You know the article's going to be dismissive when the very first sentence begins, "It's probably just a public relations stunt..." A WorldNetDaily article, titled Homosexual activist challenges Christian video, does just that.
It's probably just a public relations stunt, but an Illinois ministry offering help to those who choose to leave the homosexual lifestyle says a new complaint a "gay" activist has filed with the state attorney general has to be taken seriously.
The complaint was filed by activist and columnist Wayne Besen against Americans for Truth, a group set up by Peter LaBarbera to confront the homosexual agenda and provide alternatives for those who feel trapped in their choices.
"We're getting to the point where 'gay' legal activists are going to try to shut down pro-family groups," LaBarbera told WND in an interview. "That speaks to the impulses of the other side."
Americans for Truth has run into a few problems with the video, aimed at showing gays that homosexuality can be 'cured.' The biggest stumbling blocks facing them are that the 'therapy' doesn't work, the subject of the video is still gay as all hell, and Peter LaBarera's a ridiculous boob.
The video, titled It's Not Gay, features Michael Johnston, an 'ex-gay' leader who claims he became straight in 1998 'through the power of Jesus Christ.' He's gone on to work with Jerry Falwell and the American Family Association. His conversion didn't so much work, though.
American Politics Journal:
In August 2003, Johnston’s claims at sexual conversion collapsed in an embarrassing scandal. Michael Hamar, a Virginia attorney, called Besen to say he had a client who had been having an affair with Johnston, not realizing, at first, Johnston’s true identity as a prominent ex-gay figure. Besen was also introduced to another young man who claimed to have had unprotected sex with the ex-gay leader. While in Virginia, Besen was shown a video of a man that looked eerily similar to Johnston having unprotected sex with several men. Hamar’s client signed an affidavit swearing the man was Michael Johnston.
The news broke in Southern Voice, a respected gay publication in Atlanta. Johnston resigned his ministry in disgrace and fled to a sex addiction facility in Kentucky, Pure Life Ministries, where he sought counseling. In reaction to Johnston’s fall, LaBarbera told Southern Voice, “He obviously had a moral failing, that’s true.”
There was a failing, alright. But the failing is with so-called 'reparative therapy,' the method that these nuts use to try to 'cure' gays. It has all the scientific basis of voodoo. In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers, and National Education Association all released a joint statement in reading:
The most important fact about "reparative therapy," also sometimes known as "conversion" therapy, is that it is based on an understanding of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major health and mental health professions. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Social Workers, together representing more than 477,000 health and mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus there is no need for a "cure." ...health and mental health professional organizations do not support efforts to change young people's sexual orientation through "reparative therapy" and have raised serious concerns about its potential to do harm.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement from the professional community. Beside the fact that it doesn't actually work, it can be harmful. People seeking to change their sexual identity tend to be driven by other people's biases and the 'treatment' only serves to reinforce those biases. When it finally fails, the subjects tend to blame themselves for the failure and become depressed -- sometimes suicidal. In other words, letting a bunch of biblebanging nutjobs screw around inside your head has pretty much the result you'd expect. You go in in denial, you come out freakin' nuts.
So the video is being challenged as deceptive advertising. Johnston's not 'cured,' the therapy doesn't work -- in fact, it can actually hurt you -- and the whole thing's a scam. APJ has Besen's letter to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, with the relevant section:
Despite publicly admitting that Johnston had failed in his efforts at heterosexuality, Labarbera is now selling the specious "It’s Not Gay" video and portraying Johnston to unsuspecting viewers as a "former homosexual." Indeed, on the front of the box under a picture of Johnston it says, "Former homosexuals tell a story few have heard."
How can Johnston continue to be presented as a "former homosexual"? The word "former" clearly implies that he has ceased all homosexual activity prior to filming "It’s Not Gay." However, abundant homosexual activity on the part of Johnston had occurred after the video was released. This makes LaBarbera guilty of deceptive advertising and duping unsuspecting consumers who are led to believe that Johnston had miraculously changed sexual orientations.
Nowhere does Americans for Truth inform potential viewers that Johnston’s "cure" did not endure. This organization is undeniably peddling false hope to vulnerable and desperate people and bilking them out of their hard earned money. In doing so, Americans for Truth is unscrupulously capitalizing on the sincere and heartfelt religious convictions of its followers and exploiting them for the organization’s financial gain.
So, it's not gay activists trying to 'shut down pro-family groups' -- as LaBarbera puts it. It's the fact that Americans for Truth is breaking the damned law. In his defense, LaBarbera says, "We never sold the video." Maybe he means he hasn't had any luck selling the video, because his ad doesn't say it's free. Ten bucks is a lot to pay for BS.
I wrote that Pete's a ridiculous boob -- the fact that he didn't pull the ad for the video while claiming he doesn't sell it is evidence of boobery. He's a D-list celebrity in the evangelical movement. Completely ineffective, he backed right wing crazy Alan Keyes over Barack Obama in '04 -- Keyes had his ass handed to him, losing with 27% of the vote to Obama's 70%. If legislation is backed by LaBarbera, it goes nowhere. If he calls for a rally or a protest, no one shows.
Most fun, Pete LaBarbera's a heartbeat away from a Ted Haggard-style scandal and it's obvious to everyone but himself. Pete's own words via Pam's House Blend:
On Memorial Day weekend, the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Chicago played host to what must be one of the most perverse sexual celebrations ever dreamed up by sinful men: the "International Mr. Leather" (IML) conference.
"Leathermen" are sadomasochists (in this case, mostly homosexuals) who glory in a pseudo "macho" sexual ethic--probably to make up for their masculine deficit as sexually-confused "gay" men.
Sadistic/masochistic "leather" sexuality often includes consensual sexual violence (beating, whipping, or otherwise inducing pain as part of sex) and "consensual" degradation and humiliation between "partners."
...I decided to go down to Chicago on Memorial Day, the last day of IML, to gather evidence on this twisted event.
Pete's going to wind up experiencing 'reparative therapy' first hand one day.