Two weeks ago I attended the memorial service for Chuck Colson at the National Cathedral. After the service, I spoke with Patty Colson, Chuck's wife of 48 years, and I asked her if she had any advice for me for doing BreakPoint. She said, "Do what Chuck did - read the New York Times."
Of course I do read the New York Times because it is a great resource for teaching worldview - because most of the time it perfectly illustrates the opposite of the Christian worldview.
For instance, the Times recently ran a fawning article about a psychiatrist named Robert Spitzer. Spitzer played a big role in the American Psychiatric Association's politically charged decision in the early 1970s to drop homosexuality from its manual of mental disorders. Spitzer became a hero in the gay community.
In 2003, however, Spitzer decided to investigate the claims of people who had gone through some form of reparative therapy. The results were explosive. As Spitzer recalled, "The majority of participants gave reports of change from predominantly or exclusively homosexual orientation before therapy to a predominantly or exclusive heterosexual orientation in the past year."
Predictably, the gay lobby got very upset. They attacked the study's methodology, how the results were interpreted by others, and the morality of doing such a study in the first place.
But now, as told in the Times article, Spitzer is backing down. He says that when a journalist told him he had undergone reparative therapy at the urging of his parents, and that the therapy had "delayed his self-acceptance as a gay man," Spitzer decided to apologize for a study that he now considers fatally flawed - because, he said, "there was no way to determine if the subject's accounts of change were valid."
Of course, there was never any chance the gay lobby was going to accept Spitzer's study - no matter how well designed it was. They are too heavily invested in the claim that people are "born gay" and cannot possibly change their orientation.
And if the Times writer Benedict Carey had wanted to cover this story fairly, perhaps he could have made some effort to track down former patients who were happy with the counseling or therapy that they had undergone - men who had seen their same-sex attractions diminish. There are plenty of them, as my friend, psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover, notes in his book "Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth."
Satinover writes, "Since the professional normalization of homosexuality, we no longer hear of the many successful programs that continue to 'cure' homosexuality nor of the deeply moving stories of those who have successfully negotiated this difficult passage."
While the debate over how many people will benefit from such therapy will doubtless continue, we've got to be clear on the biblical position about human sexuality, and that is that God intended it for the blessing of a man and a woman within marriage and for the procreation of children; and that all sexual activity (hetero- and homosexual) that is outside of marriage is outside of God's will. And we and our churches should be offering love and support to anyone who is struggling in this area.
I hope you'll read Dr. Satinover's book. It is informative, compassionate - and it's a great resource for those who want the truth about homosexuality.
Because while the New York Times says that it gives us all the news that's fit to print, when it comes to covering success stories that back up the Christian worldview, all too often the truth itself becomes a culture-war casualty.