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conservatives, gay leaders work together to
transform "ex-gay" therapy

conservatives, gay leaders work together to
transform "ex-gay" therapy

A growing number of conservative Christians and gay leaders are finding common ground on the issue of "ex-gay" therapy, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Some Christian leaders, including the Reverend R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, are considering the possible biological basis for homosexuality.Mohler recently shocked many of his constituents by writing that "we should not be surprised" if homosexuality was not a choice but genetically inscribed in our DNA.

Mohler's opinions, although scandalous by popular conservative Christian standards, seem to reflect the current view of many Americans.A Gallup poll last month found that 42% of adults believe that a person is born gay, up from 13% three decades ago.

This more scientific outlook on homosexuality coincides with many conservative Christians questioning the effectiveness of "ex-gay" therapy. Some are even reaching across the divide, working with gay professionals to develop new approaches for patients with a conflicting sexual orientation and religion.

Michael Bussee, a former "conversion" counselor who left the ministry after falling in love with another man, recently endorsed the work of two conservative Christian college professors who created new suggested guidelines for sexual identity therapy. The therapy, developed by Warren Throckmorton, Ph.D., and Mark Yarhouse, Psy.D., moves away from the idea of "curing" gays, instead promoting ways to manage their sexuality in terms of their religious values, with a life of celibacy at the extreme.

The supporters of these guidelines come from all across the political spectrum, including an evangelical college provost and Robert Spitzer, a psychiatrist who in the 1970s helped remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association's list of medical disorders.

"For many years, mental health professionals have taken the view that since homosexuality is not a mental disorder, any attempt to change sexual orientation is unwise," Spitzer told the LosAngeles Times."But for health care professionals to tell someone they don't have the right to make an effort to bring their actions into harmony with their values is hubris."

In response to these recent developments, the American Psychological Association created a task force last spring to reconsider the organization's vague, decade-old policy on sexual orientation therapy.In its place, they hope to find a balance for patients unhappy about their sexual orientation while still ensuring their mental health and dignity. (The Advocate)

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conservatives, gay leaders work together to
transform "ex-gay" therapy

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