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August 8th, 2007

We’re Not A Political Organization…We Just Lobby Against Any And All Gay Rights Legislation…

Some weeks ago, Timothy Kincaid over at Box Turtle Bulletin noted this comment from Exodus’ Mike Ensley on Warren Throckmorton’s website…

Mary, honestly I don’t think you understand Exodus’ political involvement at all. Do you think all (or even most) pro-homosexual activist groups are adopting a “live and let live” policy toward people with different beliefs? Hardly.

My focus is entirely on youth and education, and believe me, the lobbying in that field is nothing like “live and let live.” In California, for instance, pro-gay advocates have exclusive rights to what children are taught in public schools regarding these issues. Parents are explicitly kept out of the loop–and if they somehow get in the loop, they have no right to opt their children out of instruction that undermines their values.

As for “ending people’s rights,” I would just like to know what rights Exodus is helping to end, and for whom?

Your comment about a “you must live our way” stand really doesn’t have any basis, either. Opposing thought-crimes legislation and education law that excludes every view except a gay-centric one is hardly forcing others to live the way we do.

…which was in response to this one, directed at Randy Thomas:

I can say that Exodus’ “policy” or “position” has not helped. Had they taken a live and let live stand rather than a you must live our way stand then perhaps this would not be happening?? Politicking against a group has certianly thrown smoke into a hornet’s nest. We should not be trying to end anyone’s rights and instead be working towards an agreement that respects both sides. Even when threatened now, I can say – I understand how gays have become so angry, defensive, and strong. I don’t like the idea that my rights are threatened – but that does not mean I would agrue to destroy the rights of others with whom I disagree.

Well…no.  I mean…yes Exodus’ political activism probably factors into it…but that’s not where this is coming from.  Where it came from was all the attention the ex-gay movement got after a gay teenager who was content just the way he is was seen being dragged into a horrific reparative therapy program by the entire fucking world.  That one incident got the attention of a lot of people, and without a doubt it radicalized many against the ex-gay movement.  The increased scrutiny that reparative therapy suddenly came under was eminently predictable.  That’s what has brought this all on.

Throckmorton in his post raises the specter of reparative therapy doctors quacks being tossed into the slammer after the gay militants who dominate the APA have reparative therapy banned…

AOL’s GLBT community blog Queersighted has an article by Richard Rothstein this morning that marks tomorrow’s first meeting of the APA Sexual Orientation Task as an important date in gay history. Why? Because he hopes the task force will suggest to the APA that all reparative/conversion therapy should be banned. And what if the APA bans reparative therapy (never defined in this piece)? Well, round up the posse, boys, Mr. Rothstein has the answer:

If the APA does in fact ban reparative or conversion therapy, we will at long last have a solid legal argument for shutting down such groups as Exodus International and Homosexuals Anonymous. This will also mean that under standard and existing malpractice laws, psychologists and therapists who continue to advocate and practice such therapy would be subject to license revocation, hefty fines and even imprisonment.

So if Mr. Rothstein’s vision is realized, reparative therapists and maybe the Exodus crew will be answering questions like: “Hey, doc, what are you in for?”

And maybe the other guy is in jail for selling capsules full of dry cleaning fluid to people as a cure for insomnia.  Or maybe he was selling crack cocaine to teenagers.  As a matter of fact, doc, people who harm others for money really do need to be held accountable for that.  People who sell cures that don’t really do anything at best, and do terrible harm to the patents at worst, really do need to be held accountable for that.  It’s not religious persecution to hold people accountable for the harm they do to others. 

To his everlasting credit, Throckmorton condemned the practice of giving ex-gay therapy to unwilling teens when the protests at Love In Action broke out a couple summers ago.  And there were others like him in the ex-gay movement who were absolutely appalled at what they saw being done to kids in these so-called ministries.  But there were many others who doggedly defended the practice and you best believe that I’d like to see every one of those mother fucking bastards that pushed sexual self loathing and fear of intimacy into a gay teenager’s heart locked up for a long, long time, with all the other sex offenders.  Because that’s exactly what it is…child sexual abuse. 

Now, as predictably as the rising sun in the east, the priests of the ex-gay movement are bellyaching that their sincere religious beliefs are under attack.  The problem is, it’s hard to reach a place of mutual respect with people who constantly lie through their teeth.  The leaders of Exodus may claim their actions are only motivated by their sincerely held religious beliefs, but their word on just about anything isn’t worth spit.  They lie about homosexuals.  They lie about homosexuality.  And they lie…brazenly…about themselves.

Mary, honestly I don’t think you understand Exodus’ political involvement at all…  Oh…we understand it all right.  After Ensley babbled that in the comments on Throckmorton’s blog, Timothy Kincaid asked the readers of Box Turtle Bulletin to help him jog Ensley’s memory about the extent of Exodus’ political activity.  And then mere days after Ensley posting his comment on Throckmorton’s blog, Jim Burroway posts this little expose’ on Exodus’ new Director of Governmental Affairs and "ExodusRoots" grassroots campaign

Banks described the process they go through in deciding which political issues to get involved in. The chief consideration was “policy proposals that would infringe on the ministry that we do.” And in deciding whether to get involved, she said they ask themselves two questions: 1) Does the issue affect our ministries or members, and 2) Do we have an opportunity to offer a unique perspective and opportunity to influence? And on this second point, the role of Exodus’s “door to our stories” becomes very clear: if “change is possible” then laws granting equality and protections for gays and lesbians are unnecessary.

She talked about a couple of specific examples, starting with hate crime legislation. She repeated the same lies that we’ve heard before (it elevates one group of victims above another, it threatens pastors ability to preach the gospel, gays aren’t economically disadvantaged and therefore aren’t oppressed, it creates a category of “thought crimes”). And for good measure she threw in a few more, saying that hate crimes legislation would include other “orientations” such as pedophilia and polygamy — a charge that comes straight out the Traditional Values Coalition’s playbook, and one that I haven’t heard any Exodus official use before.

Banks also talked about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which she falsely claims would require religious organizations to hire people who would threaten their mission. In fact, section six of the bill specifically exempts religious organizations from the act.

You need to read Burroway’s post to grasp the scope of Exodus’ interest and involvement in anti-gay politics.  I’ve been saying for years now that these groups, and Exodus in particular, are only ex-gay as a facade.  They are, in fact, Anti-Gay political groups, nothing more, nothing less, that only exploit ex-gays and reparative therapy in order to score political points and provide the religious right with moral cover for gay bashing.  Gays choose to be gay…therefore they also choose to be discriminated against…  We are not discriminating against homosexuals…it is the homosexuals who choose to be discriminated against, because they could always choose not to be homosexuals if they wanted to…  In fact…there is No Such Thing as a homosexual…so how could we be discriminating against them…

You have to understand the agenda here is anti-gay political action, not saving souls for Christ, not freeing people from the chains of homosexuality, not curing people of their homosexual addictions, not healing people of their same sex attractions.  Exodus, and other ex-gay ministries like them, are about one thing and one thing only: waging the political war against gay people.  That’s why there is no follow-up when people leave counseling and therapy.  That’s why they keep no statistics on success and failure rates, do no quality assurance activity, don’t…let’s be honest here…give a rat’s ass about whether they’re doing their clients any goddamned good at all. That’s not what they are about.  The clients are the window dressing.  The real work is the anti-gay political activity. 

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