Every American election cycle seems to come with at least one socially conservative wedge issue that sharply divides right from left and draws (disproportionately right-wing) voters to the polls.
Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, predicts that 2012 will see the following wedge issue come to the fore:
[A] debate over forms of therapy that attempt to change an individual’s sexual orientation.
But this seems to me like a losing issue for conservatives—and therefore an issue for them not to talk about. Reparative therapy is obviously ridiculous and completely dismissed as such by the community of psychiatric professionals.
And surely the idea of changing sexual orientation by will and therapy must poll poorly.
But Mohler apparently doesn’t care, and is eager to engage in debate about it, writing the following:
Known as reparative therapy or sexual orientation conversion therapy, these approaches seek to assist individuals in changing their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. The cultural and political debate over reparative therapy emerged when a clinic run by Marcus Bachmann, husband of Republican candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, was accused of offering treatment and counseling intended to change sexual orientation. . . .
This controversy will inevitably demonstrate the basic worldview divide that separates the secular therapeutic community and evangelical Christians.
Based on what Mohler says above, the way I interpret what’s coming in 2012 is this: religious fundamentalists, Fox News Machiavellians, and public relations hired guns will have their sights on the “secular therapeutic community”, attempting to delegitimize it (at least in the minds of conservative voters) in the same way that the following groups, in past election cycles, were delegitimized:
- evolutionary biologists
- climate scientists
In other words, what we’re about to witness is yet another campaign against science and professional academics couched in terms of worldview and the bad motivations that accompany those who base their worldviews in secularism and liberalism.
It’s an old game. I assume it will be played, as usual, without the least shame.
Here, for example, is Mohler—writing at his blog and absent any irony—using the word orthodoxy in a derogatory fashion, as if he is the brave advocate of non-authority based scientific and critical thinking, and the community of professional psychologists and psychiatrists is an entrenched, spiritually blind, and irrational clergy:
The new secular orthodoxy demands that Christians abandon the clear teachings of Scripture, and Christians must understand that the sinfulness of all homosexual behaviors is not only a matter of biblical authority, but also of the Gospel.
Anticipate a whole year of this.
But it will get better.