March 22, 2007 International Healing Foundation Tel. (301) 805-6111
I would like to address the questions that some friends have expressed in regard to some of the media appearances I've done recently, including Jimmy Kimmel Live, Paula Zahn Now, The Montel Show, and this week's Jon Stewart's The Daily Show on Comedy Central.
I've chosen to do interviews on shows such as these in an effort to reach people who would normally never hear our message. Some of these shows have mocked me and this work. Most times though, the interviews on these and other shows have turned out in our favor. I have had wonderful opportunities to get the truth out clearly and have seen many people respond because of these interviews, seeking out healing and change through various PATH (Positive Alternatives To Homosexuality) organizations.
This week's interview on The Daily Show was difficult. It took place in my home and office, and was the most degrading experience I've had in the media. I unknowingly allowed myself to be manipulated and coerced by the producer and the host. I take full responsibility for this mistake. I have learned since my interview with The Daily Show that this program treats most of the experts they interview the same way they treated me: taking bits and pieces of the interview, re-edit it out of order, and make the interviewee appear foolish.
Happily, regular Daily Show viewers-which I am not-are in on the gag and know that this is the way the show generates laughs. I have learned well from this experience to better research future interview opportunities and to be more discerning about the offers that I accept, and what therapeutic approaches I demonstrate on the air. I sincerely apologize if my decision to be on this and other interview programs has caused you any hurt or harm. Please forgive me.
Over the past seventeen years with the International Healing Foundation, I have been able to assist hundreds of men and women with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) realize their dreams of a heterosexual life. With all my heart, I want to help the general public understand that no one is born with same-sex attractions (SSA), and that change is possible.
There are still so many people caught in the lies of the "gay myth." It grieves God's heart to see His children in such situations. It hurts me too, having lived a "gay life," and knowing the wonderful possibility of healing that truly exists, and the freedom that may be experienced when someone comes out straight. We must get our message out as often as possible. Lives are stake. Lives can be changed forever.
Changing our cultural understanding about SSA and the possibility of change takes a lot of time, and a lot of skill in reaching out to major media outlets, with a well-crafted message. I am not a public relations expert and very much need the help of one. I have had to handle the media on my own. I realize now that this needs to be changed.
If you can contribute financial resources toward funding public relations and media strategizing, so we can launch a positive campaign to promote the truth about SSA and the possibility of change, please contact me. I/we need and appreciate your help in this urgent matter. I know that we can impact our culture in a positive way. However, we simply need the training and funding to accomplish this life-saving goal.
I am in this for life. Twenty years ago God called me to do this work, and I have been faithful. I will not cease. I will not sit down. I will continue to work for the freedom of all men and women who experience same-sex attractions and their loving families.
Thank you for your understanding, your prayers, and your support.
Richard Cohen, M.A. Director International Healing Foundation P.O. Box 901 Bowie, MD 20718 Tel (301) 805-6111 Fax (301) 805-5155 www.ComingOutStraight.com www.GayChildrenStraightParents.com
If it were discovered that homosexuality had a biological basis, it would be morally acceptable for a mother to use a hormonal treatment patch to ensure her child was born heterosexual, Rev. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, suggested on his personal website.
"If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin," wrote Mohler.
His comments raised the ire of gay activists who accused him of promoting eugenics and abandoning moral principles on the sanctity of life. But, in Mohler's desire to root out homosexuality, he fails to consider an equally compelling question: If a biological or genetic basis for religious belief is discovered, would it also be morally acceptable to create a hormonal patch to eliminate fundamentalists, such as Mohler himself?
Before you dismiss this question as hypothetical or academic, consider that research into the origins of spirituality is a robust field of inquiry. There are currently about a dozen studies that show shared personality traits among religious people, suggesting a genetic or biological basis.
In 2005, Laura Koenig, a psychology graduate student at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, postulated a likely genetic link to spirituality by studying male fraternal and genetically identical twins. Koenig demonstrated that the identical twins had a much greater likelihood of sharing analogous religious beliefs into adulthood than the fraternal twins who were about a third less similar than they were as children.
Mohler's view on eliminating homosexuality is shortsighted, culturally myopic and leads us down a slippery slope. Once we allow prejudice and preferences to determine who lives, what moral basis would Mohler have to stop China, for example, from eliminating future political foes by eradicating those with religious inclinations in the womb? Karl Marx considered religion "the opiate of the masses." It is not a stretch to speculate that if the former Soviet Union possessed a hormonal patch to "cure" this addiction they may have used it.
In Mohler's world, conservative Christians are a majority and considered a paragon of virtue. However, the late singer John Lennon is not the only person who has "imagined" a world without religion and its Inquisitions and suicide bombers. Indeed, there are prominent scholars and writers who consider religion to be little more than a psychological defect - much like the Southern Baptists now consider homosexuality.
Oxford evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote in his best-selling book The God Delusion that, "Religious behavior may be a misfiring, an unfortunate byproduct of an underlying psychological propensity which in other circumstances is, or once was useful."
If future scientists or world leaders conclude that religious behavior is no longer useful or even potentially harmful to the evolution of the species, religious expression could theoretically be diagnosed as dangerous and thus considered expendable.
This sounds far-fetched until you consider how drastically times and attitudes have changed in recent centuries. For example, Massachusetts, the onetime home of Puritanism and witch burnings, today marries same-sex couples. The Europe of brutal religious wars and the Crusades is now largely secular.
How painfully ironic it would be for Mohler to wake up in twenty years to find masses of potentially gay babies "corrected" in Kentucky, but an even larger number of future fundamentalists medically modified in California. If social conservatives doubt this could happen they ought to read their own websites, which are filled with examples of Christians who have been persecuted worldwide.
Mohler may look to the lab and gleefully envision a future without Elton John or Ellen DeGeneres. But there is also no shortage of people that would prefer a world without fundamentalists such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. You simply cannot claim to respect the sanctity of life and then carve out a gay exception, unless you are prepared to surrender your moral authority when the exception becomes the person in the mirror. Perhaps, it is time for all of us to stop playing God and start accepting people exactly as God created them.