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Harmful ‘Ex-Gay’ Industry Imploding As False ‘Gay Cure’ Claims Renounced

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The Christian right’s organized anti-gay hatred is a three-legged stool: anti-gay hatred indoctrination from a young age, the Bible, and the false belief that homosexuality is a choice. The last leg — the false claim that homosexuality is a choice — has been reinforced by the totally bogus so-called “ex-gay” industry. For almost four decades, groups like Exodus International and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) have spread these lies while damaging psyches of vulnerable homosexuals who, having spent years and decades being told they are evil, bad, deviant, not normal, sinful, and an abomination, would do and believe anything to change. Fortunately, now, that third leg is breaking.

Erik Eckholm, author of, “Rift Forms in Movement as Belief in Gay ‘Cure’ Is Renounced,” in today’s New York Times details “the ex-gay movement [which] has been convulsed as the leader of Exodus, in a series of public statements and a speech to the group’s annual meeting last week, renounced some of the movement’s core beliefs.”

Alan Chambers, 40, the president, declared that there was no cure for homosexuality and that “reparative therapy” offered false hopes to gays and could even be harmful. His statements have led to charges of heresy and a growing schism within the network.

“For the last 37 years, Exodus has been a bright light, arguably the brightest one for those with same-sex attraction seeking an authentically Christian hope,” said Andrew Comiskey, founder and director of Desert Stream Ministries, based in Kansas City, Mo., one of 11 ministries that defected. His group left Exodus in May, Mr. Comiskey said in an e-mail, “due to leader Alan Chambers’s appeasement of practicing homosexuals who claim to be Christian” as well as his questioning of the reality of “sexual orientation change.”

In a phone interview Thursday from Orlando, Fla., where Exodus has its headquarters, Mr. Chambers amplified on the views that have stirred so much controversy. He said that virtually every “ex-gay” he has ever met still harbors homosexual cravings, himself included. Mr. Chambers, who left the gay life to marry and have two children, said that gay Christians like himself faced a lifelong spiritual struggle to avoid sin and should not be afraid to admit it.

He said Exodus could no longer condone reparative therapy, which blames homosexuality on emotional scars in childhood and claims to reshape the psyche. And in a theological departure that has caused the sharpest reaction from conservative pastors, Mr. Chambers said he believed that those who persist in homosexual behavior could still be saved by Christ and go to heaven.

Only a few years ago, Mr. Chambers was featured in advertisements along with his wife, Leslie, saying, “Change is possible.” But now, he said in the interview, “Exodus needs to move beyond that slogan.”

Of course the religious right still believes they hold the threat of hell and the keys to heaven and have the right and ability to use that to demonize us. The Times continues:

Robert Gagnon, an associate professor at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and author of books on homosexuality and the Bible, last week issued a public call for Mr. Chambers to resign. “My greatest concern has to do with Alan’s repeated assurances to homosexually active ‘gay Christians’ that they will be with him in heaven,” he said in an e-mail.

Gay rights advocates said they were encouraged by Mr. Chambers’s recent turn but remained wary of Exodus, which they feel has caused enormous harm.

“Exodus International played the key role in planting the message that people can go from gay to straight through religion and therapy,” said Wayne Besen, director of Truth Wins Out, a group that refutes what it considers misinformation about gays and lesbians. “And the notion that one can change is the centerpiece of the religious right’s argument for denying us rights.”

Many of the local ministries in Exodus continue to attack gays and lesbians, said David Roberts, editor of the Web site Ex-Gay Watch, and they often have close ties with reparative therapists. He speculated that Mr. Chambers was trying to steer the group in a moderate direction because “they were becoming pariahs” in a society that is more accepting of gay people.

And while the Times and almost every other main stream media news outlet have published reports of Dr. Robert Spitzer’s denunciation of his own study that claimed gay people can change, the radical religious right continues to point to Spitzer’s work, along with that of long-time debunked quack Dr. Paul Cameron — who still stands by his lies.

Image: Alan Chambers by Phelan M. Ebenhack for The New York Times

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Gaetz Needs Just Five Republicans to Oust McCarthy – He Already Has Three

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After weeks of “chaos” within the House Republican conference that led to a down-to-the-wire near-shutdown of the federal government, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has spent the past two days vowing to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy for reaching across the aisle to pass legislation keeping the government running.

Gaetz’s own future is in question with some of his Republican colleagues vowing to expel him should an unfavorable report be released by the House Ethics Committee on his possible sexual misconduct and illicit behaviors including possible drug use and possible public corruption.

“Several Republicans,” CNN’s Manu Raju reports, are “expected to back motion to eject McCarthy,” who “will very likely” need Democrats to keep his Speakership.

READ MORE: ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’: ND Republican Unleashes Anti-LGBTQ Christian Nationalist Rant Calling for ‘Christ Is King’ Laws

“House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries has not said if his caucus would join right-wing Republicans to help topple McCarthy or if Democrats might support him in exchange for political or legislative favors,” Reuters reported late Monday afternoon. “Democrats, in theory, could demand that McCarthy honor his spending deal with Biden, drop the impeachment inquiry, or hold votes on gun and immigration legislation.”

But Gaetz already has three publicly declared votes to oust Speaker McCarthy. In addition to himself, far right Republican Rep. Eli Crane of Arizona responded “Let’s roll” Sunday afternoon to Gaetz’s announcement he would file a “motion to vacate” against McCarthy.

And U.S. Rep. Bob Good of Virginia has also declared he would “never” vote to let McCarthy keep the Speaker’s gavel.

Other far right Republicans, including U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Byron Donalds, and Chip Roy, have indicated they would not support ousting McCarthy, at least not right now.

But Gaetz may have time on his side.

READ MORE: ‘Part of the Authoritarian Playbook’: Trump’s Courthouse Rant Slammed by Fascism Scholars

While he on Monday acknowledged he probably doesn’t have the votes yet, the math could line up differently by the end of the week.

The Senate will not be in session after Wednesday, with many Senators expected to travel to California for the funeral of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“This could create some level of havoc on House side — dozens of [House] members will also want to fly out to SF,” noted Washington Post congressional reporter Paul Kane. “Maybe even McCarthy, but mostly House Dems. If the motion to vacate vote is Wednesday or Thursday, attendance could be haphazard.”

 

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‘Sodom and Gomorrah’: ND Republican Unleashes Anti-LGBTQ Christian Nationalist Rant Calling for ‘Christ Is King’ Laws

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North Dakota state Representative Brandon Prichard, a Republican who co-sponsored legislation that was passed in to law that bans all gender confirming surgeries and medication for minors in his state, went on an anti-LGBTQ Christian nationalist tirade including a call for state ordinances to declare “Jesus Christ is King.”

“Every conservative state should put into code that Jesus Christ is King and dedicate their state to Him. Force RINOs to say no to Jesus and then brutalize them in elections. We need a government of Christians, not fakers,” wrote Rep. Pritchard Sunday evening.

Pushback came swiftly, from politicos including former Republican and former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, who responded saying, “Not in this country. Never. Our Constitution won’t allow it. And that’s a damn good thing. Shame on you.”

Rep. Pritchard’s remarks in recent days have taken on a similarly strong Christian nationalist theme.

READ MORE: ‘Part of the Authoritarian Playbook’: Trump’s Courthouse Rant Slammed by Fascism Scholars

“Here is a simple test to determine if you are conservative: Should the church of Satan or satanic temple be allowed the freedom to worship in the same way as Christians? If you answer yes, you need to rethink your claimed political identity because you are not conservative,” he wrote Friday.

Later that same day he added, “Real conservatives will never put the constitution above natural law. The constitution is only useful insofar as it forces our government to limit power and pursue objective truth. It is a powerful means to an end, nothing more, nothing less.”

Over the weekend Pritchard issued a call to ban pornography, saying it “serves no positive benefit in society, destroys men, and treats women as objects.”

A social media account that appears to be for the adult site Just for Fans mocked him, writing on social media, “If you want to cancel an account, please contact our customer service department.”

READ MORE: McCarthy ‘Could Be a Former Speaker by the End of This Week’: Report

Also over the weekend Pritchard called for any Republican who thinks children should be allowed to attend drag shows be “censured or expelled from the party.”

He then wrote he was “extremely disappointed” with North Dakota State University “over their decision to have two homecoming kings and NO homecoming queen. People will be mad when I introduce a bill next session to say that state-funded schools cannot pick homecoming royalty of the same sex, but I didn’t start the fight.”

Pritchard also declared, “All schools should have LGBTQ history taught and lesson one should be Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Monday morning the lawmaker claimed, “All I want is to buy some land, raise a family, and mind my own business. Everything changes when you realize the left is militantly against this existence and will do everything to destroy our families and religion. We must take power or risk being controlled, it’s simple.”

The North Dakota state constitution requires lawmakers to take an oath that reads: “‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of North Dakota; and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of _________ according to the best of my ability, so help me God’ (if an oath), (under pains and penalties of perjury) if an affirmation, and any other oath, declaration, or test may not be required as a qualification for any office or public trust.”

 

 

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‘Part of the Authoritarian Playbook’: Trump’s Courthouse Rant Slammed by Fascism Scholars

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Inside New York’s State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Donald Trump unleashed his anger on the first day of Attorney General Letitia James’ $250 million civil fraud lawsuit that has already led to the judge ordering the ex-president’s business licenses be revoked and his businesses dissolved.

One of Trump’s rants was highly-criticized by a fascism expert who compared it to language used by authoritarian strongmen including “Mussolini, Hitler, Berlusconi, Erdogan.”

Trump told reporters Monday the New York fraud case “is a continuation of the single greatest witch hunt of all time.” He described Justice Arthur Engoron as a “rogue judge” and Attorney General James as a “racist attorney general” and a “horror show,” and the case against him “a scam” and “a sham.”

READ MORE: McCarthy ‘Could Be a Former Speaker by the End of This Week’: Report

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a New York University professor of history and Italian studies, responded to Trump’s remarks, saying “the witch hunt/victimhood rhetoric is part of the authoritarian playbook and was/is used by the following corrupt leaders: Mussolini, Hitler, Berlusconi, Erdogan. If extended to the whole country being victimized, add Putin, Xi, and more.”

Fascism expert Federico Finchelstein, a historian and history department chair at New York’s New School for Social Research, responded to Trump’s comments: “Fascist lies are about the projection onto others of what fascists are/do. Trump today as usual displayed his wannabe fascist mindset.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, the former President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) exclaimed, “So he’s in the courthouse calling the judge ‘rogue’ and calling the prosecutor ‘racist.’ Not on the steps outside the courthouse (bad enough) but inside the very courthouse.”

READ MORE: ‘These Are Our National Secrets’: Democrat Slams GOP for Ignoring Trump Classified Documents Found ‘In the S——’

Trump also told reporters at the courthouse Monday that he’s been indicted because he’s running for president. Multiple reports have revealed he announced his White House run in an effort to avoid prosecution.

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