The “Conversion Therapy” Controversy Part 2

In Part 1 of our discussion, we looked at the constant calls by politicians to ban so-called “Conversion Therapy” for individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA). We also examined the fallacious nature of the accusations and how the current political climate has made it extremely difficult to have a rational discussion of these issues.

Those who experience unwanted SSA often have a very lonely struggle which is meant by a collective “too bad” from modern society. This has led individuals in this situation to lead increasingly lonely, isolated lives with seemingly nowhere to turn. The good news is that for those who are willing to look past rhetoric to see reality will find that help is available from qualified, compassionate professionals.

Before we proceed, let’s look at a few common misconceptions:

  • It is not simply about “curing” homosexuality and it would be extremely reckless and irresponsible for anyone to make such a claim. In fact, as we will see, change in sexuality is not necessarily even the primary goal.
  • The therapy is not necessarily religiously based. Some practitioners are indeed faith based, but not all. This fact reaffirms the fallacy of the “Pray the Gay Away” strawman. For example, The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity

    “… affirms the right of religious belief and diversity for clients as well as therapists. Respect for religious diversity requires that mental health ofessionals give as much weight to religious belief as to sexual identity in offering ethical therapeutic services.¹”

  • The groups of people who might seek the therapy are very diverse. The advocacy site Voice of the Voiceless points out that:

Recipients of these treatments (sometimes) identify as heterosexual individuals struggling with unintentionally eroticized same sex attractions or egodystonic homosexuality. The married heterosexual man who, out of curiosity (questioning), discovered gay porn and became addicted but decided it wasn’t for him and needs help to end the destructive behavior to save his marriage. Or the male child who had no inclination toward same-sex erotic behavior but was sexually abused by a man from the ages of 5 to 15 and has neuroplastic-induced reorientation of erotic attraction and thus desires to resolve those issues to return to his authentic heterosexual self. There is a large community of such people who have had positive outcomes from the use of certain types of (therapy) .²

Just as the ones seeking the treatment vary widely, so do the therapeutic methods that are used. One of the most common is known as Reintegrative Therapy. The focus of this therapy is addressing trauma, which can obviously manifest itself in a wide variety of ways, including sexuality. This therapy is used by people from many different walks of life, heterosexual as well as homosexual. Again, changes in sexual behavior are not necessarily the goal but sometimes do occur as a result. Peer reviewed studies have been done on its effectiveness pertaining to sexuality, as well as binge eating.

As previously mentioned, secular versions of the therapy are available to those who desire them. As the credibility of the “gay gene” argument continues to plummet, this opens up avenues of exploration from many different perspectives.

That being said, this debate is especially pertinent to those of us who are people of faith. For one thing, the secular culture’s one-sided approach to “equality” is framed in a way that is a direct threat to religious liberty and other Constitutional rights.


RELATED: Equality Must Go Both Ways


Furthermore, there is simply no substitute for the Gospel of Christ, which alone is the power of God to salvation (Romans 1:16). Among the many lies of the sexual revolution is the notion that a person’s entire identity centers around their sexuality. The Gospel offers something far greater. Our identity is found in being created in the image of almighty God and being passionately loved by Him. In the words of Dr. Sam Allberry, an Evangelical pastor who himself struggles with SSA:

It is not biblical Christianity that insists someone’s sexual disposition is so foundational to who they are, and that to fail to affirm their particular leaning is to attack who that person is at their core. All this comes not from biblical Christianity but from western culture’s highly distorted view of what it means to be a human. When an idol fails you, the real culprit turns out to be the person who has urged you worship it—not the person who has tried to take it away. ³

As we begin to conclude, I would like to address a few other questions and concerns:

  • Is this sort of therapy the answer for everyone? No, there are no guarantees. Any form of therapy will obviously be more effective for some than for others. The same could also be said about programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. Does that mean they should be banned as well?
  • Do some people have bad experiences? Unfortunately, yes. The problem is that these are the ones who get all of the press coverage while those who have positive experiences are all but ignored. When cases of “quackery” do arise, there are already malpractice laws in place to deal with them. Blanket bans are unnecessary as well as being potentially unconstitutional.
  • Are there risks involved? Yes, just like there are risks with any other therapy. Nonetheless, there is no empirical data to indicate that the therapy itself is inherently harmful.

With this in mind, consenting adults who wish to pursue this sort of therapy should absolutely have the right to do so. The government has no interest whatsoever in banning it other that political pressure from militant lobbying groups who stand to lose a great deal of money and influence should their narratives be proven false. If a person with unwanted SSA is not allowed to consult with a mental health professional, who can they turn to? Would they also be prohibited from getting counsel from their clergy or even from a trusted friend? Ultimately it comes down to criminalizing private conversations.

“Pro-choice” indeed.

Yes, ex-gay people do exist and there are testimonials from those who have been greatly helped by this sort of therapy. Some credit it with saving their marriages and even their lives. Their voices deserve to be heard. In a society that supposedly values tolerance and diversity, how can we say otherwise?

For those seeking to understand this contentious issue further, I refer you to the following resources:

Keep It real,
James

NOTES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY:

1.https://www.therapeuticchoice.com/frequently-asked-questions

2. https://www.voiceofthevoiceless.info/category/rights

3. Allberry, Sam. Is God Anti-Gay? Kindle Version. 2013. The Good Book Company, Charlotte, NC. Page 62
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