Truth Wins Out and Wayne Besen have revealed damning new stories of psychological and sexual abuse at the hands of so-called “ex-gay” therapist Alan Downing of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality).
From a press release:
JONAH was co-founded by Arthur Abba Goldberg, a Wall Street criminal mastermind who was convicted in 1987 of “fraud of spectacular scope”. Upon completing parole, Goldberg secretly reinvented himself as a moral leader who “cures” gay and lesbian people. Known as “Abba Dabba Do” in the financial world, Goldberg was sentenced to 18 months in jail for bilking poor communities with complicated bond schemes and served six months in prison.
“Given the sordid history of JONAH, this latest scandal is not too surprising,” said TWO’s Besen. “This is an unscrupulous organization of high moral turpitude that has few qualms about harming desperate and vulnerable clients. This group has consistently been tied to bizarre, sexually suggestive methods that are unsettling, dangerous and ineffective.”
Journey into Manhood, where Downing is a counselor, exhibits similar eyebrow raising techniques. Writer Ted Cox infiltrated this peculiar program and wassurprised to find what he called, “homoerotic exercises” and a cabin that he called “The Cuddle Room” because it was a space where supposedly “ex-gay” men gave each other inappropriate massages.
“Apparently some of the guys in one cabin threw their mattresses into the middle of the room and had an all-night holding session,” said one of the men attending the Journey into Manhood session, according to Cox’s article.
“How ironic that therapists that claim to cure homosexuals keep ending up naked with their gay clients,” said TWO’s Besen. “Such lurid exploitation has moved from a disconcerting pattern to a full-blown trend and it needs to be investigated by the authorities.”
Another year has come and gone. Since I began blogging, first on Blogger, then my own hosted blog and then here at InterstateQ.com, I’ve always done a year-end recap of my biggest stories of the year.
This year’s rewind is kind of sad, to be honest with you. As the economy continued to falter and challenges mounted up for print media across the nation, we felt our own sting at my day job. My friends and fellow staff at QNotes managed to hold our own, but responsibilities there led to a decline in my frequency of writing here.
Regardless, I managed to pull off some good stories here although many weren’t the “breaking news” I used to publish before I made the leap from blogger to “traditional media” gig.
So, in a way it was the “year that wasn’t” here at InterstateQ.com. Regardless, catch my Best of 2009 after the jump…
(P.S. — Be sure to check out my “The defining decade of my youth” at Bilerico Project.)
There’s a lot of talk here recently over a proposed anti-gay death penalty law in Uganda. Activists and news organizations have linked the legislation’s Ugandan proponents to several high-profile American religious leaders and politicians.
The law, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, would make gay sex a crime punishable by death. The legislation has been endorsed by Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa, a man invited to speak at Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church and “embraced warmly” by Warren and his wife.
Jeff Sharlet, author of an exposÃ© on the secretive American group, “The Family,” has linked the Ugandan legislation’s mastermind, David Bahati, back to the ultra-conservative group.
Perhaps now Focus on the Family will become as toothless, ballsless and as silent as Liberty U. after Falwell died.
Statement published by Truth Wins Out’s Wayne Besen:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, Feb. 27, 2009
Contact: Wayne Besen
TWO Comments On James Dobson Resigning As Focus on the Family Chairman
Truth Wins Out (TWO) expressed its hope today that James Dobson resigning as chairman of Focus on the Family would eventually lead the anti-gay organization in a new direction. Dobson has created an entire industry that distorts the lives of gay and lesbian people for political gain, says TWO.
“James Dobson’s legacy of lies has caused significant pain for gay and lesbian people and their families,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “We hope his departure will eventually signal a shift in tone and end Focus on the Family’s destructive attacks against gay and lesbian Americans.”
The Associated Press reports that Dobson, 72, will still be a powerful presence. He will continue to host his daily radio show, which reaches 1.5 million listeners in the United States. A Focus on the family spokesman also said he will “continue to speak out as he always has – a private citizen and not a representative of the organization he founded.”
“It is time for Focus on the Family to abandon the politics of polarization and choose moderate leaders who are not fixated on culture wars,” said Besen. “This would also be a good time for the organization to consider abandoning its failed ‘ex-gay’ ministry, Love Won Out.”
In Nov. 2008, Truth Wins Out protested Dobson’s selection into the Radio Hall of Fame. In the past two years, TWO has found eight researchers in three countries who say that Dobson has distorted their work. Videos and letters that these scientists sent to Dobson can be viewed at www.Respectmyresearch.org.
Dobson’s rhetoric is so divisive that former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) said that, “Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies.” Focus on the Family co-founder Gil Alexander Moegerle said that, “I believe Dobson-style politics have been inept, simplistic, exclusionary, divisive and alarmingly sectarian…James Dobson’s political style has been one of relentlessly demonizing his adversaries.”
Dobson told The Daily Oklahoman on Oct. 23, 2004 that, “Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth.” Dobson also told the Daily Oklahoman that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is “a God’s people hater. I don’t know if he hates God, but he hates God’s people.”
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people against anti-gay misinformation campaigns. TWO also counters the “ex-gay” industry and educates America about gay life.
You might be asking, “Where the hell is Matt? He hasn’t made a post in, like, forever.”
My little gay butt has been working overtime the past two weeks as the whole of the gay world (or, at least, a good portion of it) descended on Charlotte at exactly the same time.
I worked with the Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for Equality (CRANE) to plan grassroots events Feb. 14 and Feb. 19-21. CRANE organized a Feb. 14 Valentine’s Day awareness event in Uptown Charlotte and a presentation, “Pray Away the Gay,” with author and activist Wayne Besen. On Friday, Feb. 20, we held a fabulous press conference. That evening I attended Takeover Friday at the Westin Hotel. On Saturday, Feb. 21, I attended the Focus on the Family Love Won Out “ex-gay” conference as media. I helped to organize the protest outside. The very same evening I attended the HRC Carolinas Gala. It has been a busy, busy two weeks and this past weekend was perhaps the gayest ever in the history of Charlotte. I’m sure the mainstream press and police departments very quickly began to refer to it as “the Gay Weekend.”
Here are snapshots, one video I’ve been able to complete and a news story from the many days I’ve been absent from the blogosphere… More photos and videos will be posted at Q-Notes Online and I’ll make sure you see them here, too.
CRANE Feb. 14 Uptown Awareness Event
Takeover Friday at the Westin
Love Won Out conference & CRANE protest
Human Rights Campaign Carolinas Gala
TWO Joins Coalition of North Carolina Organizations to Counter Infamous ‘Ex-Gay’ Road Show
New Landmark Publication, ‘Ex-Gay & The Law’, To Be Unveiled At Friday Press Conference
Truth Wins Out (TWO) announced today that it has joined a coalition of North Carolina Charlotte at Nightgay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocates responding to Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out conference, which encourages people to “pray away the gay.” Led by the Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for Equality (CRANE), there will be a week of educational events in Charlotte designed to get correct information to the public about the danger of ex-gay programs. The coalition will also offer honest and accurate depictions of the lives of GLBT people, to counteract the distorted view offered by Focus on the Family.
“The research is very clear that you can’t pray away the gay and attempts to do so can be harmful,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “Focus on the Family is offering false hope to vulnerable people and profiting from their pain. They are intentionally confusing stereotypes with legitimate science in an attempt to mislead people about homosexuality. We hope to offer a realistic view of our lives and use sound science to set the record straight.”
The week’s events include a lecture by Besen (Pictured Right) on Thursday, Feb. 19, at theWayne TuxLesbian & Gay Community Center (7:00-8:30 PM). On Friday, Feb. 20, there will be a press conference at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Charlotte (11:30 AM). On Saturday, Feb. 21, there will be a non-violent protest against Love Won Out (11:00 AM-2:00 PM) in front of Central Church of God (5301 Sardis Road).
At the Friday press conference, Truth Wins Out and Lambda Legal will release a landmark publication, “Ex-Gay & The Law”, that aims to educate victims of “ex-gay” programs of their legal options. The many people who have had their lives damaged by ex-gay programs inspired this work.
“Ex-gay programs teach that homosexuality is demonic and ‘treat’ children as young as three years old,” said Besen. “What they do is dangerous, scientifically unsound and rejected by every respected medical and mental health association in America.”
CRANE is a grassroots coalition of activists and community members working toward civil and social equality for Charlotte’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community. Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from anti-gay lies. TWO also counters the “ex-gay” myth and educates America about gay life.
A month after protesters picketed its annual dinner for inducting Focus on the Family’s James Dobson into its Radio Hall of Fame, the Chicago-based Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) announced today that it was selling its half-finished building.
“It is with deep regret that I announce the MBC board on December 10th voted to sell its half-finished building at State and Kinzie in downtown Chicago,” said Bruce DuMont, Founder, President and CEO of the MBC. “This is a very disappointing development.”
“Pandering to extremists doesn’t pay and the Museum of Broadcast Communications suffered a catastrophic blow to its reputation by honoring Focus on the Family’s James Dobson,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out (TWO). “Bruce DuMont hoped to cash in by catering to the deep pockets of the religious right, but his prayers weren’t answered. Truth Wins Out wants to thank the hundreds of people who came out to protest in freezing weather – your efforts and determination paid off.”
When the nomination of Dobson was announced, TWO teamed up with the Gay Liberation Network and launched www.DumpDobson.com to keep Dobson out of the Radio Hall of Fame. These robust efforts culminated with a full-page “Dump Dobson” ad in the Chicago Tribune, signature ads in the GLBT media and a large demonstration outside of the awards dinner at Chicago’s Renaissance Hotel.
I’m sure the building sale and the protests really having absolutely nothing to do with each other. Either way, Wayne did a great spin job.