Writing in the Wall Street Journal the beginning of this month Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, wrote about the stunning reversal we have experienced on the morality of homosexuality. Most moral revolutions generally happen over a long period of time. But this is hardly the case with the shift we’ve witnessed on the question of homosexuality:
In less than a single generation, homosexuality has gone from something almost universally understood to be sinful, to something now declared to be the moral equivalent of heterosexuality — and deserving of both legal protection and public encouragement. Theo Hobson, a British theologian, has argued that this is not just the waning of a taboo. Instead, it is a moral inversion that has left those holding the old morality now accused of nothing less than “moral deficiency.”
The liberal churches and denominations have an easy way out of this predicament. They simply accommodate themselves to the new moral reality. By now the pattern is clear: These churches debate the issue, with conservatives arguing to retain the older morality and liberals arguing that the church must adapt to the new one. Eventually, the liberals win and the conservatives lose. Next, the denomination ordains openly gay candidates or decides to bless same-sex unions.
I was watching Jon Stewart and Jerry Seinfeld the other evening skewer Michelle Bachmann’s husband who runs a mental health facility that offers reparative therapy, i.e., therapy that seeks to purportedly “cure” homosexuality and help homosexuals who wish to resist same-sex attractions. Some background on the highly politically incorrect reparative therapy:
In 1948, American Psychiatric Association formed a small task force to create a new standardized psychiatric classification system called The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This resulted in the 1952 publication of the first DSM. In 1965 a new task force of 10 people developed DSM-II, published in 1968. DSM-III was published in 1980, after a larger process involving some 600 clinicians. The book was now 500 pages long, including many more disorders, and it sold nearly half a million copies. APA published a revised DSM-III-R in 1987 and DSM-IV in 1994, the latter selling nearly a million copies by the end of 2000. DSM-IV-TR with minor revisions was published in 2000. APA is currently developing and consulting on DSM-V, planned for 2012.
In the early 1970s, gay activists campaigned against the DSM classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, protesting at APA offices and at annual meetings from 1970 to 1973. In 1973 the Board of Trustees, under intense pressure, voted to remove homosexuality as a disorder category from the DSM, a decision ratified by a majority (58%) of the general APA membership the following year. A category of “sexual orientation disturbance” was introduced in its place in 1974, and then replaced in the 1980 DSM-III with Ego-dystonic sexual orientation. That was removed in 1987.
As the Wall Street Journal reported two years ago the APA has reviewed so-called reparative therapy literature and had tentatively moved forward to allow therapists to help clients transcend their sexual orientation:
The new approach allowing therapists to help clients transcend their sexual orientation was developed by an APA task force of six academics and counselors, some active in gay-rights causes, and endorsed by the group’s governing body. Their original mandate was to respond to the growing visibility of sexual orientation “change therapists” who claim it is possible to alter arousal patterns. The task force reviewed scientific literature on change therapy and found no evidence it worked.
But the task force also gained an appreciation for the pain some men and women feel in trying to reconcile their sexual attractions with their faith. There are gay-affirming churches. But the task force acknowledged that for those from conservative faiths, affirming a gay identity could feel very much like renouncing their religious identity.
Quite simply these men to whom the APA responded to are deeply distressed having accepted the traditional view of homosexuality. They have prayed, read Scripture, even married, but they haven’t been able to shake sexual attractions to other men — impulses they believe to be immoral. These are the hopelessly deluded and objects of liberal scorn and ridicule that Jon Stewart and Jerry Seinfeld were pillorying the other evening on the Daily Show.
One such therapist working with this group is Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at a Christian college in Pennsylvania and past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. He specializes in working with clients conflicted about their sexual identity.
The first thing he tells his clients is this: Your attractions aren’t a sign of mental illness or a punishment for insufficient faith. He tells them that he cannot turn them straight.
But he also tells them they don’t have to be gay.
For many years, Dr. Throckmorton felt he was breaking a professional taboo by telling his clients they could construct satisfying lives by, in effect, shunting their sexuality to the side, even if that meant living celibately. That ran against the trend in counseling toward “gay affirming” therapy — encouraging clients to embrace their sexuality.
But in a striking departure, the American Psychological Association said Wednesday that it is ethical — and can be beneficial — for counselors to help some clients reject gay or lesbian attractions.
Unfortunately with Marcus Bachmann’s appearance on the national scene we can expect the Homosexualists in our midst to take to this like rats to cheese. It is sad because both sides of this issue deserve our most profound understanding and support of their right to pursue whatever therapy they feel is best for them. Unfortunately they are about to become pawns in the Homosexualist narrative of “Happy, Healthy and Gay.” If the latter sends a little cognitive dissonance shiver through your brain, then Jon Stewart hasn’t gotten complete hold of you yet. This is a topic we have addressed frequently but with the swirl of attention on Marcus Bachmann, I felt the need to call attention to it again. Let’s place if firmly in cultural context of being Catholic:
Peter Kreeft writes: “Beneath a moral difference you always find some moral argument. Otherwise it’s not a moral argument. Because all argument needs a common premise. You can’t even imagine a totally new morality any more than you can imagine a totally new universe, or set of numbers or colors….Try to imagine a society where honesty and justice and courage and self-control and faith and hope and charity are evil, and lying and cheating and stealing and cowardice and betrayal and addiction and despair and hate are all good. You just can’t do it….
You can create different acceptable rules for driving and speech and clothing and eating drinking…but we are not free to make murder or rape or slavery or treason right, or charity and justice wrong. We can create different mores but not different morals….We know from experience that we’re free to choose to hate, but we’re not free to experience a moral obligation to hate, only to love.”
Affirm the Gay conceit that homosexuality defines your humanity? That you are “free” to “choose” your sexual orientation? Condemn the queer to living a life out of congruence with his faith?… Turn your back on mothers and children who need something other than the violence of an abortion?… Give a war induced quadriplegic a pamphlet with a contact for the hemlock society? Those who support such aberrations begin with this common relativist logic:
“We can agree that there are relative scales of value, and that the value of a life can be understood as varying based on context, and can be compared to the values of other things. The difference between someone who is “anti-life” and someone who is “anti-choice”, then, isn’t in their belief in value — it’s in the way they measure and evaluate it, and the way they adjudicate the value of a life in a given context with the value of other things…”
And the Catholic answer is No. No, we can’t agree. To the young, the early dead and their survivors, the baffled, the defeated, we can’t be tender enough. These are the ones the liberal ideologues prey upon with their glib moral relativism. Only the Church defends against them.