Wednesday, August 03, 2011

On Marcus Bachmann and “conversion therapy”

On Marcus Bachmann and “conversion therapy”: "

Before I post on the accusations leveled against the “Christian counseling business” of Michelle Bachmann’s husband Marcus, an outfit that (allegedly) uses “a controversial therapy that encourages homosexual patients to change their sexual orientation,” let me reiterate my views on such outfits.

First, Christian groups have every right to set up such companies, provided they do not coerce anyone to enter treatment.

Second, critics of such outfits continue to have the freedom to question the methods of said companies and should continue to exercise that freedom.

While many programs do claim some success in “converting” their charges, they are dealing with a self-selected group; those who have “succeeded” in changing their orientation may have already been disposed to such change, that is, their sexuality is more fluid that it is for most of us.  Whereas in their youth, they found themselves drawn to their own sex, as they age, they find themselves drawn to the other sex.

Could it be that they didn’t so much convert them as they helped them accept the change that has already taken place?

The only objective studies I have read of such programs show they have a “success” rate (as defined by them) no greater than 33% (and even that number is likely inflated).  And that, let me stress, is not 33% of all gay people, but 33% of those who seek counseling in such facilities. Some who seek out such treatment may feel uncomfortable describing themselves as “gay” because the label which once worked for them no longer does so, that is, their feelings have changed.

All that said, that doesn’t diminish my skepticism of the “ex-gay” movement.  Those who parade about telling about how they were “saved” from their homosexuality seem to be trying not so much to convince the world about the merits of their ministry, but to convince themselves of the effectiveness of its therapy.

If it had been so effective, why would they need to talk about it so much?

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