Month Archives: December 2012

Yes, New Jersey, there are ex-gay teenagers

by Peter Sprigg

December 14, 2012

People are born “gay” and can’t change, right?

That’s what homosexual activists, who seek to stigmatize disapproval of homosexual conduct as being equivalent to racism, have tried to persuade people to believe. And many have bought into that theory.

The “born gay, can’t change” paradigm is also at the heart of the current wave of attacks upon sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) or sexual reorientation therapy—that is, psychological counseling designed to help people overcome unwanted same-sex attractions.

First, California enacted a new law, SB 1172, to ban reorientation therapy for minors by licensed professionals. Then, a similar bill was introduced in New Jersey. Finally, a lawsuit was filed against a Jewish ex-gay organization and one of its affiliated counselors, charging that offers to help someone change their sexual orientation violate the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Law.

Since the focus of the California and New Jersey legislative efforts has been on minors, some may wonder—is there really such a thing as an ex-gay teenager?

I recently came across a dramatic answer in the scholarly literature. Here is the quote that jumped off the page at me:

In the data set of the longitudinal Add Health study, of the Wave I boys who indicated that they had exclusive same-sex romantic attraction, only 11% reported exclusive same-sex attraction 1 year later; 48% reported only opposite-sex attraction, 35% reported no attraction to either sex, and 6% reported attraction to both sexes (Udry & Chantala, 2005).[i]

I learned from the cited source that “the Wave I boys who indicated that they had exclusive same-sex romantic attraction” consisted of “69 boys [who] indicated that yes, they had ever had a romantic attraction to the same sex, and no, they had never had an attraction to the opposite sex.”[ii]

Got that? Remember, according to the “born gay, can’t change” paradigm, someone who is exclusively homosexual will always remain that way, and will remain so forever.

But what does the empirical evidence show? Not only did those who were exclusively homosexual not all remain so, but only 11% did—and that was only one year later. Some measure of change in sexual orientation—which many homosexual activists say is impossible, and never happens to anyone—is not only possible, but it is the norm for adolescents with same-sex attractions, having been experienced by 89% of the respondents only one year later.

While some pro-homosexual activists will concede that some measure of fluidity exists, they say that complete transformation—from exclusively homosexual to exclusively heterosexual—is not possible. Yet this kind of complete reversal of sexual orientation is exactly what was reported by almost half (48%) of the adolescent boys in this survey—and again, after only one year.

The last refuge of the homosexual activists in the face of this kind of evidence is to concede, “Well, yes, a person’s sexual orientation can change—but only by accident, not by trying to change it!”

This is roughly like saying, “Well, yes, obese people can lose weight—but not by trying to, and certainly not with anyone else’s help!”

The California law and New Jersey bill are based on a theory (which also has poor empirical support) that reorientation therapy may harm the self-esteem of those who don’t change—the 11%, in this study.

But it makes no sense to address that theoretical harm by hiding the truth from, and denying help to, the 83% of teens who may lose, or overcome, their same-sex attractions.


[i] Ritch C. Savin-Williams, “Who’s Gay? Does It Matter?” Current Directions in Psychological Science 15 (2006): 42.

[ii] J. Richard Udry and Kim Chantala, “Risk Factors Differ According to Same-Sex and Opposite-Sex Interest,” Journal of Biosocial Science 37, Issue 4  (July 2005): 486.

Emergency Contraceptives Over the Counter - Safe or Sorry?

by Anna Higgins

December 13, 2012

There has been much talk recently in “reproductive rights” circles about the over-the-counter (OTC) status of emergency contraceptives (EC’s) and hormonal contraceptives, in general. Much of the debate has centered on a December 2011 decision by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius not to extend OTC status to Plan B One-Step, an emergency contraceptive, to girls less than 17 years of age. In defense of her decision, Secretary Sebelius stated, “the data provided as part of the actual use study and the label comprehension study are not sufficient to support making Plan B One-Step available to all girls 16 and younger, without talking to a health care professional.”

Now, one year later, “reproductive rights” advocates such as RH Reality Check and Reproductive Health Technology Project are determined to push the Obama Administration for wider access to all emergency contraceptives to all women and girls of reproductive age, according to a Washington Times story. These advocates see prescriptions as “barriers to care” and claim that emergency contraceptives have been proven safe enough “to be on the shelf — right between the condoms and the pregnancy-test kits.” (See President of Reproductive Health Technology Project Kirsten Moore’s statement).

Even the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has recommended that prescription-only age restrictions for EC’s be removed “to create true over the counter access to emergency contraception for all women.” (Committee Opinion Number 542, November 2012, Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women). In their committee report, ACOG claims that making emergency contraception easily available to teens will not increase the incidence of risky sexual behavior or unintended pregnancy, and that physical examination is not needed prior to the prescription of contraceptives. However, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) refutes ACOG’s findings.

AAPLOG addressed myriad problems with the decision to allow EC’s over the counter. Most significantly, AAPLOG noted in a news release that abortion rates and unintended pregnancy rates in places with OTC status for EC’s has not decreased (and, in fact, has increased in the UK), and since women will not need to be seen by a doctor before obtaining emergency contraceptives, they will bypass screening for STDs that they would normally receive at their doctor visits. AAPLOG also emphasizes the danger of easy access to EC’s for male sexual predators who wish to cover up their abuse.

Likewise, the American College of Pediatricians notes in its December 3, 2012 press release that there is no association between wider access to emergency contraceptives and lower incidence of unintended pregnancy, and in fact, access to EC’s is associated with a increased incidence of STD’s. The American College of Pediatricians also says that despite arguments to the contrary, EC’s are related to increased sexual activity among minors, “which is a risk factor for depression and suicide, poor school performance, more lifetime sexual partners, and an increased divorce rate.”*

The American College of Pediatricians emphasizes the fact that the adolescent brain has not reached full maturity — a fact to which any parent or school teacher can attest — and, thus, teens need guidance in decision-making from parents. The College recommends the more responsible, common sense position that doctors “encourage good adolescent-parental communication, teach adolescent patients the benefits of delaying sexual activity until marriage, and teach them how to avoid premature/promiscuous consensual sex and situations resulting in coerced sex.”

Protecting young women should be our foremost concern. Advocates of increased access to EC’s for teens want to push children into making serious, adult decisions in the name of “removing barriers.” As adults, it is our job to protect, not to endanger, children. If even a few of the concerns mentioned in relation to providing Plan B and other EC’s over the counter are valid, then the proposal to provide them to all girls of reproductive age should be suspended indefinitely.

* For more information about the effect of America’s sexual culture on girls, please reference the new book, Girls Uncovered: New Research on What America’s Sexual Culture Does to Young Women, written by obstetricians Joe S. McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush 

The Heavens Are Draped” The Battle of Fredericksburg: December 13, 1862

by Robert Morrison

December 13, 2012

I have only seen the Northern Lights once. Far out in the Bering Sea, seen from the bridge of a Coast Guard cutter, they are an awe-inspiring sight. Just seeing the aurora borealis is enough to give one a sense of the power and glory of God.

Imagine, then, the reaction of armies of believers, both Northern and Southern, to the appearance of the Northern Lights in the night sky following the terrible “Slaughter Pen” of the Battle of Fredericksburg. This important clash was fought this day one hundred fifty years ago. The Northern Lights had almost never before been seen so far South. It was said of that night, “the Heavens are draped” in mourning.

Fredericksburg was a Confederate triumph, another Union disaster. It closed the tumultuous and bloody year of 1862. In Washington, President Abraham Lincoln received this grim news with grief. The failure of the Army of the Potomac’s Gen. Ambrose Burnside to beat Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee would place a great burden on Lincoln.

It would not be wrong to call 1862 Lincoln’s Annus Horribilis. The year began with the death of his beloved son, Willie. The bright, engaging boy suffered terribly in the White House. He might never have fallen ill at all had he not been brought to Washington from his boyhood home of Springfield, Illinois. The fever swamps of Washington, D.C., with communicable diseases carried by hundreds of troops stationed around the Executive Mansion claimed this boy’s life.

There followed the failure of Gen. George B. McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign. He had transported more than 100,000 soldiers of the Army of the Potomac to Virginia’s York Peninsula and threatened the Confederate capital of Richmond. But McClellan moved slowly. And, following the wounding of the rebel Gen. Joseph Johnston, Robert E. Lee was dispatched to save the Southern capital and cause.

Initially dismissed by grumbling gray-coated soldiers as “Granny Lee” for his white beard, or sneered at as the King of Spades for making them dig defensive trenches, Lee soon showed his genius for war.

In the year 1862, Robert E. Lee and his faithful lieutenant, Gen. Thomas Jonathan (“Stonewall”) Jackson, captured the hearts of the South and earned the admiration of all for their brilliant stratagems. Again and again, they defeated far more numerous federal forces. Jackson’s Valley Campaign (Shenandoah) continues to be taught in army staff and command colleges around the world.

Lincoln pressed McClellan to strike. McClellan demanded more men. Lincoln said sending more troops to McClellan was “like shoveling fleas.” Thousands seemed never enough and many reinforcements ordered simply failed to show up on McClellan’s roster. McClellan had even allowed himself to be slowed by “Quaker guns” mounted in defense of Yorktown. (These were logs painted to look like artillery pieces.)

Meanwhile, Lincoln was pressured by Radicals in Congress to do something about slavery, the cause of all the fighting. McClellan was totally opposed to any effort to free the slaves. A Democrat, and aware he might face Lincoln in the next election, McClellan sternly warned the president against freeing any slaves. “The Union as it was and the Constitution as it is,” said Democrats.

Nonetheless, McClellan had provided victory at Antietam. That September battle near Sharpsburg, Maryland, was the bloodiest single day in American history. It gave Lincoln the victory he needed to announce his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. If, by January 1, 1863, rebel states failed to lay down their arms, their slaves would be freed as a purely military measure.

Democrats throughout the North howled in protest. The mid-term elections proved to be very damaging for Republicans. Lincoln desperately needed the support of War Democrats to hold the Union together. His Radical Republican wing in Congress didn’t make that easier. When “Bluff Ben Wade,” abolitionist senator from Ohio, demanded Lincoln fire McClellan, the commander-in-chief asked the lawmaker with whom he should replace the foot-dragging “Young Napoleon.” Anybody, roared Wade. “Anybody will do for you, Wade,” the President replied, “but I must have somebody.”

That somebody proved to be Gen. Ambrose Burnside. Burnside was big, hearty, affectionate, intelligent, and brave. He gave a name—sideburns—to the manly growth of facial hair he sported. But Gen. Burnside was unfit to command an army, and told Lincoln so. At Fredericksburg, he proved it.

He ordered charge after bloody and fruitless charge against Marye’s Heights, a fortified rebel position. He achieved nothing but a very long casualty list. “It is well that war is so terrible,” calmly reported Lee, “or we should grow too fond of it.”

One of the most remarkable testaments came from a young Union soldier who had come to these shores from Ireland. Corporal Peter Welsh of the Irish Brigade wrote to his wife of his feelings as an immigrant for this home of freedom: “This is my country as much as the man that was born on the soil and so it is with every man who comes to this country and becomes a citizen.”

This is the first test of a modern free government in the act of sustaining itself against internal enemys and matured rebellion   all men who love free government and equal laws are watching this crisis to see if a republic can sustain itself in such a case if it fails then the hopes of millions fall and the designs and wishes of all tyrants will suceed the old cry will be sent forth from the aristocrats of europe that such is the common end of all republics the blatant croakers of the devine right of kings will shout forth their joy … . it becomes the duty of every one no matter what his position to do all in his power to sustain for the present and to perpetuate for the benefit [of] future generations a government and a national asylum which is superior to any the world has yet known.”

It was for such men and their families that Lincoln wanted to preserve the western territories as free land, homesteads for “Patrick, Hans, and Pierre.” Lincoln saw an America of 130 millions, drawing immigrants here to this “last best hope of man on earth.

As this year of 2012 winds down, we can take inspiration from the determination of Abraham Lincoln. In our day we have faced a year of defeat and disappointments. Despite his Annus Horribilis, Lincoln persevered. In a letter to his Secretary of State, William Seward, he wrote: “I expect to maintain this contest until successful, or till I die, or am conquered, or my term expires, or Congress or the country forsakes me…”

He held on with a bulldog grip. So, I pray, will we.


 

FRC Senior Fellow Robert Morrison has taught American history at the high school and college levels. He is the lead researcher for Bill Bennett’s “America: The Last Best Hope.” Morrison’s great uncle, Capt. Jonas Lipps, fought in the Stonewall Brigade under Robert E. Lee.

Book Review: American Patriots

by Jared Hooper, FRC Intern

December 12, 2012

President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned us that “those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” This is especially true today, where we so easily fail to remember the sacrifices that were made, and the lives that were given in order to preserve the freedoms we now take for granted. We no longer remember our heroes. Rick Santorum’s new book, American Patriots, is a very noble attempt to help us remember the heroes who defended freedom in our nation’s early years.

What is an American Patriot? Is it someone who receives glory by accomplishing great feats for his country? Is it someone who stands in the political arena as a champion of liberty? According to Rick Santorum, you don’t have to be a Signer of the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence to be a Patriot. All it takes is a heart for your country, and the resolve to promote and protect liberty no matter what the cost may be to you.

American Patriots demonstrates these qualities by introducing the reader to real American Patriots during the Revolutionary War. While the reader may recognize names such as Nathan Hale or John Witherspoon, there are many other less famous heroes during our nation’s infancy. Patriots like Peter Francisco, Nancy Morgan Hart, Charles Carroll, Francis Marion, and others like them may not be as well-known as other heroes of the Revolutionary War era, but their accomplishments and feats are no less fascinating. One cannot help but to be inspired by the courage and sacrifice of these American Patriots.

The book has three sections: Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness. Each of these sections share inspiring stories of great men and women who fought for unalienable rights, often at great cost. Each story in the book details the life of an American patriot and his or her sacrifices for the cause of liberty. Some, like Peter Francisco and John Laurens, fought on the battlefield. Others, like Nancy Morgan Hart, carried messages through enemy-ridden territory at great danger to themselves.

The reader comes to understand that these were not superhuman beings. They were nothing more than average Americans with a passion for freedom and a deep love for their country. These simple colonists were no different than any of us. They had no special gifts or superior knowledge, but they gave all they had for the cause of freedom. Their stories are a testament of what one person can accomplish if they make a stand. Rick Santorum has done a fantastic job of showcasing the American patriot in an inspiring way, and for that he should be commended. Inspiring as the stories in the book are, they are also very informative. American Patriots is a book for those Americans who want to learn more about our past and be challenged by the accomplishments of our patriots of the past.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned us that “those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” We must not forget the sacrifices made by our forefathers. Their courage, their love of freedom, and their perseverance stands as a convicting question: they gave everything for this country; what are you willing to do for it? 

The Washington Times Discusses College Debt

by Chris Gacek

December 12, 2012

Last week the Washington Times (12/5/2012) discussed the “student debt explosion” in this editorial which provides an excellent overview of the matter.  The numbers are getting more and more grim.

Of course, there will be increasing political pressure to write off these loans.  Why not?  We can just have the fed monetize some more debt in our funny money world.  No problemo.

Nevertheless, conservatives should not be tempted to say that this is not a huge problem.  Nor should we start blaming the victims.  The college debt crisis is another example of welfare state policies run amok.  Young debtors who wouldn’t be allowed to get a credit card have been allowed to pile up massive college loans.  The subsidization of higher ed is producing massive wealth transfers from the middle class to academic institutions.  The Academy is becoming the modern version of Standard Oil.

Conservatives need to offer hope to the young by using their influence both political and commercial to develop alternative tracks for academic credentialing for jobs.  Simultaneously, we need to push hard for online alternatives to brick and mortar schools.  It won’t be perfect, but this is a sector of the economy that desperately needs a couple decades of Schumpeterian “creative destruction.”

Mormon Church Retools Discussion of Same-Sex Attraction

by Family Research Council

December 10, 2012

The Mormon Church (“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”) has launched a new site to equip its members to have “kind and reasoned” conversation about homosexuality.

The site defines the Mormon Church’s official stance on same-sex attraction:

The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

CNN’s report notes that “Mormons believe that family relationships survive after death, as long as individuals live in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ. The practice – called sealing – ‘refers to the joining together of a man and a woman and their children for eternity,’ according to the church.” Thus, the concept of family carries eternal significance for Mormons. Their site states that “[f]rom a public relations perspective it would be easier for the Church to simply accept homosexual behavior. That we cannot do, for God’s law is not ours to change.”

The site segment entitled “An Eternal Perspective” states, “Though some people, including those resisting same-sex attraction, may not have the opportunity to marry a person of the opposite sex in this life, a just God will provide them with ample opportunity to do so in the next. We can all live life in the full context of who we are, which is much broader than sexual attraction” (emphasis mine). Though as Christians, we disagree with the doctrine of the former statement, we can wholeheartedly agree with the truth of the latter.

For more, the Washington Post carries the AP’s report here.

62 Years…a Tribute to Marriage

by Family Research Council

December 7, 2012

I came across a recent Fox News article telling the beautiful story a couple who recently passed away hours apart after 62 years of marriage. The man’s name was Melvin and the woman’s name was Doris. What a testimony of love and faithfulness. I am sure they had struggles along the way but it takes a great deal of character to be faithful for that long. Melvin was the only man Doris ever kissed and I expect that faithfulness to one man prepared her well for a long marriage.

My wife often tells me that I can’t die until our 70th anniversary. I don’t know if the Lord will grant me such a long life but if He does I hope to have the same testimony of continued faithfulness as this dear couple. We often fight politically for marriage but I think it is even more important that we daily strengthen our own. So if you read this go home and tell your spouse you love them, and celebrate the blessing that marriage can bring.

For God So Loved the Blue Marble?

by Robert Morrison

December 7, 2012

They’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of the “iconic image” on the Net. AOL notes the photo taken on this date in 1972 from the outbound Apollo XVII spacecraft shaped our image of the earth. I’m so glad they called it earth. I’m indebted for science writer Frank Bures’s recalling this important anniversary to my attention.

He’s right, of course, this image did have a great impact here on Earth. We’re still not sure, he writes, which of the three American astronauts took this amazing photo. They each took many stills of the rapidly receding earth as they rocketed their way to what would be the last of our U.S. manned space voyages to the Moon.

At that point, one member of the Apollo 17 crew picked up a specially made Hasselblad camera and took several photos. No one knows who did this, because all three astronauts recalled taking the photo. Whomever did, it was a stunning, rare shot. You could see nearly all of Africa - the cradle of humanity - as well as the island of Madagascar, the Arabian peninsula and the clouds swirling over the ocean.

The photo would eventually become known as the “Blue Marble,” and it would become one of the most enduring pictures of all time. In fact, that photo probably changed the way we viewed our place in the cosmos more than any other.

Writer Bures acknowledges that the Earthrise photo taken from Apollo 8 probably began the re-orientation of our thinking. Those Apollo 8 astronauts—Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders—were the first men to leave the Earth’s gravitational pull and circle the Moon. They did not land, but they did see the far side and, after breathless minutes here at home as they were lost to radio contact, they reported back to an expectant world. No green cheese that side, either.

Those Apollo 8 heroes boldly went where no man had gone before but they irritated some atheizers here on Earth by reading from the King James Version of Genesis—on Christmas Eve, no less!

I’ve also read that King Faisal of Saudi Arabia assembled his wise men at that time, not sure how he should react to the U.S. landings on the Moon. The crescent Moon, of course, is a symbol of Islam. Saudi kings regard themselves as Custodians of the Holy Places of Islam. (Interesting that that does not include Jerusalem, but that’s a topic for another column.) King Faisal was advised by his Islamic science experts that the Americans had indeed landed on the Moon and it would probably be best not to dispute that fact in public. Better to leave such speculations to the Full Mooners in America, no doubt.

What interests me is what we make of all this. Al Gore and many other environmentalists see the Earth as fragile. Writer Bures stresses that this iconic image reinforced the idea of a planet alone in an inky void. Not very secure. It seemed to cry out for limits to growth, limits to population, limits to visions.

He doesn’t have the whole world in His hands, they tell us. We have the planet in our hands. And we’re so fearful, we’re trembling so violently from this existential terror that we’re about to drop it.

Thus, we have to hurry, right now, to acknowledge this inconvenient truth. We have to give all power to the UN or some other group of credentialed really smart geeks so we can save this fragile planet.

Cosmology explores our place in the cosmos and the origins of the cosmos. I come closest to the “Goldilocks Theory” myself, seeing our Earth and our place in the Universe as “just right.” Still, it’s fun to read what the really smart folks think about origins. How did they manage to miss the one where all that was and is and ever will be is carried about on the back of a really big turtle?

My favorite video on all this was produced by the Discovery Institute in 2005. The Privileged Planet makes the scientific case for Earth’s exceptionalism. It offers compelling evidence for the idea of Intelligent Design. This program shows how even if we limit ourselves to twenty enabling conditions, all of these conditions must be met in precisely the right sequence at precisely the right moment. The probabilities of all this happening by chance—as philosophical materialists insist is must happen—becomes remote and remoter. You might even say, astronomical.

Check out The Privileged Planet for your family. Invite some of your skeptical friends over to watch this one-hour documentary. Just hearing the rich baritone and authoritative British accent of narrator John Rhys-Davies will be worth the effort.

And remember what those valiant astronauts said on that long ago Christmas Eve.

Add to their Earth-shaping words this thought: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Resignation from West Point: Help Needed

by Rob Schwarzwalder

December 6, 2012

A young man has resigned from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point about six months shy of graduation. He cites discriminatory and hostile actions directed at him because of his public profession of atheism.

Blake Page is being hailed as a hero by Mikey Weinstein, the professional anti-religionist and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Weinstein compares Page’s act to Tibetan monks who self-immolate and Rosa Parks, the civil rights heroine.

Page says he wants to write a book about the discrimination he faced in the military for his atheism, even though West Point allowed him to found a Secular Student Alliance club complete with a faculty advisor.

Neglected in the effusion of liberal enthusiasm for Page’s erstwhile martyrdom is that he suffers from clinical depression, for which reason he was told he would not be commissioned an officer in the Army. More precisely:

The 24-year-old told The Associated Press that a determination this semester that he could not become an officer because of clinical depression played a role in his public protest against what he calls the unconstitutional prevalence of religion in the military.

Clinical depression is a medical condition. University Health Services at the University of California-Berkeley says clinical depression is:

… a serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Individuals with clinical depression are unable to function as they used to. Often they have lost interest in activities that were once enjoyable to them, and feel sad and hopeless for extended periods of time. Clinical depression is not the same as feeling sad or depressed for a few days and then feeling better. It can affect your body, mood, thoughts, and behavior. It can change your eating habits, how you feel and think, your ability to work and study, and how you interact with people.

Clinical depression has organic roots. It is a serious illness. Like any other serious illness, it renders one unfit to serve in military leadership.

Blake Page needs compassion and help, not publicity or exploitation by those who wish to use his professed atheism as a pretext for scrubbing the Armed Forces of their heritage of Judeo-Christian faith. It’s my prayer he will get it.

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