Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More Democrat debate suckitude

Here is a put-up job from Planned Parenthood -- the winner of apparently some kind of standardized contest (Astroturf, I think the pros call it) in which PP conventioneers seem to compete to produce the most obsequious reverse-'have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife-yet' question. The text of the question and answers is here from the CNN transcript.

Unlike with the homosexual "marriage" matter, the question is actually more revealing than the answers (plus I've already picked on Edwards and Obama¹).
My question is, we here at Planned Parenthood support comprehensive sex education, and I'd like to know if any of you as candidates have talked to your children about sex, and used medically accurate and age-appropriate information?
Whether it's "immigration reform" or "sex education," the minute you stick the word "comprehensive" in there, I start looking askance, as if someone is trying to throw a fast one on me or steal some intellectual bases. This particular question also is loaded with rehearsed buzzwords.

But more directly, the question is utterly and totally ridiculous on every front imaginable.

The president (which I think is the office to which the persons being asked all aspire) has nothing to do with sex education. Governors, state lawmakers, school districts, etc. ... sure. Not the president. He is not sex-educator-in-chief.

The way the question is specifically put does a slushy slide over from "as candidates" to "talked to your children about sex." But nobody talks to his child about sex "as a candidate." One teaches his children about sex as a parent (or parent-surrogate, like grandparent or even, in principle, teacher). And what one does and says at home in matters relevant to religious values -- as Jonathan Edwards insists -- need not necessarily have anything to do with what one thinks "as a candidate" or "as an officeholder."

Further, nobody denies the need to educate children about sex. The public issue only even comes up when schools that all must attend (in a era when all do not worship the same god) try to address the subject. How do we (or can we) handle moral plurality on this matter? It's not that "as a parent" isn't the same thing as "in public policy," but that the public-policy issue (and the contention therein) comes up only in the context of children who are NOT one's children. All sane people agree that parents have certain prerogatives in raising their own children on which outsiders may not intrude, even for the somewhat better. So asking about "your own children" is exactly the 180-degrees-wrong question.

The term "medically-accurate" is a shibboleth and actually contradicts the other adjective -- "age-appropriate." Medically-accurate terms generally are not appropriate for children; little boys don't have "penises" or "testicles"; they have "wee-wees" (or whatever was the term in your neck of the woods).

Whatever such lingo lacks in medical precision (and I agree that to an adult in a doctor's office, the talk should be about "your penis" not "your wee-wee" or "your manhood"), it gains in respecting children's innocence. Nor do children really have any need for "medically-accurate" information about reproduction, birth control or abortion. But then Planned Parenthood's idea of age-appropriate includes telling 7-year-olds about masturbation, so apparently people have quite different (and irreconcilable -- reason one why all school-sex-ed should be banned IMHO) understandings of "appropriate."

Further the very insistence that "medical accuracy" is a relevant criterion hints at reason two why all school-sex-ed should be banned IMHO. Medical accuracy says that sex is a medical (and/or biological) matter. And while it obviously is that in certain contexts, school sex ed that it is not at the same time religious or moralistic (and I think all agree that it should not be that) thereby constructs sexuality as solely a medical/biological matter, without a religious or moral dimension. Regardless of the details of what you say, when you bring up a topic and discuss A, B and C in that context, but not X, Y and Z, you are necessarily marginalizing X, Y and Z in the context of that topic. And in that construction of sexuality, medically-accurate sex ed reduces man to a rutting animal, which is far worse than teaching nothing at all or some ignorance of this or that detail of.
¹ Still, I did find it interesting that both of the candidates talked more about preventing sexual abuse and predators than sex-education in the more customary, and controversial, sense.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The awful Democratic debate

The exchange on homosexual "marriage" Monday night was about the most incoherent discussion of the issue imaginable -- and not even necessarily from the POV whence I come -- that 'tain't no such thing as "gay marriage." If I were a pro-gay Democrat, I would find it every bit as annoying. It came in response to this question:

And then this amplification from a North Carolina minister, aimed specifically at Jonathan Edwards:

Before I begin, I'd like to note that the first clip illustrates pitch-perfectly one of the trends of political discourse I like least, namely the personalization of every matter and attempts to "put a face" on social policies. "Would you allow US" is not an attempt to get an answer about a matter of the common good. It invites knee-jerking in the answerer, attempts to narrow thought beyond one's own horizon (and thus feeds this generation's narcissism), and is mostly just cheap self-righteous grandstanding by the questioner.

The responses I posted in their entirety here, from the CNN transcript.

This is not difficult. If a person has a right to marry someone of the same sex, then the lack of same-sex "marriage" under the law is government-sanctioned discrimination, truly akin to the miscegenation laws. You cannot be against homosexual "marriage," while considering that any disparate treatment of any definable group is discrimination. This discrimination narrative, "rights talk" as Christopher Lasch and Mary Ann Glendon called it, is something that all the Democrats who answered the question (plus both the questioners and Anderson Cooper) apparently accept. They believe that this is an issue about anti-gay discrimination and not about the definition and purposes of marriage.

One either believes that a person has a right to marry, in principle, anybody he wants to based upon his wanting to do so, and thus the case for gay "marriage" is airtight (as is the case for polygamy and who-knows-what-else-is-waiting-in-the-wings). Or one accepts that marriage has an inherent structure, namely the male-female procreative bond, that contrary unions violate and so are not "marriages." Therefore, privileging the male-female union does not "discriminate." Which is why it is truly incoherent to say, as all the Democrats except Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich apparently believe, that such privileging is "discrimination," but the solution is civil unions. Civil unions are simply another form of discrimination and one made even more incoherent and irrational if such unions have all the privileges and burdens of marriage, but not the name.

Every response was weak at least intellectually and only Kucinich even achieves surface coherence. But the spectacularly incoherent ones were from Edwards and Obama. Here are the highlights of Edwards:
whether it's right for any of our faith beliefs to be imposed on the American people when we're president of the United States. I do not believe that's right. ...
I feel enormous personal conflict about this issue. I want to end discrimination. I want to do some of the things that I just heard Bill Richardson talking about -- standing up for equal rights, substantive rights, civil unions, the thing that Chris Dodd just talked about. ...
But I personally have been on a journey on this issue. I feel enormous conflict about it. ... my wife Elizabeth ... actually supports gay marriage. I do not.
Keep in mind he's answering a question partly and undisputedly framed in the lingo: "Senator Edwards said his opposition to gay marriage is influenced by his Southern Baptist background."

Where to begin? How about with Edwards insisting that he doesn't believe in imposing religion-based morality while supporting his stance against homosexual "marriage" in terms of his religion ... excuse me ... his faith community. He reads like somebody saying something he doesn't believe -- in both directions. There is certainly no other reason -- good, bad or indifferent -- for why he does not support gay marriage.

And how disgraceful is it to hide behind your wife's skirt on such a matter? What ... is Edwards afraid that Elizabeth will keep all the hair mousse if he doesn't make some bow toward her stance. This is a classic case of someone trying to straddle the fence -- wanting to say one thing to the brights the party base, while keeping his option open with regard to the yahoos general electorate come November. He even repeated it later:
I mean, I've been asked a personal question which is, I think, what Reverend Longcrier is raising, and that personal question is, do I believe and do I personally support gay marriage?
The honest answer to that is I don't. But I think it is absolutely wrong, as president of the United States, for me to have used that faith basis as a basis for denying anybody their rights, and I will not do that when I'm president of the United States.
Does Edwards even realize that the entire claim to homosexual "marriage" made by gay activists is precisely THAT the inability of a man to marry a man is a denial of their rights? Even Uber-Homophobe Moi at least acknowledges their arguments as being what they are. You would have to have spent the last 10 years on Pago Pago not to realize that saying "I do not support gay marriage" and "I don't want to deny gays their rights" is an answer that, in the current intellectual climate, does not answer anything without you having a lotta 'splainin to do.

Which gives us a nice segue to the incoherence of Barack Obama. Here's the highlights:
COOPER: Senator Obama, the laws banning interracial marriage in the United States were ruled unconstitutional in 1967. What is the difference between a ban on interracial marriage and a ban on gay marriage?
OBAMA: Well, I think that it is important to pick up on something that was said earlier by both Dennis and by Bill, and that is that we've got to make sure that everybody is equal under the law. And the civil unions that I proposed would be equivalent in terms of making sure that all the rights that are conferred by the state are equal for same-sex couples as well as for heterosexual couples.
Now, with respect to marriage, it's my belief that it's up to the individual denominations to make a decision as to whether they want to recognize marriage or not. But in terms of, you know, the rights of people to transfer property, to have hospital visitation, all those critical civil rights that are conferred by our government, those should be
Not only does he repeat the same Edwards nonanswer about equality, apparently not realizing that the argument for gay "marriage" is precisely that denying it is a denial of equal rights, Obama even managed to commit two further intellectual crimes.

First of all, he didn't actually answer Anderson Cooper's question, which was that he distinguish the current "ban on gay marriage" from the ban on interracial marriage. The analogy between them was also the unstated starting premise of the North Carolina minister's YouTube question. It's surely worth noting in this context that the analogy between homosexuals right and black civil rights is one that much of the black community, particularly in the black church that finds misguided or offensive. Obama's silence shows exactly how the tension on this issue between the black church and the Democrat netroots is treated -- by not acknowledged as even existing. It may be slipperiness but there is method to it.

Second, the second part of Obama's answer manages to introduce a new nonsequitur. Obama says that the churches should have the right to define what marriage is for their own sacramental purposes. One would have thought that the First Amendment's Free Exercise clause would have made that a rather noncontroversial point, but ... whatever (for now)¹. But the issue of what is a marriage for the church has nothing to do with the matter of what is a marriage for the state, which also both acknowledges and performs them. Most of the time, Caesar does simply rubber-stamp what God has put together. But not always -- the county JP will suffice. To tick "married" on your 1040 forms, or any other government document (state or federal), you need a license from Caesar. Thus the definition of marriage is something on which Caesar must decide -- for his own purposes at least. That's what the whole current dispute is about: who can be considered "married" by the state.² And that's a matter that a political office-holder like Obama cannot punt to the church.
¹ Once gay marriage becomes state policy, we'll see how long it takes before gay activists try to force churches to conform. The over-under is a week, I'd guess.
² Anyone who wants to has long been able to go to the Unitarians, Metropolitans or similar sects, and have a ceremony in (what they imagine to be) the eyes of God, cut a cake, wear rings and have a hot time in bed that night. The free exercise clause does cut both ways.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"My life is in your hands"

Now more than ever.

I got the news while in a movie theater last night, about 1020pm from one of my Courage brothers, the here-mentioned Tar Heel who loved Tammy Faye as much as I did. He sent this simple three-word text message to me:
Rip tammy faye
As a writer, one never knows what will resonate with people. Whenever I check my traffic since May, without fail, I learn that some people have been directed from a word search for "Tammy Faye" to this post "As She Lay Dying," which has gotten prominently listed on major search engines. The editor of one of Washington's two principal gay weeklies, Sean Bugg of Metro Weekly, wrote about my post about her. Just earlier this week, I got the following e-mail from a stranger:
Subject: Thank you for your blog on Tammy Faye
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2007 10:25:36 -0700
I caught your blog today and cried. I saw tammy faye on larry king live last night which
devastated me. I will pray for her soul. She is a christian who loves all people (black, white, gay, square).etc.

thank you
Tammy Faye's death was, of course, not unexpected. As the writer noted, she appeared again on "Larry King Live" earlier this week (video excerpts here; transcript here). To say that she didn't look good would be an understatement. That was my dominant initial reaction, though one I quickly took back mentally when I mulled it over.

It was the latest and final proof that superficial appearance didn't matter to Tammy Faye. It's too bad that in English the word "shameless" has come to have a negative connotation, because it describes her appearing on TV to encourage people and talk about the Lord and His presence in her life while she was on death's doorstep. Shame didn't matter to her. Or maybe "prideless" is the word I'm looking for (except that I don't think it's an "official" Webster-approved word). The kind of pride that would keep most of us off TV in her state and which caused her son Jay to have her exit his reality-TV show "One Punk Under God" when she was in obviously better condition than she was this week -- that just didn't matter to her. Only evangelizing did. And if that meant appearing on TV in this way, so be it. Roger Ebert made a similar point about refusing to hide his own illness. One of John Paul the Great's last great witnesses was refusing to give in to his manifest infirmities, to be an icon of Christ in his illness.

Ironically, one part of the King interview, that Yahoo excerpted above or a clip, was providential for me:
I talk to God every single day. And I say, "God, my life is in your hands and I trust you with me."
Earlier on Saturday, a few hours before I learned Tammy Faye had died and while (I'm guessing) her ashes were being scattered, I was in confession, tears again (though no mascara -- I'm a butch, manly-type homo). My parish pastor listened to another bout of despairing doubt and said that better cultivation of Hope was needed. His penance was to repeat several times a short prayer "Jesus, I trust in you."

(Aside: I swear to God, as I write at 2am Sunday morning, my iTunes just rotated randomly to Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus," a song that was almost certainly consumed upon release as an 80s slam on televangelism a la Jim and Tammy. But which has lyrics too elemental and too resonant to be contained by this superficial topicality and avoid contrarian appropriation -- having been covered by the devout Christian Johnny Cash near the end of his life. Also, like Tammy Faye. I'll keep iTunes on DM until I'm done.)

But those words "Jesus, I trust in you" were essentially Tammy Faye's last words to the world. She was totally in His hands. And her final days were an act of witness to Father's short prayer, in the face of, in her case, the ultimate earthly darkness.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Thanks to all

Since most of the time, the personal news I do share tends to be "bad" and my last post pretty much made it clear that I was "on the canvas" recently, let me reproduce here a draft from a lengthier note to a priest that I was working on, but decided against finishing and sending.

Hiccups aside, which I do allude to, these past couple of months have been some of the happiest, Godliest I've experienced. For the first time in my life, I think God has been able against my will to turn a corner with me on Topic H, and I'm much more closely attuned to His voice and the angels he sends. "Le bon temps" began approximately with this public prayer request, so thanks to everybody who responded -- publicly, privately or spiritually. Anyhoo, here it is:
First of all and for the first time ever, I’ve really measurably felt my homosexual attractions diminishing. I would be lying to say that I’ve lived perfectly continently in that period, but (and I will spare you the details) I can definitely say that (1) I can innocently come across a male body without triggering further action, (2) when I do same guiltily, I much more easily and quickly turn away or click off, (3) it takes more “time” to give Satan the definitive upper hand. While I’m aware that libido will naturally diminish over time, I’m still only 41 and not too far removed from my biological prime.

As for sex with other men, I am pretty much uninterested any more, knock wood. The pickup attempts I’ve made have been progressively fewer (function of choking off the routes or having them choked off for me), more half-hearted, and almost always the eventual victim of my cold-footed conscience. And none of the three completed occasions within the past year did I even enjoy much at the time, much less did I leave the bedroom thinking “I have found my true nature and identity.”

To use a disease metaphor, although I still catch colds my immune system is measurably strengthening -- actually “coming into existence” would be more like it. I can’t tell you how joyous and thankful I am over this, Father. To switch metaphors, I’ve served close to 20 years of what I’ve always expected to be a life sentence without the chance of parole. And it’s like finding out that you misheard the judge saying “with” as “without.”

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Vastly overextended metaphor

To steal some sports-martial language from my confessor, who has a "weakness" for such things, we're at war with Satan. Christ has secured victory in the end, but only (necessarily) in the end. In the world, at some point, that guy lying on the canvas is gonna be you. Gonna be me. There will always be defeats, as St. Josemaria warned us. But, my confessor also notes, a boxer shows his heart by whether he gets up and fights through a shellacking, not whether he ever takes one (all do).

Boxing is a sport, so the fight has time limits and a way to contrive a final outcome. But the fight of life and against Satan never ends as long as we are alive. Which has both a down and an up side. The down side obviously is that, for the standing fighter (in that pic FWIW, British light-middleweight champ Jamie Moore), victory is never total or complete. The upside is the flip side of that -- defeat is never final or total for the downed man (challenger Matthew Macklin). This particular fight was over that night, going into the books as a 10th round KO loss for Macklin, who reportedly was out cold for five minutes and stretchered out of the ring to a hospital.

The highlights of this "fight of the year" candidate are here, and here's the whole 9th round -- and they indicate why Macklin was counted out. It certainly wasn't that he didn't have the heart to fight through a shellacking. Quite the contrary; the fight had been such a slugfest for nine rounds that when he came out for the 10th, he had nothing left and crumbled when Moore landed a good combination that was no harder than a hundred other punches landed earlier in the fight.

Therein lies the difference for the sacramental life, if viewed properly, which is that we have God in our corner and all the Saints cheering us. Between every round, if we ask Him and receive His Sacraments, God renews us and restores us to the condition we were in at the start of the fight. Corner men can do wonders, but they are not God; and End-Swell is not the Body and Blood of Christ. We can be spiritually renewed every day as Macklin's body (or any other fighter's) could not be renewed every round. So we can fight every round as if it were the first. There is not (or should not be) any "accumulation of punches." There is not (or should not be) any "running out of gas." Our bruises should subside. Our cuts should close. Our broken nose should be back in joint and no longer impede our breathing. Our ribs and gut shouldn't ache from the punches taken nine rounds ago and since.

I've often stayed on the deck from fear of continuing to fight (meaning, "take more punches") ... or perhaps more accurately, I've fled back to the dressing room to whimper. But at some point in your life, you simply acknowledge that God is God and so leaving the ring/surrender is not an option. (Nor is trying to change the rules of the fight, so it's more to your liking.) Like Cortez burning his ships, we remove the ring-steps and aisles that could let us flee the arena. I have declared war on Satan, and so my only option is to fight on. Even if that means getting KO'd, over and over by a demon who has my number and whom I cannot lick. Obviously, the idea is to lick Satan, not the other way round. Hopefully, we learn something of how to fight from the shellackings. But remember that when you (let God) win, you (and God) win; if we lose, we still win because, as long as we're faithful, God will never count us out and declare the fight over.

Seconds out, round 11.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Work of Holy Spirit

I had occasion and need to sniff around the Arlington Diocese's Web site just now, looking for when I could go to confession tomorrow morning. I came across a well-fitting and nearby time at Holy Spirit, and then began looking around the site.

One of the parochial vicars there, Father James Searby (a JP2-generation priest), has his own Web site where I found a couple of items, apparently written by himself informally, of potential broader interest, on sexual impurity generally and masturbation in particular. The items can be downloaded as Mac Word files, but so as not to link directly to the download command, I advise interested persons to go to this page on Father's site and look on the menu at the right for "Some Practical Steps for Overcoming Impurity" and "Overcoming Addiction to Masturbation and Pornography." For people without Microsoft Word (I am one of them at home), I have also copied the texts and repost them at my "Articles" blog as "Practical Steps" and "Addiction."

This struck me as the most-insightful part, including the explanation for why every time you do it, it leaves you numb.
Masturbation, you could say, is the 'lonely problem.' At its core it seems to fulfill a desire but it ends up leaving a man lonely, dulled and unable to really love himself properly and therefore, anyone else. If sexuality is made to unite a man and woman in love and self gift, then masturbation is the opposite. When we take self giving to another and make it a solo act where there is no self giving then the action has the trappings of something good but it is used wrongly. It is a turning in on oneself rather than a giving out of oneself. That is why there is such a let down and so much guilt after the act is completed. When it becomes a habit it can be safe to assume that the problem is not the actual masturbating but a need for love. This need for love, for meaning, and for wholeness is a deeper problem and requires a deeper answer. ...

The pleasure glosses over the deeper need for love, friendship and a hunger for God. It is an easy, predictable way to find what you long for on a deeper level but it always comes up short. That is why, when it is all said and done, there is usually a vow of some sort where one says, “That’s it! That is the last time! I’m tired of this!” and that lasts for a little while until the temptation arises again and the cycle starts again. ...

Then one of two things happen:
You have become numb to it and you don’t care that it happened. You still feel guilty but you say, “well, I already sinned, I might as well keep going for a while until I can get to confession”
Or, you make the vow: you ask God for forgiveness and promise that this was the last time - you’ve had enough, no more!” And you move on and get to confession quickly.
Then, unless the cycle is broken - it all eventually begins again.
I have masturbated "for the last time" a hundred times over. And I have done it again "because there's no reason not to" more often than that. To be honest, I don't think I've had any other reaction more than a couple of times. Only in some recent weeks have I really been able to face up to why that is.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

On tonight's 'Media Crossfire'

On the left ... Fox News. On the right ... the Los Angeles Times.

No, really.

Read this Fox News report about denunciations of the ex-gay ministry Exodus, which met last week in Southern California, under the headline "Former Leaders of Ex-Gay Ministry Apologize for 'Bringing Harm'," and remind yourself that this is the far-right organ of the christofascist godbags (HT: private e-mail from Irenaeus).
Three former leaders of an international ministry that counsels gays to change their sexual orientation apologized for their efforts, saying that though they acted sincerely, their message had caused isolation, shame and fear.
The former leaders of the interdenominational Christian organization Exodus International said Wednesday they had all, over time, become disillusioned with the group's ideas and concerned about what they described as the wrenching human toll of such gay conversion efforts.
"Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families," the three, including former Exodus co-founder Michael Bussee, said in a joint written statement presented at a news conference in Hollywood. "Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear and loss of faith that this message creates."
Needless to say, the usual suspects are crowing. And needless to say, wrongly.

Admittedly, the first word is "former," but unless you read the article carefully or know the names or the backstory, it doesn't leap out to you that the speakers aren't just "former" in the sense that Bill Clinton is a "former president." It would be more accurate to describe Bussee as a "disgruntled" ex-gay, something the article mentions only late and in passing. His criticism of Exodus is about as meaningful as a 1980 article about a former Democrat apologizing for the damage his party had done through the Great Society and the "acid, amnesty and abortion culture." Then mentioning that it was Ronald Reagan's stump speech. Or describing David Brock or Damon Linker as "former conservatives," without mentioning that "disgruntled ex-conservative" is now their official role.

I don't mean to be hard on Bussee, but no therapeutic program can ever, in principle, work if the patient walks away or convinces himself, through whatever means, that his condition is something good. Fox notes that Bussee left Exodus to pursue a sexual relationship with another man. I really do understand that resisting a lifetime of habit is hard enough, even apart from cultural propaganda. And that the male organ does have a mind of its own. But Bussee's giving up once a man gave him the hots sufficiently is still a pitch-perfect example of Chesterton's epigram that "the Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." In this case, "abandoned" might fit better than "untried," but the point is the same. Instead, Bussee surrendered to Woody Allen morality: The heart wants what the heart wants.

But the better news is that incredibly, and I found this via an article at the California Catholic about the confluence of the Exodus and "Ex-Gay Survivor" conferences, this very good Los Angeles Times piece notes how both the "ex-gay survivors" and Exodus are backing off some of their indefensible claims.
Despite the fundamental gulf that divides them, gay-rights activists and those who see homosexuality as a sinful disorder are starting to reach agreement on some practical points.
They seem to be coming closer to, dare I say, a more-Catholic view of same-sex attraction. (Father John Harvey is cited at the bottom of the Cal Catholic article). I think that the grandiose promises of some people associated with Exodus simply feeds the kind of frustration that produces cases like Bussee. I would have long ago become a self-identified gay, living the lifestyle in Dupont Circle, if the standard for holiness were "never having homosexual feelings" or "never having the standard male reaction in response to them."

But at the one end, the current head of Exodus Alan Chambers, who actually IS on board with the group's mission, acknowledges that "conversion" is slow and imperfect, and probably never complete.
... Chambers won't celebrate successful "ex-gays." Truth is, he's not sure he's ever met one.
With years of therapy, Chambers says, he has mostly conquered his own attraction to men; he's a husband and a father, and he identifies as straight. But lately, he's come to resent the term "ex-gay": It's too neat, implying a clean break with the past, when he still struggles at times with homosexual temptation. "By no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete," Chambers said. ...
Chambers and other Exodus leaders talk deliberately about a possible biological basis for homosexuality, in part to explain that no one can turn a switch and flip from gay to straight, no matter how hard they pray.
Evangelicals tend toward a soteriology of "once saved, always saved," with salvation being a onetime, definable event that divides your life into "Before Christ" and "After Christ." Since religious doctrine shapes imagination, even when it's not intellectually cited, it's not surprising that evangelicals should see "conversion" sexually as analogous to "conversion" spiritually. And set themselves up for a fall. And while the move against that model is merely personal for Chambers, that it is occurring at all is heartening.

While it's not surprising, as the LA Times cites, that the anti-ex-gay side should "[see] it as a sign of openness," the article also notes that they're at least modifying their tune somewhat on therapy, again bringing it somewhat more in line with what the Church teaches (unintentionally in this case, I'm sure).
He and other gay activists — along with major mental-health associations — still reject therapy aimed at "liberating" or "curing" gays.
But Bussee is willing to acknowledge potential in therapy that does not promise change but instead offers patients help in managing their desires and modifying their behavior to match their religious values — even if that means a life of celibacy.
"It's about helping clients accept that they have these same-sex attractions and then allowing them the space, free from bias, to choose how they want to act," said Lee Beckstead, a gay psychologist in Salt Lake City who uses this approach.
The guidelines for this type of therapy — written by Warren Throckmorton of Grove City College and Mark Yarhouse of Regent University — have been endorsed by representatives on both the left and right. The list includes the provost of a conservative evangelical college and the psychiatrist whose gay-rights advocacy in the 1970s got homosexuality removed from the official medical list of mental disorders.
"What appeals to me is that it moves away from the total polarization" common in the field, said Dr. Robert Spitzer, the psychiatrist.
"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," said Spitzer, a Columbia University professor.
Every little bit of progress is noted -- the gay therapist refers to "these same-sex attractions," which refers strictly to what can be known (phenomena) and avoids the reifying (and therefore obscurantist) language of sexual orientation. There have been a series of reports in recent months that the APA is considering re-listing "unwanted homosexuality" as a mental-health condition (something I would definitely acknowledge as existing in my own case). As follows:
APA President Gerald P. Koocher affirmed a patients’ right to help at a Town Hall Meeting at the organization’s annual convention in New Orleans. Koocher stated, “APA has no conflict with psychologists who help those distressed by unwanted homosexual attraction.”
The rubber will hit the road when the APA's gay caucus and the rest of its pro-gay membership has to approve a course of action -- will it say approved therapies can "modify[] their behavior to match their religious values" and, in Beckstead's words, "allow[] them the space, free from bias" to do this. After all, the most rabid gay activist can easily acknowledge "unwanted homosexuality" as a condition, but say that the only approved courses of action are those intended to get the patient to "want" homosexuality. Again, this is closer to the Church's teaching that behavior is normative and that "orientation" is a category suspect at best.

I don't quite know how optimistic to be about the APA's vote next year -- there are some doubts about the review panel's composition. Its decision in 1973 to remove homosexuality from the DSM was not a medical or scientific decision at all, but a philosophical one that "gay is good." The work of pro-gay head-shrinkers since merely presuppose this and build on it; they don't and can't actually prove it as true. The head of the APA's gay caucus more or less says as much. Their criticism of anti-gay therapy is not its success or failure, but because it is Badthought.
Anderson conceded that it is the motivation of many therapists involved in reparative and conversion therapies, rather that the effectiveness of the programs, with which he takes issue.
"The APA, of course, recognizes the issue of client autonomy to set their goals," Anderson said. "But we also still see that people who promote reparative therapy are promoting a prejudicial attitude toward homosexuality."
If we must call psychiatry a science (and I am very reluctant to for the reason here¹), a medical decision could in principle have been soundly made within the APA's scientific competence. "There is nothing known that can counter this condition" is not different in principle from "this cancer is inoperable," a judgment in which an oncologist is, in fact, expert. But instead the decision has been taken as giving unimpeachable "scientific" support to what is nothing more than a certain philosophical anthropology, which science is incompetent to critique. An oncologist has nothing to say on whether it is good to have cancer (that's a matter, to use Mr. Anderson's lingo ... "for client autonomy, which psychiatrists [of course] respects"). It misses the point to call an oncologist "wrong" on that issue, in the sense that someone who says 2+2=5 is "wrong. "The point is that said oncologist is not even right enough to be "wrong," instead being more like the man who says "2+2 demonstrates that your love is like a red, red rose."
¹ The universal problem of all psychological discourses is that the human soul ("psyche") is plastic and self-conscious, which makes all psychologies true to those who believe them and false to those who do not. As I noted above and have before, no therapy will ever work on someone determined to resist it or who thinks his condition is good (so the "scientific" criterion of "randomness" is nonsense on stilts for psychology. Psychology can only be "true" at the level of a self-fulfilling prophecy to those outside each discourse, but so what? Why does gay-activist psychology get a veto over Catholic psychology?