The National Association for the Research and Treatment of Homosexuality (with its sinister sounding acronym NARTH), purports to provide a secular and scientific approach to their work. They offer reparative therapy–those pesky treatment plans with high hopes and false claims to straighten out the gays (which never seem to work all that well and most often cause more harm than good.)
More and more we see people like Joseph Nicolosi, who had been long-time president of NARTH, and also Warren Throckmorton, who has criticized NARTH in order to make way for his own version of reparative therapy by another name, trying to influence credible scientific organizations like the American Psychiatric Association into acknowledging some form of the degaying process.
But under the psycho-babble we see all the same ole religiously fueled anti-LGBT rhetoric.
In a recent Christianity Today article, Warren Throckmorton waded into the gender waters by discounting the transgender experience. Where did he look for his authority? Not science, but the word of God (or at least select portions while overlooking whole Biblical accounts that actually affirm trans folks).
Throckmorton, past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association, says he has advised transgendered people who are in absolute agony over their state.
Typically, such individuals are desperately in search of hope and acceptance, he says. It may be uncomfortable to tell transgendered individuals that their desires don’t align with the Bible, Throckmorton says, but pastors must do so. “Even if science does determine differentiation in the brain at birth,” Throckmorton says, “even if there are prenatal influences, we can’t set aside teachings of the Bible because of research findings.”
Warren Throckmorton has suggested that his words were misrepresented by CT, but he didn’t do too much to correct the flawed logic by referring to another article where he sought to give a straight answer to the trans question,
While transgender children can only be assessed on a case-by-case basis, Throckmorton recommends seeking not only medical or psychological specialists, but also theological ones. And even if it may seem impossible to draw one resolution when bringing all three opinions together, Throckmorton advises parents to try to find some common ground.
“What an evangelical Christian basically wants to do is order his entire life around his faith,” he said. “You can’t make decisions unless … the circumstance you’re in is evaluated from a theological point of view.”
Hmm, looks like he may need to adjust his gender lenses before he reads the good book. I mean from a theological point of view, the transgender folks turn out to be some of the most vital players in the most important Bible stories. (See Transfigurations—Transgressing Gender in the Bible)
The other day after my presentation at the University of Rochester, a student gave me an anti-gay book someone at his Greek Orthodox Church passed onto him in order to help him with “his issues”. Father Thomas Hopko’s Christian Faith and Same-Sex Attraction covers the same ground that many of us have heard reheated over and over in ex-gay ministries throughout the years, but it also comes with a glowing endorsement from NARTH’s own Joseph Nicolosi, PhD, then president of NARTH International and a regular with the Exodus International Speakers Bureau.
Fr. Hopko explains why ‘gay’ can never be ‘who a person is’ in the deepest sense. Human nature was created good. Sexual union is meant to be complementary, unitive, life-creating, and life-enhancing. The corruption of this fallen world, however, causes us to misdirect our sexual energies into channels the Creator never intended. Same-sex eroticism is one of many expressions of our deformed humanity.
This book is full of sage advice to Christians struggling with homosexuality, advising men and women to seek wise counsel from a same-sex mentor, and–against almost all the advice of today’s popular culture–inspiring them to a holy asceticism for the sake of virtue.”
Misdirect our sexual energies? Deformed humanity? Corruption of this fallen world? Feels like aclassic religious bitch-slap to me with a little pseudo-science gut punch chaser.
So much religion and so little truth.