Part of the problem with criticizing religion is the fact that any attempt to criticize yields a label of bigotry. In other words, if you question or criticize a religious movement the response is that the person putting forth the criticism is an anti-Semite or anti-Christian. While in many cases, this is true, but in other cases, that is simply not the case.
But, because of the emotional attachment to religious beliefs – particularly the beliefs of individuals who hold strong fundamentalist beliefs – any attempt to question is met with anger. This is even when the issue being questioned is something that is pure opinion open to debate and not a fact that is set in stone. Dr. James Dobson, the head of the Evangelical group Focus on the Family, is hardly an unintelligent man.
He is a published author and charismatic leader of a large denomination of conservative Christian groups. While there will be those who are dismissive of Christian conservative merely because they are, well, Christian conservatives, is childish. Criticism about political or sociological issues derived from bias and opinion, however, is fair game for debate. One such issue of contention on the website involves the assertion that homosexuality can be “cured. ” To this regard, the website states:
Homosexuality is more likely to be related to one or more of the following: (1) confusion of role models seen in parents, including, but not limited to, a dominant mother and a weak or absent father; (2) serious family dysfunction that wounds and damages the child; (3) early sexual abuse; (4) the influence of an older homosexual during a critical period of adolescence; (5) conscious choice and cultivation; and/or (6) homosexual experimentation, such as mutual masturbatory activity, by boys in early adolescence. How do these and other forces interplay in individual circumstances? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows.
An Examination of Bias in Focus on the Family’s Website Page 2 On the other hand, I am certain that homosexuality does not result from irresistible genetic influences, as some would have us believe. (Dobson) To say these statements are biased and agenda driven would be an understatement. While Dobson is entitled to his opinions, the operative word here is opinion. The statements made in that excerpt are presented as fact when, in reality, there is no empirical proof that they are factual. Instead, the statements are presented to provide circular logic credibility to a socio-political agenda.
Now, it is well within Dobson’s right to present his side of the issue. However, it is not a balanced examination of the issue and it contradicts a wealth of psychiatric and sociological study on the issue. Because of this, there is a great deal of intellectual dishonesty in these statements of homosexuality. A more proper examination would present Dobson’s opinion while acknowledging there are other opinions on the matter from professional fields, include a quote from a peer reviewed journal on the subject and then provide a link to a website that provides an alternate point of view.
This does not mean that Dobson should abandon his beliefs nor should Focus on the Family retract their statements, but the organization would be far better served presenting an unbiased look at the subject and avoid presenting opinion as fact. Bibliography Focus on the Family. (2007) http://listen. family. org/daily/A000000198. cfm Dobson, James. (2006) “Do You Believe Homosexuality is Inherited. ” Retrieved 4 February 2007. http://family. custhelp. com/ cgi-bin/family. cfg/php/enduser/std_alp. php? p_sid=6n4Jcohi
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