Thursday, 13 August 2009

Research Shows Temptation More Powerful Than Individuals Realize

Whether it's highlighted in major news headlines about Argentinean affairs and Ponzi schemes, or in personal battles with obesity and drug addiction, individuals regularly succumb to greed, lust and self-destructive behaviors. New research from the Kellogg School of Management examines why this is the case, and demonstrates that individuals believe they have more restraint than they actually possess - ultimately leading to poor decision-making.

The study, led by Loran Nordgren, senior lecturer of management and organizations at the Kellogg School, examined how an individual's belief in his/her ability to control impulses such as greed, drug craving and sexual arousal influenced responses to temptation. The research found the sample, on average, displayed a "restraint bias," causing individuals to miscalculate the amount of temptation they could truly handle, in turn leading to a greater likelihood of indulging impulsive or addictive behavior.

"People are not good at anticipating the power of their urges, and those who are the most confident about their self-control are the most likely to give into temptation," said Nordgren. "The key is simply to avoid any situations where vices and other weaknesses thrive and, most importantly, for individuals to keep a humble view of their willpower." Read more
No comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The next big panic

Ed: I am beginning to think this is deliberate - after the year that brought us the 'Barbecue Summer' (carry water, look out for your heat-stricken elderly neighbour) and swine flu (expect up to 500 deaths a day), now we have 'recession chaos'. The important thing is 'the government must (be allowed to) do more.

Britain faces a surge in drug addiction, alcoholism and domestic violence as the second wave of the recession and rising unemployment take a grip, the leading public sector watchdog warns today.

Councils are not doing enough to prepare their communities for the fallout as the impact of more business failures, bankruptcies and the soaring jobless toll leads to deepening social and human problems, the Audit Commission reports. The watchdog, which monitors the performance of local councils and services, says that most authorities already face extra demands for benefits, welfare and debt counselling. One in three has extra pressure on social and mental health services, and on state school places from parents who can no longer afford to educate their children privately. Read more
No comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the

‘Gay survey’ to take place within Church of England

A national survey is set to take place to reveal the number of gay clergy within the Church of England, the Guardian newspaper has reported.

The survey is being backed by the Inclusive Church network, which aims to prove that homosexuals perform an important role in the regular running of the Church body.

Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of the Inclusive Church told the Guardian: “It's very early days but we need realistic information on how many LGBT clergy there are. It's about demonstrating to people that we're here and we need to be respected and recognised. We want to play our full role in the life of the church.

“Those who are in partnerships shouldn't have to hide it. But we are not going to out anyone. Any personal information will remain confidential – we would withhold details that might reveal someone's identity, that could make them vulnerable.” Read more
No comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

A Review and Analysis of Research Studies Which Assessed Sexual Preference of Children Raised by Homosexuals

[...] Pro-homosexual researchers frequently claim studies find "no differences" between children raised by homosexuals and heterosexuals. Amazingly, these claims are made in the abstracts of research studies that actually uncovered differences (Williams, 2000). The tendency to deny or downplay differences has been noted by pro-homosexual parenting researchers. After reviewing 21 studies, Stacey and Biblarz (2001) concluded that in regards to gender, sexual behavior and sexual preference, homosexually parented children are different from heterosexually parented children. But despite such findings, many continue to proclaim "no differences" in order to galvanize support for homosexual access to fertility services, adoption, custody, and same-sex marriage. Encouraging support for a cause is fine, as long as the information being disseminated is true. But in this case, it isn't.

Other researchers have reviewed homosexual parenting studies in general and concluded that they're either too problematic to make definitive claims (Belcastro, Gramlich, Nicholson, Price, and Wilson, 1993; Baumrind, 1995) or so methodologically flawed that no conclusions can be drawn (Lerner and Nagai, 2001)

Pro-homosexual parenting researchers and other activists can't have it both ways. Either the findings of these studies are valid and homosexual parents are more likely to raise non-heterosexual children, or these studies aren't valid and assertions of "no difference" can't be made.

I think that although these studies can't be used to make definitive statements, they are suggestive that homosexual parents are rearing disproportionate numbers of non-heterosexual children. This isn't surprising since parents are the primary influencers of children. Children raised by parents with different lifestyles, values, and attributes, are likely to be different from other children (Baumrind 1995). Stacey and Biblarz (2001) wrote, "... it is difficult to conceive of a credible theory of sexual development that would not expect the adult children of lesbigay parents to display a somewhat higher incidence of homoerotic desire, behavior, and identity than children of heterosexual parents."

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the methodological flaws in the existing homosexual-parenting studies (including small, non-representative samples, lack of control groups, and non-longitudinal designs) highlight the need for scientifically rigorous and unbiased research, so that more definitive conclusions concerning sexual and gender identity outcomes of homosexually parented children can be drawn. In the meantime, we look to existing studies for suggestive trends. Read more
No comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the

Same sex adoption: our new life as Dad and Daddy

The day our lives changed for ever was the day we first met our son. It was like a blind date, but with social workers playing the role of matchmaker. They had read the reports, they had met us and we’d agreed: we could be perfect for each other.

But you can never predict the outcome of a blind date. And it’s the same with adoption. For the child’s sake, you are not introduced until it’s all been set in stone. On that cold January morning, as we walked up the foster carer’s garden path, our only certainty was that nothing would be the same again.

When Sally opened her front door, I caught a glimpse of Scott behind her. He ran into her living room. As we followed him in, I got my first proper look at him, and he was every bit as gorgeous and wonderful as he’d appeared on the photos and video they’d given us.

“Who’s this?” Sally asked Scott, as he looked us up and down with a shy smile. Just short of his third birthday, his fosterers had prepared him for meeting his two new dads with the help of a book of photos and a DVD that we’d put together.

We don’t know what the first word he ever spoke was, but the first words I ever heard him speak were our names. “Philip and Michael,” he said. Who can be certain, but he seemed to understand who we were. We came away from that first two-hour encounter elated. He had been affectionate and adorable. In my gut, I felt that the blind date would work out. Read more
No comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the

Monday, 10 August 2009

TEC and C of E: the makings of a progressive alliance

[...] Meanwhile, back in the UK we’ve been facing similar issues but dealing with them in a different way. As my American friends have often observed, we’re not as open as you; there’s a different relationship with the hierarchy and we tend to get on with things without being too public about them, while trying to work with the structures to bring about change. I don’t defend that – it’s just the way we are.

But that’s changing now. Not a moment too soon, you might say. Over the past few years different groups within the Church of England – Changing Attitude, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, Inclusive Church, Women and the Church, the Modern Churchpeople’s Union, Affirming Catholicism and many more from across the theological spectrum – have been working more and more closely together on a range of issues - for example, women bishops, the inclusion of people of colour, and of course questions of human sexuality. We’ve been coordinating our activities and sharing our vision, our knowledge and our experience. The Lambeth Conference in 2008 was an example of that - those of you who were there will remember the way in which progressive groups in the US, Canada and the UK tried to work together, and the challenges and learning processes which that involved!

On 27th July 2009 the Archbishop of Canterbury’s response to the General Convention in Anaheim was published. The immediate reaction, in the UK as much as in the USA, was one of dismay. While we understood what the Archbishop was seeking to do, the reflections contained a much clearer statement of his understanding of the place of LGBT people – or rather, the lack of place - within the Anglican Communion than we had previously heard, and they also seemed to acknowledge in a much more fatalistic way the prospect of a two-track communion.
A meeting already planned for the following Friday was quickly expanded and was made into an open meeting for anyone or any group concerned about the reflections and wishing to respond. It’s fair to say that the meeting was quite low key; there was a general feeling that once again LGBT Christians and their friends and colleagues had been show n to be excluded , and after years of trying different ways to end that exclusion this was a further rebuff.

However, there was also general agreement that a “tipping point” had been reached. Various concrete suggestions were made as to the way forward – for example, getting better statistics about the number of LGBT clergy and lay people in the church and how many same-sex blessings and thanksgivings have been carried out in England; raising the visibility of LGBT clergy and their supportive congregations; forming closer links with TEC; and a joint Statement.

The statement “On the Archbishop’s Reflections” was drafted the next day and published the following Tuesday with the signatures of 13 groups from across the Church of England, and the tacit support of several others. It is only part of a work in progress, and we are meeting again in September to take forward the other ideas. But it’s the first time we in the C of E have made so public a joint stand on these questions, and we hope that this collaborative working will continue to bear fruit.
What of the future? We certainly welcome better and stronger links with the US and Canada – as we say in the statement “We will seek to strengthen the bonds of affection which exist between those in all the Churches of the Anglican Communion who share our commitment to the full inclusion of all of God’s faithful.”

The big question facing us all is how we respond to the suggestion of a two-track Communion. The feeling within the progressive groups of the Church of England is that such a thing should be resisted, and if the Covenant were to bring this about it, too, should be resisted. However, and this is a new thought for me, there may be another way. The Episcopal Church in Anaheim passed various resolutions which reaffirmed its inclusive polity and brought greater clarity about the way forward TEC may take. In that context, and having passed those resolutions, what is to stop TEC signing the Covenant? We are awaiting a further draft, but unless it contains radical strengthening of any judicial measures, it seems to me that TEC would be able to sign it, as a sign of its mutual commitment and in the context of its present policy of ensuring that it is open to LGBT people both single and in relationships. Result; a Communion strengthened and affirmed in its breadth and diversity and once again bearing a global witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And for the Church of England? We still have a long way to go. The measures to bring about full recognition of LGBT Christians are still a few years off, and as presently drafted the Covenant might delay those measures even further. Maybe the Church of England shouldn’t sign it. In which case, I suppose, we would be outside the main body while TEC would be inside. Read more
No comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the