It may sound extreme, but this is the beginning of a process that has long been popular with tyrants. In the Soviet Union, Christians were sent by the hundreds of thousands to mental institutions. The state was officially atheist, so if you believe that there was a God, you were insane. And it’s still a wonderful tool for oppressors in places like China and North Korea.
There’s another side to this. As a psychiatrist told the Washington Post, if we began to call bias a mental illness, it would let criminals off the hook for any behavior. It will take a few years, of course, to go all through the medical and clinical analyses and deliberations of the American Psychiatric Association.
But if the day should come that opposition to homosexual conduct is labeled homophobia, and homophobia labeled delusional, then it is a very short step to saying that belief in the Bible, which labels that conduct sinful, is also a mental disorder.
Frightening? Indeed. Impossible? I’m afraid not.
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Shankar Vedantam, “Psychiatry Ponders Whether Extreme Bias Can Be an Illness,” Washington Post, 10 December 2005.
Declan Lyons and Art O’Malley, “The Labeling of Dissent—Politics and Psychiatry Behind the Great Wall,” Psychiatric Bulletin 26 (2002): 443-44.
Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally Satel, M.D., One Nation under Therapy: How the Helping Culture Is Eroding Self-Reliance (St. Martin’s Press, 2005).
BreakPoint Commentary No. 050929, “Salvation through Psychology: One Nation under Therapy.” (Free registration required.)
Jacob Sullum, “Head Games: What Are the Rules for Defining Mental Illness?” Reason Online, January 2003.