Parents Paying Tens of Thousands of Dollars a Year for Pastors to Beat Their Kids Straight
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ABC News' "20/20" Friday night will report on anti-gay so-called conversion therapy camps run by pastors and preachers who use "the Bible and sometimes the belt" to try to change children from being homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual.
Despite the practice being emotionally damaging and dangerous, despite being opposed by every major medical organization in the country, and linked to self-harm and suicide, Christian parents are still sending their children away to these torture camps.
On Friday's "Good Morning America" ABC News' Brian Ross previewed his report, which will air tonight. A linked ABC News report says the "investigation found a cottage industry of so-called conversion camps operating across the country."
"Christian ministries or camps, where gay teens are sent by parents who want their children to change their sexuality," Ross says.
The Blessed Hope Christian Academy, Ross says, is run by a Christian pastor who charges $21,000 a year to "deal with teenagers who consider themselves gay." And he says parents give written consent for their children to be hit if they "act up."
The pastor on hidden camera says "it is going against the word of God. It is not biblically right."
Susan Cottrell of Freedhearts on camera says, "for every camp like this there are a hundred more that nobody knows about."
Ross also shows another camp, "unlicensed, and surrounded by barbed wire." As the clip continues, the "Christian pastor," Ross says, "has a track record of physical abuse and cruelty."
At the end of the clip, ABC's Robin Roberts pay tribute to her very religious mother for accepting her "as a gay woman."