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Lutheran seminary fires president over ‘conversion therapy’ controversy

‘I have been scapegoated,’ ousted president says

The president of a Lutheran seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was ousted by the school’s board of trustees this week after it came to light that she had directed an organization that practiced so-called “conversion therapy” years ago.

Theresa Latini was fired by United Lutheran Seminary’s board this week after significant community pushback over her past involvement with a controversial LGBT psychological treatment, PennLive reports.

“Conversion therapy” is the term used, generally in a pejorative sense, to refer to psychological counseling that attempts to direct individuals away from homosexual attractions and toward heterosexual ones. In the 1990s, Latini was director of the organization One by One, “a Pittsford, N.Y.-based organization that believed and taught that sexual orientation change is possible,” according to PennLive.

Many psychologists believe that sexual orientation is fixed and immutable. A longitudinal study published several years ago in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy suggested that sexual orientation can indeed be changed.

According to the report, Latini’s past work “was made known to the seminary’s board chairman during a presidential search process last year.” However, the chairman did not inform the rest of the board about Latini’s association with One by One until after she was hired.

Latini told PennLive that she had been “scapegoated by an historically divided institution resistant to unification” and “given little chance to respond to the accusations against me.”

In a statement published on the seminary’s website yesterday,the board of trustees stated: “The primary obligation of the Board is to our Seminary and the perpetuation of its critical mission in training leaders for the church.”

“We ask you all to be mindful that these issues are complicated and multi-faceted and, as such, there can be no ‘one right or true answer’,” the board wrote shortly after firing Latini.

Read the news report here, and the board’s statement here.

MORE: Did Harvard sanction this Christian student group just to teach it a lesson?

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