Friday, December 14, 2007
Dallas Voice Reveals That 'Convert' Was Bipolar - Not 'Ex-Gay'
TruthWinsOut.org called on the leaders of several major Christian ministries to apologize to a family after they took advantage of their son, who suffered from bipolar disorder. The crass manipulation of James Stabile - and false sexual conversion on television outside of a Dallas gay bar - was deceptive, immoral and unchristian, said TruthWinsOut.org.
"This was predatory coercion, rather than a legitimate conversion," said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of TruthWinsOut.org. "The overzealous preachers were so intent on proving that gay people could change, that they never considered the damage they were doing to James Stabile and his family. Pat Robertson, Heartland World Ministries and Pure Life Ministries ought to apologize for dividing this family and fraudulently claiming that Stabile had become 'ex-gay.'"
The absurd drama began when televangelist Pat Robertson aired a segment on the 700 Club on a supposed biblical prophecy that claimed the Old Testament mentioned that Interstate 35 is the "highway to holiness." To fulfill this bizarre prophecy, Heartland World Ministries Church in Las Colinas staged so-called "purity sieges" on Friday nights at porn palaces, nightclubs and gay bars off of I-35 in Dallas. The group's favorite hangout is outside JR's nightclub, a popular watering hole for gay men.
On one night, Stabile, a 19-year-old gay atheist from Dallas, exited JR's after a few drinks and was approached by Heartland evangelist Joe Oden, the coordinator of the controversial sieges.
"He just barely touched me, and he said, 'Fire!' And I remember staggering backward, and I thought I was, like, tripping on acid," Stabile said in the widely seen 700 Club interview. "It was the weirdest thing ever. I didn't feel the desire to be with men like I had felt before."
Stabile had been evacuated to Pure Life Ministries, an ex-gay boot camp in Kentucky. It is the home of Michael Johnston, who was Rev. Jerry Falwell's personal ex-gay leader until TruthWinsOut.org's Wayne Besen and Virginia attorney Michael Hamer revealed that the HIV+ Johnston was having bareback orgies with men he met online.
According to the Voice, Stabile had been kicked out of Pure Life for being, what Oden termed, a "compulsive liar." The Voice contacted Stabile’s father, Joseph, who is the pastor of Cochran Chapel United Methodist Church. It turns out, he accepts his son for being gay.
Furthermore, Joseph said that his son is not ex-gay, but bipolar and had stopped taking his medication. Indeed, Joseph told the Voice that the Heartland also may have advised James to throw away his medication, telling him that God would cure his bipolar disorder.
"James did not fit into the program [Pure Life] because their whole aim was to have him not be gay," his father said. James is now home - as gay as ever - with his supportive family.
"It turns out that James Stabile was saved - but it was from the predatory practices of the ex-gay ministries," said TruthWinsOut.org's Besen. "It is commonplace for these groups to take advantage of people who are in need of genuine professional care. They place these people in harms way, and then blame them when the miracle cure does not occur."
Additionally, Truth Wins Out introduced two new Internet Public Service Announcements today (IPSA) that show the absurdity of the ex-gay myth, while rebutting the blatant fear tactics that these organizations use to recruit new members. The organization is urging all bloggers and websites to consider posting the ads.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I am incredibly disappointed that the Log Cabin Republicans are not asking Rudy Giuliani to clarify what he said about gay relationships on Meet the Press. In today's New York Times
, Patrick Sammon, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group that has taken out advertisements criticizing another Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, said of Mr. Giuliani, “His record and his comments speak for themselves.”
Which record is he talking about? The one he had as mayor of New York City or the one he has as a presidential candidate? We've already seen a flip-flop on civil unions
, as Giuliani tries to appease the right wing base.
It is not the job of Log Cabin to play PR firm for Mr. Giuliani. Their role is to inform GLBT voters, so we can make the right decisions in the voting booth. It is highly irresponsible for Log Cabin to not take the lead on this and get a clarification - unless they have so little power in the GOP, that they no longer have the slightest bit of access.
Note to Sammon: Pick up the phone and get us some answers.
Perhaps, if the largest newspaper in Little Rock were called the Arkansas Republican-Gazette instead of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Mike "Huck-a-Bible"
might have bothered to read the news. America was shocked to learn that the rising GOP political star was blissfully unaware of the National Intelligence Estimate that found Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003.
This debacle was followed by news of an Associated Press questionnaire Huckabee completed in his failed 1992 U.S. Senate bid, where he called for the quarantine of AIDS patients and referred to homosexuality as "an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle" that could "pose a dangerous public health risk."
Huckabee defended his ignorance by saying his "comments came at a time when the public was still learning about HIV and AIDS." Actually, by 1992 every American had easy access to information on the transmission of HIV. Huckabee was either divorced from reality or a cruel manipulator who exploited sick people for political gain. Even more outrageous, the former Arkansas governor denied he intended to quarantine AIDS patients, explaining that the word he used was "isolate." That laughable gem must have come from the Arkansas Bill Clinton School of Parsing.
In the 1990's, Huckabee also signed a newspaper ad by Southern Baptist ministers that supported a church policy calling for women to "graciously submit" to their husbands. While this may play well in the deepest, darkest recesses of the South and with some elements of the Taliban, most women voters, and certainly Hillary Clinton, won't bow at his patriarchal feet. What is scary, is that in a December 11 New York Times/CBS News Poll, 85 percent of potential Republican voters say that Huckabee "shares the same values of most Republicans."
Meanwhile, Willard "Full of Mitt" Romney gave his much-anticipated speech about his religion to head off anti-Mormon sentiment coming from the Huckabee campaign. Romney's delivery was exceptional, but he delivered an exceptionally divisive message. His premise was that people of faith should unite and ignore sectarian differences to win the culture war against the Infidels - who used to simply be called neighbors.
Romney also argued for more ostentatious public displays of religion. Unfortunately, he failed to realize the obvious - that religion has already run amok in the public square. This is why he was forced to give a speech that was essentially a religious test for public office - an indignity his own father did not have to endure when he ran for the presidency.
Romney - and the misguided Washington pundits who lauded his address - do not understand how little his performance accomplished. Most evangelical voters who genuinely cared about his faith before the speech will always view him as the Mormon guy in the mystical magic underwear
. In a sense, Romney is a deserving victim of the hyper-sectarian society he has helped create.
Losing ground on the right to Romney and Huckabee, Rudy Guiliani may have tried to reassure
conservatives by saying on Meet the Press that he thought gay acts are sinful. His statement was ambiguous enough where it was difficult to discern what he meant. But, if the former New York City mayor, who has an affinity for drag and once lived with a gay couple, buckles to the base, it signals a complete takeover of the GOP by religious zealots. This will either spell disaster for the Republican Party or for the future of America.
To have such intellectual barbarians with legitimate shots at the presidency is embarrassing and speaks to a nation in decay. I don't think it is a coincidence that Americans posted average science scores lower than 16 other countries in a recent International Student Assessment given to 15-year-olds in 30 industrialized nations. In math, U.S. students had average scores below 23 other countries. Morality obsessed Mississippi was the lowest-performing state in both math and science. In math, Mississippi students' achievement was comparable to those of peers in Bulgaria and Moldova. But, they do know their Bible verses by heart!
Such an education system produces pupils like White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, who was clueless about the Cuban Missile crisis, saying, "...I really don't know about...the Cuban Missile Crisis. It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I'm pretty sure."
Why doesn't Bush do away with all pretenses and hire Britney Spears for the job?
It was also no surprise that Barbara Walters 10 most fascinating people
of 2007 included no scientists and was loaded with no less than seven celebrities, who are primarily interesting because we want to sleep with them, thus they boost ratings. I'm sure Justin Timberlake is interesting, but what about the scientists who just turned skin cells into stem cells? Too bad they can't dance.
If you are dumbfounded how men like Huckabee and Bush are taken seriously, just consider that America, thanks to religious fanatics, has become dumber. I have hope that our nation will wake up and realize that what is going on doesn't add up - until I remember that most of us can no longer add.
Rudolph W. Giuliani was asked Sunday on the NBC program "Meet the Press" if he agreed with the statement made in 1992 by a rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Mike Huckabee, about homosexuality being "an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle."
"No," Mr. Giuliani replied. "I don't believe it's sinful." But he then said something that puzzled and concerned some gay rights groups.
"My moral views on this come from the, you know, from the Catholic Church, and I believe that homosexuality, heterosexuality, as a way that somebody leads their life is not, isn't sinful," said Mr. Giuliani, who as New York mayor temporarily moved in with two gay roommates after he separated from his wife. "It's the acts - it's the various acts that people perform that are sinful, not the orientation that they have."
Mr. Giuliani added: "I've had my own sins that I've had to confess."
Wayne Besen, the executive director of Truth Wins Out, a gay rights group, said that he hoped the campaign would clarify the statement, which he said "seemed to parrot the religious right's cruel and empty 'love the sinner, hate the sin' rhetoric."
The Giuliani campaign declined yesterday to elaborate on the statement.
Patrick Sammon, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay Republicans that has taken out advertisements criticizing another Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, said of Mr. Giuliani, "His record and his comments speak for themselves."
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
To keep exposing the "ex-gay" myth, Truth Wins Out needs your help. Please consider a generous tax-deductible holiday gift that will allow us to continue our important work. We are the ONLY full-time non-profit organization in America that:
1) Shows the harm caused by ex-gay programs to individuals, families and children
2) Highlights how these groups are ineffective
3) Points out the bizarre and dangerous therapies they offer their clients
Truth Wins Out can win this fight and continue to save lives - but we need your support to make this happen. Please consider a contribution - or sign up to give each month. Together, we can work to make the ex-gay - go away.
CLICK HERE to give a holiday gift to Truth Wins Out.
NEW YORK - Truth Wins Out
called on Rudolph W. Giuliani today to clarify a statement he made about gay relationships to moderator Tim Russert on NBC's Meet the Press. While Giuliani said he did not think a person's sexual orientation was sinful, he seemed to mirror the far right’s assertion that homosexual "acts" are sinful.
"Have Giuliani's long held convictions on gay relationships changed in a New York minute to win the GOP nomination? If they have, then he lacks the character to be president," said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "Giuliani's answer on Meet the Press seemed to parrot the religious right's cruel and empty 'love the sinner, hate the sin' rhetoric. We call on Giuliani to clarify what 'acts' he thinks are sinful and we hope he continues to respect all relationships."
Last Week, the Associated Press reported that in a 1992 questionnaire, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee supported a quarantine for AIDS patients and called homosexuality, "an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle." On the Sunday morning talk show, Russert asked Giuliani if he agreed with Huckabee on the issue of homosexuality.
"No, I don't believe it's sinful," said Giuliani, in a continuation of his relatively moderate views on gay rights. However, the mayor went further by saying, "my moral views come from the Catholic Church. The way that somebody leads their life is not sinful. It is the acts that people perform that are sinful, not the orientation."
Russert moved onto another question, but Giuliani interrupted, offering further thoughts on the topic. "Which includes me by the way," he interjected. "I've had my own sins that I've had to confess and deal with. I'm empathetic with people. We're all struggling to try to be better."
"It is terribly offensive to suggest that our love is sinful, that we are in need of empathy or that if gays abstain from sex they are somehow better people," said Besen. "The main problem we 'struggle' with is the anti-gay rhetoric that occurs every time the GOP has a tight election. We hope that we are reading too much into Giuliani's words and that he remains as supportive as he was in the days when he lived, for a time, in a gay couple's house."Truth Wins Out
is a non-profit organization that counters right wing propaganda, exposes the "ex-gay" myth and educates America about gay life. For more information, visit www.TruthWinsOut.org.
- 30 -