Leonard Pitts on Rekers: “There Is A Moral Crime Here”

Jim Burroway

May 12th, 2010

Columnist Leonard Pitts notes that what George Rekers did was not without its victims:

If all this sounds like a rerun, that’s only because it is. Indeed, in recent years, the crusader against gay rights who is revealed to be secretly gay himself has become a “type,” ubiquitous to the point of cliché. The list includes disgraced evangelist Ted Haggard, the late former Spokane mayor James West, California state Sen. Roy Ashburn, Mel White, ghost writer for the likes of Jerry Falwell, who became a gay activist, and my personal favorite, Michael Bussee [hyperlink added], a founder of Exodus International, another group that purported to cure homosexuality. He gave it up when he fell in love with a guy named Gary Cooper.

As much free material as fellows like this provide for the likes of Jon Stewart and David Letterman, as perversely entertaining as it is to watch someone work out his private psychodrama in the public space, as fascinating as naked self-loathing can be, it is important to remember that this is not harmless.

To the contrary, there is a moral crime here. We are, after all, talking about men in positions of authority and reach, men who could make laws and influence public perception and who used that power against their own.

Put yourself in the shoes of the teenager, bewildered and frightened by these feelings he or she is not “supposed” to have, feelings of sexual attraction to people of the same gender. You try to deny them, try to ignore them, try to suppress them, but they will not go away. You are all alone, isolated behind a secret that presses down on you like weights, a fear of rejection that haunts you like ghosts.

And here comes Dr. Rekers telling you you are abnormal, telling you you are bad, telling you he can cure you, as if you had a disease like measles or the flu.

Then, in his off hours, after he’s done curing you, he’s trolling rentboy.com looking for young men to handle his, ahem . . . baggage.

Rev Ray neal

May 12th, 2010

I have a big problem with you listing Rev. Dr. Mel White with the likes of Rev. Haggard. If you truly do read Mel’s books and see the effect of the Soulforce organization he created then you will immediately know that his own journey toward sexual truth about his life is very different from the risque stories of the others you refer to.

Yes, there is a problem with closeted gay men speaking and acting against other gay people, but I don’t think that Mel should be thought of in the same way, not with the courageous efforts and public face he puts on opposition to the fundamentalist Christian right and its condemnation of LGBT persons. Mel is a man of faith and courage from whom all of us can take some practical lessons about living life honestly before God and others.

Jason D

May 12th, 2010

Rev Ray,
You do realize Jim is quoting someone else, right? If the big gray line indicating a block quote doesn’t make it clear, the hyperlinks and colon in the first sentence certainly should.

justsearching

May 12th, 2010

I would agree with Rev. I wish that this particular columnist had used more nuance when creating his list. Mel White and Michael Bussee came forward, admitted change was not possible, and then proceeded to try use their influence to spread that message. They are in a wildly different ball park than the likes of Haggard and Rekers. They are two types to be found in this lists, not one. It’s hard to judge the tone, but it almost seems as if the columnist is spiteful of Bussee. Totally uncalled for. And if the tone wasn’t spiteful, he shouldn’t have written it as he did.

David

May 12th, 2010

Rev Ray Neal is correct.

There are so many other anti-gay marauders who ended up caught having or seeking gay sex, including Mel White, Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper was unnecessary, creates a false impression of these men, and degrading.

The list in the link below is better, it focuses on those who not only pursued an anti-gay agenda, but have since made no effort to reverse or even repudiation the damage they did to others:

http://nuffy.net/articles/top-10-anti-gay-activists-caught-being-gay.html

Candace

May 12th, 2010

Leonard Pitts isn’t exactly an expert witness on Teh Gay. Equating Bussee and White to Rekars seems to indicate the writing of someone who is interested in the story simply because it is a hot news item — not the writing of someone who has been in the trenches of the “culture wars” and knows the stories behind the stories.

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