Did you know that having both a child’s mother and father involved in their life is of no real significance? That is the conclusion of sociologists quoted in a USA Today article published recently:
Sociologists Stacey and Timothy Biblarz of the University of Southern California, spent five years reviewing 81 studies of one- and two-parent families, including gay, lesbian and heterosexual couples. “No research supports the widely held conviction that the gender of parents matters for child well-being,” they conclude.
“Children being raised by same-gender parents, on most all of the measures that we care about, self-esteem, school performance, social adjustment and so on, seem to be doing just fine and, in most cases, are statistically indistinguishable from kids raised by married moms and dads on these measures,” Biblarz says.
Did you catch that? “Children being raised by same-gender parents, on most all of the measures that we care about … are statistically indistinguishable from kids raised by married moms and dads on these measures.” Rather than determining that there is no difference between children raised by same-sex couples and those raised by their mother and father, Stacey and Biblarz have decided that according to the measurements they “care about,” there is no discernible difference. What are some of the differences that it would seem these sociologists find unimportant? The following is a section from Dr. Brown’s forthcoming book A Queer Thing Happened to America:
According to Prof. A. Dean Byrd, the meta-analytical study of gay researchers Judith Stacey and Timothy J. Biblarz found that lesbian mothers had a feminizing effect on their sons and a masculinizing effect on their daughters. They report: “…the adolescent and young adult girls raised by lesbian mothers appear to have been more sexually adventurous and less chaste…in other words, once again, children (especially girls) raised by lesbians appear to depart from traditional gender-based norms, while children raised by heterosexual mothers appear to conform to them.”
Yet for Stacey and Biblarz, this was not a negative, and they even suggested that same-sex parenting might be superior. As noted by Dale O’Leary:
Paula Ettelbrick of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force admitted that Stacey and Biblarz had “burst the bubble of one of the best-kept secrets” of the gay community – namely, that the studies it had been using didn’t actually support the claims it was making. Not all gay activists saw this as a problem. Kate Kendall, head of the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights, who raises two children with her partner, took the Stacey-Biblarz article as good news: “There’s only one response to a study that children raised by lesbian and gay parents may be somewhat more likely to reject notions of rigid sexual orientation – that response has to be elation.”
Originally, the goal with this kind of research was to determine what gay activists already “knew”… that children raised by same-sex couples were identical to those raised by their mother and father. The target has now changed to only include statistical measurements that those behind the research decide they “care about” (which evidently does not include promiscuity, sexual orientation, and gender identity), resulting in the opportunity to issue soundbites to mass publications that whether a child is raised by both their mother and father or not does not “matter.”
These are complex issues, and we certainly hope that children raised by same-sex couples grow up to live healthy productive lives, but issuing statements that having a mother and father in the life of a child doesn’t matter, and backing it with data that is laden with presuppositions that many (if not most) would not hold to, is irresponsible. We’ll dig deeper into this subject over the coming weeks, looking at studies that have been done over the years, but a brief excerpt from a Mercator article should suffice in bringing home the reality of what all this means in real life. What happens when a father is replaced with a second mother in a child’s life (which we are being led to believe should not matter)?
Lesbians raising boys think they can fully compensate for the absence of a father — that fatherlessness is not a problem unless an oppressive society makes it one. But the children do not see it that way:
Parents reported a number of instances where children age four and older would ask about their father. Children would ask someone to be their daddy, ask where their father was, or express the wish to have a father. They would make up their own answers, such as their father was dead, or someone was in fact their father. (10)
Can the “second mommy” compensate for the absence of a father? There is substantial evidence that children benefit from having a second sex represented in the home — not just a second person. Developmental psychologist Norma Radin and her colleagues studied the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren born to adolescent unwed mothers living with their parents. The young children who had positively involved grandfathers displayed more competence than those with an absent or uninvolved grandfather. The presence of the grandmother, on the other hand, did not have a clear-cut impact, suggesting a redundancy between the two forms of maternal influence.(11) Children, especially boys with involved grandfathers, showed less fear, anger, and distress.(12)
Even gay-affirming therapists are noting the problem. In an article entitled, “A Boy and Two Mothers”, Toni Heineman reports that in spite of the pretence that two “mothers” were the same as a mother and father, families had to cope with the reality of an absent father.(13)
Men and women grow up with certain natural expectations about what it means to be a man or a woman. Although activists may claim that these feelings are mere social constructions which they can overcome, in practice nature will always have its way.
I can’t believe we’re living in an era that would make what I’m about to say a controversial statement, but here we are… we were designed to be raised by our mother and father.
The Angel in Acts 11 told Cornelius to send for Peter “Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.”There is an incredible power in words.James says that “Life and death are in the power of the tongue…” and in no context is this more explicit then in the preaching of the Gospel. On Peter’s words hung the eternal destinies of Cornelius and his entire family.What a solemn and most severe responsibility we have to communicate the Gospel with clarity and irresistible persuasion.
In Matthew 13:19, Jesus is telling the parable of the sower.He says, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.This is the one on whom the seed was sown by the way side.”This is what I call, “Way-Side Evangelism”.Some preachers preach to hear themselves talk.Paul said that the time would come when people would want their ears tickled, but I think some preachers only care about tickling their own ears.These “Way-Side” preachers are infatuated with their own brilliance and charmed by their own eloquence.They love to impress people with their deep insight and advanced theological understanding.Meanwhile those listening to their message are as confused as a rabbit at an Easter egg hunt.What good is a message like that!?Preacher – save your cacophony of hermeneutical mendacity for the elephant-waxing tournament!We want to understand The Message!
Jesus said that when a person hears our message, but cannot understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.The Gospel is salvation articulated.If the world could only understand it, I am sure that they would find it utterly irresistible.But if we don’t make it plain someone listening to our message might walk right past the narrow gate to eternal life and never know that they missed it!It happens everyday…what a crime. We must not give the Devil an opportunity to snatch the seed away by preaching a Gospel that is confusing or hard to understand.When we preach with clarity, with poignancy and with precision, we stomp on the Devil’s grubby, pilfering fingers, the sown Word takes root and produces fruit that will remain in the lives of those to whom we minister.
Arriving on the Battlefield
I would be remiss, if I failed to address the other, equally significant side of this coin.It is not only the message that is important, but also the medium.For much of the world’s history the major medium for communicating thoughts and ideas was verbal transmission; anecdotes and parables passed down from one generation to another.This began to change however around time of the Protestant Reformation.Neil Postman points out that, 1“Beginning In the sixteenth century, a great epistemological shift had taken place in which knowledge of every kind was transferred to, and made manifest through the printed page.‘More than any other device,’ Lewis Mumford wrote of this shift, ‘the printed book released people from the domination of the immediate and the local;…print made a greater impression than actual events…To exist was to exist in print…’ 2” The Church was on the cutting edge of this shift with the very first printed book being the Gutenberg Bible.The following generations would see the Bible translated into more than 1,000 different languages and become the best selling book of all time.
In our generation there is another shift occurring.Today, electronic forms of communication are the dominant voice in the world.In the U.S. nearly 100% of households have a television and on average each dwelling has more than 2.More than a trillion Internet URLs are in indexed with Google alone, which performs over 2 billion searches daily.Consider that if Facebook were a nation, it would be the 8th largest in the world with over 150 million members.Everyday over 100 million videos are viewed on You Tube and the list goes on.In America we have seen a striking example of the power of electronic media in our recent presidential election.It has been said that President Obama won the election, 3“because he understood new media.”
A couple of years ago the Lord spoke to me and said, “Every generation has a battlefield.If the Church fails to arrive on that battlefield, she will loose that generation.Your generation’s battlefield is the world of media.”President Obama showed up in that battlefield and won because his opponent didn’t even know what the battlefield was. Francis Schaeffer said, “Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought-forms of that setting.”Our responsibility of making the Gospel understandable goes beyond simply saying the right words…it demands that we show up in the right forum.As a street preacher I used to look for the most populated place in town to go preach…a park or a street corner, anywhere the people were.I would have been an idiot to set my soap-box up in an deserted parking lot.
Not only must we communicate in a way that the people can understand. We must also take the Gospel to where the people are!Can I tell you where they are?They are in front of the Television and the radio and the computer. But for too long we have downplayed and even demonized these electronic communication mediums.And even those who have taken advantage of them, for the most part, have done so poorly (don’t get me started on Christian television).How can we win the battle, if we are not on the battlefield?How can we reap a harvest if we are not on the harvest field? Reinhard Bonnke says, “If you want to catch fish, don’t throw your net into the bathtub.” The seed of the Gospel is too consequential to be cast by the way side.
In the days of oral tradition, many generations faithfully communicated, with solemn commitment, the scriptures that we still cherish today.In fact it is evident that Biblical oral tradition has been among the most enduring in history. In the sixteenth century, the new world of printed literature was dominated by Christians who seized this medium for God’s glory.Now it’s our turn and I fear that we are not doing as well as our predecessors.We must trouble ourselves to communicate the Gospel with clarity to our generation where they are that we “…may by all means win some.”
1 Postman, Neil.Amusing Ourselves to Death.New York: Penguin Group 1986
2 Mumford, Lewis.Technics and Civilization.New York: Harcourt, Brace and World 1934
3 Lewin, James. http://www.podcastingnews.com/2009/04/16/
NARTH recently put out a press release concerning a new journal they’ve published:
New Scientific Research Refutes Unsubstantiated Claims Regarding Homosexuality
Encino, CA- A new report in this month’s edition of the peer-reviewed Journal of Human Sexuality finds that sexual orientation is not immutable and that psychological care for individuals with unwanted homosexual attractions is beneficial and poses no significant risk of harm. The study, What Research Shows: NARTH’s Response to the American Psychological Associations Claims on Homosexuality, examines over 100 years of professional and scientific literature as well as over 600 reports from clinicians, researchers, and former clients principally published in professional and peer-reviewed journals.
This research, assembled over a period of eighteen months by three of the leading academics and therapists in the field and under the direction of the NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee directly refutes unsubstantiated claims made by some factions of the American Psychological Association and several other professional mental health organizations. The study, conducted by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, a network of professionals dedicated to upholding the rights of men and women dealing with unwanted homosexual attraction to receive effective psychological care, confirms the results of a 2007 longitudinal study conducted by researchers Stanton L. Jones and Mark Yarhouse that found that religiously mediated sexual orientation change is possible for some individuals and does not cause psychological harm on average.
“This research is a significant milestone when it comes to the scientific debate over the issue of homosexuality,” said NARTH president Dr. Julie Hamilton. “It also confirms what we have seen evidenced in hundreds of individuals who have benefited from the help of NARTH therapists. We believe that every person should have the right to independently determine their own course in life and for many that involves seeking counseling options that affirm their personal beliefs.”
In addition to What Research Shows, a collection of peer-reviewed scholarly and professional papers entitled Understanding, Preventing, and Treating Sexual Identity Confusion in Children and Adolescents, will be published in Volume II of the Journal of Human Sexuality.
Requests for copies or for a more detailed summary of the inaugural issue of the journal should be addressed to: Journal of Human Sexuality • 307 West 200 South, Suite 3001 • Salt Lake City, UT 84101. The journal can also be ordered by phone at 1-888-364-4744 or online at www.narth.com. A PDF summary of the journal may be downloaded at www.narth.com.
Rather than putting out information regarding new studies, this is an anlaysis of “over 100 years of professional and scientific literature as well as over 600 reports from clinicians, researchers, and former clients principally published in professional and peer-reviewed journals.” This should prove to be a great resource in the ongoing public debate over homosexuality, reparative therapy, and “ex-gay” or “post-gay” ministries.
Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, a twenty-something married couple, live in New Mexico and run a small photography business called ‘Elaine.’ So why is it that two young Christian photographers have been compared to people refusing services to African-Americans in the 1950s?
The trouble began when Elaine, rather cordially, refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. Shortly after, she received an e-mail from the New Mexico Human Rights commission telling her to find an attorney. One of the women involved in the civil ceremony, Vanessa Willock, had lodged a complaint against the young couple claiming they were discriminating against same-sex couples.
The Huguenins contacted the Alliance Defense Fund, an organisation set up to “to aggressively defend religious liberty by empowering [their] allies, recognizing that together, we can accomplish far more than we can alone.” ADF argue that it is a violation of the First Amendment to force Elaine to use her creative ability for something that goes against her conscience and told the Huguenins it would be bad stewardship of their company to back down or settle.
“If I’m being asked to tell the story of something that goes against my belief system,” explains Elaine, “there’s no way I can do that in good conscience.”
In a further twist, the Human Rights commission of New Mexico unanimously ruled against Elaine and her husband and requested they pay all of Willock’s legal costs and submit to requests by same-sex couples in the future. This created a media storm. The judgement is being appealed against and the jury is still out.
The question is raised, “What is freedom?”
Contact Alliance Defense Fund by calling (800) TELL-ADF (835-5233), faxing (480) 444-0025, writing 15100 N. 90th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85260, or logging on to www.alliancedefensefund.org
A TV program about censoring Christians has been, of all things, censored. According to an email from the AFA:
Two TV stations, WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, MI and WSYX-TV in Columbus, OH, have banned a television special showing how the media is silencing Christians. The stations bowed down to the demands of a handful of homosexual activists and banned the showing of our TV special “Speechless…Silencing the Christians.” The one-hour TV special was scheduled to be shown on the stations, but the stations yanked the program after agreeing to run it. AFA was paying for the time.
Oddly enough, the TV special shows how the media censors Christians, which is exactly what these two stations did!
They said the program was “controversial.” The stations do not consider showing two lesbians or two homosexuals kissing or getting into bed with each other controversial. The stations do not consider all the profanity they air controversial. They regularly show network programs advocating the homosexual agenda, but those programs are not considered controversial. However, a special showing of Christians being silenced is controversial!
The manager of the Columbus station told AFA the station would not air the program because telling the truth about homosexuality did not represent “positive Christianity.” Are we moving to a time in the near future when local pastors whose services are broadcast will be banned because their sermons call the practice of homosexuality a sin?