|The New Zealand Christian Right is at its most amusing when it behaves as if its subcultural 'social scientists' can pass rigorous muster. Au contraire. Here are two such examples.
Let's look at the Society for Promotion of Community Standards, which currently has a position paper on 'marriage and the family' on its website. SPCS Executive Director (!) David Lane takes biblical proof texts as the basis for his argument, and then goes on to make minimally substantiated claims that heterosexual cohabitation and solo parenting, as well as dual same-sex parenting, "cannot" provide nurturant contexts for childrearing compared to heterosexual married couples.
Lane's paper offers no substantial reason for censoring information about gay identity formation and sexuality, nor for equating it with substance abuse, gambling, suicide, gratuitous violence and other social problems. And why does Lane cite Bruce Logan's old Cutting Edge articles as if Logangate had not resulted in the plagiarism scandal that led to his retirement from the Maxim Institute? Why is Lynn Wardle cited when he has used Paul Cameron as if he was a credible social scientific source in his antigay family law articles? This is a breathtakingly lazy position paper, not even bothering to cite peer-reviewed independent academic journals in the field of pediatrics or developmental psychology to substantiate its claims.
If Lane's position paper was candyfloss quality, then we must really wonder at Garnet Milne, now at the Covenanted Reformation website, who seems to believe that the new Yarhouse/Jones study, Exgays? provides verification for the 'gay conversion case.' According to Jim Burroway's detailed critique of current pre-publication information about the study on "Box Turtle Bulletin," that is not the case at all.
Earlier this month, Mark Yarhouse and Stanton Jones launched their book at the AGM of the American Association of Christian Counsellors in Nashville. The book consists of about seventy two in depth interviews conducted over a two and half to three year period, uses orthodox sexuality evaluation scales, but also notes that it had trouble attracting Exodus participants. Therefore, it had to recruit an additional forty one self-described alumni of these programmes. Even so, there is less than meets the eye here, still. Only about forty percent of the hybrid sample argued that they were either converted to heterosexual fundamentalism or chaste, while twenty-nine percent described themselves as ambiguous, fifteen percent described themselves as non-responsive, six percent were willing to describe themselves as still gay, and four percent were confused.
Burroway asks some interesting questions about the design of the project, such as the recruitment of subjects and the representativeness of the sample, as well as missing data sets related to exgay programme drop outs, numbering twenty eight or so people, as well as age related factors. This is far from being the holy grail of antigay social science, and the New Zealand Christian Right shouldn't try to pretend it is. Craig Young - 22nd September 2007