No Dr. Dobson, Homosexuality Is a Choice
Editor’s Note: This article contains explicit but necessary descriptions of homosexual sexual practices. Please be advised.
At a high level of abstraction, homosexuality and heterosexuality might seem similar. So similar, in fact, that psychiatry and the media would have us believe that the only difference is in one’s choice of sex partners. Otherwise, homosexuals are ‘just like you and me.’ They work, dine, go to movies; they bleed, have ambitions, feelings, etc. But despite this message, in the ‘real world,’ there are enormous differences between what homosexuals and heterosexuals do.
There is no way to sugarcoat this reality. In fact, it is extremely distasteful. But if reality is skipped ‘out of decency,’ high flying abstractions tend to prevail. For men, what homosexuality really comes down to is getting the penises of other men -- often strangers or near-strangers -- into their rectums or mouths, or putting their penis into the mouths or rectums of other men. This reality is avoided at our intellectual peril.
Furthermore, the differences between what ‘homosexuals’ and heterosexuals do show that homosexuality is about more than just sex -- it is about rebelling against and trying to corrupt society, even as heterosexuality is about, for the most part, having and raising children. Homosexuality is also about coloring the world with SEX, regardless of the consequences. Its most prominent attitude is selfishness -- getting what’s mine, what I deserve; getting back at all those who have hurt me, etc.
Of course, those with homosexual proclivities generally do everything in their power not to admit these truths. In fact, they often become enraged if accused of being either promiscuous or fundamentally self-centered. And their rage is usually effective. Most people just ‘back off,’ not wanting a confrontation. Others decide that their anger must be justified -- that homosexuals must not really be so selfish or obsessed with sex. For why else would they get so upset?
James Dobson Steps In
An example of this kind of reaction, from someone who ought to know better, is Dr. James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family. In a March 7th interview on Larry King Live, Dobson declared that he thought it was “a big mistake for people, uninformed people, to say that homosexuality is chosen. It usually isn’t.” Later in the program, he repeated that “It isn’t chosen, but it’s not genetic, either.”
In his brand-new book, Bringing Up Boys (2001, Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House), Dobson repeats the same theme. He also uses his June 2002 letter to supporters to quote extensively from his chapter on homosexuality in Bringing Up Boys, calling it “a definitive explanation, I believe, regarding the origins of homosexuality” (p. 1): “first,...” homosexuality “...is a disorder.” “The second thing we know is that the disorder is not typically ‘chosen.’ Homosexuals deeply resent being told that they selected this same-sex inclination in pursuit of sexual excitement or some other motive. It is unfair, and I don’t blame them for being irritated by that assumption. Who among us would knowingly choose a path that would result in alienation from family, rejection by friends, disdain from the heterosexual world, exposure to sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis, and even a shorter lifespan. No, homosexuality is not ‘chosen’ except in rare circumstances. Instead, bewildered children and adolescents... find themselves dealing with something they don’t even understand.” (pp. 115-116)
Dobson later says:
“The bottom line is that homosexuality is not primarily about sex. It is about everything else, including loneliness, rejection, affirmation, intimacy, identity, relationships, parenting, self-hatred, gender confusion, and a search for belonging. This explains why the homosexual experience is so intense -- and why there is such anger expressed against those who are perceived as disrespecting gays and lesbians or making their experience more painful. I suppose if we who are straight had walked in the shoes of those in that ‘other world,’ we would be angry too.” (pp. 122-123)
A Freudian Undercurrent
Though you may not realize it, Dobson’s statements are typical of a Freudian/psychoanalytic perspective on homosexuality. The ex-gay ministry movement also mostly adopts this posture. Nevertheless, there are many problems with regarding homosexuals as ‘victims.’ FRI believes we must confront this kind of rhetoric and the facts to which it appeals head on. Furthermore, because Dobson is so prominent in the pro-family movement, he has a special responsibility to be accurate in what he says or writes.
To underscore what Dobson believes about the origins of homosexuality, he cites and quotes from Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, head of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality [NARTH]. The emphasis in these citations is the early-age relationship between a father and his son:
“the father plays an essential role in a boy’s normal development as a man. The truth is, Dad is more important than Mom.” (Dobson quoting Nicolosi, p. 120)
“At this point (beginning about eighteen months), a little boy will not only begin to observe the difference [between Mom and Dad], he must now decide, ‘Which one am I going to be?’ In making this shift in identity, the little boy begins to take his father as a model of masculinity.” (Dobson quoting Nicolosi, p. 120)
“In 15 years, I have spoken with hundreds of homosexual men. I have never met one who said he had a loving, respectful relationship with his father.” (Dobson quoting Nicolosi, p. 121)
For Nicolosi and Dobson, male homosexuality is all about “gender confusion” and identifying with the wrong sex. Dobson quotes Nicolosi to the effect that “this natural process of gender identification can sometimes go awry.” (p. 121) And it all sounds plausible at first glance. That’s what made Freudian theory seem so compelling for so long.
Nevertheless, the test of any theory is whether it matches the facts of the matter. Rather than “gender confusion,” FRI believes the facts show that homosexuality is largely about an obsession with sex and self-centeredness, and a desire to rebel against society, one’s family, etc. While we would not deny that “loneliness, rejection, self-hatred, and a search for belonging” are part of the price for rebellion, these are not the fundamental causes of homosexual behavior, but instead some of its consequences.
Please remember that what male homosexuality really involves is getting the penises of other men into their rectums or mouths, or putting their penis into other men’s mouths or rectums. Usually, these activities are pursued with dozens of other men, many or all of whom may be strangers or near-strangers. We don’t mean to be ‘gross,’ but it is important to ask yourself “how could what a boy’s father did or didn’t do to him make the boy want to do these kinds of sex acts? If you think this is an absurd question, then you are thinking at too high a level of abstraction -- you are not looking at the reality of what gays do.
Origins of Homosexuality
In FRI’s analysis, most of those who engage in homosexuality adopt these sexual activities and rebellious attitudes as a result of three kinds of experiences:
- direct recruitment to homosexuality by seduction or molestation (particularly of the underage);
- indirect recruitment via cultural institutions (e.g., the schools, media, churches) preaching that ‘homosexuality is another way to fulfillment and personal satisfaction;’ and
- being around homosexuals as friends, acquaintances, or family members.
We would argue that these same mechanisms also account for most of those who take up smoking, drug abuse, or other common ‘bad habits.’
Dr. Dobson largely ignores these “common sense” mechanisms that lead to homosexuality, in favor of the hocus-pocus of Freudian thought. Even when Dobson decries the sexual exploitation of children and calls it an “evil” (p. 124), he sees child abuse as leading to “gender identity disorder.”
“There is another major cause of gender identity disorder that we must address. It results from early sexual abuse. One study indicated that fully 30 percent of homosexuals say they were exploited sexually as a child, many of them repeatedly. That experience can be devastating, and depending on when it occurs, it can be life changing.” (p. 124)
Does Dr. Dobson really mean this? Dobson’s model to account for adoption of homosexual activity requires that the boy be ‘confused’ about his gender. Sometimes this gender confusion results from what his father did or didn’t do; other times this confusion is caused by sexual molestation. For being molested “depending on when [in childhood] it occurs,... can be life changing.”
What a blatant disregard for the facts of child development. Instead of letting the facts shape the theory, Dobson has tried to twist the facts to fit his theory. Not only is he wrong, but by clinging to a Freudian and peculiarly psychiatric view of homosexuality, Dobson sets himself up for other contradictions and dilemmas.
All About Pleasure
In reality, sexual abuse of a boy often leads the boy to discover that sexual activity with another boy or a man can be pleasurable. That is why molestation of boys by men is so dangerous. Except in a few isolated instances, molestation does NOT lead to “gender identity disorder” in boys. Rather, it sets up the makings of a very bad habit -- a habit that can turn the boy away from responsibly contributing to society through his sexuality to engaging in sex only to satisfy his desires.
The reason gays get the penises of other men in their rectums or mouths, or vice-versa, is because they have learned to enjoy this kind of activity. Often homosexual sex occurs with strangers or near-strangers, acts almost bereft of, or very light on, human interaction. No special effort is needed to relate to the opposite (and very different) sex. No female is longing for relational and emotional intimacy before or after sex. No demand is made, even, for fidelity or faithfulness to a single partner. At best, homosexuals ‘hook up with’ a partner for a few months or years. And even then, the gay definition of ‘monogamy’ almost always means the freedom to have ‘outside’ partners too.
With rare exception, gays don’t do these things because they are “confused as to whether they are a man or a woman.” They know that they are men, they have just learned to enjoy sex with other men. They are not “sick,” nor typically in great psychological distress. Rather they have acquired an evil habit, a bad habit, a socially injurious habit.
It is much the same with illegal drug abusers. Both drug abusers and homosexuals are, in FRI’s opinion, engaging in what ought to be regarded as, and punished as, criminal activity. Both are engaging in personal and social pathology. In Dobson’s view, therapy or counseling is the answer. Because homosexuality is a “disorder,” gays must be “sick first,” so that they can be “healed” or “cured” later.
The reason FRI is so concerned about this logic is that while Dr. Dobson carries the mantle of a pro-family leader and spokesman, his arguments sound very much like those put forth in the media or in academia.
In late May, 2002, ABC’s Nightline spent a whole week on homosexuality. Over and over again, Ted Koppel argued that homosexuality cannot be chosen, because no one would choose to be rejected, despised, etc. And if no one would choose it, how can anyone argue that homosexuality is anything but either natural (i.e., inborn, genetic, hormonal, etc.) or perhaps a medical or psychiatric abnormality?
Well, we can.
Rebel With A Choice
Why do kids become Hari Krishnas? Few wish to befriend or even be around a person who wears yellow robes, shaves his hair, and goes about in a group chanting and ringing bells! Why do people become motor cycle gang members? Few wish to befriend or be around a person who wears leather clothes, sports a beard and long hair, guzzles beer, and wears tattoos.
Indeed, why do people dye their hair blue, wear nose rings, get their belly buttons pierced, or get tattoos at all? If you look around, perhaps 10% or so of the population is ‘different by choice’ (and among adolescents, the percentage is certainly higher).
Why would this be? Doesn’t everyone want to be like everybody else? Not at all.
It can be ‘fun’ to stand out in a crowd. Having the only blue hair in school gives you an identity. You stand out, and with relatively modest effort. You don’t have to be a great athlete or do well academically, you can be talked about and noticed as much as these other kinds of ‘stars.’ You are a star because you have blue hair.
Likewise, you can be someone if you declare yourself to be ‘gay’ -- everyone will talk about you. You will have an ‘identity.’
It can be ‘cool’ to attract similar ‘weirdoes’ and ‘twist society’s tail.’ Few of us need very many people to like us and stand by us, just a few friends or companions will often ‘do the trick.’ Harris and Klebold, perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre, appeared only to need each other.
Adding sex to the mix, as is true for homosexuality, can also attract a fair number of converts. The joy of being a ‘rebel,’ especially if it provides sex and attention, can be pretty heady. “Who wants to be like all the rest of you jerks?” is often the theme of those ‘different by choice.’
Further, there are those who just like to ‘mess things up.’ Some of these folks create computer viruses. Others start fires, vandalize, or copy-cat the latest crime. These folk are also ‘different by choice,’ although they rarely advertise their predilections. Some people are simply more attracted to evil than most of us. Others get ensnared by evil people who mix that evil with pleasure (such as boys seduced by gays). Still others ‘try something’ for a change, and find it too alluring to quit.
Lonely, confused, and rebellious kids are probably disproportionately among those who become ‘different by choice,’ but some kids from the best of families become ‘different by choice’ too. Of course, being ‘different by choice’ does not mean you have to stay that way forever. Many hippies of the 60s and 70s have ‘gone straight’ and shed their clothes, drugs, and anti-establishment mentalities. And as we noted in the last issue of Family Research Report, a considerable fraction of homosexuals abandon homosexuality. The same is true of ‘blue hair’ wearers, drug abusers, and so on.
The Gay Pride Factor
Consider Gay Pride parades. FRI has witnessed a number of these festivities, and there is a certain sameness to them. But Gay Pride parades are very different from other parades. First, there is almost always nudity. Many lesbians at least strip to the waist, and prance or dance down the street to declare their ‘pride.’ Similarly, many gays walk or ride naked, and not a few engage in sex-acts, either real or simulated, on floats or in cars or even while they are walking. One such parade in San Francisco that we attended featured a float of masturbating, taunting gays along the whole route. At another Gay Pride parade in Washington, D.C., simulated sex acts were performed for the benefit of anyone watching out the windows of the Clinton White House.
If Scots have a Scottish parade, you can count on kilts and bagpipes. If the Poles have a parade you can count on Polish costumes. But no one goes nude or semi-nude and there is nary a hint of simulated or actual sex (the baton-twirlers, though they may be cute, always wear clothes -- and they certainly don’t simulate sex). Indeed, you can anticipate that the Scots or Poles will be ‘dressed in their finery’ and will be showing their best side to those who watch.
These parades are about introducing some of the ‘best’ or most ‘native’ bits about Scotland or Poland to the crowd and to celebrate favored aspects of the old country. No insult to America is made nor intended. No attempt to ‘trash’ society or cause scandal to viewers is afoot.
A Gay Pride parade is just the opposite. Garish costumes (or lack thereof) are the order of the day. Conventional society is mocked and insulted at every turn. Some gays dress as Jesus and carry a cross, other lesbians pretend to be Mary and do their best to offend those who look up to her. And public sex is either practiced, simulated, or alluded to at every opportunity.
Vile language and gestures are served up. A Gay Pride parade is open, defiant, rebellion against conventional norms and mores. Everything ‘sacred’ is mocked and reviled. And the whole crowd revels in the joy of making a public mockery of straight society.
And why not? Our secular high priests -- the mental health professionals -- freed homosexuality from the condemnation of Christian society. Soon thereafter, the parades began. Is there a connection?
For the past 50 to 60 years, psychiatrists have offered a ready-made ‘excuse’ to those who were ‘suffering’ from the ‘condition’ of homosexuality. Homosexuals were ‘not responsible’ for their same-sex desires (their parents made them do it). Homosexuals were ‘not responsible’ for their sexual activity (their childrearing experiences were). So, if they ‘can’t help’ having these desires or engaging in homosexual sex -- and their parents are responsible in any case -- why not mock society and its institutions in parades?
Why not share the irony with everyone? What homosexuals had to do in relative privacy before (e.g., in gay bars or molly houses) -- dressing in ‘drag,’ sexualizing every aspect of life in parody, mocking straight society -- they could now do in public with little fear of retribution. So why not parade?
Mental health professionals gave them permission -- homosexuals had to do their ‘thing,’ for weren’t they just grown-up versions of “bewildered children and adolescents... finding themselves dealing with something they didn’t even understand?” When their activities brought them and us AIDS, our psychiatrically-attuned elite decided that ‘their condition forces them to do what they do, now they’ve gotten a terrible disease. There is only one solution. Pay for their treatment and rush to find a cure. Since homosexuals have no choice but to be homosexual, only a cure or a vaccine will do.’
So how do Gay Pride parades fit in with Dobson’s contention that homosexuality is not about sex so much as “loneliness, rejection, affirmation, intimacy, identity, relationships, parenting, self-hatred, gender confusion, and a search for belonging?” While one can ask “why would anyone choose to be a homosexual when...,” a better question is why homosexuals do these very things in their parades? Indeed, why have a parade at all?
If it is so ‘hard to be a homosexual,’ why do they have parades where people who might not know about homosexuality and its ‘hardships,’ now can be left with no doubt? And why are these parades an on-going litany of perversity? Many have, for example, featured ‘dog lovers’ and/or ‘man-boy lovers.’ If these are people with a medical ‘condition’ or ‘disorder,’ as Dobson and Nicolosi would have us believe, if homosexuals are simply misunderstood individuals who just want to be accepted, and who would never “knowingly choose a path that would result in alienation from family, rejection by friends, disdain from the heterosexual world,” then why on earth would they choose to have a parade?
No one forces homosexuals to have parades. On the contrary, gay activists have filed lawsuits to be allowed to carry on as they do in public parades. No one forces participation -- but instead of hiding, they ‘come out’ with a vengeance! And certainly no one forces them to make sex -- perverse, in-your-face sex -- the centerpiece of what their parades are about.
Anyone who has attended these parades knows that the homosexuals are having fun. They are not timorously anxious about whether their co-workers or ‘aunt Tillie’ might see them. They WANT aunt Tillie to see them -- masturbating or ‘loving’ their partner, if possible. Gays revel in scandal and societal rejection. They enjoy shocking others and degrading society: ‘Hey, look at me. Look at the wild stuff I can do and the disgusting things my life is about.’ ‘Take this, mom and dad, neighbors, the people at church. Take it and stuff it! I’m out here on the public streets mocking society and you can’t do anything about it. And if you don’t like what I’m doing, go see the shrinks -- they’ll tell you, it’s all your fault. We have the moral high ground, the shrinks say so.’
Dobson says: “Homosexuals deeply resent being told that they selected this same-sex inclination in pursuit of sexual excitement or some other motive. It is unfair, and I don’t blame them for being irritated by that assumption.” Unfair? Deeply resent? How does Dobson know that what homosexuals say is what they actually feel? And even if they feel irritated, what difference does it make? Would Dobson hold that they don’t choose to march and debauch in a parade? That gays had no choice, but to interrupt and protest the Southern Baptist Convention last month? That gays have to have the penises of other men in their orifices and vice-versa?
No wonder the ‘sodomites’ of a hundred years ago leapt at the chance to merely be called ‘sick’ by psychiatrists. In Freudian theory, if you are treated badly in childhood, you develop various ‘conditions,’ one of which can be homosexuality. As someone who is ‘sick,’ you are half-way home to being ‘excused’ for your behavior. All that remains is to persuade mental health practitioners that you have the ‘condition’ but are not ‘sick.’ Then you are home free. For according to these secular priests, you are no longer responsible for what you do. Instead of being personally responsible for your actions, you are driven by ‘unconscious forces’ that were set in motion early in childhood.
This is where modern psychiatry has landed on homosexuality. Some of the psychiatric ‘old guard’ still exists, of course, including folks like Joseph Nicolosi and the members of NARTH. They agree that homosexuality is a ‘condition,’ but refuse to accept the ‘normalcy’ of it. But even their compromise position is fraught with problems. Dobson’s and Nicolosi’s contention that homosexuality is a ‘condition’ brought about by “gender identity disorder” -- in turn spawned either by how their parents treated them or from sexual molestation -- can not be reconciled with the reality of what homosexuals do.
Reality of Gay Life
Not in their parades it can’t. Not in their sexual activities it can’t. Consider for instance the following featured news stories from two recent issues of the Washington Blade, the premier gay weekly, published in Washington, D.C. We invite you to reconcile Dobson’s explanations of the origins of homosexuality with the reality of the homosexual lifestyle the Washington Blade reports.
In the May 17, 2002 edition, there is the headline “Va. police arrest 30 in Prince William Park sting.” Gay activists reacted with outrage that 30 men were charged with “various sexual and assault offenses, based on what police characterize as public sex activity in Conway-Robinson Memorial State Forest” (Smith R. p. 10, 24). These men were arrested for having sex in public. How does being ‘rejected by one’s father’ lead to any kind of sex, much less public sex? The offenses ranged from “indecent exposure, attempted forcible sodomy, criminal solicitation, disorderly conduct” and “escape with force” [that is, they fought with the cops].
For at least the past 70 years, men who wanted to have sex with men could easily put ads in papers or in bars and have all the sex they wanted in private. Yet public sex is a particular thrill -- and possibly being seen by children or being caught by the police is part of the ‘kick.’ Why? Are these just grown up “bewildered children and adolescents... [who] find themselves dealing with something they don’t even understand?”
There is no heterosexual counterpart to this fairly common homosexual activity involving dozens of strangers having public sex. A man and woman may go to a park to ‘be alone,’ but they almost certainly don’t want the ‘thrill’ of possibly being seen or caught.
Kinsey reported that about a third of homosexual males “picked up” partners at beaches and a third at public toilets, and about half picked up partners in parks. Also, about 15% of these men had sex in public toilets, about 20% had sex at beaches, and two-thirds had sex outdoors. On the other end of the spectrum, only about 15% of gays and lesbians reported regularly having sex with their partners in their own residence. (Gebhard & Johnson, 1979)
Clearly, in much of homosexual activity there is a sense of social detachment from one’s sex partner(s), as well as a kind of ‘exhibitionism’ about that sex. How is this to be explained by familial child-rearing experiences? While a few heterosexual men try to spy on women undressing or otherwise using public toilets, almost none invite women to have sex in the facility. Homosexuals delight in practicing perversity in facilities built and maintained at public expense. But what has this to do with having had a ‘distant or rejecting father’ or some sort of ‘gender identity disorder?’
In the May 24, 2002 issue of the Washington Blade, one headline reads: “Twenty-two men arrested at P St. beach.” Gay activists “urged Park Police to use uniformed officers rather than undercover officers.” Seems the activity here could be seen, and was complained about, by passing motorists. Outraging the citizenry -- on its federal lands -- was the chief thrill.
The next relevant headline in the May 17th issue is “Guidelines issued for gay men and their doctors.” The CDC [Centers for Disease Control] issued its first guidelines for “men who have sex with men.” Because of an “alarming rise in syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia in men who have sex with men” it is recommending that homosexual men be tested for all sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] and immunized against hepatitis.
Now, how could there have been a drop and then a rise in the rates of STDs? If homosexuals have a ‘condition’ that impels them to have sex with their own kind, how could they modify it and cause STD rates to drop? And how could they ‘relax’ and cause STD rates to rise? Although Dobson claims that “homosexuality is not primarily about sex. It is about everything else,...” one can only get STDs from sex. The fact that the CDC has decided to recommend STD testing for all who engage in homosexual behavior -- but not for all heterosexuals -- suggests that risky, unsanitary, and/or unsafe sex is part and parcel of what homosexuals do.
The next story in the May 17th issue bemoans the fact that “Neb. AIDS activist convicted of groping police officer.” Richard Santee, aged 55, was convicted of a sexual assault charge against an undercover police officer in a parking lot at a park in Omaha. Seems Mr. Santee was the executive director of the Nebraska AIDS Project (funded, of course, by federal and state taxes).
Dobson contends that gays express anger “against those who are perceived as disrespecting gays and lesbians or making their experience more painful. I suppose if we who are straight had walked in the shoes of those in that ‘other world,’ we would be angry too.” Mr. Santee was angry alright. Santee denied that he would even think of doing such a thing! Are we really to ‘feel sorry for Santee?’ Were we ‘in his shoes’ would we have been justifiably angry too?
The next headline in the May 17th Washington Blade reveals that the G & L Bank founder was charged with wiretap violations. Poor Steven Dunlap. He had founded the only Internet bank for gays and lesbians. Now, just because the bank closed and had to liquidate, likely will only pay fifty cents on the dollar to depositors, and Dunlap was convicted of illegally recording phone calls, everything is going south. Needless to say, Dunlap was displeased. He claimed he was completely innocent of any wrongdoing.
How would Dobson account for Dunlap’s criminality? Did his poor relations with his mother cause Dunlap to break the law and lose depositors’ money? Or was it Dunlap’s ‘homosexual condition’ that brought about the tragedy? Would we understand if we had ‘walked in his shoes?’
The May 17th Blade next complains about the fact that the “Tax code [is] particularly onerous for same-sex couples.” The unfairness of it all! Married couples produce children -- indeed, they produce the best children, the ‘gold standard’ children. And both the federal and state governments reward them for this contribution. But homosexuals who live together get no special tax-break! How unfair. Yes, gays cost society more than they contribute, but so what? Yet another reason for homosexuals to be angry. Is this yet another instance of “making the experience” of “gays and lesbians” “more painful?”
The next story of interest is from Australia. Seems the World Cup women’s rugby team has been fractured by a breakup between two of the women on the squad. One, Cheryl Soon, 26, reportedly overdosed on painkillers after an altercation with her lover, Tui Ormsby. Ormsby apparently had a new lover on the team. All in all, rather a sticky situation.
Heterosexual lovers also get into spats, attempt suicide, and the like of course. But how is this related to how these women were treated by their families? Dobson suggests that “Who among us would knowingly choose a path that would result in alienation from family, rejection by friends, disdain from the heterosexual world, exposure to sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis, and even a shorter lifespan”? But isn’t this the kind of tragedy that one would expect to visit the rebellious -- those who flaunt society’s sexual standards to ‘please themselves?’
Then Canada. A 17-year-old gay, Marc Hall, sued the Durham Catholic school board for the right to bring his current sexual partner to the prom. Victory! Justice Robert MacKinnon ruled that the high school “unjustly discriminated against Mr. Hall in violation of his Section 15 Charter rights.” It seems that “Toronto gays rolled out the rainbow carpet for Hall” as his reward.
Why would Marc “choose” to do this? Well, Marc is a victor, perhaps he will even cost the Catholic school the $100,000 fine he seeks. Marc is the center of attention, what a brave boy! What a stalwart for gay rights! Rather than one of the “bewildered children and adolescents,” Marc is a first class rebel, rubbing his faith’s face in the dirt. This too, is something that ‘homosexuals do.’
Why would Marc “choose” to do this? As Dobson recognizes, Marc has been encouraged by this judge to pursue a lifestyle that risks bringing him personal grief, lots of STDs (for which society will have to pay), and an untimely death. Yet it should not be forgotten that risks are just that. Marc is not guaranteed to experience these terrible consequences. His odds of doing so may be much greater as a practicing homosexual, yet any of us knows how easy it is to tempt the ‘lottery of life’ in pursuit of self-interests, no matter how risky. How easy -- especially when we are young -- to believe that we don’t need to wear our seatbelt, for the car accident won’t happen to us; that we can go ahead and smoke, for the cancer will hit ‘someone else;’ that we can play with drugs and not get addicted. Many, many individuals choose to do things that are very risky indeed, regardless of how their parents treated them.
A full page of the May 17th Blade is devoted to the Defenders Leather/Levi Club, a club that enables members to “address our spiritual side and our sexual side together. We start our meeting with prayer, we celebrate with masses.... Spiritual beliefs are part of the group.” Started 20 years ago by a gay who has since died of AIDS, the Washington, D.C. group was chartered in 1982 with 20 members. As of today, 4 of the charter members have died, 6 remain, and the others have moved or are missing.
The current president related that “one of the original charter members was quite ill.... The chaplain came in to give him his last rite and we stood around his bed and took care of him. The chaplain asked [who we were] and said ‘I have never seen such love and affection and devotion among a group of men.’ At that moment, all of the fund-raisers, all of the bar nights -- all of that was worthwhile. We’re putting our good deeds into action.”
Deadly love -- some of these same fellows who were so comforting probably gave the original charter member his death sentence in a ‘loving embrace.’ Affection, camaraderie -- these homosexuals give to each other. Is it any surprise that homosexuals were called the ‘warm fellowship’ in pre-WWI Germany? These guys are an ‘in group,’ caring for each other, infecting each other, but united in their hatred of and designs against ‘straight society.’
Is that what ‘real love’ is about? Is it being sympathetic and caring toward the fellows you have infected? The emotion and devotion were undoubtedly real. But the devotion was to rebellion and other like-minded rebels -- the same kind of emotion and devotion you find among Hari Krishnas, or motor cycle gangs.
And then, of course, homosexuals tend to die young. The three obituaries in the May 17th Blade were revealing of this lifestyle. A drummer killed himself at the age of 52. A well-known obstetrician and gynecologist died of head injuries from an accident in which he fell through the first floor of a home under construction (wonder what he was doing there?). He was 43. And then, a national figure, a “Houston area activist and employee of the Houston Voice, a gay publication owned by the Blade, died of a massive heart attack at age 41. Seems Carolyn Alice Roberts “was a founding member and executive officer of FIST (Females In Search of Trouble).”
Doesn’t FIST say a lot? How would Dr. Dobson characterize her non-choices? Did something her daddy or mommy do cause her to organize FIST? Would we understand her anger “if we who are straight had walked in the shoes of those in that ‘other world?’” Is Dr. Dobson as “understanding” of those who take illegal drugs, molest children, or regularly get drunk? Are they too ‘victims of their upbringing’? Or do only homosexuals get this special ‘pass?’
A Tale of Two Piers
While the Christian gospel offers forgiveness to those who ‘repent’ of their ‘sins,’ it does not let anyone ‘off the hook’ here on earth. Earthly consequences for bad behavior are part and parcel of historic Christian teaching, and led to the formation of our Christian-based system of law. The Christian notion is that ‘everyone must pay for his own sins’ here on earth, even if -- through repentance -- God will not send them to Hell in the afterlife.
This is fundamentally and completely opposed to the psychiatric assertion that ‘if we only understood what made this person what he is, we would excuse him.’ Neither ‘poverty,’ nor ‘deficient upbringing,’ nor ‘social justice’ was an excuse for criminal behavior in the not too distant past. Today, psychiatry has invented all sorts of ways for someone to bypass any earthly consequence for their actions. Even a murderer has a chance to ‘get off’ due to one or the other of the ‘reasons’ found in the psychiatric bag of ‘excuses.’
Dr. Dobson and the ex-gay ministries need to decide whether they are going to fish from the mental health pier or the Christian pier. As it is, the minute they leave the abstractions about homosexuals as ‘poor confused victims’ and face the realities of gay sex, gay parades, or the impacts that homosexuals have on society, their ‘explanations’ wilt. The gap between the two piers is too wide to straddle.
Epidemic of Attention Deficit Disorder?
A new epidemic has broken out among school children -- an epidemic of Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD] and Learning Disorder [LD]. In 1976-77, about 3% of the nation’s elementary age children had ADD and just under 2% had LD. By 1997, 7% of all children between the ages of 6 and 11 had ADD and 6% had Learning Disorders1. That’s more than a one hundred percent increase in just 20 years! An epidemic for sure. All told, in 1997-98, 11%, or better than one in ten, of all elementary age children in the U.S. had one of these ‘conditions.’
What is happening to our kids? Should we be alarmed? Perhaps, but maybe we should chalk it up to the increasing gullibility of our society. Keep in mind the following facts.
First, the epidemic of ADD and LD has been a lucrative one for mental health professionals. While only 3% of non-ADD/LD children aged 6 to 11 had seen a mental health professional in the past 12 months, 17% of those with a learning disability, 34% of those with ADD, and 51% with ADD and a learning disability had. Similarly, children with either diagnosis were considerably more apt to take prescription drugs.
Another clue is the fact that children from families with health insurance were considerably MORE apt to be diagnosed with ADD than kids from families without insurance. The breakdown of those getting an ADD diagnosis was 1.9% of kids without insurance, 4.2% of those covered by Medicaid, and 3.3% of those with private insurance. Furthermore, in line with the greater frequency of ADD diagnosis among the insured, whites had a higher rate of ADD than blacks.
Amazingly, unlike almost any other disease, ADD ‘disease’ strikes the affluent more heavily than the poor.
The government report put it generously when it noted that “changes in Federal, State, and local policies affecting diagnosis of LD [learning disabled], as well as increases in funding for special education services, are factors that may have influenced the identification of LD” (p. 8).
Think about it. LD has gone from 1.8% of pupils in 1976-77 to 5.9% of pupils in 1997-98! All this when there was a “nearly stable percent of children during the same period classified as having speech or language, hearing, orthopedic, or visual impairments.” (p. 8)
Hmm. The ‘usual suspects’ associated with poorer performance in school remained essentially level, yet at the same time Learning Disorders more than doubled. No wonder the authors called the increase in LD “striking.”
The Bottom Line
So what do we have on balance?
- LD, and ADD especially, are relatively new to the set of mental health “disorders;”
- taxpayer monies have been allotted to ‘help’ students with these diagnoses, and after these entitlements, the rates of both LD and ADD have dramatically increased, although rates of organic impediments to learning (e.g., blindness, deafness) have remained basically constant;
- children with health insurance or those who were white were more apt to be diagnosed with ADD;
- medications have been created that may ‘help’ students with these diagnoses (particularly Ritalin for ADD); and
- seeing a mental health professional was correlated with a diagnosis of LD, but even more highly correlated with a diagnosis of ADD.
Is this not a little suspicious? Is this a ‘real epidemic’ or a matter of ‘drumming up business’ by psychologists and psychiatrists?
“Discovering” maladies that require one’s professional expertise is rather suspect on its face -- akin to quackery. And this is particularly the case if such ‘discoveries’ profoundly benefit the group of practitioners who both define the ‘disease’ and make the ‘diagnosis.’
Consider Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD]. There is no doubt that boys fool around in class more than girls do. From the early days of the public school system, some pupils, particularly boys, have been scolded by their teachers for ‘not paying attention’ or ‘fooling around.’ Likewise, it is well known that more boys than girls don’t do well in school.
Yet the first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, published in 1952, had no listing for ADD. Nor did the second DSM in 1968. Only when DSM III-R rolled around in 1987 did ADD capture 4 of the 335 pages describing various disorders. The 1987 DSM noted that the class of behaviors under which ADD was classified was “often more distressing to others than to the people with the disorders” (p. 49), and opined that such ‘fidgeting’ among kids might “occur in as many as 3% of children.” Of course, that was ‘way back’ in1987.
Since then, federal, state, and local money has poured in as ‘horror stories’ have abounded in the media about ADD and how tough it’s been on teachers. And the prevalence of both ADD and LD has gone through the roof!
One could see this pattern as a case of ‘professionals rising to financial opportunity.’ Even though it is questionable whether any kind of therapy, including drugs like Ritalin, improves children’s academic achievement3, and even though the main ‘symptom’ is fidgeting in class, a larger and larger fraction of children are getting the ADD diagnosis. As a consequence, the client-load of mental health professionals is soaring and so is the bottom line for drug companies.
This is not to say that ‘ADD’ and ‘LD’ were created solely for financial gain. Having medicalized many of the behaviors that Christianity calls ‘sin,’ psychiatry is currently trying to displace religion almost entirely by redefining ‘evil.’ Note for example the forum held by the American Psychiatric Association at its most recent annual convention in May to ‘define’ who and what is “evil.”2
As Thomas Szasz, M.D., has often noted, the mental health community actively engages in ‘medicalizing’ an ever larger swatch of the problems of the human condition. By doing so, it expands its reach, provides increasing employment for its practitioners, and helps to persuade mankind of its definition of ‘the good’ (e.g., self-actualization, personal fulfillment, self-esteem, etc.). But it is questionable as to whether ‘following the mental health way’ of life is even benign, much less helpful.
What will happen long-term to the many boys whose ‘fidgeting’ is being moderated by various drugs and treatment? Will they actually learn more and do better in the world when they graduate from school? Might we be harming society by curtailing the kinds of ‘fidgeting’ that often characterize inventors and geniuses? Or are we aiding society by dulling the ‘fidgeting’ associated with criminals? With this growing ‘epidemic,’ and the increasing application of fairly powerful drugs, these kinds of questions need to be seriously addressed.
Further, if we allow the mental health movement to further reach into tax revenues to “cure” diseases that they get to name, diagnose, and treat, it is hard to see how society will be advantaged and easy to see how it could be ripped off. If ADD and LD are any indication, soon everyone may have a ‘mental disease’ or a ‘condition’ that requires professional help.
1. Pastor PN, Reuben CA. Attention deficit disorder and learning disability: United States. 1997-98. National Center For Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(206)
2. Denver Post 5/27/02, 23A
3. See for instance Clement PW. Attention Deficit Disorder. In Baker’s Encyclopedia of Psychology, D. G. Benner [Ed], 1985, Grand Rapids: Baker, pp. 80-81