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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for January, 2012

Ex-Gay Leader Admits To “Naked Therapy” Within His Organization

Jim Burroway

January 12th, 2012

In 2010, two former ex-gay clients of an unlicensed therapist associated with JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing) came forward to describe a “psychological striptease” in which their ex-gay therapist had them strip and touch their genitals as part of their ex-gay “therapy.” The therapist, Alan Downing, who admits that he is still attracted to men, has declined to comment. But in an article published in the New York-based The Jewish Week last December, JONAH founder Arthur Goldberg both admitted and defended the practice of asking clients to undress, but denied that anyone was asked to touch their genitals:

On very rare occasions, for those suffering from “severe body image issues,” a JONAH therapist may have asked a client to undress, but only with three people present in the room, said the group’s founder, Arthur Goldberg.

“As far as I’m aware,” a JONAH therapist has never asked a client to touch himself during a session, he said. (Former ex-gay client Chaim) Levin said there were no witnesses in the room with him and Downing and that the door was locked.

Downing is a therapist for the Jonah Institute for Gender Affirmation and is listed on the People Can Change website as a “Senior Facilitator” for Journey into Manhood, which is a controversial “ex-gay” backwoods retreat designed to supposedly make gay men more masculine.

In February 2010, it was revealed that Arthur Goldberg had been convicted as a Wall Street swindler in 1989.

Yet more amicus briefs in support of Prop 8

Timothy Kincaid

September 24th, 2010

Adding to the growing pile (both in size and in lunacy) of amicus briefs filed in support of the Prop 8 Proponents, today we have Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Mat Staver and his merry crew at Liberty Counsel.

Whelan chimes in to “provide a survey of the district judge’s remarkable course of misconduct in this case.” Liberty Counsel’s amicus was designed to make sure that the crazier elements of the anti-gays were represented, specifically Campaign for Children and Families and Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing. CCF is the home of Randy Thomasson and is so wackadoodle that the Prop 8 Proponents went to court to bar them from participating. JONAH is the Jewish ex-gay group founded by convicted Wall Street con-man Arthur Goldberg.

Whelan basically just whines about how Judge Walker was not fair!! There wasn’t much of interest in the he’s a big ol’ meanie brief, but the Liberty Counsel brief was a delight. Predictably, they thought it was a smart move to prove the judge’s point that the anti-gay marriage movement was motivated by fear and loathing of gay people.

You might say that Liberty Counsel, CCF, and JONAH presented the quintessential Animus Brief.

II. SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS ARE DIFFERENT THAN OPPOSITE-SEX RELATIONSHIPS.

Wholly apart from the biological and procreative differences between opposite-sex and same-sex couples, the psychological and medical risks associated with the homosexual lifestyle are contrary to the district court‟s conclusion that same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples are, in essence, the same. (FF nos. 48, 70). It is well documented that those engaged in the homosexual lifestyle have much greater incidence of substance abuse, mental health problems, medical illness, and relationship dysfunctions. Documenting these facts, a recently published, peer-reviewed journal concludes that “it is difficult to find another group in society with such high risks for experiencing such a wide range of medical, psychological, and relational dysfunctions.” NARTH, 1 J. of Human Sexuality 1:53 (2009) (“Journal”).

Oh, and then they quote NARTH’s self-published “Journal”

In addition, “”30.3 percent of homosexually active women were ‘very high or drunk 3 or more days’ in the past year compared to 16.6 percent of heterosexual women,” and “8.4 percent of homosexually active women were ‘very high or drunk an average of once per week or more’ in the past year compared to 2.3 percent of heterosexual women.” Id. at 1:58.

Lesbians shouldn’t be allowed to marry; they’re all drunks! But if the women are all lushes, the men are all diseased:

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the homosexual community also is significantly higher than among heterosexuals. “In the 20th century, HIV/AIDS risk was approximately 430 times greater among homosexuals than among heterosexuals.” Id. at 1:66. In 2005, “the risks of acquiring HIV from a single act of unprotected sex within the male homosexual community in the United States remained about 500 times greater than within the heterosexual community.” Id. “Lifetime prevalence for STDs in homosexual men was 75 percent compared with 16.9 percent for heterosexual men.” Id.

It’s amazing how much bile you can spew when your source is NARTH. I can just see Charles Cooper cringing at the idea of the Ninth Circuit judges reading this recitation of bigotry and spite.

Part II of this exercise in animus is dedicated to presenting the NARTHian models of what causes homosexuality.

Here we find that “the family pattern involving a combination of a dominating, overly intimate mother plus a detached, hostile or weak father is beyond doubt related to the development of male homosexuality” (though a “sports wound” might contribute as well). As for the drunk lesbians, “a narcissistic (self-absorbed) mother may interfere with her daughter‟s separation and individuation and propel her in the direction of lesbianism, but severe hurt by a male may also communicate the same message of insecurity and vulnerability.”

Well that sounds to me like a good reason to ban heterosexual marriage. Or at least procreation. Yikes.

But, having just trashed heterosexual parents, this brief then argues that it is precisely for the purpose of channeling procreation into these dysfunctional messes that marriage exists. So it is to Randy Thomasson and Arthur Goldberg that I dedicate this lovely picture of a pair of loons.

Convicted Wall Street Felon To Speak At Peter LaBarbera’s “Truth Academy”

Jim Burroway

August 4th, 2010

Peter LaBarbera’s so-called “Truth Academy,” which kicks off tomorrow, has an interesting lineup of characters. Among the invited speakers is Arthur Goldberg, of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing — and what is an alternative to healing exactly? An alternative to something is something other than that something and not including that something, isn’t it? Okay, I digress).

In 1989 Goldberg was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Government. The conspiracy, in which he engineered a phony bond and investment scheme, netted him nearly $11 million in illegal fees. U.S. Attorney William O’Connor told the court at his sentencing that Goldberg’s crime was “a fraud of spectacular scope.”

More recently, one of JONAH’s  so-called “life coaches” was accused by two former clients of inappropriate sexual misconduct. Alan Downing, described as a lead therapist for JONAH and who is himself a so-called “former homosexual” who admits he is still attracted to men, essentially instructed his clients through a sort of strip tease as part of their so-called “therapy.” Alternatives to healing indeed.

Speaking of frauds of spectacular scope, another speaker at LaBarbera’s little confab is Cliff Kincaid, of “Accuracy in Media.” Kincaid has vigorously defended Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill which would impose the death penalty on LGBT people under certain circumstances, and would criminalize any one else knowing or providing services to gay people.

Other speakers include Robert Knight, Coral Ridge Ministries; Ryan Sorba, Young Conservatives of California; Prof. Rena Lindevaldsen, Liberty University Law School; Matt Barber, Liberty Counsel; Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute; and Greg Quinlan, Parents and Friends of Gays and Ex-Gays.

Timothy Kincaid has a great rundown of the other speakers here.

Bogus “American College of Pediatricians” distributes deliberately fraudulent anti-gay propaganda to schools

Timothy Kincaid

April 5th, 2010

In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics, an association of 60,000 pediatricians, voted to adopt a position in support of gay parents. Six pediatricians who opposed this policy on religious grounds rallied like-minded friends and, on October 19th, about 15 people founded the American College of Pediatricians. It would be accurate to describe this organization as a vehicle through which a small minority of anti-gay doctors advocate in opposition to gay rights, abortion rights, and euthanasia.

According to Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink, at the end of March, the ACP sent out a letter to school superintendents. They don’t say how many schools received the letter, but even one is too many.

Despite the name, ACP is not a institute of higher learning. Nor is it a professional organization for pediatricians. This is an advocacy group dedicated to political goals which is using an authoritative sounding name to fool the unaware.

Yes, their officers and their board are all pediatricians (usually older gentlemen in the South), but their “Pediatric Psychosocial Development Committee” reads like a members roster of the virulently anti-gay National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).

The connections don’t stop at the committee level. One ACP board member, Quentin Van Meter, was a featured speaker at the 2009 NARTH Convention. And Michelle Cretella, a real nasty piece of work, sits on both boards. She is also listed as the “chair of the Sexuality Committee, American College of Pediatricians”.

With connections this deep to an organization whose primary function is to generate anti-gay propaganda masquerading as scientific research, it should not be too surprising that the American College of Pediatrics uses the same tactics. Their letter to the schools is rife with lies, misrepresentations, distortions and outright fraud. In fact, there is little there that has any distant relationship to truth.

The letter – and the website it directs the reader – makes a number of claims. And the ACP has adopted Paul Cameron’s tactic of lengthy footnotes. But, as with Cameron, the supporting documents do not support the claims. Let’s take a look at the first three.

Homosexuality is not a genetically-determined, unchangeable trait.

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the Genome Project, has stated that while homosexuality may be genetically influenced, it is “… not hardwired by DNA, and (that) whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predetermination[s].” He also states that “…the prominent role of individual free will choices have a profound effect on us.”

Well that’s not the first time that Byrd has twisted Collins’ work to support his own agenda. And Collins has refuted this misinterpretation. Twice.

The evidence we have at present strongly supports the proposition that there are hereditary factors in male homosexuality — the observation that an identical twin of a male homosexual has approximately a 20% likelihood of also being gay points to this conclusion, since that is 10 times the population incidence. But the fact that the answer is not 100% also suggests that other factors besides DNA must be involved. That certainly doesn’t imply, however, that those other undefined factors are inherently alterable.

Misquoting once is perhaps an error in judgment. Repeating the process after you have been refuted is fraud.

Next:

Homosexual attraction is determined by a combination of familial, environmental, social and biological influences. Inheritance of predisposing personality traits may play a role for some. Consequently, homosexual attraction is changeable.

Consequently? Oh please dear God don’t let our nation have school superintendents so stupid that they don’t immediately burst out laughing.

First, while we know that genetics plays a role for at least some gay men (there’s less study performed on women), we do not know whether the other contributing factors include family, environment (in utero, social, chemical, or other), or social. Interestingly, other than a book by a NARTH member, all other footnoted sources were support for the role that genetics plays.

But as for “changeable”, the evidence suggests quite the opposite. And to find that orientation has a number of contributing factors does not “consequently” support that claim.

This is simply bait and switch deception.

Third,

Most students (over 85%) with same-sex attractions will ultimately adopt a heterosexual orientation if not otherwise encouraged. Most questioning students are experiencing temporary sexual confusion or are involved in experimentation.

Rigorous studies demonstrate that most adolescents who initially experience same-sex attraction, or are sexually confused, no longer experience such attractions by age 25. In one study, as many as 26% of 12-year-olds reported being uncertain of their sexual orientation, yet only 2-3% of adults actually identify themselves as homosexual. Therefore, the majority of sexually-questioning youth ultimately adopt a heterosexual identity.

Impressive, right?

Except that the source they use for the “26% of 12-year-olds” doesn’t quite say what they pretend.

From the article:

The percentage of students who were “unsure” about orientation steadily declined with age from 25.9% in 12-year-old persons to 5% in 18-year-old students.

But what does this “uncertainty” mean? Are these same-sex attracted kids?

The percentage of students reporting predominantly homosexual attractions steadily increased with age, while the proportion with bisexual or predominantly heterosexual attractions decreased.

In fact, only 2.2% of 12-year-olds reported predominantly homosexual attractions.

These kids were not “sexually-questioning youth”. And they were not “students with same-sex attractions”. Rather, these 12-year-olds were not yet “sure” about their sexual orientation. Frankly, they probably weren’t exactly sure what it all meant. But they did figure it out over time.

And were they “involved in experimentation”? Not according to this study.

Overall, 1% of respondents reported some homosexual experience; and 52%, some heterosexual experience… For males, but not females, the prevalence of reported homosexual experiences increased with age, from 0.4% at 12 years to a peak of 2.8% at 18.”

Everything that ACP claimed is refuted by going to the source they credit. This isn’t a “perspective” or a “way of reading the data”. This is a lie.

They go on with the usual litany of lies. You know, that homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle wrought with physical and mental illness caused by sexual abuse. But therapy has proven to be effective in curing homosexuality (and behavior is a choice anyway) so you shouldn’t allow support groups on campus (they aren’t good for kids). It’s pretty evil stuff.

No school should rely on this bogus organization for truth. They have none to offer.

But what they have done goes beyond opinion. It goes beyond faith or values or religion. This was a deliberate attempt to deceive. It twisted the work of legitimate researchers and sought to establish positions in educational institutions that are the opposite of what their research found to be best for the kids. If school superintendents rely on this information, it could harm the lives of children.

The board of directors of this organization are licensed medical doctors. They are pediatricians. It is unconscionable what they have done.

Ex-Gay Leader Exposed As Wall Street Ex-Felon

Jim Burroway

February 15th, 2010
Arthur Goldberg

Arthur Goldberg

Truth Win’s Out and South Florida Gay News teamed up for a joint investigation to learn that Arthur Goldberg, head of Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH), was convicted in 1989 of conspiracy to defraud the United States:

In 1989, Goldberg plead guilty in federal court in California and Illinois to three counts of wire and mail fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the United States. The accusations he admitted to include his participation as the engineer of a phony bond and investment scheme, which netted his Wall Street investment firm nearly $11 million in illegal fees.

The U.S. Attorney who handled the case at the time, K. William O’Connor, told the court at his sentencing that Goldberg’s crime was “a fraud of spectacular scope.”

The SEC banned Goldberg and his firm from ever selling securities again. In addition to his prison term, Goldberg was disbarred in both New Jersey and Connecticut. Despite that, he lists himself as a Doctor of Laws today on the website of NARTH.

He was found guilty of selling fake bonds to Guam and the city of East St. Louis. SFGN has more:

Goldberg was sentence to 18 months imprisonment in the Central District of California, which he served concurrently with an Illinois sentence imposed at the same time. It was followed by five years if supervised probation and a $100,000 fine, eventually paid on November 24, 1999.

K. William O’Connor, the U.S. attorney who put him away, said at his sentencing that Goldberg was “a man who habitually took advantage of people who were economically dependent upon him; that he did not hesitate to lie or cheat or cover up to achieve his criminal aims. His greed has caused incalculable harm…”

Golberg’s full name is Arthur Abba Goldberg. He was given the nickname of “Abba Dabba Do.” He dropped his middle name “Abba” when he founded JONAH in 2000, almost immediately after paying the last installment of his fine. In addition to his work in JONAH, he is also president of the umbrella ex-gay organization known as Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality (PATH). Member groups include the National Association of Reserach and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH); Courage, a Catholic ex-gay ministry; Evergreen International, a Mormon ex-gay organization;Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation; and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX).

South Florida Gay News has an exhaustive report, and Truth Win’s Out has posted newspaper articles from the 1980′s of the investigation and trial leading up to Goldberg’s conviction and sentencing.

NARTH Goes South Of The Border

Jim Burroway

May 19th, 2008

A. Dean ByrdThe National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) took their ex-gay message to Mexico a few weeks ago. Sponsored by the Mexican ex-gay group Renacer (“Rebirth”), an “Understanding Homosexuality” conference featuring at least six prominent American ex-gay activists took place May 1-3 at the Sheraton Centro Histórico in Mexico City.

The Spanish language LGBT web site Anodis reported that conference speakers included:

  • NARTH president A. Dean Byrd,
  • NARTH past president Joseph Nicolisi,
  • NARTH president-elect Julie Harren-Hamilton,
  • Desert Hope Ministries founder and director Janelle M. Hallman,
  • Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) co-director Arthur Goldberg,
  • Venus magazine publisher Charlene Cothran.

According to Anodis, Byrd opened the conference by claiming that he didn’t want to change anyone, and that he respected those who are “defined as openly gay.” He mentioned the 1990 removal of homosexuality from the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD), but then he went on to describe homosexuality using the clinical sounding acronym SSA, or Same-Sex Attraction, which he describes it as “something [that] happens in the development of the individual.” Byrd then went on to decry the state of research into homosexuality today, claiming that half the research is being conducted by gay people. This, by the way, is a most unscientific claim, one that can be easily disproved by a few quick searches of the PubMed databases on virtually any topic related to homosexuality.

Identifying the hallmarks of sound science is clearly not Dr. Byrd’s strong suit. This is the man who, with Nicolosi, co-authored the recent ex-gay “study” in the pay-to-publish vanity journal Psychological Reports, a paper which reads more like ex-gay propaganda than legitimate social science. In 2002, Byrd cited the work of discredited “researcher” Paul Cameron in a paper published by Regent University.

Meanwhile, other shining examples of “science” include Julie Harren-Hamilton focusing on child sexual abuse as being a critical factor in the development of male homosexuality, and Nicolosi claiming to have treated “hundreds of men” to “reorient their SSA.”

According to Anodis, approximately 300 people paid between 900 to 1,200 pesos (US$87 to $115) for the three day conference.

[Hat tip: Andrés Duque at Blabbeando]