Wednesday, March 17, 2010

“Activist groups utilizing coercive tactics”

Who would have thought that the same people who purred so gently about "tolerance" and "diversity" would turn to coercive tactics? My goodness. It sounds like . . . let's see . . . Chicago politics . . . the thumb-screw room in Speaker Pelosi's office . . .

But coercive tactics by
the members of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists who support the gay lifestyle is what Dr. Trayce Hansen is reporting. 

Kathleen Gilbert of LifeSiteNews has the story:
Abandoning its long-held neutrality on the marriage debate, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) has slowly come to disavow pro-family views and sexual orientation therapy as "homophobic." Instead it now warmly supports homosexuality as a "normal and positive" variant of sexuality -- all thanks to pressure by gay activists who have openly vowed to transform the organization from within.

The disturbing result of the activists' tactics, says one anonymous CAMFT intern, is that pro-family therapists in California are becoming increasingly afraid to speak up in favor of natural marriage and the family.
Not even neutrality is not allowed, much less anything resembling anthropological coherence:
CAMFT, one of the largest therapist associations in California with over 30,000 members, had maintained a broadly neutral stance on same-sex "marriage" for most of its existence. But in the run-up to California's vote on Proposition 8 banning same-sex "marriage" in November 2008, CAMFT's neutrality began drawing unfriendly attention. Gay activists pointed out that organizations such as the American Psychological Association, the California Psychological Association, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, had all come out in support of deconstructing the legal definition of marriage.

After Proposition 8 passed, the Los Angeles psychotherapist group Larchmont Associates launched the first major salvo against CAMFT: a petition threatening to cut ties with the association if they did not oppose Prop 8 in an amicus brief. Meanwhile, Antioch University Los Angeles and Phillips Graduate Institute also encouraged students and faculty of psychology programs to shun CAMFT over the issue.

In a January 2009 letter to Larchmont and Antioch University activists, CAMFT executive director Mary Riemersma wrote that advocating for same-sex ‘marriage’ "is not CAMFT's purpose," and expressed consternation at the "bullying" tactics used to push the issue.

"Our Board was troubled by your 'bullying' tactics and threats to abandon your involvement in the Association because the Board chooses to take a course different than you demand," Riemersma wrote.

"And while the Board understands that each of you can and will make your own decisions about your future involvement in CAMFT," she continued, "it is very disturbing that those of you affiliated with Antioch would jeopardize the wellbeing of your students and their future careers by failing to inform them of CAMFT's importance to their careers and the many resources available to them from CAMFT.

"That is not only disheartening, it is in fact frightening." . . .
A CAMFT intern who wished to remain anonymous said that the gay activists' ability to cow pro-family therapists into silence continues to present an enormous hurdle.

"The big problem is that the conservative people are afraid, so nobody's speaking up," the intern told LSN. "Because if you speak up and say, 'I'm opposed to this,' people are afraid, like they're going to boycott you, or come in into your practice, and try to be a test case."

The intern explained that if a therapist publishes his or her stance against providing counseling to gay couples, they leave themselves open to being "set up" by homosexual activists. "The only people who really do speak up are anonymous, and there are very few of even those."

"It's not over," the intern said. "People need to be aware of what's going on, because if nobody speaks up, the momentum's going to keep going."

The intern is co-founder of Therapists Embracing Religious Freedom, a coalition of psychotherapists and their supporters created to fight back against the marginalization of religious conviction by homosexualists in their field.
The whole predicable story is here thanks to California Catholic Daily.

9 comments:

Dean said...

Gil,
I know you feel besieged by what you regard as the homosexual agenda. Gay men and women are politically active for a good reason: Advocacy works. As for using "coercive tactics" you'll have to be a little more forthcoming about what you think those are. In what ways does this activism undermine the democratic process or violate the law? Your position suggests that members of CAMPH have been "cowed" and are "afraid" to speak up for "natural" marriage. Could it be that their consciences have started to groan under the burden of trying to argue against a saner, more rational, more inclusive and morally defensible position as it relates to family life?

I earnestly invite you to watch the following videos. It will not be time wasted. They are each fairly short (about 8-9 minutes each). I've included a brief description of their contents. This is the kind of activism I see and with which I gladly identify. It's stated with passion, intelligence, thoughtfulness and deep conviction by a Catholic homosexual man. I find the logic of his arguments impossible to argue with. Maybe that's the problem being confronted by those who feel "cowed" in the face of it.

The politics of Homosexuality by Andrew Sullivan. Taped at Princeton University.

Part 1
(natural law, prohibitionism, liberationism, conservatism and liberalism)
Part 2
(catholic doctrine about sex and the sacrament of marriage)
Part 3
(the science of gender definition, diversity, objective disorder)
Part 4
(Homosexuality as a social construct, The oppressiveness of Gay rights, Foucault, Freud)
Part 5
(closeted politicians, the agenda of the Republican party, death of conservatism)
Part 6
(liberalism, protected classes, the Balkanization of society, infantilizing victims)
Part 7
(Full equality under the law, the defense of the family, civil divorce, abolish gay rights movement)

audience question
(Andrew takes a questions from the audience and defines love. If you see nothing else, watch this. Eloquent and powerful.)


Pied Beauty

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

—Gerard Manley Hopkins

ignatius said...

Dean, the coercive tactics are stated in the article, including the "set-ups," in which homosexuals sue people who don't go along with their wishes.

I first case I heard of in which homosexual activists attempted to drive a person into ruin with a nuisance lawsuit occurred in the early 1980s.

I'm sorry, but I don't see anything democratic about this.

Doughlas Remy said...

Gil, the title of this piece (“Activists groups utilizing coercive tactics”) and your sensationalist lead-up seem to promise a story about real physical coercion, intimidation, threats of violence, etc. But after reading the story twice, I haven’t found anything fitting that description. Did I miss something, or are you using “coercive” loosely? I mean, so loosely that the original meaning has fallen out altogether?

And I find more of the same language—talk of bullying, of “thumb-screws,” threats, etc.—in the quoted piece by Kathleen Gilbert. Isn’t this story less about “coercion” than about the legitimate successes of groups that you and she oppose? If anything illegal, immoral, unethical, or unfair had occurred, I’m sure you would have red-flagged it for us. Instead, the only crime of the homosexualists [sic] seems to have been, in your words, “anthropological incoherence.” Well, that is a very furry notion, indeed. I don’t think these homosexuals are yet quite a match for the Chicago politicians you’ve compared them to, though they have clearly been aggressive in pursuit of their aims. Good for them. Finally!

They oppose sexual orientation therapy and support same-sex marriage. If they were a group opposing abortion, supporting “natural marriage,” and using similar tactics to advance their agenda, I doubt you would find anything to fault them with, and we would not hearing of “bullying tactics” used to achieve their victories. After all, what are we talking about here but boycotts, threats to withdraw support, etc. This is the stuff of everyday political action, and you need look no further than the behavior of Republicans in Congress since Obama was elected to find it in spades.

Gilbert writes: ...pro-family [sic] therapists in California are becoming increasingly afraid to speak up in favor of natural marriage and the family. I’m pleased to see she has chosen the term “natural marriage,” because it is evidence that the simple noun “marriage” no longer means what it once did. Same-sex marriages are now a subset of “marriage.” Her term “pro-family” is misleading, however, because she has not established that the activists in her piece are “anti-family.” On the contrary, I would expect that they are both more pro-marriage and more pro-family than she herself, since they would like to increase these goods rather than restrict their supply. When tens of millions more Americans become eligible for entering into marriage and forming stable families, that is, to me, a triumph for the institutions of marriage and family. It means less promiscuity, less disease, less dysfunction, and more general happiness and prosperity. Marriage and the family are affirmed and strengthened, not diminished.

More to follow)

Doughlas Remy said...

(Continued...)
I think it is important not to misuse words like “bullying,” “coercion,” “vigilantes,” “thugs,” etc. (The last two from your piece about Lorenzo Hoopes, “Tolerance Vigilantes,” of January 29, 2010). When you use these words to describe actions that are legal, ethical, and fair, you do a disservice to the English language. We need these words to keep their edge and their potency for times when really strong and persuasive language is needed. If you want an example, consider the many acts of genuine thuggery in California during the Prop 8 campaign in 2008, originating from both sides of the issue. The totals for all bias crimes against Christians was 84, as compared to 293 against LGBT individuals (keeping in mind, as I’m sure you will, that LGBTs number only about 5% to 10% of the population). Authorities cannot say for sure how many of these crimes were related to Prop 8, but there was a significant increase over the previous year.

As always, I am advocating for the use of responsible and measured language in our political discourse. I know that my own descriptions have at times been hyperbolic, but I depend on you and others to point out these lapses to me. My hope is that you will also welcome occasional reminders that your language is sometimes exaggerated and incendiary. Your readers are, by and large, intelligent enough to recognize this, and you will serve them better—and deserve more respect from them--if you do so as well.

Doughlas Remy said...

Ignatius, can you provide any more information about these particular “nuisance lawsuits” that are alleged to have occurred? I am honestly trying to understand what, if anything, really happened, or if this is just one more spurious claim.

Since I knew nothing about nuisance lawsuits, I googled the term. It is also called “frivilous litigation,” and is defined as the “practice of starting or carrying on law suits that have no chance of winning.”

The term is also used colloquially—by parties who are being sued—to dismiss or discredit the suit, as if to say, “It has no merit, no substance.” But that is of course for the court to decide.

Attorneys who accept cases in this country must perform a due diligence investigation beforehand to determine if the claim has any factual basis. Judges routinely throw out frivilous suits, and the penalties can be up to $25,000.

Such lawsuits therefore carry a high level of risk for the plaintiff. I find it hard to believe that these “homosexualists” are successfully harassing anyone through the legal system, but I am completely open to any information you may have.

Doughlas Remy said...

Thank you, Dean, for putting up the Sullivan speech. I just finished watching the seven parts of it (except Part 5, which got stuck about half way through). There is an error in your sequencing of, I believe, the fourth one, but anyone interested in these videos will find them listed in the right panel of the YouTube window. Also, your final link, which should have gone to the audience questions, linked to part 7, the conclusion. I haven’t found the audience questions yet.

But technical problems aside, these videos are well worthwhile for anyone interested in the various political modes of approach to the “homosexual question.” Sullivan identifies four of these: prohibitionism, liberationism, conservatism, and liberalism, and he is highly critical of all four. His own approach emerges out of the interstices, I guess you could say, and he makes it explicit in the final segment.

There are lots and lots of great talking points in these videos, and I believe they would make a great springboard for discussion of some of the hot-button issues like same-sex marriage, hate crimes legislation, etc. I doubt there is anyone, anywhere, who totally agrees with Sullivan, but he is always both provocative and informative, and I believe he earnestly tries to be fair.

ignatius said...

Hi Doughlas!

Below is a link concerning discrimination against homosexuals in the field of housing. It comes from a TV station in Madison, Wisconsin, where I was a student in the late 70s and early 80s. This is the city where I read, back then in a local newspaper, about a lawsuit being brought against a landlord due to his refusing to let 2 homosexual men live in his house. He gave them a reason which had nothing to do with their homosexuality, but they brought a lawsuit against him anyway.

A little later I heard of a second instance, also in Madison, in which two college girls wanted to sublet a room in their apartment, and they found themselves in the middle of a lawsuit after turning down a lesbian. I hold my source for this, my now deceased father, to be reliable. Because he had been a landlord himself, he took an interest in these issues.

http://www.wkowtv.com/global/story.asp?s=12038724

This article mention "Bias complaints and lawsuits nationwide" concerning discrimination against "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people."

Doughlas, you might think the defendants in these suits had it coming, and in fact it does look like the force of the law is on the side of the accusers.

I am against racial discrimination. However I think a landlord should have the right to choose or reject prospective tenants on the basis of their behavior. Any law which nullifies this right is a violation of our traditional concept of property ownership, and any lawsuit challenging the principle of ownership is a nuisance suit in my eyes.

Doughlas Remy said...

My apologies for alerting everyone to a problem that doesn't exist: My technical difficulties with the Sullivan videos had nothing to do with Dean's list but with another version of the list that I had open in front of me. Dean's list appears to be okay, and I urge you to view the videos.

Doughlas Remy said...

Ignatius, your two stories about lawsuits against property owners are examples of scenarios that certain CAMFT therapists and interns were afraid might occur in their own case if they spoke out. If they had been actually threatened with such actions, I’m sure Kathleen Gilbert would have made that clear. Note the intern’s words:

...People are afraid, like they’re going to boycott you, or come into your practice and try to be a test case.”

If a therapist publishes his or her stance against providing counseling to gay couples, they leave themselves open to being “set up” by homosexual activists.

In fact, the intern’s fears about becoming a test case or being “set up” proved to be groundless, I assume, because there is no report of any such incident in Gilbert’s story. The activists in question should not be blamed for the interns’ fears.

Before addressing your question about housing discrimination, I would just like to return to my original complaint about the journalistic quality of the story that Gil has published and endorsed. Look again at the headline: “Activist groups utilizing coercive tactics,” and then notice the words “thumb-screw,” and “bullying tactics,” and all the references to “fear of speaking up.” It is obvious what is going on here. The activists are being portrayed as thugs, with the implication that they have resorted to threats of violence. I found nothing in the story to support that interpretation. Gilbert’s framing of the actual events is nothing but political hack writing of the worst sort.

The most deplorable thing about articles like this, in my view, is that they never address the real issues. They don’t need to, of course, because these issues are already settled in the minds of most readers of the California Catholic Daily. Gilbert obviously considers it her task to vilify the activists in any way possible, and she knows she doesn’t have to be careful, because her readers will almost overwhelmingly concur with her slant anyway. They’re looking for more reasons to fear and dislike the activists, and Gilbert is happy to oblige them.

I question why Gil serves up slanderous journalistic rubbish like this and the article by Mark Hyman that he quoted on 3/12 (“Welcome to Wonderland”).

Concerning your stories of housing discrimination: I see nothing in either story to suggest that any of the homosexual applicants was rejected because of his or her “behavior.” They were rejected because of their identity, just as a Jew or a Catholic or an African-American might have been. Even if the two men had indicated they wished to share a bed, the landlord should have had no complaint, provided that they could agree to be conventionally discreet. Indeed, what business is it of his or of anyone else to question what they do in their privacy of their apartment as long as it does not create a nuisance, cause damage, etc.

Our property rights are not absolute. When we use private residential property for a business, then that property is subject to certain laws that may also govern businesses. I think that is as it should be. I don’t want to live in a society where gays cannot find housing because they happen to have landed in someplace like Topeka or Salt Lake. Discriminatory practices create a climate in which whole segments of American society are made to feel like second-class citizens, so I think landlords need to deal with their squeamishness and just “get over it.” Nothing about having two nice gay men living under their roof is going to negatively affect them in any material way.

I don’t know the details of the first case you mentioned, but you say that the landlord gave the two men a reason which had nothing to do with their homosexuality. Well, we might expect some caution on his part if he knows the law. How did the case turn out? If the landlord was found at fault, do you know how the prosecutor established that he was motivated by prejudice?

The article you linked to was good, and I would recommend it to others.