When Personal Offense Is Made Injustice – Part 1

on November 11, 2019

The focus on personal desires and discontents which fuels today’s moral revolution is now threatening to destroy the personal freedom it seeks to establish. As noted in a previous article, the more “rights” there are, the more state control of life is necessary to enforce them. Nowhere is this now more strongly felt than in the world of counseling, especially by licensed professionals.

Christopher Doyle, Executive Director of the Institute for Healthy Families, reviewed how the cutting edge of the moral revolution, transgenderism, is wreaking havoc with professional counseling at the Family Research Council on October 30. Here the catch-all term “conversion therapy” is used by activists to advocate the criminalization of any professional counseling, and perhaps ultimately speech by anyone, which aims to help a person identify with their biological sex and its typical behavior. Doyle observed that eighteen states and forty-five cities “have passed bans on … voluntary therapy on those who have unwanted same-sex attractions or gender identity conflicts.” This is in spite of the fact that “no state licensing board in the United States has ever convicted a licensed therapist of ethical violations for forcing a young person into so-called conversion therapy.”

How is it possible that this gross state interference in professional work, which is also a gross violation of freedom of speech (and for religious clients and therapists, freedom of religion) has occurred in a country where freedom has been the ideal? The answer lies in the use of personal stories of woe by people with desires and inclinations traditionally thought immoral. To gain control of public discourse, transgender activists have used “stories of abuse and torture … in legislative hearings and in the media [which] are almost entirely fraudulent.” He pointed out cases in which both the ABC and CBS news networks broadcast stories of “conversion therapy” accounts of activities that never really occurred.

Doyle discussed three strategies used by LGBT activists in waging war against traditional morality: (1) “blur the lines between fact and fiction,” (2) “push an aggressive false narrative,” and (3) “use therapy bans as a cultural proxy attack on religious freedom.”

He noted the observation of lesbian commentator Camille Paglia that “you are not allowed to ask questions about the childhood of gay people anymore … the entire psychology establishment has shut itself down … everything is political now.” Doyle believes psychology is being corrupted by “junk science” and “political correctness.” Prominent psychologists Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins University, Lisa Littman of Brown University, Robert Spitzer of Columbia University, and Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin all published scholarly studies questioning homosexuality and transgenderism as innate, unchangeable features of human beings. All were subject to intense public relations attack, with Spitzer re-interpreting his evidence to conform with LGBT orthodoxy.

Other reports in the literature supporting LGBT doctrine are widely acclaimed in the news media. These reports, however, “have not looked at outcomes of young people who have gone through therapy.” There is also no clear, agreed-on definition of what “conversion therapy is.” It includes not only psychological counseling, but can include religious counseling, or simple discussion groups of those who have moved away from transgenderism. “Exorcism, shaming, condemning” can all be included in the concept of “conversion therapy,” and thus found intolerable. And so considerably more than a mere restriction on the treatments of licensed therapists is clearly in view by LGBT activists. Rather, the goal is to use the banning of “conversion therapy” to make opposition to homosexuality and transgenderism illegal.

Doyle also noted that far-left media outlets such as Media Matters “give talking points” to the media to report claims of abusive “conversion therapy” while suppressing any alternative view. He said that there is a “bait and switch” strategy to engineer the passage of legislation suppressing expression critical of homosexuality or transgenderism. In Washington state, stories of nonexistent coercive therapy led to a proposal to ban all such “therapy,” whether directed against homosexuality and transgenderism or not. But LGBT activists opposed this legislation, since the bill did not include a ban on voluntary talk therapy to redirect clients away from homosexuality or transgenderism. Prohibiting voluntary therapy seems to have been the real object of the legislative effort.

One particularly alarming story of the bias of the media regarding “conversion therapy” was testimony in the New Jersey state legislature concerning coercive practices at a “conversion camp” in Ohio, which in fact was taken from the fictional account of a film. Although this was exposed as a hoax, the media did not report the hoax, and the proposed law against “conversion therapy” in New Jersey was signed by the governor anyway. Other cases of false stories told in legislative hearings are not reported as being demonstrably false by the news media. These therapy bans are then used as a “cultural proxy” to attack religious expression and counseling against homosexuality or transgenderism. Yet the bans themselves are supported by stories of events that never happened.

Doyle said that “political bodies will not solve this conflict, because the facts no longer matter.” He did say the Supreme Court’s NIFLA ruling in 2018 that crisis pregnancy centers in California cannot be required to post information about the availability of abortion gives hope of striking down counseling bans. There was also a legal judgment voiding such a ban in Miami, Florida. “The truth matters,” Doyle said. Voluntary religious or other counseling to support an individual’s biological sex is not “abuse,” he said. Justice must be determined by reality, not by the campaigns of activists.

Courts that freely interpret law and judicial rulings are also a problem in dealing with sex related issues. In response to a question, Doyle observed that in a recent case in Maryland, a judge found that the NIFLA ruling did prohibit distinguishing between ordinary speech, which cannot be censored, and “professional conduct speech” which could be restricted. But the judge still found against free speech by distinguishing between ordinary speech and “incidental speech.” This shows why the overall composition of the federal judiciary, and not just the Supreme Court, is important.

In answer to another question about whether the psychiatric community considers itself coerced by radical activists, Doyle said that that in his conversations with persons in the field of psychotherapy, “the biggest concern that professionals have” is that large associations of counselors such as the American Psychological Association and the National Social Workers Association are “controlled by very far left individuals” who establish ethical policies that implement their ideologies. This then influences state licensing boards in their actions. This problem goes beyond the controversy over transgenderism to other issues, such as abortion. There remains some counseling freedom in that people may seek counseling for mental conditions that are not “diagnosable illnesses.” “Marriage therapy” is commonly asked for, although it may not involve a mental illness. Such freedom will not, however, survive an outright ban on therapy to reorient people to their biological sex, although such bans clearly violate free speech.

Another question recounted the testimony of a young man who decided not to undergo sex alteration surgery after talking at length to the questioner. The professional counselor he was consulting never questioned his sex change objective. Doyle said that much publically available information is one-sided. The high risk of suicide for persons who have “transitioned,” and the prospect of permanent sterility if one’s natural sex organs are removed, are not the focus of ideas presented to young people in school and on the Internet. Doyle said he expects “mass lawsuits” in future years as a result of people being uncritically directed through sex transitioning.

The unfolding tragedy Doyle describes results from putting immediate personal wishes over observable reality, and certainly over the will of God expressed in Scripture. The clear result is tyranny, chaos, and ultimately heartbreak. Doyle’s presentation shows how the supremacy of hurt feelings wreaks havoc where one might expect, in professional counseling. But of course, Christians today face the same threat with respect to corporate Christian life. That will be the topic of a subsequent article.

It can be viewed here.

  1. Comment by JR on November 11, 2019 at 11:09 am

    Reparative Therapy hasn’t been shown to be effective, from a scientific standpoint.

    If you don’t think that non-effective treatments should be banned, then I’d like to sell you some snake oil – it will make your vision 20/20 again!

    “All were subject to intense public relations attack, with Spitzer re-interpreting his evidence to conform with LGBT orthodoxy.”

    Interesting spin. The truth, however, is even more interesting.

  2. Comment by DOUGLAS E EHRHARDT on November 11, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    Yes always look to the New York Times for the truth. They would never be biased towards Christian world views.

  3. Comment by JR on November 11, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    They weren’t reporting on Christian Worldviews, they were reporting on a noted psychiatrist (Science!).

    But hey, that’s fine, you can play that game.

    But do it honestly. You should then disregard any buffoonery about psychiatry (Science!) posted in a religious online forum. 🙂

  4. Comment by RDL on November 12, 2019 at 7:31 am

    Science, not religion.

    If there was someone with a moronic mindset–it’s JR.

    Science has a philosophical if not a religious foundation.


  5. Comment by Palamas on November 12, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    Claiming that “reparative therapy” is “ineffective” is like claiming that psychiatric treatment of pedophiles is pointless because most haven’t been “cured.” Or that Alcoholics Anonymous is pointless because lots of alcoholics relapse. There are lots of testimonies to the effectiveness of psychotherapies in helping people dealing with either homosexuality or gender confusion. The fact that the current political climate, including within the APA, simply won’t consider them doesn’t make them any less real.

    In any case, comparing these therapies to snake oil is nonsense. Snake oil 1) never helped anyone; 2) kept them from utilizing more effective treatments; 3) were offered by charlatans who knew their potions did no good. None of those are true of psychotherapies aimed at helping people deal with homosexuality or gender confusion.

  6. Comment by JR on November 12, 2019 at 1:42 pm


    Statistically speaking, there’s no solid evidence that reparative therapy is effective.

    Snake oil helps as much as reparative therapy, according to the science. There’s the placebo effect in both cases, there’s anecdotal evidence in both cases. Show me a single double-blind study that can prove that reparative therapy has any effect-above-placebo (i.e. Snake Oil).

    Even Spitzer went regularly on-record to address misconceptions around his research. He didn’t specify any particular method of reparative therapy (Science fail) and it was a weak referential study instead of a longitudinal one.

    Some people might report that they’ve changed. Just as many people report changing orientation without any such therapy (on a percentage basis). Just as many people report changing orientation purely due to prayer (on a percentage basis). And just as many people report changing orientation due to snake oil (on a percentage basis).

    Make of it what you will.

  7. Comment by Palamas on November 12, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    As I was saying, those who have made up their minds that a given therapy cannot work–regardless of evidence to the contrary in numerous identifiable cases–are what are called “ideologues.” Not “scientists,” but close-minded bigots.

    Do you know what statistics are? An excuse to avoid actual, specific, case evidence.

    Do you know what double-blind studies are? Irrelevant to the issues at hand. Why is that? Because unlike chemical medications, no one claims that ANY psychotherapy is always effective, or even largely effective. Every instance of psychotherapy is unique and dependent on too many variables to measure effectively across broad classes except in the most general sense.

    Your characterization of “reparative therapy” is a straw man based on propaganda rather than practice. In practice, those who seek to help people cope with gender confusion and homosexual orientation do not speaking of “curing,” in the sense of making the feelings and thoughts underlying the actions to be permanently banned. Nor, with rare exceptions, do those who claim to have been helped by such therapy claim that they no longer deal with such thoughts or feelings, nor do temptations completely disappear. Helpers instead aim at trying to help those who wish help–which you would deny them–to deal with them, to recognize them for what they are, and to aim at behavior that will comport with their aims and desires to live straight.

  8. Comment by JR on November 12, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    Another point, just because it’s educational.

    If Alcoholics Anonymous is on the same scope in your mind as reparative therapy, then successfully completing the AA program would mean that a former alcoholic, now cured, could go have a drink now and then. They wouldn’t be tempted to drink too much.

    That’s not how it works.

    AA (and therapy for pedophiles) isn’t about ‘curing’ someone – it’s about building up behaviors and controls. They are still alcoholics, and pedophiles, even though they don’t act on those impulses.

    Reparative therapy, on that scale, would potentially help someone who doesn’t want to be gay (or straight, though I’m not aware of any particular cases going that direction) to build up a behavioral wall to limit themselves. But that’s not the same as ‘curing’ the homosexual urges – which is what reparative therapy claims to do.

  9. Comment by Rick Plasterer on November 12, 2019 at 1:41 pm


    The only “truth” I can see in the NY Times article is the claim that people reporting reorientation from homosexuality or transgenderism could be lying or deluded. This is impossible to verify. Science is supposed to be based on findings from physical reality, which Spitzer didn’t recant. Homosexuality and transgenderism are based on wishes and inclinations, and the body of thought justifying them is ideology, not science. This does not stop LGBT liberation or scientists under the gun from claiming it as science, however.


  10. Comment by JR on November 12, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Spitzer himself, based on his research and public comments, would disagree that “Homosexuality and transgenderism are based on wishes and inclinations”.

    You claim that as fact, and yet you have no such proof.

    Prove me wrong – do a scientific study and submit it for peer review. Do the science.

  11. Comment by Rick Plasterer on November 13, 2019 at 1:02 pm


    Wishes and inclinations are the only way to identify someone as “LGBT.” Any objective basis for classifying people sexually (such as one’s sexual anatomy or a “gay gene”) would make it possible to identify people independently of what they want, which is exactly what LGBT liberation is fighting against. Testimonies that one is homosexual or transgender must be accepted without question, according to the new dogma; testimonies of regaining orientation to one’s biological sex are rejected, contrary to the the LGBT movement’s own doctrine of self-determination.


  12. Comment by JR on November 13, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Ok, Boomer.

    [For a guy with a Masters in Library Science, I’d think you’d be able to come up with something better in the way of references supporting your argument.]

  13. Comment by Ted R. Weiland on November 15, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    Rick Plasterer: “As noted in a previous article, the more “rights” there are, the more state control of life is necessary to enforce them.”

    So, with this being true, shouldn’t we working toward eliminating all, yes, all alleged rights – especially being that rights are an entirely unbiblical Enlightenment concept in order to further establish the sovereignty of man in violation of 1 Timothy 6:15.

    The Only One with rights to anything is our God and Creator. Even life isn’t a right except to God. Think about it: It’s inherent in who He is as Creator.

    For the rest of us, life is a gift from and responsibility to the One who created us. Think about it: It’s inherent in who we are as the created.

    If life (and everything that comes with it) is our right then God was obligated to create us, making Him subservient to us. In turn, He would be without the authority to judge us for what’s our right to do with as we please.

    Time for Christians to stop claiming what doesn’t belong to them.

    For more, see blog article “Rights: Man’s Sacrilegious Claim to Divinity” at http://www.constitutionmythbusters.org/rights-mans-sacrilegious-claim-to-divinity/

    Furthermore, America was sold down the river when the 18th-century founding fathers replaced non-optional Biblical responsibility (based up the moral laws of God) for optional Enlightenment rights.

    At the same location, see blog article “America’s Road to Hell: Paved With Rights.”

  14. Comment by Search4Truth on November 21, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Sad, lots of arguing, but missing the main point, which is really the aim of the far left. “Original Sin.´ Man is a fallen creature and without help will remain fallen. The temptation to sin is different for each and even in redemption some will appear to fall and others will rise, but it will only be when we are released from our earthly bonds will we be free from temptation. Until then we can pursue the Word of God or turn away from it.

The work of IRD is made possible by your generous contributions.

Receive expert analysis in your inbox.

 ⏰ Partner in the work of IRD!

IRD uniquely reports on the latest happenings in U.S. Christianity thanks to your support. Please help with your special gift of $50, $75, $100 or whatever you are called to give!

Make your gift