Tuesday, March 7, 2017

ABC 20/20 - Conversion therapy report airs this Friday

“Creepy” sexual reorientation effort
This Friday 20/20 will air a report based upon a year-long investigation of gay conversion therapy.  Included is coverage of two Alabama programs. The Christian pastors overseeing dozens of teens were convicted of child abuse. The methodology of these two operations was quite simple. They beat the crap out of kids who did not change their sexual orientation.

Conversion therapy is highly controversial, primarily because it is not supported by scientific research. Efforts to change sexual orientation are essentially religious rites. In 2015 a jury concluded that a New Jersey operation was guilty of consumer fraud.

Nevertheless, support for conversion therapy remains in the Republican Party Platform. However the practice is banned for minors in California, Oregon, New Jersey, Vermont, Illinois and the District of Colombia. It appears that Peter Sprigg of the anti-gay hate group, Family Research Council, gets a considerable amount of air time. Religious conservatives are optimistic that Mike Pence will make a difference. In an ABC preview, Sprigg claims:
I certainly hope that this administration will pull back from some of the aggressive activism that the Obama administration engaged in. … [Conversion therapy programs] certainly should not be prohibited by law.
The truth is that the federal government is not involved in the decisions of states to ban conversion therapy. States outlaw the practice because of the toxicity without potential benefit. Other gems in the program from Sprigg include:
  • “As a Christian, I believe that the Bible teaches that to choose to engage in homosexual conduct is a sin.” Sprigg added that he believes therapy can cause people to make different choices.
  • “If someone is experiencing something mentally, like same-sex attractions, that is causing distress, then that’s a mental health issue.” (Thank you Dr. Sprigg. Any “distress” is caused by judgmental people like Sprigg and not by one's sexual orientation).
  • The kind of therapy that we support is ordinary talk therapy like anyone would have for any type of psychological issue.
According to 20/20:
Sprigg said that his groups does not believe that “same-sex attractions are a choice” but that he also does “not believe that experiencing same-sex attractions is a normal and natural variant of human sexuality.”

He added that he believes Pence will be helpful in any battle with what he called the “gay lobby.”
In the same piece Sprigg claims that conversion therapy will cause people to make different choices. Sprigg knows that he cannot pass off gay-by-choice to a national mainstream audience. He accidentally tells the truth and then he lies. Apparently some lies are not subject to that “bearing false witness” thingy.

I remain uncertain whether or not ABC should give air time to an official of a hate group, even when it makes him look like an imbecile. It might be too late to ensure that they include a reference to Family Research Council as a hate group. I will send out a few emails in an attempt to get them to do so.

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