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Richard Cohen Is Back In The PFOX and Exodus Orbit

Jim Burroway

February 26th, 2009

Richard Cohen is back and he’s on tour, with the full blessing of Exodus International member organization PFOX.

Two years ago, the ex-gay movement was widely embarrassed by Richard Cohen when in July 2006 he revealed his “holding” or “touch” techniques before a nationwide audience. It’s a controversial techniques that Cohen promotes through his International Healing Foundation. Cohen had also been president of the PFOX, but he was forced out after that CNN episode aired.

That embarrassment was compounded when in March 2007 he appeared on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. That prompted PFOX and NARTH to scrub their web sites of all mention of him, and Exodus International publicly distanced themselves from his techniques:

Exodus International does not endorse the work of Richard Cohen or the methods utilized in his practice. Some of the techniques Mr. Cohen employs could be detrimental to an individual’s understanding of healthy relational boundaries and disruptive to the psychological and emotional development of men and women seeking clinical counsel and aid.

That was wise, if belated. Five years earlier, Cohen had already been expelled from the American Counseling Association (ACA) for multiple ethical violations.

Well, that exile didn’t last long. Even though PFOX scrubbed their web site to pretend they had never heard of Cohen, we learned that just a few months later PFOX was referring “clients” to Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation. Then last year came word of a possible rapprochement between Exodus and Cohen. That was quite a turnaround considering that Exodus International president Alan Chambers had resigned just a year ealier from PFOX’s board of directors because they hadn’t distanced themselves enough from Cohen

And now PFOX, which through all of this has remained a member in good standing in Exodus’s referral network, is promoting Cohen’s “National Tour!” — complete with exclamation marks. Actually, there are no tour dates set just yet. They’re still begging for people to invite him. But the timing’s no coincidence. Cohen will have a new book out, “Loving Gays the Right Way: The Other Side of Tolerance.”

Let’s see, what would the other side of tolerance be?

To remind you of Cohen’s “healing” techniques, here’s a clip of Cohen on CNN.

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February 26th, 2009 | LINK

Maybe the silver lining is that the Exodus-PFOS alliance will break.

L. Junius Brutus
February 26th, 2009 | LINK

AFAIK, PFOX is of little significance – started by a mother who couldn’t come to terms with the fact that her son was gay. What is their budget, how many people do they reach? Issuing press releases seems to be the only thing they do.

February 26th, 2009 | LINK

It is nice that Exodus is trying to expand it’s narrow theological base beyond the Evangelical Christians.

By welcoming back Cohen, I guess they are trying to project a more welcoming attitude towards Unification Church (aka Moonie) members as well.

Perhaps the other side of tolerance has to do with being nicer to cult members with ethical problems who engage on TV in what appears to be very inappropriate physical contact the people they cousel (or is it coach??).

February 26th, 2009 | LINK

“PFOX is of little significance – started by a mother who couldn’t come to terms with the fact that her son was gay.”

L. Junius Brutus, I think you’ve just described the ex-gay movement in a nutshell. They make up answers because they aren’t comfortable with the real ones.

February 26th, 2009 | LINK

Surely by now, everyone in America realizes this is a relatively small group of discredited pseudo-pychologists and “counselors” who are doing it merely for the outlandish fees they charge to their religiously and emotionally vulnerable clients.

February 26th, 2009 | LINK

I love it when he hits that pillow with the tennis racket! It still makes me laugh!

Timothy Kincaid
February 26th, 2009 | LINK


While Cohen makes a living off his sexual reinterpretation, I don’t think that either PFOX or Exodus (other than a live-in program) charge fees, outlandish or otherwise.

Most are involved with the ex-gay movement because they believe that being gay is contrary to God’s will and therefore one should try to live as an overcomer of sin, submitting to God’s plan for heterosexuality.

February 27th, 2009 | LINK

Cohen’s back… did he ever leave?

All we have is Alan Chamber’s word that he did.

And that’s about as sincere, as trustworthy, as an evangelist’s smile.

Speaking of which… Exodus under Alan’s firm hand is certainly offering a lot of opportunity for Scott Lively — more than he has had in years, frankly.

How many times does ‘Exodus’ need to get involved in this sort of thing before they will admit they are (in fact) coldly, blatantly, cruelly anti-gay?

Alex H
February 27th, 2009 | LINK

Oh my! I’d like to have a man hold me!

This is so sad.

And what does he do to gay men who’ve had good relationships with their mothers and fathers?

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