Tennessee finds no evidence of abuse at Love in Action
Dr. Warren ThrockmortonWarren Throckmorton, PhD is Associate Professor of Psychology and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy at Grove City College (PA). He co-founded the Golden Rule Pledge which advocates bullying prevention in evangelical churches. His academic articles have been published by journals of the American Psychological Association and he is past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. He is the author with fellow Grove City College professor, Michael Coulter, of the book, Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims About Our Third President. Over 200 newspapers have published his columns. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2005 Jun 29
The state of Tennessee has ended their investigation of ex-gay program Love in Action. The investigation was prompted by the blog of a 16 year old apparently enrolled in LIA's youth program. The youth's blog complained about his participation leading to allegations of abuse. I spoke recently with Director John Smid about the matter.
He told me before it came out in the press that the investigation found no evidence of child abuse. Further, he corrected some false reporting on the subject of his program. The youth program has been described as a "camp" and a "residential program." It is neither. The youth come to program in the morning, stay for the day and go home at 5pm. If its camp, its day camp. Rather I would see it as more like a youth group seminar or conference.
Mr. Smid also told me that if a young person wants to leave, a kid can do so. There are no restraints in place and if a kid wants to walk out, there is nothing to stop him/her.
The program is focused on spiritual development and the inculcation of a spiritual worldview concerning all sorts of issues, not homosexuality alone. There are real differences between a Christian view of identity and a non-Christian view. Christians tend to see identity as being a reflection of relationship with God and the body of Christ whereas non-Christians see it as a personal venture of finding "who one is." As such, feelings are very important indicators to discover self-hood. For the Christian, feelings may be indicators of mood states but they are not reliable sources of information concerning stable personality characteristics or spiritual truth.
These world views have little overlap; no wonder sparks fly when they collide.