In Brief: Exodus And the ‘30 Orientations’ Lie
Recently, the addition of “actual or percieved” sexual orientation and gender identity to the federal law concerning hate crimes has come much closer to reality. Attempting to stir fear, many anti-gay groups claim that the term “sexual orientation” will be defined to include pedophiles and necrophiliacs, because the American Psychiatric Association defines such conditions – 30 in total – as sexual orientations. Exodus International’s website, in fact, attaches (historical screen capture) a pop-up to the word “orientation” any time it appears in one of their articles and tells us exactly that.
But there’s one catch: the APA doesn‘t recognize 30 sexual orientations. “Sexual Orientation” as defined by the APA refers only to homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals, and asexuals – people who are attracted to either nobody or another person of appropriate age. The other “orientations,” such as necrophilia and pedophilia, are actually defined by the APA as “paraphilias.” Whereas the former is “an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional attraction toward others,” the latter involves “recurrent, intense sexual urges, fantasies, or behaviors that involve unusual objects, activities, or situations and cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”
For an organization that takes the word of the APA so seriously, curiously absent from Exodus’s website is the fact that the APA “opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon a prior assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.” And, of course, since Exodus claims they are a Christian group, the ninth commandment immediately comes to mind.
UPDATE 5/13/09: Exodus has silently changed the definition of “orientation” on their website [screen capture]. They have not acknowledged that their previous definition was an outright lie, nor apologized for their error.
Their entire organization is based around a violation of the 9th Commandment. There is no convincing evidence that anyone can change their sexual orientation, yet it is the holy grail of this group.
Before anyone starts saying that they are backing away from painting themselves as a group that turns gays straight, Chambers and others are still parading their wife and kids out as if it were a merit badge. It is still the carrot that they use to attract people to their conferences and pull them into the seriously dysfunctional world of the ex-gay lifestyle.
Michael Brown, who has been a speaker at the last few Love Won Out conferences, made similar deceptive remarks about paraphilias. He likes to toss out coprophilia, making certain to spell out what that means; the sexual stimulation by feces. It’s rather obvious what he, and Exodus, are doing with this.
Hmm. Now that you have called out Michael Brown, I wonder how long it will be before he or one of his minions arrives to defend him. We could be in for a comment explosion full of red herrings, half truths and other general distractions.
Gee…. I thought it was the 8th commandment that they all violate. But then I come out of the Roman Catholic tradition.
You are correct! The lying represents a violation of the 8th commandment.
Ironically, I would guess it darn near impossible for Exodus leaders (Alan, Randy and any other male leader) to violate the 9th commandment. One would need to be at least remotely attracted to women, in order to covet a neighbor’s wife. That one should just be listed as not applicable to these guys. In fact, as it has been traditionally worded, Alan could covet men left and right but not quite run afoul until the covet moved on to adultery. Don’t you just love technicalities.
Religious traditions vary in how they divide up the ten commandments. The commandment against lying is ninth in some numberings and eight in others.
Wikiipedia has a nice breakdown of the differences by tradition:
Wow, this is like a debating team without a gig, lol. Thought you were safe using the 9th commandment, didn’t you Emily 🙂
For every major faith except Catholic (and the derivative Lutheran), “Bearing false witness” would be the 9th commandment. Certainly this would be the case for Exodus, which is overwhelmingly a Protestant concern.
More to the intent of the post, Timothy K. at BTB has written that the Illinois Family Institute (IFI), who had also claimed the paraphilia nonsense, has corrected their copy. I’m less than enthusiastic on this one, since the IFI appears to be on a mission to prove the SPLC wrong in it’s claim that they are a hate group. They are doing this (so far) by tweaking externals, sometimes clandestinely, instead of making any real change to the way they operate. IOW, in this case, being accurate intersected with self-preservation.
I’m glad the verbiage is down, but I can’t really praise them for doing so. It’s a little like Alan Chambers saying that Exodus will remove itself from policy issues or that they do not emphasize change. The must say these things on the outside to placate member ministries which grow leery of this emphasis, yet they can’t actually make those changes without changing what Exodus is. They have been unwilling to take such a substantive step.
I figured there was a chance people might squabble over the number commandment so i just picked the one that applied to me, the 9th. It also works for Exodus (Protestant.) In any case, the Wiki article does a good job showing the differences.
I noticed that about the IFI. Exodus has had this particular definition up for a while. I noticed it more than a year ago, in fact I think 2 years ago. It probably serves two purposes: 1) to “discredit” the need for believing the secular APA, and 2) the veneer of having science on their side. But chances are, people would look at it, notice heterosexuality is lumped together with pedophilia, and think, “The APA must be out of their minds. no wonder i shouldn’t believe them about homsoexuality.”
Which ten commandments would that be?
Just so we are clear, everyone does know that this post was about the misuse of psychological terminology to manipulate views and not a comparative study of OT theology, correct?
Or maybe John cursed the thread by invoking the name of Brown — the latter is commenting by proxy, lol.
Sorry…. I didn’t mean to initiate a squabble over the numbering of the commandments. I just wanted to post a little something so I could get the rest of the comments.
I did not know what to say except that it seems that the various anti-gay groups (including Exodus here) got together (or played off the AFA) and decided to elucidate this lie as much as they could. I would say such collusion – if it happened – to be as much of a fault as the lie itself.
But OT theology is such fun! (That would be “Hebrew Scriptures” by rights. Some Christians and, I imagine, many Jews, prefer to avoid the term “Old Testament”: it suggests a value judgement with which they may not agree.)
David, your link to BTB is broken. I had a quick look at their site, and couldn’t immediately find the article you intended to link to.
Well Obviously the APA wouldn’t recognize necrophilia and pedophilia as sexual orientations mainly because the definition of a paraphilia is something that is caused by the environment around them. Sexual orientation is determined by genetics or a chemical imbalance in the fetal state.
Thanks TRiG, it the link should work now.
“Sexual orientation is determined by genetics or a chemical imbalance in the fetal state.”
And how, pray tell, was this knowledge vouchsafed to you while being withheld from psychologists?
It would be more accurate to recognize that there is definite evidence for a genetic factor, and growing evidence for a prenatal influence. Anyone who claims that this or that absolutely leads to homosexual orientation is, for whatever reason, not speaking truthfully. It does seem to be less and less likely that the relationship with mommy and daddy has much to do with it, but there simply is not enough data to say exactly what does.
That said, TRiG please try to lower the snark factor. Your response to Alex’s statement was pretty rude and that’s not helpful.
If it be accepted (even if only tentatively or purely for the sake of argument) that chemical factors in the womb may determine sexual orientation, I still see no logical justification for referring to the hypothetical combination of hormone levels (or whatever) that causes homosexuality as an imbalance.
I don’t think I was rude here. Robust, perhaps, but not truly rude. And what should the response be to those pretending to know things they cannot possibly know? I steered clear of outright ridicule, though it would have been, I believe, justifiable.
Also very important to note: while no one has found a gay gene, no one has found a straight gene, either. While no one has found the precise set of circumstances that causes a person to be gay or bi, no one has found a precise set of circumstances that causes one tro be straight, either.
In other words, to assume that one set of data requires an explanation but that another set of data does not require an explanation is not science.
Exodus apparently plagiarized Ex-Gay Watch:
They replaced their definition of orientation with yours, but gave you no credit and admitted no wrongdoing.
Actually, it looks like they used the APA’s definition of sexual orientation:
That definition is probably about as official as you can get.
But as usual, nothing to indicate that they were in error so people who actually use them as a resource would know of the change. At least we know they still read us, despite protestations to the contrary.
It is amazing how fast they can respond when it suits them, isn’t it?
I wonder why Exodus is making the change now. They have known that they were lying for a long time now, and honesty has never been their strong suit.
Once again: does it surprose anyone that conservative Christians will resort to any lie in order to bash gays and tht Exodus is willing to spread any hateful slnder they can dig up?
Those people have no dignity or character.
Boris, it is our purpose to inform, not necessarily surprise or shock, though the latter can certainly be a result of the former. At the same time, not all conservative Christians “will resort to any lie in order to bash gays.” And certainly many people so described have dignity and character. Let’s keep our perspective here, if for no other reason than to preserve the value of our own positions.
where’d everybody go?
I think everyone became ex-gay.
Do we need to watch them?
No. Ex-gay activists can be trusted now. All of them.
Well, finally. I guess we didn’t realize how persecuted they were and we are now getting the picture.
Ex-gays are the ONLY persecuted group on the planet.
Ex-gays are also the only TRUE sexual orientation.
We must be the only non-ex-gays remaining. Clearly we’ve been LEFT BEHIND.
It is true, William: God loves ex-gays — and nobody else. Love truly won out.
Is it just me, or does it feel like we are in an empty banquet hall after everyone else has gone home. I realize this doesn’t relate to the post so, we are in an empty banquet hall discussing the fact that there are NOT 30 different sexual orientations. (Just keeping on track, David) 😉
– THOMAS MOORE, The Light of other Days
Are we allowed to go onstage and play with sound system? I could give you my rendition of “Bad Girls” (although Donna Summer does not need to feel threatened by me).
Just don’t touch my sequined suit.