Friday, December 08, 2006

Is this the new approach to ministry for LGBT people

A couple of articles via the Dignity Yahoo group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dignity-l/

First up we have this article on the American Bishop's recent letter (document) on the pastoral care of LGBT folks:

http://zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=99563

The article has an interview with a Father John Harvey from Courage, one of the ministries mentioned favorably in the Bishop's letter.

Father Harvey makes the following interesting statements:

"From all the psychological studies of homosexuality, there is no scientific evidence that you are born with the homosexual tendency. There is no evidence. In the future it might be that someone proves scientifically that some people are born as homosexuals, I doubt such would happen, but it might happen.

In the present state of scientific knowledge, however, this is no evidence that homosexuality is a condition, that it is passed down through a particular homosexual gene or is caused by a certain hormone. From what we know today, the main factors leading to a homosexual tendency all have to do with environment: family environment, school environment, adolescent environment.
"

This is only partly correct in the sense that there is no gene "for homosexuality". But homosexuality is clearly tied both to genetics and environment. The most recent literature on this complex topic is here:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/dispomim.cgi?id=306995

Next what we gays supposed to make of this statement:

" Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), in Encino, California, says it best when he says that there are no homosexuals, just heterosexuals with a homosexual tendency. "

Ah so if there is a problem...just define it away. Sounds like a great strategy but lets see how well it works here:

"There are no religious people just atheists with a religious tendency."

"There are no Protestants, just Catholics with a Protestant tendency"

Why is this logic correct for gays but wrong in my other two examples?

By the way here is more on Dr. Nicolosi and his travails:
http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=77223

Note that one of the therapies suggested by a NARTH associate for transgendered children presented by a NARTH associate is:

"that gender variant children should be sent to school in opposite-sex clothing so they can be "ridiculed" into conforming."

To be fair it doesn't look like this is a position of NARTH as a whole, for instance:
http://www.narth.com/docs/hope.html.

"Educators also have a duty to stop teasing and ridicule of children who do not conform to gender norms. Resources to educate teachers, lesson plans, and strategies for dealing with teasing need to be created and provided to teachers in Catholic schools, CCD programs, and other institutions."

More details on Berger's alleged advocacy of teasing and ridicule is at:
http://www.exgaywatch.com/blog/archives/2006/08/narth_scientifi.html

Ex gay watch noes that Berger's comments have been quietly removed from the NARTH website.

Unfortunately the rest of this document, which I have blogged on before, is full of errors and half truths about the nature of homosexuality and transgenderism, couched as such documents often are, with innocent sounding rhetoric.

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