Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Rekers Scandal - What's the Big Deal Anyway?

The past few days have been interesting.   My blogging  about the scandal surrounding  Evangelical Anti-Gay "researcher", and  male escort patron George Rekers,  has prompted some interesting emails  asking me  why I am so focused on this story.    A number of  more centrist bloggers have even posted  their thoughts  about how the  "two sides" in this  debate  should  try to  seek common ground and forge a new dialogue  between  Evangelical Conservatives and  the LGBT Community.  

Reverend Patrick S. Cheng, PhD, is an Out theology professor and  writer  who posted his thoughts today on  the Huffington Post, in an OpEd entitled Evangelicals and Gays: Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

This this isn't about  "getting along"   or  "loving the sinner  and hating the sin".   This is about   Evangelical Conservatives who want to take their hatred of LGBT Americans, pretend it is actual science and then turn that hatred into civil law. 

I am sorry Dr. Cheng,  these people  do not want to "get along",  they want  to harm,  marginalize, discriminate against,  and in some cases  even round up and kill Gays and  Lesbians.   The clear connections between American Conservative Evangelicals and the  proposed "Kill the Gays"  law in Uganda serves only to emphasize  the point.

Then we come to this week's  bit of news.   That  a prominent  Evangelical has been caught leading a double life.  Where by day  he was someone who made his name and reputation on the notion that  being Gay or Lesbian is  an illness, that  can be religiously  treated  and cured.  And by night,  (and on vacations) hires Gay Male Escorts.

The reason this is "such a big deal" is this; George Reker is not just ANY disgraced  Evangelical hypocrite.  Reker  is/was  THE anti gay  Evangelical. 

He  along with James "focus on the funding" Dobson  co-founded  the Family Research Council,  and is a leading  researcher for NARTH.  (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality )  NARTH routinely puts out  "studies"  that claim, among other things,  that  children adopted by same sex couples are more prone to suicide.  That being Gay or Lesbian is a mental disorder.   None of  their studies stand up to even basic fact checking,  and  NARTH has had to admit  that  their studies are not  based on actual science.

The good folks over  at  Truths Wins Out  have done their homework on NARTH:

The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is a self described “non-profit, educational organization dedicated to affirming a complementary, male-female model of gender and sexuality”  NARTH explains in their mission statement “clients have the right to claim a gay identity, or to diminish their homosexuality and to develop their heterosexual potential.”

They claim to attain this through years of reparative therapy, (also used interchangeably with the terms conversion therapy and sexual brokenness) a practice the American Psychiatric Association says can “lead to depression, anxiety and self destructive behavior, and may reinforce self hatred.”

That is why this is  a really really really big deal.  George Rekers  has  spent his career advocating  for  reparative or "conversion therapy".  A discredited practice that has done untold damage to countless people who are conned into thinking they are "sick"  an  this abusive voodoo masquerading  as science will "cure" them.

George Rekers and  those like him are directly responsible for the  DEATHS of  untold numbers of  LGBT  Americans who out despair from their  inability to  "pray the Gay away",  committed  suicide. 
In 2007  the American Psychological Association (APA)  adopted an updated resolution saying there is no evidence to support the notion that sexual orientation can be changed, and that gay conversion therapy can cause depression and suicide attempts.  

The APA went on to issue  a 138-page report, as  a strong rebuke of the claims of organizations like NARTH and Exodus International that sexual orientation can be changed by religious-based "reparative therapy".   

Now we find out  that one of the world's leading proponents of this stuff,   George Rekers, is in fact, a closeted homosexual.  A man who while secretly having sex with men,  is guilty of inflicting emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical  torture on who-knows  how many Gay and Lesbian Americans.

Now Rekers  is claiming HE is the victim, because his escapades with an 20-year old  Gay male escort  are out in the open.  His former supporters  at  the Family Research Council  have been quick to condemn  people like me,  asking where is  our  "compassion" for someone who is  "struggling with sin."   That's funny,   I haven't seen any compassion for  Gays and Lesbians  coming out of  the FRC when they spew the most vile and contemptible lies about LGBT Americans.  Lies like;  Gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement." —"Homosexual Behavior and Pedophilia," FRC publication, July 1999.

This is why the  fall of  George Rekers  IS a big deal.   It exposes  the bigotry of  the Conservative Evangelical moment in the United States for exactly what it is.    The self-hatred of  bitter closet cases.  Too scared to live their lives honestly,  so they spend those lives  trying to harm those people that have the courage they lack.


Anonymous said...

wow, this is indeed an eye opener....

Joe Haletky said...

Just one bit of terminology correction, because I want Lutherans to reclaim the "E" word:
the ELCA is the "Evangelical Lutheran Church in America". We are evangelicals!! Those conservatives who have hijacked the word are "so-called evangelicals".

DaveF said...