By Derrick Dickens: Guest Blogger Derick Dickens has an MBA in Leadership, MDiv, and MA in Religion. He speaks regularly on topics ranging from Christian Worldview issues to business leadership, and he is an Adjunct Professor of Business and Human Resources. He writes today in response to this Leading Edge Post regarding the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision regarding sexual reparative therapy.
By allowing the state to determine what instruction and counseling minors can receive, the court eliminates the threshold of protection traditionally afforded to parental rights cases. Normally, parents are given protection to raise their children in a manner they deem fit except in extreme situations. This protection includes the parent’s role in religious instruction and caring for the mental well-being of the child. The court’s decision undermines the parental role and puts a political lobby group and the state against the wishes of many parents.
The result is parents have fewer options in helping their children struggling through the homosexual issue than before the ruling. As well, children who struggle with same-sex tendencies and desire help, are now severely limited in their options. Children must go out of state for therapy or rely upon religious leaders. Also, the children who sued the state claiming the therapy helped them obtain better grades, stronger family relationships, and a better self esteem will no longer receive this valuable help.
Perception versus reality
Acknowledging the state of California only provided “anecdotal” evidence showing sexual orientation therapy harms minors, the 9th Circuit still believes the legislation is justified. The court said that the legislature believed possible harm could occur and “belief” was enough for the legislation to be valid–even though it could not be justified.
In other words, the perception of harm, not real harm, was enough to regulate a parent’s and child’s choice of therapy.
Usually parental rights cases require the strictest level of scrutiny. While the strict level of scrutiny allows parents greater autonomy in raising their children, it still provides a level of protection by the government in extreme situations. This case undermines the freedom parents have enjoyed and could pave the way for future scrutiny based upon perception rather than reality.
An unfair advantage
This decision also limits a Christian therapist from performing sexual orientation therapy while giving free reign for pro-homosexual therapists to promote their sexual viewpoint. Christian Counselors, whether at school, work, or in a Christian clinic, will be pressured now to withhold their views for fear of violating this law. But the pro-homosexual counselor will have free reign to encourage minors to explore same sex expression even if child has no same sex attraction.
This law is nothing more than viewpoint discrimination. The State of California gave an advantage to a viewpoint they most believed reflected their own, but severely handicapped the other side.
The Gospel: Freedom from sin
Christians informed by the Gospel see various issues arising from this one court case. On the one hand, we know that sin–any sin–is bondage and captivates the soul. Our sympathies must rest with the kids who struggle with homosexuality and feel helpless.
We should also consider those who have embraced this lifestyle hoping to feel a sense of fulfillment through their decision. Without the Gospel of Jesus, no one will ever be liberated from their sin.
Therapy alone is not the solution as it oftentimes clouds the real issues children and adults are facing. The real issue is theological and spiritual which can only be solved through the Gospel. While some therapists never see the theological issues, others will but fail to treat the problem Biblically. Christians, informed by the Scriptures, can both see the problem and are able to treat it through Biblical means.
As Christians, we can best sympathize with people struggling with sin, but we also can provide the only true remedy. It is this remedy, the Gospel that has always been a threat to a secular worldview.