Sexual Orientation Change Efforts

So there’s a law in California on the governor’s desk that is aimed at banning Sexual Orientation Change Efforts.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/08/18/california-law-barring-parents-from-curing-gay-children-moves-through/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-spradley/california-conversion-therapy-ban_b_1633053.html

I included both links so you can get a good view of both sides of this issue. It seems that, like all such issues, there’s an intentional equivocation done by one side or the other in order to support their point. Having not read the legislation itself, which is extremely lazy of me, I know, I’m forced to draw my conclusions from these two articles.

It seems to me like the intended target of this legislation is toward “Mental Health Professionals” who use psychological counseling and therapy in order to try to force a patient to change sexual orientation. This is a far cry from a concerned parent sharing the truth of God’s word and encouraging the child to consider whether his behavior and choices please the Lord. However the conservative side seems to want to lump the two together and act as though the law is aimed at both things.

Granted there is this quote from the article:

Just because one is a parent does not give them the right to “change” the essence of who a person is. Read a biology text about the development of sexual identity that occurs prior to birth.

This is Dr. Mary Strobbe, a professor of psychology at San Diego Miramar College. So based on this it does seem as though they are not only concerned with professional counselors.

But even if they are targeting parents and the home, there is a strong difference between counseling your children to obey the word of God and forcing them to change the essence of who we are.

Which begs the question, is sexual orientation something that’s ingrained into the essence of who we are, as the LGBT community wants us to believe? Well, I ask you this, what is ingrained into the essence of who we are? Sin. We are all born with an orientation: a sin orientation. Homosexuality is just one symptom of that underlying disease. Unless that disease is cured, we shouldn’t expect the symptoms to vanish. And even if we try to treat the symptoms, then either they will simply be suppressed for a while only to come back stronger later, or other symptoms will surface. Without the radical change of conversion and repentence that can only come by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, nobody can change this essential characteristic of who they really are.

Thus, the goal of Christian parenting is not oriented toward changing anyone’s sexual orientation, or modifying any behavior for that matter. It’s aimed at ushering the children to the cross where they will meet Jesus. What the child does with him there is up to the child. Parents cannot force the outcome there. However, the Parent is responsible to ensure that this meeting happens. If the child responds in faith, then the change will start inwardly and will come from the heart of the child who is changed by the grace of God, not by the coercive actions of parents or psychological therapists. If the child responds by hardening his heart in unbelief, then no amount of parenting or therapy can make the child give up his sin, and it wouldn’t avail him anything even if it did.

So in conclusion, as long as some very common sense distinctions are drawn here to understand the difference between coercion and shepherding and protect the latter as within the rights of parents and religious people, then I’m actually in favor of this law. This is a bit like the distinction between spanking and abuse. There are very fuzzy lines there. But there is a difference between good gentle and nurturing spanking and harmful, violent and destructive abuse. The same is true of this. What’s interesting about this case is that, while parental activity may be somewhat in view here, the initial and primary target of this law is mental health professionals. In that case, it’s a bit like an abuse law that tries to outlaw taking your child to a professional beater. I think this is another case of Fox News trying to twist things to fit their agenda.

I think the key to knowing the difference between shepherding and coercion here is whether the parents are focusing on the externals or whether they are focusing on nurturing a heart that is oriented toward pleasing the Lord. The tree will be known by its fruit.

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