Mark Yarhouse book coverRegent University’s Dr. Mark Yarhouse spoke this week at the national conference of the American Association of Christian Counselors in Branson, Missouri.

According to the Facebook page of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity at Regent University, Yarhouse spoke to a “full room” on “key concepts for understanding homosexuality and sexual identity. A lot of good discussion on the concepts and their applications in various church settings.”

Yarhouse’s talk topic paralleled that of his new book, “Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends.” Note that the book’s title and theme ostracize the very people at issue: people of non-heterosexual orientation. Instead, the book addresses the pastors, parents, and peers whom Yarhouse seeks to alienate from LGBT relatives and friends.

The institute’s blog describes the book as follows:

Dr. Yarhouse shifts the focus away from orientation toward identity, and then he uses that focus to inform how the church might respond to the challenges facing sexual minorities within the Christian community. He also provides chapters for parents and spouses who are responding to family members who experience same-sex attraction.

The blog article quotes two endorsements of the book:

“This is a must-read book for anyone who wants sound guidance and trustworthy information about homosexuality, including its relevance to Christians and the church.”
–Gary R. Collins, Distinguished Professor of Coaching and Leadership, Richmont Graduate University

Homosexuality and the Christian is the best book I have seen for evangelicals who want an accessible book that provides accurate, research-based information.”
–Warren Throckmorton, Associate Professor of Psychology, Grove City College, and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy at the Center for Vision and Values

Longtime readers may recall that Yarhouse co-authored an informal study of ex-gays in 2007. That study failed to achieve publication in any peer-reviewed journal, and it was criticized by mental-health professionals for serious flaws, biases, and intentional oversights.

While I am disappointed at Yarhouse’s latest apparent efforts to badmouth sexual minorities and to alienate people from their non-heterosexual peers, I am also puzzled that a presumably successful organization representing supposed mental-health professionalism would host its annual conference in Branson. That isolated community near the Arkansas-Oklahoma border is a last-resort destination for almost-forgotten musical acts such as Andy Williams, the Oak Ridge Boys, Mickey Gilley, Roy Clark, and Tony Orlando — not to mention Elvis impersonators, disgraced preachers (Anita Bryant had a theater there), and discount buffets that inspire comparison to the cuisine of Reno, Nevada.

What exactly was Yarhouse’s room “full” of — tourists who couldn’t get tickets for the dinosaur wax museum?