web analytics
July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


The Right to Buy Snake Oil

I question the success rate claims made by conversion therapy advocates upon which Agudah no doubt relies.
gay not gay

I am the first in line to support the freedom to choose any treatment you wish for what ails you. In a free society, everyone should have that right. The only question is whether that right trumps the harm such treatment may cause.

That is what the dispute between the Agudah and Governor Chris Christie seems to be all about. The State of New Jersey has banned conversion therapy (sometimes called reparative therapy). It was signed into law a few weeks ago by Governor Chris Christie.

Conversion therapy is designed to turn people with same sex attractions into people with opposite sex attractions.

The Agudah has expressed righteous indignation about this law – saying that it denies people the right to seek the treatment they choose. There are people who desire to be changed that way, and are now being denied the opportunity to seek such change… calling it “a trampling of personal rights, including religious and free speech rights.”

But as Governor Christie has said in defense of signing this bill (quoted at VIN):

“efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks, including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.”

Agudah believes that people can change their sexual orientation. Since the male homosexual act is biblically forbidden, it is in the best interest of a homosexual to change it. For Agudah conversion therapy is therefore seen as a must. Taking that option away from them is tantamount to taking away their ability to change and thus condemns them to a life sinful sexual desires – and the likelihood of acting on them. Conversion therapy advocates claim major successes at conversion. How can Agudah be silent when this highly successful option is made illegal?

I don’t blame them for having this approach. But I question the success rate claims made by conversion therapy advocates upon which Agudah no doubt relies…

Their claim of success is questionable at best. And in some cases this therapy has been shown to be very harmful. There is also no question about the high expense and the degrading way their therapy works.

What may be successful is their treatment of people who are confused about their sexuality but are in fact heterosexual. How does one get confused about his sexuality? Consider the following scenario. A Yeshiva high school is entirely male. Students – especially those who dorm – have no hope or any expectation of interaction with females. Although the vast majority of Yeshiva students never have any sexual encounters with either a male or a female – on rare occasion some do.Of those, some interaction is with females. But in some cases males may experiment sexually with each other. That may confuse them about who they are naturally attracted to.

My guess is that in most cases these people are not homosexual. They do not need conversion therapy at all. They probably just need conventional psychotherapy to help understand their true sexual orientation. I’m sure that conversion therapy works with them since they are not really homosexual to begin with. That is of course seen as a successful conversion and touted by these treatment centers.

But truly homosexual people will not have a high success rate (if any) at converting to heterosexuality. My guess is that it never happens. All claims of success by these programs are with people who are naturally heterosexual but confused.

That seems to be what expert opinion says. Conversion therapy has been discredited and condemned by the American Psychiatric Association as a pseudo science. Anecdotal testimony in Jerusalem Post by Chaim Levin who went through it  illustrates how humiliating and even harmful it can be.

I don’t know if it’s nature or nurture. Is there a ‘gay gene’ that determines one’s sexual orientation at birth? I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that once someone discovers what they are attracted to, it apparently does not change with even the best of therapies. Trying to change it can sometimes bring tragedy.

It’s kind of like buying snake oil. The people who sell it promise you all kinds of healing and have many anecdotes to tell you about how effective it is. One might ask, what’s the harm? Snake oil can’t hurt you. Besides – there is something called the placebo effect. Which means that believing something will help actually does make it helpful in some cases. But not every snake oil is harmless. And it will certainly hurt you at least in the pocket book.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “The Right to Buy Snake Oil”

  1. YonatanB says:

    Oy vey. I thought the Jewish Press publishes articles which are well researched, and try to get past the left wing propaganda of the mainstream press. Well after I read this article, I knew I was wrong. The gay/lesbian lobby has been extremely successful in getting their PC message out, that gays cannot change. The above article unfortunately is based on the “mainstream” media sources, which say what the gay lobby wants them to. If the author wants to write a real article about this, he will need to familiarize himself well with the other side of the story. An Israeli expert on this subject who is in contact with about 200 Israeli men in therapy for their same-sex attraction told me that 40% changed to have attraction to both sexes, and 30% changed to exclusive attraction to the opposite sex. Of course almost no one who deals with this issue wants to reveal their identity, so it is just much easier to write articles based on what the gay lobby wants us to believe. But I though the Jewish Press had higher standards than that.

  2. Ravcherri says:

    YonatanB I could not agree more.

  3. pamgreen says:

    YonatanB  I also agree with you.  When I read this, my first thought was, “He’s at it again!”  Why does Harry Maryles write about things he knows nothing about, and in such an authoritative tone?  His articles on child sexual abuse were even more pathetic.

Comments are closed.

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
Matt Lee of the Associated Press at the State Department press briefing.
ObameDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing
Latest Blogs Stories
Graffiti found on a building in the village of Duma.

In all the years (and this week it’s exactly 14 years) since our daughter was murdered, we have not found a single Arabic-language post, article, tweet or speech condemning that attack in the center of Jerusalem or the killings.

Inside of the home burned in the Prce Tag attack in the village of Duma.

Everyone is angry at the ongoing Arab terrorism, but what does murdering a baby have to do with protecting Jewish lives or furthering Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel?

Cecil the Lion

Tonight, live Meerkat interactive video tour and talk in Jerusalem.

Free-Jonathan-Pollard-Poster1

The US doesn’t want Pollard & he doesn’t want America- release him with 1 condition: No return to US

Meet Republican US presidential candidate Kerry Bowers & listen to his message to the Israeli public

Amongst the Palestinians (sic) what is promoted and praised for its young people? Terror & martyrdom

“If you can’t negotiate with your enemy, why negotiate at all?” Great sound bite. The press loved it

The phenomenon pushing limits of Orthodoxy to the extreme left has no chance of becoming mainstream

Discussing, what should you do if you are feeling overstressed in your job and are tempted to quit?

Considering Esther Pollard’s group mismanaged his case, Pollard’s chances of parole are slim

Detention Camps for US Jews? Sounds farfetched but it did to Japanese-Americans during WW II as well

We asked the soldiers, what will you tell your children you did during the Disengagement?

The Arab terrorist murderer who murdered Malachi Rosenfeld,(HY”D)last month, was an American citizen

The “Stop Iran” rally was a voice of sanity coming from the American people, and directed at Senator Chuck Schumer who holds the keys…

Shalit Deal advocates: “Israel must do whatever it takes” to free Gilad; This proved deadly nonsense

Learn how modern technology can be used to foster personal development in life as well as in finance

More Articles from Harry Maryles
Woman_rabbi

The phenomenon pushing limits of Orthodoxy to the extreme left has no chance of becoming mainstream

open orthodoxy

There needs to be clarity about what is & isn’t acceptable in Orthodoxy; That should be the debate.

Imperative to get world’s Jewish billionaires to support Jewish education like their other projects

No legitimate Orthodox body in the States or Israel accepts “Open Orthodoxy.” They went too far.

Obama is not anti Israel. He’s just misguided, perhaps blinded by his desire to force a peace treaty

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Emes Ve-Emunah} The inevitable finally happened. Rabbi Avi Weiss has dispensed with his prior refusal to call his female ordainees ‘rabbis’.  I challenged him to stop dancing around that title with made up titles  (like Raba and Maharat) and he finally rose to the challenge. His motivation in not […]

Existence requires meaning. Believing all random and without meaning is a horrible fate for mankind

People see a healthy parochial school system vs an anemic public school system and draw conclusions

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/the-right-to-buy-snake-oil/2013/09/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: