Witherspoon Institute’s blog is WND for people who can express themselves with multi-syllabic words. The Opus Dei affiliate attracts Defenders of the Faith® who make no sense whatsoever.
Along comes Robert Carle, a professor of theology at the rather mediocre Kings College in lower Manhattan. Carle doesn’t seem to be gay and has no training in medicine, counseling or law. Yet, in a piece titled “When Government Keeps Teens from Seeing the Therapist,” he presumes to lecture us about the legal injustices and therapeutic shortcomings of laws that ban reparative therapy for minors.
First of all, the government doesn’t prevent teens from seeing a therapist. It prevents quacks and charlatans from dispensing therapy that is ineffective and dangerous which is the role of government. Moreover, I suspect that parents, not teens, seek such therapists out of ignorance and religious zeal. Teens are usually coerced which is one of the reasons that these “therapies” are toxic. The government often protects children from the stupidity of, or abuse by, their parents.
The governors of California and New Jersey
have recently signed bills into law that violate First Amendment
protections of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. These new laws
ban licensed counselors from engaging in talk therapies that reduce the
level of same-sex attractions in minors for whom such reduction is a
It is obvious that Mr. Carle has not read US District Court Judge Freda Wolfson‘s opinion on the matter. If he had read the opinion then he would address the fact that Judge Wolfson and the Ninth Circuit CA have both determined (with lengthy explanations) that talk therapy is conduct in contrast to speech. If he rendered an opinion relative to where the courts erred then it would have some value.
Furthermore, he is assuming that such therapies are effective. As Judge Wolfson also pointed out, in a court of law the best that NARTH could do was to offer anecdotal evidence. Where, Mr. Carle, has the APA or the AMA or the American Academy of Pediatrics gone wrong when disparaging sexual reorientation efforts? Mr. Carle doesn’t tell us because he doesn’t know. He is out of his depth.
The most comprehensive study of sexuality to date, the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey,
found that, without any intervention whatsoever, three out of four boys
who think they are gay at sixteen don’t think they are gay by the age
While very dated there is some truth to the University of Chicago study. Without intervention, kids figure it out. In now way whatsoever does that mean that you can turn a gay kid straight. He is essentially making a false assumption based on unrelated data sets. He also claims that the 2007 HHS Adolescent Health Report confirms this. He must have read that somewhere because it is not true.
Carle also quotes early works from Warren Throckmorton. If he knows of earlier material from Dr. Throckmorton that supports reparative therapy then surely he is aware of more recent works wherein Throckmorton is quite clearly in conformity with the APA. He does not support sexual orientation change efforts.
People like Carle don’t exactly lie. They make selective observation a form of intellectual analysis.
Paul Sherman and Robert McNamara,
who represent the Institute for Justice, warn that if “speech” can be
relabeled “conduct” in this way, then governments can begin regulating
teachers who engage in the “conduct” of instructing, actors who engage
in the “conduct” of entertaining, and consultants who engage in the
“conduct” of strategizing. “Whatever one’s view of the merits or evils
of ‘reparative’ talk therapy,” McNamara and Sherman write,
“it consists entirely of spoken communication,” and this should bring
it within the scope of First Amendment protection. The Ninth Circuit’s
ruling represents a radical break from the American tradition of
protecting unpopular speech that offends the sensibilities of a powerful
That is selective observation. Sherman and McNamara continue:
Importantly, the plaintiffs in the California case would not have automatically won their case had the Ninth Circuit held that the First Amendment applied. Instead, the government would then have had the burden of coming forward with actual evidence that the law addressed a real problem and limited speech no more than was necessary. That burden is serious, but it is not insurmountable. It simply means that courts take free speech very seriously, and government officials must present real evidence that their restrictions are necessary to fight a real danger.
It is possible, maybe even likely, that California will be able to meet this burden with regard to its reparative therapy law. But it was the Ninth Circuit’s responsibility to ensure that the state did so, and the court failed.
Just a reminder. The following organizations concur that sexual orientation is innate and the efforts to change sexual orientation are ineffective and harmful.
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Association of School Administrators
- American Counseling Association
- American Federation of Teachers
- American Medical Association
- American Psychological Association
- American Psychiatric Association
- American School Health Association
- American Sociological Association
- Interfaith Alliance Foundation
- National Association of School Psychologists
- National Association of Social Workers
- National Education Association
Who to believe? That’s a tough one.