live in a state of "falling and repenting" over and over. Taking a spouse of the opposite sex does not change a person's sexual orientation. Studies have shown that same-sex attraction increases the longer a person is married to an opposite-sex spouse. As someone who spent over $40,000 with the likes of Dr. Nicolosi, I would strongly recommend that nobody else do that. It is a waste of time and money. Love, health and happiness are not found in trying to force yourself to be heterosexual. And the claims that a lack of masculinity is the cause of homosexuality is foolish for persons like myself who loved and excelled in sports and had great male role models and friends throughout life. One last point: Jones and Yarhouse are far more reluctant to make any of the claims made in this blog post even though they are paid by televangelist Pat Robertson's powerful financial empire to find as much evidence as possible to oppose the thousands of independent studies from around the globe that contradict ancient prejudices against gay people.

    A quick look at the testimonies on Voices of Change and Living Out, and those involved in such groups as Hope for Wholeness, Restored Hope Network, Journey Into Manhood, JONAH, Homosexuals Anonymous, Northstar and other ex-gay groups of all religions and none testimonies are nothing like the "falling and repenting" that the commentator claims. Yes there are many who choose to be celibate but they do so in obedience to God. Not knowing the commentator's upbringing I cannot speak about his claims that he "excelled at sport" (the ex-gay movement does not say that everyone who is gay does not like sport or does not excel at them) but as a therapist who works with guys who are involved with gang culture and those with body dysmorphia I am aware that broken masculinity comes in many forms. I also know, as Reparative Therapy and other forms of sexual orientation change effort state, that the male role model is only one factor in the development of an condition - and that often people who identify as homosexual look at "positive" role models through the eyes of an adult and ignore the pain of the child. It does sound though that the commentator did not try and get help from any other form of psychological model of sexual orientation change - there by falling into the category I mentioned in a previous post, those who dismiss all help because they were not helped by one type when psychologists will tell you that not all people benefit from all psychological interventions.

    As to what Jones and Yarhouse state - the commentator needs to go and read Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church's Moral Debate (Inter-Varsity Press ISBN 9780830815678) as well as Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation (Intervarsity Press ISBN 9780830828463), the findings of which were presented to and supported by the wider American Psychological Association, despite the pro-gay's attempted dismissal of the paper, and which have now been published in a major peer reviewed journal to find that it is his claims which are not supported.

  • The forgotten world of abuse - or when is abuse not abuse?

    As I write the US's National Football League is continually being rocked by stories of abuse. Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens, and Arizona Cardinals are all teams hit by domestic and sexual abuse by one of their team against their partner or children. This issue is major headlines on both sides of the Atlantic. But the NFL is not the only sport with a domestic violence/abuse version. I wonder how many people have heard of Hope Solo? Ms Solo is (and the is is important) goalkeeper for the US female soccer team. In June Solo was arrested and charged with domestic violence against her younger sister and nephew. While the sports company Nike has dropped NFL players Peterson and Rice they still sponsor Solo. While Rice has been banned from playing with the NFL and Rice, along with others under investigation, have been benched (stopped from playing and practicing) Solo continues to play for the US soccer team and has the support to do so from her national body. Why? According to the US media this is because of her gender. John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News speaks out about Solo being allowed to continue to play as follows "Solving the problem in the NFL while ignoring the issue elsewhere would accomplish little as a whole." Recognising the large number of girls who go to watch the US soccer team Smallwood asks "How is it OK to showcase Solo to those girl fans - some of whom unfortunately will become victims of the same domestic abuse she is accused of?" Even the ubber-liberal ESPN has spoken out against Solo with Kate Fagan saying "The US women's national team is sending the wrong message by allowing Solo to continue playing." Fagan also attacked the voices who attempted to use the claims against Solo to play down what has been sending shockwaves through the NFL.

    But wait. A commentator from the BBC has said the following "Let's not try and use that as an example to suggest that women are as guilty of domestic violence against their partners, because it is overwhelmingly men who beat their wives" (Katty Kate). So it is okay to emphasise the issue in the NFL then and ignore the violence of women like Solo! Yeah right. It is this bigotry that stops men speaking up. The UK's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children states that over 1/3 of all abuse - including sexual - is done by women. More and more statistics are coming out showing that women are the perpetrators of abuse and domestic violence as men in over 40% of cases. But the media does not want to recognise this.

    In an August edition of the Radio Times, Eddie Mair asked why a female teacher who had a sexual relationship with a female pupil under 16 was referred to in the press as having an affair when a male teacher who had a similar relationship with a female pupil was referred to in the press as a paedophile? If you type in Destrehan High School you will find articles about females who had "inappropriate sexual relationships" with a 16 year old male student - the NY Times speaks of female teachers seducing and bedding male pupils. Imagine the same story about a male teacher having sex with a female pupil aged 16 - I doubt that the story would use such a euphemism such as "inappropriate sexual relationships" let alone "seducing".

    And then there is the case from New Jersey where a teacher raped 5 pupils - all aged under 16. Again this was not picked up as the teacher was female and the victims were male.

    Earlier this year a team led by Bryana French found that 40% of adolescent males and young men have been coerced into having sex and raped by women. (Sexual Coercion Context and Psychosocial Correlates Among Diverse Males. French, Bryana H.; Tilghman, Jasmine D.; Malebranche, Dominique A.
    Psychology of Men & Masculinity, Mar 17 , 2014, No Pagination Specified. doi: 10.1037/a0035915 )

    But HBO presenter and stand-up comedian Bill Maher stated that these young men had not been raped but had got lucky. Hopefully this disgusts you as much as it disgusts me.

    This selective wording must stop for the 40% of males who are victims. Sexually abuse - even "groping" is wrong. It is abuse. It is abuse whether done by a male to female, a male to a male or - as seen in these under-reported cases - by females to either males or females. Physical abuse is wrong whether the victim is male or female regardless of the gender of the perpetrator (US Government statistics give the reality that domestic violence is more likely in homosexual relationships than heterosexual ones).

    It is only when abuse is called for what it is and the perpetrators dealt with properly will we start winning the war - a war made harder because of the violent nature of pornography which glorifies violence towards others.

  • Outed - the closet heterosexuals

    In preparation of Peter Tatchell's threat to out as homosexual those bishops who act in line with Church of England rules and discipline those priests who enter gay marriages - I would like to preemptively out Tachell, and a number of others, as closet heterosexuals.

    Yes Tatchell, who claims to be a human rights activist but then stops supporting human rights when it goes against his pro-gay agenda, claims to be gay and runs the gay rights group Outrage, but is he? The same goes for Stonewall's ex-leader Ben Summerskill, militant gay journalist Patrick Strudwick, and leading gay psychiatrists Jack Drescher and Michael King.

    And what about media darlings Dr Christian Jessen, Clare Balding, Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Derek Jacobi and John Barrowman. Yes Jessen undertook the Cornell test but as I have blogged elsewhere this test is highly inaccurate and proves nothing about his sexuality.

    We can add to this major sportstars Tom Daily, Ian Thorpe, Martina Navratilova and women football's Casey Stoney. While all of these have come out as gay or lesbian I now out every one as a closet heterosexual.

    Most reading this will of course dismiss this as nonsense. These people say they are gay, are in homosexual relationships and are even - in the case of Baldwin and others - "married". But this proves nothing - they cannot prove that they are actually gay. There is no test, sorry Cornell University, to prove that someone is homosexual or not. As both the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the World Health Organisation is now admitting there is no known biological cause of homosexuality. So none of those I have listed can take any form of test to disprove the claim that they are actually heterosexual.

    But this is a serious issue. Peter Tatchell has threatened to out those bishops who he thinks are gay. When Tatchell and Outrage did this in the 1990s amongst the bishops that were targeted was a gentleman who had had a homosexual experience while at boarding school and was happily married with children! So, on the back of an isolated event in 40 years earlier, Tatchell felt that there was sufficient reason to out him as gay when all the other evidence contradicted this. Tatchell can out who he wants and they cannot disprove his claim. Using the principle of "no smoke without fire" Tatchell could falsely label people and they cannot do anything about it. His threat to out people is nothing more than blackmail, that he will destroy the reputation of the Bishops who chose to obey church law and punish those who chose to break it.

    Is Tatchell worried about this? I doubt it. If we look at his handling of the book Born Gay by Raman and Glenn we see a change of attitude towards the book to suit his audience. On his blog Tatchell states that the book fails to prove the argument that biology caused homosexuality, a position he took on radio in Northern Ireland. Yet a few weeks later, on the BBC 1 programme The Big Questions, Tatchell produced the book claiming that it proved that people were born gay - only to be embarrassed when I quoted his own blog back at him.

    So if and when Tatchell does out people, take what he says with a large dose of salt. The evidence may be very slight to support his claim and it is him playing fast and loose with the human rights of those who he does not agree with.

  • How Many Benefit From Sexual Orientation Change Efforts

    In response to yesterday's post on the motivation of those who identify as ex-ex-gay one such leader - Peterson Toscano - posted a comment in response to my claim that statistically, where we can guarantee that the research subject has been through some form of sexual orientation change efforts we find a rate of harm of around 7%. Peterson attempts to counter this by saying that on his site "Beyond Ex-Gay" he had done a survey of 400 ex-gay survivours and that he has spoken with over 1000 people who had been through some form of sexual orientation change effort for whom it has been unnecessary and harmful. Before I give reiterate my challenges to Peterson as to his post I need to point out the core failure of Peterson's research. This study of 400 people on his site that he links to is made up of those from his own site "Beyond Ex-gay" aimed at so-called survivours of the ex-gay movement. As such this survey is, like Shido and Schroder and the others I mention, made up just of those who are anti-ex-gay. So the findings that sexual orientation change efforts do not work is not an honest outcome. Since my previous post on the lack of evidence for the effectiveness or safety of gay affirmative therapy I have been contacted by over 400 people from across the world who have been harmed by this type of therapy. Now imagine if I produced a "survey" from them. What would the findings be? Would they be reliable? No - because they are taken from a specific viewpoint not all those who have been through gay affirmative therapy. But of course we have to accept the survey from Peterson - as seen in the attacks on Spitzer, Jones and Yarhouse and others on site such as the pro-gay, and unscientific, "Respect My Research". Put simply, such surveys as carried out by Peterson are propaganda not proper studies.

    Now the maths. The only studies where we can be sure that the subjects went through some form of sexual orientation change effort are Spitzer, Jones and Yarhouse, and Nicolosi, Byrd etal. Of these the only one that gives a significant statistic of harm is Nicolsi, Byrd et al which gives a measure of 7%. This is below the 10% that psychologists see as a level where above this therapies should be used with caution (that is if more than 1 in 10 are at risk of harm then we should be careful in refering a client for that particular therapy).

    So taking Peterson's 1000 people who have been "harmed". To get 1% we divide the 1000 by 7. This comes to 142.857142 reoccurring. Let's round this up to 142.86. We then, to get a total times by 100. This comes to 14286 people who have been through some form of sexual orientation change effort. If we take off the 1000 who have been harmed we are left with 13286 who have been helped by such work, whether religiously motivated or with a mental health professional. If we allow for a higher rate of 1 in 10 for very 1000 harmed 9000 will benefit. But of course we cannot allow these people to be helped can we.

    Finally the challenges to Peterson, and anyone else who want to do research in this area.
    1) Can you be sure that the person you are interviewing actually went through a sexual orientation change effort? Remember in Maryland one pro-gay activist was exposed as giving a completely false testimony and one of the people who sued JONAH only attended four sessions.
    2) What type of effort did the person go through and when? It is no use looking at the failures of hormone therapy that was used in the 1960s, which we knew then didn't work, with models such as Nicolosi's Reparative Therapy and other therapies based on sound psychological principles that we use for other conditions let alone many religious models such as Living Waters or Hope for Wholeness. Was the "counsellor", whether a peer counsellor, pastoral counsellor or mental health professional properly trained to deal with such issues?
    3) What measure of harm are you using? The only study to use a recognised measure of harm is the Jones and Yarhouse one.
    4) Did the person want to be there? As any mental health professional will tell you, one of the major causes of a therapy "failing" is the fact the client was ordered to come and does not want to be there.

    To summarise: For every 1000 people failed/harmed by sexual orientation change efforts an estimated 9000 to 13286 will benefit from the effort. All anti-sexual orientation/anti-ex-gay research relies on a biased sample of those who claim to be harmed without the proper checks and balances to ensure that these people have been through the sexual orientation change efforts that they claim. Will we see honesty about these facts? I doubt it!

  • What Really Motivates The Ex-ex-gay Movement- edited

    In recent months the ex-gay movement has, prematurely, been declared by the secular media as dead by emphasizing the shift in position of Alan Chambers of Exodus International and the self-publicity of John Paulk. Alongside this we can see the on-going campaigns of groups like Ex-gay Watch, Southern Poverty Law Center and others to attack the ex-gay movement whenever they can, aided and abetted by the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues. But what motivates their bile and anger towards the ex-gay movement?

    There is not one single issue that causes these people to be part of the anti-ex-gay movement. While some of these issues may have legitimate roots, that does not mean that the actions that emanate from those root issues are to be sanctioned; however, many of these root issues are not legitimate. So what are these issues?

    Firstly, there is the misunderstanding of the nature of what homosexuality is. Recently I had a stand for my counselling life coaching and work at a Christian expo. I had three main reactions to my exhibit. It covered not just my ex-gay work but also the work I do with those addicted to pornography, BDSM and other issues.

    The first reaction was a relief that someone in the community was actually talking about these things.

    The second, especially about pornography, was an ostrich mentality of "we do not have a problem with this in our church/youth group" -- if only that were true!

    The third was the claim that people choose to be gay (I only had a few people who took the "born gay" position. All these souls needed to do was repent of their behaviour.) No, people do not choose to be gay. However, this does not mean that people are born gay - something even the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the World Health Organisation will agree with. What it does mean is that homosexual feelings develop as a result of societal, psychological and sociological factors affecting an individual. Personal choice does not come into it. "Choice" is involved when we speak of two other factors relevant to homosexuality: behaviour and identity. The feelings come about involuntarily but whether one wishes to act upon those feelings or to create a sexual identity as a homosexual, those are choices. Yet this is not what most people hear when listening to the ex-gay message. Because we say (and science backs us up), that there is no evidence indicating that people are born gay (though most of us accept that biological factors such as "sensitivity" influence our feelings), people assume that we are saying that homosexuality is a choice. They confuse the issues of feelings, behaviour, or identity and merge them together.

    On the other hand, many so-called "evangelicals" (by this I mean very ultra-conservative churches and some which are more right-wing in their attitude to people) also confuse and merge the questions of feelings, behaviour or identity. They dismiss the ex-gay movement as ubber liberals because we say people can refrain from both a homosexual behaviour and a gay identity and in some cases can overcome the feelings. Thus, over simplistically, we choose to not be "gay". Hopefully, they recognize the concept of "repentance", that those with a homosexual past (as a separate group to those who openly embrace what we see as the sinful behaviour of the homosexual lifestyle) will go to heaven. To summarize this first issue: there is a significant misunderstanding of what the ex-gay message actually is.

    The second issue involves the question of harm. In a small number of cases - legitimate hurt may be experienced as part of the therapy or discipleship process. Yes, some people have been hurt, but this is true of all therapy. During therapy, one's feelings can opened up. If the person prematurely abandons his therapy, the open wound may not be healed. The question of alleged "harm" has been over emphasized by the various pro-gay professional bodies. They uncritically use studies like Shidlo and Schroeder (who stated that their study should not be used to ban sexual orientation change efforts) as well as more recent studies that unfairly claim that sexual orientation change efforts carry an excessive risk of harm.

    I have posted elsewhere on my blog how Shidlo and Schroeder advertised specifically for those who had been harmed - but nevertheless reported that over two thirds of those who responded to their study benefited from the therapy. However, there are three newer studies who are less honest than Shidlo and Schroeder about their statistics.

    Flentje, Heck, & Cochran (2013) used listservs to specifically identify ex-ex-gays. In this study, over half of those who went through the ex-gay process (56.1%) received help from "pastoral counsellors". Often these are church leaders with little or no training beyond a session in theological college or are counsellors from a specific "religious" school of thought -- that can range from Nouthetic (also known as True Biblical Counselling) through inner healing/prayer counselling methods such as Theophostics through Gary Collins "Christian Counselling" to the "Biblical Counselling" of Larry Crabb (also the core of the training offered in the UK by CWR and others), and that's just the Christian ones -- some of which are counselling in name only with others offering no training on the underlying psychological issues around sexuality, whether the presenting issue be pornography or same sex attraction. We have no way of knowing what the qualifications, if any, of these pastoral counsellors are/were of if they were actually involved with any ex-gay groups.

    Another 16.8% saw peer counsellors, suggestive of self-help groups. However once again we have no indication of what groups these were, or the level of training available to the leaders (some are much better than others) amongst other problematic issues.

    This leaves only 34.6% who went to mental health professionals. There are major problems with this study, (which also exists in the Shidlo and Schroeder study). (1) We do not know whether these people actually went through therapy, (2) as to those who went through therapy or attended a support group, we have no idea how many sessions they went to, and (3) we do not know whether they believed the therapy was effective or not after finishing counselling with the mental health professional.

    Why are these major questions? Because of the outright falsifications and misrepresentations of many of those who subsequently identify as gay. A few examples will illustrate this point. In New Jersey, a witness for the effort to ban sexual orientation change efforts for minors, whose fraudulent testimony was initially exposed by the ex-gay movement called "Voice of the Voiceless", falsely testified before a legislative body. He claimed he had been sent to a conversion camp which did not exist. His testimony was actually the script of a 1999 RuPaul movie called "But I'm a Cheerleader." No records existed for any aspect of his false testimony after they were checked with state, local, and church officials who were allegedly involved.

    Are there other false testimonies out there? Absolutely. In the recent action filed against the ex-gay group, JONAH, one of the plaintiffs erratically attended four sessions with his licensed therapist to whom he was referred by JONAH. Nevertheless, he claimed that neither JONAH nor the referral counsellor was able to help him change his sexual orientation. As all therapists know, such a paltry number of sessions, done erratically, is not a prescription for healing. Another plaintiff, whose attendance was likewise erratic, expressed himself to several witnesses as being satisfied about the counselling he received. He continued to do so for approximately 18 months after he dropped out of his therapy sessions. However, after being recruited to bring a lawsuit, he totally changed his story in the complaint for the court action. In both the Shidlo and Schroeder and Flentje, Heck, & Cochran studies, there is no mention of how many sessions the person attended or whether they actually attended, or even if they regularly attended any therapy sessions or support groups.

    Another study, Dehlin, Galliher, Bradshaw, Hyde, & Crowell (2014), looked at individuals who were past members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). Here again, most bishops in the Mormon Church are layman. They receive little or no psychological or pastoral care training. This takes us back to the problem seen in the Shidlo and Schroeder and Flentje, Heck and Cochran studies. We do not know the qualifications of the pastoral counsellors or even the mental health professionals who may have been involved with the subjects. (I am a qualified therapist but there are issues -- such as PTSD -- that I do not handle as I am not trained to deal with them). Once again, the participants were not a representative sample; they were recruited through liberal sources. Neither the LDS Church, nor the LDS ex-gay group Northstar, nor NARTH or other more representative groups were contacted for participants. No adverts were put into the LDS press.

    This last study (Dehlin, Galliher, Bradshaw, Hyde and Crowell (2014)) dismisses studies such as Jones and Yarhouse (2011) and the several studies of Nicolosi, Byrd et al. They also dismiss the landmark Spitzer study. Dr. Spitzer was the individual primarily responsible for removing homosexuality from the DSM and several years later looked at the question whether change of sexual orientation was possible and agreed that change was possible. Because of pressure from gay activists and his failing health, he ended up apologizing to homosexuals for having done the study that indicated change of sexual orientation was possible. The authors of the 2014 study failed to quote the editor of Archives of Sexual Behaviour (where Spitzer's study was published) who explained that Spitzer's study could not be retracted because his methodology was valid. They also neglected to report on the statements from Armelli, Moose, Paulk, and Phelan (2013) all of whom were subjects of the original study. They published a letter declaring that their change of sexual orientation was authentic and that they stand by what was reported by them to Spitzer. The authors further neglect to report on comments by Spitzer's wife concerning the bullying he received from the gay activists, despite his deteriorating physical and mental health (Spitzer is suffering from Parkinson’s disease). All of the above raises serious doubts about the veracity of his alleged retraction.

    All the studies that claim to show a high level of harm fail because there is no evidence to prove that the participants actually went through any ex-gay programme. So what about those studies that show evidence of participants going through some form of ex-gay programme or therapy?

    The Spitzer study showed little harm. So too does the Jones and Yarhouse study. The only study indicating a "significant" statistic is the study by Nicolosi, Byrd et al which reported a level of harm of 7%. This figure is well below the 10% number generally seen as the level of concern by the American Psychological Association, the British Psychological Society and other mental health organizations. (That is to say, that any therapy where more than 1 in 10 people are at risk of harm is to be used only with caution).

    So back to the point of some having been harmed,... but clearly not as many as the ex-ex-gay movement and the pro-gay lobby would like to claim. Those who have been harmed have a legitimate concern - but what is not legitimate is to allow those concerns to be force-fed to the rest of the world as claimed by pro-gay advocates. This strategy comes with the mis-claim of the ex-ex-gay movement that sexual orientation change efforts claim to "cure" homosexuality and that they promise 100% change. This has never been the case! No guarantee of change has ever been provided. Desert Streams, First Stone Ministries, Mastering Life Ministries, True Freedom Trust, NARTH, JONAH and others have always been open and honest about the fact that not everyone will see the complete removal of homosexual feelings, that different people will see differing amounts of change, and that some will see little or no change. They have also been honest that they are not "curing" homosexuality and, despite the reporting of various media outlets, have been careful not to use the term "cure." So while the failure hurts, we must ask where the disappointment comes from? Are those who have been hurt wanting something that the ex-gay movement, and those who provide sexual orientation change efforts do not promise and are then disappointed when their unrealistic hopes are not met?

    This leads me onto the third rationale used against the ex-gay movement. It is most often utilized by parents and the family of those who identify as same sex attracted. If people are "born gay", then no fault can be laid at the doorstep of these parents and friends. Stated another way, if people are not born gay then the argument goes that parents, siblings, family members and others must be at fault. But most people do not wish to feel "guilty" or to accept responsibility for the issue faced by a loved one. We see this attitude in ministries such as Canyon Walkers, PFLAG (Parents Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays) as well as in the book Nature's Choice. By accepting this rationale, the ex-gay movement is then seen by these people as blaming people. Yet, as the World Health Organisation is now admitting, upbringing plays a significant role in the development of same sex attraction. However, it is but one variable of many. For example, we have no idea of how an action as simple as leaving a new born child in a hospital too long may affect the child psychologically, which may lead to an infant's feelings of abandonment. To run away from a false guilt by clinging to the "born gay" lie does neither the family nor the individual good. As someone once said, feelings that are buried do not die - they just lie dormant waiting to explode at the most inopportune moment.

    The fourth issue, and one I am seeing more and more, is that of narcissistic tendencies of the pro-gay advocates. Narcissism can be defined as "the pursuit of gratification from vanity, or egotistic admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes, that derive from arrogant pride". I see this is the behaviour of Michael Bussee, John Shmid, John Paulk and other ex-leaders of the ex-gay movement as well as "pro-gay activists" such as Wayne Besen and Patrick Strudwick. Those "leaders" have failed to be honest with themselves about their own issues, including for the ex-ex gay, why they failed to see the change they sought (were their expectations realistic?) and their motivations. They have been dishonest about the change seen in other people -- by denying change is possible. They also exhibit great inconsistency. For example, John Paulk calls his ex-wife a liar while at the same time he tells people on Facebook not to attack her. This is a very two-faced approach. Wayne Besen attacks the integrity of anyone with whom he disagrees, including those scientists who promote the fact that people are not born gay. Yet, as his latest website shows, he expects people to "Respect My Research" without question. To call his ministry "Truth Wins Out" while failing to quote research he does not like is dishonest. It is not truth. All this behaviour is classic narcissism - these people see themselves as somehow better than those who want to change but their vanity is so fragile they cannot cope with others who point out their failures. This narcissism recently seen in Paulk and Shmid and long term in Bussee and Peterson Toscano, drives such individuals to be in the public eye. Not only is embracing homosexuality easier (it takes hard work and dedication to overcome homosexual feelings, behaviour, or identity) it gives them the media opportunities to be in the spotlight that they crave as classic narcissists .

    It is this narcissism that allows the legitimate hurt to become a rabid crusade, that allows the misunderstanding to become the root of the twisting of emotive terms such as homophobia.

    In my dealings with both the ex-gay and ex-ex-gay movements (with the accompanying pro-gay "accepting evangelical" movement of Colin Coward and Changing Attitudes amongst others) through my past involvement with the Anglican Listening Process, I am yet to meet an ex-gay leader who enjoys the publicity, even from the sympathetic media such as Charisma Magazine, as the ex-ex-gay and pro-gay leaders do. The ex-ex-gay courts the media in a way that, at times is sycophantic. Someone once said that you can tell a true prophet because they do not want to be in the public eye and only accept being there because God has called them. This is the spirit that is missing in John Shmid, John Paulk, Michael Bussee, Peterson Toscano and too many others.

    Those of us who, because of our testimony and life experiences, have been forced - unwillingly - into the spotlight have learned to live with the failures of former friends, colleagues and loved ones. Recognising the roots does not make it easier to cope with what can feel like betrayal - but it is a reminder of why we need to be true to our testimony and what we have been called to do by the God who heals, saves and restores.

    (edited with help of JONAH, to correct a factual error and to correct spelling and grammar issues.)

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