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Sunday, October 15, 2006

 

LA Times reports on NARTH, Schoenewolf controversies

This morning, LA Times' Stephanie Simon reports on the controversies with NARTH. Alan Chambers is quoted and draws a distinction between how NARTH has handled things and how Exodus would.

Here is a portion: One of NARTH's scientific advisors has quit in protest, and a prominent therapist has canceled his presentation at the group's annual conference next month. Alan Chambers, who leads the nation's largest support group for "ex-gays," urged NARTH's members to "think long and hard about the mission of the organization."

UPDATE: The Miami Herald, The Olympian (WA), Monterey County Herald and the Daily Dish (among numerous other blogs) picked up this story today. Stories have also been filed by AgapePress and the USA Radio Network (10/17/06).


Comments:
Good article. I assume the advisor to quit was Dr. Blakeslee? Or have others quit as well?
 
Yes, that was a reference to Dr. Blakeslee, although I believe another one resigned as well (can't say who as yet).
 
A surprisingly balanced story and focused well on the issues at hand. There could have been a real temptation here to engage in some of the word-play that activists take delight in. But her article is focused on the issues at hand (which makes it a true "news piece," and interviews parties on all sides of the issue. Alan Chambers did a good job raising concerns and differentiating his group from NARTH. Warren, keep up the good work on making an ethical and therapuetic platform for all who work with those with same-sex attractions (whether gay affirmative or other).

Ms. Simon contacted me by e-mail and I referred her to my comments on this blog and my resignation letter.

David Blakeslee
 
This from received from Alan Chambers this morning:

"First of all, I am not a member of NARTH. Secondly, NARTH doesn't give us any money and never has. Our association with them does not yield us any financial benefit."

"As for your comment about NARTH asserting that those in the Civil RIghts movement were Marxists with diminished intellectual capacity, I am not sure what you are speaking of. If you are talking about the article written by Dr. Schoenwolf, I made my feelings about that article known to NARTH and also gave my comments of disapproval about it to the LA Times."

"I think the article is unhelpful, at best, and distracting from the real work that we should be focused on."

I have asked Alan whether or not EXODUS intends to go on appearing with NARTH at FOTF events -- given that EXODUS "disagrees sharply" with NARTH's handling of this matter.
 
It seems complicated whether or not Exodus should continue to appear with Nicolosi at Love Won Out. Love Won Out is actually a Focus of the Family event. It could be argued that Nicolosi is not NARTH (even though he is the president for life it seems), and so Alan could not avoid him completely.

Simon's article seemed quite balanced.
 
The simplest solution would be for LWO to dissasociate itself from NARTH and Nicolosi. Nicolosi has made the decision to retain Schoenewolf and Berger on the Advisory Board (along with Sander Breiner, who has claimed on the NARTH website that tolerance education causes brain damage). Combine that with Nicolosi's repeated joking about dropping babies on their heads so they won't be gay, and it doesn't seem that complicated.
 
The LA Times article said:
NARTH President Joseph Nicolosi acknowledged that some of the posted comments "were poorly phrased" but said he intended to keep Berger and Schoenewolf on the board.

Both of their commentaries have been removed from the NARTH website. Nicolosi said the group did not support public shaming of children; an official NARTH statement also expressed regret over Schoenewolf's remarks about slavery.


Maybe this article was filed after Schoenewolf went back on the attack. The regret NARTH expressed was that people "misconstrued" Schoenewolf's comments. Then a day later, Schoenewolf defended his paper on gay rights. NARTH regrets that people are offended but takes no responsibility for their offensive conduct. This is not real regret.
 
Alan Chambers said:

"Berger's advice that children with differences be ridiculed "wouldn't be something we would tolerate from someone who was part of our board," said Chambers, who recalls being teased for acting effeminate as a boy. "We have to be very careful about what we say and how we say it. Peoples' emotions, hearts and even lives are at stake."

Alan has finally taken a good FIRST step -- to express strong disapproval. Now, he needs to take the NEXT step. I think he has the moral and intellectual responsbility (as Dr. Throckmorton and David Blakeslee did so courageously) to BACK OFF from NARTH entirely until NARTH (Dr. Nicolosi specifically) prints a full apology and retraction -- as he did with the Berger article.

If Alan would not have such men on his board, he should not share the podium with them either.
 
I have been a NARTH member in the past. Here is the dilemma that I think many therapists experience: NARTH is the only game in town for therapists who believe in change potential. I dropped my membership because there is not much practical help for therapists (mostly political stuff in the newsletters and on the website). There is a real need for a group that promotes science instead of politics.
 
"There is a real need for a group that promotes science instead of politics."

Wow. Now THERE's a concept...
 
If NARTH is the only game in town, it's a bad game. Pick up the pieces and start another one.
 
My feeling is that there are few professional associations that are making the balance work well. The APA, NASW, ACA, etc. are much more interested in political issues versus the practice issues that could unite the members. Not to blame the outcome on anything but choices made by the NARTH board, but I would say that NARTH history has been a reaction to what many conservatives (and more recently moderates and some liberals) believe is the distraction of these political issues over matters of practice. I think Alan Chamber's laid down a good challenge in this LA Times article when he said: Alan Chambers, who leads the nation's largest support group for "ex-gays," urged NARTH's members to "think long and hard about the mission of the organization."
 
"We have to be very careful about what we say and how we say it. Peoples' emotions, hearts and even lives are at stake." (Alan Chambers, President of EXODUS)

"There is a real need for a group that promotes science instead of politics." (Anonymous, former member of NARTH)

"I would say that NARTH history has been a reaction to what many conservatives (and more recently moderates and some liberals) believe is the distraction of these political issues over matters of practice." (Dr. Throckmorton)

I ask you: do any of these people sound like intellectually stunted Marxists bent on "silencing" NARTH?
 
Anonymous said...
"It seems complicated whether or not Exodus should continue to appear with Nicolosi at Love Won Out. ...Alan could not avoid him completely."

It's not "complicated", it just requires some mental and moral fortitude. Alan Chambers is under no obligation to appear with Dr. Nicolosi. He and EXODUS could "bow out" as a matter of conscience -- just as Throckmorton and Blakeslee have done.

Robbi Kenney said it best: "it is time for EXODUS to get out of bed with NARTH".
 
It seems like NARTH now has a major credibility problem. If they cannot get such an easy thing as the responsibility for the civil rights movement correct then how could anyone trust them on more difficult questions, like what cause sexual attractions or can or should they be changed?
 
Dr. Throckmorton, who is the other NARTH advisor that resigned? Can you disclose this?
 
I ask you: do any of these people sound like intellectually stunted Marxists bent on "silencing" NARTH?

Actually, Dr. Throckmorton emailed me just this morning:

Derrrrrrr... da workers is good, and da boojoizeee is bad. But NARTH better not say no different... derrrrr...
 
I see that Alan Chambers is scheduled to be a guest speaker at the NARTH conference in November. He is scheduled to speak on the topic, "Fight Like A Man". It doesn't look like he is trying too hard to avoid Nicolosi. Will he get a fee for speaking? Or is he volunteering his time?

David Blakeslee is also scheduled. Didn't he drop out?
 
Yes, Dr. Blakeslee has decided not to speak. For some reason they removed my presentation from the schedule but not his.

I can tell you that there is no fee for speaking.
 
FYI - Dr. Schoenewolf is also a movie producer. You can watch a trailer of his movie here. I think there is some real life background to this scenario but I cannot be sure where I read this...
 
Alan Chmabers said:

"I think the article is unhelpful, at best, and distracting from the real work that we should be focused on."

Isn't it just a bit ironic that EXODUS (which has become very political in recent years) is urging NARTH to, in effect, stay out of politics and stick to ministry?

Perhaps Alan is finally "thinking long and hard" about his own mission?
 
Was it Dean Byrd that dropped out? He has been very quiet...
 
NARTHS DAYS ARE NUMBERED! If Exodus and Love Won out continues to associate or stay on a plane that is destined for an ugly crash then they have no one to blame but themselves. The writing is on the wall. Chambers is at a cross roads he will need to choose TRUTH or NARTH .Seriously. He will either take a stand for what he really knows and believes in his heart or he will continue to sell out. These ministries are being purged. I'm thinking the Lord has had quite enough! It's Time to get real.Get back to the gospel...take all the legalism you teach and throw it out. Perhaps Grace and Love don't make as much money as fear and control. We hope you will choose today whom you will serve? Some of us actually think that God wants to open the church doors to the gays. Consider them like the gentiles whom Peter thought could not be saved. We all wonder if you will let them in and love them unconditionally and let God do the work not reparative therapists. PLEASE WAKE UP!...time is short. Get back to the gospel. Stop the head games and all the politics. For the love of God put down the cool aid and Get real.What a load off that will be for all of you. It must get tiring holding all those balls under water? Eventually one or all of them are going to pop up!
 
In answer to the question about the other advisor that resigned, it is Ned Stringham. He is a psychologist from Nebraska. Ned posted here about his displeasure over the Schoenewolf article and has now taken the step to leave the Scientific Advisory Board.
 
We've hit an iceberg. How many more friends and allies of NARTH are going to bail ship before NARTH sinks?

Wait a sec... I think I hear Celine Dion...
 
This is very disturbing. I was ready to be frustrated with Dr. Throckmorton when I came to this site but as I have read the posts, I am now appalled that NARTH has dragged their feet on this matter. I am going to explore this further...
 
Who is Dr. Bob?
 
I recall a Dr. Bob from The People Versus Larry Flint who would come to Larry Flint's house and give him and his wife drugs without prescriptions in exchange for large amounts of cash. I'm going to assume this is a different Dr. Bob.
 
I just found this comment on the NARTH blog from a writer called "Mary":

"Well, if someone wanted to change to become homosexual [I think she meant heterosexual]should not they have the right and the opportunity to do so? Though I do agree, posting articles that appear to promote political movements seems to go against Narth's mission statement."

This is the first blog reference, in weeks, that NARTH's blogmaster has allowed that even remotely criticizes NARTH's handling of the god-awful mess.

Mary is on to something here: "...posting articles that appear to promote political movements seems to go against Narth's mission statement." Hmmm... Maybe someone at NARTH (maybe even Dr. Niolcosi) will actually read thieir own blog and do as Alan Chmabers (and blogger, Mary) are urging -- for NARTH to think long and hard about its mission.
 
Interesting, isn't it, that Dr. Nicolosi frequently complains that "gay activists" are trying to "silence him" -- and now HE is the one who is voluntarily remaining silent, to the detriment of his own organization, even when his allies are urging him to speak up?
 
Political correctness gone amok? I think not. It's freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press -- weeding out the smart ideas from the stupid ones, the good apples from the bad...
 
Will Ned Stringham be posting an explanation as to why he is leaving NARTH? It would be interesting to hear his reasons. It would also be interesting to see what "Dr. Bob" found out about NARTH when he looked into it further...
 
I notice "Agape" Press failed to make any mention of the child bullying article. I guess they were trying to be charitable.
 
Media lessons: I just took a glimpse at the media articles that picked up on this controversy. In a controversy that is already very heated, they all seemed to make two misstatements.

1) The bullying comments weren't prescribed for your everyday gender noncomformists but for individuals who chose to dress as the opposite gender. This does not mean I condone bullying for any reason...I'm just noting how they've strayed from the original context.

2) Several comments paraphrasing Dr. Schoenewolf indicated that he suggested that blacks were better off 'in chains'...I'm still looking for the words 'in chains' in his original text. Even on this blog, we discussed whether he intended to say 'were EVENTUALLY better off'...IF he had said 'in chains', that question would never have come up.

The 'trigger' words in his article as I recall were 'savage' and 'jungle'...now the media has added 'in chains'. (Warren, your video may have helped put those words in their minds.)

I am vehemently anti-racist but I am almost vehemently against twisting and distorting a person's words...especially in a discussion that has already reached this magnitude.
 
Anon:

1. I think gender variant was the term used. I am not sure your distinction has much functional importance.

2. I understand that Schoenewolf should not be quoted as saying something he did not say. A media inference that being in chains is better than being in the jungle would be understandable as well. Interesting that you would bring in my video - is there a hint of blaming the messenger?

Read the other posts on this site. Schoenewolf knew people "would take issue" with his article.
 
Regarding the "media lessons" from Anonymous:

What POSSIBLE difference does it make if Berger was referring to ridiculing and teasing boys who want to wear dresses or to your "everyday gender noncomformists" -- whatever that means? Is that somehow better?

Can't Berger think of something more therapeutic? I thought he was a scientist. Is there some evidence somewhere that teasing boys who want to cross dress does them any good?.

What kind of ADULT would recommend that we condone bullying, teasing or ridiculing ANY child -- especially those who may have emotional or psychological problems?
 
As one who was bullied, teased and ridiculed by classmates on an almost daily basis during elementary and junior high school, I can tell you that it does NOT change your sexual orientation or cure your "gender non-conformormity". (I am still gay, and proudly so.)

What it DOES is turn you into a lonely little gay boy who is fearful, isolated, depressed and self-loathing. It makes you wary of being in groups, or trying sports or reaching out to others -- for fear of being taunted, despised and rejected.

And it does something to the kids who do the bullying, teasing and ridiculing. It gives them a sense of power. It makes them even more fearful of differences. It reinforces gang ties and increases the likelihood of violence against gays, lesbians or any other person perceived as different.

It can lead to assault and murder. I was stabbed in the back and my best friend was stabbed to death by a group of guys yelling "faggot"as they attacked.

I had seen their faces hundreds of times before -- on the playgrounds of my childhood. Alan Chambers of EXODUS told the L.A. Times that he was also the victim of childhood bullying and he described how emotionally destructive it was.

He went on to say that EXODUS, unlike NARTH, would not tolerate men like Berger and Schoenewolf who condone bullying -- even if it does make a little boy think twice about putting on a dress.
 
From Alan Chamber's own book (just released):

"When you're a witness to unkind words, or a judgmental attitude, or hate, stand up for gay people. Boldly and graciously confront injustice and hatred."

Bravo, Alan. Now do what you are preaching here. Be bold. Dump NARTH.
 
"When you're a witness to unkind words, or a judgmental attitude, or hate, stand up for gay people. Boldly and graciously confront injustice and hatred."

Bravo, Alan. Now do what you are preaching here.


Too late. Alan recently shared the stage with Bishop Wellington Boone, who had this to say:

My wife said to me this morning, she said, "Well,okay then. It's sodomites because they're not gays; it's a misnomer. They're sodomites."

So if this is just a small matter, I'll tell you what -- let two women go on an island and a whole bunch of - all women, if you're sodomites, go on an island, stay by yourself, all women, put all the men on another island - this is my wife talking to me this morning - let them stay.

Alan doesn't seem to have confronted Bishop Boone, who also recently said he prefers calling gay people faggots and sissies, with the truth in love. Although to be fair, perhaps Alan honestly believes the truthful loving thing for him to do is start calling himself an exsodomite sissy and maroon himself on an island.
 
Would it surprise anyone to know that Schoenewolf got his PhD from an online university that's had problems staying accredited?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Institute_and_University
 
Well, I guess NARTH is going to dodge and weave. I suppose they think it will go away.
 
This is from the Agape Press article:

(The Schoenewolf controversy) "has battered the so-called 'ex-gay' movement with accusations of racial bigotry for the first time." This firestorm has resulted, the report suggests, partly because ex-homosexual movement leaders and their Christian conservative allies have failed to condemn Schoenewolf's inflammatory remarks."

I think this is a reference to Alan Chambers, EXODUS and Focus on the Family.
 
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