ORLANDO, FL - The American Psychological Association has released a new report today at its annual convention in Toronto acknowledging that an individual's faith is an important variable when it comes to dealing with conflicts between religious beliefs and same-sex attraction. Exodus International, the largest worldwide ministry to those in conflict with their sexuality and faith, says this report acknowledges religious diversity and hopes to see more efforts to ensure this in the future.
While Exodus does not fully agree with the APA's crticisms of clinical techniques such as reparative therapy and its view of sexual orientation change, the report does recognize that some choose to live their lives in congruence with religious values. The report also encourages therapists to avoid imposing a specific outcome on clients.
The APA's report comes on the heels of a recent study conducted by the Barna Research Group that compared the religious views of heterosexuals and homosexuals. The study, showed that 60% of the adults surveyed who identified themselves as gay described their faith as "very important."
Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, says that not only is faith is an essential part of life for many gay men and women, it is almost always the motivating factor behind their decision to leave it behind and that many in Exodus have experienced a shift in attractions along the way. Chambers just released his second book, Leaving Homosexuality, which clarifies realistic expectations involved in this process.
"The role of religion and the importance of faith cannot be understated when it comes to the ongoing dialogue over sexual and gender identity," said Chambers. "It is an essential element of many people's lives and creates great moral conflict and tension for those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction. We are grateful that the APA has acknowledged this and hope to see more done to ensure that religious diversity and personal autonomy are respected in the future."