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10 November 2011

Repudiation: Liars and "Reparative Therapy"

This is a little complicated.  First, we need to start with a group called the International Healing Foundation (IHF) founded by Richard Cohen to counsel homosexuals and do "reparative therapy" to convert them to heterosexual.

Before going further, let's be clear that this does not work.  The American Psychiatric Association has taken a strong stand against reparative or conversion therapy because
Firstly, they are at odds with the scientific position of the American Psychiatric Association which has maintained, since 1973, that homosexuality per se, is not a mental disorder.  The theories of "reparative" therapists define homosexuality as either a developmental arrest, a severe form of psychopathology, or some combination of both (10-15).  In recent years, noted practitioners of "reparative" therapy have openly integrated older psychoanalytic theories that pathologize homosexuality with traditional religious beliefs condemning homosexuality (16,17,18).

The earliest scientific criticisms of the early theories and religious beliefs informing "reparative" or conversion therapies came primarily from sexology researchers (19-27).  Later, criticisms emerged from psychoanalytic sources as well (28-39).  There has also been an increasing body of religious thought arguing against traditional, biblical interpretations that condemn homosexuality and which underlie religious types of "reparative" therapy (40-46).
Further, the American Psychiatric Association is concerned about potential harm from such therapies.
The potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.  Many patients who have undergone reparative therapy relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction.  The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing the effects of societal stigmatization discussed.
Similar positions have been taken by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, and the National Association of Social Workers.

In late October, IHF issued an "apology" to the LGBTQ community.  The wording is
IHF apologized to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) community for years of unknowingly fueling anti-gay sentiment by simply stating, “Change is Possible.”
“We at IHF wish to offer a sincere, heartfelt apology to everyone in the LGBTQ community,” said IHF founder and director, Richard Cohen. “I apologize and ask forgiveness to those who were hurt by our message.” Cohen, a leading expert in the field of sexual orientation and married father of three, knows first-hand how it feels to be ostracized having lived a gay life.
Perhaps I am missing something, but it looks like the apology is only for the wording of their message, not for the message itself.  The websites that IHF, either under its old name or its new, do not appear to be a real change.  The apology is offered at www.changeispossible.com which maintains the line for which the apology is offered.  Weird at best.

Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor, wrote a blog article giving me the heads up about the new face of IHF and expressing some additional opinions.  While Dr. Throckmorton is dubious, he seems to be giving Mr. Cohen some room for real change.

To be frank, I don't trust that Mr. Cohen has changed anything other than his marketing.  He has a long history of being part of the religious establishment that makes homosexuals doubt their self-worth as part of trying to get them into lucrative, for the "therapists", conversion programs.

Peter LaBarbera, head of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), a group recognized for its anti-gay propaganda by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has now asked Professor Throckmorton to apologize.  Let's break down his letter to the Professor.
I certainly don’t think Richard Cohen or anyone needs to apologize for stating the obvious truth that “Change [away from and rejecting homosexuality] is possible.” If we were to apologize for everything that “offends” hardened LGBT activists, we’d be apologizing 24/7.
What offends us are lies that you tell and perpetuate.  Stop lying and there is no need for apologies.  As indicated above, written by the American Psychiatric Association, that change, in the form of so-called therapies, can be harmful.  That's the problem and it must stop.  Apologies are in order.
The question is, when will YOU apologize for affirming homosexuality as an acceptable (or innocuous) identity — while claiming (falsely) to uphold biblical orthodoxy? When will YOU repent for working hand-in-hand with “gay” activists who are diametrically opposed to the Christian worldview on homosexuality as an overcomable sexual sin (and an abomination) — by actively discrediting the need AND potential for wholesome change away from same-sex behavior and indulging same-sex desires?
Homosexuality is acceptable because that is how God created a minority of the population.  One does not choose to be homosexual any more than one chooses to be heterosexual.  There is more than one way to interpret the Bible.  It is a shame that Mr. LaBarbera is so limited and bigoted.
You should either publicly apologize for undermining Scriptural (and observable) Truth — or renounce your claims to be faithful to historic Christian sexual teachings. This request is made more urgent by your employment with an evangelical institution, Grove City College, which purports to be “authentically Christian” — something few biblically-faithful observers of your recent flirtation with pro-”gay” advocacy would accuse you of being.
The scriptures say many things.  I doubt that Mr. LaBarbera follows all of the tenets of the Bible.  Some are impossible and most are disregarded by those who pick and choose which are most important to them.  Regarding "observable" truth, one only needs to look to nature to see that homosexuality is natural in hundreds of species.
I can document all the above statements concerning your conduct and “gay”-affirming advocacy, which has caused widespread consternation and confusion in Christian circles, and within the pro-family movement. You (or anyone) may publish this if you wish.
Mr. Cohen and Mr. LaBarbera are both liars about the nature of change of sexual behavior.  To put this in religious terms, they are bearing false witness (the 9th of the Ten Commandments).

Regarding Dr. Throckmorton's conduct and advocacy, given Mr. LaBarbera's focus on Christian teachings, may I suggest that Mr. LaBarbera read Matthew Chapter 7.

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