Thursday, July 3, 2014

What Should Christian Parents Do About Reparative Therapy Bans?

Many Christian parents not only in California but also across the US are wondering what to do about the decision SCOTUS made to deny cert to (that is, they opted not to review) Pickup v. Brown and Welch v. Brown. In doing so, they left in place a California ban on reparative therapy, which prevents licensed therapists from working with children to change their sexual orientation. Contrary to evangelical Christian beliefs, sexual orientation is not chosen, but a part of who the child is. Therapist who wish to force children to deny who they are, making them state that they aren’t gay or bisexual are pissed because they feel the measure violates their First Amendment rights.

The evangelical Christian angle is that in 2012 when California passed a law banning licensed counselors from offering reparative therapy to teens “suffering from unwanted homosexual attractions” it stepped on their toes. The law does not apply to clergy or other unlicensed counselors, but prohibits licensed doctors, therapists, psychologists, or social workers from offering the treatment.

The evangelicals scrambled, trying to find a way to work around the ban. They chose to enflame Christians with the broad spectrum of Parent’s Rights and violation of the counselors’ First Amendment freedom of speech. Luckily, a San Francisco-based federal appeals court upheld the ban, saying it regulates conduct and not speech. The Parent’s Rights group states that the distinction is hard to swallow because the majority of the “conduct” involves speaking. Yet, by denying cert the Supreme Court has left that ruling in place and the ban – which had been on hold pending this final appeal – can now go into effect.

There was no doubt in the reaction of the Parent’s Rights movement. Michael Farris, of states about the ruling, “This is an outrage.”

For Christians, homosexuality is a touchy subject. The Parent’s Rights movements take on the matter is that “it is so important that young people be free to work through this issue with their parents who love them, and not be forced into one single, “politically acceptable” path by overreaching lawmakers and bureaucrats. That the California legislature would be so bent on protecting one group’s rights that it would trample on the rights of others is extremely problematic.”

The problem is that these evangelicals believe that it is their right to force their children into whatever mold the parent sets. The Parent’s Rights group states  “The law that the Supreme Court has chosen to leave in place criminalizes a form of therapy with proven results among those who seek it. The law violates the right of parents to make medical, psychological, and therapeutic decisions that they, along with their child, determine to be in the best interests of their child. It also violates the doctor-patient decision-making relationship.”

But these children are not allowed to make their own decisions about what is in their best interest. In Lance Bass’s recent documentary, Kidnapped For Christ, the kids and teens are not allowed to decide. They are manipulated, forced into, taken against their will, and made to feel less than. The abuse continued by evangelical Christian parents in the guise of Parent’s Rights needs to be stopped.

Parent’s Rights groups fear those teens whose same-sex attractions arise from sexual molestation or trauma during childhood would be denied the professional care they desire and need. But they are assuming that teens being gay is brought on by trauma and neglect the fact that if a child is sexually abused they can always talk about that abuse and the counselor/therapist is not there to direct the child’s decision about same sex attraction, but help them recover from abuse.

Basically, the Parent’s Rights groups oppose the bans because they feel that it impose undue interference on the right of parents to make medical and psychological care decisions with and on behalf of their children.

But that’s the main problem. Most of these parents are not making the decision based on what’s best for the child, but based on what will embarrass the parent the least. The Parent’s Rights groups have proposed that a Parental Rights Amendment needs to be added to the U.S. Constitution so they can “protect the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children as a fundamental right,”

The main issue is that these people do not have the best interest of the child in mind. They are hung up on lies perpetuated by religious organizations. Any group, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or any other group religion that suppresses same-sex attraction, making those people feel less than, should seek the cause of their reaction to same-sex attraction, finding within themselves the problem, instead of trying to harm innocent children.

In the A Southern Thing series, Jack’s mom loves him dearly and works to understand what is going on with Jack. She doesn’t take man’s words on the subject of same-sex attraction, but she goes deeper to figure out if what her son is doing is wrong or okay.

If you are in the position that you don’t know what to do about your son or daughter’s same-sex attraction, read the series. If you’re on the fence about your co-workers or friends, read the series. I know I won’t change the minds of those who have lost their ability to actually love freely. They are beyond my reach, your reach, or any sane person’s reach. I can only hop that in the future religions stop trying to force their ideals down the throats of others. A Southern Thing series is a southern tale of good triumphing over evil! Read it and learn.


Kindle Alexander said...

I love you Sara York. You are such an advocate. I'm so glad to know you. You make the world a better place.

Maymareads said...

Thank you for your passion to speak and write from your heart.
I must say I am constantly amazed by some US factions that seek to contravene and ignore what is a key principle in the UN's dialogue on children and that is:
4. A VOICE: Children have a right to have their say in decisions that affect them and to have their opinions taken into account.
Bless you for speaking out.