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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

 

Wayne throws a tantrum

Strange as it may seem, my sincere effort to listen to those asking me to consider other views of the founders of ex-gay ministries has taken an interesting turn. I asked Wayne Besen for the contact information of John Evans who was involved in Love in Action early on and here is the response I received. Must have struck some kind of nerve.

Comments:
Wow. That was really uncalled for. I'm not surprised, though, since I have gotten nasty responses by trying to straddle both sides, with regard to asking that everyone conduct discussion factually, respectfully, and carefully.

I'd reserve "quack" for someone like Paul Cameron, sure. Interesting that he doesn't post your original email.

Mightn't it help your case if you published the entire dialogue? That way, no one can claim "context" as defense....
 
OK, but is it accurate to call the response a "tantrum"?

Let's step back for a moment. You have publicly supported PFOX, Exodus etc, to the point of being an official speaker. You have prepared articles for Agape etc. You have presented at NARTH conference etc. You have provided many quotes for FoF, FRC etc. You have appeared in front of legislators in support of anti-gay positions. These groups do quote Paul Cameron at the drop of a hat.

Counter to this, and feel free to correct me, I'm unaware of any occasion when you have publicly supported PFLAG, GLSEN or any other gay support or gay advocacy group. I'm only aware of negative comments from you.

I feel sure that Wayne is well aware of this record. He is certainly well aware of the record of all the groups you have publicly supported, and those that you have not. Even if your intention, on this occasion, was "sincere"; why should he believe you?

You have not given Wayne any reason to support you or your work. He said no, and your email back to him reads as manipulative -- it undoubtedly convinced him that the refusal was the correct decision.
 
ck - I told Wayne "And I will be glad to let folks know how you responded to my request." This apparently prompted his comments in reply. In fairness, I will acknowldege being frustrated by his initial response. In fairness, I think if anyone requests contact information from me, I contact the person in question first. I do not give out contact information simply upon request and I do not expect anyone else to do it either. I must confess though I did not expect the response I received.

I was not asking anyone to support my work. I know we do not agree on much but a simple "no" would have been appropriate.
 
Warren, you are surprised?
His whole book is nothing but a tantrum. LOL
 
"Counter to this, and feel free to correct me, I'm unaware of any occasion when you have publicly supported PFLAG, GLSEN or any other gay support or gay advocacy group. I'm only aware of negative comments from you."

This is an utterly moronic thing to say.

Has groups like PFLAG or GLSEN or any other gay advocacy group, supported NARTH, PFOX, or those who believe differently? Have they even bothered to try come to a middle ground without resorting to tired straw man arguments? Have they tried to UNDERSTAND where these supposed "charlatans" are coming from, beyond resorting to disrespectful, hackneyed stereotypes of bible thumping, toothless, red-neck fundamentalist freaks? Notice the emphasis on the word "understand." There seems to be an aversion and hostility to it. Why do you insist that he support those that he disagrees with?

Further, Wayne shows nothing but disdain for all things Christianity. I've heard of some openly gay Christians being put off by his work.

Wayne's response was characteristic of his personality, as well as his book: all flair, no substance.

You ought to ask him, as you asked Warren: "Why the negativity?"

Nathan
 
Nathan, politely, but Wayne is not asking Warren to assist him. Whether Warren would or not, I have no idea.

You obviously missed the point -- Warren did get it.

Having taken a public stance on an issue, clearly at odds with the one taken by Wayne, Warren should not have been surprised by the refusal. I'm rather perplexed that he even asked, frankly. Warren is free to take whatever public stance he chooses, but having done so he may also anticipate a complete lack of cooperation from those he has spoken against.

Likewise, Wayne is free to have his own religious beliefs; be they whatever. If they happen to be not-Christian or even anti-Christian, so be it. This is called freedom of religion.

(This something I doubt actually, as a whole. However if you mean he's spoken against a particular type of Christian organisation or thinking, then I'd agree.)

And why on earth do you think PFLAG et al should make supportive statements about the efforts of PFOX, Exodus etc? What middle ground would you propose? Bizarre.
 
Nathan, politely, but Wayne is not asking Warren to assist him. Whether Warren would or not, I have no idea.

He has not asked for contact information before. If he did, I would react by asking the contact first and then provide his information to the contact and let the person decide. But I have been very forthcoming about my views and answered questions about my speaking engagements to him. He has on at least two occasions I can remember asked me to clarify my position on issues which I have done.

In trying to advance ideas one is passionate about, I think it is fair to expect strong feelings. But personal attacks, demeaning assumptions about motives and namecalling seem out of place to me.

Disagreement is a given on this subject but I hope to carry out the discussion about that disagreement "factually, respectfully, and carefully" (thanks ck).
 
"Factually, respectfully and carefully" is a very difficult goal, when the goal of the research itself is clearly to prove that the highest possible number of "founders" are still ex-gay.

The signs are clear. With respect to Exodus, "founder" has been deftly redefined as "founding boardmember," with no consideration that boards are often put together so that one group--such as members of Exit, for instance--would not dominate a national association.

With respect to Love In Action, when you report your recent interview with Philpott, he's described as someone everyone agrees started Love In Action, yet you are silent when I point out that Love In Action's own website doesn't even mention him in its history.

Perhaps that's because today's Love in Action is really Love In Action, International, which raises the question of how many ministries have come and gone under Exodus' umbrella only to have an epiphiphany in the founders result in their closing up shop or changing direction.

So when the question is "trying to determine the accuracy of the claims that founders of various ex-gay groups reverted to being gay," which you agree is your intention in a posting on ex-gay watch, one wonders how you will arrive at a "factual, respectful and careful" methodology to do so by throwing people out of the study universe rather than trying to find groups to include.

I don't agree with Besen's approach, though I understand it. I'm of the "enough rope" school; we give you the information and document we gave it, so you can't claim later that you didn't know.
 
"Factually, respectfully and carefully" is a very difficult goal, when the goal of the research itself is clearly to prove that the highest possible number of "founders" are still ex-gay.

At least in print, Dr. Throckmorton is claiming to have the goal of determining who was actually a founder. I'll assume that is the case until I see evidence otherwise.

However, I do think that relieving the emphasis (given on both sides) to terms such as "founder"--which PBCLiberal points out can be sticky--might be useful.

Since the genesis of ministries is often haphazard and organice, unlike incorporated businesses, which have clearly designated terminology for those involved, an approach which tracks a timeline of everyone involved might be more beneficial.
 
There is a great amount of distrust on both sides here. Most of it pretty justified. Here is my question. If a pro-gay orginization adopted a moderate stance towards the ex-gay movement (ie we disagree on some fundementals, but we support your right to exsist and not be marginalized) would you, Throckmorton and others, support that organization?

That about a "neutral" organization, one that didn't affiliate with the extremist on either side?
 
I have been pretty clear that I will report what I find. Even if the versions of events are contradictory. I watched One Nation Under God again today and think that there are disagreements likely. I will post separately about that.

I cannot find the Pennington book in print and attempted to call the Lambda Christian Fellowship but the number was changed to some nutrition center.

I have said before that it doesn't matter to me what happened to the founders, or if they were founders or not. Anecdotes (n=1) do not prove or disprove much beyond the experience of the person involved. Absolutistic statements can be addressed by these cases (e.g., change always happens, change never happens, change attempts are always harmful, change attempts are never harmful) but generalization to others cannot be made. I am interested in these stories out of old fashioned curiosity, because I am interested in the credibility of those making the claims, and because the issue of longevity can only be addressed by these stories since we have no longitudinal studies. I am currently undertaking such research and hope to have something to say about this in 5 years or so.
 
Some people have more information than others. People who run ex-gay ministries and centers that specialize in reparation therapies are going to have more knowledge than people who don't, so (n=1) isn't exactly applicable here. Is it anecdotal? Yes, but its several hundred anecdotes all in one

The pennington book appears to have become rare. Amazon's used-bookseller affiliates have 5 copies that range in price from $50.00 to $75.00. While that's a lot of money for a paper-bound book, I'd suggest its something you should have in your library if you are interested in this history.

If you don't want to pay that, I'll be happy to PDF the relevant 31 pages and send it to you. Point me to your preferred email address where you can accept a large file, and I'll see that you get it.
 
pcbliberal - you can send the pdf file to ewthrockmorton@gcc.edu. I believe a document of that size should come through. Thanks!
 
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