Anti-Gay Myths Promoted by Pastors of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Part 3: Homosexual orientation is a result of child abuse or poor parenting

Copied from:  Southern Poverty Law Center

By Evelyn Schlatter and Robert Steinback

Ever since born-again singer and orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant helped kick off the contemporary anti-gay movement some 40 years ago, hard-line elements of the religious right have been searching for ways to demonize gay people — or, at a minimum, to find arguments that will prevent their normalization in society. For the former Florida beauty queen and her Save Our Children group, it was the alleged plans of gay men and lesbians to “recruit” in schools that provided the fodder for their crusade. But in addition to hawking that myth, the legions of anti-gay activists who followed have added a panoply of others, ranging from the extremely doubtful claim that sexual orientation is a choice, to unalloyed lies like the claims that gay men molest children far more than heterosexuals or that hate crime laws will lead to the legalization of bestiality and necrophilia. These fairy tales are important to the anti-gay right because they form the basis of its claim that homosexuality is a social evil that must be suppressed — an opinion rejected by virtually all relevant medical and scientific authorities. They also almost certainly contribute to hate crime violence directed at the LGBT community, which is more targeted for such attacks than any other minority group in America. What follows are 10 key myths propagated by the anti-gay movement, along with the truth behind the propaganda.



MYTH # 3

People become homosexual because they were sexually abused as children or there was a deficiency in sex-role modeling by their parents.

THE ARGUMENT

Many anti-gay rights activists claim that homosexuality is a mental disorder caused by some psychological trauma or aberration in childhood. This argument is used to counter the common observation that no one, gay or straight, consciously chooses his or her sexual orientation. Joseph Nicolosi, a founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, said in 2009 that “if you traumatize a child in a particular way, you will create a homosexual condition.” He also has repeatedly said, “Fathers, if you don’t hug your sons, some other man will.”

A side effect of this argument is the demonization of parents of gay men and lesbians, who are led to wonder if they failed to protect a child against sexual abuse or failed as role models in some important way. In October 2010, Kansas State University family studies professor Walter Schumm released a related study in the British Journal of Biosocial Science, which used to be the Eugenics Review. Schumm argued that gay couples are more likely than heterosexuals to raise gay or lesbian children through modeling “gay behavior.” Schumm, who has also argued that lesbian relationships are unstable, has ties to discredited psychologist and anti-LGBT fabulist Paul Cameron, the author of numerous completely baseless “studies” about the alleged evils of homosexuality. Critics of Schumm’s study note that he appears to have merely aggregated anecdotal data, resulting in a biased sample.

THE FACTS

No scientifically sound study has definitively linked sexual orientation or identity with parental role-modeling or childhood sexual abuse.

The American Psychiatric Association noted in a 2000 fact sheet, available on the organization’s website dealing with gay, lesbian and bisexual issues, that sexual abuse does not appear to be any more prevalent among children who grow up and identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual than in children who grow up and identify as heterosexual.

Similarly, the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization notes on its website that “experts in the human sexuality field do not believe that premature sexual experiences play a significant role in late adolescent or adult sexual orientation” and added that it’s unlikely that anyone can make another person gay or heterosexual.

Advocates for Youth, an organization that works in the U.S. and abroad in the field of adolescent reproductive and sexual health also has stated that sexual abuse does not “cause” heterosexual youth to become gay.

In 2009, Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a psychologist at the Christian Grove City College, noted in an analysis that “the research on sexual abuse among GLBT populations is often misused to make inferences about causation [of homosexuality].”

Anti-Gay Hate Groups and their propaganda

By Evelyn Schlatter

Even as some well-known anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family moderate their views, a hard core of smaller groups, most of them religiously motivated, have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities. These groups’ influence reaches far beyond what their size would suggest, because the “facts” they disseminate about homosexuality are often amplified by certain politicians, other groups and even news organizations. Of the 18 groups profiled below, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) will be listing 13 next year as hate groups, reflecting further research into their views; those are each marked with an asterisk. Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.

Gary: 
That last sentence is critical.  Just because a religious group, such as a Church, such as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, believes that homosexuality is a sin or unbiblical does not qualify it as a hate group.  If the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod would simply stick to this core teaching, I would not have an issue with them (I would refuse to attend their churches, send my children to their schools, or support any of their social organizations) but I would not be campaigning to have them placed on a Hate Watch List.
But the pastors and university professors of the LCMS are not satisfied to simply teach that homosexuality is unbiblical and a sin.  No, many LCMS pastors and prominent LCMS laity engage in online demonization of gay men and women, whipping up anti-gay hysteria and hate, based on unfounded stereotypes,  sometimes by making these demonizing statements themselves, but more often, allowing their readers to state—without any rebuke, condemnation, or threat of banishment—some of the most vile, anti-gay hate speech found on the internet.

It is for this active and passive demonization of law-abiding gay and lesbian Americans that the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, LCMS President Matthew Harrison, the thirty something LCMS District Presidents, and the Board of Directors of the official publishing house of the LCMS, Concordia Publishing House, must be taken to task until they apologize, cease, and desist of their bigoted, hateful, un-American behavior.

Examples of LCMS anti-Gay Hate Speech promoting this myth:

“The role of strong Christian parents has a tremendous influence on their sons and daughters. Sons who have a strong role model in their father are not confused about their gender. The masculine traits are passed on as a natural outcome of Christian family interaction. Sons actually want to be like their father. My father stressed academic excellence and sports. So I was an honor student and played baseball and basketball.”   —Pastoral Meanderings, the Blog of Rev. Larry Peters

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