My Take: Let's protect religious counselors amid 'conversion therapy' debate
December 11th, 2012
02:35 PM ET

My Take: Let's protect religious counselors amid 'conversion therapy' debate

Editor's note: Gabe Lyons is author of "The Next Christians: Seven Ways You Can Live the Gospel and Restore the World" and founder of the Q, a learning community that mobilizes Christians to advance the common good in society.

By Gabe Lyons, Special to CNN

(CNN)–Can gay people become straight? Is human sexuality modifiable? Are we really still discussing this?

Yes, according to U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb, who ruled last week that three licensed psychotherapists have the right to practice therapy that attempts to change the sexual orientations of gay and lesbian minors.

In a culturally counterintuitive move, he ruled that First Amendment rights of mental health professionals who engage in "reparative" or "conversion" therapy outweigh concern that the practice poses a danger to their clients. This ruling, albeit temporary, adds a new plank to the debate over gay rights, traditional American liberties and what constitutes good therapy.

At the heart of the controversy over sexual behavior modification is the idea that same-sex attraction is not a permanent and inborn condition but rather an aberration that's often rooted in childhood trauma. As Erik Eckholm of The New York Times writes, “Homosexuality is caused, (conversion) therapists say, by a stifling of normal masculine development, often by distant fathers and overbearing mothers or by early sexual abuse.”

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Today, of course, providers of this persuasion tend to be outcast into the wilderness of the discredited. Most agree that those who once practiced masturbatory reconditioning and genital shock therapy have no place in modern psychology and psychiatry.

But what the Shubb ruling tried to do is carve out space for the non-crazies, the still controversial but credible practitioners who want to help patients who desire to do so to understand the nature of their sexual identity and expression within a larger religious framework. It's a framework that, in its fullest conception, contains psychological appreciation that is at once deeper, more supple and more holistic than the reductive sexual identity assumptions that anchor mere sexual therapy, be it one of conversion or acceptance. If a client asks for help, why would we tie the hands of a professional counselor to provide whatever help they can?

Therapists from this tradition accept that same-sex attraction is not merely a flip-the-switch choice but rather an individual-specific, complex issue that must acknowledge the mysterious interplay between nature and nurture. Because their faith dictates that adherents strive toward a particular sexual ethic - one that confines sexual relations to those between a husband and wife and requires celibacy in all other circumstances - they seek to help patients manage sexual impulses through “cognitive behavioral change.”

Few of these therapists promise that gay and lesbian patients will emerge from their programs “straight.” Rather, they seek to provide guidance, counsel and tools to help reframe desire, its nature and its ends. Such therapy exists to help clients understand the place of their sexuality in the broader conception of who they are.

For example, some Christian therapists might help a client who believes that they are made in the image of God explore what role sexuality ought to play in understanding their full identity: Is it everything, nothing or a piece of the greater whole? These conversations may lead a client to decide how dominant of a role sexual desire will play in their life. Others might counsel a client to abstain entirely from sexual relations. But in doing so, the therapist would seek to help the client find fulfillment, identity and purpose outside of romantic or sexual relationships. There is a long tradition of Christians - from priests to nuns to laypeople - who have chosen celibacy as a higher calling toward spiritual fulfillment.

Whether you like conversion therapy - or these particular outcomes - isn’t the point. Protecting the religious rights of providers who help patients make sense of their sexuality in light of faith is fundamental. And these rights are under attack. Just last week, four gay men filed a civil suit in New Jersey against a prominent counseling group who provided a form of conversion therapy, charging it with deceptive practices under the state's Consumer Fraud Act. If other states follow California's initial ruling, restrictions on religious-based therapy could become the norm.

Gay activists deplore the existence of such options, claiming that it shames patients and represses their natural desires. Yet proponents of civil liberties support it, believing the greater threat is limiting a client's right or the religious therapist’s ability to administer sound judgment in full integrity as she helps her client achieve his/her goals.

Conflicts like this are likely to keep the debate hot and fractured. Here are three big reasons the LGBTQ community may continue to oppose the rights of clients and religious-based therapists and why the religious community must persevere:

Allowing “conversion” therapy to go forward acknowledges that change is possible.

The roots of sexual attraction are hotly debated in both the scientific and psychiatric communities. No one has discovered a “gay gene,” and neither has anyone proved that same-sex attraction can be credited solely to nature and not also nurture. Research and opinions on the matter are evolving.

Credible therapists do not claim that sexual-orientation change therapy turns people into ex-gay, happily married heterosexuals. Although some who participate in this type of therapy do not experience the full transformation they hoped for, others claim conversion therapy helped them achieve the results they sought.

Dr. Nicholas Cummings, a former president of the American Psychological Association, stated, “In my twenty years at Kaiser Permanente Health Maintenance Organization, 67 percent of the homosexuals who sought help from therapists for issues such as ‘the transient nature of relationships, disgust or guilt feelings about promiscuity, fear of disease, (and) a wish to have a traditional family’ experienced various levels of success obtaining their goals.

“In some cases … individuals who initiated therapy not seeking to change their sexual orientation, actually did so through the process of working through other psychological issues,” he said.

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Everyone possesses attributes we’d like to change: behaviors, character qualities, temptation patterns. Therapy, of all kinds, can help us stare those down and create the life we desire to live. Some may learn to accept these attributes and even embrace their greater purpose, while others seek to minimize or eliminate that characteristic.

If someone is distressed over his or her sexuality, they deserve the opportunity to explore the distress in a safe, well-resourced space. It is up to the individual and the therapist to gauge how that process will best happen.

If altering sexual orientation is possible, the “born this way” ideology has to face a trickier reality.

Acceptance of sexual behavior modification presents a difficult challenge to the gay movement. Much of the ideology surrounding the civil rights defense is built on the premise that sexuality is inextricably tied to identity, just as a person’s race, gender or country of origin is. Thus, because sexuality is assumed to be an inborn trait, it requires civil rights protection. Anything else would be unjust.

To suggest that sexual orientation may be intertwined with nurture, trauma, experience or desire is to complicate the victories the LGBTQ community has won using this civil rights argument. But to ignore these mysteries not only undignifies that community, it limits another constitutionally protected class: the religious.

So we must learn to make room for both religious freedom and personal choice. The LGBTQ community can still fight for the rights it desires while conceding that not every person with same-sex attraction is at peace with their sexuality.

It may not agree with the ways an individual may seek to resolve those tensions, but the gay rights movement must respect individuals’ decisions to pursue their own paths.

In the same way, religious leaders who oppose gay rights must accept that gay Americans are afforded the same religious liberty protections. Human sexuality is a complicated spiritual, psychological and physical issue. Everyone — gay or straight — as minors or adults, deserves the right to wrestle with their sexuality in the manner most appropriate to their needs. Saying so shouldn’t become an impediment to civil rights.

Limiting choice for anyone seeking personal change restricts a fundamental human right.
Any person seeking change — whether behavioral, relational, physical, sexual or emotional — has a fundamental right to pursue it. This must remain a basic freedom for both a licensed therapist and her client to explore all possible options in the privacy and confidentiality of their relationship.

We all have friends or family members who have experienced sexual or psychological childhood trauma. This is a reality for both gay and straight individuals, and such trauma often shapes one’s view of life and the world. While not every individual or family would choose to pursue therapy that is open to the idea of questioning the innate good of one’s sexual impulses, it is a valid avenue to help adults, teenagers and families seek understanding, gain clarity and take action to live in alignment with their values.

In the same way that this therapy should not be forced on anyone, it should also not be forcibly removed. Doing so goes against our Declaration’s insistence on every American’s right to “the pursuit of happiness” and a parent’s right to help his/her child.

Any debate touching on issues of sexuality is complicated, emotional and intensely personal. But each one presents an opportunity for each of us to wrestle with how best to live alongside one another, despite deep differences. Instead of treating these debates as zero-sum games where the winner takes all, we should fight to protect the rights and opportunities for each citizen to seek out truth and wholeness. Because if that freedom goes, so do the rest.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Gabe Lyons.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Homosexuality

soundoff (391 Responses)
  1. Sane Person

    The author is basically saying that just because these "therapists" are religious we should allow them to continue these damaging practices on people even though they have been proven to be psychologically damaging and to cause suicide and depression. Lets protect the religious people's right to harm others with their nonsense while ignoring the rights and well being of those being harmed. What a ridiculous, spineless argument. The author is an idiot and should be ashamed.

    December 13, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • riles1964

      I'm not sure you read the article I did. I'm not sure you read it at all. The author is obviously not an idiot. His arguments were well reasoned. Feel free to disagree with him, but name calling? Grow up.

      December 13, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Sane Person

      His argument is that it's ok to perform psychologically damaging practices on people, even though they're known to cause suicides,, because its your religious right. Tell me how this is well reasoned and not completely idiotic?

      December 14, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • gary

      The author's reasoning is about as well-rounded as those thinking r ape is God's intention. More religious insanity keeping this country in the dark ages.

      December 14, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • YeahRigth

      " The author is obviously not an idiot. His arguments were well reasoned."

      No, it's not since he is ignoring all the experts in this country on this subject. It's why they issued this statement. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      December 14, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  2. marcusxl

    Wait, so we need to protect the COUNSELORS and not the COUNSELED? How backwards is that? You people need to start using more common sense, and less stone-age "wisdom" given to us by a hysterical group of cynical virgins.

    December 13, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • midwest rail

      Evangelicals are attempting to frame this debate in terms of their rights to the exclusion of any other consideration. Any disagreement is framed as persecution.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  3. Arvoasitis

    In ancient Sparta, every young boy was turned over to a man, a mentor, whose duty it was to guide him from boyhood to manhood. In return, the young boy was expected to provide se.xual services to his mentor. By this means, boys were introduced into hom.ose.xuality, which was the primary form of se.xual expression in Sparta. When the young men became duty-bound to marry and procreate, many of them found this duty unpleasant.
    If het.erose.xual males can thus be converted, why not the other way?
    On the other hand, I have heard several intelligent and articulate people claim that their gay orientation is natural and perfectly satisfactory (and I am in no position to dispute their claim).

    December 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • End Religion

      The first step here of course is to cite some sources showing that every Spartan male was buggered by his mentor from childhood to adulthood, that every male Spartan then preferred $ex with men, and every male Spartan found marriage to women distasteful.

      December 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Akira

      What a bunch of pure, unadulterated bullsh!t.
      I seen this post before, I likely will again, and there has never been any citations accompanying it, because I suspect it is made up to give some sort of validity to your personal bigotry.

      December 12, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      Go to


      I;m sure you will change you perspective,,,,,,,,,,,

      December 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Akira

      Ll, I c/p that address, and it sent me to a page on etymology.
      I didn't read it, as I don't see what it has to do with the assertion that all men in Sparta were brought up by pederasts.
      Maybe I'll try it again, when I get some sleep, or interest.
      Good night.

      December 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • End Religion

      Thanks for a source. You're still not past step 1.

      December 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Even if this were an accurate portrayal of spartan life (which it's not) claiming that people can be turned gay just opens up the the argument that they aren't "naturally" straight either. Putting dubious history aside, we have enough evidence to indicate that the primary influence on se'xuality is uterine condition during brain development, secondarily some genetics and a little environment. The data is all out there and half the studies are available online...this whole issue isn't string theory. So is it environment, well, to a large extent, yes, but it's the environment in the mother's womb which permanantly shapes the brain. There's very little to be done after that, and why would you want to? The uterine conditions have a lot of impacts on preferences in life, including what foods we want to eat. Fine, if weird Christian types want to try manipulating the amniotic stew to get the babies they want...whatever. But if you don't get Turing...well...you probably don't get Turing.

      December 12, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Erik

      "their gay orientation is natural "

      All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

      The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

      On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

      Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

      The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

      Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

      There are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

      December 13, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  4. Colin

    No. Let's not protect them Anybody who subordinates medical science to their preconceived religious notions should be responsible for any adverse consequences thereby caused. The state has a legitimate right to ban this harmful behavior.

    Should a doctor whose religion prohibits blood transfusions be permitted to allow a trauma patient to bleed to death?

    It's time to give up the Bronze Age sky-fairies for good.

    December 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      I might safely say that, "Religions of monotheism will someday in the upcoming future be but a decreased rationalization to the point of becoming but not fully extinct. The governances of any nation where monotheisms now flourish will likely construct their societies ever needed safety nets as is now done in many governed nations. Keep your horses at bay, I say. Soon seems to be not soon enough for the people of atheist ethnicities. Keep one's pants on I say! We today do live in a world where things and issues seem to change from one day to the next! My faith in there to be a solitary God as being the spaces where nothingness is located as being the Holy Spirit of God in that our bodies held together by God's nothingness will one day be given our souls of nothingness back to the Holy Spirit's enormousness of spatial nothingness to once again be given another try in matters of material significance.

      December 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  5. Pravda

    The topic is so laughable it is not funny. And it isn't funny, the deception and denial is unbelievable. I can introduce you to several former gay people who are now straight and live in normal relationships. Stop the lies...

    December 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Akira

      Please introduce us, then.
      Stop the lies.

      December 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • sam


      You're so full of it, your eyes must be brown.

      December 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • I'm 45 and still live with my parents

      I used to be gay, but Jesus set me straight.

      December 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • mama k

      And I don't believe the troll "I'm 45 and still live with my parents" for a minute. Fake.

      December 12, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Anyone who says they were gay and are now straight is either:

      1) Deluding themselves and living a miserable lie of an existence
      2) Biseexual and merely forcing themselves to only act on opposite gender attraction
      3) Lying about ever being gay

      December 13, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  6. Bill Deacon

    New research shows that hom o seexuality may be related to an epigentic switch that occurs in parents and is transmitted to the fetus. This would lend credence to the idea that orientation is inherited though not specifically genetic. If this is the case, it will soon be scientifically possible to determine your babies seexual preference during gestation and legally sanctioned to abort them if that preference contradicts your values.

    December 12, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      If you wish to abort a child because of their orientation, it is doubtful that you have any values

      December 12, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      also, if it inherited, then it is not a preference

      December 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      missing the whole point aren't you sam

      December 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Huebert

      What is your point Bill?

      December 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      To clarify: In this country you do not have to have any values to get an abortion. We have abortion on demand. Therefore, a parent, or more precisely a mother because fathers do not have a choice, is entiitled to kill her child for any or no reason whatsoever. I would not put it past some extremely ideological people to abort a child based just on this reasoning. I think it puts two kinds of people in a quandary; first pro-life/anti-gay parents faced with the knowledge that their child will be gay will be placed in a quandary. Secondly, would a mother who otherwise might consider and abortion have second thoughts if she is adamantly pro-gay and fears being called a Christian-Nazi or some such?

      December 12, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • sam

      Every fundie that was screaming murder on the abortion article will trip over themselves getting abortions if they find a way to tell if a baby is gay or not.

      December 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      To put it a little more strongly; you might be able to stop the therapy but you cannot stop the genocide. The left has handed the right a tool, which the right didn't want, which would allow them to engineer hom o seexuality out of the society. If the left defends the right to life for gays, then they are forced to defend it for everyone.

      December 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Exactly sam.

      December 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • midwest rail

      ".......would allow them to engineer h0m0se-xuality out of the society." Are you suggesting that 100% of the people would choose abortion if they knew their child's orientation ?

      December 12, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Jurassic Pork

      "which would allow them to engineer hom o seexuality out of the society."

      "I'm simply saying, that Gay Life, uh, finds a way..." Dr. Ian Malcolm

      December 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • End Religion

      Does anyone else love the movie Gattaca? Great stuff!

      December 12, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @End Religion, I liked the ideas behing Gattica, but I think they made a very poor choice for their 'Hero'. He genuinely did have a health problem and was endangering many lives by taking the job he did. I had a hard time looking past the selfishness of this character to the rest of the movie. If they wanted to make a point there were plenty of other careers this guy could have chosen.

      December 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  7. ME II

    Do they offer "conversion therapy" both ways?

    For the hetero who doesn't feel comfortable with his or her se.xual orientation?

    December 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Bravo

      Golf clap.

      December 12, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  8. E101

    Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.
    Human Evolution (1 of 2)

    December 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Akira

      Blessed Are The Cheesemakers.

      December 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • End Religion

      So some creationists will need to push the date back a little but they can still claim that on the day AFTER the day of rest, first thing outta the gate was cheese making. Makes perfect sense.

      December 12, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  9. jnjtoys

    Are there any therapists practicing "bigot conversion therapy"? Where Christians see a counselor to change from being a bigots, Christian mainly, but any kind of bigot really, to a reasonably smart and decent person? If Chirstian children are bigots (And bigotry really is a CHOICE), can we force them to go to this kind of therapy?

    While we are it, why not allow witch trials and other nonsensical activities driven by the pure ignorance, fear and hatred among the least productive and least educated part of the population. We are racing to the bottom.

    December 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  10. the AnViL

    more research needs to be conducted in regards to the VMAT2 gene. hopefully we can eradicate the god delusion in our lifetime. there may be a cure – we just have to find it.

    December 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Pete

      That may eliminate our ability to enjoy other bits of fiction, and where would Hollywood be then?

      December 13, 2012 at 8:13 am |
  11. The Truth

    So how would all the Christian parents here feel if there were therapists gay parents were sending their straight kid's to in order to attempt to turn them gay? Still on board? This judges ruling goes both ways you know...(pun intended)...

    December 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      I believe that already happens! All will answer to God period. No one's opinion matters!

      December 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Yeah

      Or converting them from religious to secular. I bet they would flip out and scream unConstitutional.

      But it's totally different when they do it, just like how an atheist practicing free speech is "shoving it down their throat," but a religious person doing the same thing is righteous;y spreading God's word as commanded.

      Christian's are very into situational ethics, a very dysfunctional form of morality.

      December 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • midwest rail

      @ A.H. – if you truly believe that, then surely you can provide evidence of such ? Names of therapists ? News stories ? Anything ? Didn't think so.

      December 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Including yours so why not just not type anything at all?

      December 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • sam

      AH can just feel those gays trying to convert him. He struggles to resist, every day, while they shoot gay beams in subliminal messages and try to take over the world by wanting to do the same things straight people do.

      December 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Not so

      Muslims believe all will answer to Allah, and that people like you will burn, AH. They have every bit as much evidence that their belief is true as you do. Indeed, most religions believe what you do, but the god is different.

      So why is yours true and theirs false? Your only evidence is a Bible that is verifyably false (Jesus said two major things that are totally untrue).

      December 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      according to them that what psychiatrists do

      December 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • sam stone

      A**H***: Your god is a punk. You are a punk. Get back on your knees, b!tch

      December 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  12. The Truth

    To all religious persons who believe in their heart of hearts that being "gay" is an abomination: THEY ARE NOT "THE GAYS" THEY ARE NOT "THE F.AGS" THEY ARE NOT "THE QU.EERS" THEY ARE NOT "THE H.OMO'S" THEY ARE H U M A N S!!!! What is not human is the disgusting way you treat your fellow man all because you are scared little fear mongers thinking the "gay" agenda is out to get you. There is as much of a left handers agenda as there is a gay agenda since it is impossible to "convert" anyone to be gay or vice versus. If you believe you are in danger of being converted then it's likely you are gay and have just been fighting your urges pretending to be straight all these years denying yourself the chance to be happy all because some sad angry men decided they think your life style is icky.

    December 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  13. Sam Yaza

    re post
    hay i have an idea lets cure the christian in you while were at it, that's actually a choice and it is destructive to the life on this planet

    "I'm going to tie you to a chair strap electrodes to your genitals and shock you every time you see a picture of Jesus" i call id deconversion therapy, quick some on e give me a grant!!!

    December 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Um, Sam? Some of these nutters may enjoy having their genitals shocked.

      December 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Akira

      That's what they call "foreplay".

      December 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • ME II

      Let's not discriminate, some non-nutters might enjoy it too.

      December 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  14. The Truth

    "Protecting the religious rights of providers who help patients make sense of their se.xuality in light of faith is fundamental."

    "have the right to practice therapy that attempts to change the se.xual orientations of gay and lesbian minors."

    I'm all for any adult who chooses for themselves to go through whatever therapy they would like as long as it does not infringe on anyone elses rights. As for allowing parents to FORCE their children into unwanted conversion therapies is a violation of not only the parent/child relationship but of the doctor/patient relationship. Would you be okay with parents forcing their children to get plastic surgery because their parents don't like their kid's nose? Or forcing their child to get a family tattoo because thats how they show membership in their family. It's wrong, wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.

    December 12, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  15. New Alias

    This issue will not be going away any time soon. There will be enough cases where the church can docu.ment success for this to go on for a long time.
    Before you get all offended and start with your insults, let me explain how this happens:
    If a young straight or bi woman is emotionally and/or se.xually abused by a man, she can develop issues dealing with all men, and have problems having normal emotional attachment to males. If some of these women have relationships with women they fit the RCC definition of 'gay'. Now, if through any type of counseling some of those women get past their issues, and later have a relationship with a man, the miracle has happened and the church has 'proof' that their therapy works.
    Okay, now, insult away!

    December 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Ann

      No insult from me. I agree with you. That's a great way they could prey on someone vulnerable to get an example of a "cure."

      December 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Primewonk

      A straight woman who has been abused by a man and subsequently develops an emotional aversion to sèx with men is not a lesbian or bi. She is an abused woman with a psychological disorder. Conversion therapy will do nothing for this woman.

      December 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • New Alias

      Oh Primewonk,
      I always expect shallow and pointless criticism from people with no reading comprehension when I post here, and you came through for me again!

      December 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Akira

      The RCC should use some of their own therapy on their priests that prey upon children.
      Wonder what their bs success rate is for that, besides piling up frequent flyer miles moving the offenders from place to place?

      December 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  16. TC


    Actually, its the right of the person being suggested for this "therapy" to accept, or reject it, but if there is major psychological damage being done to those who reject it, or to those being pressured into it, then your point is well made. Are these people free to choose therapy, or do they risk being ostracized by their family and community unless they seek out this "cure"?"

    The CA law prohibits doing this to minors – who cannot legally choose for themselves.

    December 12, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  17. Richard

    Gay people spread aids

    December 12, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      So do straight people.

      December 12, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      Take his word for it Richard, he's a Doc!!!!

      December 12, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I earned a Sacred Theology Doctorate from the University of Buffalo Spit in Saskatchewan.
      The STD I got at the U of B.S. makes me an authority on all things spiritual.

      December 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works

      "Richard" degenerates to:
      "Equalizer357" degenerates to:
      "chad" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:

      and many other names, but of course we all know this extreme homophobe as
      the disgruntled Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer boot camp flunkie.
      "Richard" exemplifies the bottom of the barrel Christian.

      December 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Christian people spread lies, then charge money for it.

      December 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  18. Nietodarwin

    RELIGIOUS COUNSELING IS AN OXYMORON (Much true counseling deals with repairing the psychological and intellectual harm that religion has caused.)

    December 12, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • myweightinwords

      I disagree. With the first statement at least. Religious counseling can be, and often is, beneficial provided both the counselor and the person seeking counseling share the same faith, or have an open mind about their faith, and the counseling is supportive. Yes, much counseling does help people heal from the spiritual trauma that bad religion can cause...but that doesn't make all religion bad.

      Of course, as a shamanic practitioner (though not currently practicing) a big part of my work is counseling, so I might be slightly biased.

      December 12, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • The Truth

      Religious counciling is like hiring a therapist who thinks they are Sigmund Freud to treat a patient who thinks they are Abraham Lincoln...

      December 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  19. MennoKnight

    You choose who you sleep with. End of story.

    December 12, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • sam stone

      Those who end comments with "end of story" are unable to deal with any conflicting viewpoint. It is the equivalent of covering your ears and yelling loudly "i can't heeeeear youuuuuuu".

      December 12, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • midwest rail

      And that's relative to this story how, exactly ?

      December 12, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      You choose which non-existent (and the probability that any exist is very VERY low) to believe in. End of story.

      December 12, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Primewonk

      You choose which individual people you have sèx with. You cannot choose which gender gives your willie a stiffie.

      December 12, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • MennoKnight

      Yes you do. It is a matter of choice. That that is what this whole thing is about, do you have free will or are you preconditioned to be the way you are.
      We are a product of choice.
      Anything else is disillusion.

      December 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Another one who insists being gay is a "choice" despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. What is your medical/mental health degree in Menno ?

      December 12, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      midwest rail
      It is called Common Sense. An attribute that you seem to have very little of.

      December 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Your inability to provide data to back it up and merely making assertions shows exactly how scared you are of equality for those who don't agree with you.

      December 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • sam stone

      At what age did you choose your orientation, MennoKnight?

      December 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Primewonk

      "It is a matter of choice"

      Are you really this fucking stupid? You can not choose which gender cause you to become sèxually aroused.

      December 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Akira

      This is so absurd, I cannot even fathom how MennoKnight came up with that theory...it's not common sense; that same little feeling you got for your wife, MK, is the same little feeling gay people get for the same gender they are...
      I cannot believe someone would actually think it's as uncomplicated as "common sense"...

      December 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • End Religion

      The problem with common sense is it isn't so common and often doesn't make sense. MK, I am embarrassed for you and sad for your chitlins having to live with your bigotry cloaked in religion.

      December 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  20. Nietodarwin

    I’m an atheist, and a militant atheist when religion starts impacting on legislation.”
    _ Daniel Radcliffe
    We atheists have been getting murdered (and otherwise harmed as in the article above) for centuries. We need to be having protests (within the law) across the street from churches on Sunday morning with signs that say "There is no god" "Separation of church and state" " We are SECULAR nation NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION" "KIDS!!! Ever see god? There isn't one, it's a lie"

    December 12, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • VanHagar

      So why don't you? Put up or shut up.

      December 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.