~ Homosexuality and Other Aberrations ~
A great new book is out: "Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned
Path to Harm" edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings (2005, Routledge,
I quote from Dr. A. Dean Byrd's review of this book with my comments interspersed:
"Wright and Cummings express alarm from the 'ever-proliferating therapies
that are not only without validation but are irresponsible, and often later
shown to be harmful' (p. xv). For example, 'society spent a number of years
sentencing fathers to prison based on false memories, followed by years of
releasing them with the court's apology, as accusers became aware of the
implanted memories,' (p. xv) with practitioners losing their licenses and
plagued with lawsuits. Cummings notes that though he and his co-editor lived
through the 'abominable' McCarthy era and the Hollywood witch hunts, still,
there was 'not the insidious sense of intellectual intimidation that currently
exists under political correctness' (p. xv). 'Now misguided political correctness
tethers our intellects. Those viewed as conservative are looked down upon
as lacking intelligence' (p. xv)."
This is an excellent observation, with two of my counter observations. The
first is that while it may be true that some courts have apologized, I have
never encountered an instance of a prosecutor admitting fault and apologizing.
(I would welcome contradictory information from my readers.) The prosecutors
are those who bring these fathers to court. The courts' job is to oversee
the trial proceedings to prevent any illegal deviation from the law and rules
of procedure, so they can excuse themselves from prosecutorial zeal and misconduct.
"The authors note that there is no empirical data on political correctness
because it is 'politically incorrect to question political correctness' (p.
22). They pose two questions regarding political correctness, and offer a
number of hypotheses for potential testing. The questions are: 'What psychological
functions does political correctness fulfill for the individual?' and 'What
is the attraction of political correctness to certain personalities?' The
hypotheses offered to understand these behavioral phenomena include: Political
Correctness... Harbors Hostility; Reflects Narcissism; Masks Histrionics;
Functions as Instant Morality; Wields Power; Serves as Distraction; Involves
Intimidation; Lacks Alternatives."
Many of our churches have succumbed to pressure of political correctness.
The most blatant is that of ordaining homosexuals as pastors and denigrating
the universal teachings of Christ into a nationalistic theology. As I wrote
in last week's Reflection, while we proclaim what has become a cliché,
"God bless America!" we are called to pray He also blesses all nations. The
blessing of God is not a reward for our narcissistic claim to moral superiority,
but a need for all people of all nations, including our enemies. Christ made
this clear on His "Sermon on the Mount," a clarity seemingly lost on those
who equate the flag of their nation with God's solidarity and favor. Those
who challenge that solidarity and favor swim against the political correctness
craze and are condemned by their own brothers and sisters. Churches would
do well to make sure they avoid Wright and Cummings' listing of the pitfalls
of the PC movement: hostility, narcissism, histrionics, instant morality,
power, distraction, intimidation and the blindness to alternatives.
"The authors assert that political correctness is hostile to certain research
questions that may be unpopular, and can have a chilling effect on science.
Further, political correctness can view certain questions as settled moral
issues rather than empirical questions requiring scientific investigations.
authors note, for example, '...the status of homosexuality is a settled moral
question in the PC movement,' citing, for example, that the National Endowment
for the Arts would likely view those who object to the painting Piss Christ
as infringing on freedom of expression, while finding a similar painting
titled Piss Gay as offensive and morally wrong (p. 24)."
I recall very well that dubious art called "Piss Christ" funded by the Endowment
for the Arts. I also recall Christians exclaiming, "Why aren't Christians
up in arms about this?" My response was, "Well, you are the Christian who
isn't up in arms about it." Wright and Cummings are correct in predicting
the "Gay Community" and activists would prevail in having an artwork called
"Piss Gay" quickly removed and securing publicized apologies for offending
them. I certainly don't fault them for that activism. Christians should follow
their example and not just moan and groan about why "someone" isn't doing
something about the secular defamation of our Christ. Do we really expect
the gay activists to protest against a Christian defamation? Or the ACLU?
They didn't and I wouldn't want them to. That activism would shame us, for
it is our job and responsibility.
"Finally, they note that the political correctness is so ingrained in many
of the institutions of science, academia and government agencies, that priorities
and policies are influenced such as those affecting AIDS funding as opposed
to funding for breast cancer, or the practice of evaluating grants by federally
determined categories of minority inclusion (p. 25)."
How true, don't you agree? Philadelphia is bracing for one million spectators
for its AIDs awareness concert as I write this. It is, of course, PC, to
attend and support the cause. It would be anti-PC and lethal for anyone who
publicly points out the other needs of our world that are overlooked, and
question our lack of attentiveness to them. Just one example of so many are
the slave laboring children and adults in India who earn seventeen cents
for a 14 to 16 hour day of work so that we can buy bargain clothes at Wal-Mart
whose CEO is "worth" over 20 billion dollars. I am happy I am not "worth"
that, though we Christians still love shopping at Wal-Mart and other stores
whose success are dependent on the evil oppression of the poor and enslaved.
Of course, Wal-Mart and the other businesses are very pro-American and it
is anti-PC for me to write this, subjecting myself to criticism. I must admit,
I also like the US "dollar stores." In them Americans can buy anything from
clothes and books to dishware and food. But these stores owe their existence
to the horrible working conditions of our Chinese brothers and sisters. Giving
to the AIDs funds is PC. It's a safe cause, because it is PC. The others
are not. So we neglect them and struggle in our conscience with them. Well,
in thinking that over, it is true we neglect them, but most of us probably
don't let them intrude our conscience or shopping.
"O'Donohue and Caselles offer a brief history of homosexuality relative
to psychiatric nomenclature, highlighting how the issue became politicized
and how activism against the backdrop of the social climate of the '60s ushered
in a reclassification. Activists selectively used the writings of the renegade
psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz, who viewed much of psychiatry as fraudulent
and believed that it functioned to oppress and suppress those who held unacceptable
ideas. Gay activists translated Szasz's views selectively to support them
in their efforts to attack the psychiatric profession for using the language
of science to condemn value positions, essentially their valuing of homosexuality.
Ironically, Szasz's views of homosexuality were similar to the prevailing
views at the time: Ever since the Freudian revolution, and especially since
the Second World War, it has become intellectually fashionable to hold that
homosexuality is neither a sin nor a crime, but a disease. This claim means
either that homosexuality is a condition somewhat similar to ordinary organic
maladies, perhaps caused by some genetic error or endocrine imbalance, or
that it is an expression of psychosexual immaturity, probably caused by certain
kinds of personal and social circumstances in early life.
"I believe it is very likely that homosexuality is, indeed a disease in the
second sense and perhaps sometimes even in the stricter sense. Nevertheless,
if we believe that, by categorizing homosexuality as a disease, we have succeeded
in removing it from the realm of moral judgment, we are in error (p. 67)."
Is this not a remarkable and courageous statement for non-PC psychological
and scholarly writers to make? Indeed, categorizing human aberrations and
sins as "disorders" may have some empirical foundation, but certainly does
not exclude them from "the realm of moral judgment" although the PC movement
would force us to do just that.
"Noting that there are readily available arguments for the moral impermissibility
of homosexual acts, and that they are not obviously unsound, they cite the
vast number of religions whose view is based on revelation from God, and
invoke the Szaszian point that it is not the purview of mental health professionals
and behavioral scientists to judge as abnormal or irrational a belief in
God, or specific beliefs regarding what God has revealed. They note that
these are 'properly open issues that citizens of a free society should debate
and decide upon, free of the interference of the mental health profession's
attempt to make either ethical position a mental health issue' (p. 79).
"In addition, there are secular arguments that make the case for the immorality
of homosexuality; for example, Kant thought that homosexual acts violate
the categorical imperative: A second crimen carnis contra naturm (immoral
acts against our animal nature) is intercourse between sexus homogenii, in
which the object of sexual impulse is a human being but there is homogeneity
instead heterogeneity of sex, as when a woman satisfies her desire on a woman,
or a man on a man. This practice too is contrary to the ends of humanity;
for the end of humanity is respect of sexuality is to preserve the species
is without debasing the person; but in this instance the species is not being
preserved (as it can be by a crimen carnis secundum naturam), but the person
is set aside, the self is degraded below the level of animals, and humanity
is dishonored (p. 79).
"Similar arguments concerning the immorality of homosexuality, based on the
philosophical concept of natural law, are given by Plato and Aquinas and
more modern ethicists such as Ruddick (p. 79). There are also more utilitarian
arguments. The authors are clear that these arguments have not been 'proven
true,' but rather are open possibilities. They conclude that 'ethical arguments
exist that take homosexuality to be morally wrong and that they are not obviously
unsound' (p. 80). Thus the authors not only open the debate on the legitimacy
of 'homophobia' as a construct, but also allow for the discussion of the
immorality of homosexuality based on natural law.
"This latter debate is long overdue, and is rightly not the purview of APA,
but rather the purview of the citizens of a free society. Interestingly enough,
this view has been articulated by a self-identified lesbian activist, Anne
Fausto-Sterling, the developmental biologist from Brown University, who noted
that the way we 'consider homosexuality in our culture is a moral-ethical
and moral question' (Dreifus, C. 2001, Exploring What Makes Us Male or Female.
New York Times, Science Section, January 2).
Well now, notice how I have not yet quoted the Bible in this Reflection,
nor will I, an unusual departure from all of my Weekly Reflections. I don't
need to. When preaching to the "choir," biblical quotes are received with
yes-nods of the head. This Reflection is a good one to pass onto those who
don't respect the veracity of biblical teachings. Voices from the secular
world quoted here are echoing the biblical teachings regarding the struggle
of "spirit" against "flesh." Even Professor Fausto-Sterling concedes homosexuality
"in our culture is a moral-ethical and moral question." Her observations
hold much greater credence and respect in my eyes than the street-level activists
who promulgate on passion and empty rhetoric.
"Subsequent to the exit from the '60's culture, a fully postmodern society
emerged and 'the rise of clinical psychology coincided with the paradigm
shift, and psychologists (and other mental health professionals) did more
than any other professional group to demonize the traditional marriage (supposedly
bad for women), the traditional family (supposedly inherently pathological,
and traditional child rearing (supposedly bad for children)' (p. 226). The
negative consequences of postmodernism included the dangerous shift in pediatrics:
'...the tendency to isolate a child's behavior from its context and judge
the behavior, rather than the parent's management of it, as the problem (p.
I said I would not quote the Bible. Look for yourself at David's penitential
psalm 51, where he concedes he was not born a sinner, but conceived in sin.
(Another statement of life and soul beginning at conception.) Spiritual
genetics. Children are not innocents, which is another anti-PC statement.
But our experience is also anti-PC. As soon as our "innocents" can talk,
and even before then, we must exert great effort in teaching them things
against their inbred nature, such as don't lie, share your toys, stop fighting,
stop telling your brother you hate him, don't disobey me, don't hide those
things from me, have compassion on those less fortunate than you, stop hitting
mommy when you don't have your way." The intensity of these teachings only
increase as the child grows into his or her teenage years. Children are not
tabla rasa innocents. They are typically narcissistic and self-centered,
and adept at controlling the world around them without instruction. Our parental
instruction is typically focused on teaching them otherwise, teaching them
what must be learned, since they are not born with such moral predilections
or spiritually driven directions.
"The authors caution that the possibility of harm exists when there is
not supporting evidence. For example, in the case of abortion, the author
suggests that 'Unless the APA has extremely compelling data to show the utter
illegitimacy of the anti-abortion stance, it might be prudent not to take
a position on this divisive issue, both out of respect for the diversity
of opinion surrounding this issue, and to avoid placing member-psychologists
in an unnecessarily difficult situation' (pp. 242-243). The authors recommend
that the 'APA constrain its political activity to issues in which psychologists
have legitimate expertise'(p. 250)
Yes, it's time for the psychiatric and psychological associations to withdraw
from PC pressure and stick to their art and science. The authors may well
have addressed this recommendation to our churches.
"He cites liberal bias influencing research and interpretation in gay
and lesbian parenting: Much of the extant research that finds no negative
effects of gay parenting on children has serious limitations, for example,
small sample size, nonrepresentative and self-selected samples, reliance
on self-reporting subject to social desirability biases, and lacking longitudinal
data. These limitations are often downplayed by advocates, who also frequently
fail to consider fully the potential importance of having both male and female
nurturance and role models for children (p. 308)."
Another courageous statement on behalf of the biblical teachings, though
the authors may not know that. Should I let them know? Sure, they'll get
a copy of this Weekly Reflection. Hopefully, their response, if provided,
will be another interesting topic of a future Reflection.
John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
Spiritual Resource Services
~ Education, Research and Advocacy
in the Christian Faith ~
Spiritual Resource Services © June 30, 2005
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