Aish.com is a great website that normally publishes informative, well-researched articles on Judaism. However, in two recent articles, Aish presents a twisted, biased view of homosexuality, insisting that homosexuality is a "dysfunction" that can be "cured" with proper treatment.
The two articles can be found here: http://www.aish.com/spirituality/odysseys/The_Straight_Path_Home.asp
While there are many factual inaccuracies and flawed arguments in these articles, I would like to focus in on the most egregious:
1. David claims that the homosexual lifestyle is one of "compulsive promiscuity." When this assertion was challenged, David points to statistics of homosexual promiscuity in San Francisco (statistics that probably do not generalize to the rest of the country) and declares that most homosexuals live such a lifestyle.
Since when do we as Jews do what "most" people do. Most people in America eat pork. Most Jews do not. Most heterosexuals in America have premarital sex. Many heterosexual Jews do not. Why then should we generalize from the overall population to Jews on the issue of homosexuality?
I'm fine with being in the minority, both in terms of not eating pork and in terms of not being "compulsively promiscuous." The stastitics David cites mean nothing to me. I plan to live a monogomous, Jewish life with another Jewish man.
(I do not mean to imply that non-Jews are inherently promiscuous; they're not, and many non-Jewish gay men also lead monogomous lives. I am merely highlighting the fact that Jews often behave differently than the general population.)
2. In both articles, David states that homosexuality is caused by a dysfunctional childhood environment.
"Yes, there are many causes of homosexuality. My path is one that is common -- the triadic family and detachment from father, the missed opportunity to bond with other men. Other formative experiences common to those with same-sex attractions include physical or sexual abuse, and peer rejection. Others are responding to what they perceived as threatening relationships with mother or other women."
Thank G-d, I have not experienced any of these dysfunctions. Yet I am still gay. Clearly David's theoretical basis is lacking. Indeed, he cites the primitive theories of Sigmund Freud to support his argument that "homes like [his] are common among men with homosexual urges." He neglects to mention that the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry has repudiated Freud's theory. "As the origins of homosexuality are attributed to factors beyond the patient's conscious or unconscious control, they are no longer considered a subject of analytic inquiry" (J. Drescher, "A history of homosexuality and organized psychoanalysis," 2008).
David cites a 2003 study by Robert Spitzer, in which the majority of the participants successfully "became" straight. David neglects to mention that only 40% of the viewed themselves as exclusively gay before they attempted to change. David also fails to inform his readers that Spitzer himself said that the number of homosexuals who could successfully become heterosexual was likely to be "pretty low."
3. David's articles are laden with numerous weak arguments. What do they all have in common? They all mask David's true intent: to use the Torah's commandments as scientific proofs. The Torah prohibits sex between two men and commands man to reproduce. It is very difficult to theologically accept that the same G-d who gave such commandments also created people who can only achieve sexual and emotional fulfillment through a same-sex relationship. Therefore, many people argue that the existence of these two commandments proves that homosexuality is a dysfunction and is "curable." However, G-d never tells us that gay people can become straight; such a thought is a human invention. G-d does not mention sexual orientation in the Torah at all, but merely speaks about a specific sexual act. Thus, in light of the Torah's silence on the issue and the overwhelming scientific evidence that sexual orientation is NOT changeable, we should abandon all attempts at reparative therapy and instead have an open dialogue in the Orthodox community on the theological quandary that is so difficult to understand.