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NEW ORLEANS (BP)--An explosive new study says some gay people can turn straight if they really want to. Robert L. Spitzer, a psychiatry professor at Columbia University who led the study, said he couldn’t estimate what percentage of highly motivated gay people can change their sexual orientation But he said the research "shows some people can change from gay to straight, and we ought to acknowledge that."
Spitzer spearheaded the APA’s 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. At the time, he said homosexuality does not meet the criteria for a mental disorder, and he called for more research to determine whether some people can change their sexuality.
Spitzer, who said he does not offer reparative therapy and began his study as a skeptic, said the research was paid for out of his department’s funds. He conducted 45-minute telephone interviews with 200 people, 143 of them men, who claimed they had changed their orientation from gay to heterosexual. The average age of those interviewed was 43. They answered about 60 questions about their sexual feelings and behavior before and after their efforts to change. Those efforts had begun about 14 years before the interviews for the men and 12 years for the women Most said they had used more than one strategy to change their orientation About half said the most helpful step was work with a mental health professional, most commonly a psychologist. About a third cited a support group, and fewer mentioned such aids as books and mentoring by a heterosexual.
Spitzer concluded that 66 percent of the men and 44 percent of the women had arrived at what he called good heterosexual functioning. That term was defined as being in a sustained, loving heterosexual relationship within the past year, getting enough satisfaction from the emotional relationship with their partner to rate at least seven on a 10-point scale, having satisfying heterosexual sex at least monthly and never or rarely thinking of somebody of the same sex during heterosexual sex. In addition, 89 percent of men and 95 percent of women said they were bothered only slightly, or not at all, by unwanted homosexual feelings. Only 11 percent of the men and 37 percent of the women reported a complete absence of homosexual indicators, including same-sex attraction.
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Culture War Invades Corporate America: The culture war over homosexuality has moved into the workplace. Millions of employees are being commanded to not just tolerate homosexual behavior, but to respect and even promote it reports the 1/4 issue of Christianity Today. At least 300 of the Fortune 500 companies have included sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies. Heterosexual employees who balk at such rules are punished, sometimes severely. John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute says Christians shouldn’t discriminate in terms of sexual orientation, but neither should they be forced to deny their faith. (Christianity Today 1/04)
Gay Benefits: Of the nation’s top 500 U.S. companies, 95% now offer anti- discrimination policies based on sexual orientation and 70% offer domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples. In ’00, the numbers stood at 51% and 25% respectively. (Business Week 12/15/03)
Mega Church Growth Slows: A new study by Scott Thumma, Hartford Seminary, indicates that after 20 years of rapid growth, churches of more than 2000 members, growth has markedly slowed. There are approximately 500 such mega churches in the U.S. and nearly all have a conservative theological orientation. The research reveals the following risks and trends:
Members are growing dissatisfied with contemporary music, mini-dramas and sermons filled with life-lessons.
· Some attendees are feeling lost in the crowds and want something smaller and warmer.
· Saddleback Community Church, Orange county, is considering replacing pews with tables and chairs to help worshippers feel more connected.
· Small groups are being emphasized and some observers suggest mega churches will eventually decentralize to the point that home groups will replace weekly central worship.
· Some, such as Calvary Chapel, have started several daughter churches, essentially becoming quasi-denominations. There ar...
eHarmony is the 4th-largest dating site on the Web, behind Match.com, Yahoo and Spark Networks, finds comScore Media Metrix. eHarmony started out touting itself as “based on the Christian principles of Focus on the Family author Dr. Neil Clark Warren.” Now Warren is trying to distance himself from Focus and Dr. Dobson. He recently bought back the rights to his Focus published books so he can drop Focus’ name from the covers and says he will no longer appear on Dobson’s radio show. “We’re trying to reach the whole world, people of all spiritual orientations, all political philosophies, all racial backgrounds,” says Warren. 7.5 million people have taken eHarmony’s free online test and the company plans to spend $80 million on radio and TV ads this year vs. $50 million last year. (USA Today 5/18/05)