Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Defending a Lie With More Lies Has Become Essential Doctrine

“In the end, a whole lot of self-righteous, sanctimonious people are telling a whole lot of fibs.”
Fire and brimstone
via Seattle Mennonite Church
Tuesday, fundamentalist Christians are outraged over a non-binding California Assembly resolution calling upon clergy not to promote conversion therapy. In short strokes, it does not work and it is potentially harmful

On June 4, California Assembly Member Evan Low introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99. It is a nonbinding statement of support for the LGBTQ community through a carefully worded denunciation of conversion therapy. On June 14 the matter was discussed in the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Staff prepared a synopsis which reads, in part (emphasis added):
This author-sponsored resolution calls upon religious leaders to counsel LGBTQ persons from a place of “love, compassion, and knowledge of the psychological and other harms of conversion therapy,” and calls upon all Californians to embrace acceptance and equitable treatment of all people. Although the resolution highlights the dangers of “conversion therapy,” also known as “sexual orientation change efforts,” it does not demand the prohibition of the practice, as past legislative efforts have sought to do.
You would think that purveyors of fundamentalist Christianity would have the good common sense to just shut up but doing so belies the importance of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) to these folks. Be assured that these Christianists champion SOCE as a means to thwart nondiscrimination laws. If people can change their sexuality then sexual orientation and gender identity are choices which do not deserve legal protection.

According to Family Policy Alliance, a 501(4) controlled by Focus on the Family: Silencing the Church: California Shows Where the LGBT Agenda Is Headed. One of their geniuses, Brittany Jones, writes:
Remember when California politicians tried to keep pastors from counseling about biblical sexuality? Well, the legislature is at it again, with a twist. Last year, the legislature tried to pass a bill that would have made it a consumer-fraud crime for nearly anyone to communicate in a way that 1) encouraged someone away from homosexuality or transgenderism, and 2) involved a financial transaction. A huge groundswell of opposition helped stop that bill.
These people cannot write a paragraph without editorial bullshit. There has never been legislation in California to “keep pastors from counseling about biblical sexuality.” Telling people that gay sex is a sin is different from promising them that they can cure people of their gayness as if being gay is some sort of disease. “Encouraged someone away from” are weasel words. Let's explain these things for what they are: Efforts to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

The obligatory victimization
But now the legislature is attempting to silence pastors again through a strongly worded resolution. The resolution (ACR 99) browbeats churches and religious leaders to get on board with the LGBTQ agenda.
In the United States of America clergy have First Amendment protection to say just about anything other than the intentional incitement to violence. The resolution is not law. It is a statement of belief based on the best available science which is based on evidence. Just because some religious fanatics disagree with the text that does not mean that the Assembly seeks to “browbeat” them.
Brittany Jones is a cultist:
Specifically, it badgers the Church to avoid efforts to influence a person’s sexual orientation, including their “sense of identity based on attractions, related behaviors and membership in a community.”
Who the hell is Jones quoting? None of that is in the resolution. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with behavior. Nor is it based upon membership in a club. The same is true for gender identity. The text doesn't “badger” anyone. It is simply telling the truth.

Aside from the fact that conversion therapy doesn't work it stigmatizes LGBT people. It attempts to assign some arbitrary reason why someone is gay or has incongruent gender identity. Bad parenting? A character flaw? When SOCE fails, practitioners have many ways of blaming their subject. “Insufficient motivation” is the Swiss Army Knife of this crackpottery.

From Focus on the Family we move on to a hate group, American Family Association. AFA's take is: Latest pro-LGBT proposal targets Christian therapists, pastors.
The head of the Pacific Justice Institute says a non-binding resolution just introduced in the California legislature raises a "red flag" that the state is on the verge of telling Christian pastors and counselors what they can and cannot say to certain people in deep pain.
If someone is in “deep pain” due to their sexuality then they need professional psychotherapy in accordance with what constitutes best practices. Promising to cure them is only going to lead to more pain because they will remain gay or gender incongruent. If someone has a religious conflict, there are plenty of Christian churches and synagogues that welcome LGBT people. Those houses of worship accept people for who they are. Sexuality is extremely resistant to change. Changing denominations is relatively easy.

Fundamentalist religion creates a problem that they then falsely claim to be able to fix. Common sense dictates that people are not distressed by their sexuality unless and until they are denied approval based on their sexuality. They should neither seek not require that approval in the first place.

Shame is the principal currency of conservative religion. If their status in the afterlife is insufficient to get people to follow the rules then a dose of shame will do. Even when they are trying to argue in support of conversion therapy they cannot help themselves from shaming LGBT people:
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99 proclaims that the state's legislators have "found that being [LGBT] is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming"; contends that attempts to help a person struggling with same-sex attraction are harmful; and blames churches and faith-based counselors for the epidemic of suicides within the LGBT community.
The first clause is an accurate quote expressing (accurately) the scientific consensus about LGBT people. In context, the existence of the quote expresses the opposite of the intent of the text; that being LGBT is a disease, disorder or illness.

The second clause is obviously not a quote from the text of the resolution. “[A]ttempts to help a person struggling with same sex attraction” means efforts to turn gay people straight because of religious dogma. That does not help anyone (except to help them become neurotic) and the only reason that gay people might be struggling with their sexual orientation is religious opprobrium.
{Hate Group Leader] Brad Dacus, president of the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, summarizes ACR-99 as "an outrageous violation of the state deciding to pressure what pastors teach and preach as they minister to individuals who are struggling with same-sex attraction or gender identity issues."
I will not repeat myself except to say: Stop making LGBT struggle. Mr. Dacus needs to stop struggling with biblical literalism! “The inerrant, literal word of God” sanctions slavery, calls on people to murder insolent children and non-virgin brides and makes Earth the center of the universe. Scripture says nothing about gender identity. Why is the passage in Leviticus, supposedly about gay sex, different from all the other things that we accept as biblical error? Or does Brad Dacus believe that Earth is the center of the universe and that it is protected above by a hard cover — “firmament?”
While a concurrent resolution in the California legislature carries no weight and essentially amounts to a recommendation, Dacus argues there's cause for worry.

"This resolution should serve as a red flag, a warning bell, to pastors as to the intentions of the government of California … trying to attempt to radically intimidate and force everyone to throw away their Christian beliefs," the attorney tells OneNewsNow.
Dacus predicts things will get worse before they get better. "It's resolutions like these that serve as the body blows to people of faith and churches before the state finally comes in with a legislative knockout punch," he shares.
Maybe Dacus is correct. I hope that he continues to worry. I hope that causes him considerably distress and discomfort. It is all his choice.

Conversion therapy is a lie. The arguments in support of conversion therapy are based on lies. The reason for conversion therapy to even exist is lie in pursuit of a discriminatory agenda. In the end, a whole lot of self-righteous, sanctimonious people are telling a whole lot of fibs.

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