Pedro Julio Serrano
Faith leaders applaud APA resolution
WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 — The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, responded to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) resolution, adopted at the organization’s annual convention, that states that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.
Statement by the Rev. Rebecca Voelkel
National Religious Leadership Roundtable
“The American Psychological Association has clearly articulated that ‘reparative therapies’ don’t work, in fact they can be very harmful. This resolution is welcomed news for all who support the full humanity, morality and worth of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, especially those of us who do so because of our religious understandings.
“At the Task Force, we have worked with more than 3,400 congregations to create environments that are supportive and affirming of LGBT people. In addition to these, there are many, many supporters of LGBT people within many religious traditions, even those whose official policy is anti-LGBT. This is important because, while it may be the most psychologically healthy move for some to leave their religious denomination of birth, for others, faith, family, ethnicity, race and culture are inextricably linked and leaving is not an option. For these folks, finding those allies and supporters within their tradition is critical to spiritual and mental health.
“Additionally, the report makes some important statements about the relationship between science and religion. Being deeply religious does not necessarily mean being anti-LGBT. In fact, this report shows that religious practice and belief can and does translate into support for LGBT people. The truth is that religion and science do not have to be opposed to one another. In fact, science can be an enormously important tool for understanding the grandeur and wonder of God’s creation. In this case, science helps us understand more fully the gift of sexuality — one of God’s greatest gifts.”