Professor Glynn Harrison has made a careful, nuanced, pastorally sensitive, appropriately scientifically cautious statement about support for people who wish to seek help in order to modify their sexual orientation.
For this he has been widely vilified.
I am reminded of Clarke’s First Law:
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
I have no desire that anyone should change their sexual orientation. I have homosexual friends, both men and women, some celibate, some partnered, some whose status I don’t know and frankly it’s none of my business.
Some of the couples are in civil partnerships, some of which I have assisted in celebrating – in a “cake and champagne” sort of way, being prevented by law from being professionally involved.
However, I believe that those who state that it is always impossible for anyone to alter their sexual orientation are being unbearably arrogant. And they are being grossly intolerant (in the name of ‘tolerance’) when they attempt to bully into silence those who hold, with appropriate caution, a different view.
How can they possibly know?
The human mind is a strange and wonderful thing, and I am not prepared to rule out the possibility of some people, if they want to, being able to make such a change, despite being well aware that it is not possible for most.
So I am making my rejection of intolerance clear: both the intolerance of some sections of the church and the intolerance of those who are attacking Professor Harrison.
I don’t know whether some people can change their sexual orientation. I find it sad that anyone should feel that they want to, and I completely reject any suggestion that anyone ought to
But provided that person is not being coerced in any way, I support their right to try, and to seek help in doing it.