Hilary White

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UK bill proposes to ban therapy for unwanted same-sex attractions, condemned as ‘Stalinist’

Hilary White
Hilary White

LONDON, December 17, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While a British Labour Party MP proposes a private member’s bill to ban therapists offering help to overcome unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction, one prominent Christian therapist has warned that the bill is just part of ongoing violations of the rights of clients seeking help.

Dr. Michael Davidson says the bill is part of a “Stalinist” style effort to force out any professional opinions that dissent from the “gay political and social ideology” that is being adopted by psychological associations.

Professional governing bodies, starting with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr. Davidson told LifeSiteNews.com in an interview today, are guided on these issues by a political ideology, not science, and are manipulating and misrepresenting empirical findings.

“The agenda is being driven not by politicians but by the professional bodies,” he said, who are employing what he called “Stalinist tactics” to quash dissent.

“You simply get rid of anybody with a different point of view. Then you can give the impression that there is unity in the literature, and you can gain control,” he said. “It is a Stalinist tactic in this country.”

“You claim an ethical context that refuses to allow any dissenting voice, then you close opportunities to train therapists. This ensures you will have no dissenting voice to the ideological drive,” Dr. Davidson said.

Geraint Davies, Labour MP for Swansea West, has brought forward the bill that he says is intended to “regulate the therapy profession,” and “ban gay-to-straight conversion therapy.” It would require all therapists and counsellors to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, which would in its turn be automatically required to strike off anyone offering “gay to straight conversion therapy.”

“This damaging so-called treatment has traumatised many LGBT people over the years and it’s time Britain led the way in banning the therapy outright,” Davies told the House of Commons. “The government has so far refused to act, but since I first proposed my bill I’ve seen MPs from all parties join the psychotherapy profession in condemning this discredited practice.”

“The only way to stop conversion therapy for good is to make regulation compulsory and to strike off anyone attempting to ‘cure’ a person’s sexual orientation.”

“We agree that regulation is always important and must be accountable. It’s a normal part of professional development,” said Davidson, Director of Core Issues Trust and himself a former homosexual. But what is being proposed is not regulation but outright prohibition.

If the bill is passed, he said, it will have “the opposite of the desired effect” on public accountability of therapists. Instead it will drive those seeking help into the hands of untrained and possibly unscrupulous unprofessional practitioners.

The characterization of the therapy as “gay to straight conversion” is also inaccurate. What is offered, he said, by reputable and trained therapists, is not the “gay cure” spoken of by the BBC and MPs, but “therapeutic support” for those who suffer from unwanted same-sex attraction and feelings that lead to unwanted behaviour.

The media, he said, has colluded with the homosexualist political lobby to muddy the waters, introducing terms and ideas that no one in the profession uses. “There is very little understanding about this because the media in the UK has used the term ‘gay to straight conversion therapy,’ but this is really just a pejorative term. It wrongly assumes that what we offer is a ‘quick fix’ over a few therapy sessions on the couch.”

“The fact is these initiatives will continue,” he said, “because there is a demand out there. We’re not trying to close down anyone else’s rights [to live the homosexual lifestyle]; we’re simply trying to provide those with unwanted same-sex attraction with help and support.”

But the professional bodies have created a catch-22 in which they increasingly insist that even to desire to be helped in that way is a sign of a mental pathology. Despite a general movement in the psychological professions towards a “patient-centred” model, in which clients are encouraged to pursue their personal aspirations and goals for therapy, the one goal that is not tolerated is the desire to leave homosexual feelings and temptations behind. 

Dr. Davidson said that the trend is towards forcing such persons to accept homosexuality as “natural and normal,” whether they want to or not. Asked why persons wanting to receive the therapy have not come forward with complaints, he said it is difficult to underestimate the social pressure to conform. “Certainly in the UK if you raise your head above the parapet and speak about these issues, you attract an enormous amount of negative attention,” he said.

Davidson said that the therapeutic professional bodies are following a method similar to that of the medical establishment in the 1960s who re-wrote the scientific literature to redefine pregnancy as the moment of implantation of an embryo, in order to justify first abortifacient contraceptives and later direct surgical abortion.

“The scientific literature is clear,” he said, “that some people can reduce these feelings and live in celibacy if that is their choice. For others it is possible to eliminate the feelings. We think that is a reasonable choice and we are concerned that in the UK the assumption is that such practices are intrinsically harmful.”

But that is precisely the scientific literature that is being deliberately suppressed, he said. “We have argued strongly providing information based on the empirical findings to MPs and Peers,” but, he said, politicians are being mislead by activists within the psychological professional associations. “They have all been shown a single paper” he said, that claimed that “in some instances people have been harmed by this.”

That single study was found to have “serious methodological flaws,” but is still being used by the entire profession to block the available evidence, he said. “They simply say,” to clients seeking to change, “‘You’re wrong to want that. The reason why you want it is because of internalised and systemic homophobia in society, people have bent your mind.’”

“They argue that it is the equivalent of a psychotherapist wanting to help a person with black skin who wants to be white. We hear all the time the unsupported view that homosexuality is genetic, and that since it’s genetic it is completely natural and ought to be supported.”

This amounts, Dr. Davidson said, to telling clients with same-sex attraction that they have no option but to accept the self-identification of “gay” which he called a purely “socio-political idea.”

In contrast, Core Issues Trust and other therapists offering similar assistance, feels “that the right to self-identify is to be protected.” There is a growing awareness “among some people that basic human rights” of clients to seek help with their aspirations “are being trampled.”

With the ideological acceptance by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and other bodies of the premise that homosexuality is merely a normal human “sexual variant,” however, all other professional bodies are following suit like “a series of dominoes,” Dr. Davidson said, and therapists who want to offer clients the choice are being more and more aggressively marginalised.

The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) claims that there is “overwhelming evidence [of] considerable emotional and psychological cost” associated with change therapies. Its former chair, Professor Andrew Samuels, however, declined to respond to Core Issues’ request for the scientific evidence. Instead, the Council’s Chief Executive, David Pink, simply stated that the question was “adequately addressed in the drawing up of our guidance.”

Core Issues Trust has repeatedly asked for documentation from the Royal College and other bodies to support the claim either that homosexuality is innate or inherited, or that therapy to change is harmful. But nobody has yet to come forward with research findings, referring instead to the statement on the Royal College website asserting that homosexuality is not to be tampered with.

Dr. Di Hodgson, head of UKCP’s Diversity, Equalities and Social Responsibility Committee has said on a BBC Radio 4 programme, “I think there is very conflicting evidence ... So we have taken a view in a way which is regardless of the scientific findings.

“We still believe that it is unethical to seek to agree or to work towards changing someone’s sexual orientation through psychotherapy.”

A statement from Core Issues Trust called the Royal College on their assertions, and by extension the bodies following them, saying they have “failed to respond to reasonable requests to provide the evidence which they claim shows that homosexuality is ‘biological,’ a foundational premise, unsupported by scientific research, which other professional bodies cite without question.”

Dr. Davidson himself was expelled last month from a training programme overseen by the British Psychyodrama Association. “I expressed the view that autonomous individuals, where possible should be allowed to reduce or eliminate their feelings, and should have therapeutic support to do this. That’s my crime.”

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Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, speaks to Thomas McKenna of Catholic Action Insight. Catholic Action Insight
Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Catholics shouldn’t sue one another: Cardinal Burke comments on Fr. Rosica’s lawsuit against blogger

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White

ROME, March 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Citing Scripture, Cardinal Raymond Burke told an interviewer this week that Catholics should not sue each other: “Our Lord in the Gospel and St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians instruct us not to take our disputes to the civil forum, that we should be able, as Catholics, to resolve these matters among ourselves.”

The cardinal’s comments to the Traditionalist Catholic website Rorate Caeli follow an uproar in the Catholic media world last week when it was revealed that Vatican spokesman Father Thomas Rosica has threatened to sue a Canadian blogger for defamation in the civil courts.

Cardinal Burke, who served under Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis as the head of the Vatican’s highest court, is a noted expert on canon law. He told Rorate Caeli, “Unless the blogger has committed a calumny on someone's good name unjustly, I certainly don't think that that's the way we as Catholics should deal with these matters.”

“I think contact should be made. I presume that the Catholic blogger is in good faith, and if there’s someone in the hierarchy who is upset with him, the way to deal with it would be first to approach the person directly and try to resolve the matter in that way,” Burke added.

Fr. Rosica, a Canadian Basilian, is the English language press officer for the Vatican and founder of the Toronto-based Salt and Light Television network.

He sent the legal letter to David Domet, a Toronto music composer and part-time Catholic blogger who has long criticized what he says are Fr. Rosica’s departures from Catholic orthodoxy. The priest’s lawyer told Domet to remove nine separate items from his blog and apologize, but added that this would not necessarily remove the threat of the civil action.

The conflict was covered in a feature by Michael Voris’ Church Militant TV, and the internet’s Catholic blogger world exploded with indignation. So furious was the backlash that it got coverage by the US conservative news site, Breitbart. This followed dozens of blog posts, nearly unanimously calling the threatened legal action of a well-placed priest against a lay pensioner a “PR disaster” for Rosica. 

The uproar has launched Domet’s small blog, Vox Cantoris, into the international limelight, and has earned Fr. Rosica an avalanche of criticism. “Though Rosica publicly defends the right to freedom of speech and press, he is attempting to silence the blogger who has criticized him,” Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, wrote for Breitbart.

Among Domet’s criticisms of Fr. Rosica is his apparent support for the proposal by Cardinal Walter Kasper to allow divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, and others in “irregular” sexual unions, to receive Holy Communion.

Fr. Rosica has also recently come under fire for comments he made a year ago, in a lecture in Windsor, Ontario, in which he argued that Catholic doctrine could change. (See video below. Quotes can be found at 48:12.)

“Will this Pope re-write controversial Church doctrines?” Fr. Rosica said in the lecture, which was posted to Youtube. “No. But that isn't how doctrine changes. Doctrine changes when pastoral contexts shift and new insights emerge such that particularly doctrinal formulations no longer mediate the saving message of God's transforming love.”

Fr. Rosica continued: “Doctrine changes when the Church has leaders and teachers who are not afraid to take note of new contexts and emerging insights. It changes when the Church has pastors who do what Francis has been insisting: leave the securities of your chanceries, of your rectories, of your safe places, of your episcopal residences go set aside the small-minded rules that often keep you locked up and shielded from the world.”

In the Rorate Caeli interview, Cardinal Burke refuted the idea that the Church can change its “pastoral practice” without changing doctrine.

“I think it’s very important to address a false dichotomy that's been drawn by some who say, ‘Oh no, we’re just changing disciplines. We’re not touching the Church's doctrine.’ But if you change the Church’s discipline with regard to access to Holy Communion by those who are living in adultery, then surely you are changing the Church's doctrine on adultery.”

“You’re saying that, in some circumstances, adultery is permissible and even good, if people can live in adultery and still receive the sacraments. That is a very serious matter, and Catholics have to insist that the Church’s discipline not be changed in some way which would, in fact, weaken our teaching on one of the most fundamental truths, the truth about marriage and the family,” Cardinal Burke said.

Fr. Rosica recently criticized Cardinal Burke on his Twitter account by posting an article by Washington, DC’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl on “dissent” in the hierarchy, saying, “Cardinal Wuerl’s response to Burke (and dissenters).”

The priest has also had a confrontational relationship with the pro-life movement for years.

In 1996, Fr. Rosica called the police on pro-life advocates who were leafletting in protest at a lecture by famous dissident Gregory Baum at the University of Toronto’s Newman Centre.

In 2009, Fr. Rosica wrote against objections to the lavish Catholic funeral for US Senator Ted Kennedy’s in Boston. He excoriated the pro-life movement for what he called their lack of “civility.”

“Civility, charity, mercy and politeness seem to have dropped out of the pro-life lexicon,” Fr. Rosica wrote. “To recognize and bring out the sin in others means also recognizing one’s self as a sinner and in need of God’s boundless mercy.

“Let us pray that we will become more and more a people, a church and a community overflowing with mercy.”

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Greg Rohrbough, J.D.

Duck Commander Phil Robertson’s CPAC speech was viral in so many ways

Greg Rohrbough, J.D.
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Last week, the winner of the 2015 Citizens United/CPAC Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award was “Duck Commander” Phil Robertson, paterfamilias of the Duck Dynasty Robertson family. In doing so, they were giving Phil the CPAC stage for a speech, knowing that he would speak his unvarnished thoughts. One doubts they expected his topic.

After bringing out his heavily-duct-taped Bible and telling politicians to keep theirs with them, Phil went on the offensive – against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). He quoted the federal Centers for Disease Control, which estimates that more than 100 million Americans now have a sexually transmitted infection.

“I don’t want you to become ill. I don’t want you to come down with a debilitating disease. I don’t want you to die early,” Robertson said.

Phil’s solution? One older than Christianity, as old as common sense itself. “If you’re disease-free, if she’s disease-free, you marry. You keep your sex right there. You won’t get sick from a sexually-transmitted disease!”

Logic and mathematics would seem to agree. According to Robertson, his goal was to show love to the listeners. But several left-wing websites didn’t see it that way.

“He certainly used his speech to hate very well. I guess that's the criteria. Who can say the sickest, most vile things about center-left Americans wins!” according to John Amato of Crooks & Liars.

The Huffington Post took offense at his attributing the rise in STDs to the beatniks and hippies.

To their credit, MSNBC acknowledged Phil’s numbers, saying, “For the record, Robertson’s [sic] has his numbers correct. A CDC report from February of 2013 estimated more than 110 [million] cases of sexually transmitted infections in America with about 20 billion [sic, MSNBC’s number] new infections each year at a cost of ‘nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs.’”

The network site then blasted him for comparing ISIS to the Nazis, Communists, and Imperial Japanese.

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Robertson clearly didn’t care what MSNBC thought, though. “You want a Godly, Biblical, medically safe option? One man, one woman, married, for life,” he said.

“What do you call the 110 million people who have sexually transmitted illnesses?” he continued. “It’s the revenge of the hippies! Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll have come back to haunt us in a bad way!”

But the big question is – is Phil right or wrong? According to the CDC’s website, “Almost every sexually active person will acquire HPV [Human Papillomavirus] at some point in their lives.”

“Sexually active” would seem to indicate activity with new or multiple partners, rather than this Duck Doctor Phil’s Prescription.

But still – “Almost every…person.” That’s quite a few – the website also says, “about 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. About 14 million people become newly infected each year.” While it is the most prevalent venereal disease, HPV is only one of many.

Generally, HPV’s symptoms are more a painful nuisance than life-threatening – genital warts, often only appearing years after the initial infection. But there are also life-threatening illnesses such as cervical cancer, which HPV causes.

Much more frightening, however, is the specter of HIV/AIDS. According to the CDC, there are about 1.2 million people currently living with HIV, and as many as 50,000 new cases a year, with 63 to 66 percent of those being “MSM,” or “Men who have Sex with Men.” Sadly, the lion’s share of new HIV infections is found in the 13-24 age group; despite being 16 percent of the nation’s population, they account for 26 percent of all new infections, with 72 percent of those being young MSM. While HIV is treatable, there is still no cure.

Although HIV, as well as the current increase in syphilis and hepatitis, are primarily targeting homosexual males, heterosexuals with multiple partners are by no means off the hook. As well as HPV, herpes, drug-resistant gonorrhea and chlamydia are on the rise, as well. The year 2013 saw 1.4 million cases of chlamydia and 820,000 new cases of gonorrhea, and the CDC estimates that one person in every six in the U.S. between the ages of 14 and 49 has herpes.

Criticize Phil all you like, folks – he doesn’t mind. He’s only saying this because he cares.

Listen to him again: “I don’t want you to become ill. I don’t want you to come down with a debilitating disease. I don’t want you to die early.”

“And if you hate me because I told you that,” he said, “I told you, my love for you is not contingent on how you feel about me. I love you anyway. I don’t want you to see you die early or get sick. I’m trying to help you, for cryin’ out loud! America, if I didn’t care about you, why would I bring this up?”

From this CPAC attendee’s perspective, Phil’s speech was not only important from a physical health perspective, it also, along with that duct-taped Bible of his, reminds us of the words of Charles Spurgeon: “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”

Greg Rohrbough, J.D., has been director of government relations for the Meredith Advocacy Group since 2006.

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Steve Weatherbe

Former abortionist who failed to kill unborn baby hit with $1 million lawsuit: baby was born with hole in heart

Steve Weatherbe
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OTTAWA, March 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An Ontario mother of a baby born by mistake is suing the former doctor who botched her abortion for $1 million for his “gross negligence” and “medical malpractice.”

Tania Brown already had four children when she went to Dr. Michel Prevost in Almonte, Ontario in early 2011 for a medical (or pharmaceutical) abortion to prevent a fifth, which her doctor had advised might have birth defects. Several months later she suspected Prevost’s one-two punch of methotrexate (a poison to kill the baby) and misoprostol (to expel the corpse a week later) had not worked. An ultrasound confirmed a beating heart.

Too late for an abortion now, she gave birth, in May, to a baby with “a smaller brain; he had a hole in his heart; he had something wrong with his palate.” She gave him up for adoption.

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Dr. Prevost relinquished his medical licence earlier this month with the certainty that if he didn’t, the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons would expel him after an investigation found him “incompetent in his practice of obstetrics and gynecology.”  They looked into 28 abortion cases, two so badly “botched” that the babies survived.

Small wonder the whole business sent Brown into a “debilitating depression,” but her lawyer Ralph Lee told the CBC the case “brings up larger issues…the issue of a woman’s access to abortion.”

Basically, Prevost couldn’t get the dosages right. Methotrexate, MedicineNet.com warns, “has infrequently caused serious (sometimes fatal) side effects.” These include severe azotemia (too much blood urea nitrogen), severe blood infection, stomach and intestinal bleeding, and perforation.

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