Gays, Character, Service, and the Air Force Academy

Over at Gawker, Adam Weinstein reports in his Gawkerish style that a “gay conversion therapist” just happens to perform quantitative analysis on “character” and behavioral issues at the US Air Force Academy (USAFA).

Located in Colorado Springs — often dubbed “the evangelical Vatican” because so many conservative Christian groups have made it their home — the Academy has long faced charges that it’s a hotbed of evangelical proselytizing and right-wing politics.

They surely found their man in Rosebush. He is “a former vice-president at Focus on the Family (2000-2004) [and] a clinical member of and contributor of The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality. Dr. Rosebush also worked with Exodus International, the world’s largest faith based organization in helping those who live with unwanted same-sex attractions.”

That’s according the website of “Strength in Weakness,” a gay-conversion ministry where Rosebush is listed as a fee-charging counselor. In 2008, he contributed an essay to the site that tries to help gays understand where their sexual proclivities come from. It begins thus:

Is there any male out there who has struggled with unwanted same-sex attractions who has not wondered, “How did this become a part of me?” Didn’t think so. Indeed, that question haunted me for years and years.

After exploring the case of “Bob,” a “sensitive” boy who exceled in “the ‘creatives’: art, writing, drama, cooking, appearance, music, etc”, Rosebush offered his final analysis on the origins of same-sex attraction:

“What did I do to cause this?” Nothing. It began when you were “sensitive.”

Rosebush’s “analysis” finds that the group of “post-conventional” deciders who consider “what would best serve society, produce harmony among the majority, and adhere to principles of fairness & justice” have “demonstrated no relationship to behavioral integrity at USAFA.” Instead, behavioral integrity is found in those who value “maintaining norms.”

Adam takes this as code for heteronormativity but you can see how it argues more broadly for good order and discipline at the expense of basic decency.

Just try to reconcile this with the notion of serving a country founded in great part on principles of fairness and justice. Those who consider what would best serve society are a behavioral problem. Instead, serve your country by not consciously trying to serve your country. Thus heroes are born.

You just have to sort of gaze slack-jawed at this stuff the way you’d rubberneck a train accident. I suppose it’s only human that some folks are predisposed to believe Rosebush’s pseudoscientific nonsense. But that said nonsense would find a home in a military institution ostensibly representing the highest values, or that it would meet the evidentiary standard of anybody applying decisionmaking to matters of life and death is beyond me.

I guess you could say I believe that it does not best serve society or produce harmony among “the majority” or adhere to principles of fairness and justice.

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