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Homosexuality & Pastoral Response. Review of the Essentialist Position and Objections The Essentialist Position Essentialists argue that present scientific.

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Presentation on theme: "Homosexuality & Pastoral Response. Review of the Essentialist Position and Objections The Essentialist Position Essentialists argue that present scientific."— Presentation transcript:

1 Homosexuality & Pastoral Response

2 Review of the Essentialist Position and Objections The Essentialist Position Essentialists argue that present scientific understanding has superseded the teachings of Scripture in the area of human sexuality This line of reasoning follows the rationale: “What is natural” = “What is morally permissible” Objections to the Essentialist Position By taking this line of reasoning, the Essentialist overlooks the Christian belief in the fallen human condition and replaces moral reasoning with a presumed scientific mandate Yet even if one grants the Essentialist’s approach, one finds that the supposed scientific mandate is lacking

3 Previously Explored Essentialist Arguments and Objections Prevalence Essentialist The high prevalence of Homosexuality within the population (+10%) suggests that homosexuality is a natural condition meant by God Objection The +10% figure is based upon the flawed 1948 Kinsey study, which generalized the sexual practices of prison inmates and convicted sex offenders to the larger American public The massive National Health and Social Life Survey (1994) revealed significantly lower figures: 2.8% of males identified themselves as gay (2.0%) or bisexual (0.8%); 2.0% reported having sex with a man in the previous year 1.4% of females identified themselves as lesbian (0.9%) or bisexual (0.5%); 2% reported having sex with a woman in the past year

4 Previously Explored Essentialist Arguments and Objections (cont’d) Genetic Etiology Essentialist Homosexual orientation is genetically determined, suggesting that it is a natural condition meant by God Objection Scientific studies have failed to identify direct genetic or hormonal causes to homosexual behavior or orientation; instead they point to an interaction between clusters of unidentified genetic traits and environmental influences

5 Remaining Essentialist Arguments Regarding Homosexuality Non-Pathological Homosexual orientation does not spring from unmet emotional needs or difficulties in social adjustment—nor does it result in the same— therefore it is God-intended Immutability Homosexual orientation is fixed, suggesting it is a gift from God, not something to be denied or changed

6 Homosexuality and Public Heath

7 The Essentialist Position “In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders, its official list of mental illnesses. The American Psychological Association adopted a similar resolution in 1975.” — Continuing the Dialogue, p. 71 (A Pastoral Study Document of the House of Bishops to the Church, 1994)

8 Events Leading to the 1973 Revision of the DSM In , Gay Rights Activists disrupted APA conferences, threatening further demonstrations unless the DSM designation was changed Activists appeared before the APA’s Committee on Nomenclature, advocating the removal from the DSM A Committee was created to study the proposal The Committee consisted only of persons who believed the DSM nomenclature should be changed Behind closed doors, utilizing no new scientific data, Committee members decided to change the nomenclature When the revision was presented in 1973, objectors were given only 15 minutes to respond to the Committee’s decision

9 Events Leading to the 1973 Revision of the DSM (cont’d) Objectors then filed a formal appeal to the APA membership to overturn the Committee’s revision Activists purchased the 30,000 membership list and mass mailed a letter advocating retention of the Committee’s change The letter did not indicate that it was written by the activists and gave the impression it was an authoritative APA missive One third of the membership cast their ballots, with the majority voting to keep the change

10 The result was not a conclusion based upon an approximation of the scientific truth as dictated by reason, but was instead an action demanded by the ideological temper of the times —R. Bayer, Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis (1981), pp. 3-4.

11 The Aftermath of the 1973 Revision of the DSM In 1975, the American Psychological Association, taking its lead from the DSM revision, also changed its nomenclature In 1977, the scientific journal Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality surveyed psychiatrists on the vote: 69% disagreed with the DSM revision and still considered homosexuality a disorder Many of these psychiatrists went on to form the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) In 2003, the APA began debate over the removal of pedophilia from the DSM: “Any sexual interest can be healthy and life-enhancing... People with paraphilic sexual interests suffer like homosexuals did before the 1973 decision.” (Dr. Charles Moser, May 19, 2003, APA Conference, San Francisco)

12 Symptoms of Condition A A significantly decreased likelihood of establishing or preserving a successful marriage A 5-10 year decrease in life-expectancy Chronic, potentially fatal liver disease—hepatitis Inevitably fatal esophageal cancer Pneumonia Internal bleeding Serious mental disabilities, many of which are irreversible A much higher than usual incidence of suicide A very low likelihood that its adverse effects can be eliminated unless the condition itself is eliminated A 30% likelihood of being eliminated through lengthy, often costly treatment (though a very high success rate among highly motivated sufferers)

13 Qualifications of Condition A While genetically influenced, the condition is manifested in behavior Individuals with the condition often continue the behavior in spite of its destructive consequences Some people with the condition perceive it as a problem and seek assistance, while others violently resist all offers of help Those who resist help tend to socialize with each other, sometimes exclusively, and form a kind of subculture

14 Condition A: Alcoholism

15 Symptoms of Condition B A significantly decreased likelihood of establishing or preserving a successful marriage A year decrease in life-expectancy Chronic, potentially fatal liver disease—infectious hepatitis Inevitably fatal immune disease Frequently fatal rectal cancer Multiple bowel and other infectious diseases A much higher than usual incidence of suicide A very low likelihood that its adverse effects can be eliminated unless the condition itself is eliminated A 50% likelihood of being eliminated through lengthy, often costly treatment (though a very high success rate among highly motivated sufferers)

16 Qualifications of Condition B While genetically influenced, the condition is manifested in behavior Individuals with condition continue the behavior in spite of its destructive consequences Some people with the condition perceive it as a problem and seek help, while others violently resist all offers of help Those who resist help tend to socialize with each other, sometimes exclusively, and form a kind of subculture

17 Condition B: Homosexuality

18 Homosexuality and Sexual Partners The Male Couple (1984) Surveyed 156 gay couples Of these, 7 (4.5%) had maintained sexual fidelity Of 100 couples that had been together for more than five years, none had maintained sexual fidelity. “The expectation for outside sexual activity was the rule for male couples and the exception for heterosexuals.” The 1994 Sex in American found 83% of heterosexual couples were exclusively faithful The Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (1987) Surveyed nearly 5000 gay men 83% reported 50+ lifetime sex partners The 1994 Sex in American found that the average number of lifetime sex partners for heterosexuals was 4

19 Homosexuality and Mutability

20 The Essentialist Position “There is no convincing evidence that homosexuals who are 5 or 6 on the Kinsey scale [those who view themselves as exclusively or nearly exclusively homosexual in orientation] can be truly reoriented.” — Continuing the Dialogue, p. 74 (A Pastoral Study Document of the House of Bishops to the Church, 1994)

21 “As far back as I can remember, I always had a feeling that I was different: partly due to the fact that I was a missionary’s kid growing up in Japan, but partly because I carried a feeling that I was God’s mistake, and caught in the wrong body. As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a boy and I delighted in nicknames like ‘Tomboy’...

22 ... When I was 20, I met an Australian woman who managed to coax me into giving up fighting the battle that “I was going to lose anyway.” And thus, you can say I chose the homosexual lifestyle by surrendering to the strong urges within me to be held, and to hold. That year, I moved to Vancouver and I entered into a homosexual relationship that lasted 13 years. The lifestyle felt so right...” — The Reverend Dawn McDonald, a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada

23 Clinical Studies on the Treatment of Homosexuality AuthorMethodNumber TreatedSuccess rate (%) A. Freud (1949)Psychoanalysis850 Ovesey (1969)Psychoanalysis3100 Schwartz and Masters (1984) Psychotherapy5465 Mayerson (1965)Psychotherapy1947 Bieber (1962)Psychoanalysis10627 A. Ellis (1952)Psychotherapy2864 M. Ross et al (1958)Psychotherapy1573 Monroe et al (1960)Psychotherapy757 Van den Aardweg (1986) Psychotherapy10165 Composite34152

24 Clinically Suggested Environmental Factors Influencing Homosexual Orientation Emotionally distant father or mother Child’s subjective experience of parent’s lack of availability, rejection, or even harsh verbal or physical attack For boys, often an emotionally detached father was coupled with a close, overly protective mother Sexual Abuse in childhood Rejection by same sex peers

25 The Spitzer Study (2003) Goal of Study “Study the self-reported experiences of individuals who claim to have achieved a change from homosexual to heterosexual attraction that has lasted at least five years” Study Design & Subject Criteria The researcher interviewed 200 respondents (143 males, 57 females) who reported changes from homosexual to heterosexual orientation lasting 5 years or more. Respondents must have had a predominantly homosexual attraction for many years, including the year before starting therapy (at least 60 on a scale of sexual attraction, with 1 as exclusively heterosexual and 100 exclusively homosexual). After therapy they had to have experienced a change of no less than 10 points, lasting at least 5 years, toward the heterosexual end of the scale of sexual attraction.

26 Changes in Average Sexual Attraction (100 = only attracted to the same sex, 0 = only attracted to the opposite sex) 12 months before efforts to change 12 months prior to interview Males9123 Females888

27 Heterosexual Functioning All Subjects 66% of the male subjects and 44% of the female subjects had good heterosexual functioning in the 12 months prior to the interview. Definition of “Good Heterosexual Functioning”: In a loving heterosexual relationship in the last year Satisfaction from the emotional relationship with their partner is 7 or more (scale of 1-10) Heterosexual sex at least monthly Physical satisfaction from sex with their partner is at least 7 (scale of 1-10) Never, or rarely (<20%), have same-sex thoughts while having sex with their partner.

28 Heterosexual Functioning (cont’d) Those Extreme on Homosexual Indicators Criteria No teenage opposite-sex attraction No heterosexual sex before change effort No heterosexual fantasies in the 12 months prior to change effort Attraction was 95 or greater (scale of 1-100, 100 = exclusively homosexual) Findings 22 of these 33 men (67%) and 3 of these 6 women (50%) had good heterosexual functioning in the 12 months prior to the interview

29 Changes in Feelings of Depression 12 months before efforts to change 12 months prior to interview Males43%1% Females47%4%

30 “I’m convinced from people I have interviewed, that for many of them they have made substantial changes toward becoming heterosexual. I came to this study skeptical.... No one on the side of those who are skeptical has taken the time to try to interview these people and see what changes are present. That’s what’s unique about my study. All the critics have not been honest and taken the time to do the research because it’s just politics.” — Dr. Robert Spitzer

31 What Would Jesus Do?

32 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a man who had been caught lying with another man; and making him stand before all of them, they said to Jesus, “Teacher, this man was caught in the very act of lying with another man. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such men. Now what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at him”...

33 And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the man standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to him, “Man, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” He said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” (Based upon John 8:3-11)

34 “... I went to an Anglican church for the first time in 14 years. During the sermon, my mind wondered, and I started to see different scenes of my life flash in front of me... Scenes of me telling my father that I hated him, that hell would be heavenly if he wasn’t going to be there. Scenes of me with a woman, of me in the gay bars, of my selfish acts... In agony, I cried out, ‘Lord, I know I’ve been sinful. Please STOP!;’ and the waves of scenes stopped immediately...

35 When Communion started, there was a ‘knowledge’ in my heart that Christ had died for me, for those very scenes that I had just seen. And as I received the body and blood of Christ, an electrifying warmth covered me, and swept through my body from my head to toes. It was an awesome feeling! I had NEVER felt so loved as I did that moment. And when I returned to my seat, I realized that for the first time in my whole life, I was feeling TOTALLY accepted and clean! Everything was behind me, and I was now being given a new life in Christ!...

36 That day, during Communion, God did much more in me. He didn’t stop at washing my sins away and making me clean. He gave me much more. He totally took away the urges and attractions toward other women, and He started me off on a process of inner healing. Not only did God reconcile me to Himself through the blood of Christ, He has also brought reconciliation to my father and me. Today, God continues to reveal the scars and reasons that I chose the life that I did, and He continues the work and healing process within me. Today, I know I am not a ‘mistake,’ and I am happily married to a wonderfully loving man. Wonderful are the works of the Lord! ” — The Reverend Dawn McDonald, a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada


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