NPR’s Foxification of Ex-Gay Rhetoric

Michele and Marcus Backmann

Michele and Marcus Backmann

If it were Fox News I wouldn’t have flinched. But it was National Public Radio.

To my surprise, I didn’t know, especially in 2011, my sexual orientation was still up for debate. But on August 1 on the “Morning Edition” of National Public Radio (NPR) it was. The topic on the show that morning was “Can Therapy Help Change Sexual Orientation?

“Today in Your Health, a controversy that is both political and personal. Conversion therapy is psychotherapy which aims to help gay men and women become straight. It’s hardly new, but it’s in the news again because the mental health clinic run by the husband of Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann reportedly provides such therapy,” Renee Montagne, host of “Morning Edition” stated.

My head spins at the thought of how Christian counseling services, like Dr. Marcus Bachmann’s, still get so much air time, especially, in spite of the voluminous information disputing the pseudo-science of “ex-gay” conversion therapies.

Just three years ago, the American Psychological Association put out an official position paper stating “The longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation.”

The negative health outcomes both emotional and psychological these “conversion” programs exact are untold, like depression, anxiety, self-destructive behavior, sexual dysfunction, avoidance of intimacy, loss of faith and spirituality, and the reinforcement of internalized homophobia and self-hatred, to name a few.

“It took really hard work to get my brain back and to recover from the emotional and psychological damage that I had experienced under that care,” Peterson Toscano, a theatrical performance activist, stated on NPR. Toscano spent 17 years in conversion therapies and faith-based ex-gay programs. Today he’s the co-founder of “Beyond Ex-Gay,” an online community to help ex-gay survivors.

However, there are still groups, usually motivated by religion-based homophobic therapies and ministries like Bachman’s, who are hell-bent on the idea that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Americans can and should be made straight.

And these groups proselytize ex-gay rhetoric as both their Christian and patriotic duty.

For example, “Pray the Gay Away?,” on an episode of the television series “Our America with Lisa Ling,” that aired on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network on March 8th of this year, Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, an ex-gay organization, spoke about his sure-fire remedy for us LGBTQ “prodigal” children, and how his organization can help us reconcile our faith, mend our sinful lives ,and finally walk away from our supposedly wrong-headed “lifestyle” choice.

There are hordes of supposedly ex-gay “converts” who’ll be poster children for these conversion therapies. But truth be told, their conversions from being “homosexual” to “heterosexual” didn’t “cure” their homosexual predilections, but rather these therapies attempted to put LGBTQ people on the road to outwardly live a straight life.

“It meant probably walking away from my religion, not having the wife and children of my future that I would expect, lots of shame and conflict with family and others. It was just devastating to contemplate.” Rich Wyler, who grew up in a Christian conservative family, stated on NPR.

But, the truth is that these “ex-gay” reparative therapies don’t’ work, have a failure rate of 90 percent, and several “ex-gay” groups over the years have had to shut down when their leaders finally dealt with the reality of their own homosexuality.

Case in point: John Paulk, “ex-gay” poster boy, who appeared in HRC’s 2000 photo album with a one-word caption: “Gotcha!”

Wayne Besen, then the associate director of communications of HRC, captured that Kodak moment as he snapped a picture of the then-37-year-old Paulk in a Washington D.C. gay bar. In the moment, pandemonium broke out in the bar, as the series of flashes from Besen’s camera were assumed by some to be those of a homophobe harassing a patron. But as Paulk hunched down trying to conceal his face, he learned that he could neither run nor hide. Paulk says he went into the bar just to use the bathroom – an unlikely story, as 40 minutes after entering the bar, he was still there, keeping company with both a drink and a fellow patron.

Paulk, a former drag queen known as Candi and a one-time first runner-up in the Miss Ingenue pageant, is presently married to a self-proclaimed former lesbian who also underwent counseling in an “ex-gay” ministry run by Exodus International. Today, they both don the drag of being heterosexually married. They prominently graced the cover of “Newsweek” in August 1998, appeared on “60 Minutes” and Oprah, and wrote the book that gave Focus on the Family its name for its “ex-gay” conferences: “Love Won Out,” a memoir depicting the Paulks’ flight from gayhood.

Rev. Irene Monroe“Conversion” therapies are a tool used by right-wing religious organizations to raise money and advocate against LGBTQ civil rights. With this money, these organizations are able to produce politically and religiously Biased Agenda-Driven (aptly abbreviated as “B.A.D.”) science like “reparative therapies,” attempting to justify them by presenting LGBTQ people as genetically flawed – a charge eerily reminiscent of the scientific racism and sexism that once undergirded treatment of blacks and women morally inferior due to supposed genetic flaws.

Fox News is no friend to the LGBTQ community. But now I’m wondering about NPR.

Rev. Irene Monroe


  1. says

    OK Bill, we get it. You don’t like gay’s. Lots of your argument seems to rest on cherry picking quotes and quoting the bible. Not exactly great method of trying to convert anyones opinion, but a great way to try and vent your hatred and bias. Weather people are born or choose to be gay is up to them and them alone, just like if someone chooses to be religious, but its not really a fair comparison. While most gay people I know simply discovered their nature along their way, almost every single religious person I know was indoctrinated from birth by parents and associations who never let them think there was any choice. I see that in atheists too, but they seem to be much smarter. If a homosexual parent treated their child the same was with regards to sexuality people would be outraged. None of the gay parents I know of would even consider such a thing. People should be allowed to find there own path, be it sexual, or religious.
    The bible is an interesting book. You can wield it to defend or attack almost any position. When you use it like you do, however, It makes me think that there is more moral value in “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”.

  2. Bill Gibbons says

    I think that a history lesson is needed here regarding the rise of the “GBLT” movement. in the early 1970’s we had aggressive homosexuals who regularly disrupted AMA meetings & conferences with intimidating and even threatening behaviour. The threats continued until the AMA caved in in 1973 and removed homosexuality from their list of mental illnesses – not as a result of careful research and thoughtful deliberation of the facts – but because homosexual activists kept up the pressure through threats of violence and even death against individual AMA members. Next we had the birth of “pride” parades, with the participants taking the berdroom and putting it on the streets along with their demands for “equal rights.” After this we saw the upsurge of parks and other public places being used for queer sex. After this we saw the appearance of AIDS and the beginning of a mounting death toll due to unprotected anal sex. Bisexual men then transferred the virus to women and the virus rapidly spread particularly among the black community because of our sexually promiscuous society, fostered by the “free love” attitude of the 1960s. Biblical morality and the idea of sex being confined within the boundaries of marriage had been trampled underfoot in the name of “freedom.”

    By the 1980s, homosexuals were the biggest “contributers” of AIDS, STDs and intestinal parasites in many major US cities, in spite of their small numbers. By the 1990s, homosexuals and lesbians were less healthy, lived shorter lives and suffered from more mental disorders and addiction problems than any other identifiable group. Even in countries such as Denmark & the Netherlands, perhaps the most tolerant nation on earth towards same-sex couples, mental illnesses, addition problems and high suicide rates were prevalent among queers.

    By the 1990s, “gay pride” became nothing more than a a freakshow, AIDS and STDs were still spreading among the GBLT “community” at a brisk pace, and if queers had enough political power to destroy your life if you dared to even disagree with them in public. Their behaviour went from being socially and morally repugnant – not even open to discussion – to being politically protected and even celebrated on the streets. Anyone who wanted to enjoy a successful career in politics or even Hollywood embraceds and supported “gay rights.”

    Ralph McInerny once offered a brilliant definition of the gay rights movement: self-deception as a group effort. Nevertheless, deception of the general public is also vital to the success of the cause. And nowhere are the forms of deception more egregious, or more startlingly successful, than in the campaign to persuade Bible believing Christians that, to paraphrase the title of a recent book, Jesus Was Queer, and churches should open their doors to same-sex lovers. The “gay Christian” movement relies on a stratagem that is as daring as it is dishonest. Their success depends on camouflaging the truth, which is hidden in plain view the whole time. It is no wonder The Wizard of Oz is so resonant among homosexuals. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” could be the motto and the mantra of the whole movement.

    “All churches who condemn us will be closed… We shall sodomize your sons.… We shall seduce them in your schools, in your dormitories, in your gymnasiums, in your locker rooms, in your sports arenas, in your seminaries, in your youth groups…”

    When homosexual activist Michael Bronski penned those shocking statements in Boston’s Gay Community News in February 1987, he labeled them “a cruel fantasy; an eruption of inner rage.” Supporters dismissed his words as mere “satire.”

    Think about this for a minute. If any other movement were to make such an outrageous statement, it would be shunned—or even outlawed and quickly shut down. Yet the homosexual movement knew that the more ground they were able to gain- the more they could get away with. They have achieved almost unparalleled success in having their lifestyle accepted and their goals embraced, attacking the basic structure of American life—the family, children, a normal home life and all that this implies. Homosexual activists have gained unprecedented influence over the media. Now, increasingly, they are gaining even more power through the courts, through our schools and colleges, and yes, even in the churches!

    Jesus Christ said, “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). What are the actual “fruits”—the results—of the homosexual lifestyle? The average male homosexual has about 50 sex partners during his lifetime! This is at least twelve times as many as the average heterosexual male. And the homosexuals’ multiple sexual encounters—often with men they do not even know—result in the spread of AIDS and other diseases at a far higher rate than heterosexuals. As Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, M.D. reports in his excellent and carefully researched book, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, “homosexual men are disproportionately vulnerable to a host of serious and sometimes fatal infections caused by the entry of feces into the bloodstream. These include hepatitis B and the cluster of otherwise rare conditions, such as shigellosis and Giardia lamblia infection, which together have been known as the ‘Gay Bowel Syndrome.’ A major review article summarizes: ‘Because of their larger numbers of sexual partners and sexual practices such as anilingus and anal intercourse, homosexual men are at particularly high risk of acquiring hepatitis B, giardiasis, ambebiasis, shigellosis, campylobacteriosis, and anorectal infections with Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Treponema pallidum, herpes simplex virus, and human papilloma viruses'” (pp. 67–68).

    Columbia University Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Robert Spitzer, who was instrumental in removing homosexuality in 1973 from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental disorders, wrote a study published in the October 2003 Archives of Sexual Behavior. He contended that people can change their ‘sexual orientation’ from homosexual to heterosexual. Spitzer interviewed more than 200 people, most of whom claimed that through reparative therapy counseling, their desires for same-sex partners either diminished significantly or they changed over to heterosexual orientation.

    “Although still a proponent of homosexual activism, Spitzer has been attacked unmercifully by former admirers for this breach of the ideology that people are ‘born gay and can’t change.’ Immutability is a central tenet of demands for ‘gay rights’ and ‘gay marriage.’ Because no single study can be regarded as definitive, more research on people who have overcome homosexuality needs to be done. But a considerable body of previous literature about change from homosexuality to heterosexuality has been compiled, and the sheer number of exceptions to the ‘born gay’ theory should be a warning to researchers and media to proceed with caution before declaring that science has ‘proved’ that homosexuality is genetic” (“Born or Bred?,” June 2000).

    However, homosexuals are not “born that way!” Alcoholics are not “born that way!” Nor are drug addicts, child molesters or any other sinners “born that way!” Otherwise, God would be unjust to command them to repent and to change. He would be falsifying the power of the Holy Spirit to help anyone overcome sin! But God is not unjust! He tells us, through the Apostle James, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God;’ for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:13–14).

    The Spirit of Almighty God has total power to help anyone come out of homosexuality, alcoholism, drug abuse or any other addiction or perversion! As Paul indicated, “some” of those Corinthian Christians had been “sodomites,” but they were now “washed and sanctified” by the Spirit of God. Over and over, in many different ways, God’s inspired word tells us that with God’s help, a sincere Christian may overcome any sin. As God inspired the Apostle Paul to tell us, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

    I believe that the “Reverend” Irene Monroe is either totally confused on the issue of sin and sexual degeneracy, or she has bought into the lie of homosexuality completely and is attempting to reason this sickening behaviour away with a seared conscience.

    “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.” Romans 1:28

    Homosexuality is not and never will be “normal.” Those who claim to have been “born that way “nevertheless made a clear and simple choice; they decided to become homosexuals or lesbians by making the decision to actively engage in that sin. This does not mean that GBLT people should be hated or shunned. ratrher, it is the duty of all true Bible believing Christians to pray for their deliverence from this Satanic lie. Loving the sinner but hating the sin is the key. Remember, Jesus came to save us FROM our sins, not save us IN our sins.

  3. William J Urmson says

    Privates don’t care who see their privates in the shower. They just want to come home ALIVE to their families! Please watch this entertaining yet serious music video called Gal – Huh = Leo (don’t ask, don’t tell). Thanx, peace, and liberty and justice for all! Remember?

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