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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Dr. Miriam Grossman speaks to large audience in Mississauga, Ontario Steve Jalsevac/LifeSite
Lianne Laurence

VIDEO: How DO you to talk to kids about sex? US sex-ed critic gives practical tips

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

MISSISSAUGA, ON, August 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Talking to their children about sex is “anxiety provoking to say the least,” for parents, says American sex-ed expert, Dr. Miriam Grossman.

“Some people just can’t even do it, and that’s okay,” the New York-based psychiatrist told the crowd of 1,000 who packed a Mississauga conference hall August 18 to hear her critique of the Ontario Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed curriculum.

After Grossman explained how the Liberal sex-ed curriculum is dangerously flawed and ideologically driven, she used the question-and-answer session to give parents much appreciated and sometimes humorous practical advice on how to teach their children about “the birds and the bees.”

“If you feel you can’t do it, maybe there’s someone else in the family or in the constellation of people that you know you can trust that could do it,” said Grossman, author of “You’re teaching my child WHAT?” and an internationally sought-after speaker on sex education.

A child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist with 12 years’ clinical experience treating students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) clinic, Grossman said explaining sexuality and procreation to children is “a process,” that “shouldn’t ideally happen all at once. A child is not a miniature adult, and absorbs…new information differently than adults do.”

And parents need to be sure just what their child wants to know.

To illustrate this, Grossman referred to her earlier story about a father who gave his son every detail on human procreation after the boy asked him, “Dad, where do I come from?”

After the father finished, his son replied, “Well, that’s funny, because Johnny told me that he came from Montreal.”

“Try to find out what your child is really getting at, and, don’t give it all at once,” Grossman said. “You start with a little bit at a time…and you know, there’s so many variables here, and people have their own traditions and their own ways of explaining things, and something that might be right for my family might not be right for your family.”

She also advised that, when confronted with a four, five, six or seven-year-old asking about a pregnant woman, or where babies come, a parent can ask, “What a good question that is. What do you think?”

And parents can also legitimately put off the discussion when appropriate, telling the child, “That’s really not something you need to know about right now.”

“Wow, what a novel idea: Telling a child that they could wait until they’re older to discuss that subject,” Grossman said, adding that parents wouldn’t brook a six- or even fifteen-year-old child asking how much money they made or had in the bank. “Excuse me? Not every subject has to be an open book.”

However, the time will come when a child needs to know “about how her body’s going to change, about reproduction, about how a new life is created.”

That time, Grossman advised, is puberty, or “as puberty is beginning,” and this is especially so for girls, who, if unprepared for the surprise onset of menstruation “might think [they’re] dying.”

“The actual nitty-gritty about the birds and the bees and intercourse” can “be told in bits and pieces, or it can be told all at once, if you feel it’s necessary,” she said, adding that it’s beneficial if the parent acknowledges his or her awkwardness, because the child will think: “This must be such an important subject that my mother or my father is sitting there squirming, but he’s doing it anyway. I’m really loved.”

“And the children need to understand that as you grow up, you change a lot, not only physically but emotionally,” Grossman said, “and what may seem odd or disgusting when you’re ten years old, or whatever age, it becomes something very special and beautiful when you’re older and you’ll understand it later. You don’t have to understand it now.”


Know your child and guard your home

But as an essential foundation for this discussion, parents must both know their children and guard their home from the encroachments of a culture that Grossman described as “very, very sexualized” and “really horrible.”

“Children need parents who are loving but are also firm and authoritative,” she asserted.  “They don’t need best friends. They need us to guide them, to know what they’re doing, to be on top of what they’re doing.

So parents need to be aware of whom their child is “hanging around with, and what kind of movies are they watching…what’s going on with your child.”

“You need to know that anyway, even if it’s not about sex education,” she pointed out. “Try and know your child. Every child is different.”

And Grossman emphasized that it is “extremely important to be careful about what your child is exposed to in the home, in terms of television and Internet, obviously.”

Children need to understand that “just like you have garbage you take out of the house, you put it in the garbage bin, it’s dirty, it smells…there are other things that also don’t belong in the house.”

And children learn quickly what is, and is not, permissible inside the home, Grossman said. “Me, I keep kosher…If I go into a store, my kids know from a very young age, we don’t eat that.”

So they are used to the idea of “the world outside and the inside world, of inside your home, and inside your heart as well.”

Parents can also convey this by telling their children that “the world is an upside-down place, and sometimes the most special, holy subjects are…just thrown in the gutter. And that’s a bad thing. In our family, in our tradition, we don’t do that.”

“Sexuality is one of the subjects that in this upside-down world, it is sometimes just in the gutter,” she said. “And so I want you to tell your child to come to me when you have questions, I will give you the straight story about it.”

Grossman herself is “not even sure,” as she stated in her seminar, that sex education should be in the schools: “I believe sex education should be at home for those parents that want to do it.”

She also noted that parents “can make mistakes. We all make lots of mistakes but it’s okay, you can always come back and do it differently,” adding that this is “another wonderful message for your child. You know what, it’s okay to make mistakes, you can always go back and try and fix it.”

Grossman urged parents to visit her Facebook page, website and blog. “I have so much information you can get there that you’ll find useful,” and added that she will be publishing books for children, and has posted her critique of New York City’s sex-ed curriculum, which is similar to Ontario’s.

The parental backlash to that sex-ed curriculum, set to roll out in the province’s publicly funded schools this September, has been “amazing” Grossman noted.

Grossman’s seminar was sponsored by Mississauga-based HOWA Voice of Change along with the Canadian Families Alliance, an umbrella group representing more than 25 associations and 200,000 Ontarians opposed to the curriculum. The report on her devastating critique of the sex-ed curriculum can be found here, and the video here.

Ontario readers may find information and sign up for a September 2 province-wide protests at MPPs offices here. So far, there are protests planned for 92 of Ontario’s 107 constituencies. The parents’ movement seeking removal of the curriculum is urging all concerned citizens to join this special effort to influence individual Ontario legislators.

See related reports:

Ontario’s dangerous sex-ed is indoctrination not science says U.S. psychiatrist to large audience

Videos: US psychiatrist tells parents “stand firm” against dangerous sex-ed

See the LifeSiteNews feature page on the Ontario sex-ed curriculum containing nearly 100 LifeSite articles related to the issue

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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Did the pope just endorse a gay children’s book? Of course not, says Vatican

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

ROME, August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- While mainstream media is gushing with news today that Pope Francis allegedly praised a children’s book that promotes gender theory, the Vatican is decrying what they called the "manipulation" of a cordial letter from an official in the Secretariat of State to suggest that the Vatican is promoting teachings contrary to the Gospel.

Italian children’s author Francesca Pardi was reported by The Guardian to have submitted a parcel of children’s books promoting the acceptance of homosexuality and gender theory to Pope Francis in June after Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro publicly banned the author’s newest book, Piccolo Uovo (Little Egg), from children’s schools. The book was criticized by pro-family leaders for promoting non-natural family structures of two men and two women.

In a letter accompanying the books, Pardi wrote: “Many parishes across the country are in this period sullying our name and telling falsehoods about our work which deeply offends us. We have respect for Catholics. ... A lot of Catholics give back the same respect, why can’t we have the whole hierarchy of the church behind us?”

The Guardian is reporting that Pardi has now “found an unlikely supporter in Pope Francis,” who through his staff has responded to the author and is presented as “praising her work.” It quotes the following from a July 9 letter to Pardi from the Vatican.

“His holiness is grateful for the thoughtful gesture and for the feelings which it evoked, hoping for an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values,” wrote Peter B. Wells, a senior official at the Vatican Secretariat of State, in a the letter The Guardian is reporting it has seen.  

While the letter gently calls the author to use her talents to spread “genuine human and Christian values,” The Guardian takes it as the pope’s endorsement of gender theory.

“Pope Francis sends letter praising gay children's book,” the paper’s headline states. “Italian book that explores different family types including same sex was banned by mayor of Venice, but pontiff becomes unlikely supporter,” reads the subtitle.

In a press release that Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi sent to LifeSiteNews on Friday, the vice speaker of the Vatican, Ciro Benedettini, made clear that the friendly reply letter to the author in no way approves of attitudes or positions that are contrary to Catholic teaching and the Gospels.

The Vatican's statement also says that in the original letter from the secretariat of state Wells merely "acknowledged receipt" of the materials sent by Pardi, and also made clear that the letter was private and not meant for publication. 

"In no way does a letter from the Secretary of State intend to endorse behaviors and teachings not in keeping with the Gospel," says the statement, decrying the "manipulation" of the letter.

Benedettini said the blessing of the pope at the end of the letter was meant to be for the author herself, and not to affirm positions concerning gender theory that are contrary to the Church's teaching. Using the letter to this end is erroneous, he said.

Pope Francis has strongly condemned the notion of “gender theory” on numerous occasions, saying that it is an “error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion.”

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Lisa Bourne

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Poll suggests most US Catholics wrongly believe Pope Francis backs gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- A considerable majority of U.S. Catholics are in conflict with Church teaching on abortion and marriage, a new study says, and a startling number of those also believe Pope Francis backs homosexual “marriage.”

Despite Church teachings, Catholics in America also closely parallel the general populace in their support for abortion and homosexual “marriage,” falling short in the Biblical call to be “in the world but not of the world.”

The findings suggest what many Catholics have said is a climate of confusion in the midst of the Francis pontificate. Concerns over that confusion prompted a coalition of pro-family groups to respond with an international petition effort asking the pope to reaffirm Church teaching, drawing more than a half-million signatures.

The survey, conducted by Public Religions Research Institute, found that 60 percent of all U.S. Catholics favor legalized homosexual “marriage,” compared to 55 percent of all Americans. Likewise, 51 percent of Catholics think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with 53 percent of the general population holding this view.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a sacramental union between one man and one woman, mirroring Christ and the Church respectively as bridegroom and bride.

The Church also teaches that life begins at conception, that each human life possesses dignity as a child of God and is to be afforded protection, making abortion an intrinsic evil.

Catholics, accounting for 22 percent of adults in the U.S. population, have a favorable view of Pope Francis, the study said, but they are very confused about his take on homosexual “marriage.”

Of the Catholics who back homosexual “marriage,” 49-percent also think the leader of the Catholic Church backs it along with them. Fifteen percent of those Catholics who oppose homosexual “marriage” also mistakenly believe Pope Francis supports it.

Pope Francis has made numerous statements in support of life, marriage and family, but the confusion remains.

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"After Ireland and the U.S. Supreme Court both approved same-sex 'marriage,' a strong reaffirmation of Church teaching could save the sacred institution of marriage, strengthen the family and dispel the lies of the homosexual revolution," TFP Student Action Director John Ritchie stated.  "Young Catholics -- even non-Catholics -- look to the Church as a beacon of morality and stability in our Godless culture, but some of our shepherds have issued confusing statements."

TFP Student Action is a part of the lay Catholic organization American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, and is part of the alliance behind the Filial Appeal, the petition asking the Holy Father to reinforce Catholic teaching at the Vatican’s upcoming Synod on the Family in October.

Ritchie explained how the confusion was aiding the Church’s enemies, and warned of the potential consequences.

"This prayerful petition asks Pope Francis to clear up the moral confusion that's been spreading against Natural and Divine Law," he said. "If the enemies of the family continue to chip away at holy matrimony, the future of the family and civilization itself will be in even more serious peril."

At press time more than 500,000 signature had been gathered for the appeal, including five cardinals, 117 bishops and hundreds of well-known civic leaders.

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