On Friday, while many anti-gay conservatives were at the Values Voters Summit, Focus on the Family posted an interview with its resident “ex-gay,” Jeff Johnston. Johnston reiterated some of the boldest lies about homosexuality, explaining that there are “a variety of roads into” it, such as molestation, parents’ divorce, and trouble conforming to gender roles, but that “God has a number of ways” to bring people out of it:
JOHNSTON: There is evidence for a variety of roads into homosexuality, just as God has a number of ways of bringing people out of homosexuality. There are some factors that seem to be more significant in people struggling with same-sex attractions. One of the things we know about homosexuality is that guys who struggle have been molested three times more often than men in the general male population. You could see how that could be a factor in leading to homosexuality, because it would cause a boy to question his masculinity, to be unsure about his sexual identity, questioning, “Am I am man? Am I gay? What does this say about me that this happened to me?” So it raises all sorts of questions in a little boy’s mind.
Parents’ divorce can be factor, and the personality of the child, too. If you have a shy, introverted, quiet boy who doesn’t necessarily fit into a rough-and-tumble world, he can have a harder time embracing his masculinity. If there are problems in the parental relationship, that can affect a kid.
A girl who rejects her femininity could grow up longing for what she already has inside her. I know several women whose dads treated them like little boys — they wanted a boy and they treated them like boys, so these girls became very masculine. But they’re still longing for that femininity. Some women reject femininity because they see women being weak or passive or abused; some women, and men too, have turned to homosexuality for political reasons or out of rebellion against societal norms.
Johnston goes on to explain that God can transform people, and the Church should reach out to help those who are suffering depression because they are gay.
None of these ideas have any validity in science. Though the origins of any individual’s sexual orientation is informed by complex mix of biological and environmental factors, nothing can shape a person’s identity in the way Johnston describes. If anything, the reverse conclusion is true — young people who might happen to be gay would be more vulnerable to faulty Christian teachings if they’ve been victimized and sought counseling in some way. Indeed, the motivation behind Johnston’s interview is to encourage the group’s followers to reach out to such victims.
By spreading harmful lies about the experience of gays and lesbians and promoting ineffective, traumatizing therapies to try to correct them, Focus on the Family is trying to diminish the reality of inequality lived by gays and lesbians everywhere. To those who don’t try to conform to these teachings, they offer no support whatsoever. (HT: Good As You.)