Dr. James HolsingerPFOX is back, this time speaking in defense of Surgeon General nominee Dr. James Holsinger. According to the group’s press release, “Gay rights groups are attacking Dr. James Hoslinger’s [sic] nomination because his church is inclusive of ex-gays and he supports the right to self-determination regarding one’s sexual attraction.”

Alan Chambers has joined PFOX on the bandwagon as well. Although Chambers declared himself neutral on the subject of Holsinger’s nomination (PFOX also stopped short of endorsing him), he, too, resorted to playing the “victim card,” declaring, “As a society, we should not disqualify an individual simply because of his belief that those conflicted by their same-sex attraction can and should be helped.”

There was a time, not long ago, when politically conservative individuals would have denounced anyone who played the victim card for using emotionally manipulative tactics in place of rational debate. Those days, apparently, are long gone – not that it comes as a particular surprise to most when a member of the religious right seeks to bypass rational debate.

In this case, however, the victim card isn’t even well played.

Opposition to Dr. Holsinger’s nomination has nothing to do with a desire on the part of any group to “deny the right of any individual to seek support in resolving unwanted same-sex attractions,” as PFOX spokesperson Regina Griggs claims in their press release. Of far greater concern is the question of whether Dr. Holsinger would respect the right of LGBT individuals to self-determination in spite of his personal beliefs. Given his selective and misleading use of scientific data to influence the policies of the United Methodist Church against inclusion of gays and lesbians, that is a very legitimate concern.

Although PFOX and Exodus both play the victim card as a standard tactic in their political lobbying, they have yet to provide any evidence that the rights of ex-gays to pursue reorientation and a heterosexual lifestyle are in any danger of being infringed upon – at least in any way that the general public would define the right to self-determination.

Given their history of playing games with the meanings of other seemingly straightforward terms (“change,” “totally heterosexual,” etc.), however, it may well be that they are doing the same here. Perhaps, in ex-gay-speak, the “right to self-determination” that they seek to protect is the “right” of political ex-gays to live in a country that denies even the most basic legal protections to LGBT individuals. Under that definition one can see how Chambers and Griggs might indeed see themselves as victims.

Hat tip: Good As You

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