Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Quackery of Paul Cameron Exposed - Again

Jim Burroway over at the always informative Box Turtle Bulletin has recently posed an exposé of Family Research Institute founder, Paul Cameron (pictured below).

In reporting on the publishing of this exposé, David Shelton provides a concise summary of Paul Cameron:

“Cameron,” he notes, “is responsible for nearly all of the ‘statistics’ that anti-gay organizations use to demonize and marginalize homosexuals. One of the most often quoted stats is the alleged extreme shortened lifespan of gay men. [Cameron’s] ‘research’ led him to conclude that gays have an expected lifespan of a mere 43 years . . . if they DON’T have HIV or AIDS. [One of his] organization[s],
NARTH (The National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuals) is a sham organization of ‘therapists’ who believe that gay people can change their sexual orientation.”

As I noted in a commentary published in October 2005 in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the quackery of NARTH lends itself to the Catholic Church’s scientifically uninformed teachings on homosexuality. Not surprisingly, some conservative elements within the Church frequently employ terminology and ‘statistics’ concocted by Paul Cameron and NARTH to bolster the institutional Church’s crude and erroneous “truth” about homosexuality.

For instance, “the Church’s official ‘support group’ for GLBT people, ‘Courage,’ often substitutes the word ‘homosexuality’ with the NARTH-coined phrase, ‘same-sex attraction disorder’ – a term unrecognized by any professional health association. Following NARTH’s lead, some members of Courage even consider their ‘disorder’ to be curable, and explain its origin using debunked theories of dominant mothers, distant fathers and abusive family relations.

“The quackery of NARTH is clearly endorsed and encouraged by some within the leadership of the Church . . .”

This is truly deplorable, for as David Shelton observes, “Anyone who uses [Paul Cameron’s] data to support their own anti-gay agenda is not only using sloppy logic, but shows that their agenda isn’t to spread the gospel, but rather to oppress.”

I think as Catholics we can do better than that, don’t you?

Image: WashingtonBlade.com

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Real Meaning of Courage
The Many Forms of Courage
The Dreaded “Same-Sex Attracted” View of Catholicism
Celebrating Our Sanctifying Truth
Our Catholic “Stonewall Moment”
Trusting God’s Generous Invitation
The Triumph of Love: An Easter Reflection
Truth Telling: The Greatest of Sins in a Dysfunctional Church


Anonymous said...

Yes of course I agree with you. I still think that all the arguments against the flawed teaching are like so much clanging of symbols until someone offers a way forward that reflects the truth behind the flawed teaching and which offers and teaches a strong ethic to be striven for. But I've already ranted about that.

I've read your posts on dissent with some interest, and they mirror those bloggers like Joe Cecil and well known theologians like Fr. Curran and others. You've quoted them well and done a good job summarizing them.

Part of Catholicity is an overall disdain for nihilism, which inherently requires the formulation of a moral and ethical position. An ability to disagree, but also to understand the basic good intention behind a call towards a moral good. The understanding that it is OK to formulate a moral good that we will all fail in even as we strive towards it, like charity in our driving automobiles.

Your disdain for the group Courage is, I think, over-emphasized. The reason I think that is that there is nothing in between Courage and totally permissive formulations of catholic doctrine. All change requires a way forward. If you want a Catholic formulation of what it means to be gay it must (1) strive toward a moral truth of healthy sexuality, and (2) Take a stance against nihilism. In the Roman Rite I think that it should also respect the stoic foundations of the aescetic tradition. This is a conquering of the passions towards an ordered moral good. (But yes I agree with you that the current definition of 'order' is wrong).

Until someone does that there is no catholic way forward, and where there is no way forward, other than Courage's celibacy, there will be no change. All chagne requires a way forward, and Roman Catholic change will require a Roman Catholic way forward.

When in Rome, walk like a Roman.

Anonymous said...

Forget Paul Cameron. Here's a minute snippet from a CDC article, which Paul Cameron had nothing to do with. Notice, though, that even the CDC can't bring themselves to suggest the possibiity of abstinence for those infected with HIV:

Sexual Behavior

MSM continue to be the largest population living with HIV in the United States (1). For the majority of MSM, unsafe sex with male partners is the most likely route of transmission of HIV infection (5,14,15). The sexual behavior that carries the highest risk for HIV transmission between MSM is unprotected anal sex between an infected partner and a partner who is not infected (16--18). Approximately 11% of HIV-negative participants reported having unprotected anal sex with a partner whose HIV status was unknown. According to another report of NHBS data, up to two thirds of non-Hispanic black MSM who reported during the interview that they were HIV-negative were, when tested, identified as being infected with HIV (6). The sexual transmission of HIV infection among MSM can be reduced by adopting effective protective behaviors: disclosure of accurate HIV serostatus between sex partners, reduction of the number of sex partners or mutual monogamy, and consistent and correct condom usage (2,9,19,20). NHBS data concerning sexual behavior can be used to monitor the effect of HIV-prevention initiatives on reducing the sexual transmission of HIV infection among MSM (19).