Through the Looking Glass: Conversion Therapy! Gender-Bending! And Gifs!

Hello boys and girls, welcome to this week’s episode of “Through the Looking Glass,” the exciting reality game show where players try to make sense of the weekly news in the wild and wacky Wonderland of 21st century America.

So, what head-pounding, mind-numbing craziness will we attempt to sort out this week?

Let’s start with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s decision to sign a law banning “conversion therapy” for teens struggling with same-sex attraction.

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This past Tuesday, New Jersey became the second such state (California being the first), to make it illegal for therapists to help teenagers address their feelings of same-sex attraction in any way other than one: a way that affirms those feelings.

Granted, not all therapists are created equal. Some do good. Others do harm. (Sidenote: Can someone please come up with a better name for this than “conversion therapy”? It makes it seem like merely “switching teams” is the ultimate goal, not sexual integration, peace, and wholeness. )

Regardless, this particular ban applies across the board. Which is to say, no matter how how good or bad the therapist is, no matter how much the teen may long to work through the issues they believe underlie their struggle with same-sex attraction, and no matter what particular approach the therapist takes, New Jersey now says to every single type of therapist/client interaction that doesn’t affirm same-sex attraction…

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LGBT activists are, naturally enough, doing backflips over Christie’s decision.


In and of itself, I know that story has some of you heading to the kitchen for strong drink. But wait, there’s more.

On this week’s episode of “Through the Looking Glass,” you don’t just get to make sense of that story. You also need to reconcile it with the announcement celebrating the decision of Bradley Manning (the Wikileaks leaker) to be known henceforth as Chelsea…or Breanna (he can’t seem to make up his mind on that detail), as well as the pending decision in Maine over whether or not transgender students get to use the restroom of their choosing—boys or girls.

Yes, folks, this is where it gets tricky.

On the one hand, the LGBT movement is opposed to choice and change: They want gay teenagers to stay gay teenagers even if the aforementioned gay teenagers would rather try their hand at being straight teenagers…or even just chaste teenagers. For them, it’s all…


On the other hand, they love choice and change.

They think it’s hunky-dory if boys who think they might really be girls and girls who think they might really be boys want to change their outsides to match their supposed insides.

They’re also totally cool with parents dressing their six-year-old boys like little girls and sending them into the girls’ restroom at school.

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As for anyone who thinks it’s perhaps unwise for teens to engage in gender-bending experimentation or for little boys to grow out their hair and call themselves Sally, who, in fact, think that allowing both will just perpetuate the hurt, loneliness, and isolation with which those children already struggle and destine them for much more profound problems later in life?

Hateful. Intolerant. Utterly medieval. Obviously.

Now, residents of Reality look at these goings on in Wonderland and think, “How can two such inherently contradictory ideas reside in the same head without causing massive cranial explosions?”

Answering that question is your task for today.

Is it because….?

A)   Many supporters of both laws have been terribly wounded by people who failed to love them as they should have loved them. Not wanting to make the same mistake, but not seeing reality clearly, they’ve decided that denying children one right, while granting them the other is the most loving thing to do.

B)   The most radical of LGBT activists are so deeply invested in the choices they’ve made—namely, to act out on their same-sex attractions or undergo cross-sex hormone therapy—that anything or anyone who undermines the wisdom of those choices (such as people successfully resolving unwanted same-sex attraction or embracing chastity) must be stopped, lest their whole understanding of life, the body, the person, and the world come crumbling down.

C)   They’ve bought into a kind of post-modern Gnosticism, which sees the soul as all-important and the body as nothing more than mere matter. In other words, they think that the soul—and only the soul—is the person. According to that line of thinking, the soul is what’s real, what’s special, what’s true, perfect, and good, no changes necessary. The body, on the other hand, is only a hunk of disposable flesh—revealing nothing about the person, imaging nothing about God—and therefore able to be changed at will.


Fine, fine, I’m a broken record. But that doesn’t change the truth. And the truth is that when it comes to the body, the culture’s got it all wrong. None of us are souls simply inhabiting bodies. Our bodies aren’t mere husks. They’re not containers—interchangeable, dispensable, disposable. They are us. So, your body is you. My body is me.

Which is why Bradley Manning’s male parts aren’t incidental. Neither are they random. They express who he is and who he’s called to be: a husband, father, brother, and son, loving his bride, his children, his siblings, and his parents. Nobody’s body is meaningless matter.  Next to the Body of Christ, the human body is the most meaningful matter there is.

But, I digress. Back to the quiz. Last choice.

D)   All of the above. And probably more.

So, what’s the correct answer?

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Really, you have to think about this?

The correct answer would be “D: All of the above. And probably more.” There’s a whole lot of hurt, confusion, and crazy behind this week’s news, which means there are no simple answers about the cause.

Nevertheless, those of you who chose “C” still earned enough points to be eligible for today’s bonus round. That’s because “C”  is what underlies “A” and “B.” It helps give rise to both the wounds and the confusion, and unless our world learns to read the body rightly once more, seeing the dignity of the whole person, body and soul, we’re just going to keep traveling further and further away from Reality and deeper and deeper into Wonderland.

God only knows what insanity awaits us there.

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Okay, okay, enough of the depressing stuff. End-times, schmend times, right? Let’s now move on to the most pressing and confounding question of the week in today’s bonus round:

Why on earth did those handsome, funny guys from Duck Dynasty decide to cover up their pretty faces with such scary beards?





Categories:Culture Theology

  • OpenMindedEnglishman

    Are you honestly trying to say that because therapists now cannot steer a person towards being straight, that they must steer them towards being gay? This is a laughably naîve and ignorant sentiment. If a person is ‘struggling’ with their sexuality, a good therapist will guide them in their decision making and will help them come to terms with who they naturally are as a person.

    I assume it goes straight over your head that almost everyone is on a scale between being straight and being gay, and that almost no one is entirely one or the other. *Good* therapy should help you to understand where you come on that scale and how to lead a happy life once understanding this.

    And on your other point, really? Really?! Your body is as much who you are as your mind? So because I have a penis and the ability to procreate, I MUST marry and conceive children? Many years ago I made the decision that I was never going to have my own children, and that I would only adopt those who already had no parents. Luckily I have a girlfriend that agrees with me in this decision, but are you saying that I’m fundamentally broken and wrong because I don’t want to procreate?

    When you make a statement like that, you need to fully understand all the connotations of that statement.

  • Eoin

    Fortunately for NJ parents seeking such therapy, Pennsylvania borders New Jersey. Millions of New Jerseyans live within an hour’s drive of PA. Good luck getting such a law passed in Pennsylvania. Parental rights enjoy far greater respect in PA than they do in the PRNJ.

  • Francis

    I meant to add, it seems similar to Laetrile treatments for cancer. Those were outlawed (don’t know if they still are) by the government to prevent desperate people from being exploited by “snake oil” salesmen. This appears to be the same thing – people selling a “cure” to desperate parents even though they know it won’t work.

    • Eoin

      Fran, I’m reminded how some years ago there were activists in the hearing-impaired community who did not welcome the availability of cochlear implants for deaf children. They wanted those deaf children to grow into deaf adults and be part of the deaf community and deaf culture. As here, the parents of those deaf children felt differently. Fortunately, those hearing-impaired activists were not nearly as politically powerful as gay activists.

      For an alternative view:

  • Eoin

    As a New Jerseyan, I’m not surprised.
    The politicians here are quick to embrace any heavy-handed attack on freedom that comes down the turnpike. (Yet, they still find time to line their pockets!)
    As for Christie’s presidential aspirations, he may think this will fly because he vetoed a same-sex marriage bill (while proclaiming that he would have supported a referendum on the issue).
    But that isn’t enough to overcome this very radical move of his.

  • Eoin

    Patrick: You describe the organizations you cite as “reputable.”
    I’d describe them as politicized.
    The National Association of Social Workers? So the leadership of this organization is not entirely far-left? And the American Medical Association did not lobby for “Obamacare?”
    I could have predicted the position of these groups beforehand. You might as well have cited university professors.

    • Patrick

      They are the ONLY recognized authorities in these areas by millions of Americans and are credibly challenged by NO ONE. You don’t have to accept them as authorities. But please know that. Do you also challenge the OED as a credible source? I bet you do.

  • Francis

    Just wondering….are there any statistics that show a success rate of “conversion therapy” over time? Say, five years?

    • Patrick

      Francis: I hope this answers your question: All reputable mental health and medical associations, including but not limited to the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Medical Association, National Mental Health Association, American Counseling Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American School Health Association, National Association of School Psychologists, American School Counselor Association, National Association of Social Workers, and even the School Social Work Association of America have concluded and publicly stated that conversion therapy doesn’t work.

      There is NO success rate and is the practices are often dangerous to the patient. That’s why they are banning it in many states.

      • Francis

        Thanks, Patrick. After I posed the question I did a little bit of research and came to the same conclusion. The Catholic Church does not advocate conversion therapy. It sounds like at best those therapists who try that path are misguided, and at worst they are charlatans.

        • JM

          Please tell me your research consisted of more than just a google search and reading the first link or two that came up.

        • Eoin

          Francis, “[t]he Catholic Church does not advocate conversion therapy[?]” Does it discourage it? If you claim it does, please provide support.
          Who are you, or the NJ legislature, or Chris Christie to decide what is best for other people’s children? How about you decide what is best for YOUR OWN KIDS, and leave others to parent their children?
          This treatment option has been denied for ugly political reasons only. It is a legislative embodiment of intolerance.

          For an alternative view:

      • Eoin

        Patrick: You describe the organizations you cite as “reputable.”
        I’d describe them as politicized.
        The National Association of Social Workers? So the leadership of this organization is not entirely far-left? And the American Medical Association did not lobby for “Obamacare?”
        I could have predicted the position of these groups beforehand. You might as well have cited university professors.

        • Francis

          Eoin, do you have some other statistics that show the success rate of “conversion therapy”? Because I am certainly willing to listen. I just have not found ANY sources that show a significant success rate. It has nothing to do with politics or Obamacare, or left or right. If there are successful groups out there that are actually helping gay people who do not want to be gay then I’m not finding them. The success rates I see are less than one percent of those treated, and that’s pretty poor!

          • Eoin

            Statistics are subject to manipulation. I don’t know what the success rate is. The success rate is immaterial. It could be 70%, or 40% or 1%. If it’s 1% and parents want to go for that one percent, that’s their call.
            Consider that a minor can get an abortion in NJ without parental consent, but cannot get conversion therapy with parental consent. This is an entirely political issue.

            For an alternative view:

      • JM

        Have there been some horrible abuses by some therapists? Yes. But that is a mark against those therapists and not against the therapy.
        I know several men who have successfully gone through treatement. One is recently celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary. People have accused them of just being in denial. Which is not only very rude, but more a reflection of the accusers desire to justify their own behavoir than on the current state of these men. I guess people who no longer suffer from depression because of the help they got in therapy are just in denial too. Someone should warn them.
        Both APAs are nothing more than far left ideologues. While there are still some great individual members of those organizations, the organizations themselves have sold out in an effort to push a sexual revolution agenda.



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