From the Land of the Painfully Obvious…

…comes this article from YahooNews which exposes the insidious effects that Christian-based gay prevention programs may have for teens and which also questions the professional validity of such programs.

A national gay and lesbian group is accusing several religious organizations of harming homosexual teens by offering parents what they say are bogus therapies to keep children from becoming gay.

The report said some Christian-based gay prevention and treatment groups have used the First Amendment protection of religion to avoid sanctions by state health officials seeking to enforce regulations on counselors who offer therapy without a license.

Since many SEB members are currently involved in a heated debate regarding counseling and licenses in this thread, I thought it might be interesting to bring this up. My personal belief is that such programs are abominable. I think that anyone has the right to have a sexual relationship with another willing adult of the same sex; whether or not the desire to do so is a choice, something that is inherently innate, or some combination of the two does not concern me in the least.  It is well-known by most who know me that my opinion regarding conservative Christianity in general tends to be low, and I can say for certain that the reason for this is due in part to precisely this type of thing.

Perhaps it is one thing for fundamentalist Christians to have a problem with their own kid being gay, and quite another thing for them to attempt to eradicate homosexuality in general. I can certainly respect the difference between the two scenarios. All the same, the concept of gay prevention programs still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It is most certainly not easy for teenagers to come out as gay even in the most tolerant of households; it must be all the more wrenching a process when the household in which they were brought up was one of a stifling religious atmosphere that taught them that homosexuality was a horrible thing. Furthermore,  I do not believe for a second that the concept of “reformed homosexuality” exists. Just because a gay teen may be “reformed” to the point of becoming a status quo conformist who plays the heterosexual game does not mean that his/her desires have been reformed. His/her true desires may have simply become deeply repressed, which could only result in further pain and confusion for the individual in question.

The article goes on to question whether or not the authorities should pay more attention to what is going on in such programs:

In a report released Thursday in Miami Beach, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute questioned whether the therapies are ethical or effective and said state and federal authorities should provide greater oversight when these programs are aimed at youth.

Again, since my personal opinion of these programs is that they are abominable and extremely harmful for teens, I would say that the authorities are overdue in investigating them.

 

Link:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060304/ap_on_re_us/gay_teens.

 

56 thoughts on “From the Land of the Painfully Obvious…

  1. I’m staight, and you ain’t gonna change that. That said, my first career was as a hair stylist in Orange County, CA. Most of my male acquaintances were gay and as a teenager I had to decide if gay people were a threat to me. After deciding that square pegs don’t fit in round holes, euphimism intended, I went on with my life. That their saviour, Jesus Christ, never addressed Homosexuality in his teachings baffles me as to why this is such an issue. I am not a christian but I do have a bible. In it it tells me that I am allowed to kill my wife if I want to. Why are christians not screaming from the rafters that this is allowed by God? They pick and choose the most inane subjects. My guess is that there are an inordinant amount of closeted gay men in the Fundamentalist heirchy that are terrified of their own sexuality. How else to explain their fascination with such a benign and banal subject?

  2. Actually, their saviour, Jesus Christ, addressed Homosexuality indirectly in several of his teachings. His twelve Deciples slept together the night at Gethsemane, in fact Jesus had to awaken them three times (Mark 14:37 – 41). And one of the young men that was with them in the Garden of Gethsemane was caught by the temple guards, but they were only able to get hold of his linen cloth and he fled from them naked (Mark 14:51 – 52). Remember the night was COLD (Peter sat with the servants and warmed himself by the fire in Mark 14:54). Jesus was unmarried at age 33 – most heterosexual men were married by 18 to 21. I believe JetBlack found the key: they are terrified of their own sexuality.  wink

  3. I believe JetBlack found the key: they are terrified of their own sexuality.

    I think that is exactly it. In psychological jargon, the phenomenon is known as “reaction formation.”

  4. Sexy Sadie: Again, since my personal opinion of these programs is that they are abominable and extremely harmful for teens, I would say that the authorities are overdue in investigating them.

    Despite those on the left who like to prattle on about “Christian Theocracy”, I would like to submit the following two facts:

    1. The majority Christian population in the U.S. has been astoundingly tolerant of non-Christians over the past 300 years.  They have even gone so far as to tolerate abominations like Roe v. Wade, and attempt to end the American Holocaust using peaceful means, for the most part.

    2. When we do see someone wanting to use government power to coerce someone else to their point of view, it is almost always someone on the left trying to snuff out any hint of morality.

    Put a Christmas tree up in a public park, and people on the left will be up in arms about “Separation of Church and State”.

    But heaven forbid you are honest with your child and tell them that homosexuality is a quick way out which only leads to disease, depression, achoholism, drug addiction, and death.  In that case, people like Sadie here will demand that the government step in and preach the left’s religion of “There’s no right and wrong, it’s all OK!”

    The report said some Christian-based gay prevention and treatment groups have used the First Amendment protection of religion to avoid sanctions by state health officials seeking to enforce regulations on counselors who offer therapy without a license.

    Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman said officials need to ensure that those offering such therapies are licensed

    And, here we have the Orwellian end-game for those who think that government should tell you what to eat, wear, and think.  The Gay and Lesbian Task Force insists that only people with a government license should be able to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong.

  5. Well, you believe in an absolute right and wrong, Daryl. I don’t, so to me, I really don’t care if someone who doesn’t see the world the way I do tries to tell me I’m wrong. I don’t consider Roe v Wade an abomination, because I don’t believe that stuff. Homosexuality is not a quick way out – studies have shown that sexual preference is defined at a very early age (although what influences may change that later in life has been batted back and forth to ill effect). Simply because you rely on God’s notion of right and wrong doesn’t mean the rest of us do. You talk about the tolerance Christians have for non-Christians – you mean like Christians aren’t killing people left and right and we should congratulate them? Certainly, you are not embodying that tolerance.

    But it is a difficult problem, I agree. Just because you’re religious doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a say in what goes on, but all too often, and you have to admit this, religions also try to put forward legislation that empowers the religion. The situation is a conflict between trying to catch people who are working to advance their religion, versus people who are expressing themselves in the democratic process.

    That said, if they’re claiming theraputic cures for homosexuality, then they better be therapists to practice. Period. If they’ve got stuff that works, I can’t see a reason why we would’t keep it open. There are people who are uncomfortable being gay. I know of them. It’s up to them what they want to do, and should this proposed therapy work, then they should be free to take it – free of religious incentives.

  6. Simply because you rely on God’s notion of right and wrong doesn’t mean the rest of us do.

    This is it in a nutshell. Something tells me that this simple fact is beyond poor Daryl’s willfully limited comprehension, however. I choose to not take seriously anything people like him have to say for that very reason.

  7. arc_legion: That said, if they’re claiming theraputic cures for homosexuality, then they better be therapists to practice. Period. If they’ve got stuff that works, I can’t see a reason why we would’t keep it open.

    The whole idea of having to be “licensed” by the state to give people advice about how to live their life is outrageous.

    Suppose my friend calls me, and he’s having marital trouble?  I guess I should tell him, “Sorry, the government forbids me from offering you advice.  Please see a licensed, secular ‘expert’ and they’ll tell you what to do.”

    How is it precisely that “we” (the government) get to decide who gets to “keep it open”?  Perhaps I need a license to read to my kids out of the Bible?  There’s plenty of excellent therapy in there.

    Which gets back to my point: As much as liberals like to whine about “The Theocracy taking over”, they’re the ones who are eager to use government to control what people can and can’t think.  Conservatives are the ones who want to keep government small and unintrusive.

    JetBlack: My guess is that there are an inordinant amount of closeted gay men in the Fundamentalist heirchy

    leguru: JetBlack found the key: they are terrified of their own sexuality.

    Sexy Sadie: I think that is exactly it. In psychological jargon, the phenomenon is known as “reaction formation.

  8. Daryl, therapy is very different from advice, and, as Sexy Sadie suggested in the article, the question arises: to what extent is an advisor accountable to the advised.

    Stating that you can make a person “not gay”, and openly offering help, to me, shows that you expect people who have not been able to overcome this on their own to come to you for your help. As a result, are they not in a position of trust? In that case, the people prescribing this treatment are bound to the same ethical (and legal) consequences if their “treatment” turns out to be dangerous.

    And, regardless of whether or not you like the secular point of view, it’s the most consistent measure of how harmful said treatment might be, which means the treatment will have to run in secular standards. Not doing so would unnecessarily put the person’s well-being at risk. IF such a treatment is going to be prescribed to people who want it, it must work, it must work well, it must minimize negative effects to the person being treated, and it must be administered by someone trained in the ways of that treatment.

    I’m a firm believer that when a person comes to you in a state of trust, and you offer to help them, you are responsible for their well being. So, likewise, I wouldn’t want just any Joe Blow saying he knows what’s best for me. That’s why I’d hold this “treatment” to secular standards.

  9. Which gets back to my point: As much as liberals like to whine about “The Theocracy taking over

  10. Christian population in the U.S. has been astoundingly tolerant of non-Christians over the past 300 years.

    Are you implying that means it’s about time for a dose of intolerance then? I thought christianity was ‘supposed’ to be all about tolerance and love, even for people who you believe to be ‘sinners’.

    hey have even gone so far as to tolerate abominations like Roe v. Wade, and attempt to end the American Holocaust using peaceful means, for the most part.

    I am not American so am not overly familiar with roe v wade, I can tell you however that I personally disagree with abortion. That means that I personally would never have one, or encourage someone else to. I realise that’s a personal choice for them, and I am sure few go ahead with such a drastic measure without serious thought and soul searching.

    I am far more concerned with pollution, wars, famines, and the corporate consumer society lifestyle, than I am about abortion. It’s a bit like the recreational drugs thing with me, if people are going to do it then they will. Much better that they do so in a clinic where it’s at least sterile, than in a backroom somewhere with a coathanger.

    When we do see someone wanting to use government power to coerce someone else to their point of view, it is almost always someone on the left trying to snuff out any hint of morality.

    Well seeing as you give no examples it’s hard to answer this without making assumptions. So here goes I will assume you refer to cases where people use the goverment power to veto legislations that attempt to enforce christian morality on others? One thing to remember where morality is concerned,  permitting other people to choose their own morals, or lack of them isn’t going to ‘snuff out’ anyone elses right to uphold their own morality.

    Sadie here will demand that the government step in and preach the left’s religion of “There’s no right and wrong, it’s all OK!

  11. Daryl and his whining remind me of The Beatles’ song “Nowhere Man.”

    He’s a real Nowhere Man
    Sitting in his Nowhere Land

    Apologies to John Lennon and Paul McCartney for associating your great song with a clueless, judgmental prick.

    Errandchild, to Daryl: And your stereotype of gays having disease, depression, achoholism and drug addiction is quite untrue.

    All the gay men I know—twelve in all—are extremely happy people who get the most they can out of their lives. Doesn’t do much for Daryl’s little stereotype, huh?

    By the way, Daryl, you strike me as a very angry person. Homosexuality clearly seems to strike a nerve somewhere deep within you. I don’t know you at all (not that I’m complaining about that), but I must say I’m a mite curious as to why this may be. Are you upset that diversity exists in the real world, or does something else about it bother you? Since you are so quick to judge others and project your own deluded notions onto them, let me say that I myself have my own suspicions about why you appear to have such a large stick up your ass regarding the concept of homosexuality.

  12. To be fair to commenters here, and especially to Daryl, I stand by my post. With all respect, unless you can present otherwise, we are not experts, and this is a bad place to be making armchair assessments about Daryl’s character. I have my own suspicions about the kind of person Daryl is, but I don’t think that this is the appropriate circumstance to be making such judgements.

    I would like to point out a few things pertaining to Christians though. Those who believe in the Bible hold that God, and only God, is the basis of moral law. It should be no surprise that anyone who believes that will hold objection to other views on morality. Yet that same book advocates non-judgement, and turning the other cheek X times if you should be slapped so often. What bothers me is not Daryl’s character, but the the inconsistency characteristic of a large number of Christians, of which Daryl seems to be a part.

  13. arc_legion: Daryl, therapy is very different from advice

    Is it?  By all means, spell out how the two are different.  Since they’re “very different”, I’m sure you can provide a simple test which will clearly delineate the difference.

    arc_legion: as Sexy Sadie suggested in the article, the question arises: to what extent is an advisor accountable to the advised?

    No, the question which arises is: to what extent does the adviser need permission from the government before they can offer advice?

    Most Catholics who are having trouble in their mariage don’t go to see a secular counselor, they go to see a Catholic priest.  That’s not surprising because to Catholics, marriage is a religious institution.  There are three parties involved in a Catholic marriage “contract”: a man, a woman, and Almighty God.

    To a secular counselor, marriage is a legal and financial framework and perhaps a way to say “I think you’re really groovy.”  Expecting somone like that to fix a marriage between Christians is like expecting a motorcycle mechanic to fix a helicopter.  Let the ahteists go to secular counselors, if that’s what they want.

    Should the government “screen” Catholic priests, and decide which ones can give marital advice to the couples in their parish?  Or is it possible that grown-up Catholics maybe just decide for themselves who they want giving them advice about marriage / gambling problem / drinking problem / wahtever else without a government ok?

    arc_legion: So, likewise, I wouldn’t want just any Joe Blow saying he knows what’s best for me. That’s why I’d hold this “treatment

  14. With all respect, unless you can present otherwise, we are not experts, and this is a bad place to be making armchair assessments about Daryl’s character. I have my own suspicions about the kind of person Daryl is, but I don’t think that this is the appropriate circumstance to be making such judgements.

    I’m sorry, Arc, but in my opinion Daryl Cantroll has long forfeited the right to be addressed in a respectful, adult-like manner. Nearly all of his posts contain extremely inflammatory rhetoric without an ounce of valid corroborating evidence. In fact, just about the only “verification” he relies on seems to be his own prejudices. Also, it appears to me that, regardless of the topic at hand, nearly all of his posts devolve into ad hominem rants against liberalism in general.

    Little more than a troll, in my eyes. And my suspicion (see my above comment regarding reaction formation) only gets stronger with each successive comment he makes, by the way.

  15. Most Catholics who are having trouble in their mariage don’t go to see a secular counselor, they go to see a Catholic priest.

    Well that’s their choice, though I wonder what happens when there are serious issues in a marriage such as mental illness or alcoholism, does the priest then refer them to specialist treatment, or does he muddle along despite his lack of expertise?

    To a secular counselor, marriage is a legal and financial framework and perhaps a way to say “I think you’re really groovy.

  16. As much as I despise the term “whining liberal,” (I prefer “bitching conscientious objector”) I think Daryl does bring up a valid question, which was posed by the other side on the other thread. Pretty much: Where’s the line?

    Arc-Legion said:

    Stating that you can make a person “not gay”, and openly offering help, to me, shows that you expect people who have not been able to overcome this on their own to come to you for your help. As a result, are they not in a position of trust? In that case, the people prescribing this treatment are bound to the same ethical (and legal) consequences if their “treatment” turns out to be dangerous.

    But Daryl:

    …to what extent does the adviser need permission from the government before they can offer advice?

    I say, when that adviser touts themselves a “therapist.” When that adviser offers psychological “treatment.” While I see Daryl’s point, and think it would be unrealistic to try to regulate all religious advisers, I also find good reason a person cannot open a “doctor’s office” without a medical license.

    And, just to straighten this out, Daryl:

    …As much as liberals like to whine about “The Theocracy taking over”, they’re the ones who are eager to use government to control what people can and can’t think.

    Controlling what people can and cannot think is strictly the business of the Church/the right. Both sides are in the business of controlling what people can and cannot do.

    P.S. Is anyone else not receiving follow-up comments? My notify box is checked!

  17. According to Daryl:

    1. The majority Christian population in the U.S. has been astoundingly tolerant of non-Christians over the past 300 years.  They have even gone so far as to tolerate abominations like Roe v. Wade, and attempt to end the American Holocaust using peaceful means, for the most part.
    2. When we do see someone wanting to use government power to coerce someone else to their point of view, it is almost always someone on the left trying to snuff out any hint of morality.

    Daryl, do you see how these comments contradict each other? Roe v. Wade gives a woman the legal right to terminate a pregnancy. That’s it. It makes no claims over whether doing so is a good idea, or even moral. It is merely legal. You claim that this is an example of the left using governmental power to coerce everyone to their point of view. Where is the logic behind this claim?  Under current law, no one is forced to do anything. Your comments about abortion law would only make sense if we were forcing people to have abortions against their will. If things went your way and Roe v. Wade was overturned, everyone would be forced to kowtow to your point of view, and not have an abortion. So what you are complaining about isn’t an example of the left using governmental coersion, it’s an example of the conservative right NOT being allowed to use coersion.

    Conservative Christians constantly complain about how, even though they are the majority in this country, nothing ever seems to go their way. Maybe this is because conservative Christians like yourself, Daryl, AREN’T actually the majority in this country. At best, you’re a plurality. The upshot of this is that you’re going to tend to lose when you make arguments based upon nothing more than Biblical “reasoning”. Purely Christian arguments are not likely to persuade people who aren’t Christian. Logical arguments, on the other hand, are likely to persuade most people who aren’t Christian, plus a good number of people who do define themselves as Christian. Of course there are many issues where logical reasoning and Christian reasoning reach the same conclusions (enough so that some people are convinced the two are one and the same). And of course the demographics are such that every so often a purely “Christian” law or an illogical “leftist” law is going to squeeze by (or a purely nationalistic law, etc.). But for the most part, I think you’ll find that an ever-increasing number of people can smell the bullshit when you can’t find a good reason to legislate a particular way without referencing the Bible or old Christian prejudices.

    Now, as for your comments on advice and therapy: Can you really not see the difference between your friend calling you to ask for advice, and your friend going to a therapist for that advice? Presumably, when your friend asks you for advice, it is with the understanding that you don’t give that advice out professionally. Though you might be known for giving great advice, your friend will probably still be aware of the possibility that you might not know what you’re talking about. If your friend went to a therapist, however, he would probably expect that he would be talking to someone who had had extensive training in resolving the types of issues that he needed help with. Hopefully your friend would still retain a healthy degree of skepticism, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable of him to assume that the therapist was qualified to give him counsel, and had a strong record of successfully doing so in the past. In short, a professional therapist has a much higher degree of responsibility towards their client than someone giving non-professional advice would. Thus, anyone is qualified to give advice; not just anyone is qualified to give therapy. You seem to think this shouldn’t be a legal issue. Let me ask you a question: if I were to proclaim myself a surgeon and offer to operate on anyone for 1/5 of the hospital price, would it be wrong for the law to stop me?

    No one is saying that you need a license from the state to give marital advice to a friend, any more then you would need a license to tell that friend your best home remedy for a cold. However, it doesn’t seem unfair to expect that when people make a profession out of helping people make decisions that frequently involve life and death, there should be some sort of oversight.

    The funny thing is, it appears you agree with me:

    Most Catholics who are having trouble in their mariage don’t go to see a secular counselor, they go to see a Catholic priest.  That’s not surprising because to Catholics, marriage is a religious institution. 

    So when Catholics need advice about what they perceive as a religious issue, the only person they trust is a priest, someone who they know has extensive training in interpreting religious issues? And here I thought just anyone could give good advice. *ponder* What are they, automatons who do whatever Joe Blow tells them, as long as he has a piece of paper from the Church?

  18. Daryl Did you read my last post? I believe I covered this already:

    The only people trying to impose their world view on others using government coercion are those on the left.  “Unlicenced therapists” is just code for “They are telling people that it’s wrong to be gay!  Make them stop saying that!!”

    Who is in control of our government right now? Who has penned and passed the Patriot Act? Who has lied this country into war for the simple purpose of playing soldier and gaining oil? Conservative Christians. So shut the hell up over your misguided view that liberals are ruining this country. The Patriot Act gives the government more power. I thought that conservatives didn’t like that. I guess you have been caught in a lie.

    Unlicenced therapists have every right to preach what they will, even if it is hateful. However, they shouldn’t be surprised when someone slaps them with a lawsuit. The same goes for both sides.

    You do know that changing what people say in order to make it seem immature and you mature is immature in it’s nature. Kind of like changing what the bible says in order to agree with your opinion.

    P.S. I am receiving follow ups.

  19. Sadie, while inflammatory rhetoric is something Daryl’s known for, judgements about personal character isn’t. That’s not to say that you should stop or anything of the like – I’m not going to stop you in the least if that’s what you want to do. I’m all about you saying whatever you want, but I don’t see a sequences of character judgements that are half-developed as doing anything productive.

    Daryl, a simple advisory is the presentation of information, done with the contention that the person will make a free decision based on the information presented. In that, a person is deemed competent to do what is necessary to take power in the situation.

    When it comes to therapy, therapy is the altering of the person, intentionally and specifically. Definition-wise, it’s to treat illness, although I can concieve of many situations in which therapy might be used to enhance a person’s well-being, rather than averting illness. Take a look at gene therapy, for instance. I wouldn’t classify being homosexual as an illness, either. In a sense, therapy is also a presentation of information, but one which aims specifically to change the person, and, by extension, one that holds the person incapable of inflicting that change on themselves. You wouldn’t be offering therapy if nobody needed your help to change X.

    to what extent does the adviser need permission from the government before they can offer advice?

    That’s hard to say, although the legal form of this, as mentioned before, is through fiduciary. It already holds true for medical and legal professionals. I don’t tend to require it for advisors in general, since, as long as you don’t intend to hold them accountable for what happens, it’s not necessary. I hold that kind of judgement right up to and including psychologists – I’m smart enough to realize whether or not someone’s advice is sound or even practical, and so in general I don’t rely on fiduciary. I can take care of myself. But when it comes to legal matters, or performing medical procedures, I’m typically not learned enough to do that myself. As a result, I have to put my welfare in the hands of someone else, and so I want them to be accountable. That said, I can’t hold them accountable without a legal basis to do so (unless I’ve got some serious dirt on them and whatnot; but I’m no criminal overlord… *taps his fingers together* …yet…:P).

    This is not to say that I think the doctors or lawyers who work for me are idiots; but having fiduciary there will help keep them from abusing that position of trust and causing harm to others, through idiocy or malicious intent. I’m not outright to say that the therapy being described won’t work – but I am there to say that where I have to depend on it for my welfare (and moreso if I have to pay for it) it had better follow through proper. When it comes to friends, I’m in a different sort of trust because I already know they’re good on their word. I can’t say the same for a stranger offering treatment.

    *ponder* What are you, some sort of automaton who does whatever Joe Blow tells you, as long as he has a piece of paper from the government?

    As to what do I think I am – man, I could get into some serious metaphors and whatnot, but I’m too tired for that kind of discussion. I’m a really intelligent guy who knows when he’s getting in over his head. And, when I know I have to get in over my head, I create conditions that can cover my ass to reduce my losses. I recognize that science is generally dependable, and, if I had my way, I’d keep such systems open to everyone. That goes back to what I said before though – I’d want a guarantee that the treatment was going to follow through, and I think a fiduciary would support that, along with running it through the bells and whistles of a secular system for testing.

    The only people trying to impose their worldview on others using government coercion are those on the left.

    I’m calling bullshit on that (I really don’t know how you can claim that religious groups haven’t been making manifold attempts and seizing power within government), but I support it either way. I’d rather we be trying to use the governnment for our agendas (left or right) than to let the government get too powerful and forget us in lieu of pursuing it’s own agenda.

  20. You’d think that after the third or fourth time someone posted exactly what I wanted to say while I was still typing, I’d learn to keep my posts a little shorter. Well, said, Justice.

  21. As an aside, I wonder how christians would view it if athiests set up a counselling program for vulnerable teens, to help prevent them from turning to christianity? I strongly suspect the song would change if the boot was on the other foot, who knows eh?

  22. “discrimination against Christianity” “Liberal conspiracy” “secularists pushing their own religious agenda in government”.

    Serai, I’m pretty sure if the boot was on the other foot, the reaction by the far right would be the same. They aren’t in the business of reason, but emotion-enticing rhetoric.

  23. I’ve not had much to add to this conversation, but I do want to point out to my old friend Daryl that I actually laughed at this comment from him…

    Perhaps I need a license to read to my kids out of the Bible?  There’s plenty of excellent therapy in there.

    As well as this one…

    The only people trying to impose their world view on others using government coercion are those on the left.

    I consider Daryl to be one of the smartest people I know, smarter than me to be certain, so it’s always somewhat shocking to hear him say such unintelligent things. It’s also disheartening to see someone I respect corrupted by a silly belief system into espousing such backwards views. I’m left to wonder how we got along for so many years with such diametrically opposed outlooks on life.

    Serai writes…

    As an aside, I wonder how christians would view it if athiests set up a counselling program for vulnerable teens, to help prevent them from turning to christianity?

    Honestly I’d love to see someone set up just such a program and I’d even contribute to it’s funding to whatever degree I could manage. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander…

  24. The only people trying to impose their world view on others using government coercion are those on the left.

    I consider Daryl to be one of the smartest people I know, smarter than me to be certain, so it’s always somewhat shocking to hear him say such unintelligent things.

    You be the judge then, Les.

    Here we have an example of atheist, pro-homosexual activists openly demanding that the government silence the voice of religion, and only allow “licensed” therapists to peddle their “it’s-ok-to-be-gay” party line.

    Can anyone point to a mainline Christian organization using government coercion to shut down secular therapists who don’t have church approval?

  25. To be honest, I am having a remarkably difficult time reconciling the notion that Daryl may be smarter than Les with 99% of the comments that Daryl makes.

    This is not a statement of mere disagreement (although as a liberal, I obviously disagree with everything that Daryl says and strongly question his “sources”). It has more to do with his unapologetic use of juvenile stereotyping, his idiotic ad hominem attacks (if you don’t believe me, just check out his “gay” comment to Warbi in this thread which made me wonder if Daryl was perhaps thirteen years old), his incessant bitching about “liberalism” (which he often confuses with socialism or outright fascism), and his bizarre arguments and conclusions. Let’s face it, the man is a walking, talking stereotype of far-Right ignorance and bigotry.

    But enough about Daryl Cantroll. I doubt he’ll be back. Two or three posts of sheer inanity and frothing at the mouth appear to be his trademark around here.

    As an aside, I wonder how christians would view it if athiests set up a counselling program for vulnerable teens, to help prevent them from turning to christianity?

    You know, I wondered the exact same thing, and I even thought about mentioning it as an aside in my original post. The more I thought about it, though, the more I worried that it may be too over-the-top of an idea. Funny how the fundie Christians haven’t reached that conclusion about their own “counselling” programs yet.

  26. You know the thing that troubles me most about these cure you from being gay christian initiatives, is that I know from personal experience that a lot of the teens attending them will have been coerced with threats or guilt trips from family members into attending them. If there was a guarantee that 100% of the people attending these groups, courses, or whatever you want to call them were doing so from a personal desire to be ‘cured’ from being gay, and not due to outside pressure to conform then I’d be able to accept that.

    Though I seriously doubt you can be ‘cured’ from being gay, best you can hope for is to suppress your feelings, based on the indoctrination that it is ‘wrong’ and ‘bad’, and live with the hope that somehow god will reward you for making such a sacrifice at some undefined time in the future.

  27. Heavy sarcasm alert:

    I don’t believe for a second that the objective of these programs is a therapy that treats a condition, but a means to make the so afflicted to stop sinning. If they become damaged goods in the process, it’s no big deal – their reward is waiting for them in the afterlife.

    Watch the second part of Dawkin’s The Root of All Evil

  28. Wow, I’ve finally made an entry that is attracting a lot of comments. *blushes with pride*  wink

    I’d like to add to both Les’ post and my last post by stating the fact that one can be endowed with intelligence and still be highly immature and ignorant. To state a certitude with which most of us are highly familiar, intelligence in no way necessarily denotes wisdom.

  29. As an aside, I wonder how christians would view it if athiests set up a counselling program for vulnerable teens, to help prevent them from turning to christianity? I strongly suspect the song would change if the boot was on the other foot, who knows eh?

    Oh man.  I got wood just thinking about how much fun it would be to be a camp counselor. . .

    “OK, kiddies.  Here it is.  There is no Santa Claus”
    (over the sound of weeping)
    “Wait, there’s more.  The Easter Bunny?  A LIE
    (the sound of wailing and gnashing of teeth ensues)

    counselor: [soto voce] ‘oh man, this next part’s the best. . . [Loudly] ‘Alright kids, let me have your attention. . .  This next bit is important. . . ”

  30. Daryl, are you opting to disagree with what I’ve said (that people who go for therapy to solve a problem they haven’t been able to solve – and we’re talking directed manipulation here – deserve reassurance that it’s actually going to work)?

    Call me ignorant, but I can’t see a single reason why you’d want to put people undergoing this treatment at a greater risk. Make sure it works, works well, and is administered properly. Secular system.

    Can anyone point to a mainline Christian organization using government coercion to shut down secular therapists who don’t have church approval?

    Do you know of any mainline Satanic organization that has worked to shut down Christian organizations through government intervention? Seriously, there aren’t 2 standards of operation in this country – only one, and it is secular. Suck it up. You might as well plea for the Church to become a second government.

  31. errandchild: Your stereotype of gays having disease, depression, achoholism and drug addiction is quite untrue.

    Let’s see.

    Disease:

    · Over 70% of all AIDS diagnoses in Canada in adults over the age of 15 up to June 2004 were in homosexual men.  60% of all positive HIV tests are found in homosexual men. (Public Health Agency of Canada, “HIV and AIDS in Canada”).

    Between 2% and 3% of all Candians live a homosexual lifestyle (1% describe themselves as “gay”, plus 1%-2% based on their behavior).  That means someone living a homosexual lifestyle has a staggering 92 times higher chance of contracting AIDS.

    · The estimated prevalence of herpes simplex 2 specific antibodies was less then 0.1% in a national sample of 1,169 healthy young males, 4.8% among 411 health care workers and 55% among 397 homosexuals.  These viral infections seem to pose a health problem for risk groups such as homosexuals but not for the general population. (NIH)

    · Herpes, syphilis, gonnorhea, and Chlamydia are 5 to 50 times more prevalent in men who have sex with other men.  Even worse: infection rates are increasing, while rates for the population at large are steady or falling.  (NIH and NIH)

    Depression:

    · In a New Zealand study, data were gathered on a range of psychiatric disorders among gay, lesbian, and bisexual young people. At the age of 21, homosexuals/bisexuals were at fourfold increased risks of major depression and conduct disorder, fivefold increased risk of nicotine dependence, twofold increased risk of other substance misuse or addiction and six times more likely to have attempted suicide. (Fergusson DM et al. Is sexual orientation related to mental health problems and suicidality in young people? Archives of General Psychiatry 1999; vol 56: 876-80.)

    · In a recent US study of the mental health of homosexuals, it was found that gay/bisexual men had a more than 3-fold increased risk of major depression and a five-fold increased risk of panic disorder. They were three times as likely to rate their mental health as only ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ and to experience high levels of distress. Gay/bisexual women had a nearly four-fold increased risk of general anxiety disorder and both groups were more than three times as likely than the general population to require treatment in a mental health setting.  (NIH)

    Alchoholism and Drug Addiction:

    · Lesbians are three times more likely to abuse alcohol and to suffer from other compulsive behaviors: “Like most problem drinkers, 91 percent of the participants had abused other drugs as well as alcohol, and many reported compulsive difficulties with food 34 percent, codependency 29 percent, sex 11 percent, and money 6 percent.” In addition, “46 percent had been heavy drinkers with frequent drunkenness.” (Nursing Research vol 43: pp 238-244)

    · The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychologists reports that lesbian women consume alcohol more frequently, and in larger amounts, than heterosexual women. Lesbians were at significantly greater risk than heterosexual women for both binge drinking (19.4 percent compared to 11.7 percent), and for heavy drinking (7 percent compared to 2.7 percent). (The Washington Blade, January 12, 2001—a rare moment of honesty from a pro-gay publication!)

    You forgot Death:

    · In a Vancouver study, life expectancy at age 20 for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men. If this pattern of mortality continues, it is estimated that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday. (Robert S. Hogg et al., International Journal of Epidemiology vol 26 (1997): pp 657-61)

    May as well add Domestic Violence:

    · In a survey of 1,099 lesbians, the Journal of Social Service Research found that “slightly more than half of the lesbians reported that they had been abused by a female lover/partner.”

    · The lowest rates of domestic violence are found in married, heterosexual couples.  Rates amongst cohabitating hetero couples are higher; amongst monogamous hetero couples higher still.  Male-male homosexual couples have still more domestic violence, and lesbian couples have the highest of all.

    All of these are very inconvenient facts which those promoting the homosexual agenda choose to ignore.

    errandchild: You do know that those same things can happen if you sleep with the wrong women as well.

    You’ll make a good conservative yet, errandchild.  You are correct: Don’t sleep around.  Date people of the opposite sex until you find one you’re compatible with.  Wait until you are married before having sex.  Stay faithful to your spouse and monogamous.

    On that last note, I should point out that homosexuals are incredibly bad at being monogamous:

    · In a study of a hundred-fifty-six males in homosexual relationships lasting from one to thirty-seven years, “Only seven couples have a totally exclusive sexual relationship, and these men all have been together for less than five years. Stated another way, all couples with a relationship lasting more than five years have incorporated some provision for outside sexual activity in their relationships.” (“The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop”, Prentice-Hall)

    · Far higher rates of promiscuity are observed even within “committed” gay relationships than in heterosexual marriage: In Holland, where gay couples can get married, male homosexual relationships last on average 1.5 years, and gay men have an average of eight partners a year outside of their supposedly “committed

  32. errandchild: Don’t you dare ever judge someone for something that is their own personal business ever again. If you do, you shall rot in the pits of hell when you blah blah blah..

    Far be it from me to judge anyone.  Let he who is without sin cast the first stone: That certainly rules me out.  Daryl’s sins, as it happens, are numerous and varied.

    Memo to Sadie’s 12 gay friends: if you’re looking for a church this Sunday, feel free to join my family at St. Stephen’s in Attleboro, MA.  You can sit next to us.

    However, you have confused “judging” with “speaking the truth”.  As a Christian, I’m am obligated not to judge, and I am obligated to speak the truth.  Don’t take my word for it; read the Bible:

    When you hear a word from my mouth, you shall warn them for me.  If I say to the wicked man, “You shall surely die” and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his wicked conduct so that he may live: that wicked man shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death.

    If, on the other hand, you have warned the wicked man, yet he has not turned away from his evil nor from his wicked conduct, then he shall die for his sin, but you shall save your life. Ezekiel 3:17-19

    Those who insist there is nothing wrong with the homosexual lifestyle, however: They have blood on their hands.  For their own selfish reasons, they choose not to speak out about the dreadful dangers inherent in homosexuality.  They choose to remain willfully ignorant.  God will repay.

    There is someone who is judging, however.  God himself has passed a terrible judgement on those who continue to live a homosexual lifestyle:

    For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper. Romans 1:26-28

    The penalty is extremely severe: God will give them up to follow their depravations!

    Why?  I can’t say, exactly.  I suspect that this is a “last ditch effort” to break through the hardness of their hearts.  Having been warned about all the dangers I listed above, God has no choice but to allow them to experience those dangers, in the hope that they will turn from their wicked ways.  This is what the above passage is talking about when it says they “receive in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”  That’s my reading of it, anyway.

  33. Daryl, need I remind you of my twelve gay male friends who are well-adjusted individuals who practice safe sex? I’m willing to bet that they are far better people than you are (and much happier in general). Plus, my partner John and I are both bisexual, and we also practice safe sex. No diseases yet, and we’re not planning on contracting any. Your “facts” contain no basis in reality and only betray your own twisted desires to see those you personally disagree with in pain.

    In the immortal words of P.F. Sloan/Barry McGuire: “Hate your next-door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace.”

  34. Daryl I am convinced that you are sincere in your beliefs, as I am in my own. I also understand you feel an obligation to point out other peoples ‘wrongdoing’ from the perspective of the bible.

    However the bible is to most of us just a book, and not a very interesting one at that. I was brought up as a christian and forced to read that book daily, and not just read it but study it and answer questions. Yes it has some sound advice, but it also has a lot of bizarre and contradictory messages as well, I’d quote them to you if I hadn’t burned all the bibles I ever owned.

    Suffice to say I know I am not alone when I say the bible is only relevant to people who believe in it, so using it as a basis for judgement on other peoples lives is only going to have any meaning to you and others like you who actually believe the bible says anything worthwhile. In effect you can only preach to the converted or the gullible, trying to preach to people who are happy with their path in life is at best a waste of both your time and theirs.

    At the end of the day you cannot prove your god exists, you cannot prove that the bible is his word, nd you certainly cannot prove that the christian lifestyle is any better than any other.

  35. Why does it never occur to you, Daryl, that perhaps statistics such as those you cited provide the very reason so many people are trying to change the way western society deals with homosexuality? We’ve been trying it your way forever, and these are the results. If gay people were given the same social incentives (and pressures) to enter stable, monogamous relationships, you would see those statistics go down. None of those disease statistics you gathered, for example, are endemic to sleeping with someone of the same sex; they are symptoms of sleeping with a lot of people, period. A truly monogamous gay person is at no greater risk for disease than any straight person. The idea that you cannot be gay without being promiscuous is fundamentally absurd, regardless of what percentage of gay people do happen to be promiscuous. You’re assuming that identity is inseparable from behavior, rather than examining the factors that produce a certain behavior in a given group. But the basic fact of the matter is, gay people have always existed, and will always exist. Telling people not to be gay based on an assemblage of statistics is like telling people not to be black because they’re more likely to end up in prison: it’s pointless and really doesn’t solve anything. Every single gay person in each of those studies was raised in a society which told them that gay people were inferior to straight people to at least some degree. A hundred years from now, when the majority of society truly doesn’t care whether Tommy grows up to marry Suzy or John, so long as he settles down, gets his taxes paid on time, and keeps the lawn neat, those statistics will have evened out, and we’ll be talking about people like you the way we talk about George Wallace now.

  36. At the end of the day you cannot prove your god exists

    Absolutely true. Even so, that doesn’t stop many people from trying to prove it. check out, http://www.allaboutcreation.org/proof-of-god.htm.

    The problem is that these folks don’t understand that the existence of god is supposed to be based on faith. If there was proof of god’s existence, then he/she would no longer exist. He/she would disappear in a puff of logic.

  37. Serai: I wonder how Christians would view it if atheists set up a counseling program for vulnerable teens, to help prevent them from turning to Christianity?

    Les: Honestly I’d love to see someone set up just such a program and I’d even contribute to it’s funding to whatever degree I could manage.

    Absent such a program, to what sources do you send a person coming out of the religious cloud? I wasn’t raised religious, and I dealt with my curiosities and suspicions too long ago to remember all the titles, authors, and sources. I remember a whole lot of cross-referencing, though. Recently, I got a head’s up that a formerly religious, now confused extended family member is about to come my way for some directions out of the clutches of the fundamentalist Baptists freaking him out. (I am no expert and don’t care to be put in this position, mind you. But I am simply “different,” and thus, I suppose, the recognized nearest alternative). I know what I think and why I think it. But I have no “Start Here.”

    So, Les, contribute? Where do they go from here?

  38. Allow me to ease your loneliness, Justice. Like you, I’ve never been particularly religious, though as a youngster I went to church with my parents. It wasn’t until I was twelve, however, that I really began to question the Christian lifestyle and mindset. I became interested in different cultures, religions, and lifestyles at that time, and suddenly being an American Christian seemed so boring.

    I began to relate less to my generation and more to the sixties’ generation (as Scott McKenzie noted, “There’s a whole generation with a new explanation…”). I also began to relate more with people of different religious views and those with none at all. By the time I was fourteen I was an atheist, and I stayed that way for seven years. At twenty-one I became interested in polytheistic religions, and I now consider myself an agnostic with Pagan/Wiccan leanings. There was not, however, any “re-awakening” or “born-again” experience. As Les has noted, agnosticism is a weaker version of atheism, and my version is merely colored with polytheistic undertones.

    That’s my personal history regarding religion. The problem with establishing a program for ex-Christians or those who seek to escape its clutches is that Christianity is very cut-and-dried regarding its agenda and its tenets. Atheism, however, is not. Our personal histories and our reasons for leaving organized religion vary. I think it’d be a great idea to assist those who wish to explore their spiritual queries, but I’m not entirely sure how to go about it at the moment.

  39. Justice, try the following three books: Who Wrote the New Testament, by Burton L. Mack, The Lost Gospel, The Book of Q, also by Burton L. Mack, and The Buddha in Your Mirror, by Woody Hochswender, Greg Martin, & Ted Morino. Burton L. Mack is a professor of early Christianity at the School of Theology at Claremont. Woody Hochswender is a former reporter for The New York Times. Greg Martin and Ted Morino are buddhist scholars in the Nichiren Daishonen school of philosophy. I was a card-carrying Christian for twenty years and not only studied the Babble, I taught it in English, and for two years I taught it in Portuguese in Brasil. I knew there was something fundamentally wrong with that book, but the above three books helped to show what was wrong about it and offered an alternative approach to living a good life. Furthermore, this Buddhist group has no guilt trips nor value judgements on how you live your life, only positive activities to help you become happy and help those around you to become happy, also. Call it living humanism, or living compassion.

  40. It wasn’t anything of a religous / anti-religous nature that led me to athesim, rather it was reading things that promoted critical thinking. Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes was an early hero to me. Some of the non-fiction writing of Harlan Ellison. The independent comic Cerebus, by Dave Sim. Even Star Trek, to some extent.

    If someone is coming away from a Christian belief system it’s probably more important to let him know that it’s okay to not have firm beliefs than it is to give him something to replace them with.

  41. If someone is coming away from a Christian belief system it’s probably more important to let him know that it’s okay to not have firm beliefs than it is to give him something to replace them with.

    I agree 100%. By the way, I love Harlan Ellison myself.

  42. Have you read Ellison’s “An Edge In My Voice”? It’s a marvelous collection of essays and was probably my first real encounter with critical thinking in a real world context. Amazing book.

  43. Yes I have, and I agree that it is amazing. I generally love essays from great thinkers, but Ellison’s are especially compelling.

  44. Justice, I’ve been a bit busy the last couple of days so I’ve not had time to formulate a good response, but quickly here off top of my head I think Dan Barker’s book Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist is supposed to be pretty good. I’ve only read small chunks of it myself. I’ll try to squeeze out sometime for a better reply soon.

  45. Sexy Sadie wrote: “The problem with establishing a program for ex-Christians or those who seek to escape its clutches is that Christianity is very cut-and-dried regarding its agenda and its tenets. Atheism, however, is not.”

    . . . Which is why I wasn’t sure where to start, and also why I thought the following was critical:

    KPatrickGlover wrote: “. . . it’s probably more important to let him know that it’s okay to not have firm beliefs than it is to give him something to replace them with.”

    Legaru and Les, thanks for the book recommendations. I was thinking that offering him many, very different viewpoints could only encourage critical thought – and that is how I would like to help next time I am cornered. I don’t care to convert anyone to anything (other than independent thought.)

    Les, if you get around to putting something together, I would be happy to see it, and not just for my personal interest. I think it would be a thread worth coming across for someone who just doesn’t know where to go from the Church doors.

  46. I consider Daryl to be one of the smartest people I know

    personally I regard him to be as thick as two short planks…

    As a Christian, I’m am obligated not to judge

    Well you’d better sue whoever has been posting under your name.

    But heaven forbid you are honest with your child and tell them that homosexuality

    Are things different that side of the pond.  I don’t remember ever being asking to show a preference.  Do you get to tick a box at age 14? “Do you wish to be a good upstanding citizen or a raging queer whose aim in life is to destroy mankind?”  I must have been off school that day. Is that why I’m straight?

    The majority Christian population in the U.S. has been astoundingly tolerant of non-Christians over the past 300 years.  They have even gone so far as to tolerate abominations like Roe v. Wade, and attempt to end the American Holocaust using peaceful means, for the most part.

    Hmmmm lets ask people about an American Holocaust.  Who do you want to start with Daryll?  Sioux, Blackfoot, Cheyenne.  All those nice Christian women giving plague ridden blankets to those funny red men.  And let’s not forget that immortal line…

    [Quote] Kill ‘em all, nits turn into lice

    I have to go now, they kids are bothering me and moaning.  The eldest is being rude.  But hey, I’m sure Daryll will defend me in court when I take him to the town square and stone him to death (Leviticus)

  47. Les: I consider Daryl to be one of the smartest people I know

    Last Hussar: personally I regard him to be as thick as two short planks…

    Well, comparing legalized abortion to the Holocaust is not a good indicator of proper reasoning skills, anyway.

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