In yesterday’s Exodus commentary on reparative therapy, spokesman Randy Thomas appears unwilling to read or accurately summarize the literature that he cites — so he issues strawman arguments about homosexuals and the media instead.
World-renowned researcher Dr. Robert L. Spitzer states that change in sexual orientation is possible.
While respected as much as anyone, Dr. Spitzer is not quite world-renowned, and his research states that change is practical in only a small minority of gay individuals.
1) Respected Doctor featured in Archives of Sexual Behavior saying that some Gay Men and Lesbians can change their sexual orientation.
There are two articles of particular interest. Neither are available on the web but your local University Library and most public libraries will have this Journal.
The following two articles can be found in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32, No. 5, October 2003:
Can Some Gay Men and Lesbians Change Their Sexual Orientation? 200 Participants Reporting a Change from Homosexual to Heterosexual Orientation – Robert L. Spitzer, M.D. pp. 403-417
Reply: Study Results Should Not be Dismissed and Justify Further Research on the Efficacy of Sexual Reorientation Therapy pp. 469-472
Mr. Thomas goes on to explain how he and Exodus executive director Alan Chambers participated in Dr. Spitzer’s study — and Mr. Thomas acknowledges forming his answers to study questions with the intent of promoting his interpretation of “the righteousness of Christ.” Mr. Thomas also insults “secular therapists,” implying that they are less religious or “nice” than Exodus.
When I learned that the very doctor who had removed homosexuality from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) list of disorders wanted to research those of us living beyond homosexuality it was one of those uh-oh moments. I thought Is this a set up? Or is this a fair interview? As with all interviews, those of us that participated in the Spitzer study sought to honor the Lord by being completely honest. He only calls us to give an account; we are not responsible for what is done with our testimony by other people.
So what is a nice faith based ministry like us doing hanging out with secular therapists? We were giving testimony to the righteousness of Christ of course. Exodus believes that Jesus is the answer in and of Himself. God has been setting people free for thousands of years before professional counseling associations ever existed. Appropriate reparative therapy is a wonderful tool that God uses for many to really come to grips with core identity, relational and sexual issues. As long as it is submitted to the Authority of Christ and His word, it can be a very liberating catalyst in a person’s life. If the authority of scripture is undermined or a counseling approach is unbiblical then Exodus does not support its implementation.
In the last sentence, Mr. Thomas plainly states that Exodus does not support established counseling approaches — even honest, scientifically valid, and healthy ones — because they do not conform to Exodus’ interpretation of the Bible.
Mr. Thomas then resorts to a bit of strawman argumentation:
Unlike what the media and gay activism would want you to believe, orientation shift is not *the* goal of Exodus. Jesus Christ Himself is the goal worth pursuing; loving and Serving Him is it’s own reward. We do believe that orientation shift or complete orientation change can happen as a by-product of pursuing holiness but is not in and of itself the only barometer of success.
The media express no specific belief about ex-gays, and gay activists express a variety of different beliefs about what Exodus stands for. This is largely due to Exodus’ own confusing and self-contradictory communications about “choice.” It is also due to Exodus’ work with non-Christian antigay groups and its adoption of non-Christian tactics in coercing homosexuals to change — even when those homosexuals are already Christian.
Exodus fails to follow through logically on its admission that “some” homosexuals can change. If many cannot, then there is all the more reason for Exodus to stop promoting discrimination and excommunication of gays from society and church.
Mr. Thomas goes on to promote Southern Baptist-American Family Association involvement in Marriage Protection Week.
Mr. Thomas misinterprets Ephesians 5:25-27 and presumes to redefine marriage using the language of feminism and the sexual revolution:
The Lord compares His relationship with the Church with endearing terms of marriage many times throughout the scriptures. This blessed union of one man and one woman is the only affirmed matrimony of two people written about in the Bible because this covenant represents the heart of God uniquely. No other union (homosexual, polygamy, “emotional” monogamy) reflects God’s heart toward His church. Healthy earthly marriage is a foretaste and symbol of divine communion.
Jesus accepts, understands and meets us where we are while also working to liberate us into the glorious creation He knows and will know intimately. That is why we as married and single people should look to preserve the witness of biblical matrimony in our culture. When it is healthy and submitted to the Holy Spirit, heterosexual marriage has no equal.
The fact that Exodus does not see the influence of feminism (gender equality) or the sex-affirming language of the 1960s in its own rhetoric is a matter of concern, given Mr. Chambers’ periodic rants against both.
To be fair, Mr. Thomas acknowledges:
“On the same hand the moment public policy on marriage only becomes a personal battle with gays and lesbians instead of a faith based celebration over God’s creative intent we have missed His heart. … We challenge our readers to consider that protecting marriage is not just about the gay agenda.
Unfortunately Mr. Thomas then reverts to a defense of Marriage Protection Week and statements by Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention.
But the week is exactly what Mr. Thomas had criticized: It is not a celebration of marriage, but rather an effort by often-divorced, often-childless conservatives to use the U.S. Constitution to scapegoat gays; to obscure marital values such as fidelity, intimacy, and responsibility; and to deny gay employees the same workplace benefits enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts.