AUTHOR DEMANDS THAT THE AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION PULL FRAUDULENT VIDEO THAT PROMOTES HIV
AFA's Video Features 'Ex-Gay' Leader Caught In HIV Scandal, Says Wayne Besen
NEW YORK - Author Wayne Besen called on The American Family Association today to immediately stop selling a video featuring an HIV positive "ex-gay" leader who allegedly had unsafe sex with several Virginia men.
The video, "It's Not Gay," features Michael Johnston who once said he had gone from gay to straight through the "power of Jesus Christ." The "ex-gay" leader stepped down in 2003 after credible allegations that he was meeting men online and having unsafe sex.
After the incident, AFA spokesman Buddy Smith called Johnston's failure a "moral fall." With the AFA publicly acknowledging that they were aware of Johnston's failure as an ex-gay and his unsafe behavior, it is shocking that they would continue to promote "It's Not Gay" on their website.
"The American Family Association is blatantly committing fraud by suggesting that Johnston is heterosexual and they are promoting the spread of HIV by continuing to use him as a spokesperson," said Wayne Besen, author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. "This episode suggests a stunning lack of integrity on the part of the American Family Association and utter contempt for the truth. If they have a shred of decency and morality, they will immediately stop selling the tape and apologize for their disgraceful behavior."
In 1998, a coalition of conservative religious groups launched a high-profile national print and television ad campaign preaching that gays can change. Johnston appeared with his mother, Frances Johnston, in a controversial print ad under the headline "From innocence to AIDS." A similar television commercial also appeared in 1998, dubbed "Mom." Johnston also worked with Rev. Jerry Falwell and was the founder of National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day. Johnston's moral fall in 2003 wasn't the first time he acknowledged having sex with men without disclosing his HIV status.
"I continued to live as a homosexual for two years after I knew I was HIV-positive," Johnston said in a 1998 speech to a California church, reported in POZ magazine. "And I am ashamed to say that in those two years not once did I ever tell any of my partners that I was carrying this deadly disease."
"The American Family Association ought to be ashamed that they continue to use this scoundrel as their spokesperson and shamelessly plug his products even though they are well aware of his past," said Besen.
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These people are sickening. They are murderers as far as I'm concerned.
Yes, truly disturbing, this "born again heterosexual" nonsense. It's as if the darker and more irresponsible and destructive their pasts were when they "were" gay, the more they get praised when they leave it all behind them and "turn straight". Even worse, it appears they can sometimes even CONTINUE destroying their own lives and other peoples' and their religious community will still defend them, and just say they are "struggling" or had a "moral mishap".
Responsibility is a concept that is completely unheard of to this people. Very scary.
The very tragedy is that, in the middle of this scandal, AIDS is still been used for everyone to accuse, denigrate and "denounce". Lighten up people, the problem is that these crazys are claiming to be Straight after been gay, don't change the subject, don't make AIDS a moral problem, because it is not. Guys who engage in barebacking (unsafe sex) still do it WITH knowledge of possible transmission of HIV. THe responsibility of NOT barebacking radicates in TWO people, not only in the infected one... no side have learned anything!
posted by Anonymous, at
12/06/2005 12:08 PM
Amazing, these ex-gay ministries will use whatever means possible to make themselves look credible even in the face of such obvious poor decision making. They fail to see that their constant use of misinformation does call very concrete and real damage to gays and lesbians. I am so happy people like you are out there pointing it out to the world! I wish more people would take notice of the damage and the climate of violence they contribute to on a daily basis. Keep up the awesome job!
posted by Joe Brummer, at
12/06/2005 2:12 PM
I really don't get what all the fuss is about. After all, the AFA is simply trying to discourage an immoral lifestyle, and the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that homosexual conduct causes AIDS. I think they are doing a great thing by promoting patriots that have mended their ways and, through prayer and commitment, gotten over the urge to engage in deviant sexual conduct. Maybe they should not act in such a condescending manner, but the basis of the message is designed to help homosexuals and warn them about the fatal effects of the gay lifestyle. In the end, I think their message does more help than harm, and they give gays who want to escape their sexuality a true way out and a place where they can be accepted. I'm not so sure we should be insulting their altruistic purpose.
posted by Trip Johnson (Biloxi, Miss.), at
12/06/2005 3:39 PM
"I really don't get what all the fuss is about. After all, the AFA is simply trying to discourage an immoral lifestyle,"
Why is it immoral? Because the Bible says so? I don't believe in the Bible, and the Constitution rules for religious tolerance.
Homosexuality is a perfectly normal sexual orientation.
"and the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that homosexual conduct causes AIDS."
Clearly, you need to do more research on AIDS. It started in Africa among heterosexuals.
"I think they are doing a great thing by promoting patriots that have mended their ways and, through prayer and commitment, gotten over the urge to engage in deviant sexual conduct. Maybe they should not act in such a condescending manner, but the basis of the message is designed to help homosexuals and warn them about the fatal effects of the gay lifestyle. In the end, I think their message does more help than harm, and they give gays who want to escape their sexuality a true way out and a place where they can be accepted. I'm not so sure we should be insulting their altruistic purpose. "
Clearly you haven't been paying attention. I think you need to explore Wayne's site and read his book. REPARATIVE THERAPY DOES NOT WORK! It only destroys lives like Johnston's. To say it works destroys even more lives. Gay people are being accepted by society more and more. It is hardly a "deviant lifestyle". Kids are having less incentive to seek out reparative therapy because an overwhelming number of young people see homosexuality as a normal sexual orientation This is a generation which grew up watching Will and Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Queer as Folk and many other such shows. This generation has seen more gay characters in movies and has more openly gay members (meaning the straight kids have more gay friends) than any other. The only thing reparative therapy causes is self-hate and denial. It makes you unable to live with who you are and makes you less able to function in society because you are living a lie. You CANNOT "escape homosexuality", you are born with it.
You want to know about the "homosexual lifestyle"? Every morning gay people wake up, take showers, eat breakfast, go to a boring job, come home, eat dinner, watch television and go to bed. That's the lifestyle. The only difference is that they come home to another man or woman.
posted by Anonymous, at
12/06/2005 4:14 PM
You're tripping Trip, I'm not surprised you're writing from a slave state that has one of the lowest collective SAT scores in the country. You idiots should know by now that homosexuality is NOT A LIFESTYLE!!!!! It's a biologically determined orientation and AIDS is caused by a virus, NOT "homosexual conduct". In Africa and India, most AIDS cases are caused by 'heterosexual conduct'. And why do you call "ex-gays" "patriots"?! What the hell do their misguided neuroses have to do with nationalism or patriotism? And NO evangelicals are NOT helping gay people, especially teenagers. Their ignorant, hateful, rhetoric has contributed to untold misery, toxic shame, substance abuse and suicide and yes Trip, you ARE part of the problem too!
posted by Anonymous, at
12/06/2005 4:25 PM
I sure hope the guy in the middle of all of this has the support he needs. Part of that support actually can come from Jesus and the community of the faithful who understand that God loves them just as they are. I can't believe that the God whom I know and love, and who knows and loves me, actually cares about the physiology of the bedroom--it is the heart that loves, and adds just that much more good to a broken world, where the transformation occurs.
posted by revgrant, at
12/06/2005 4:31 PM
"I really don't get what all the fuss is about"
Trip from biloxy, Yes, it is clear that you do't get it. I think that is a waste of time to try to explain to people like you what the HORRIBLE DAMAGE and HOW SICK the AFA makes this world, how ugly is their existance and how behind the times is the non sense that you are trying to express. I will give oyu the bennefit of the doubt and I will think that is pure ignorance and not evil will what you are expressing, because in fact, it looks like eveilness.
The AFA is evil, no homosexuality. The Natzis use to say that the jews were the problem... but history show us who the real evil was.
Do you have handy a dictionary? please search "lifestyle" and then make comments, otherwise keep it to yourself, because you are wasting electronic bites that other people can use for better things... I laugh at you
posted by Anonymous, at
12/06/2005 4:34 PM
Listen, I'm not saying gays are inherently immoral or should be treated badly, but I do think scripture makes clear that the homosexual act is sinful. That doesn't mean I encourage discrimination or any form of intolerance, but for those that want to abandon the homosexual tendency, AFA provides a way out. You guys act like I hate gays or something, but all I am saying is that there is a difference between moral values and immoral behavior. Homosexuality is clearly against natural law, and our society should not endorse or encourage this type of behavior. While I respect gays right to privacy, I am glad that AFA is helping those who want to escape. They can find tolerance, acceptance and the possibility for change. I don't know why you are so hostile to the movement, because it does not affect those who desire to continue their ways, but does provide an outlet for the more faithful. I think your attempt to paint me as an unpatriotic bigot reflects your intolerance for those who wish that this country would alleviate its moral decline. After all, homosexuality often results in AIDS or broken relationships (due to promiscuity), thus causing true physical and emotional pain. While I respect gays right to choose their lifestyle, I also respect those who seek to regain control over their sexuality. But, of course, you are permitted to disagree with me.
posted by Trip (Biloxia, Miss.), at
12/06/2005 5:15 PM
Do not impose your Bible on people who do not believe in it. Thank you.
You need to explore this site more and read about what Wayne has found through his extensive research. Reparative therapy DOES NOT CURE GAYS! It only makes people hate themselves and, as another anonymous poster wrote:
Their ignorant, hateful, rhetoric has contributed to untold misery, toxic shame, substance abuse and suicide
Clearly, it does not offer a way out. It offers pain and misery. It has helped nobody gain acceptance because the concept of changing sexual orientation is the opposite of acceptance.
I'll leave it to other posters, or perhaps Wayne himself to disprove your other misconceptions. I could do it myself but I don't have the time.
posted by Anonymous, at
12/06/2005 5:23 PM
Trip, the bone of contention with the whole ex-gay thing, is that it does NOT provide a way out for those who want it. It PROMISES to do so, but it LIES. It SAYS people can change thier sexual orientation either by a clinical methodology or by a miracle (NARTH have both on their website).
If the claims were TRUE, that would be news, and would be good, for those who want to change (I am not arguing here about whether anyone SHOULD want to change). BUT, Trip, the claims are FALSE, and THAT, is the whole point. Time after time, those who are said to have changed their orientation, are shown not to have done so. Lying is bad. Lying is condemned in the Bible. Liars will not inherit the Kingdom
On the matter of homosexual sex "causing" HIV, well, no, not really. PROMISCUITY, whether homo or hetero, SPREADS HIV, certainly. Half of Africa is dying now because of HIV spread by HETEROSEXUAL promiscuity.
posted by Phil, at
12/06/2005 5:49 PM
Trip Johnson (Biloxi, Miss.) when you said "but I do think scripture makes clear that the homosexual act is sinful." Are you sure that you are interpreting the bible correctly. I'll admit that I am not fluent in ancient languages - but there is a lot of debate about what is meant in the bible. If you are using Leviticus as your guide (which means there are an awful lot of sinful things out there) - what does it really mean by "lie with a man as with a woman".
Lots of scholars interpret this to mean that men are not to sleep in women's beds (which were different than men's beds). This is the same area of text that tells you not to wear cloth made of two threads.
It could also mean that men can have sex with men - as long as they do not act like the other man is a woman - ie: inferior rather than equal.
Many cultures outside of North America accept men having sex with men as long as one of them is not being effeminate.
Or if you are taking the story of Job as your argument against men having sodomy with each other - the crime here was not the sodomy - it was the lack of hospitality to strangers - and the fact that the father thought it was perfectly acceptable to give his virgin daugthers to be raped by the other men. That ranks pretty high on the sin scale in my books.
You need to understand that the Christian lifestyle that you have chosen is based on politically motivated translations of a book that was written in languages that no longer exist.
If you are going to pull out a couple of references in the old testment and use them to deny me my rights in the 21st century - you're gonna have to come up with a lot more evidence.
Go back and read the story of Jonathan and David again or Ruth and Naomi - love stories of same-sex attraction.
If you choose to discriminate against others and view us as being less than yourself based on your interpretation of a badly translated transcript - then you had better understand the entire transcript - even the missing parts that King James decided didn't fit his political requirements at the time.
posted by Anonymous, at
12/06/2005 5:53 PM
Trip, darling, sweetie, honey - what exactly do you know about Scripture or God? You see, I am willing to bet you are not a Roman Catholic, and I learned, while growing up in the ONE TRUE FAITH, that all Protestants are blaspheming heretics and will be going to Hell for perverting the Word of God.
Not that I believe all Protestants are inherently immoral, or anything, of course, but one meeting with a Catholic priest can help such heretics leave their immoral lifestyle choices behind.
/End Sarcasm - you see, Trip, that is the kind of bigotry we are fighting against - the assumption that people like Dobson and AFA make that they have unique knowledge about the Mind of God.
Oh, and just for the record, Ms. Johnson was out trolling for gay sex, WITHOUT DISCLOSING HIS HIV STATUS, after he became an "ex-gay" leader. In fact, there are almost no "ex-gays" who have remained so - nearly all "slip" once in a while, if not more often. The entire movement is a lie - kind of like aromatherapy or laetrile
posted by CPT_Doom, at
12/06/2005 10:02 PM
Trip, your tripe is old, false and absolute bullshit. If you want to come on this site and thump bible quotes, start following the whole bible and examine your own "lifestyle". I'm not saying you are inherently immoral for who you are just that your constant judgement of a person's innate traits are false, unwanted and against many scriptural passages which you know full well. You are fucking stupid enough to call the AFA a worthwhile organization? The AFA is no better than the KKK. They are a bunch of back-stabbing phoney, hypocrites. You want to post shit like this, go to their website and you can all wallow in your phoney pharisee bullshit. See how many more lives you can fuck up with lies and falsehoods. Jerk.
posted by Tim W, at
12/07/2005 12:06 AM
I am not surprised at all that "ex-gay" programs are still using failed examples of "cured" persons to promote their deceptive message. When I was at the New Hope Residential Program House in San Rafael, CA John Paulk was still hailed as a great success story by Frank Worthen even though Wayne Besen had publicly exposed his duplicitous lifestyle in Washington, D.C.'s "Mr.P's" gay bar. Thanks Wayne for once again calling failed "ex-gay" proponents to honesty, integrity, and accountability. Unfortunately, this is something their right wing political supporters haven't been able or willing to accomplish.
posted by Kennon Wallis, at
12/07/2005 2:30 AM
Trip, the fact that the majority of people succumbing to HIV/AIDS are overwhelmingly heterosexual in Africa and other emerging nations clearly debunks the myth that this was ever a "gay" disease as you are implying. There is some evidence that this disease may have started in the macaque monkey in Africa and jumped species. HIV has been around for more than 50 years, surprisingly, and the first case ever diagnosed was an heterosexual male, long before it hit the gay community. So I suppose you would describe cancer as an heterosexual disease too, huh? Conversely, one could argue that venereal disease is an heterosexual disease too? What would you now be saying had HIV/AIDS first appeared in the west among the hetero population and not the gay community? And another thing, the bible was written by flawed, imperfect heterosexual men such as yourself and maybe a few were intrinsicially disordered heterosexual men at that who also advocated that it was right for a man to kill his wife for having committed adultery as well as killing one's children, among myriad references that condemn heterosexuals. How convenient that you choose to ignore those references and cherry pick your beliefs to advance your own distorted agenda against the gay community. Your bigotry and homophobia are very transparent.
Where do all these Bible beaters think that unplanned and abortion necessitating pregnancies came from?
Barebacking is the LAW among heterosexuals!
As long as religious people think that NON procreative sex, and using condoms or any other contraception is a sin, we're all in trouble people.
I was reading a recent article from last weekend's Los Angeles Times on married couples who don't want to have children. It stated that there is a growing percentage of women between 39 and 45 who were never pregnant. A young couple interviewed stated that they got married for each other, not for children. Another couple said that they knew they'd be lousy parents.
A Southern Baptist minister was quoted as saying that marriage without babies is against God's will and contra indicated in nature.
That last money statement says it all. The fact that millions, upon millions of children are born to knuckleheads who neglect, abuse or murder them is of no importance. And in Third World countries, children are forced to work and rarely receive a comprehensive and flow through education. Female life isn't worth dirt in most places.
Why, in America, such prejudice and stigma prevails against us who don't procreate (as if there is nothing else of merit we can do) sometimes leaves me speechless.
posted by Regan, at
12/07/2005 11:24 AM
Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality
What Is Sexual Orientation?
What Causes a Person To Have a Particular Sexual Orientation?
Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?
Can Therapy Change Sexual Orientation?
What About So-Called "Conversion Therapies"?
Is Homosexuality a Mental Illness or Emotional Problem?
Can Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals Be Good Parents?
Why Do Some Gay Men, Lesbians and Bisexuals Tell People About Their Sexual Orientation?
Why Is the "Coming Out" Process Difficult for Some Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People?
What Can Be Done to Overcome the Prejudice and Discrimination the Gay Men, Lesbians, and Bisexuals Experience?
Why is it Important for Society to be Better Educated About Homosexuality?
Are All Gay and Bisexual Men HIV Infected?
Where Can I Find More Information About Homosexuality?
posted by Anonymous, at
12/07/2005 5:26 PM
APA POLICY STATEMENT
Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation
Adopted by the APA Council of Representatives on August 14, 1997.
WHEREAS societal ignorance and prejudice about same gender sexual orientation put some gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning individuals at risk for presenting for “conversion” treatment due to family or social coercion and/or lack of information (Haldeman, 1994);
WHEREAS children and youth experience significant pressure to conform with sexual norms, particularly from their peers;
WHEREAS children and youth often lack adequate legal protection from coercive treatment;
WHEREAS some mental health professionals advocate treatments of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people based on the premise that homosexuality is a mental disorder (e.g., Socarides et al, 1997);
WHEREAS the ethics, efficacy, benefits, and potential for harm of therapies that seek to reduce or eliminate same-gender sexual orientation are under extensive debate in the professional literature and the popular media (Davison, 1991; Haldeman, 1994; Wall Street Journal, 1997);
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that APA affirms the following principles with regard to treatments to alter sexual orientation:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that homosexuality is not a mental disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 1973); and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that psychologists “do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices” (American Psychological Association, 1992); and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that “in their work-related activities, psychologists do not engage in unfair discrimination based on ... sexual orientation” (American Psychological Association, 1992); and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that “in their work-related activities, psychologists respect the rights of others to hold values, attitudes, and opinions that differ from their own.” (American Psychological Association, 1992); and Return to top of the page
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that “psychologists ... respect the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, self-determination and autonomy” (American Psychological Association, 1992); and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that “psychologists are aware of cultural, individual and role differences, including those due to ... sexual orientation” and “try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on [such] factors” (American Psychological Association, 1992); and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that “where differences of ... sexual orientation ... significantly affect psychologist's work concerning particular individuals or groups, psychologists obtain the training, experience, consultation, or supervision necessary to ensure the competence of their services, or they make appropriate referrals” (American Psychological Association, 1992); and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that “psychologists do not make false or deceptive statements concerning ... the scientific or clinical basis for ... their services,” (American Psychological Association, 1992); and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that “psychologists attempt to identify situations in which particular interventions ... may not be applicable ... because of factors such as ... sexual orientation” (American Psychological Association, 1992); and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that “psychologists obtain appropriate informed consent to therapy or related procedures” [which] “generally implies that the [client or patient] (1) has the capacity to consent, (2) has been informed of significant information concerning the procedure, (3) has freely and without undue influence expressed consent, and (4) consent has been appropriately documented” (American Psychological Association, 1992); and THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that “when persons are legally incapable of giving informed consent, psychologists obtain informed permission from a legally authorized person, if such substitute consent is permitted by law” (American Psychological Association, 1992);.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that “psychologists (1) inform those persons who are legally incapable of giving informed consent about the proposed interventions in a manner commensurate with the persons' psychological capacities, (2) seek their assent to those interventions, and (3) consider such persons' preferences and best interests” (American Psychological Association, 1992); and Return to top of the page
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association “urges all mental health professionals to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual orientation” (Conger, 1975, p. 633); and
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation, and mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based in ignorance or unfounded beliefs about sexual orientation.
American Psychiatric Association. (1973). Position Statement on Homosexuality and Civil Rights. American Journal of Psychiatry, 131 (4), 497.
American Psychological Association. (1992). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. American Psychologist, 47, 1597-1611.
Conger, J.J. (1975). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the year 1974: Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council of Representatives. American Psychologist, 30, 620-651.
Haldeman, D.C. (1994). The Practice and Ethics of Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62 (2), 221-227.
Letters to the Editor. (1997, January 23). Wall Street Journal, p. A17.
Socarides, C., Kaufman, B., Nicolosi, J., Satinover, J., & Fitzgibbons, R. (1997, January 9). Don't forsake homosexuals who want help. Wall Street Journal, p. A12.
posted by Anonymous, at
12/07/2005 5:31 PM
One does wonder who told the AFA, or any other organization, that they have been appointed to oversee the sexual orientation of everyone for Gawd.
I'm not interested in their construed opinions and their manufactured junk science. I wish they would stop being social telemarketers. They can be saved from their immoral ways and converted a much happier religion. Otherwise, its past time they accept themselves as bigots destined to live in the hell created by their own free wills.
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