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Sat

11

Apr

2009

The “Ex-Gay” Sham Goes on the Road… to Uganda
Saturday, 11 April 2009 07:53
by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.

Ex-Gay” therapies – also known as “reparative” or “conversion” therapies – meant to “cure” homosexuals have been decried as unethical and dangerous by every major medical and psychological association in America.

The American Medical Association “opposes, the use of ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality 
per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics stated, “Therapy directed at specifically changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.”

The American Psychiatric Association warned, “There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of ‘reparative therapy’ as a treatment to change one’s sexual orientation. … The potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior.”

The American Psychological Association agreed: “Medical and mental health professionals also now know that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be altered. Groups who try to change the sexual orientation of people through so-called ‘conversion therapy’ are misguided and run the risk of causing a great deal of psychological harm to those they say they are trying to help.”

The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality is the pseudo-scientific arm of the “ex-gay” movement, but their name betrays their premise and agenda: “therapy of homosexuality.” That phrase clearly suggests NARTH believes homosexuality is a mental illness in need of “therapy.” Their mission statement is also quite telling:

We respect the right of all individuals to choose their own destiny. NARTH is a professional, scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality. As an organization, we disseminate educational information, conduct and collect scientific research, promote effective therapeutic treatment, and provide referrals to those who seek our assistance.
NARTH upholds the rights of individuals with unwanted homosexual attraction to receive effective psychological care and the right of professionals to offer that care. We welcome the participation of all individuals who will join us in the pursuit of these goals.
Updated: 10 March 2008 [italics added]

That’s odd: a “scientific” organization that “promote[s] effective therapeutic treatment” and “effective psychological care” when every major medical and psychological organizations in the country attests to the fact that there are no “scientific” or “effective therapeutic treatment” to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals.


Looking at the NARTH website, one does see articles by MDs and PhDs. But even a little research exposes the religious beliefs underwriting their “professional” writing.

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi was one of the founders of NARTH and its president until 2008. In an interview on CNN’s 360 Degrees with Anderson Cooper on April 14, 2007, Nicolosi said, “We, as citizens, need to articulate God’s intent for human sexuality.” Love Won Out is an “ex-gay” program sponsored by Focus on the Family. At their February 10, 2007 conference in Phoenix, Dr. Nicolosi told the audience, “When we live our God-given integrity and our human dignity, there is no space for sex with a guy.”

Former Married Couple Calls on LDS Church, Evergreen to Change Ways
“They have to already be aware that their program has a huge failure rate”
by Michael Aaron, editor of QSaltLake.com.
July 2007 Posted with the author’s permission.
SALT LAKE CITY - A formerly-married couple has called upon Evergreen International and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to change how they treat gay and lesbian people who come to them for help in their struggle with their sexuality.
Lester and Barbara Leavitt spoke to the media in front of the Crane Building, where LDS Church-sponsored Evergreen has an office. Evergreen’s purpose is to help “people who want to diminish same-sex attractions and overcome homosexual behavior.” Run by David Pruden, who will also act as executive director of the National Association of Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, the group is used by the LDS Church to handle gay and lesbian members seeking counseling.
The couple called upon Evergreen and other “ex-gay” ministries to admit their failures and change their focus. [italics added]

The Mormons have a NARTH connection. Jews have JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality), but by far the religion most involved in the “ex-gay” sham and scam is Christianity, especially the Christianist variety.

Exodus International is an evangelical “Christian ‘ex-gay’ ministry,” the largest in the America, with metastasizing tentacles penetrating other countries. Exodus is headed by Alan Chambers, who claims to be an “ex-gay” himself. He’s married, has children, and admits he’s still has an attraction to other men, but has learned to repress it. Repression is what “ex-gay therapies” teach: repress the real person and encourage a disingenuous life of deception. Mr. Chambers’ words and actions on The Montel Williams Show underlined that reality and exposed the scam.

Other Christianist leaders who advocate the “ex-gay” scam include Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, founder and chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition:

Lou Sheldon suggested exorcism is necessary to “release” a person from homosexual lifestyle
On the October 11 broadcast of Today's Issues, a program on the Christian broadcasting network American Family Radio (AFR), Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman and founder of the conservative “church lobby” group Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), suggested that Christian therapists believe exorcism is the only effective technique that can “release” a person from the homosexual lifestyle. During a conversation with host Tim Wildmon, president of the AFA [American Family Association], about the so-called “homosexual agenda,” Sheldon claimed that he had consulted with “many psychotherapists who are Christian, and they say once you enter into that [homosexual] lifestyle ... once you enter into the culture, into the music, into the gay bars, into the gay literature, into the gay theater ... and gay travel ... you have really put yourself into a groove that only a sort of an exorcism can release you from.”

Dr. James Dobson is another “religious leader” (without any theological credentials) who founded and headed, until recently, the overtly anti-gay “Christian” organization Focus on the Family that sponsors the “ex-gay” program known as Love Won Out. They “pray the gay away.”

In his 2004 book Marriage Under Fire, Dobson enumerated eleven reasons gay Americans should be denied the civil right to a civil marriage, the last of which was the world would end: “The culture war will be over, and the world may soon become ‘as it was in the days of Noah.’” In an October 2004 article in The Daily Oklahoman Dobson elaborated on his bigotry and scare tactic: “Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth.” (See “Out of Focus on the Family: A Response to Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage,”

Popular Culture Review, 16:1 [February 2005], pp. 45-75 for a complete debunking of Dobson’s arguments in Marriage Under Fire.)

Since modern medicine, science, and common sense are not on their side, America’s “ex-gay” business seems to have embraced other approaches to “repressing” gay people:

Ex-gay? No way, the experts agree
By Doug Marshall-Steele March 29, 2009
Exodus International … was represented by its president, Alan Chambers, and a board member, Don Schmierer, at an anti-gay hate conference in Uganda this month. The conference promoted such human-rights abuses as forced “ex-gay therapy,” life imprisonment for people convicted of homosexuality and the creation of an organization designed to “wipe out” homosexuality in Uganda through police action, forced re-education, life imprisonment and vigilantism. The conference also featured one Scott Lively, who blamed both the Holocaust and the 1994 Rwandan genocide on gays.
Neither Exodus International representative spoke up at the conference to protest any of the recommendations, nor did they denounce the Holocaust revisionist.

So much for the loving, caring “Christian” part of Exodus International. As for Mr. Chambers, watch The Montel Williams Show again. And as for Uganda, I have a personal story…

In early 2003 I began corresponding with a 25-year-old Ugandan. He was an accomplished dancer, musician, painter and sculptor living in Kampala. He was a lead dancer in several companies, and some of his art had been purchased by the President of Uganda. He was finishing his studies in Organizational Studies at the university. The future looked bright, until his evangelical Christian parents discovered he was gay. His lawyer father informed the police and had his son arrested.

Ugandan law punishes same-sex love with life imprisonment. Under this harsh law, even individuals who elude imprisonment face constant fear, stigmatization, and the threat of extortion by the police.
-- Kamal Fizazi, Regional Program Coordinator for Africa and Southwest Asia, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Upon release – pending further legal action – straight friends abandoned him, he was dismissed by dance companies and barred from art exhibits that received public funds, which virtually all of them did. His family disowned him and his unfinished art was destroyed. Homeless, broke and alone, naturally he considered suicide, but felt “God” had something planned for him.

Finally, after months of harassment, rearrests and releases pending further legal action, the police appeared at the home of the woman where he’d been hiding. Since he couldn’t pay the officers the 1.5 million Ugandan shillings (then about $756 US) they required to “lose” his file, he was told to leave the country or be arrested. But because of his previous arrest record he could not leave the country. Two days later I lost touch with him. Some time later I learned his fate: arrested, convicted, sentenced to life without parole. But his life sentence lasted only ten days.

He was beaten to death in prison by a group of men claiming to be doing “God’s work.”

Uganda’s leaders don’t seem to care how they get rid of gay people, just that they get rid of them. From a 30 November 2004 article:

(Kampala) The government of Uganda has issued a warning to the UN joint program on HIV/AIDS that it risks being thrown out of the country if it offers AIDS education to gays. …
Homosexuality is illegal in the country and [Information Minister James Nsaba] Buturo said that contacts with gays in which UNAIDS gave sexual advice would be a crime.

Church and State are of a single mind in Uganda:

Ugandan Bishop Refuses AIDS Funds From Pro-Gay Diocese In US
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
March 22, 2005
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) A gift of more than $350,000 to fight AIDS in Uganda has been rejected by an Anglican bishop because the Episcopal diocese which offered it supported the election of a gay bishop in New Hampshire.
Uganda has one of the highest per capita rates of HIV/AIDS in the world.
Jackson Nzerebende Tembo, the Bishop of South Rwenzori in Uganda, said the money was tainted. …

On August 2, 2005, Malcolm Thornberry, European Bureau Chief for 365Gay.com filed this story:

Growing Abuse Of Gays In Uganda Amnesty Says

(London) Amnesty International has voiced concern about what it calls the “on-going intimidation” of lesbian and gay rights activists in Uganda. …
In February, the Ugandan Media Council banned the play “The Vagina Monologues” by the American playwright Eve Ensler … The council found that the play “prominently promotes and glorifies acts of unnatural sex…or homosexuality.”
Last October, a radio station was compelled to pay a fine for hosting a live talk show with sexual rights activists discussing discrimination against members of the LGBT community in Uganda and their need for HIV/AIDS services.
The Broadcasting Council imposed a fine of approximately one thousand US dollars, claiming that the program was “contrary to public morality” and breached existing laws.

The March 2009 Uganda conference also featured the co-author of The Pink Swastika, Scott Lively, who “blamed both the Holocaust and the 1994 Rwandan genocide on gays,” an argument he’s been making for some time: “Homosexuals are the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities.”

What do you think Mr. Lively would say about this:

South African Gangs Raping Lesbians to “Cure” Them
By Michelle Garcia
March 13, 2009
Lesbians in South Africa are at high risk of being raped in towns where homosexuality is considered taboo -- where gangs of men view rape as a “cure” for sexual orientation, according to ActionAid's report “Hate Crimes: The Rise of Corrective Rape in South Africa.”
The country logs approximately half a million rapes per year, and nearly all of the accused rapists go unpunished. This behavior is attributed to the patriarchal, male-dominated society in the regions where it’s rampant. … [italics added]

Before answering that, consider one of Mr. Lively’s previous admonition: “The church and this nation cry out for a revival of masculine Christianity, which is to say that we church leaders need to stop being such, for lack of a better word, sissies when it comes to social and political issues.”

There is no scientific or medical evidence supporting “ex-gay” therapies. Quite the contrary. Scientific and medical associations all agree with the American Psychiatric Association: such “therapies” can “lead to depression, anxiety and self destructive behavior, and may reinforce self hatred.”

Religions, however, are predicated upon US vs. THEM thinking that inevitably encourages the “righteous” toward bigotry and hate. Early Church Fathers such as St. Augustine set the rules: forced conversions or death.

In Uganda, church and state have joined forces to wage war against gay and lesbian people. The presence of Exodus International and Scott Lively at the March 2009 conference simply supplied more lethal munitions in that country’s campaigns against its gay and lesbian citizens.

Uganda and the “ex-gay” industry: a match made in genocidal hell.
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