Former ex-gay Peterson Toscano made the following observation recently:
In a recent Christianity Today article, Warren Throckmorton waded into the gender waters by discounting the transgender experience. Where did he look for his authority? Not science, but the word of God (or at least select portions while overlooking whole Biblical accounts that actually affirm trans folks).
Throckmorton, past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association, says he has advised transgendered people who are in absolute agony over their state.Typically, such individuals are desperately in search of hope and acceptance, he says. It may be uncomfortable to tell transgendered individuals that their desires don’t align with the Bible, Throckmorton says, but pastors must do so. “Even if science does determine differentiation in the brain at birth,” Throckmorton says, “even if there are prenatal influences, we can’t set aside teachings of the Bible because of research findings.”Warren Throckmorton has suggested that his words were misrepresented by CT, but he didn’t do too much to correct the flawed logic by referring to another article where he sought to give a straight answer to the trans question:
While transgender children can only be assessed on a case-by-case basis, Throckmorton recommends seeking not only medical or psychological specialists, but also theological ones. And even if it may seem impossible to draw one resolution when bringing all three opinions together, Throckmorton advises parents to try to find some common ground.
“What an evangelical Christian basically wants to do is order his entire life around his faith,” he said. “You can’t make decisions unless … the circumstance you’re in is evaluated from a theological point of view.”Hmm, looks like he may need to adjust his gender lenses before he reads the good book. I mean from a theological point of view, the transgender folks turn out to be some of the most vital players in the most important Bible stories. (See Transfigurations‚ÄîTransgressing Gender in the Bible)
After Toscano wrote that item, Throckmorton tried again to dig himself out of a hole but only dug in deeper with a redefinition of religion and a ludicrous mischaracterization of those who adhere to the traditional definition of religion:
Briefly and generally, about science and religion, I suggest that science concerns itself with “what is;” while religion is more concerned with “what ought to be.” Science is descriptive, religion prescriptive. As Gould notes above, values cannot be reliably inferred from the factual discoveries of science. Einstein said similarly: “For science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary.”
For those who believe science directs moral choosing, I would be interested in hearing how individuals should gain their moral compass from a fact or finding of research.
Religion does not concern itself primarily with “what ought to be” but rather with the nature of the supernatural, the eternal, and the unknowable. “What ought to be”: that is the role of ethics, except when ethical philosophies are borrowed by religious teachers — or usurped by vain judgmentalists. Throckmorton equates religion with judgmentalism.
Throckmorton then airs a strawman — that non-fundamentalists look to science to define morality. Throckmorton pretends to be ignorant of philosophy, ethics, and enlightened religious belief.
Ultimately, Throckmorton’s original admission at this writing remains unchanged and unclarified: He counsels conservative Christians to reject science when it conflicts with their ideological and political orthodoxy.
That is just the latest in a long series of lapses of integrity by Throckmorton.
While I don’t believe that TWO founder Wayne Besen has ever found Throckmorton to be especially trustworthy, there was a time — not too long ago — when I hoped that Throckmorton might be reasonable enough to free himself from the proven falsehoods within his work, from the close ties that he has enjoyed with gay-obsessed extremists such as Peter LaBarbera, and from the vain and heretical fundamentalism that corrupts his practice of religion.
In the past year, unfortunately, Throckmorton’s blog has given prolonged attention to activists such as Karen Booth who promote miscommunication and schism within churches; harbored certain lunatics who assert that MRSA is a gay disease; promoted rigged religious-right surveys of ex-gays that distort their own sorry results for political purposes; declined to correct or challenge Exodus and Focus on the Family’s misuses of sexuality-related scholarship; and shunned ex-gays who have been harmed by conversion therapies and religious teachings that were rooted in fear, denial, blame, and prejudice.
Some people like me consider “duplicitous Christian” to be an oxymoron, but regrettably Throckmorton remains a factually selective partisan who, like other ex-gay political activists, acts in ways that make the two words increasingly synonymous to critics of partisan, fundamentalist, and evangelical religion.