Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve received numerous well-reasoned emails asking me to explain my differences with radio talk show host Neal Boortz – at least as they pertain to an ongoing controversy involving Augusta State University student Jennifer Keeton. Insofar as our present differences arise from more fundamental differences regarding human imperfection and personal redemption I am pleased to elaborate.
For those not aware, Keeton was threatened with expulsion from Augusta State University for refusing to submit to a re-education program run by state-employed university officials. The re-education program was not targeted towards the manner in which Keeton had articulated certain ideas (including private conversations outside of class with fellow students). Instead, it was focused upon the substance of those ideas.
According to state officials, the principal “problem” was Keeton’s assertion that free will plays a role in homosexual conduct. Because she is a counseling major the state was concerned that, upon graduation, she might incorporate those views into her private professional practice. The “solution” mandated by the government was forced abandonment of her belief in free will. This was stated as a condition of remaining in the state-funded university program.
Neal Boortz’ position on the matter was succinctly summarized on his privately owned website back in early August. His support for the government reeducation program appeared then, as it does now, to be based upon two premises – the first of which I believe to be accurate, the second of which I believe to be deeply flawed.
The first premise is that feelings of homosexuality, when first experienced by a young person, tend to be accompanied by rather intense feelings of confusion and anxiety – as does the decision to seek counseling regarding one’s sexuality. In this regard, Boortz has characterized the situation accurately.
The second premise is that hearing a counselor articulate the view that the patient has some degree of control over his sexuality would heighten, rather than attenuate, his feelings of confusion and anxiety. In this regard, Boortz has characterized the situation inaccurately.
It is unclear how Boortz arrives at the conclusion that someone would find the phrase “You can change” to be more traumatic than the phrase “You cannot change.” Human beings have always been comforted by the idea that they have some control over their fate. To suggest that homosexuals are somehow emotionally traumatized by ideas that are found comforting by others is to suggest a high degree of emotional volatility. The idea is not only condescending but lacks any basis in reality.