Readers clarify stance on homosexuality

We wish to reply to the letters published in the Daily written in response to our article “Homosexuality can be spiritually transformed” (May 14). First, we wish to make a public and sincere apology for the member of Christians in Action, who John D. Gustav-Wrathall (“Heterosexism can be spiritually transformed,” May 16) said had agreed with the sentiment that a homosexual who was beaten was “asking for it” because of his lifestyle. That is not the attitude toward homosexuals that we teach or endorse. We wrote our last article in an attempt to combat the excessive shame associated with homosexuality that encourages that kind of thinking. We are truly sorry for any anguish that conversation caused Gustav-Wrathall.
Secondly, there were a few misunderstandings in the replies to our article that we wish to clarify. Two readers took our statements to mean that all sexuality is based on unmet needs for parental love. That is not true. Sexual attraction to the opposite sex is normal and healthy. It is the inversion of one’s sexuality to same-sex attraction that is often rooted in unmet childhood needs. Are we saying that homosexuals and bisexuals are to be singled out for counseling and prayer ministry? Not at all. As we said, there are many ways we respond to unmet human needs and we are all in need of spiritual transformation. One reader pointed to an apparent inconsistency when we said homosexuality is not a neurosis. She said that a neurosis is unwanted behavior based on childhood events. We would define neurosis as obsessive or compulsive behavior or thoughts that impair a person’s ability to function in everyday life.
Thirdly, Gustav-Wrathall said we were “not likely terribly concerned about what ’causes’ homosexuality,” that our views were based on prejudice rather than fact, and that we implied “that only conservative and fundamentalist Christians know the true causes of homosexuality.” The fact is that many professional secular psychologists, including some as well-known and credible as Anna Freud, have found that a homosexual or bisexual person can become a heterosexual. In our article, we were presenting a Christian response, so we did not quote any secular sources. For instance, on the source of homosexuality, Arthur Janov states, “The homosexual act is not a sexual one. It is based on the denial of real sexuality and the acting out symbolically through sex of a need for love. … The homosexual has usually eroticized his need so that he appears to be highly sexed. … But sex is not his real goal — love is” (Arthur Janov, “The Primal Scream,” page 328). On the possibility of a homosexual becoming heterosexual, Rueben Fine, director of the New York Center for Psychoanalytic Training says, “I have recently had occasion to review the results of psychotherapy with homosexuals and been surprised by the findings. It is paradoxical that even though the politically active homosexual group denies the possibility of change, all studies from Schrenck-Notzing have found positive effects, virtually regardless of the kind of treatment used. … If the patients were motivated, whatever procedure is adopted, a large percentage will give up their homosexuality” (Rueben Fine, “Psychoanalytic Theory, Male and Female Homosexuality: Psychological Approaches,” pages 84-86). Our motivation is a prejudice for the truth, not a prejudice against homosexuals, because, as Jesus said, the truth can help to set one free. To tell someone the truth can be the most loving and “Christian” thing we can do.
So what about the “preponderance of psychological, biological and sociological evidence” that Gustav-Wrathall spoke of? First, the biological evidence is inconclusive. No one can say if any measurable biological differences cause homosexuality or if homosexuality causes biological differences. Furthermore, one of the sources of this “preponderance of evidence” is the politically active homosexuals who say they can’t or won’t change. If you say something long enough and loud enough, people often take it as fact. Another source is psychologists who have been unsuccessful at counseling homosexuals. In “Homosexuality and Hope: A Psychologist Talks About Treatment and Change,” Gerard van den Aardweg wrote: “These results (when assisting homosexuals who wanted to change) are far from perfect, but … the radically changed cases — from complete homosexuality to normal heterosexuality — refute the theory that therapy of homosexuality is pointless. Indeed, since relatively few homosexuals seriously try to change and few therapists encourage them to do so, the notion that homosexuality is irreversible is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If nobody tries, nobody will succeed.” Is it difficult to change orientation? Definitely. Is it impossible? In the vast majority of cases, no. Furthermore, we are convinced that turning to Jesus will make it less difficult and make the impossible possible, for “with God, nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37).
Writers’ note: Quotes from the psychological literature were compiled by Eagle’s Wings Ministry in Minneapolis.
Michael Hanratty is a graduate student in civil engineering, and Craig Krueger is a campus pastor for Christians in Action, a Chi Alpha Ministry.