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Posts for January, 2010

Ugandan News Blog: “What Makes Someone Gay and Can People Change Orientation?”

Jim Burroway

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.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of the past year’s anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill Still Has American Defenders, Death Penalty And All

Jim Burroway

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.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

NARTH: Forced Therapy Is “Unethical and Unworkable”

Jim Burroway

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?

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Ugandan Pastors Demand Apology from Rick Warren

Jim Burroway

December 21st, 2009

A Martin Ssempa and three other Ugandan pastors have written to Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren demanding an apology for his statement opposing Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

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:

d) creation of organizations whose sole purpose is to promote homosexuality in Uganda; (e.g. (Sexual Minorities Uganda); (Gay Uganda); (Integrity Uganda).

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.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Exodus Sends Letter To Ugandan President

Jim Burroway

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.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Click here to read Exodus International’s letter to President Museveni.

Throckmorton Appeals to Ugandan Christians

Timothy Kincaid

November 2nd, 2009

Dr. Warren Throckmorton has had published a guest blog in The Independent, a Ugandan news blog. In it, he appeals to fellow Christians to follow the lead of Christ and avoid harsh civil punishment for spiritual sins.

Throckmorton selected the story of the woman at the well caught in adultery whose accusers disappeared when Jesus said that the person who was without sin should be the person who threw the first stone.

As I read the Anti-Homosexuality Bill proposed in Uganda by MPs David Bahati and Benson Obua, I wonder if perhaps these gentlemen think Jesus should have picked up a stone. Instead, Jesus intervened on behalf of the woman, was He wrong? Clearly, He did not believe adultery was proper. But He signaled a new way of dealing with sin, one which emphasizes mercy and freedom, rather than coercion and death. People must choose to follow the teachings of Christ, not be coerced by Pharisees or government officials. The human heart cannot be changed by laws, but through the freely chosen grace of Christ.

Brothers and sisters, jailing or killing gays or those suspected of being gay or those who know gays cannot create a righteous people, and in fact may further a self-righteous people. One may disapprove of homosexuality, and still treat homosexuals as you would want to be treated. Who among us could stand if our private sins were judged in such a manner as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009?

I urge my brethren in beautiful Uganda to follow the example of Jesus. Please, for the sake of Christ, put down your stones.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

A Call for Christian Action in Uganda – A Time to Show the Love

Timothy Kincaid

October 28th, 2009

Dr. Warren Throckmorton has written an article for Crosswalk.com in which he asks Should American Christians Care about Gays in Uganda? Throckmorton explains the excesses in the new proposed anti-gay law (banning speech, imposing the death penalty, requiring suspected homosexuals to be reported) and makes a strong case for why American Christians should own responsibility for the law and take action to oppose it.

While there are many cultural forces which oppose homosexuality in Uganda, a dominant one currently is the evangelical church. Most recently, in March of this year, three Americans were recruited by the Uganda-based Family Life Network to speak at workshops on ways to change people from gay to straight. Two of the Americans, Caleb Brundidge and Scott Lively, spoke in favor of keeping homosexuality illegal but giving those convicted an option of therapy to cure them of their gayness. Both Brundidge and Lively spoke to the Ugandan parliament regarding their view that homosexuality is learned and curable. Their ideas took hold. The proposed bill bases the need for stronger regulation on the concept that “same sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic.”

Throckmorton also notes that the main evangelical cheerleader for this crackdown on civil liberties is Martin Ssempa, a darling of American evangelical leaders who is closely tied to Rick Warren and Saddleback Church. And, as we know, the government of Uganda has repeatedly listened to instruction and direction from American preachers.

Indeed, this latest anti-gay pogrom is directly tied to American evangelical Christian interference in the African nation. Throckmorton’s point is that because American evangelical Christians made this mess, they now must own it. And I agree.

But will Christians respond?

For years, those American Christians who espouse conservative theology in their social activism in opposition to civil equality for gay citizens have loudly proclaimed that such activism is not founded in hatred. Rather, they will assure you, they love you so very much that they are warning you away from the dangers and sinfulness of “the homosexual lifestyle”.

This argument is familiarized in the trite phrase, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

Though it might surprise some, I think it likely that most of those people who oppose your civil rights for religious reasons do not hate you. They don’t necessarily wish you ill. And if given a choice, they would prefer that you be happy, and healthy, and come to enjoy life (heterosexually, of course) as much as they do.

But I also believe that they don’t love you, either.

Rather, they do something worse than hate you; they don’t consider you – your life, your dreams, your loves, your hopes – at all. The extent to which their imposition of their faith system on your life will impact your ability to live freely never ever crosses their mind. Your health insurance, your immigration, your kids, your adoption, your hospital visitation, your inheritance rights, your military service, none of this enters the equation.

Not because they hate you, but because you don’t really matter to them at all. They don’t hate you; they’re just contemptuous of your existence or worth.

But, contrary to their assertions, they feel no love. It is impossible to love without caring about what the object of your love cares about. It is impossible to love without showing concern for injustice or unfairness. It is impossible to love without seeking to help those who are victims of oppression and attack.

I hope I am wrong. I hope that there is an abundance of love flowing from evangelical Christianity towards gay men and women.

And the situation in Uganda will tell us whether or not I am falsely accusing the Church. This situation provides us with a “put up or shut up” moment.

Should the Southern Baptist Convention and the Assemblies of God and Saddleback Church and all the other mega-churches stand up and speak out against this evil law, it will go far to show me that they feel love. Should conservative Republican Senators who ardently “defend marriage” against the threat of our relationships send a delegation to the African nation, I’ll consider that perhaps they do not base their policies on scapegoating of an unpopular minority. Should Maggie Gallagher and Peter LaBarbera and Laurie Higgins write stirring pieces about why Christians should oppose coercive laws, I may consider that their objection to my rights is not based in personal animus.

But should, as I suspect will be the case, Dr. Throckmorton be but one of a few voices willing to oppose evil – and this bill IS EVIL – then I will know what my heart will tell me the next time an opponent to fairness tells me that they love me.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Dr. Throckmorton Pleased with APA Report

Timothy Kincaid

August 5th, 2009

Dr. Warren Throckmorton was, at one time, a supporter of efforts to revise one’s sexual orientation. He even produced a video, I Do Exist, which presented the testimonies of some people who claimed to have changed their sexual orientation.

Since that time at least one testimonial came to understand his sexuality in a light different than was presented on the video. And, as time passed, so did Dr. Throckmorton.

I have witnessed an evolution in his thinking to where I now think it is now accurate to say that Dr. Throckmorton, though still religiously conservative and not inclined to find same-sex behavior to be pleasing to God, no longer believes that efforts to change the sexual attractions of same-sex attracted men are likely to be effective. He is particularly critical of “reparative therapy” – efforts to become heterosexual by “repairing” the damage done by a distant father and smothing mother – the pet theory of NARTH and others in the ex-gay movement.

Instead, Dr. Throckmorton is a proponant of Sexual Identity Therapy, a therapy that “seeks to aid people in conflict over sexual identity to integrate and live out a valued sexual identity.” Throckmorton seeks to support those whose religious beliefs and values are not consistent with accepting the identity, or sexual expression of a gay person – yet without trying to change them into an opposite-sex attracted person.

Throckmorton finds much within the APA Report to applaud. He praises the rigor, honesty, and nuance of the report along with the APA’s recognition that a client’s own religious can impact psychotherapy. Check out his response here.

Is Scott Lively’s “Pink Swastika” Kaput?

Jim Burroway

July 2nd, 2009

Not exactly. He’s made a career out of homophobia for nearly two decades now, but he now claims that he’s turning his attention to other matters:

With the June 17th publication of my final book on the homosexual issue, “Redeeming the Rainbow: A Christian Response to the ‘Gay’ Agenda,” I have completed 20 years of service as a front-lines opponent of the homosexual movement. “Redeeming the Rainbow,” which I have published as a free book in pdf format, encompasses all that I have learned through this long tour of duty and I believe there is little more that I could add on the issue.

As of now I am turning my attention to other interests and needs of the pro-family movement and will no longer be monitoring the day-to-day developments of the culture war regarding homosexuality as closely, nor posting stories about it to this site.

I somehow suspect that he’s not going very far. It’s only two paragraphs later when he reveals another update to his book, The Pink Swastika:

I have one last major project to complete on the homosexual issue, the publication of a 5th Edition of my book (co-authored with Jewish researcher Kevin E. Abrams) “The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party.” It will be published in a web-based, documentation-emphasized format. That project will begin soon and a link to it will be available on this page from the early stages, so that readers can follow its ongoing progress and make use of the facts and documentation in their own pro-family advocacy.

The Pink Swastika is Lively’s primary claim to fame. In it, he claims that Nazism was, at its core, a homosexual movement, and that the gay rights movement today is a barely-disguised update of Nazi ideology. He cites the Holocaust as but one example of the inevitable consequences of homosexuality gaining public prominence. His blatant historical revisionism has earned his Abiding Truth ministries a spot in one of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of twelve anti-gay hate groups.

So no, he’s not giving up his holocaust revisionism anytime soon. And since we will all get to see his “ongoing progress” with his online edition, I doubt he’ll leave it alone when he’s done.

Lively says he will continue to be available for conferences, seminars and the like, and I’m sure The Pink Swastika will continue to be the centerpiece of his talks. More recently, he took his Holocaust revisionism abroad with a three-day conference in Kampala, Uganda, where he peddled his wares alongside Exodus board member Don Schmierer. That conference called for the strengthening of Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law by adding the “option” of forced conversion therapy. Uganda’s law already provides for a life sentence. Lively’s book is now being used by Ugandan religious leaders to fuel an ongoing public campaign of vigilantism and police detentions and torture.

Meanwhile, Dr. Warren Throckmorton, an associate professor at the Christian-based Grove City College, has continued to add to his online series debunking The Pink Swastika. His latest installment is probably the most devastating, where Throckmorton catches Lively lying about his source information virtually red-handed. Throckmorton was joined in this endeavor by associate professor of history, Dr. Jon David Wyneken, whose Ph.D. is in modern German history with a focus on the period between 1933 and 1955. Together, they have undertaken a methodical exposé of Lively’s shoddy scholarship.

Throckmorton’s efforts seem to be having some effect. Leadership University, an online ministry affiliated with Campus Crusade for Christ, once proudly hosted a condensed outline of his Pink Swastika thesis. That article, “Homosexuality and the Nazi Party,” has recently been removed.

[Hat tip: Ex-gay Watch]

Scott Lively, Gays, and the Nazi Party

Jim Burroway

June 23rd, 2009

Anti-gay extremist and historical revisionist Scott Lively has been much in the news earlier this year when he participated in an anti-gay conference in Uganda alongside Exodus board president Don Schmierer. During his talk there, he quoted extensively from his book, The Pink Swastika, which posits that the Nazi movement was, at its core, a homosexual movement, and that the LGBT movement today is, in essence, a fascist movement. Despite the historical record to the contrary, Lively blames gays for the rise of Nazism and for the Holocaust itself, and claims that “the connection between homosexualism and fascism is not incidental.”

Photo by David Albers/Naples Daily News

Photo by David Albers/Naples Daily News

This claim might come as a surprise to the many participants of Springfield, Missouri’s recent PrideFest, which was targeted for protestby members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement. That claim would also come as quite a surprise for Naples, Florida resident and PFLAG member Ruth Dorfman, who found swastikas painted on her garage door after an article she wrote appeared in the local paper about a PFLAG event.

Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton has undertaken a remarkable series of posts which methodically dissects The Pink Swastikaand looks at the historical distortions behind it. Many LGBT people might find Throckmorton’s work in this area a pleasant surprise. As a conservative Christian psychologist, Throckmorton has supported the right of counselors and ministries to offer ex-gay therapies. Earlier in the decade, Throckmorton worked with PFOX in their efforts to oppose sex education curriculum in a suburban Washington, D.C. which was friendly to gay students, and he produced the video I Do Exist which promoted ex-gay therapy.

In recent years, he has moved away from those activities without disavowing them explicitly, although he has since become a harsh critic of PFOX and its founder, Richard Cohen. He has also become a critic of anti-gay groups like the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) when they distort the scientific record. And he criticized Exodus over their board member’s participation in the Uganda anti-gay conference.

Throckmorton’s series of posts examining The Pink Swastika, as I said, are quite remarkable and thorough. For two of those posts, he brought in Jon David Wyneken, Associate History Professor at Grove City College, who described several instances of blatant distortion of the source material Lively and his co-author, Kevin Abrams, used in their book. In his latest post, Throckmorton examine Lively and Abrams’ linkage between Friedrich Nietzsche and Nazism and finds it lacking. He promises to offer a similar examination of other historical figures in future posts.

Throckmorton hasn’t been content to publish this material on his web site and leave it there. He has also written articles on the subject for Opposing Views and the conservative Christian Post, bringing his important work before a wider audience. Scott Lively, whose Abiding Truth Ministries is on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-gay hate groups, was annoyed to discover one of those posts on one of his “favorite Christian websites” and decided it could only mean one thing: Throckmorton has gone to the ‘dark side’.”

Here is Throckmorton’s complete coverage of Lively’s work so far:

May 28: Scott Lively Wants Off SPLC Hate Group List
May 31: Eliminating Homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany
June 3: Before The Pink Swastika
June 4: Kevin Abrams: The Other Side of The Pink Swastika
June 8: A Historian’s Analysis of The Pink Swastika, Part 1
June 9: A Historian’s Analysis of The Pink Swastika, Part 2
June 11: American Nazi Movement and Homosexuality: How Pink Is Their Swastika?
June 15: Nazi Movement Rallies Against Gays In Springfield, MO
June 17: Does Homosexuality Lead To Fascism?
June 23: The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche
June 29: The Pink Swastika and The Hidden Holocaust?
July 6: The Pink Swastika and Hate 2 Hope

Researchers Denounce Focus On the Family’s Linkage of Childhood Sexual Abuse and Male Homosexuality

Jim Burroway

June 12th, 2009

Focus On the Family is preparing to have their Love Won Out roadshow make its stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan this weekend. One of the principle arguments they are likely to spring on unsuspecting parents (if past history is any guide) is Melissa Fryrear’s assertion that she has never met a gay person who hadn’t been sexually abused, while drawing the insistent link that this abuse somehow is a major cause of homosexuality. (We saw Pat Robertson mine this same material earlier this week.) This damaging and abusive  claim — imagine the horror of parents of gay kids in that audience who will hear her say that — has been a very steady theme in Love Won Out’s arsenal.

To bolster that claim, Focus On the Family recently issued one of their “reports” by Jeff Johnston, who is touted as the “gender issues analyst” at Focus On the Family (his degree and qualifications are never mentioned). That report, “Childhood Sexual Abuse and Male Homosexuality,” is further intended to reinforce the claim that most gay men have experienced some form of sexual abuse in their childhoods, and that this is the reason they became gay. To back up his claims, he cites the book, Unequal Opportunity: Health Disparities Affecting Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States, edited by Richard J. Wolitsk, Ron Stall and Ronald O. Valdiserri. That book contains a large number of research papers on various topics related to men’s health, including child sexual abuse. Johnston claims:

In a chapter titled, “Childhood Sexual Abuse Experienced by Gay and Bisexual Men: Understanding the Disparities and Interventions to Help Eliminate Them,” from the book Unequal Opportunity, researchers analyze and report on data from 17 different studies from the past 15 years. They find the rates of childhood sexual abuse (which they abbreviate as CSA) for men who have sex with men range from 11.8% to 37.0%, and note that “the best-designed studies tend to converge on CSA prevalence of 15% to 25%.”

The authors in Unequal Opportunity are reluctant to say that childhood sexual abuse is one of the factors that leads to or contributes to the development of homosexuality, but they do speculate,

The fact that most childhood abusers of MSM were males suggests either an etiological link between CSA and adult sexual orientation, or the existence of childhood characteristics that are related to adult sexual orientation in men that increase vulnerability, or both.”

And later, they say that these early sexual experiences “can be considered a form of sexual learning, even if that learning is involuntary and the results dysfunctional.” They continue, “Sexual orientation and gender identity can be particularly confusing for men who experienced arousal during the abuse, and MSM who experienced abuse may continue to be aroused by circumstances that mirror the abusive situation.

Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton contacted Ron Stall and Ron Valdiserri and asked them to comment on the Focus On the Family report. They responded with a statement condemning the report as “inaccurate and, in our opinion, a distortion of the scientific literature.” They go on:

Most basically, the Focus on the Family characterization of the literature on childhood sexual abuse among gay men represents a misunderstanding of scientific approaches to distinguishing between correlation and causation. The book chapter in question reports that gay men are more likely to report childhood sexual abuse by men than are heterosexual men. This correlation does not mean that the reported abuse caused the adult sexual orientation. If that were the case, then the fact that some heterosexual men report sexual abuse by women means that sexual abuse by women “causes” heterosexuality in men. It is also worth noting that the argument that childhood sexual abuse causes homosexuality in gay men is undermined by the fact that the vast majority of gay men are not sexually abused as children.

…[W]e want to state clearly that the published research does not support the claim that the development of a homosexual orientation is caused by childhood sexual abuse. Furthermore, adult homosexual orientation is no longer considered a pathology or a maladjustment. We urge those who are interested in trying to better understand some of these complex issues from a scientific perspective to read the discussions in our book, as well as the scientific literature on childhood sexual abuse, and not rely on second-hand interpretations.

You can see Stall and Valdiserri’s full statement at Dr. Throckmorton’s web site.

Update: What kind of qualifications does it take to be a “gender issues analyst” at Focus On the Family? Well in Jeff Johnston’s case, all you have to be is an English major! (PDF: 168 KB/1 page) He has also served on the board of directors of Exodus International and PFOX.

Scott Lively and Alan Chambers Respond to Questions About Uganda Conference

Timothy Kincaid

March 13th, 2009

Dr. Warren Throckmorton contacted Scott Lively about the coverage of the Uganda conference in which he endorsed criminalization of homosexuality. Here is his response:

I did promote therapy as an option to imprisonment, citing my own experience benefiting from optional therapy after an arrest for drunk driving many years ago. In fact, it was during that period I accepted Christ and was spontaneously healed of alcoholism and drug addiction.

I don’t think under the circumstances homosexuality should be decriminalized in Uganda since it seems to be the only thing stopping the international “gay” juggernaut from turning Uganda into another Brazil.

He also posts the full Exodus International response.

Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, responded to reports about an Exodus board member’s participation at a conference in Uganda on homosexuality:

“Unfortunately, Uganda as a country has demonstrated severe hostility towards homosexuals supporting criminalization of homosexual behavior and proposing compulsory therapy – positions that Exodus International unequivocally denounces. It is our sincere desire to offer an alternative message that encompasses a compassionate, biblical view of homosexuality not just here in America, but around the world. We applaud our board member’s attempt to convey these truths to a country in need.”

I don’t trust myself to respond just yet other than to say that it would seem that Alan doesn’t know the meaning of the word “unequivocally”.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Exodus Applauds Schmierer’s Part in Uganda Conference

Timothy Kincaid

March 13th, 2009

The Christian Post has an article today in which Warren Throckmorton was critical of the carelessness with which ex-gay ministries approached the conference in Uganda:

“It is illegal to be homosexual in Uganda. There’s also a category of homosexuality (act) that has a potential for life imprisonment,” said Throckmorton to The Christian Post on Wednesday. “How often it is enforced is not clear.”

“I think it’s inappropriate to try to transplant American concepts of ex-gay ministry into an environment where you can’t even go in and open yourself up to that kind of disclosure without some kind of risk,” he said.

But Alan Chambers, President of Exodus, was not apologetic.

In response, Exodus International said it applauds its board member Don Schmierer, who attended the Uganda conference, for his effort to convey an “alternative message that encompasses a compassionate, biblical view of homosexuality,” according to a statement by Exodus International president Alan Chambers to The Christian Post on Wednesday.

Exodus says neither Schmierer nor the ministry agrees or endorses Uganda’s criminalization of homosexuality law, imprisonment of homosexuals or compulsory therapy. Rather, the ministry says it “unequivocally denounces” the positions the government of Uganda has towards homosexuality.

We do not yet have the full text of the statement. But to be perfectly honest, my stomach turned when I read this.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Warren Throckmorton Speaks Out Against Uganda Conference

Jim Burroway

March 5th, 2009

The very same Ugandan online portal which broke the story about the three American anti-gay activists speaking at an anti-gay conference in Kampala has an update featuring comments by American psychologist Warren Throckmorton.

The Uganda Pulse web site originally broke the story on February 22, in an article which was little more than a press release by Stephen Langa of the Kampala-based Family Life Network. That article revealed that Nazi revisionist and Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation will be conducting a seminar on homosexuality in Kampala beginning tomorrow today. Throckmorton’s response appeared in the same online portal today, in an article whose title appears to identify Throckmorton as a gay activist:

…Throckmorton says that he believes it is a big mistake for these US people to go to Uganda and discuss prevention of homosexuality when they are not scientists and have no training to discuss these matters in a reliable or factual manner. He says people who are involved are not qualified to speak about the causes or change of homosexuality.

“None of them have any research on the topic or scientific qualifications to understand the research on the subject. They will be spreading old ideas about homosexuality which even Christian psychologists in the US and Europe have dismissed as without support,” he says.

He says that one of the presenters has a significant problem with credibility. “Caleb Brundidge is affiliated with Extreme Prophetic here in the US. He leads groups to mortuaries to attempt to raise the dead! He believes God drops jewels and gold dust on worshippers but refuses to gain verification of these claims. He also claims he was gay and changed. Given his other claims, it is difficult to take any of his claims seriously.

I also believe it is dangerous for those who might struggle to admit their struggle in Uganda when it might land them in trouble with the authorities,” he says in a commentary sent to our reporter after we broke the story of the Conference.

“Mr. Schmierer is a board member for Exodus International and he should not be promoting questionable theories of prevention in a country where just admitting being gay can lead to serious consequences,” he adds.

In 2004, Dr. Throckmorton produced the ex-gay video “I Do Exist,” which came about as an outgrowth of his association with PFOX. Since then, he has become increasingly critical of PFOX, NARTH and Exodus, and he has spoken against the particular form of ex-gay therapy known as “Reparative Therapy.” He continues to support “sexual identity therapy” for those who request it, and he supports the right of providers to counsel their clients to “find congruence between religious beliefs and sexual feelings.” Last year, Noé Gutierrez, the star of “I Do Exist,” denounced the ex-gay movement, and said he now considered himself gay and Christian. “I Do Exist” is still available, Throckmorton says, on a limited basis.

You can read more about Throckmorton’s criticisms of the Kampala conference here and here.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Linda Harvey’s Dishonesty about the Day of Silence

Timothy Kincaid

May 22nd, 2008

some-woman.JPGLinda Harvey is one of the most extreme anti-gays. Her writings reveal a woman with little regard for fact or constitutional protections.

  • She claims that “Child molestation is an everyday occurrence because of the increased access homosexuals have to our children” and advocates banning gay people from teaching (a position so radical that Ronald Reagan opposed it in 1978).
  • She claims that the vast majority of gay people are only employed sporadically due to their instability.
  • She believes that HIV is “almost exclusively a homosexual male and drug addict epidemic” and advocates that “gay social establishments should close until HIV rates are seriously reduced”.
  • She claims that for a Pastor to believe that gay persons can be Christian “is deliberate rebellion against God’s word and His created order of male/female genders and marriage.”

In short, Linda is a woman driven by her objection to anything gay and she’ll not hesitate to say anything to advance her goal of changing America into a nation that conforms to her religious ideals. Honesty, integrity, empathy, or the Golden Rule seem not to be particularly important to this quest.

Linda through her organization Mission:America was a leader in the anti-gay opposition to the Day of Silence. Linda compiled and distributed a list of grievances which sought to portray the Day of Silence as an aggressive act against Christians. Some of these listed abuses seem almost impossible to believe.

In fact, they were so extreme that Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a conservative psychology professor with interest in sexual orientation issues, decided to check up on a few of Linda’s stories. Not surprisingly, what he found did not square with what Linda said.

For example, Linda said

Kirksville, Mo.: A parent reported that the Kirksville High School principal and superintendent laughed when she asked if her child could be excused from participating in the school’s Day of Silence. According to Mission America, she said, “They called me a narrow-minded bigot and refused to give excused absences.”

Dr. Throckmorton did not find that to be confirmed.

Curious, I called the Kirksville High School Superintendent of schools, Pat Williams about the allegation of name-calling. When I read the account to him, he said, “That’s absolutely false. I did not use that language with any parent or in response to any inquiry.”

Throckmorton also spoke with the principal of the school and found that while absences were not excused, the school also allowed the Day of Truth and did not allow either event to disrupt the teaching process.

I emailed Linda Harvey at Mission America to see if I could interview the parent involved but she declined to provide more information or contact the person who made the allegation. The Kirksville administrators were not aware of any allegations surrounding the Day of Silence until I called. In my opinion, the the information provided by Mr. Williams and Mr. Michael and the fact that the school district also allowed the Day of Truth detract from the credibility of the anonymous allegation.

Throckmorton also found out that claims Harvey made about an event in Mesa, AZ, were materially different from police reports. He concludes

And those were just the first two bulletpoints. I guess you can’t believe everything you read.

Dr. Throckmorton and I differ strongly about the appropriate theological, social, and legal responses to persons who are same-sex attracted. But we agree that dishonesty should never be a tool used in the debate over social policy about homosexuality.

Sadly, too many anti-gays (and too many pro-gays) are willing to make any claim that advances their cause. And for what? Ultimately the truth comes out and then what has one gained in exchange for their integrity?

If conservative Christians worried about their religious freedoms want to have their concerns taken seriously, they need to rid their movement of liars, extremist, and haters. Then perhaps we can find common ground where the rights of all can be respected.

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