Prayers for Dr. Warren Throckmorton
September 20th, 2012
Dr. Warren Throckmorton’s website is posting the following:
On Sunday Warren had a heart attack. Mild as it was, it led to tests which led to a heart cath which led us to a triple by pass surgery on Tuesday. He came through surgery wonderfully, had a great morning today. He walked some and ate some and then got very tired and then the pain from the chest tubes started. He really is doing great and can’t wait to get those tubes out! We ask for your prayers during this time of recovery and learning! Warren is very determined to follow orders so he can get back to all the things he loves doing! Thanks so much for all the prayers and those to come. We have an awesome God and we are so thankful for his love for us!
Dr. Throckmorton is an advocate for honesty and decency within the evangelical community. When Box Turtle Bulletin began exposing Uganda’s proposed Kill the Gays bill, he was one of the strongest voices raising awareness within the Christian community about that issue. He is currently spearheading an effort to denounce the inherently dishonest assertions of revisionist historian (and anti-gay activist) David Barton. He doesn’t agree with everything we believe here, but he’s a good man who has risked his reputation and welcome among his peers to stand up for us.
If you are a praying person, please remember to include prayers for Warren’s speedy and full recovery. If not, please send him your hopeful thoughts, good vibes, or general best wishes.
Exodus International Drops “Reparative Therapy” Books
January 26th, 2012
As further evidence of a possible shift of Exodus International’s focus, Warren Throckmorton pointed the removal of books on reparative therapy from Exodus’s bookstore. When Throckmorton asked Exodus International president Alan Chambers for comment, he responded:
The reason I removed RT books from Exodus Books is because I don’t agree with using this research as a means to say that “this” is how homosexuality always develops, “this” is the primary means in which to deal with it and this is “the” outcome you can expect. Too, Exodus, as a whole, is not a scientific or psychological organization…we are a discipleship ministry and that is where I think our strength is and energy should be focused.
This comes two weeks after Chambers told an audience of gay Christians that “the majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation or have gotten to a place where they could say that they could never be tempted or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction.”
Before we jump to conclusions here, it is important to step back and unpack this a bit to understand what is happening. When most people think of the phrase “reparative therapy,” it is generally assumed that what is being “repaired” is a person’s sexual orientation. But clinically, that’s not what is meant by “reparative therapy”. Reparative Therapy is a very specific term which describes just one particular type of therapy out of a large array of therapies aimed at changing sexual orientation. Reparative Therapy in particular derives its name from the theoretical underpinnings of this particular form of therapy, which is based on the assumption that gay men become gay because they suffered a “masculine deficit” due to the failure to form a healthy bond with their fathers. That “masculine deficit” sets up a “reparative drive” in the son. That “reparative drive” is defined as the son’s impulse to “repair” that masculine deficit by his seeking out relationships with other men. As Joseph Nicolosi suscinctly sums it up: “We advise fathers, if you don’t hug your sons, some other man will.” Reparative Therapy, therefore, is aimed at addressing that “reparative drive” by ostensibly increasing the client’s self-perception as a male and reframing the boundaries of his relationships with other men.
Reparative Therapy, strictly speaking depends on one single theory of male homosexuality, and it is quite rigid on that point. This is why we here at BTB do not use the phrase “reparative therapy” as a generic term for sexual orientation change therapies. We use the term only when we are talking about this particular form of therapy intended to address the theorized “reparative drive.”
While Reparative Therapy does not describe just any form of sexual orientation change therapy, it is a central focus, almost to the point of being the exclusive focus, of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), an organization which was co-founded by Nicolosi. He is not only known as “the father of Reparative Therapy,” but he literally wrote the book on it (see Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach). Although Reparative Theory doesn’t represent NARTH’s official position on sexual orientation development (officially, NARTH has none), it is nevertheless the predominant assumption behind much of NARTH’s literature and web site, and it is also fervently embraced by much of NARTH’s membership.
In contrast, Exodus’s official statement regarding Reparative Therapy reads:
Reparative Therapy is a specialized counseling approach that focuses on resolving relational deficits and/or trauma believed to be a contributing factor in the development of same-sex attraction. Exodus International believes that Reparative Therapy can be a beneficial tool. Exodus International is not a clinical facility but does affiliate, within the Exodus Professional Counselor Network, with licensed therapists. A minority of these professionals may ascribe to some aspects of Reparative Therapy.
Reparative Therapy has been beneficial to some within our network therefore Exodus does provide limited referrals to a select and small group of independent and licensed Christian professionals who offer this resource.
By removing Reparative Therapy books from Exodus’s bookstore, Chambers has now signaled something of a dissatisfaction with RT’s underlying assumption that the reparative drive is the only explanation for sexual orientation development. This is not a new position for Chambers. In fact, it’s not even new for him to consider the possibility that biology can play a part. When I attended the annual Exodus conference in Irvine in June 2007, I heard him challenge his audience to consider the possibility that there may be a biological basis for homosexuality. I don’t have the exact quote with me, but I do recall that he then went on to challenge his audience to remain committed to living according to what he considered to be “God’s best” for them (i.e. a life of celibacy or sexual monogamy with another person of the opposite sex in marriage) regardless of whatever sort of biological errors (my words, not his) may have occurred.
This, of course, is anathema at NARTH. But seen in the overall context of the past half-decade at least, Chambers’s recent moves do not represent a dramatic departure for Exodus. Exodus was always more ministry than psychology, and it appears that Chambers is moving to sharpen the organization’s focus toward the former and away from the latter. But those moves may signal a growing split between Exodus and NARTH (which bills itself as a “scientific” organization), both in approach and tone. That change hasn’t gone unnoticed at NARTH. As evidence, Throckmorton points to an article by David Pickup, who frequently presents at NARTH’s convention and who runs NARTH’s private Facebook page. Pickup blasts Exodus for deemphasizing Reparative Therapy:
In my experience, Exodus has, quite unintentionally for the last 20 years, failed to understand and effectively deal with the actual root causes of homosexuality and what leads to authentic change. I laud their willingness to admit their naiveté’, but I do not see anything so far that indicates they now truly understand the psychological, developmentally-based causes of homosexuality or what produces real change.
…If Chambers and Exodus do want to truly understand the nature of homosexuality, then they should be open to understanding the psychological underpinnings of these issues and start to recommending qualified therapists who are experts at facilitating significant change. If not, then Exodus will fall into deeper controversy than they are in already. They will be reduced to the myopic ministry of simply helping people to deal with their homosexuality through behavioral changes, which, by the way, reflects the American Psychological Association’s belief about Reparative Therapy: that real change is not possible and people may be helped only in the sense of conforming their behavior to reflect their religious beliefs. In short, Exodus will eventually lose even more effectiveness and begin to flounder.
For an idea of how Pickup addressed his reparative drive, check out this video.
So what does all of this mean? It’s hard to tell at this point. Exodus may not sell books on Reparative Therapy, yet a number of reparative therapists are a part of the Exodus referral network. Chambers may acknowledged that “99.9%” of people don’t change their sexual orientation, but the Exodus website says otherwise, and even dangles out there the carrot of marriage:
Exodus affirms reorientation of same sex attraction is possible. This is a process, which begins with motivation to, and self-determination to change based upon a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We facilitate resources for this process through our member ministries, other established networks and the Church. The key outcome of this is measured by a growing capacity to turn away from temptations, a reconciling of ones identity with Jesus Christ, being transformed into His image. This enables growth towards Godly heterosexuality. Exodus recognizes that a lifelong and healthy marriage as well as a Godly single life are good indicators of this transformation. [Emphasis mine]
But it does look like there have been some nips and tucks in other areas which may reflect Exodus’s increasing autonomy from Focus and NARTH. For example, in 2007 I attended Love Won Out, Exodus’s traveling infomercial for ex-gay ministries, which featured a detailed exposition of Reparative Theory as the only significant explanation for male homosexuality. The lecture was delivered by Nicolosi, who spent about an hour making the case first thing in the morning. When Nicolosi left LWO a year later, his place on the schedule was taken by former Exodus president Joe Dallas, who delivered Nicolosi’s talk on Reparative Therapy with only a few minor changes here and there. That was when LWO was a joint venture between Exodus and Focus On the Family. Beginning in 2010, Focus bowed out and LWO became an exclusively Exodus project. Since then, the published agenda for LWO has changed drastically. I can only assume that the changes reflect a change in Exodus’s emphasis, but I can’t be certain from this vantage point. I guess this means I’ll have to book a flight and attend another conference to get caught up to date.
What Would Dominionists Do With Gays?
August 31st, 2011
Warren Throckmorton answers that question as he dives deep into the different flavors of Dominionism and comes up with many different answers, none of them good. Some are, as he puts it, “squeamish about ‘severe sanctions’ like death.” But others, not so much. It’s an excellent breakdown. You will want to keep this link handy.
Chuck Colson v. Warren Throckmorton on preventing homosexuality
June 10th, 2011
In an ironic bit of timing, Watergate felon turned conservative Christian commentator Chuck Colson has recently been informing the readers of Crosswalk, a webzine for evangelical Christians, about how fathers cause their sons to be gay and what can be done to prevent it. He began his series with a now-familiar scenario:
A little boy I’ll call “Stevie” was a beautiful, healthy child. But by age five, his parents suspected something was wrong. Stevie loved Barbie dolls, the color pink, and dancing around like a ballerina.
His parents took Stevie to see Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a psychologist who specializes in gender disorders. Nicolosi listened as they described their son’s fascination with feminine activities, which had begun when he was three. Nicolosi confirmed that Stevie was a “prehomosexual male.” Without intervention, Nicolosi said, Stevie had a 75-percent chance of growing up homosexual, bisexual, or transgender.
Colson’s articles provide a rather simple narrative about homosexuality. “Stevie” failed to adequately link with his father. Jessica had been molested by an uncle and “viewed her mother as weak.” Colson even assures us that liberals don’t really believe what they say “because deep down, most people recognize there is a moral order to the universe.”
And he knows all of this because Chuck Colson has read Dr. Joseph Nicolosi’s book, A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality.
And, yes, that would be the same Dr. Joseph Nicolosi who was on AC360 last night claiming he had no recollection whatsoever of former patient Ryan Kendall (a rather fascinating claim considering that Kendall testified in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial). And, yes, that would be the same A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality that refers to George Rekers over 20 times, and gives special emphasis to the “Kraig” case study.
Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College, an evangelical Christian university, has to a large extent assumed the burden of correcting much of the inaccurate information about homosexuality that is promoted within the Christian community. Although a defender of the conservative sexual ethic, Throckmorton does not believe that the debate is enhanced by foolishness, deceit, or baseless assertions.
On June 2, several days before we broke the truth behind George Rekers’ famous “Kraig” study, Throckmorton reminded the Crosswalk readers,
Fighting a political agenda is not a good reason to promote questionable theories. There is currently no scientific consensus about why sexual orientation takes the direction it does. Homosexuality is not strongly related to genetics but that does not mean that parenting is the only alternative non-genetic factor. Other prenatal factors, such hormonal variations during prenatal development, are being investigated and might be a part of the picture. The jury is out with much more research to be done, but what has been done on parenting does not inspire confidence in the claim that distant fathers and smothering mothers create gay men.
After the research by Box Turtle Bulletin and CNN was revealed, Dr. Throckmorton returned to Crosswalk to warn evangelical Christians that theories on preventing homosexuality are not strongly based and may even harm their children.
In their book, A Parent’s Guide, the Nicolosis refer to Kirk as an illustration of Rekers success story. The following description is from Rekers 1974 paper on Kirk’s treatment:
When we first saw him, the extent of his feminine identification was so profound (his mannerisms, gestures, fantasies, flirtations, etc., as shown in his “swishing” around the home and clinic, fully dressed as a woman with long dress, wig, nail polish, high screechy voice, slovenly seductive eyes) that it suggested irreversible neurological and biochemical determinants. At the 26-month follow-up he looked and acted like any other boy. People who view the videotaped recordings of him before and after treatment talk of him as “two different boys”. (p. 38)
Rekers built his career on cases like Kirk’s and others like Nicolosi have used these studies as evidence for the efficacy of their recommendations to parents. As the reports point out, what the doctors reported was at odds with what the family recalls, and may, in some cases, have adverse effects. At the least, parents should exercise caution and ask for additional evidence and get other opinions when considering how to respond to children who display gender non-conforming actions and preferences.
I think it might be fair to say that Colson may regret the timing of his series. And those readers here with a faith background could hardly be faulted for humming the 1771 hymn by William Cowper, “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.”
Hearings Continue In Uganda’s Parliament on Anti-Homosexuality Bill
May 9th, 2011
[Update: Paul Canning alerted me to this 30-minute audio snippet from today's hearing. Beginning at the two-minute mark, the speaker describes how the bill is based upon false premises and is not supported by science:]
Warren Throckmorton has his ear to the ground on the rapidly developing situation in Uganda, where Parliament may be set to pass the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. He reported that the Human Rights Commission, Sexual Minorities Uganda and the Coalition on Human Rights all testified against the bill during hearings today. The Associated Press reports that pastor Martin Ssempa testified again this morning, calling for the death penalty to be removed and replaced with seven year’s imprisonment. This is a remarkable backtracking from supporting lifetime imprisonment previously. Ssempa went on to call for the bill’s passage “because homosexuality is killing our society.”
LGBT Advocate and retired Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo also testified against the bill. He warned the committee that the bill would not make gay people suddenly disappear, but would instead turn Uganda into a police state. He also warned that the bill would result in an increase in the spread of HIV/AIDS because gay Ugandans would fear seeking treatment.
The AP also reported on the bill’s future:
Stephen Tashobya, the head of the parliament committee, said it is time legislators give the bill priority. He said a report on the bill would be ready by Tuesday and could be presented to parliament by the end of the week.
“Due to public demand the committee has decided to deal with bill,” Tashobya said. “The bill has generated a lot of interest from members of the public and members of parliament and that is why we spared some time deal with before this parliament ends.”
Parliament is due to end on May 11, although Parliament itself doesn’t constitutionally expire until the 18th. It’s not clear whether there is enough time for the bill to make it to the floor before the 11th, but Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda said that if Parliament does take up the bill, it will be almost certainly be passed. Warren Throckmorton, who is constantly updating this thread with new information as he finds it, comments on the bill’s prognosis:
Tashobya is quoted as saying he would have the report completed by tomorrow. However, he just told me a few minutes ago that he cannot promise to complete the report by tomorrow. He did say that he would complete the report before the end of Parliament which is the 18th of May. When I asked him how the Parliament could vote on a bill in this manner, he said that the Speaker (Edward Ssekandi) makes those decisions. Theoretically, the Speaker could call Parliament into session anytime before May 18 for a vote on any left over bills.
According to Tashobya, the Company bill did not pass today, and the Procurement bill was pushed to tomorrow, thus making it even more difficult for any new bills to come to the floor before Speaker Ssekandi’s end of official business date of May 11. The AHB coming to the floor appears to hinge on the completion of the committee report by Mr. Tashobya sometime tomorrow and the Speaker’s willingness to bring it to the floor on Wednesday. If this does not happen, the Speaker would have to call the MPs together sometime during the festivities of the Presidential inauguration and the swearing in of the new Parliament on the 18th.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, if passed in its current form, would impose the death penalty for those who are HIV-positive, who is a “repeat offender,” or whose partner is deemed “disabled” regardless of whether the relationship was consensual. It would also impose a lifetime sentence for other cases. Those provisions may be modified, although that still remains uncertain.
Even with those proposed modifications, the bill would still remain a potent threat to human rights. The bill would lower the bar for conviction, making mere “touching” for the perceived purpose of homosexual relations a criminal offense. It threatens teachers, doctors, friends, and family members with three years imprisonment if they didn’t report anyone they suspected of being gay to police within twenty-four hours. It also would broadly criminalize all advocacy of homosexuality including, conceivably, lawyers defending accused gay people in court or parliamentarians proposing changes to the law. It even threatens landlords under a “brothel” provision if they knowingly rent to gay people.
There is an AllOut petition which is now at about 40,000 signatures with a goal of 100,000 signatures by tomorrow. This will be presented at Parliament by Bishop Senyonjo tomorrow.
Was The Uganda Outing Campaign A Precurser To “Kill The Gays” Bill Revival?
October 21st, 2010
That’s the harrowing possibility that Jeff Sharlet raised yesterday during his interview on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now.
Sharlet, author of C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, spoke with Amy Goodman yesterday about recent events in Uganda, and gave some possible connections between a recent vigilante campaign launched by the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone (no relation to the U.S. magazine by the same name) and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which has been languishing in at least one Parliamentary committee since earlier this year:
Well, this article in Rolling Stone, the Ugandan Rolling Stone, what it marks is really an escalation. We’ve already seen this happening in Uganda. Rolling Stone is a new paper. The big national tabloid, you might say, is called Red Pepper, and they’ve been publishing so-called kill lists for some time now, with names, sometimes addresses, photographs, of gay people. You see also some Ugandans taking out ads in these papers to say, “Here’s this person I don’t like, arrival at work,” or something like this, “I have secret information that he’s gay.” This idea of sort of formalizing the list, naming the top hundred, this is a real escalation.
And I think what it shows us, and with what’s going on in the bill right now and what’s alarming, is the bill hasn’t been passed. It got stalled after it was introduced, in response to international pressure. But it’s still there. It’s, in effect, kind of a tiger on a leash that the regime can let off depending on its own fortunes in upcoming elections. And what I’m hearing from David Bahati, the author of the bill, with whom I remain in touch, that he is now being promised a second reading. And I think this new step in the press is a very alarming one, because it shows it moving right back to the forefront of Ugandan society.
Sharlet also expresses concern that Las Vegas-based Canyon Ridge Community Church, which is a financial backer of Ugandan pastor and staunch Anti-Homosexuality Bill support Martin Ssempa, has not only maintained ties to Ssempa, but is misleading their own congregation on what Ssempa stands for.
What’s interesting about it is it’s not even a far-right megachurch, and there’s a lot of members of Canyon Ridge who would be, I think, really outraged if they understood that their church was supporting one of the leaders of the anti-gay movement, Pastor Martin Ssempa, who’s also received US federal dollars, PEPFAR money. He has testified before our Congress. He’s held up as a champion in the fight against AIDS. His method has boiled down to “kill them.” The Canyon Ridge Church, there’s been a lot of pressure put on it, and I should say, by the way, by some evangelical activists. There’s a man named Warren Throckmorton, a professor at a Christian college, who’s been leading the fight to get Canyon Ridge to be accountable for the fact that they are financing part of this campaign. But, you know, even that is just one piece of this equation.
And I continue to wonder why the Human Rights Campaign of Las Vegas, who met with Canyon Ridge leaders over a month ago, have said nothing about a church in their community which indirectly supports a bill which is terrorizing GLBT people in Uganda.
This is beyond troubling. Supporters of the bill have disseminated tons of misinformation about what the bill would do if enacted (falsely claiming that it only affects pedophiles and rapists) and about its current status (falsely claiming that the bill has been withdrawn or shelved.) Both of those claims have been widely as fact by the mainstream press, and some of them have even entered into the LGBT press and held among advocates. This might help explain HRC-LV’s silence on their meeting with Canyon Ridge. If HRC officials were misinformed and accepted Canyon Ridge’s assurances, would anyone in the gay community be surprised?
I think it’s time for the HRC-LV to come forward with what they know about Canyon Ridge and join the effort to hold Canyon Ridge accountable. Failure to do so is not much different from collaboration. Surely the HRC can be a fierce advocate for something, can’t they?
Throckmorton: prioritizing the well-being of the kids
October 5th, 2010
Focus on the Family, and those who fear “the homosexual agenda,” tend to oppose anti-bullying programs that include specific curricula which seeks to counter-act anti-gay bullying. They fear that it contributes to the “normalization of homosexuality” and in a perverse distortion of “faith” they give this fear a far higher importance than the physical well-being of the children.
However, Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a conservative evangelical Christian who advocates for a conservative sexual ethic, advises evangelicals to reconsider their priorities (CNN):
As a traditional evangelical, I may have some differences of opinion with my gay friends. However, such ideological differences don’t matter to a middle school child who is afraid to go to school.
There are many such children who need adults to care more about their well being than about religious differences. Adults need to focus on common values of respect and civility and take the culture war off the school campus.
Throckmorton reminds fellow Christians that their role in society is to protect the oppressed and that Christians should be part of the solution, not contributing to the problem.
It seems to me that people of faith should lead the way in providing safe and respectful environments for all. To do this, you have to be there and you have to name the problem to solve it.
Let’s hope the Church is listening.
Willow Creek Association’s Ties To Martin Ssempa Revealed While Las Vegas Church Continues to Hold Its Ground
July 2nd, 2010
In an article appearing on Salon this morning, Dr. Warren Throckmorton explored the close working relationship between Las Vegas-based Canyon Ridge Christian Church and Ugandan “Kill-the-gays” Pastor Martin Ssempa. And in pulling on that thread, Throckmorton discovered a much larger relationship between the Willow Creek Association and their East African hero:
Just consider the case of the Willow Creek Association, which bills itself as “the most influential ministry to evangelical pastors in the U.S.” and boasts “more than 11,000 Member Churches in 35 countries,” is now distancing itself from Ssempa. (Canyon Ridge is part of the WCA network.)
WCA’s signature leadership training events are conducted in “more than 250 cities in 50 countries each year” — including Uganda, where the group partnered with Ssempa in November 2009. In other words, as [Saddleback Church pastor Rick] Warren was publicly severing his ties with Ssempa, the WCA was strengthening theirs. In 2007, for example, the WCA bestowed its award on Ssempa’s church for its work in AIDS prevention.
The Willow Creek Association is a huge group of 11,000 contemporary Evangelical churches in 35 countries that are affiliated with the pioneering namesake megachurch near Chicago. Throckmorton reports that as of Thursday, WCA had apparently just discovered that Ssempa has been openly advocating the killing of LGBT people in Uganda, and so they decided to quietly step back a little:
On Thursday, Steve Bell, the organization’s executive vice president, told me that Ssempa is no longer affiliated with their leadership summit in Uganda. Regarding the 2007 award, Bell wrote:
Willow Creek Association (WCA) was unaware of Martin Ssempa’s views regarding the criminalization of homosexuality when the honorable mention award was presented to him at the 2007 Global Leadership Summit. Had his views been known, particularly his prior support of the death penalty related to the AHB [Anti-Homosexuality Bill], he would not have been considered as a candidate for the award.
And yet, through WCA member Canyon Ridge Christian Church, WCA continues to maintain an arms-length relationship with Ssempa. Throckmorton reports that WCA has no plans to sever its ties with Canyon Ridge, despite the financial assistance Canyon Ridge pays to Ssempa to staff his church in Kampala. And as we learned yesterday, Canyon Ridge is not only standing by their man, but they are also abetting his cause by actively propagating Ssempa’s intentionally false description of what is actually in the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Canyon Ridge and Ssempa insist that the death penalty applies only to those who rape the handicapped and child molestation, but we conclusively demonstrated yesterday that the bill still includes the death penalty for LGBT people with AIDS, who have a consensual relationship with a disabled person, or who is a “serial offender” — a category which, on close examination, can include just about anyone.
This is an important point to keep in mind. Over the past year, we have seen the Evangelical world divide itself neatly into two camps: Those who vigorously oppose the bill and call it evil, and those who attempt to justify it and call it good. Ministries and leaders like Andrew Wommack, WorldNetDaily’s Molotov Mitchell, and Cliff Kincaid have staunchly defended the bill and have included this very same misrepresentation of the bill’s death penalty provision as part of their defense. Others, who see the bill as “unjust, extreme and un-Christian” include Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, televangelist Joyce Meyers and, belatedly, Exodus International president Alan Chambers, have clearly read the text of the bill itself and are shocked at its horror. Reading it creates a clear line in the sand: either you condemn the killing of gay people, or you are for it. There is no middle ground. Yet Willow Creek appears to be trying to have it both ways.
But Canyon Ridge, following the path of the former group, has decided to cling fast to their man. And Canyon Ridge Pastors Mitch Harrison and Kevin Odor further insisted to Throckmorton that they “do not believe Martin Ssempa to be the man the media and others have portrayed him to be.”
Okay. Let’s ignore how “the media and others” have portrayed him for the moment. What about the ways in which Ssempa has portrayed himself directly to the public?
Here he is on December 22, speaking at a meeting in Parliament and demanding passage of the bill, including its death penalty:
On December 23, Ssempa appeared on state-owned UBC television alongside the Anti-Homosexuality Bill’s sponsor, MP David Bahati. In it, Ssempa is seen lying about the death penalty provisions that are included in the proposed bill:
On December 28, Ssempa posted a YouTube video addressed to Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren complaining about Warren’s unequivocal condemnation of the anti-gay bill. In this video, once again, Ssempa claimed that the death penalty only applies to child molesters, a claim that is demonstrably false with a simple reading of the bill itself. He also claimed that Uganda’s law currently doesn’t cover child sexual abuse in a manner that would include male children. Again, that claim was exposed to be completely false:
In the second part of his video message to Rick Warren, Ssempa continued to protest that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, despite its name and description of the new crime of “aggravated homosexuality” which calls for the death sentence, and despite what the text of the bill actually says — despite all that, he claims, with a serious face, that the bill would not result in the arrest and execution of gay people:
In the next video, we see a rally that Ssempa held in the city of Jinja in February, in which he again falsely claimed that the death penalty only applied to child molesters. And in this video it appears evident that Ssempa fully supports the death penalty:
And, of course, Current TV’s documentary “Missionaries of Hate” contains extensive footage of Martin Ssempa showing hardcore porn in churches, prayer meetings, news conferences and meetings with political leaders while calling for the bill’s swift passage in its current form. Here is some video taken from that documentary:
None of this is a misrepresentations on the part of the media. This is Ssempa putting himself out there for all the world to see.
Canyon Ridge may very well decide to pretend they don’t see all of this and continue to financially support Ssempa. If they do, then they fully deserve the bright glare from his spotlight and all of the attention that brings. And as long as Canyon Ridge remains a part of Willow Creek Association while simultaneously supporting a Ugandan pastor who wants to kill gay people, WCA, too, remains culpable for their failure to denounce evil when it is plainly in front of them. They can’t, on one hand, pretend to distance themselves from Ssempa while embracing a church that is providing for his financial needs. As Throckmorton concluded, “you can’t preach one thing here and support something else around the world.” He’s right. Integrity just doesn’t work that way.
Laurie Higgins’ mixed-up crazy loony-toon topsy turvy notions about “biblical truths”
May 26th, 2010
Laurie Higgins is part of that small select number of anti-gay activist who dedicate their efforts to demeaning and denigrating gay men and women. This group, which includes such folk as Peter LaBarbera, Linda Harvey, and Matt Barber, all seem to believe that it is their Christian and civic duty to work against any measure of civil equality or minor decency that might be directed toward gay people.
At one point, even as recent as a few years ago, their job was relatively easy. Society at large, and Christianity in particular, shared a basic ignorance and mistrust of homosexuality. Lies were readily believed, fears were easily exploited, and it was not difficult at all to convince your audience that gay people were not really human or deserving of rights.
But visibility has changed that. More and more Americans have come to know and love their gay family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors and are find inflammatory denunciations inconsistent with the truth. Increasingly, Laurie and her buddies come off as shrill and ineffective and their extremism is rapidly placing them outside of mainstream Christianity.
And Laurie’s not taking it lightly.
Laurie believes that she’s been “called to activism” as her vocation (presumably by God) and this, in her mind, justifies any wackadoodle notion that tumbles out of her mouth, no matter how vile, offensive, or mean. She worships an angry, vengeful, and vituperative deity and as his acolyte she seeks to live up to expectations.
And further, she’s frightened that her angry god is becoming obsolete and that Christianity is coming to recognize the inherent worth of each individual. And as that’s not good for business (or her own moral certainty), she’s fighting back.
Her latest target is Dr. Warren Throckmorton, whom she believes is a traitor. Throckmorton used to be an advocate of ex-gay ministries until his observations (and his honesty) got in the way. And while Throckmorton endorses a conservative sexual ethic for same-sex attracted people, he had the nerve (such temerity) to oppose Ugandan legislation which would incarcerate or execute gay people for the heinous crime of being gay people (what she disingenuously calls “volitional homosexual acts”).
And even worse, Throckmorton did the unthinkable. He dared criticize those who are obsessed with waging culture war on the lives, freedoms, rights and dignity of gay people. Outrage! Heresy! He must be a homosexualist!
In her indignant wild-haired harangue against him (you can almost see the spittle flying), Higgins elevates her odious ranting to the level of the apostolic, equating herself with Paul and Dr. Martin Luther King. And using a twist of logic that surely makes sense only to her own select group, Higgins declares that opposing discrimination against gay people is the moral equivalent of supporting discrimination against black people.
In my estimation, there are far too few Christians who are willing to speak the truth in the public square. At different times in history, different biblical truths are attacked with particular ferocity. During the era of slavery and Jim Crow laws, biblical truth about the dignity and worth of African American women and men were attacked with special intensity. During those decades, an equally vigorous public response to the cultural lies that destroyed lives and families was necessary. Unfortunately, for far too many years, the white church failed to respond courageously.
Similarly, the church is failing now to respond with courage and vigor to the assault on biblical truth about sexuality, marriage, and the family from the mainstream news media, Hollywood, Madison Avenue, the music industry, and public education.
This was neither satire nor intended irony. It has never occurred to Higgins that the supporters of the civil rights movement in the 60′s were Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the music industry and that those who opposed civil equality railed against them in words almost identical to her own. And they probably attend her church today.
Poor sad deluded Laurie Higgins. It’s tragic how a gut full of hatred can twist your mind.
LifeSiteNews piles on Throckmorton
March 23rd, 2010
If Peter LaBarbera were on RuPaul’s Drag Race, no doubt a competitor would have told him in last night’s “reading session” that he is a petty vindictive bitch who wouldn’t know honesty and integrity if it ripped the wig off his big balding pate.
But drag queens are famous for over-the-top rhetoric so I will use less dramatic language and just comment that it appears that his personal vendetta against Warren Throckmorton has little interest in fact.
It all started back in February when Dr. Throckmorton dared to mock LaBarbera by calling Martin Ssempa “the leader of the
Ugandans for Truth About Homosexuality Pastor’s Task Force Against Homosexuality”. While LaBarbera considers Ssempa to be a fellow warrior (with quite similar tactics), he knows that the comparison to him wasn’t meant to be complementary.
Actually, it is likely that resentment has been brewing for a good deal longer. Peter LaBarbera thrives on attention – indeed requires attention to fund his organization and his salary. And while Dr. Throckmorton has quite frequently been called upon by prominent Christian magazines for his views on homosexuality, LaBarbera has been left picking up the crumbs on the fringe pages, sharing his limelight with those who think being gay is caused by soy products.
So over the past month, LaBarbera has been conducting war on Throckmorton. And he’s called in the lunatic fringe to help; haters, extremists, birthers, conspiracy theorists, and those for whom we are concerned about their mental state were all happy to jump right in.
The latest to hitch their caboose to his wackadoodle train is LifeSiteNews, a lay-Catholic news site. Regurgitating a message clearly fed to them by The Peter, LifeSite makes the usual accusations: Throckmorton endorses pro-gay legislation (he hasn’t), Throckmorton is morally neutral on homosexuality (he isn’t), and Throckmorton has abandoned ex-homosexuals (he took a closer look and was unwilling to lie about what he saw).
And, of course, they include the contact information for Dr. Throckmorton and his employer, just in case their readers want to send hate mail or to demand that he be fired.
I doubt such efforts will be effective. Throckmorton has used his website to set the record straight. And Warren is well respected (and well connected) and should any evangelical leaders have further concerns, they can just pick up the phone and call him. Further, those who sign on to join in the nastiness may come to find that such behavior threatens their own credibility.
But it is sad to see this vindictive attack. It is vicious, petty, dishonest, morally repugnant, and totally unnecessary.
Come to think of it, I think I owe drag queens an apology. LaBarbera would never be allowed on RuPaul’s Drag Race or any other drag venue. While I’ve heard some outrageous statements and seen some questionable outfits (and watched more than a little terrible lip syncing), I have never seen a drag queen this lacking in basic decency.
Another passenger on board LaBarbera’s Wackadoodle Train
March 12th, 2010
Nearly every week on the elimination competition television show So You Think You Can Dance, highly excitable judge Mary Murphy will see some performance that especially liked and shriek at the top of her lungs, “Wooo-woooo, you’re on the Hot Tamale Train.” Well I figure that if Murphy can have a train just for “hot tamales”, then Peter LaBarbera can have one for wackadoodles.
And today yet another wackadoodle has jumped on the train racing forward in its quest to discredit Dr. Warren Throckmorton. Today’s passenger: Laurie Higgins.
We all know Laurie from her declarations that it is the Christian duty of children and teachers to “condemn volitional homosexual conduct” of gay students (i.e. bully them). And we remember when we awarded her the LaBarbera Award for equating homosexuality with Nazi atrocities.
So it’s not too surprising that this defender of “culture of disapproval and condemnation” had chosen to yet again climb on board with The Peter and his collection of wackadoodle extremist nutcases to attack the latest conservative evangelical Christian who is not adequately pure in his animosity towards gay people, Dr. Warren Throckmorton.
Now Laurie is not one to consider perspective, allow for differing understanding, or honor any opinion that veers in the slightest from her own. Black and white, all or nothing, these are notions that Laurie values. She’s don’t need no complexity; she’s a simple thinker.
“Nuance” — yet another manifestation of rhetoric serving the cause of sin.
You see, for Laurie, Christ means everything (a notion with which I’m sure she’d agree). And this Christ of Laurie’s is no namby-pamby, eat with sinners, forgive them for not knowing what they do, liberal activist kind of Jesus. No! He’s a hardcore conservative, follow The Law to the letter, kick over the tables of the religious folk I disagree with, stern Jesus who demands complete obsequience.
And Laurie loves this Jesus so much, so very very much, that she’d be privileged to pile the firewood and light the torches to defend his TRUTH.
And as for valuing professionalism or respecting the mental health of the patient, that’s not for Laurie. That sounds too much like nuance. It’s much much easier to demand that clients yield to the religious dictates of their counselor.
Throckmorton and Yarhouse’s statement could be made only by those whose allegiance to a secular worldview takes precedence over their allegiance to Christ. Unfortunately, Throckmorton and Yarhouse are not alone in their subordination of faith and truth to the demands of secular professional guidelines or requirements.
But what really gets Higgins’ goat is that Throckmorton considers that gay people may have some civil right to self determination and equality under the law:
In his interview with One News Now, Throckmorton also said that “he takes a more ‘nuanced’ view” on the topic of same-sex marriage. He said “that he opposes same-sex marriage but believes the Equal Protection Clause permits homosexual civil unions.” Tricksy rhetoric again. He cleverly avoids saying he supports homosexual unions, instead saying that the Equal Protection Clause permits homosexual unions.
Laurie is having none of that. It’s time, she thinks, for Christians to denounce civil law, to abandon professionalism, to throw freedom in the hopper where it belongs, and to become downright nasty to friends and family who don’t share her own passion for denouncing the sinners around them.
What seems clear is that many Christian mental health professionals are subordinating their faith to the professional standards established by a world largely hostile to faith. No serious Christian — no one who understands that Christ expects full submission of every aspect of the lives of those who accept the gift of eternal life that came at the cost of His life — would affirm to others either implicitly or explicitly profoundly sinful behavior, behavior that orthodox Christian doctrine teaches will lead to eternal damnation.
Increasingly, Christians from all walks of life are going to have to choose between their work and their faith, between friendships and faith, and perhaps even between family and faith.
But Laurie Higgins isn’t the only new passenger. Peter also hauled aboard “a reader” who had this to say:
Warren seems to compartmentalize “mental health/mental illness” as if it is entirely separate from the consequences of sinful attitudes, lustful thoughts, wicked behaviors — whereas a mature Christian (especially a counselor) ought to see a strong connection between the two.
Personally, if I were The Peter, I’d not want to look too closely at the strong connection between mental illness and religion. There’s a reason why asylums are full of sad folks who think they are Jesus or Joan of Arc.
Oh, yes. Peter has himself a whole train full of wackadoodle nutcases. But before he gets a full head of steam, he may want to peer down that track a ways. Rather than ‘roll across the trestle, spanning Jordan’s swelling tide‘ he may find that he’s heading for a derailing.
The LaBarbera-Birther-Dominionist link
March 11th, 2010
To paraphrase a common phrase, “wackadoodle extremist nutcakes of a feather flock together”. So it should be no surprise to find anti-gay activists dancing the tango with “birthers” and other fringe political gadflies.
Currently anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera is waging war on Dr. Warren Throckmorton. Throckmorton engages in the grievous sin of believing that therapists – even Christian therapists – should allow same-sex attracted clients who are seeking congruence with their religion to determine their path without overlaying the therapists’ views, even if it means that “some religious individuals will determine that their religious beliefs may become modified to allow integration of same-sex eroticism within their valued identity.”
But Throckmorton infuriates LaBarbera even more by questioning the efficacy of reparative therapy and noting that “it appears from the research that change is infrequent in attractions”. LaBarbera sees this as heresy or, in his words, Throckmorton has “lost his faith in God’s ability to change people.”
LaBarbera has begun a letter and media campaign seeking to threaten Throckmorton’s employment at Grove City College. And he’s rounded up a number of “concerned citizens” to assist in his quest. Not surprisingly, they are as, ummm, colorful as is Peter himself.
But, for those who may not know the extent of Linda’s animus and how it goes to the very core of her self definition, these words from her “testimony” might shed some light.
It was 1992. I had spent months reading the Bible seriously for the first time in my life, and I was trembling on the brink of a stunning decision: to become a Christian, but not just another pew-warmer. I was increasingly tempted beyond all conventional wisdom — to accept the Bible as true, which would make me one of “those” Christians.
So I continued on, hopeful in the joy of discovery. Plodding through the morality code passages in Leviticus lambs being sacrificed, how to deal with boils and leprosy– I concluded some of the messages were symbolic, some were particular to that specific ancient time, while other messages were timeless. It was one of those timeless verses that stopped me cold.
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”
Whoa. If ever there was a definitive statement, this was it. I read it again, then continued on a little farther, looking for the escape clause. Not finding any, I read the passage again. Then I did some cross-referencing to find relevant verses about homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments. This led me to Leviticus 20, Romans 1, and 1 Corinthians 6, passages conveying a consistent platform, strong and uncompromising. I mulled it over for a while, recognizing that it was probably a sub-category of the commandment against adultery. And for a woman thoroughly grounded in heterosexual desires, I had a very interesting reaction. I closed the Bible and stopped reading it for several weeks.
A troubling internal debate threatened my new faith. Even back then in 1992 ancient history in the “gay rights” movement I had absorbed the notion that only obtuse bigots opposed homosexuality. Every enlightened person knew that the freedom to practice homosexuality –responsibly, of course — would surely not threaten the mainstream, but would simply meet the needs of a small, harmless and kind of pitiful minority.
For several weeks I stewed about this, strongly tempted to return to the comfort of my familiar plastic beliefs. Opposing forces wrestled for authority in my mind and heart as I considered first one, then an alternative view of “truth.” What was the reality behind this issue? It was the first time, but not the last, where I would encounter a Joshua 24 moment. I needed to “choose this day whom I would serve.” I didn’t recognize the moving of the Holy Spirit yet, how He presents evidence before each of us in unique ways to drive us toward understanding. In deciding what to believe, or even how to sort it all out, I would be starting a journey toward either one or the other kingdom of two completely different masters.
Linda’s very essence – as “Christian not a pew-warmer” – is grounded in the rejection of the idea that gay people are non-threatening and the adoption as literal, relevant, and objectively true a Scriptural passage that calls for the execution of gay men. To Linda, this was the separation between “plastic beliefs” and choosing to serve God; her entire “journey” is based on the belief in death for homosexuals.
Next up was Steve Baldwin, “the former Executive Director of the Council for National Policy, a former State Assemblyman in California, and a longtime conservative Republican activist.” Baldwin wrote Grove City College’s president, seeking to discredit Throckmorton and threated to “no longer be recommending Grove City College” to “hundreds of conservative high school students” who ask him for a recommendation.
As might be expected, Baldwin is no friend of the gay community. His article written for the Regent University Law Review, Child Molestation and the Homosexual Movement, is a recitation of fabrications and oft-repeated but debunked demonizations.
It is difficult to convey the dark side of the homosexual culture without appearing harsh. However, it is time to acknowledge that homosexual behavior threatens the foundation of Western civilization the nuclear family. An unmistakable manifestation of the attack on the family unit is the homosexual community’s efforts to target children both for their own sexual pleasure and to enlarge the homosexual movement. The homosexual community and its allies in the media scoff at this argument. They insist it is merely a tactic to demonize the homosexual movement. After all, they argue, heterosexual molestation is a far more serious problem.
Unfortunately, the truth is stranger than fiction. Research confirms that homosexuals molest children at a rate vastly higher than heterosexuals, and the mainstream homosexual culture commonly promotes sex with children. Homosexual leaders repeatedly argue for the freedom to engage in consensual sex with children, and blind surveys reveal a shockingly high number of homosexuals admit to sexual contact with minors. Indeed, the homosexual community is driving the worldwide campaign to lower the legal age of consent.
The thesis is breathtaking in its dishonesty.
As we have shown, the premises behind such claims are based on the false assumption that every adult who molests a child of the same sex is, by default, homosexual even if he identifies as heterosexual, is married, and has a long string of opposite sex victims.
Of course, activists like Baldwin don’t limit their extremist to gays. He also advocates for library censorship. But his greatest influence was as the executive director of the Council for National Policy, a dominionist secretive right-wing umbrella group.
After Baldwin was Priscilla Smith, “a freelance writer based in Indiana”. Smith disapproved of an email that was purportedly sent by “David Bier, Grove City College Senior” to LaBarbera in which he states, “Your recent article on Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton is yet another of your pathetic attempts to mislead otherwise moral individuals into the belief that God disapproves of homosexuality.”
This convenient email – whether genuine or contrived – was Smith’s jumping off point. She ranted:
They are about to graduate a young man from their so-called Christian institution without teaching him that God not only disapproves of homosexuality, but He describes it as an abomination, unnatural, dishonorable, perversion, depravity.
I don’t know much about Ms. Smith. If she is a freelance writer, she’s rather selective about making her writings available.
After the elusive Ms. Smith, the Peter ran a commentary by Michael Glazte. As readers may recall, Glatze had been a gay activist (though few knew who he was, he thought of himself as a “rising star”) who became ex-gay and converted to Mormonism before settling on conservative Christianity while working at a Buddhist retreat. Currently he seems to hold a grudge against Throckmorton, and lent his voice to the attack.
I have experienced Professor Throckmorton’s forked tongue, as he has pretended to seek “my side” of the story various times, then turned around and told a biased side of the same story, in a public sphere, with the intention of discrediting my testimony and shaming my stance for Gospel truth. As we have all seen, throughout Christian history, it is quite easy for people to create false worlds, to skew human perception, to persecute Christian truth. Sadly, this professor at a seemingly-reputable Christian school, has engaged in these tactics, with the outcome of persecuting the very truth he supposedly is teaching, atop his perch.
Aside from Glatze’s bitterness, he betrays a worldview that heightens the concerns that have been expressed about his mental stability. He seems to think that “objective” and “subjective” are filtered through dogma rather than observations so that “objective truth” becomes that which he’s been taught and now believes.
It is funny. In this world, truth seems to almost be subjective. Then, you meet Jesus. In Jesus, truth is objective. It is from this vantage point that I write this.
Such a way of thinking lends itself easily to cults and manipulation. It certainly has led to some peculiar political views. After advocating for bullying in schools (“Bullying in schools is a part of life, a part of growth“) and making some racists comments about President Obama, even NARTH removed him from their site.
But the very latest participant in LaBarbera’s campaign of personal destruction is also perhaps the most peculiar. Margaret Hemenway, described by the Peter as “a Virginia parent”. She pretended to be the mother of a 16 year-old girl who, after attending Catholic school, was considering attending the evangelical Grove City College.
We want our children to grow up to be healthy and happy–enjoying a wholesome college experience–not one which will undermine their years in a safe and nurturing Catholic educational environment. It is remarkable that the College would permit this professor, given your school’s Biblical charter, to crusade on behalf of homosexuality–would you also allow your staff to advocate openly for adultery, pornography or prostitution–other sexual sins? Where do you draw the line and how is the professor’s conduct and activity consistent with your Christian mission? We would look forward to your reply.
Hemenway first blipped my radar in 2008 when she claimed in an article hosted by Human Events that her daughter’s first grade teacher told her class that she was marrying another woman and “read aloud, “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,” about two male “gay” guinea pigs, promoted by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender Lobby for children.” She claims to have lodged a complaint.
But Margaret Calhoun Hemenway is no Virginia parent new to politics. Her bio states
Mrs. Hemenway spent 15 years on Capitol Hill in various staff positions in the Senate and the House, followed by five years in the Pentagon. She is married to a native of Washington, D.C. and is a proud parent of three school-age children.
And Hemenway is not shy in expressing her views. Currently she contributes to FamilySecurityMatters.org. And it is from her writings there that we find Hemenway’s more peculiar political activism.
It seems that Hemenway’s father-in-law, John D. Hemenway, is a lawyer heavily involved with the “Birther” movement, a collection of conspiracy theorists who believe that President Obama is not eligible to be President because he was not born in the United States.
That problem is this: the man now occupying the White House is likely Constitutionally unqualified to hold the office.
As an attorney, I facilitated a lawsuit (Hollister vs. Soetoro et al.) in the United States District Court (D.C. Circuit) demanding that Obama produce his birth certificate or satisfactory substitute evidence.
But I am not trying to peg Margaret with guilt by association. She has written or her own faith in the birther movement.
Mr. Obama’s lawyers are now threatening my 84-year-old father-in-law, through Judge Robertson, with penalties of legal fees for pursuing the truth about Mr. Obama’s birth. This threat of financial sanctions is meant to silence all of us who remain unsatisfied with equivocations by the Obama camp about his legal qualifications to become President, and to punish us for pursuing our Constitutionally-guaranteed right to redress.
The Obama campaign, with questions about his birth in Kenya to his Kenyan father (a British citizen), and his years in Indonesia where he was known as Barry Soetoro (taking the surname of his stepfather), was not nearly as forthcoming as the McCain campaign. What was posted in support of Mr. Obama’s eligibility was not a birth certificate, but something that resembles a “Certification of Live Birth” or COLB, which, even if authentic, does not prove “natural born” U.S. citizenship. In Hawaii, a Certification of Live Birth is issued within a year of a child’s birth to those who register a birth overseas or one that takes place outside of a hospital.
So in his desire to punish and discredit Dr. Throckmorton, anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera has surrounded himself with a most fascinating collection of characters: a woman who’s very identity is defined by her adoption of death-penalty based Levitical prohibition on homosexuality, a dominionist whose writings on homosexuality mirror those of Paul Cameron, an unknown freelance writer named Smith, an ex-gay with a grudge and a history of sporadic religious associations and a questionable worldview, and a Birther.
As history progresses and even conservatives begin to see gay people as human – as their friends, family, neighbors and co-workers – those who are left behind are increasingly appearing as fringe and, frankly, more than a little weird. And these are just the ones that Peter is taking public.
Peter LaBarbera Wants To Kill Gay People
January 21st, 2010
… and he wants to get a Christian professor who thinks that is a bad idea fired. He also admits that he has no idea what Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill would actually do, but apparently thinks it can’t be all bad.
Those are the highlights of Peter “Porno Pete” LaBarbera’s latest broadside, who thinks that no one has the right to condemn Uganda’s effort to legislate LGBT people out of existence:
Folks, I’ve been trying to avoid the Ugandan “Culture War” on homosexuality because I figure we’re busy enough with our own here in the USA. But that hasn’t stopped American homosexual activists and fellow travelers like Professor Warren Throckmorton of the “evangelical” Grove City College from insinuating themselves into the Ugandan situation. …
…Tell me: does Uganda have something to learn from Christian “defectors” like the opportunistic Prof. Throckmorton — who is now a de facto promoter of homosexuality as normal, natural and healthy while ostensibly still claiming some sort of “Christian” mission at GCC? (Grove City College boasts in evangelical circles that it is “authentically Christian” — an advertising claim of diminishing accuracy the longer it abides likes of Throckmorton.)
And from there, LaBarbera goes on to urge his dozens of readers to harass Grove City College into firing Dr. Throckmorton over his efforts to prevent innocent people being killed in Uganda or thrown into prison for the rest of their lives. (When it comes to Ugandan prisons, is there really any difference?)
In typical LaBarbera fashion, he fired off his missive without having a clue about what the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill would do. Most amazingly, he even brags about his ignorance:
Nope. What we’re seeing here is sheer Western activist arrogance. … I haven’t yet studied the proposed Ugandan legislation but I agree with Bob Knight’s analysis below — and AFTAH is clearly on record opposing draconian penalties for homosexuality like those imposed by jihadist Islamic radicals.
No Peter, arrogance is going off half-cocked without knowing what you’re even talking about. But them that’s exactly par for the course. It’s just good to see that for once you admit it.
Okay, so Peter doesn’t want to see gay people tortured with electric drills and surgical glues before they are killed. Good to know. But other than that, what does he support?
We have posted the full text of the proposed bill here, and with that we have a challenge for LaBarbera — a challenge that we will issue to anyone who criticizes those who condemn the bill. What parts do you disagree with, and which provisions do you think are a grand idea?
- It expands the definitions for homosexual acts, making conviction easier. Current law requires evidence of penetration. The new law would expand the definition of homosexual activity to”touch(ing) another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.” Touching itself is defined as “touching—(a) with any part of the body; (b) with anything else; (c) through anything; and in particular includes touching amounting to penetration of any sexual organ. anus or mouth.”
- Affirms Uganda’s lifetime imprisonment for those convicted of homosexuality.
- Defines a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality” for those who engage in sex with someone under the age of 18, who are HIV-positive, who is a “repeat offender” (so broadly defined as to include anyone who has had a relationship with more than one person, or who had sex with the same person more than once), or who had sex with a disabled person (consensual or not). The penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” is death by hanging.
- Requires anyone arrested on suspicion of homosexuality to undergo HIV testing to determine the individual’s qualification for prosecution of “aggravated homosexuality.”
- Criminalizes “attempted homosexuality” with imprisonment for seven years.
- Criminalizes “promoting” homosexuality with fines and imprisonment for between five and seven years. This overly-broad provision would criminalize all speech and peaceful assembly for those who advocate on behalf of LGBT citizens in Uganda . It would also criminalize any attempt to repeal or modify the law in the future, as those moves could also be seen as “promoting” homosexuality.
- Criminalizes “aiding and abetting homosexuality” with seven years imprisonment. This provision could be used against anyone extending counseling, medical care, or otherwise providing aid to gay people.
- Criminalizes the act of obtaining a same-sex marriage abroad with lifetime imprisonment.
- Adds a clause which forces friends or family members to report LGBT persons to police within 24-hours of learning about that individual’s homosexuality or face fines or imprisonment for up to three years.
- Penalizes people who run “brothels” with five to seven years imprisonment for renting to LGBT people. However, it defines a brothel as “a house, room, set of rooms or place of any kind for the purposes of homosexuality” instead of the more normal definition of a place where commercial sex work takes place. Anyone’s bedroom would be a “brothel” under this definition, placing landlords and hotel owners in jeopardy for renting to LGBT people.
- Adds an extra-territorial and extradition provisions, allowing Uganda to prosecute LGBT Ugandans living abroad.
- Voids all international treaties, agreements and human rights obligations which conflict with this bill.
The ball’s in your court, Peter. Do you have the balls to answer?
Is Uganda’s “Kill-the-Gays” Bill Author Coming to Washington or Not?
January 19th, 2010
Frankly, my ability to take anyone at their word is very strained right now. Ugandan MP David Bahati, the guy who can’t wait to begin killing gay people or throwing them into a Ugandan prison for the rest of their lives (is there really a difference?), says he’s coming to Washington, D.C. to attend the National Prayer Breakfast on February 4. Bob Hunter and others connected with the secretive Evangelical group known as The Family have told Warren Throckmorton that Bahati’s not invited and he won’t be allowed in. That’s fine, I guess, if I could trust this information. We’ve heard directly from Bahati; why can’t we hear directly from Doug Coe, the head of the Family?
The Fellowship’s obsession with secrecy means that nobody with recognized authority within the Family has said anything about Bahati, let alone the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is now before Uganda’s Parliament and which appears to have strong support among people associated with the Family. Bob Hunter, a Family member who has deep ties in Uganda, has appeared on NPR and Rachel Maddow to say that the Family doesn’t like the bill, but read the transcript again. Is he authorized to speak definitively on behalf of the Family?
MADDOW: Have you had to get permission to do this interview? Are you here with The Fellowship‘s blessing?
HUNTER: No, I didn‘t. I first went on National Public Radio, because I felt like I was scandalized on National Public Radio by name. And that‘s why I started talking out.
Okay, so Hunter is speaking because he felt scandalized, not because he’s speaking on behalf of the Family. That is most certainly his prerogative. But he was so intent on defending himself that he forgot what he wanted to do on Maddow’s show. According to Jeff Sharlet:
He said he’d planned to talk about Senator Jim Inhofe, the fiercely anti-gay politician who is listed in Family documents as the “U.S. leader” responsible for working with Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni. Bob said he wants to see Inhofe take a bolder stand against this awful bill. But he got sidetracked.
Sidetracked is right. I’m glad he spoke against the bill. I’m also glad to hear him say that he knows others within the Fellowship who are against it. The last thing I want to do is throw cold water on that.
But I’m going to anyway. Because, you see, I know a lot of devout Catholics who worked to try to defeat anti-marriage amendments. Fortunately, they rarely do it by going on the offensive against Episcopalians who also want to defeat the amendments. But that aside, we all know that it’s what the leaders are doing that matters, and Catholic leaders have no qualms about letting everyone know where they stand. That’s why it’s impossible for anyone to claim that the Catholic Church opposes what they clearly support: anti-marriage amendments everywhere. There is no ambiguity about where the organization stands, whatever some members of it may believe personally.
But we have yet to hear from anyone in authority from the Family say anything about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and that leaves a truckload of ambiguity to deal with. Call me paranoid, but I think that this is exactly what they want. You see, the way things stand right now, Bahati can say whatever he wants — he can say he’s going to the National Prayer Breakfast even if he’s really not going. True or not, he can use that to build up his own political capital in Uganda with nary a contradictory whiff from the Family. Meanwhile, the Family’s silence means that Bahati isn’t embarrassed, nor are any other Family members like, say, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni. Bahati’s (and possibly Museveni’s) cherished dream goes forward, and the Family’s ties to Uganda’s political establishment remain intact. Everybody’s happy, except of course gay people in Uganda.
But on the other hand, maybe Bahati really is going to the National Prayer Breakfast. And maybe key members of the Fellowship — not Hunter, not people he knows, but others — support the kill-the-gays bills or its practically-equivalent effort, or at least are willing to look the other way. Meanwhile, those who are passing their assurances on the Warren Throckmorton may not be quite as in-the-know as they honestly think they are. How are we to know? And given the gravity of the situation, why should we go on their word while the Fellowship’s leaders maintain their useful silence? We shouldn’t, and more importantly we can’t afford to.
So, are Mr. Bahati or any other Ugandan political leaders going to Washington? I don’t know. Bahati says he is; Hunter says no. Does the Family support or oppose the Anti-Homosexuality Bill? Hunter says they oppose, but Sharlet says the group is divided and Hunter would appear to agree, especially if it’s true that Hunter went on Maddow to pressure Sen. Inhofe into taking a bolder stand (and failed). Only Doug Coe can answer all of this definitively, and pretty easily too. For the sake of all that is decent and humane, it’s time for Coe’s yes to be yes, and his no to be no. Silence is not an answer and time has almost run out.
So unless I hear it from Coe or another recognized senior leader who is officially authorized to speak on behalf of the Family, I’m sticking with the only first-person account I’ve seen so far. If trust is in short supply around here, it’s because the people who really matter have not lifted a finger to try to earn it.
On American Christians In Uganda: Silence As Consent
January 15th, 2010
National Public Radio has a great piece this morning examining the role played by three American activists in the current anti-gay debacle playing out in Uganda. Here is probably the best observation I’ve seen to date on American evangelical responses to the Ugandan efforts to wipe LGBT people off the map:
Jim Naughton, a former canon in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C., says their message plays one way in the U.S., but differently in a place like Uganda. And they should have known.
“If you go to countries where there’s already a great deal of suspicion and maybe animosity towards homosexuals, and begin to tell people there, ‘Well, actually these people are child abusers, they’re coming for their children, that they’re the scourge that is being deposited on you by the secular West,’ you’re gonna get a backlash.” Naughton says it’s like “showing up in rooms filled with gasoline, and throwing lighted matches around and saying, ‘Well, I never intended fire.‘”
Many U.S. evangelicals, including (Scott) Lively, say they are “mortified” by the death penalty provision. Naughton doesn’t buy it.
“I think if they were mortified, they would have been mortified immediately,” he says. “Instead they were mortified — oh, two, three months into the campaign against this thing, when it was getting real traction.”
You can see Lively’s “fire” — actually he calls it his “nuclear bomb” — here.
There is, of course, one notable exception. Dr. Warren Throckmorton was publicly mortified as soon as he heard about plans for the anti-gay conference put on by Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Lee Brundidge last March. He has since been a tireless critic of that conference and the ensuing Anti-Homosexuality Bill. He also gets his due on the NPR report, while questioning the silence of other prominent ministries with close ties to Uganda.
If (Saddleback pastor Rick) Warren was slow to condemn the bill, other Christian conservatives have yet to do so, says Warren Throckmorton, who teaches psychology at Grove City College and has been monitoring U.S. evangelical response. He says some of the Christian groups most publicly tied to Uganda have been the quietest. Joyce Meyer Ministries, Oral Roberts University, the College of Prayer in Atlanta — all have close ties and declined to express reservations about the death penalty.
“Silence is often interpreted as consent,” says Throckmorton, who is himself a conservative evangelical. “So I think those kinds of responses may lead those individuals in Uganda to think that perhaps what [they're] doing really is according to the evangelical faith.”
The NPR report ends with a claim that Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni “called for the bill to be withdrawn.” While many have jumped to that conclusion, the fact is that Museveni was careful not to call for its withdrawal, and it is not clear that he will.
Ugandan News Blog: “What Makes Someone Gay and Can People Change Orientation?”
January 14th, 2010
When I saw that title appear on the Uganda Talks blog of that nation’s The Independent newspaper this morning, I was prepared for the worst. But then I saw the byline: Warren Throckmorton. He alone among American evangelicals was out front on this issue clear back in March of last year. I hope this article is able to make its way into the print edition.
But this just goes to show that if those who claim to be against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill were really serious about their claims, they could quite easily demonstrate their sincerity rather than falling back to playing the part of a helpless dupe. But Exodus’ shirking their responsibility is a well-established pattern that is giving Christianity a black eye to millions of people around the world. As I said before: Uganda will forever be their legacy and their cowardly silence will become the indelible image of Christ seen by LGBT people the world over. And thousands of Ugandans — and many more thousands of Americans — will never forget it.
Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill Still Has American Defenders, Death Penalty And All
January 10th, 2010
Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton has a rundown on several American evangelicals who support Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, with some even supporting the death penalty or explaining it away by lying about its application. One post by Joel McDurmon appeared on the American Vision web site, appropriately titled “A Perfect Hatred.” He writes:
Where God says a civil crime deserves the death penalty, I propose that we keep in step with the first greatest commandment and recognize His total sovereignty in heart, soul, strength, and mind…. Now, it just so happens that God revealed that the homosexual act is a civil crime, and it just so happens that He revealed that the homosexual act as a civil crime deserves the death penalty.
Larry Jacobs of the World Congress of Families rushed to defend Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, but offered not one word of criticism of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which came on the aftermath of Schmierer’s March 5-7 conference in Kampala. He didn’t even bother to mention the death penalty provisions.
Warren also noted one article by Cliff Kincaid which earned a LaBarbera Award from BTB’s Timothy Kincaid (no relation), but that’s not the only example from this guy. In another post Cliff Kincaid complains that criticizing the wide-ranging bill amounts to “bashing” Uganda’s Christians, metaphorical language that is insulting in the extreme to those gays and lesbians who have actually been physically bashed bodily, sometimes to death.
If you know of other examples of American supporters of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, feel free to leave them in comments at Warren Throckmorton’s web site.
NARTH: Forced Therapy Is “Unethical and Unworkable”
December 29th, 2009
Getting the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) to say specifically whether coercing people into conversion therapy is unethical or not appears to have been extraordinarily difficult, but Grove City College professor has managed to get them to do just that.
The issue has arisen again lately in Uganda, where the Parliament is currently taking up the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would provide for the death sentence for LGBT people under certain circumstances. While the entire bill is wide-ranging and dangerous for straight people as well as gays, the death sentence has garnered particular scrutiny. Now backers of the bill say that they may drop the death penalty and add a clause to provide forced conversion therapy for those convicted. It is unknown whether the forced therapy would be as an alternative to the lifetime prison sentence, or an adjunct to it.
The idea of forced conversions appears to have come from Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, one of three American anti-gay extremists who led a conference in Kampala last March. The other two Americans, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer and International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Lee Brundidge, were there as conversion therapy “experts,” but they remained completely silent as the idea was allowed to fester for the succeeding nine months. NARTH also remained silent, even though Scott Lively touted NARTH as the leading experts on conversion therapy during the conference.
Finally, Warren Throckmorton was able to get a statement from NARTH. The group’s past president, A. Dean Byrd, wrote this reply to Throckmorton:
Dear Dr. Throckmorton,
As you are aware, NARTH’s Governing Board has accepted the Leona Tyler Principle which states that NARTH, as a scientific organization, takes no position on any scientific issue without the requisite science or professional experience. NARTH members, as individuals, are free to speak on any issue.
NARTH values the inherent worth of all individuals and respects individual right of autonomy and self determination.
NARTH’s position on homosexuality was clearly articulated by Dr. Julie Harren Hamiliton in a recent edition of the APA Monitor: homosexuality is not invariably fixed in all people – some people can and do change. And psychological care should be available to those who seek such care.
NARTH encourages its members to abide the Code of Ethics of their respective organizations and such codes proscribe the coercive efforts. It goes without saying that NARTH would support the humane treatment of ALL individuals.
We are aware of the situation in Uganda but thank you for bringing this to our attention. I am sure that you are aware that as a scientific organization, NARTH does not take political positions; however, we are happy to provide a summary of what science can and cannot say about homosexuality for those who do.
Dr. Throckmorton, if history is a good indicator, you will likely not be happy with this response. However, I hope such responses will help you understand NARTH’s mission as a scientific organization.
With warm regards,
A. Dean Byrd, PhD, MBA, MPH
The line about NARTH not taking political positions is utterly laughable. You don’t even have to go beyond the front page on NARTH’s web site before you find links decrying the supposed “dangers” of same-sex marriage.
That aside, it was difficult to find the denunciation of forced conversion therapy. If you blinked, you might have missed it. But here it is again, with my emphasis:
NARTH encourages its members to abide the Code of Ethics of their respective organizations and such codes proscribe the coercive efforts.
After further inquiries from Throckmorton, Byrd clarified:
Research tells us that forced therapy is almost always a failure. It is unethical and unworkable.
Scott Lively specifically recommended NARTH to his Ugandan audience, saying, “After my web site, this is the one I consider the most important.” But if Ugandans go to NARTH, they will not find a single statement anywhere which provides guidance on coercive therapy. Exodus also continues to refrain from placing a statement on their web site as well, although Exodus President Alan Chambers did say in a Facebook posting, “I am NOT for forced therapy for gay and lesbian people.”
It’s good that NARTH and Exodus leadership has now come out against forced therapy. But since this is not the first time this issue has come up — and it certainly won’t be the last time either — isn’t it time these two organizations finally made these statements official and accessible? What reason could they possibly have for keeping them hard to find and off of their own web sites?
Ugandan Pastors Demand Apology from Rick Warren
December 21st, 2009
In a letter sent sent to Warren, with copies provided to Christianity Today and Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton, the four pastors write on behalf of a task force which met in the offices of the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, James Nsaba Buturo, who has been an ardent supporter of the bill. The pastors say that the bill has been “greatly misrepresented” and describes Warren’s opposition to the bill as “unwarrented abuse.”
This bill has been greatly misrepresented by some homosexual activists causing hysteria and we take this opportunity to give you the background, facts and response to the concerns you raised. A special meeting of 20 denominational heads met on Thursday 17th Dec in the offices of the minister of Ethics and Integrity, examined your letter and formed a joint task force to respond to you as well as help support the parliament in the passage of this bill. We are further distressed by your unwarranted abuse of our duly elected officials who are in the process of making laws in the fulfillment of their mission and make demand that you biblically issue an apology for having wronged us as demonstrated by the facts of this letter. [Emphasis in the original]
The letter is very similar to a separate letter sent to Christianity Today, complete with wholesale misrepresentations of what the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would actually provide. We have posted the full text of the bill online where you can see its provisions for yourself. They include:
- Expanding the definitions for homosexual acts, making conviction easier. Current law requires evidence of penetration. The new law would expand the definition of homosexual activity to “touch(ing) another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.” Touching itself is defined as “touching—(a) with any part of the body; (b) with anything else; (c) through anything; and in particular includes touching amounting to penetration of any sexual organ. anus or mouth.
- Affirming Uganda’s lifetime imprisonment for those convicted of homosexuality.
- Defining a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality” for those who engage in sex with someone under the age of 18, who are HIV-positive, who is a “repeat offender” (so broadly defined as to include anyone who has had a relationship with more than one person, or who had sex with the same person more than once), or who had sex with a disabled person (consensual or not). The penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” is death by hanging.
- Requiring anyone arrested on suspicion of homosexuality to undergo HIV testing to determine the individual’s qualification for prosecution of “aggravated homosexuality.”
- Criminalizing “attempted homosexuality” with imprisonment of seven years.
- Criminalizing all speech and peaceful assembly for those who advocate on behalf of LGBT citizens in Uganda with fines and imprisonment of between five and seven years.
- Criminalizing the act of obtaining a same-sex marriage abroad with lifetime imprisonment.
- Addding a clause which forces friends or family members to report LGBT persons to police within 24-hours of learning about that individual’s homosexuality or face fines or imprisonment of up to three years.
- Penalizing landlords and hotel owners with five to seven years imprisonment for renting to LGBT people.
- Adding an extra-territorial and extradition provisions, allowing Uganda to prosecute LGBT Ugandans living abroad.
- Voiding all international treaties, agreements and human rights obligations which conflict with this bill.
There is an additional ominous note in this letter that is not found in the previous letter published by Christianity Today. In describing the developments in Uganda which they say justify the draconian measure specified in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, they single out an individual Ugandan blogger, GayUganda:
This latest letter, which is reproduced on Warren Throckmorton’s web site, demands that Warren issues an apology and sets a deadline:
Your letter has caused great distress and the pastors are demanding that you issue a formal apology for insulting the people of Africa by your very inapropriate bully use of your church and purpose driven pulpits to coerse us into the “evil” of Sodomy and Gaymorrah. This is expected within seven days from this date.
The letter, at least as it is reproduced on Throckmorton’s web site, does not appear to be dated.
Exodus Sends Letter To Ugandan President
November 16th, 2009
Exodus has announced that they have sent a letter to Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni concerning the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act that is now before Parliament. The letter, which is signed by Exodus President Alan Chambers, vice president Randy Thomas, “former homosexual” and AIDS survivor Christopher Yuan, and Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton, the letter begins by making a distinction between child sexual abuse and consensual relationships between consenting adults. It then continues:
While we do not believe that homosexual behavior is what God intended for individuals, we believe that deprivation of life and liberty is not an appropriate or helpful response to this issue. Furthermore, the Christian church must be a safe, compassionate place for gay-identified people as well as those who are confused about and conflicted by their sexuality. If homosexual behavior and knowledge of such behavior is criminalized and prosecuted, as proposed in this bill, church and ministry leaders will be unable to assist hurting men, women and youth who might otherwise seek help in addressing this personal issue. The Christian church cannot and should not condone homosexual living or gay-identified clergy within its leadership, but it must be permitted to extend the love and compassion of Christ to all. We believe that this legislation would make this mission a difficult if not impossible task to carry out.
Written as it is by an organization which is does not affirm the dignity and worth of LGBT people to live their lives responsibly in freedom and self-determination, there is certainly much in this letter that merits criticism. Furthermore, the letter makes no recommendations except to “consider the influence this law will have” on the work of those who believe that the only valid option for LGBT people is to self-deny their own existence. The “influence” this law will have on LGBT people themselves, well that’s apparently inconsequential and not worthy of discussion.
Content-wise, there is almost nothing I can agree with. But then, this letter wasn’t written by an LGBT advocacy group, nor was it written on behalf or in defense of LGBT people. It was written by an organization who wants to make gay people straight – an already improbable task from a practical standpoint, soon to be made impossible by the legal impediments this law would impose. From that viewpoint, this letter makes their case well.
Besides, the contents of this letter shouldn’t allow us to refrain from both acknowledging its importance and welcoming its tardy arrival. For more than eight months after Exodus board member Don Schmierer participated in a conference in Kampala which fanned the flames of hatred that brings us to where we are today, Exodus remained officially silent. This letter breaks that long and exasperating silence. The damage done by eight months of silence won’t be fixed by a single letter, but it’s a start in the right direction. And as first steps go, this is a very good first step.
But to really be meaningful, this letter needs to be followed up with more actions and statements. I have a suggestion: The Observer, The Independent and The Monitor, all independent Ugandan newspapers, have printed letters and op-ed columns criticizing the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act. I’m sure they’d be interested in the opinions of an American evangelical leader who presents himself as an expert in homosexuality and wants to approach the subject “with grace and truth.”
Will Exodus follow up with more action? Given the stonewalling we’ve seen to date, I’m not willing to place any bets. It seems to me as though they are looking for ways to do as little as possible, but just enough to inoculate themselves from criticism. This letter, by itself, is not an inoculation. Many more boosters will be needed. Eight months of silence is too long a trend to reverse in one shot. Besides, it’s not about criticism from us and other LGBT advocates that should be the issue. It’s the lives at stake in Uganda, lives made much more precarious following a certain conference last March.
The complete letter is reproduced below.