The "Dr. Phil" TV program & sexual orientation
Overview: Two solitudes, &
The two solitudes:
On just about every issue involving lesbians, gays, and bisexuals,
(LGB), North Americans are profoundly divided:
On the one hand, there are
beliefs promoted by most religious conservatives;
On the other hand are opposing beliefs promoted
by most LGB persons, religious liberals,
secularists, therapists, human sexuality researchers, etc.
The two groups are deadlocked. On most sexual orientation
topics, the beliefs of the two groups are mutually exclusive. Little or no dialogue appears to be
active to resolve the conflicts.
The following gives a crude picture of the lack of agreement
between the two main "solitudes." It is impossible to be precise in the space
available, but this chart may give a general idea of the conflict:
||Beliefs of most religious conservatives
||Beliefs of most religious liberals, LGB
persons, secularists, therapists, human sexuality researchers, etc.
|Bisexuality & homosexuality are called:
Sexual preferences, implying ease of change.
Sexual orientations, implying difficulty/impossibility of
|What an individual does
||They make a choice to try out same-sex behavior; this often leads
quickly to addiction.
||They discover what their sexual orientation is.
|What mainly sets up a person to be gay?
||Bad parenting and/or sexual molestation during childhood.
||Genes, determined at conception; perhaps hormones in utero.
|How is it triggered?
||A conscious choice, typically during teen years.
||Probably an environmental trigger.
|Is it changeable in adulthood?
Yes, with major effort, through
||Very rarely if ever. Reparative therapy is ineffective and
Is a same-sex inclination moral?
Can same-sex behavior be moral
||Yes, if it is safe, non-exploitive, and non-manipulative.
|Same-sex marriage/civil unions
||Unalterably opposed; considered threat to opposite-sex
||Support as a human right.
Main cause of high LGB suicide rate
||Same-sex behavior itself, a disordered condition.
||Homophobia within society and within the LGB person.
|Main source of information
Bible or other holy text.
||Research, study of individuals.
Resolution of the two solitudes:
Unfortunately, both solitudes are absolutely convinced of the correctness of
their own beliefs. Essentially no formal dialog exists between them to resolve
NARTH, the National Association for Research and
Therapy of Homosexuality, is a group of conservative religious and social
therapists and clergy. They once attempted to open a dialogue with the
American Psychiatric Association, but were rebuffed.
In the meantime, the rate of suicide attempts by GLBT persons is quite high,
particularly among youth and young adults. Dead bodies are piling up at a fierce
rate. Unfortunately, in order to effectively save lives and directly tackle
problems associated with
sexual orientation and gender
identity, the two side would have to actively engage in dialogue. This is
apparently difficult for them to do.
Talk radio and TV programs in general and "Dr. Phil" in particular have the
ability to help resolve the conflict over GLB issues.
||They bring people with opposite views together on the same program in the
context of intra-relationship and intra-family conflict.
||In many cases, their viewers may find these programs to be their first
opportunity to hear alternate viewpoints.
||They give a human face to GLB issues. It is much easier to hate and
oppress minorities if they are considered as some nameless, faceless group.
Seeing them as hurting individuals being oppressed by friends, family and
society can change beliefs.
||Many people trust the heads of these programs. Some are motivated by the
shows' content to change their own beliefs.
The same "two solitudes" phenomenon exists with
abortion access: There are methods by which the total number of abortions in
the U.S. could be reduced by many hundreds of thousands per year. Countries
elsewhere in the world have employed these technique successfully and already
have much lower abortion rates than the U.S. To a person who is pro-life, this
would mean the saving of many millions of human lives every decade.
Unfortunately, the pro-life and pro-choice movements invest almost all of
their effort into erecting barriers to prevent women from having an abortion, or
into efforts to tear them down. Little money and effort is available to reduce
the abortion rate by preventing pregnancy in the first place and by making it
economically feasible for women to choose to continue their pregnancy.
Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2009-OCT-20
Latest update: 2009-OCT-20
Author: B.A. Robinson