Monday, August 08, 2005

"Ex-Gays" in the MCPS Curriculum? (Maybe Not)

David Fishback was the last chair of the citizens advisory committee working with the Montgomery County Board of Education to review and develop the sex education curriculum. He sent us this discussion this morning, and agreed to let us blog it:
The curious statement last month to the BOE by PFOX President Richard Cohen that it is "OK" to be gay led me to review my notes from the meetings of the Citizens Advisory Committee. Had I somehow missed this PFOX perspective in all the materials that PFOX and its supporters submitted to the CAC?

In the Winter of 2004, the PFOX representative on the Committee offered to bring Warren Throckmorton of Grove City College to speak on reparative therapy. Throckmorton's article entitled "What Is Reparative Therapy?" was presented to the Committee. It may be found HERE.

I took the time to read the article carefully. In it, the author noted that the principal proponent of reparative therapy was one Joseph Nicolosi. I decided to check out Nicolosi, and I then shared my findings with the CAC. Nicolosi's positions on homosexuality were those rejected more than three decades ago by every mainstream American mental health professional association. To illustrate, at a Focus on the Family Conference on Youth and Homosexuality, Nicolosi stated unequivocally that "there is no such thing as a homosexual. We are all heterosexuals. Some of us have a homosexual problem." He went on to say that "homosexuality is a gender identity disorder," and asserted that male homosexuality is simply the result of rejection by the person's father. He related that he had "never seen a good father-son relationship in [his] clients." Nicolosi then explained that because homosexuals are the victims of "defective detachment. . . . gay relationships don't last." These statements are quoted in a report on the Focus on the Family Conference that may be found HERE.

Consistent with Nicolosi's statements, Throckmorton explained that "reparative therapy takes its name from the basic idea of the approach: Homosexual arousal and identification are efforts on the part of the person to repair a damaged bond with the same-sex parent." He went on to relate that "reparative therapists usually see the same sex attraction and homosexual identification as the results of poor parenting in the formative years." While he further suggested that there might be other causes of homosexuality, the common factor in all reparative therapy approaches is that all "have some explanation and then impart that understanding to the clients, whether directly or indirectly." "An implication of this observation is that the actual causes might matter less than the fact that a person has an explanation and that in itself is comforting."

In other words, it doesn't matter whether the theory of causation is correct, just that there is someone or something to blame.

Not only are Nicolosi's and Throckmorton's fundamental approaches and statements directly contrary to the considered findings of every mainstream medical and medical health professional group in this country, but they are affirmatively dangerous - destroying families and hurting children.

At bottom, they assert that no one is really homosexual, and that if they think they are, they should blame their parents (or, maybe, other influences). At bottom, they tell the homosexual that he or she MUST be "healed" to be happy, even if that means rendering asunder their families, and denying who he or she is. To satisfy their non-scientific assumptions about homosexuality they are prepared to destroy families and make people who may be healthy into emotionally disturbed, and even suicidal, individuals.

In the Spring of 2004, the PFOX CAC representative offered a "recommended reading list for educational staff and students." She did not provide the actual books or pamphlets. In any event, the list included two items by Nicolosi, "Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality" and "Healing Homosexuality: Case Studies of Reparative Therapy." So it certainly appeared that the PFOX position was essentially the Nicolosi position - and one far from the it is "OK" to be gay statement by PFOX President Richard Cohen.

Has there been a coup at PFOX? Is PFOX President Cohen a person with an entirely different perspective who somehow infiltrated the organization and is taking it in an entirely different direction? Or did he just exhibit the kind of misrepresentation that caused him to be expelled for life by the American Counseling Association?

It would seem to be the latter. Indeed, one of the other items on the PFOX recommended reading was "Coming Out Straight" by Richard Cohen. Interestingly, the full title of the book is "Coming Out Straight: Understanding and Healing Homosexuality." A description of the book, the introductory chapter, and the table of contents may be found HERE.

It is significant that the full title tells the reader that the book discusses the "healing" of homosexuality. It is hard to see how you heal something unless you see it as an illness or injury to be cured. That is why Cohen's presentation to the BOE was so extraordinary (Let students "decide if they want to be gay or ex-gay. Both are OK."). I suspect the action of the American Counseling Association tells us all we need to know as to whether PFOX no longer is a proponent of the material it submitted last year. (Note: At its May 2004 meeting, after full opportunity for discussion, the CAC voted 14-2 to not recommend the PFOX reading list to the BOE.)

David S. Fishback
Former Chair, Citizens Advisory Committee on Family Life and Human Development


Blogger Kay2898 said...

Again I ask...

Exactly why do PFOX, Recall(CRC) and company think they are charged with "fixing homosexuals?"

It is incredible of all the horrible things going on in the world that these folks have a pretty sick agenda only to get rid of all homosexuals.

How about the world's poverty and hunger?

August 08, 2005 6:01 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

RECALL and PFOX keep saying we are mean because we call them haters -but after all we aren't the ones saying any group of people is sick or doomed to hell.

Yes, maybe Liberty and John Garza can take the money they got from MCPS and give it to the efforts to feed the people in Niger or stop the genocide in Sudan. Somehow I think that must be a lot closer to what God wants people to do. I don't pretend to know God as well these people claim to do but my reading of most holy books is that people should do good and pursue justice for all- not hate people and claim they will go to hell. You know- Love thy neighbor, judge not lest ye be judged and of course- let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

August 08, 2005 9:27 PM  
Blogger Kay2898 said...

Well Garza took $3,000 and Liberty Counsel $33,000...

sad.. very sad....

August 09, 2005 9:21 AM  

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