Sunday, April 12, 2015

The 3 - April 12, 2015

This week on The 3, my week-in-review feature, the topic of so-called "gay conversion therapy" is in the news, and another state has turned back an attempt to ban this practice, which offers hope for change.  Also, this week, Kansas is the first state to ban a particularly gruesome abortion procedure, and Oklahoma could be joining it as the second.  The top story involves a legal brief filed on behalf of a number of Christian groups and individuals, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the ruling in favor of traditional marriage in 4 states.

3 - Colorado lawmakers reject a ban on "gay conversion therapy" for young people, President voices support for nationwide ban 

This week, a type of therapy which has been named "gay conversion therapy" is in the news.  Anne Paulk of the Restored Hope Network writes on the organization's Facebook page:
"Conversion Therapy" is a phrase that the gay activists have come up with to describe sexual orientation and identity change efforts. They surely chose that moniker to connect it with negative stereotypes. The current proposed bills in state legislatures have morphed from anti-"reparative therapy" bills into ones seeking to disallow a therapeutic objective chosen by the client who is under 18 years old.
State legislatures have attempted to ban this practice, and as Anne points out, last year 14 such attempts to ban it have failed, and she thinks that attempts this year will be stalled.  As Dr. Michael Brown points out in a piece on, "There is a reason that, with the exception of California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia, attempts to outlaw "conversion therapy" have failed, and that is because the truth is trumping the lies."

Colorado is one of the latest states to deflect an attempt to ban this type of therapy.  A story opens by stating:
A Colorado senate committee voted to continue to allow people the freedom to choose therapy for unwanted same-sex attractions.  The committee voted down HB 1175 that would have limited a minor’s access to such therapy.
Dr. Brown says, "...there are countless reports of success stories from professional counseling, and many of them have stood the test of time. That means that such therapy often does work."

In the CitizenLink piece, Jeff Johnston, sexuality analyst for Focus on the Family, is quoted as saying that there is a lot of misinformation out there about the therapy. As part of his testimony before the senate committee, Johnston made these points:
  • Counseling is not harmful, in fact, it has helped a lot of people.
  • Good therapy is not coercive – you can’t force someone to change.
  • Banning Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) for minors is a serious intrusion on freedom of speech, religious freedom and parental rights.
This week, as reported, President Obama has voiced his support for a White House petition that would ban so-called "conversion therapy" for young people, referring to a USA Today piece.  The petition calls for the government to “Enact Leelah’s Law to Ban All LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy.” The proposed law is named for Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen who committed suicide in December 2014 after undergoing conversion therapy.  Senior advisor Valerie Jarrett is quoted as saying, "the overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm..."

Brown discussed some of this research in his piece:
...the alleged damage done by such therapy is often highly exaggerated and sometimes completely manufactured, while scientific studies challenging this are often suppressed by the gay activist lobby in the professional psychological and psychiatric associations. In keeping with this (and as I documented in "A Queer Thing Happened to America"), the media's reporting about the APA's Task Force study on "conversion therapy" was quite inaccurate, also failing to mention that every member of the Task Force was either openly gay (and, for the most, known for gay activist stances) or else a strong gay activist ally. And it is their study that is constantly quoted as "proof" that this professional counseling is negative and harmful.
Paulk states:
The end goal of the gay anti-“conversion,” “reparative, ” and change therapy movement is to stop counselors from being able to help clients work on their goals of change from unwanted same-sex attraction, behavior or identity. The easiest method: to disparage and defame a body of licensed counselors using stories that have not been investigated. In fact, the harms claimed by some would have resulted in licensing removal by state oversight committees already in place.
Why then do we have no official complaints about horrible methodology to the licensing authorities? Knowing this, even Washington State oversight authorities had to admit that they had ZERO complaints lodged against therapists to be investigated. 
Brown says that:
I am certainly not advocating parents forcing their children into some kind of high-pressure, coercive counseling, and I advise every parent with a child who identifies as LGBT to show them their unconditional love.
At the same time, I absolutely support the right of a minor to receive professional counseling for unwanted same-sex attraction or gender-identity confusion...
So, supporters of so-called "gay conversion therapy," or SOCE, are quite confident in the ability of this type of therapy to help people who are struggling with, as Dr. Brown refers to them, "unwanted same-sex attraction or gender-identity confusion."  These success stories provide compelling evidence countering the thought people identified as "gay" cannot change their sexual orientation.

2 - KS bans dismemberment abortions, OK Senate passes ban

Kansas has become the first state in the nation to ban a particularly gruesome type of abortion, which has been named a "dismemberment" abortion.  According to, the bill, signed by Governor Sam Brownback, bans dilation and evacuation abortions, which involve dismembering babies during their removal from the womb. The bill passed the Senate 31-9 earlier this year and moved to the House where it likewise was approved 98-26.

The story says that this practice is common among second trimester abortions, which begins as early as 14 weeks. In the procedure, the child’s heart is stopped and then the body is extracted in pieces and arranged on a tray to ensure that all the parts have been removed from the mother.

And, reports that the Senate in Oklahoma has approved similar legislation, which has been sent to Governor Fallin for her signature, which the website says is expected.

In that story, National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., is quoted: “Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” adding, “Before the first trimester ends, the unborn child has a beating heart, brain waves, and every organ system in place. Dismemberment abortions occur after the baby has reached these milestones.”  The website reports that model legislation provided by National Right to Life is also under consideration in the legislatures of Missouri and South Carolina.

1 - NRB, religious organizations file friend-of-the-court brief in favor of traditional marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court will be holding oral arguments later this month in the case that has been named, Obergefell v. Hodges, which deals with the subject of so-called same-sex marriage.  National Religious Broadcasters announced this week on its website,, the filing of a friend-of-the-court brief on April 2nd by Christian legal advocacy organization Liberty Institute on behalf of a number of religious organizations and Christian leaders.

In the brief, "...the Justices are asked to affirm the Sixth Circuit decision upholding marriage laws in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, and to expressly affirm the First Amendment free speech rights of Christian ministers, teachers, and leaders who are compelled by faith and conscience to preach and speak aloud their millennia-old and sincerely held religious view that marriage is the sacred union of one man and one woman."

According to the NRB website, NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson noted how it became increasingly apparent in recent weeks that “the forces that insist upon changing the definition of marriage are willing to jettison our free speech and religious liberties to do so.”  He stated, "This brief is needed to warn the Court of this danger."

The website quotes Dr. Johnson:  "There is no way a constitutional right to homosexual, so-called, ‘marriage’ can be invented by the courts and enforced without using the police power of the state to impose cooperation by its citizens, and that is in violation of the 1st Amendment,” adding, “For those who think sexual liberty trumps religious liberty, they need to be reminded that the free exercise of religion is explicitly framed into the Constitution. The same is not so for sexual rights, especially not a revolutionary redefinition of marriage."

Signatories of the brief include the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritan's Purse, In Touch Ministries, Pathway to Victory, The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and more, in addition to pastors Charles Stanley and Robert Jeffress, as well as other Christian organizations and leaders.

And, this past week the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention announced its "Pray for Marriage" initiative.  On the ERLC website,, in a special "#PrayForMarriage" section, this sample prayer guide is posted:
  • God designed marriage as a way to prosper creation and to reflect his gospel (Gen. 2; Rom. 13; Eph. 5). Pray that all people, including governing authorities, would honor the institution of marriage.
  • God can turn the hearts and minds of the justices to do his will (Prov. 21:1). Pray for the Supreme Court justices, that they would be receptive to the arguments being made passionately before them.
  • God can guide the mind and speech (Exod. 4:11-12). Pray for lead attorneys who will be arguing on behalf of the states seeking to uphold marriage. Ask God to give them clarity and wisdom, for their arguments to be persuasive, and for God to give them favor before the justices. 
  • God can give understanding to make sound decisions (Prov. 2:6-8). Pray for those who disagree with us, that God would help them understand and respect the opinions of those whose definition of marriage is grounded in the biblical witness.
  • God is sovereign (Gen. 50:20). We ought to pray and hope for the best but plan for what Justice Scalia predicted in 2013: “As far as this Court is concerned, no one should be fooled; it is just a matter of listening and waiting for the other shoe.” Even in the event of a bad decision, marriage will always be what marriage truly is.
As a Christian, I choose to pray for God's design for marriage and the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the national definition of marriage.
I choose not to despair. I choose to keep my eyes focused on our Lord, in whom my true hope lies. I choose to remember the Truth about marriage -- that God created it as the union of a man and a woman -- no matter what the Court says.
I will pray for marriage and our nation's families, children and religious freedom.

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