Research into the effects of “ex-gay” ministries

This is, actually, an under-researched area, but here’s a start:

The top three results for why people tried to change their sexual orientation included “To be a better Christian,” “I believed it was what God wanted me to do,” and “I feared I would be condemned by God.” After that comes such responses as a general desire to fit in, cultural pressures to conform, and a desire to please family and friends. But beyond the numbers lie the written responses of survey participants which illustrates the huge variety of their experiences

Question 8 asked why they quit the ex-gay movement. The top answer, by far, was that they failed to become straight. But one disturbing answer given by nearly a quarter of respondents was that they had had a nervous breakdown.

Only a relatively small minority of this particular sample, less than ten percent, say they weren’t harmed by their participation in the ex-gay movement.

TRiG.

I believe: How it works

British pharmacists are allowed as a matter of conscience by their regulatory body to pretend they believe that contraception is an “abortifacient”.

A pharmacist who claims to believe that emergency contraception (or even regular daily contraception) is an “abortifacient” is either lying in order to justify imposing their religious views on other people, or is allowing their religious beliefs to overrule their scientific training.

Meanwhile, in America, Hobby Lobby thinks it should be exempt from covering medical care “they believe” causes abortion.

So Hobby Lobby’s legal claim is that a company has a “religious liberty” right to avoid anything they say causes abortion even if it does nothing of the sort.

If Hobby Lobby were to be granted such an exemption, then, what would prevent any other corporation from claiming that it believes minimum wage laws, OSHA regulations, nuclear safety rules and fire codes are also “abortifacient”?

What Hobby Lobby is seeking isn’t merely some legal permission to be exempt from providing health insurance. The corporation is seeking the “religious liberty” to redefine reality and to rewrite the laws of medicine, human anatomy, biology and chemistry.

The medical care they’re talking about is, again, emergency contraception, which (keep up) does not cause abortion. It doesn’t even cause abortion in the very narrow sense of preventing implantation, which most medical experts would not call abortion anyway:

There were studies done that show that overly huge amounts of estrogen can cause failure to implant in mice, so that warning was stuck on Plan B while they studied it in human vagina owners. But no proof has been found that it happens in human women.

Of course, this is actually all about sex:

If Hobby Lobby said that they believed cancer was caused by sinful behavior, and therefore they weren’t covering chemotherapy, they would be shamed so fast they wouldn’t know what hit them.

Except when it’s all about politics:

I note in passing that Hobby Lobby is neither passionately sincere or sincerely passionate.  They offered this coverage without any qualms until they found out that President Obama wanted to make them do it.

TRiG.

Hans Rosling makes data sing

Over on the blog of Tullamore Toastmasters I posted some videos of the Swedish Professor of Public Heath, Hans Rosling, whose statistics are fascinating, insightful, and, ultimately, encouraging. The world is in many ways better than we might have thought it was. (The world isn’t only healthier than we might have thought; it’s also a lot less violent.)

TRiG.

Politics driving theology

American Evangelicals have changed their mind on abortion. The clear, unambiguous, Biblical teaching on the subject is younger than the McDonald’s Happy Meal (even if they don’t like to admit that). It now seems that a similar shift might be coming on Evangelicals’ beliefs on contraception.

Just five years ago it would have been unthinkable for American evangelicals to rally against contraception. Religious opposition to contraception was strictly a Catholic thing and evangelicals, as Protestants, did not accept the baroque theological arguments supporting that Catholic teaching.

But that radical ethical and doctrinal reversal will not be the really amazing thing. Far more amazing will be the Orwellian aftermath in which, 10 years from now, white evangelicals will pretend that they have always unanimously opposed contraception and they will seem unable to remember that it was ever otherwise, angrily denying that any change has taken place.

TRiG.

Media distortion of science

Ben Goldacre appears on BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show. This is a funny clip about the media distortion of science, but it has some very serious things in it under the light-hearted veneer.

Warning: References to lies about cancer.
Warning: References to rape, and to victim-blaming.

The most shocking thing in that video is the bit about rape. Yes, a scientific press release with the headline “Promiscuous men more likely to rape” was reported in The Telegraph with the headline “Women who dress provocatively more likely to be raped, claim scientists”. Really. Ben Goldacre has more details on his blog.

TRiG.

P.S. This may be an apt time to remark again that this is my links blog. It’s just links to things I find interesting elsewhere. And it is very rarely current. This is an ancient story. It’s still interesting, and it’s something I may wish to refer back to, so I stick it up on my blog for ease of reference. That’s the way my mind works.