Father Mark Hodges
Father Mark Hodges

The ultra-conservative Catholics at LifeSiteNews are indifferent to medicine and science. They uncritically accept Church teachings as truth without evidence and regardless of evidence to the contrary. Consider a piece posted Wednesday titled: “New Mexico bans therapy for minors with unwanted gay attractions. The piece is written by Orthodox priest Mark Hodges.

“Unwanted gay attractions” is comparable to, and just as ridiculous, as writing “unwanted brown eyes.” These people are not stupid. They are just not critical thinkers. According to Hodges’ “logic:”

New Mexico has become the sixth state to criminalize any professional counseling that helps minors overcome unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez signed SB-121 into law on Friday. The law bans doctors, nurses, and licensed therapists from any attempt to talk to clients about recovering from gay temptation. It also prohibits any professional from helping a boy accept that he is a male or a girl accept that she is a female.

The only reason that a child might have “unwanted” sexuality is religious or parental disapproval (parental disapproval is usually based on religious beliefs). Sexual orientation is innate. The substitution of superstition for science constitutes child abuse. Similarly, Hodges is presumably referring in the second paragraph to a kid with gender dysphoria. There exists no evidence of any medical intervention that will alleviate gender dysphoria. When it comes to children it seems insane not to rely on evidence.

The legal presumption is that reparative therapy is a “discredited” approach to counseling minors suffering from unwanted homosexual thoughts.

That is a correct presumption. Sexual orientation is innate and efforts to change sexual orientation are probably harmful. Every professional medical and counseling peer group agrees.

Republican State Rep. David Gallegos spoke against the bill, saying youth should be able to freely choose to try to overcome unwanted homosexual tendencies. “If some are willing and wanting to change, why should the state take away their right to get help?” he asked.

Ordinarily kids don’t make those choices; parents do and they are harming their kids. Gay kids do not need help. They are not broken and do not need to be repaired. Being gay is not something that needs to be cured.

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) Executive Director Regina Griggs agreed, saying reparative therapy bans violate the freedoms of those who choose to try to overcome unwanted gay feelings. “No one should be prevented from getting the help they want, and our society should allow every child and every person the freedom to be whoever they aspire to be,” she said.

Griggs is a bigot and her organization exists to demonize gay people. She and it are no “friend” of anyone in the gay community. People who are, or have been, associated with anti-LGBT hate groups are on Griggs’ board of directors including Peter Sprigg and Robert Knight.

“We know that change is possible,” Griggs added, “and sometimes, talk therapy is the path that leads to a journey of hope for change and help to overcome unresolved feelings.”

Dr. Christopher Doyle, an ex-gay licensed clinical professional counselor, defended Christian counseling, saying, “I have worked with hundreds of parents and teenagers struggling with sexual and gender identity. Not once have I ever allowed a parent to force or manipulate their child to change.”

Where is the evidence of the efficacy of reparative “therapy?” There is none. When the kid fails to change he or she is then shamed for not trying hard enough or praying hard enough or not being sufficiently motivated. Eventually the child learns to lie to get everyone off his or her back. At that point the family dynamic is ruined and will never recover.

The alternative is to tell parents the truth. They should know that homosexuality is innate and a natural variant of human sexuality. They need to accept their gay children for who they are. Continuing with Doyle:

“As a former homosexual and licensed psychotherapist … I understand that same-sex attractions and gender confusion are the result of many underlying factors; and when parents heal the wounds and work through dysfunctional patterns within the family, relational and emotional healing occurs with the child,” Dr. Doyle said. “In some cases, this results in a redefinition or new understanding for the child struggling with sexual and gender issues — even a change in the way he or she identifies.”

Doyle was, and still is, bisexual. Gay kids are not wounded. If they are it would be by parents so he is offering a steamy helping of guilt. Children with gender dysphoria are not confused. Doyle is neither a psychologist nor psychiatrist. He is always professing his love and acceptance of gay people. Except that Doyle is
the jerk who wrote a polemic for the hate-filled World Net Daily titled “Warning to homosexual youth: It gets worse.” He claimed that gay activists are responsible for gay kids with low self-esteem.

Getting back to Hodges:

Trump administration has not yet weighed in on the controversy, but
Vice President Mike Pence, while running for Congress 17 years ago,advocated
that tax dollars “be directed toward those institutions which provide
assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” He said
funds for reparative therapy could come from tax dollars going to
“organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that
facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.”

Yes, Mike Pence did do that. Pence knows less about human sexuality than Hodges. The fact that he was an advocate of conversion therapy only confirms that he is an anti-science crackpot.

Father Mark Hodges has no answers and he cannot cite evidence to support his religious-based proclamations. This is potentially harmful because he can influence parents to essentially hate their gay kids for being gay. When it comes to children a priest should go out of his way to make sure that he is on sound footing. And by the way, Hodges is married with kids himself. When his kids get sick does he take them to faith healers? Ultimately that is what conversion therapy is; faith healing that doesn’t work while it does real harm to children and their families.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.