Friday, November 27, 2015

Oh no: "Using Modern Science to Treat Homosexuality"

Faculty photo: Dr. Mark S. Latkovic
A post at Crisis Magazine is titled “Using Modern Science to Treat Homosexuality” by Mark S. Latkovic. There is a whole lot to work with here but it has to start with the fact that Mr. Latkovic is a professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. Latkovic has an STD. No … that's a doctorate in sacred theology. Who knew? He's an easy target (he may even be gay) so I will try to restrain the snark. I take the liberty of quoting things out of order starting here:
Presupposing the historic truth of Christian teaching on homosexuality, there is, unfortunately, no drug available (as of yet!) that one could take in order to restore or create normal heterosexual functioning. Today, of course, the majority of psychologists and mental health care professionals deny that there is anything abnormal about homosexuality. Famously, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in the early 1970s. This was due primarily to political pressure more than anything having to do with the objective findings of an impartial psychiatric science (cf. Anatrella, p. 431).
Why would someone posit something that is demonstrably false? Any effort to conform science to religious dogma is unscientific per se. The Church considers homosexuality “objectively disordered.” They distill this to “same-sex attraction” )or “SSA” as if it were in the DSM). It's not just the majority of mental health professionals; It is the overwhelming majority of “psychologists and mental health care professionals [who] deny that there is anything abnormal about homosexuality.” And it is not just individuals. All of the counseling and mental health professional organizations are on record that homosexuality is a natural variant that is innate and that efforts to change sexual orientation are ineffective and dangerous.

The idea that the the APA changed the DSM out of political correctness is Christian mythology. It was, in point of fact, the result of a mountain of serious peer reviewed research. The cite to “Anatrella” is possibly Mgr. Tony Anatrella which is something short of authoritative. This brings me to an earlier paragraph:
In polemics over homosexuality, Catholicism is often falsely accused of being both “homophobic” and “anti-science.” But the Catholic Church is far from being against science, a fact that can be seen from the large number of priests who have been top scientists, such as Georges Lemaître, who proposed the Big Bang theory, and Gregor Mendel, the father of modern genetics. In fact, she encourages the upright work of scientists in all fields. Simply reading what the Church officially teaches about science—today and historically—would easily confirm this positive view (e.g., see the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s 1987 “Instruction,” Donum vitae, Parts 1 and 2 of the Introduction).
In 1987 the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (previously known as The Inquisition) was none other than Cardinal Ratzinger (the current Pope Emeritus). The irony is that Ratzinger authored that very unscientific, anti-gay 2003 treatise on same-sex unions. Here is just a small sample:
There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”.
Latkovic is also indulging in some rather discordant logic. The fact that some priests have been notable scientists does not provide a compelling rebuttal to charges that the Church is “anti-science” and “homophobic.” The Church's teachings on sexuality differ from the overwhelming scientific consensus because they do not conform to scripture. That is the very definition of “anti-science.” Those teachings are also homophobic regardless of the fact that some priest was a pioneering geneticist.Gay people are not disordered.

Latkovic concedes “… the Church reminds scientists—many of whom are Catholic Christians and other persons of religious faith—that the integrity of their vocation and work depends on its conformity to moral truth and respect for the dignity of the human person.” That is as unscientific as the late Tobacco Institute's hacks claiming that cigarettes are neither addictive nor a cause of lung cancer. The client is different (the Church in contrast to Phillip Morris) but the outcome is the same. As an aside, those tobacco crackpots are now paid climate deniers.

The very idea that sexual orientation should be treated is at odds with science. The idea that it can be treated is absurd. That is not just the conclusion of the scientific community but of Christian organizations like the now defunct Exodus International.

After bemoaning marriage equality as “confusion,” Latkovic writes:
… the secular culture bullies the Church and others who might offer hope to persons with SSA seeking to live chastely and/or to change their sexual orientation to cease these efforts—“junk science” they disparagingly call it—even going so far as to legally ban “reparative therapy” for children and teenagers.
It's not bullying. Calling junk science “junk science” is simply a reality. None of this so-called science would exist were it not for the unscientific insistence of Christians that homosexuality is a reversible choice. Reorientation therapy is banned in some locales for minors because it is toxic. This guy is so fiercely determined to mold his own reality that he writes:
This is why I believe that clinical psychology—at least one with a sound philosophical anthropology—is most advantageous. These clinicians actually work directly with individuals who suffer with SSA. Of all scientific professionals, the clinical psychologist is probably best situated to treat, as well as gain insights into, the homosexual/lesbian orientation. These therapists are the best suited for the task because they are the most familiar with the struggles of these clients.
The simple fact is that nobody should suffer or struggle because they are gay. Depriving oneself of intimacy with other people is extremely unhealthy. Doing so in order to be in conformity with ancient texts is a form of masochism. Gay Christians have reasonable choices that they can make. The first of those choices is to accept the science which provides acceptance of themselves. One does not have to live with relentless shame and guilt.

People can also choose how they wish to worship. There are options that don't require them to live as eunuchs or to deny their sexuality entirely.

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