Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Never underestimate the importance of conversion therapy to the religious right

Conversion therapy has a purpose in the world of religious conservatives. It has nothing to do with supposedly helping a tiny number of people change their sexuality.
So-called ex-gays are very important to the religious right. PFOX's VP is Peter Sprigg whose full-time employment is with the hate group Family Research Council.
Hate group leader Brad Dacus (Pacific Justice Institute) is again threatening litigation if California Assembly Bill 2943 is enacted into law. Oh well. I have had a one month respite from entertaining idiotic arguments opposing the California measure. If signed into law (which seems likely) AB-2943 would designate offering conversion therapy for a fee as consumer fraud per se.

We do not need to get into a discussion pertaining to  the pseudoscience because it is not up to us to prove that conversion therapy is ineffective and toxic. Rather it is up to practitioners and their supporters to prove that conversion therapy — whether for sexual orientation or gender identity — is safe and effective. They have never done so.

Conversion therapy is profoundly important to religious conservatives. If someone can change their sexual orientation or gender identity then their sexuality is a choice. If sexuality is a choice that, in turn, justifies discrimination and the rejection of potential nondiscrimination laws.

About 5% of the population is L, G, B or T. Of that 5%, a tiny percentage claims to have changed their sexual orientation or gender identity; usually through prayer. Some of that minuscule number of people are bisexual. Some are just celibate and some of those folks are full of crap. Claiming to be ex-gay or ex-trans can be very financially rewarding.

In spite of their very small size, these people are very easy to find. They are present at some point in almost every anti-LGBT initiative. The reason that they are easy to find is because every ex-whatever seems to have an economic interest in claiming to be ex. That is often how they make a living.

We have a fusion of self-promoting poseurs with the needy religious right. Both have “sham-cause attraction” to each other. It creates an irresistible allure.

Consider how utterly unhinged the religionists become over a ban that affects such a small number of people. Their motivation is not what they claim. It's not about poor “same-sex attracted” people. Rather it is about promoting something that justifies discrimination based on a literalist interpretation of ancient texts.

Getting back to Brad Dacus:

Dacus is quoted at American Family Association's blog:
[…] we ... stand ready to challenge it as unconstitutional in federal court."

According to Dacus, there are no meaningful amendments that correct the underlying problem with the legislation.

"It's trying to ban any counseling, even for adults, who are struggling with same-sex attraction or gender identity," he explains. "This makes it illegal for them to get any counseling from either a licensed counselor or an unlicensed counselor [and] it even bans conferences by ex-gays, ex-transgenders or church retreats addressing these issues where people have to pay a fee for food and lodging."
No one should be “stuggling” with their sexuality. If they are it is the result of shame being heaped upon them by religious conservatives combined with their belief that the shame is justified. Nothing will change their sexuality but a good therapist could probably remove the belief in shame.

In other words, counseling cannot make a gay person straight. However counseling could remove the unrealistic desire of a gay person to be straight.

Dacus' statement is false. Conversion therapy is a religious practice. People can offer the “service” to their congregants providing that it is not in exchange for a fee. Conferences and church retreats? Please. If money is charged for food and lodging then individuals are not paying for conversion therapy.

Brad William Dacus is a 1991 graduate of University of Texas School of Law. It is considered to be one of the best law schools in the country. Surely he can correctly analyze the effects of AB-2943 and state them truthfully. Dacus chose not to.

The AFA piece goes on to say:
Jonathan Keller with California Family Council has also shared concerns with OneNewsNow about AB293 …, as have Ken Williams and Elizabeth Woning of Equipped to Love, a ministry to those impacted by homosexuality ….
California Family Counsel has an entire menu tab devoted to AB-2943. They claim to oppose it on legal grounds but we know better. Williams and Woning are associated with Bethel Church in Redding, California. Bethel Church is a greedy money-obsessed cult. Woning also claims to be an instructor/life coach at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Accreditation? Are you joking?

A number of organizations including hate group Liberty Counsel have promised to litigate when AB-2943 is enacted. Surely all of the time, money and energy devoted to the cause is not to enable a small handful of people to purchase a service with no proven results.

They will pursue this matter because it enables discrimination and the oppression of LGBT people. That is the agenda and let no one try to convince us otherwise.

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