Saturday, November 25, 2006

How the Other Side Thinks

Family Blah Blah Megastar James Dobson was on Larry King's show the other day, talking about Ted Haggard, sexual orientation, and other things that interest us here. Sometimes it is just amazing to listen to them.

The transcript of the interview is HERE.

Ted Haggard's quick tumble from grace is one of the signature stories of our time. It is interesting then to watch Dobson deal with it.
KING: Have you spoken to him?

DOBSON: I have talked to him. I was asked to serve on a three person restoration panel and I originally wanted to be of help and said that I would, but I just don't have the time to do that. And I called my board of directors, we talked about it at length and they were unanimous in asking me not to do that, because this could take four or five years and I just have too many other things going on.

KING: How's he doing?

DOBSON: I don't know. I haven't talked to him since it happened.

KING: Oh you haven't?

DOBSON: I talked to him the day that the news broke and I have not talked to him since then.

...
KING: When you say, Doctor, when you say "restoration" you mean restore him from being gay to not gay or what do you mean?

DOBSON: Yeah, probably that, too. But in Galatians 6.1, there is a scripture that says when -- "Brothers when one of you falls into sin, those who are spiritual should work to restore him gently." That is the scripture behind the restoration process and that word, and three men, now will oversee discipline punishment -- if there is any, therapy, his behavior, his money, his future and will lead him if he is willing to cooperate, and apparently he is -- through a restoration process. We don't want to just kick him out, I mean, he's lost his church, obviously, but there's still concern for him as an individual.

KING: We discussed this before in the past, but not recently: Do you still believe that being gay is a choice rather than a given?

DOBSON: I never did believe that.

KING: Oh, you don't believe it.

DOBSON: I don't believe that. Neither do I believe it's genetic. I said that...

KING: Then what is it?

DOBSON: I said that on your program one time and both of us got a lot of mail for it. I don't blame homosexuals for being angry when people say they've made a choice to be gay because they don't.

It usually comes out of very, very early childhood, and this is very controversial, but this is what I believe and many other people believe, that is has to do with an identity crisis that occurs to early to remember it, where a boy is born with an attachment to his mother and she is everything to him for about 18 months, and between 18 months and five years, he needs to detach from her and to reattach to his father.

It's a very important developmental task and if his dad is gone or abusive or disinterested or maybe there's just not a good fit there. What's he going to do? He remains bonded to his mother and...

KING: Is that clinically true or is that theory?

DOBSON: No, it's clinically true, but it's controversial. What homosexual activists, especially, would like everybody to believe is that it is genetic, that they don't have any choice. If it were genetic, Larry -- and before we went on this show, you and I were talking about twin studies -- if it were genetic, identical twins would all have it. Identical twins, if you have a homosexuality in one twin, it would be there in the other.

Let me introject a couple of things here. This "detach and reattach" stuff is pure speculation. The "distant father" theory that NARTH promotes ... same thing, pure bull-oney. "Bonded to the mother," ridiculous. It's a joke, a kind of way of making fun of real science. There is no peer-reviewed research supporting any of this, it's pure quackery.

When Dobson uses the term "clinically true," he is blowing it out of his ... sense of wishful thinking. There is no concept in science or medicine that would be called "clinical truth" -- there are only degrees of uncertainty -- and there is absolutely nothing that backs up this crazy theory.

Further, this kind of talk about genetics is totally irresponsible for a person with an advanced education, as Dobson has. If he doesn't understand how it works he shouldn't be talking about it.

You can see why an important part of the religious right's strategy would be to undermine education, as we've seen in Montgomery County -- if the people remain ignorant, they are more likely to believe this kind of illiterate nonsense.

Larry King asked a couple of pretty good questions:
KING: Well, how could a gay person preach against gays? How could you do that?

DOBSON: Well, a lot of people wonder that. He, obviously, was, again, at war with himself. He was involved in activities that I think horrified him. He said that he fought against it, but he also knew what he believed.

It was not hypocrisy. It was a struggle between behavior and the belief system.

Note: Would you let your kids get away with an excuse like that? Yeah, dad, I would've done my homework, but there was a struggle between by behavior and my belief system ...
KING: How long does counseling last in this kind of case?

DOBSON: It could be a long time. I would think that the restoration process here, if Reverend Haggard chooses to go through with it, would be three to five years.

KING: And is success the fact that he is no longer gay? Would that be your definition of success?

DOBSON: That would be part of it. It's a spiritual restoration, too. It's a personal and marital restoration. It involves every aspect of life.

I mean, Ted himself wrote, in his letter to his church the day this was disclosed, "I am a liar and I'm a deceiver," and that has to be dealt with.

And how about them libruls?
"Those again on the liberal end of the spectrum are those who have no value system, or at least they say there is no moral and immoral. There's no right or wrong. . . . But when a religious leader, or especially an evangelical, falls, guess who is the most judgmental of him and calling him a hypocrite? . . . Those that said there is no right and wrong in the first place. The truth of the matter is there is right and wrong. And we all within our midst have failures, and they do occur."

I think it is fine for somebody like Dobson to hypothesize about what it would be like if a group of people had no value system, no morals, no sense of right or wrong. What a sensible person objects to here is the idea that there really are people like that in our country, people who are called "liberals."

To state the obvious: liberal ideals arise from a moral standpoint. Whatever, I'm not going there, the ignorance of these kinds of statements calls for a response, but ... sometimes I'm embarrassed to have to even talk about these things. And this beautiful Saturday afternoon I don't feel like doing that to myself. Sorry.

This one was an eye-opener to me:
KING: What is forgiveness to you? Like, you forgive Haggard, don't you, Mr. Haggard?

DOBSON: I don't forgive Haggard because his sin was not against me. God has to do the forgiving. I continue to love him. He is a friend. He will always be my friend. And I'm sorry for what's happened...

KING: But you don't forgive him?

DOBSON: ... but God has to forgive him. And, I mean, his relationship with his wife has to be one of forgiveness.

KING: She has to forgive him?

DOBSON: Yes. And...

KING: Not in your purview, though?

DOBSON: It's not my job to do that.

Growing up Christian, I had always understood that Jesus wanted us to forgive others. It is fascinating to see how Dobsonian Christians have relieved themselves of that burden.

These religious characters have a prominent role in today's American culture, and even though their guys lost in the elections, they're not going away. It's up to us to learn how they think, to understand their goals and tactics, so we can stop them before it gets out of hand, like it nearly did last time.

26 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Let me introject a couple of things here. This "detach and reattach" stuff is pure speculation."

So is every other theory concerning sexual preference. There is no evidence about cause and what role choice plays.

Just thought I'd interject some truth. What is "introject"? Some fancy term for fictionalize for propaganda purposes?

"The "distant father" theory that NARTH promotes ... same thing, pure bull-oney. "Bonded to the mother," ridiculous. It's a joke, a kind of way of making fun of real science. There is no peer-reviewed research supporting any of this, it's pure quackery."

This is Dobson's observation as a PhD in psychology who has continued to keep abreast of research. If it's "bull-oney" because a bunch of studies haven't been published, then what to make of the professional associations who make assertions in this area without evidence.

"When Dobson uses the term "clinically true," he is blowing it out of his ... sense of wishful thinking. There is no concept in science or medicine that would be called "clinical truth" -- there are only degrees of uncertainty -- and there is absolutely nothing that backs up this crazy theory."

Actually, the interviewer came up with the term. He just went along with it to address the question in terms the interviewer would understand. There's nothing other than observation backing up any theory on either side.

"Further, this kind of talk about genetics is totally irresponsible for a person with an advanced education, as Dobson has. If he doesn't understand how it works he shouldn't be talking about it."

Funny, I've heard this kind of talk from people with Nobel prizes from their work in this field.

"You can see why an important part of the religious right's strategy would be to undermine education, as we've seen in Montgomery County -- if the people remain ignorant, they are more likely to believe this kind of illiterate nonsense."

And why is undermining education such an important part of the TTF strategy. Kids can't know about ex-gays, risks of living a homosexual lifestyle, dangers of anal sexual activity outside of marriage, or even the benefits of marital monogamy- unless, of course we change the definition to coincide with the lunatic fringe agenda. And, please, don't mention anything about religious ideas.

The only true education is one that leads the student to a materialist worldview in TTF's world.

"Note: Would you let your kids get away with an excuse like that? Yeah, dad, I would've done my homework, but there was a struggle between by behavior and my belief system ..."

You know they discovered a lazy gene not too long ago. You TTFers might want to drop the hypocrisy and stop persecuting those who are motivational minorities.

"And how about them libruls?"

I'm sure they can introject sumpin'.

"I think it is fine for somebody like Dobson to hypothesize about what it would be like if a group of people had no value system, no morals, no sense of right or wrong. What a sensible person objects to here is the idea that there really are people like that in our country, people who are called "liberals.""

Liberals bring that on themselves by constantly resorting to agruments of moral relativism when it suits their argument.

"To state the obvious: liberal ideals arise from a moral standpoint."

Not most of them. They use that when convenient.

"Whatever, I'm not going there, the ignorance of these kinds of statements calls for a response, but ... sometimes I'm embarrassed to have to even talk about these things. And this beautiful Saturday afternoon I don't feel like doing that to myself. Sorry."

Glad you coud take time out on this beautiful day for a "brief" post.

"Growing up Christian, I had always understood that Jesus wanted us to forgive others. It is fascinating to see how Dobsonian Christians have relieved themselves of that burden."

If I understand him right, he's saying "he didn't wrong me so it's not mine to forgive".

What an eye-opener.

"These religious characters have a prominent role in today's American culture, and even though their guys lost in the elections, they're not going away."

No, because while they'll play the game if given an opportunity, their hope was never in government to begin with.

"It's up to us to learn how they think, to understand their goals and tactics, so we can stop them before it gets out of hand, like it nearly did last time."

So far, it's hard to see what you have stopped.

November 25, 2006 3:21 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I have no idea where to start with this Anon. For now I'd simply like to say that regardless of Dobson's degree, if he cannot produce evidence, then his opinions are worthless. The same holds for Dr. McHugh. Freudians have been trying to make the points now taken up by NARTH for a century, and have utterly failed. Any rational scientist would have given up by now, and looked for other explanations, which is why there is now an emphasis on the biology of sexual development. That is where the action is, and it is not solely the province of genetics, which the Dobsonites trot out trying to snow the public. Sexual development, like every aspect of human development, is a very complex series of regulatory genetic events in both time and space, where interaction with the environment is critical. So there will most likely not be a single "gay gene."

But having said that,if Dr. Dobson acknowledges that being gay cannot be changed and that it is fixed at a very early age and completely out of the realm of responsibility of the person in question, then why all the hatred of gay people? In some respects that analysis is no different from the current scientific paradigm. Whether one's sexual orientaiton is fixed in utero or during the first 18 months of life is irrelevant to the being involved. So let go, all of you. Go and blame the parents -- see how far you get with that. It worked really well with schizophrenia, bipolar disease, autism . . . right? And people suffering from those conditions don't even compare in number to gay persons.

Personally, I'd love to see more fathers involved with their children at an early age. I doubt we'd turn out more heterosexuals, but the kids would be better off. And can anyone explain how come we have so many more gay people today when fathers are much more involved in child rearing than they ever were in our formerly highly sex-segregated societies?

November 25, 2006 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things:

1. Dobson said, "if the father is gone..."

By this theory, conservatives should be against the war because with all these fathers gone or killed, there will be lots of homosexuality in about 10-15 years.

2. In all of those identical twin studies, the twins were reared together in the same homes. So was the father absent for just one of the twins and not the other? I am sure that could happen, but this theory predicts it in a high percentage of cases. Not so, in fact.

November 25, 2006 9:10 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

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November 25, 2006 10:32 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 25, 2006 10:34 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 25, 2006 10:35 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

As far as twin studies go, there is rarely 100% concordance for any trait. 50% is highly suggestive, which is close to the case for homosexuality (31-74%).

The view that post-natal environmental influence is the sole determinant of sexual orientation and gender is increasingly rare among researchers, as the Pulitzer prize-winning science author Matt Ridley recently summed it up "Nobody in science now believes that sexual orientation is caused by events in adolescence."

November 25, 2006 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And can anyone explain how come we have so many more gay people today when fathers are much more involved in child rearing than they ever were in our formerly highly sex-segregated societies?"

There is a very interesting comment since part of the propaganda spiel here is that acceptance of the normality of homosexuality does not lead to an increase in its occurence.

"As far as twin studies go, there is rarely 100% concordance for any trait. 50% is highly suggestive, which is close to the case for homosexuality (31-74%)."

The doctor is quite right here. The problem is in the interpretation. Gay advoctes say this is because of all the various factors combine to an irresistable inclination.

Another feasible view would be that the factors somehow cause a greater incentive or susceptibility but that these factors are not irresistable, especially in the face of societal norms or personal welfare and happiness.

I think the real point is, despite the desire of gay advocates to use this confusion to their advantage, the truth is that definitive evidence for either view is lacking.

It would be a good thing to explain to teens.

November 26, 2006 1:20 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Sorry, Anon.

My comment about the gay population these days with more involved fathers was tongue-in-cheek, as there is no way to study that as an hypothesis even if we wanted to do so.

And, yes, apparently the inclination towards sexual expression is pretty irresistible for everyone, male and female, gay and straight. It's what is called a part of the natural order. If there ever was a poster boy for a social situation where a homosexual inclination could be easily controlled, it's Pastor Haggard. Lovely wife, five kids, huge religious following, strong community support -- and with all that he simply could not deny his biological nature.

A decent society would allow him to express his God-given inclinations regarding sexuality to improve the health and happiness of all those who know him, rather than wreaking destruction and misery on them instead.

November 26, 2006 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If there ever was a poster boy for a social situation where a homosexual inclination could be easily controlled, it's Pastor Haggard. Lovely wife, five kids, huge religious following, strong community support -- and with all that he simply could not deny his biological nature."

People do all kinds of stupid things with a similarly great deal to lose. It doesn't follow that they have no choice. Was Ken Lay's desire to defraud biological?

"A decent society would allow him to express his God-given inclinations regarding sexuality to improve the health and happiness of all those who know him, rather than wreaking destruction and misery on them instead."

Right now, he's saying his desire to get right with God is more important to him than indulging sinful desires. The "decent society" that won't let him pursue this quest in peace is the one comprising the lunatic fringe gay advocacy groups.

November 27, 2006 2:05 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

What a sad fool you are. "All kinds of stupid things"? This is who Ted Haggard is. He tried, just as you and your fellows want people like him to try, to deny his most primal desire for love and affectation and in the process caused unimaginable harm to all those around him, as well as your cause. And you dare to equate that desire with the temptation to commit fraud?

What "choices" did Haggard have? Your people did not allow him the easiest, most sensible one -- to love the person of his choosing. Therefore, in your pseudo-Christian world his only "choice" was to live a lie, and we all now see where that got him.

What will it take for you to see this? Will it have to happen to you as well?

November 27, 2006 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What "choices" did Haggard have? Your people did not allow him the easiest, most sensible one -- to love the person of his choosing."

It's complete extrapolation on your part to say that this guy would have preferred an emotional relationship with someone of his own gender if not for societal disapproval. His accuser portrays the encounters as unemotional business transactions for services rendered.

Likely, Haggard was happy with his marriage but suffered from temptation. To say that this temptation is "who he is" is just going too far.

November 28, 2006 6:08 AM  
Anonymous Dixie said...

A guy who goes out for monthly meth-addled "unemotional business transactions for services rendered" for three years is anything but "happy with his marriage."

Dixie

November 28, 2006 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A guy who goes out for monthly meth-addled "unemotional business transactions for services rendered" for three years is anything but "happy with his marriage.""

Not necessarily, Dixie Chick.

November 28, 2006 9:55 AM  
Blogger digger said...

Haggard is a real mess. I bet he'd be more stable if he'd come out when he was 12. I hear stories from friends, and people I know, about years spent in marriage before they came out. All have said they're happier now. None went for monthly meth-addled business transactions with hustlers. Haggard is a mess.

He should go to www.crystalmeth.org, find a meeting, get a sponsor and bring his life back under control.

rrjr

November 28, 2006 12:32 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

Rev. Joel Hunter who was scheduled to become head of the Christian Coalition will not take the position. He wanted to expand the organization's activity beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage. He wanted to address poverty and the environment- which he believes would be in keeping with what Jesus believed in. What, Jesus wasn't all about keeping gay people from marrying and abortion rights? That is what Dobson and Sprigg and Falwell would have us believe. Here is a man who would take this organization and try to help work with the issue of poverty and problems with the environment affect people(probably the poor more than others)- oh, no- how unChristian! Yes, helping the poor isn't the hot button political issue that gay marriage is- but for a group called the Christian Coalition- it seems poverty would be a major focus. AND please no quote from goofy Anon saying "the Poor will always be with us" as the reason why this is so right.

November 28, 2006 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Dixie said...

"A guy who goes out for monthly meth-addled "unemotional business transactions for services rendered" for three years is anything but "happy with his marriage.""

Not necessarily, Dixie Chick.


What do you mean, Anon Dude...that a person can have a happy opposite-sex marriage AND a steady 3 year drug-fueled same-sex extramarital fling on the sly?

Dixie

November 28, 2006 2:35 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous at November 28, 2006 6:08 AM said "It's complete extrapolation on your part to say that this guy would have preferred an emotional relationship with someone of his own gender if not for societal disapproval. His accuser portrays the encounters as unemotional business transactions for services rendered.

Likely, Haggard was happy with his marriage but suffered from temptation. To say that this temptation is "who he is" is just going too far.
".

Its a complete extrapolation on your part to say its likely that Haggard was happy with his marriage. There's a long history of many gays getting involved in opposite sex marriages to avoid the disapproval of society only to later find they are much happier accepting their gay sexual orientation. Left behind are broken families and betrayed wives. It would be far better if such marriages never happened in the first place. It would save the wrecked lives and the gay men involved could find happiness with another guy like them right from the start. Its foolish to keep pressuring and wishing gay men into straight marriages.

November 28, 2006 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What do you mean, Anon Dude...that a person can have a happy opposite-sex marriage AND a steady 3 year drug-fueled same-sex extramarital fling on the sly?"

It might be. In our post-modern society, men are capable of amazing feats of compartmentalization. It could just be that he enjoyed the whole traditional wife and family situation- and I haven't heard that his wife was unhappy- yet become curious and then addicted to engaging in this other behaviour ocassionally.

Do you think that is completely unfeasible?

November 28, 2006 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Its a complete extrapolation on your part to say its likely that Haggard was happy with his marriage."

Why is that? Have heard any reports that his marriage was unhappy one?

November 28, 2006 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have heard any reports that his marriage was unhappy one?

November 5, 2006

Dear Women of New Life Church,

I am so sorry for the circumstances that have led me to write this letter to you today. I know your hearts are broken; mine is as well. Yet my hope rests steadfastly in the Lord who is forever faithful.

What I want you to know is that I love my husband, Ted Haggard, with all my heart. I am committed to him until death “do us part.” We started this journey together and with the grace of God, we will finish together.

If I were standing before you today, I would not change one iota of what I have been teaching the women of our church. For those of you who have been concerned that my marriage was so perfect I could not possibly relate to the women who are facing great difficulties, know that this will never again be the case. My test has begun; watch me. I will try to prove myself faithful.

I love you all so much, especially you young women—you were my delight.

To all the church family of new Life Church—Ted and I are so proud of you. You are all we hoped you would be. In our minds, there is no greater church.

As you try to make sense of these past few days, know that Ted believes with all his heart and soul everything he has ever taught you, those things you are putting into practice. He is now the visible and public evidence that every man (woman and child) needs a Savior.

We are grateful for your prayers for our family.

I hold you forever in my heart,

Gayle Haggard

www.newlifechurch.org/GayleHaggardLetter.pdf

It's easy to be happy when horrible truths are hidden, but once revealed, it's not so easy. Mrs. Haggard never uses the term "happy" in her letter. Does she sound happy to you?

November 28, 2006 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously, not happy about the current circumstance but I don't say anything that contradicts what I was saying. It sounds like they had a good marriage. He sucuumbed to some temptation.

I just don't think the incident deserves the implications that TTFers seem to be putting on it.

November 29, 2006 7:50 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous, you have nothing upon which to base your judgement that they had a good marriage. However, Haggards cheating on his wife is solid evidence that the marriage was not good, for him, anyway. Mixed orientation marriages are to be avoided for precisely the reasons we see in Haggard's marriage. In the long (or even short) run gay men must be who they are and it is simply not within them to be true to someone they are not sexually attracted to. Its time for people like you to stop encouraging marriages like these which are trouble from the word go.

November 29, 2006 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It sounds like they had a good marriage."

I disagree. For at least the past three years, that marriage has not been a good marriage; it has been a sham. A good marriage does not include secrecy, dishonesty, and infidelity. If the love between them is strong, maybe they can work it out and I wish them well. Both partners must be honest - with themselves and with each other - otherwise the marriage will continue to be a sham.

November 29, 2006 3:30 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

The right wing almost always ignores the spouses and children of these marriages. No wonder -- how else could they encourage Richard Cohen-like therapy to convert gay men to loving heterosexual family men?

How many disasters do you guys need? How many families must you see destroyed before you surrender? When will you give the women and children equal consideration, if not priority? Why is the sexual orientation of these dishonest men so much more important to you than their betrayed wives and children?

November 30, 2006 3:12 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Well said, Dana. What kind of sicko is so obsessed with minimizing homosexuality that they're willing to sacrifice not just the gay man, but innocent women and children to do it. These people don't care how many get hurt as long as even doomed attempts are made to prevent gay love. How many broken families are enough before you people learn gay men aren't meant to get into straight marriages?

November 30, 2006 5:38 PM  

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