Cohen On Maddow: “Disavows All Relationship” To Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill
December 8th, 2009
I just finished watching Rachel Maddow’s interview with Richard Cohen, of the International Healing Foundation. It’s hard to know where to begin in understanding the huge gulf between what Cohen said and what is actually true, particularly with regard to IFH’s culpability in fueling the flames behind the “Kill Gays” bill that is currently before Uganda’s parliament. Fortunately, Maddow was well-prepared.
It is extremely rare to see television personalities so well versed in this particular topic. Kudos to Rachel and her staff for an excellent segment.
There was a lot of discussion over Cohen’s characterization of gays as predators, a characterization that is constantly repeated by those who are putting forth the bill and included in memorandum attached as a preamble to the bill itself. At the 5:10 mark, Rachel Maddow pointed out that Cohen’s book, Coming Out Straight — which Cohen has donated untold numbers to Uganda to support their Kill-the-Gays mission — portrays gays as predators. Cohen denied that, insisting that Caleb Brundidge, who was at the Uganda conference on IHF’s behalf, didn’t convey that message.
That is a lie. In a summer 2009 newsletter (PDF: 7MB/12 pages) from the International Healing Foundation, Brundidge writes about his travels to Uganda. Concerning the gays-as-predators rumors, Brundidge writes:
On the other hand, the word is out on the street to the young people: If you want to make good money, pretend to be “gay.” Why? Gay activists are recruiting impoverished young boys and girls, offering them money to impersonate homosexuals. “Just tell people you are gay and we’ll pay you money.” In this way, they are trying to skew the data regarding the numbers of people who are homosexual. Last year one school teacher was told this information by two young female students. They admitted that they were being paid to say they were gay. Additionally these girls recruited 13 more girls that year! This is happening throughout their nation. Gay activism is alive and a powerful force throughout the world. They are raising up the next generation to be gay activists, just as in the USA.
In this particular passage which Brundidge repeats without questioning its authenticity or illogic, he doesn’t say that gays are being sexual predators, per se. But he does imply it by suggesting that these young people would become “the next generation [of] gay activists.” After all, people don’t become gay activists just because someone pays them to do so. The entire context of this account is the supposed recruitment of young people into homosexuality, which in Uganda is seen as predatory by whatever means that implies.
Also in that newsletter, Brundidge says that Cohen “donated his books and Counselor Training Program CD series and manual to the Family Life Network. They will use these resources to study and learn how to help those affected by SSA and their loved ones.” (SSA, by the way, is the acronym he uses to describe what he calls “Same-Sex Attraction” — always capitalized. More on that later.) I haven’t shelled out any money for his CD series, but the book, Coming Out Straight, certainly pushes the gays-as-predators theme.
In the second edition, the one that Cohen donated multiple copies of for distribution in Uganda, Cohen dedicates two full pages on sexual abuse as a cause of homosexuality. The researchers he cited say that there are some correlations with sexual abuse and uncertainty over one’s sexual orientation, but no reputable researcher as been willing to pin child sexual abuse as a cause of homosexuality, despite Cohen’s distortion of those researchers’ studies.
And who does all of this molestation. For that anwer, Cohen turns to Paul Cameron. Maddow read this passage from page 49 at the 6:15 mark. Cohen writes:
Homosexuals are at least 12 times more likely to molest children than heterosexuals; homosexual teachers are at least 7 times more likely to molest a pupil; homosexual teachers are estimated to have committed at least 25 percent of pupil molestation; forty (40%) percent of molestation assaults were made by those who engage in homosexuality.”86
Endnote 86 refers to a Paul Cameron study published in 1986 the pay-to-publish vanity press Psychological Reports, which is not a reputable journal. Maddow does a great job in recounting the many professional organizations who have denounced Cameron for his unethical behavior and fraudulent “research” over the years. Cohen claims that his forthcoming third edition of the book won’t have that citation. He doesn’t say whether his own mischaracterization of research by David Finkelhor, Patrick Dimock, Mike Lew, or many others will appear in that edition or not. (We covered much of that same material in our report, “Testing the Premise: Are Gays a Threat to our Children?”) At any rate, it won’t matter because it is present, plain as day, in the untold numbers of free books he has already shipped off to Uganda.
Cohen kept insisting that his whole effort was to preach of his “love” for gay people and not demonize them. Maddow refuted that rather effectively by repeating his own written words. She read loosely from that summer 2009 newsletter (PDF: 7MB/12 pages), this time from a piece written by Cohen himself:
For the past 40 years, members of the gay rights movement have been working to change the fabric of our culture. They have strategically and systematically been indoctrinating members of society, targeting the youth… As a result of their strategic plan, millions of innocent young children have been enrolled into this false teaching and led into a homosexual lifestyle.
If that’s not demonizing, I don’t know what is.
Maddow also read from Cohen’s 2008 book Gay Children, Straight Parents: A Plan for Family Healing, from page 75, on what supposedly “causes” homosexuality:
10: Other factors. Divorce, death of a parent, adoption, religion, race, rejection by opposite-sex peers.
Cohen reacted, “Race, that’s not in there.” But it’s right there in black and white, which led to the best line of the night: “I’m reading from your book, dude!” Cohen first tried to claim Maddow was reading out of context, but she continued reading passages before and after that line. Cohen was never able to explain how race could contribute to homosexuality. He also doesn’t explain it in his book. He finally had to tell Maddow that race has nothing to do with sexuality. Which means that he also acknowledged, in so many words, that he — the guy who continuously promotes himself as an “expert” and “professional therapist” — has written two deeply flawed books. And that he shipped off a bunch of deeply flawed books to Uganda where his vilification of LGBT people has found fertile ground.
Cohen kept trying to convince Maddow that his organization doesn’t “cure” anyone, but he does use the word “healing” constantly and insist that people can “change.” To me, this is just semantics. What is “healing” if it’s not a cure? Furthermore, he constantly refers to homosexuality as “SSA,” or Same-Sex Attraction” — always capitalized. He used to called it SSAD, or Same-Sex Attraction Disorder, but he only stopped doing that when it became too untenable for him to call homosexuality a disorder after all the professional organizations insisted that professionals should not do so. On Maddow’s program, Cohen kept repeating his web site as ChangeIsPossible.com. But type that into your web browser and where does that URL redirect to? That’s right: GayToStraight.org, and in the program he kept referring to himself as being completely straight. If that’s not meant to be taken as a “cure,” then I wonder how Cohen would explain the difference.
So we have a man who says that gays molest children, then takes it back. He says that he doesn’t demonize LGBT people, has a passage he wrote just last summer demonizing LGBT people read back to him, and he has nothing to say. And he says that race is a factor, and then says, okay, it isn’t. And he doesn’t “cure” gay people, he just “heals” and changes them. And by the time the interview ended, he was left sputtering that the American Counseling Association disbarred him for life because they are anti-ex-gay. In fact, it was for ethical violations, and Maddow’s audience was left with numerous examples of Cohen’s lack of integrity by the time she was done with him.
But before we end this, we should note one positive thing on Cohen’s behalf: with all that, Cohen spoke out forcefully against Uganda’s proposal to legislate LGBT people out of existence. Whether he’s doing that because he has a new-found respect for gay people or because he’s trying to salvage his own tattered reputation, we don’t know — but I have my suspicions. At any rate, he said he is not only against executing LGBT people, he is also against imprisoning them. He’s a proven fraud, and an idiot to boot. But again, we’ll take what we can get.