Longtime Exodus International member “minister” and speaker Bob Stith on Sept. 25 became the third ex-gay activist entity in recent times to falsely imply that the Human Genome Project or its director support ex-gay ideology.
In April 2007, A. Dean Byrd of the ex-gay advocacy group National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality cherry-picked partial statements by Francis Collins, Ph.D, of the Human Genome Project, for an article which falsely implied that Collins supported NARTH’s ideological position opposing the existence of sexual orientation as a biological phenomenon.
Collins told Ex-Gay Watch the following month (and repeated this on Sept. 21, 2008):
It troubles me greatly to learn that anything I have written would cause anguish for you or others who are seeking answers to the basis of homosexuality. The words quoted by NARTH all come from the Appendix to my book “The Language of God” (pp. 260-263), but have been juxtaposed in a way that suggests a somewhat different conclusion that I intended. I would urge anyone who is concerned about the meaning to refer back to the original text.
The evidence we have at present strongly supports the proposition that there are hereditary factors in male homosexuality ‚Äî the observation that an identical twin of a male homosexual has approximately a 20% likelihood of also being gay points to this conclusion, since that is 10 times the population incidence. But the fact that the answer is not 100% also suggests that other factors besides DNA must be involved. That certainly doesn’t imply, however, that those other undefined factors are inherently alterable.
[Ex-Gay Watch’] note indicated that your real interest is in the truth. And this is about all that we really know. No one has yet identified an actual gene that contributes to the hereditary component (the reports about a gene on the X chromosome from the 1990s have not held up), but it is likely that such genes will be found in the next few years.
Earlier this month, New Jersey ex-gay activist Greg Quinlan and the American Family Association ignored Collins’ warning against NARTH’s interpretation — and further distorted Collins’ position. Quinlan said:
When [gay Christian contemporary singer Ray Boltz] says he’ born that way, we know now for a fact that that’ false. In fact, just last year in March, the director of the Human Genome Project, Dr. Francis Collins, said this: homosexuality is not hardwired. There is no gay gene. We mapped the human genome. We now know there is no genetic cause for homosexuality.
Collins said nothing of the sort, and a few days after Quinlan’s article, Collins repeated his earlier assertion that NARTH had distorted his position. Quinlan refused to retract his claim — turning it from a mere falsehood into an outright lie.
Despite those events, Stith repeated Quinlan’s lie to his Baptist Press audience on Sept. 25:
For example, in 2003, the International Human Genome Consortium announced the successful completion of the Human Genome Project, which, among other things, identified each of the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA. The press release read: “The human genome is complete and the Human Genome Project is over.”
While this accomplishment was widely reported, almost no one reported the words of Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the project. Collins, arguably the nation’s most influential geneticist, said, “Homosexuality is not hardwired. There is no gay gene. We mapped the human genome. We now know there is no genetic cause for homosexuality.”
Somehow the major media missed that little tidbit. Collins and others
acknowledge that genetics can predispose but not predetermine. This supports other studies that clearly document the possibility of change for people who struggle with unwanted homosexual desire.
Stith is now the Southern Baptist Convention’s “National Strategist for Gender Issues.” That SBC “gender” panel is actually an ex-gay policy group within the SBC administration. It is dominated by Exodus member activists.
In other words, Stith is no longer a spiritual minister; he has become a professional spin artist.
Stith not only parrots the exposed lie of Quinlan, but also connects that untruth to an illogical assertion that if one bisexual person can “change” their behavior, then any homosexual person can “change” their orientation.
If anything good is to come from all of this ex-gay truthlessness and spin, perhaps it’s that Stith, Exodus, NARTH, Quinlan, and the AFA have become so untruthful that many concerned families of gay people are leaving Exodus and NARTH behind, and seeking help from trustworthy sources of information in mainstream therapeutic and gay-tolerant religious communities.
I invite Stith to apologize, to distribute a retraction to the same media outlets that received his original statement, and to condemn the stubborn untruthfulness of Quinlan and NARTH.
In 1998, Stith spoke the following in his Sunday sermon as an apology to a gay man who attended the church that day:
We have not lived in transparency. We have often cloaked our own weakness and pointed instead at the sins of others. We have settled for a form of godliness which manifests respectability but has no power to change the core of our being.
We do humbly ask forgiveness.
We have manifested more of an interest in being right than in being loving and often succeeded in being neither.
We do humbly ask forgiveness.
Forgiveness requires true repentance, and repentance requires actual change — not merely a token expression of regret followed by more of the same misconduct.
If Stith is truly penitent, then why did he not bother to factcheck — and why does he continue to abuse the word “change”?