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Posts for May, 2010

No “Rekers Purge” At Family Research Council

Jim Burroway

May 6th, 2010

There have been numerous reports across the internet saying that the Family Research Council has “purged” Dr. George Rekers from their web site following news reports that Rekers had returned from a 10-day European vacation in the company of a male escort.

We did not post that report here at BTB because we were unable to confirm that a purge had actually taken place. David Robert, at Ex-Gay Watch looked into it and determine that the FRC’s protest that they haven’t purged Rekers from their web site appears to be correct:

At some point in the past, perhaps as far back as 2007, the FRC restructured it’s web site. The page describing their origins was changed to eliminate a couple of academics, Armand Nicholoi Jr. of Harvard University and George Rekers of the University of South Carolina. It now focuses more on conservative political figures such as Gerald P. Regier, Department of Health and Human Services in the Reagan administration.

The verbiage concerning Rekers and Nicholoi was moved to their FAQ where it remains (in the answer to the second question). However, even the May 1 Google cache of the page in question shows that it is the same as it was before the Miami New Times story broke.

That’s not to say that a purge isn’t on the way. But it doesn’t appear to have happened yet.

NARTH Responds To Rekers Controversy

Jim Burroway

May 6th, 2010

The National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality just sent this statement out moments ago:

NARTH RESPONDS TO THE RECENT MEDIA COVERAGE OF DR. GEORGE REKERS

The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is a professional scientific organization with hundreds of academic, research, and clinical members dedicated to assisting individuals dealing with unwanted homosexual attractions. While NARTH is focused on the science of homosexual attraction, personal controversies often deepen the existing cultural divide on this issue. Such is the case in the recent news stories concerning one of our members, Dr. George Rekers.

NARTH takes seriously the accusations that have been made,and we are currently attempting to understand the details behind these press reports. We are always saddened when this type of controversy impacts the lives of individuals, and we urge all parties to allow a respectful and thorough investigation to take place.

At this difficult time for the families and individuals involved, we extend our sympathies. We also wish to reiterate our traditional position that these personal controversies do not change the scientific data, nor do they detract from the important work of NARTH.

NARTH continues to support scientific research, and to value client atonomy, client self-determination and client diversity.

Translation: Pay no attention to that man hiding behind the curtain. Or the closet door, as the case may be.

Univ. of S. Carolina dumps Rekers from website

Timothy Kincaid

May 6th, 2010

As recently as this morning, here’s what you saw when you searched the website of the University of South Carolina medical school:

Now the site looks a little different:

That was quick.

I’m curious as to the exact criteria for removing any mention of Dr. Rekers. Was it because the University of South Carolina was delighted to have an anti-gay activist as a respected and privileged emeritus professor, but not so delighted to have a man who was revealed to be engaged in behavior that is homosexual in nature?

We have inquired with the office of the President of the University for an explanation.

(hat tip to a reader who caught the change)

Rekers and Roman had sex (kinda)

Timothy Kincaid

May 6th, 2010

What is sex?

Have you ever noticed that the definition of sex isn’t really a problem when it’s all above board. When both parties are legally, emotionally, and socially entitled to do whatever they want, sex includes all sorts of activities. It can be hardcore and involve the exchange of fluids or it can be mild and intimate and involve little actual genital contact. When there’s no guilt to be assigned, sex is whatever lifts your luggage.

But when it is illicit, when cheating and lying gets involved, then sex has very very rigid narrow definitions that let a weasel dance around in declaration of innocence. “I did not have sex with that woman!”

Or, in this case, “Professor Rekers was not involved in any illegal or sexual behavior with his travel assistant.”

The Miami New-Times has now provided additional information about the relationship between Dr. George Rekers and Jo-vanni Roman (who prefers to be identified as “Lucian”), his RentBoy/travel assistant/suitcase lifter.

The male escort hired by anti-gay activist George Alan Rekers has told Miami New Times that the Baptist minister is a homosexual who paid him to provide body rubs, once a day, in the nude, during their ten-day vacation in Europe.

Rekers allegedly named his favorite maneuver the “long stroke” — a complicated caress “across his penis, thigh… and his anus over the butt cheeks,” as the escort puts it. “Rekers liked to be rubbed down there,” he says.

This is probably a lot less hardcore than many folks imagined. And Rekers may insist, “oh, but that isn’t sex, I only paid for a massage.”

But I think that he may only be playing a game of deception. If, indeed, there is nothing untoward about the services for which Lucian was procured, if Rekers truly believes that there was no “sexual behavior”, then why didn’t he simply announce, “I hired the young man to accompany me to Europe to give daily nude massage” and let that statement stand on its own?

Rekers’ FOURTH clarification of just how he came to select his travel companion

Timothy Kincaid

May 5th, 2010

Earlier today we posted Dr. Rekers’ explanation about why he was traveling in Europe accompanied by Jo-vanni Roman (“Lucian”/Geo). He now appears to have found that particular explanation to be inadequate and has revised it to read as follows:

***MISLEADING INTERNET REPORTS ABOUT PROFESSOR GEORGE REKERS***

A recent article in an alternative newspaper cleverly gave false impressions of inappropriate behavior because of its misleading innuendo, incorrectly implying that Professor George Rekers used the Rentboy website to hire a prostitute to accompany him on a recent trip. Contrary to Internet stories based on this slanderous article, following medical advice Professor George Rekers requires an assistant to lift his luggage in his travels because of an ongoing condition following surgery. His family, local friends, and even another university professor colleague have offered to accompany him on trips to assist him in his travel. Dr. Rekers found his recent travel assistant by interviewing different people who might be able to help, and did not even find out about his travel assistant’s Internet advertisements offering prostitution activity until after the trip was in progress. There was nothing inappropriate with this relationship. Professor Rekers was not involved in any illegal or sexual behavior with his travel assistant. [emphasis in original]

The new part is in bold.

Ya know, if I were, say, a straight married 61 year-old anti-gay activist who unexpectedly discovered that my 20 year old traveling companion was a gay prostitute, and If I were questioned about why I was traveling with the young man, I would probably respond immediately with the facts that led to my association with him. And they would likely not be nonsensical.

I’d say, “he’s the son of my colleague” or “we used to be neighbors” or something that showed the basis of the relationship. Because, at this point, it’s pretty hard to backtrack from “I evangelize to gay prostitutes” and end up with the rather vague “I interviewed different people”.

Unless, of course, that is the the prelude to further revelations about other young men who interviewed for the position.

Every European Vacation needs a luggage lifter

Timothy Kincaid

May 5th, 2010

Oh, my gosh!! Is that Geo helping Chevy Chase lift that suitcase?

(OK, maybe I went too far with this one)

Rekers’ third “clarification” is even funnier than the others

Timothy Kincaid

May 5th, 2010

This one is official. Dr. George Rekers posted the following statement on his Professor George website:

***MISLEADING INTERNET REPORTS ABOUT PROFESSOR GEORGE REKERS***

A recent article in an alternative newspaper cleverly gave false impressions of inappropriate behavior because of its misleading innuendo, incorrectly implying that Professor George Rekers used the Rentboy website to hire a prostitute to accompany him on a recent trip. Contrary to Internet stories based on this slanderous article, following medical advice Professor George Rekers requires an assistant to lift his luggage in his travels because of an ongoing condition following surgery. His family, local friends, and even another university professor colleague have offered to accompany him on trips to lift luggage. Professor Rekers was not involved in any illegal or sexual behavior with his travel assistant.

You see, Dr. Rekers was advised to get an assistant to lift his luggage. And although his family, local friends, and even another university professor colleague have offered to accompany him on trips to lift luggage, they all lacked some essential quality needed in an assistant.

So that is why Dr. Rekers turned to RentBoy.com, to find an assistant adequate to meet the task of lifting luggage. He didn’t hire a prostitute, he hired an assistant, a 20-year-old, 5′ 9″, 132 lb. assistant to be exact, to help with all that heavy bulky luggage.

Pictures from the mission field

Timothy Kincaid

May 4th, 2010

We now have pictures from Dr. George Rekers’ evangelical crusade to Europe to convert Miami’s gay prostitute population. Joe.My.God is now revealing the identity of Rekers’ luggage lifter/potential convert.

Among Lucian/Geo’s many talents are “Travel Companion, Tour Guide, Interpreter.” He sounds very useful. And considering he’ll “do anything you say as long as you ask”, he sounds like an easy convert.

Perhaps it was research

Timothy Kincaid

May 4th, 2010

Prominent anti-gay activist and ex-gay supporter Dr. George Rekers has provided a few explanations for why he was accompanied to on his European holiday by a slim blond young-looking 20-year-old gay male prostitute.

First he didn’t realize that the young man he met on the Rentboy.com website was a rent boy and he only brought him along to lift his luggage. And then he explained that he hired young Lucian for ten days of fun fun fun in Europe so as to evangelize to him.

But if neither of those genuine and deeply heart-felt explanations sounds convincing, he can always just say that he was conducting research for his website:

Rekers’ Defense (you may want to read this somewhere that it’s OK to laugh out loud… or cry)

Timothy Kincaid

May 4th, 2010

Dr. George Rekers, anti-gay activist extraordinaire, has now clarified to blogger Joe.My.God exactly why it was that he was vacationing in Europe with a gay prostitute. It was evangelism.

I have spent much time as a mental health professional and as a Christian minister helping and lovingly caring for people identifying themselves as “gay.” My hero is Jesus Christ who loves even the culturally despised people, including sexual sinners and prostitutes. Like Jesus Christ, I deliberately spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them. Mark 2:16-17 reads, “16When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 17On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” In fact, in a dialogue with hypocritical religious leaders, Jesus even stated to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him. ” (Matthew 21:31).

Like John the Baptist and Jesus, I have a loving Christian ministry to homosexuals and prostitutes in which I share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them (see I Corinthians 6:8-11). Contrary to false gossip, innuendo, and slander about me, I do not in any way “hate” homosexuals, but I seek to lovingly share two types of messages to them, as I did with the young man called “Lucien” in the news story: [1] It is possible to cease homosexual practices to avoid the unacceptable health risks associated with that behavior, and [2] the most important decision one can make is to establish a relationship with God for all eternity by trusting in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, including homosexual sins. If you talk with my travel assistant that the story called “Lucien,” you will find I spent a great deal of time sharing scientific information on the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse, and I shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him in great detail.

You know, Rekers may not have actually had sex with the kid.

And I don’t doubt that he did bore him with endless evangelism. That’s the justification that Rekers gives himself to try and rationalize his own urges to travel for ten days in the company of a twink. It was the excuse that allowed him to dance on the edges of his own unwanted desires but yet somehow see it as noble.

But behind all of the claims of being “like Jesus” is the sad truth: George Rekers, after all this time fighting “homosexual sins”, still is compelled to the company of gay men. And, unable to recognize and accept his attractions which would allow him to construct an ethical life and flow his attractions into a healthy response, he has pushed them down and smothered them and now has no power over them.

So instead there is George Rekers cruising Rentboy, telling himself that he’s only there for the evangelism, that he’s feeling compassion not lust, that it’s ok because he won’t go that far too far not quite not yet really it’s not sin really he won’t have sex with them.

This time.

Whatever Lifts Your Luggage, George

Jim Burroway

May 4th, 2010

The '70's era porn-stache and comb-over combo should have been a clue.

George Rekers’ excuse for having trolled through Rentboy.com to find a nice, slender blonde male hooker to accompany him on a ten-day excursion through Europe to help, err, lift Rekers’ luggage is threatening to spawn the best new euphamism since “Hiking the Appalachian Trail.”

Meanwhile, Joe Jervis decided to ask Rekers for recommendations on how to find the hottest male prostitutes. Rekers unwisely replied — and don’t you love it when they’re dumb enough to dig their hole even deeper? It turns out that all Rekers is interested in is “helping and lovingly caring for people identifying themselves as ‘gay’.” Right. Lovingly, I’m sure. And he’s apparently going to do that one very expensive rent-boy at a time, at probably at least a thousand dollars a pop for an overnight, times ten days, plus airfare and expenses.

But here’s the best part. Once you slog your way through the rest of Rekers’ reply, past tons of eye-glazing Scriptual quotations, and past the part where he compares himself to John the Baptist and Jesus, Rekers says:

If you talk with my travel assistant that the story called “Lucien,” you will find I spent a great deal of time sharing scientific information on the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse, and I shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him in great detail.

Uh huh. “Sharing the Gospel” would make another great euphamism, but it probably won’t catch on. Oh well, whatever lifts your luggage, George. Whatever lifts your luggage.

Anti-Gay/Ex-Gay Activist George Rekers Vacations With “Rentboy”

Jim Burroway

May 4th, 2010

The Miami New Times has an explosive exposé revealing that anti-gay activist George Rekers has taken several vacations with a “rentboy” whom the paper names as “Lucien.”  According to the paper, Rekers was photographed on April 13, 2010 at Miami International Airport returning from an extended overseas trip with the twenty-year-old.

George Rekers has a very long history in anti-gay politics. He has worked closely with Paul Cameron and was the brainchild behind Cameron’s moribund online “Journal.” He spoke as a so-called “expert witness” in support of Florida’s adoption ban, in which he also said that he would consider banning Native Americans from adopting because research shows that they are also at much higher risk of mental illness and substance abuse. He is an officer at the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), where he also serves on their Scientific Advisory Committee and as an associate editor of NARTH’s  Journal of Human Sexuality. (NARTH, you may recall, has had quite a number of controversial figures connected with that organization. More recently, another member of their Scientific Advisory Committee, Arthur Goldberg, was found to have been a convicted Wall Street swindler. Goldberg has since resigned from NARTH.)

Rekers and Goldberg are also members of the “Pediatric Psychosocial Development Committee” of the fake pediatrics group, American College of Pediatricians (not to be confused the American Academy of Pediatrics, which boasts 60,000 pediatricians as members). Rekers has worked closely with Pat Robertson’s Regent University, and is a cofounder wtih James Dobson of the Family Research Council.

And he likes his rentboys young and willing to travel:

Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. “I had surgery,” Rekers said, “and I can’t lift luggage. That’s why I hired him.” (Though medical problems didn’t stop him from pushing the tottering baggage cart through MIA.)

Uh huh. Given the thousands of dollars per day plus expenses that is typically charged by rentboys when they travel with their clients, that’s one very expensive porter.

Yet Rekers wouldn’t deny he met his slender, blond escort at Rentboy.com — which features homepage images of men in bondage and grainy videos of crotch-rubbing twinks — and Lucien confirmed it.

…In his interview with New Times, Lucien didn’t want to impugn his client, but he made it clear they met through Rentboy.com, which is the only website on which he advertises his services. Neither Google nor any other search engine picks up individual Rentboy.com profiles, any more than they pick up individual profiles on eHarmony or Match.com. You cannot just happen upon one.

“Lucien” was very protective of Rekers — as every good male escort would be — but he did say that Rekers “likes younger guys to hang out with.” New Times reports that Rekers “frequently takes in foster children and that four years ago he adopted a 16-year-old boy.” The son declined to be interviewed.

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.

NARTH Publishes Fake “Study” In A Fake “Journal”

Jim Burroway

July 6th, 2009

Focus On the Family has issued a breathless article claiming that a “new study” has proven that sexual orientation can be changed:

A new report in this month’s issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Human Sexuality finds that sexual orientation can be changed — and that psychological care for individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions is generally beneficial and that research has not found significant risk of harm.

The study, conducted by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), examined more than 100 years of professional and scientific literature from 600-plus studies and reports from clinicians, researchers and former clients principally published in professional and peer-reviewed journals.

The problem with all that? Well first of all, this isn’t a study at all. It doesn’t consist of an experiment with study participants, methodology,  measurements, analysis or results. Instead, according to this so-called journal — which I have a copy of — NARTH mined nearly 100 years of research on attempts to change sexual orientation. Of course, the vast majority of those studies were done when aversion therapy was commonly practiced, when many people sought therapy because they were convicted of homosexual offenses before Lawrence v. Texas to avoid jail, when few clinicians bothered to do any kind of follow-up, and when the APA still considered homosexuality a mental illness. Much of this paper is an updated regurgitation of several other articles already posted on NARTH’s web site.

Also, the so-called “peer reviewed” journal is not actually a journal. The Journal of Human Sexuality is actually a booklet published by NARTH themselves. In fact, it’s structured more like a book than a journal, with only one article whose title matches the title on the front cover. This journal is billed as “volume 1,” and was, according to its acknowledgment, conceived back when Joseph Nicolosi was still president at NARTH. At this rate, I would expect volume 2 to show up sometime in 2011.

This is very similar to another stunt pulled by George A. Rekers in 1996.  He too created a one-off journal, also called The Journal of Human Sexuality which seems never to have made it to a second volume. It looks like NARTH decided to recycle Rekers old idea.

And as for this new journal’s “peer reviewed” status? Well, I guess when you have a paper written by an anti-gay activist posing as a therapist, and you send that paper off to other anti-gay activists posing as therapists, all of whom are members of your tight little NARTH club with no possibility of an actual independent review taking place, then maybe I would have to concede that the effort was “peer reviewed.” Unfortunately, that’s not the definition accepted by the scientific community.

This publication is not a dispassionate study of changes in sexual orientation. It is a cannon-blast of anti-gay animus in a long 94-page screed, a veritable anti-gay propaganda omnibus touching on all sorts of unrelated subjects including HIV/AIDS, alcohol and drug abuse, violence, psychiatric disorders, and “promiscuity as the new social norm.” As far as anti-gay propaganda goes, there’s little that’s missing here.

Anyone can write a “journal” and select the studies to prove their point as I illustrated in my satire, “The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing the Myths.” (Hey, I had my partner read it before I published it; that must mean it’s peer-reviewed!) A quick look at NARTH’s “journal” shows that they pulled the same tactics as I did when I wrote my satire. Unfortunately, they didn’t intend for their publication to be read for satirical purposes. They are pushing it as legitimate science, and others are likely to be taken in by it.

Over the next several months — it is, after all, 94 pages of text — we will be going into greater detail to show just what a fraud this so-called journal really is. Stay tuned.

Florida Adoption Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

Jim Burroway

November 25th, 2008

Miami-Date Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman has declared Florida’s gay adoption ban unconstitutional, saying, ”It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person’s ability to parent.” This ruling grants Frank Gill, a gay foster father in North Miami, the go-ahead to adopt two foster children he has been raising since 2004. The two children are ages 4 and 8, making Frank virtually the only parent the younger child has ever known.

Lawyers for the state of Florida immediately said they would appeal the ruling. During the hearings, attorneys for the state brought in so-called “experts” George Rekers and Walter Schumm, both of whom are closely associated with Paul Cameron. Rekers used his own particular brand of junk science to support the state’s position that gays should be barred from adopting, adding that he believed the ban should extend to Native Americans for the same reasons.

I’m very interested in obtaining a copy of Judge Lederman’s ruling. Her evaluation of the state’s “experts” could be very entertaining.

Update: More quotes from Judge Lederman’s ruling via the Associated Press:

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman said the 31-year-old law violates equal protection rights for the children and their prospective gay parents, rejecting the state’s arguments that there is “a supposed dark cloud hovering over homes of homosexuals and their children.” She also noted that gay people are allowed to be foster parents in Florida.

…”There is no ‘morality’ interest with regard to one group of individuals permitted to form the visage of a family in one context but prohibited in another,” Lederman wrote in a 53-page decision. “There is no rational basis to prohibit gay parents from adopting.”

…Lederman rejected all the state’s arguments soundly. “It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person’s ability to parent,” the judge wrote. “A child in need of love, safety and stability does not first consider the sexual orientation of his parent. The exclusion causes some children to be deprived of a permanent placement with a family that is best suited to their needs.”

Update: It looks like Judge Lederman ruled based on what was best for these particular children.  From the Orlando Sentinel:

“These children are thriving. These words we don’t often hear within these walls. That’s uncontroverted,” said Circuit Judge Cindy S. Lederman. “They’re a good family. They’re a family in every way except in the eyes of the law. These children have a right to permanancy,” the judge said. “The only real permanancy is adoption in the home where they are thriving. … There is no rational basis to preclude homosexuals from adopting.”

Anti-Gay “Expert” Would Consider Banning Adoptions By Native Americans

Jim Burroway

November 23rd, 2008

Two anti-gay activists closely associated with Paul Cameron have inserted themselves into the center of Florida’s gay adoption controversy.

Florida is the only state in the nation which explicitly bans adoption by gay parents. That law is now being challenged. The Miami Herald has obtained a transcript from an adoption trial which was closed the public. The trial ran on Oct. 1-6, and centered on a gay foster father’s petition to adopt the two small boys he has been raising since 2004. The trial featured testimony from a half-dozen expert witnesses in psychology, epidemiology, sociology and family studies.

The state of Florida, which is supporting the ban, relied on two so-called “expert witnesses” who are closely associated with discredited “researcher” Paul Cameron. George A. Rekers, is a retired professor from the University of South Carolina, who taught neuropsychiatry and behavioral science. Walter R. Schumm, is an assistant professor of family studies at Kansas State University.

According to the Miami Herald:

The lives of gay people can also be stressful to children, Rekers testified. The children may experience teasing and bullying from other children who don’t approve of their parents’ orientation. And children with gay parents are likely to suffer from repeated separations because gay people are more likely to have multiple failed relationships.

Rekers said he would, in fact, favor banning anyone from adopting who had more than 18 “sex partners” during a lifetime. “I think that would be a very good social policy,” he said in a deposition.

He said he would also consider banning Native Americans from adopting because research shows that they are also at much higher risk of mental illness and substance abuse. “They would tend to hang around each other,” Rekers testified. “So the children would be around a lot of other Native Americans who are … doing the same sorts of things.”

Rekers relies extensively on Cameron’s research, citing as many as nine separate Cameron articles in one 2005 paper. Rekers and Cameron together launched Cameron’s online “Journal,” the Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior, in 2007. The EJSSB is purportedly an open-access peer-reviewed journal, but, in fact, it is nothing more than a dressed-up web site. Since its inception in 2007, the only articles “published” to date are three papers by Paul Cameron and one book review by Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg, another close Cameron collaborator.

Rekers support of racism to exclude an entire class of prospective parents from adopting is most extraordinary. Of course, it’s no more shocking than Cameron’s own apologia for how the Nazi’s “dealt with” homosexuality at Dachau and Sachsenhausen.

Schumm is considerably more circumspect in how he uses Cameron’s research, but he did publish a 2000 article in Psychological Reports, Paul Cameron’s favorite publication outlet, defending Cameron’s research methods against Dr. Gregory Herek’s criticisms. Schumm is also listed as a member of Cameron’s “Editorial and Scientific Review Board” for the EJSSB.

In the trial, Schumm used data from his recent Psychological Reports article to claim that about 19 percent of children raised by gay parents are likely to become gay, compared with 4 percent of children with straight parents. Testifying for Frank Gill, the gay foster father, Susan D. Cochran, a professor of epidemiology and statistics at UCLA, accused Schumm of cooking his data.

”This is taught in first-year statistics,” Cochran testified. “I was surprised he would do that.”

James Esseks, one of Gill’s attorneys, criticized Rekers for relying on Paul Cameron’s work, citing his being dropped from the American Psychological Association in 1983 after he declined to cooperate with an ethics investigation on charges he had distorted research by others scientists on gay people.

Florida’s gay adoption ban was declared unconstitutional by a Circuit Court judge last fall in Key West. Since that decision wasn’t appealed to a higher court, it did not have any effect statewide. But the state is now fighting Gill’s attempt to adopt these two boys, which means that whatever the outcome, it will likely be appealed to the Third District Court of Appeal and possibly the Florida Supreme Court. If so, that outcome would go into effect statewide.

About 22,000 Florida children are in state custody, with more than 4,000 of them eligible for adoption. Only two states have more foster children waiting to be adopted.

[Hat tip: Alvin McEwen]

Mike Huckabee and the Christian Reconstructionists

Jim Burroway

December 20th, 2007

Gov. Mike HuckabeeIt’s been widely reported that former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee flew down to Houston earlier this week for a fundraiser hosted by Steven Hotze. In today’s column, Robert Novak identified Steven Hotze as “a leader in the highly conservative Christian Reconstruction movement.” According to Novak, that fundraiser’s host committee had an unusual make-up:

State Rep. Debbie Riddle was the only elected official on the host committee, most of whose members were not familiar names in Texas politics. David Welch is executive director of the Houston Area Pastor Council. Jack Tompkins heads a firm providing Internet services to the Christian community. Entrepreneur J. Keet Lewis is an active Southern Baptist.

A better-known committee member was Baptist minister Rick Scarborough, founder of Vision America. In endorsing Huckabee on Nov. 1, Scarborough said, “I acknowledge that Huckabee is not the perfect candidate” but one “who will listen to wise counsel.”

According to Novak — who is not exactly a flaming liberal himself — until Huckabee’s problems with his fellow Southern Baptists had been that they didn’t think he was conservative enough! A pretty amazing assessment given his many statements on AIDS and homosexuality which have come to light recently (and which Huckabee has refused to back away from, a move which earned him a LaBarbera Award). But as strident as his pronouncements may be, they hadn’t been orthodox enough to fully satisfy the Christian Reconstructionists. But now that he’s receiving donations from them, it looks like things have changed between them.

For those who don’t know, Christian Reconstructionists are the guys who want to replace civil law with Biblical law, which makes them the Christian equivalent to Muslims who advocate for Sharia law. To give you an idea of what these people are about, the Cato Institute posted a snippet of a 1986 statement that was signed by Steven Holtze:

We affirm that the Bible is not only God’s statements to us regarding religion, salvation, eternity, and righteousness, but also the final measurement and depository of certain fundamental facts of reality and basic principles that God wants all mankind to know in the sphere of law, government, economics, business, education, arts and communication, medicine, psychology, and science. All theories and practices of these spheres of life are only true, right, and realistic to the degree that they agree with the Bible.

This statement is virtually identical to some of the messages presented by American pastors at the most recent Watchmen On the Walls conference last November. Other signatories to the statement include D. James Kennedy, Tim LaHaye, George Rekers, Don Wildmon, and R.J. Rushdoony.

Rushdoony is considered the father of Christian Reconstructionism. His 1973 book, The Institutes of Biblical Law, serves as a foundational document for Christian Reconstructionists. In the Institutes, Rushdoony called for the replacement of civil law with Biblical Law, including the legalization of slavery (because the Bible approves of it) stoning as punishment for a long list of Biblical offenses including homosexuality (because the Bible calls for it). Rushdoony defended these beliefs right up until his death in 2001. Scarborough recently declared that his is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, but “a Christocrat.”

Huckabee recently told an audience at Liberty University that God was responsible for his recent rise in the polls. And we’ve noted before that Huckabee has been voicing a rather strange theology lately. Does that theology now include theonomy and the Christian Reconstructionist theology of those whose support he’s seeking?

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Paul Cameron Announces a New “Journal”

Jim Burroway

September 23rd, 2007


What do you do when you are having trouble getting your junk science published in reputable peer-reviewed journals? Well, one solution would be to improve the quality of your science. Or, if you’re Paul Cameron and you’re running an outfit called the Family Research Institute (FRI), you try something else:

FRI is doing something exciting — we are starting an online scientific journal! It is entitled the Empirical Journal of Same Sexual Behavior (EJSSB)

That exciting announcement went out to members of Paul Cameron’s mailing list. The brainchild of Paul Cameron and George Rekers, the EJSSB’s first articles were slated to appear sometime in September, although the pay-to-publish website (beginning at $500) appears to still be under construction. But even if it does go live, don’t look for this journal to appear in your local university library:

Not too many years ago, launching a scientific journal was a colossal undertaking. First, you had to assemble an editorial board and get capitalized sufficiently to be able to print and ship the journal. Then you had to find a way to get libraries of the world to subscribe — hopefully covering all or most of your costs. Daunting to put it mildly.

Times have changed. The internet now permits journals to bypass many of the previous hurdles.

Cameron intends to dress this “journal” up as an academic journal, but that doesn’t mean it will actually be one. Because there are some 1,700 real social science journals listed in Journal Citation Reports, an article in the most reputable journals may still be read by only a few thousand professionals around the world. But that’s not who Cameron is targeting. Instead he wants to draw in thousands of unsuspecting readers on the internet, few of whom will realize that it isn’t a reliable journal — or even a real one.

George Rekers has some firsthand knowledge of how this works. He set up the Journal of Human Sexuality in 1996, featuring such luminaries as Peter LaBarbera and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively. As far as I can tell, that journal appeared only once and few libraries bothered to acquire it. Notice how WorldCat listed it as a “book” despite it’s name. But that doesn’t prevent several anti-gay activists from citing it as though it were a real journal.

Cameron is among the most extreme of the anti-gay activists, and he’s become something of a persona non grata in more respectable quarters for many reasons: whether they be his numerous ethical violations, his widespread abuses of science, or his deeply chilling solutions that he poses for the “homosexual problem” in America — including his admiration for how Auschwitz commandant Rudolph Hoss dealt with homosexuals in the 1930′s.

Cameron’s letter to his supporters lists the initial public members of the Editorial/Review board for Cameron and Reker’s latest venture. In addition to Paul Cameron, his son Kirk, and Rekers, they include:

Toby B. Bieber: She and her late husband, Irving Bieber, co-authored the famous 1962 book Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study of Male Homosexuals, which popularized the too-close mother and distant father theories of male homosexuality. They were an ardent opponent of the APA’s 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. Since Irving’s death in 1991, Toby Bieber has carried on her husband’s opposition to that decision by serving on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), an organization she helped to foster from its beginning.

Gerard van den Aardweg: Another NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee member and Dutch psychologist, Gerard van den Aardweg is the author of The Battle for Normalcy: A Guide for (Self-)Therapy for Homosexuality� in which he cites four different Cameron works. Oddly for a “professional,” none of Cameron’s works that he cited were published in remotely professional setting. Among the Cameron sources Van den Aardweg cites is “Medical Consequences of What Homosexuals Do”.

Thomas Landess: A former English professor at the University of Dallas, Landess co-wrote three articles with Paul Cameron between 2001 and 2005, all of which appeared in the low-ranked pay-to-publish Psychological Reports. Cameron described Landess as a “long-time FRI collaborator, supporter, and friend” at a 2002 FRI banquet, where Landess was the featured speaker. Landess is also identified with the Neo-Confederate Movement and once served as contributing editor of Southern Partisan magazine. One 1984 article for that magazine condemned the Statue of Liberty for its the ideals of freedom and nineteenth and early twentieth century immigration.

Nathaniel S. Lehrman: A former Clinical Director of the Kingsboro Psychiatric Center in Brooklyn, Lehrman holds revisionist views about gays in the holocaust which closely parallel Paul Cameron’s and Scott Eric Lively’s, another holocaust revisionist. Like Cameron and many other anti-gay extremists, Lehrman contends that there is no such thing as sexual orientation.

Walter R. Schumm: A professor at Kansas State University, Schumm published a 2000 article in Psychological Reports, Paul Cameron’s favorite publication outlet, in which Schumm defended Cameron’s research methods against Dr. Gregory Herek’s criticisms.

Little is known about the remaining three names given for the Editorial/Review board: Ralph E. Mayberry (MD), John Raney (MD), and Steven Rice (MD). There is a Steven Rice, MD, who serves as a board member and Public Policy Liaison for the Memphis-based and Exodus-affiliated Love In Action ex-gay ministry. I have not been able to confirm whether this is the same Dr. Steven Rice.

While it appears that the “journal” is not yet up and running, I wouldn’t be too terribly surprised to see Cameron’s “Scandinavian Lifespan Study” appear as one of its first so-called “peer-reviewed” articles. If so, I wonder if he will have given himself a discount to get it published?

Hat tip: An unnamed reader I met at the Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conference who managed to get on Cameron’s mailing list. You know who you are. Thanks.

Cameron Promoter George Rekers: New Ex-Gay Study “Meets High Research Standards”

Jim Burroway

September 9th, 2007

Certified Cameronite AwardWhen InterVarsity Press issued this press release announcing upcoming release of “Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation, by Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse, they included this endorsement:

George A. Rekers, Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science Emeritus at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, states that the study “meets the high research standards set by the American Psychological Association that individuals be validly assessed, followed and reported over time with a prospective, longitudinal outcome research design.”

I would question Rekers’ ability to recognize studies which “meets the high research standards set by the APA.” In 2002, he held one of Paul Cameron’s studies in pretty high regard:

In the study of homosexual parenting with the best research methodology to date, Cameron and Cameron obtained a random sample by a one-wave, systematic cluster sampling of six U.S. metropolitan areas… [emphasis mine]

I reviewed that study that impressed Rekers so much here.

Paul Cameron in EDGE New York — and NARTH

Jim Burroway

July 27th, 2007

EDGE New York published an article by Arielle Chavkin about Paul Cameron’s “Scandiavian Gay Lifespan Study.” Her report includes several observations by Jason Cianciotto and yours truly.

And speaking of Paul Cameron, Ex-Gay Watch’s David Roberts noticed that NARTH has added yet another link to a study using Paul Cameron’s research. Just scroll down a bit on NARTH’s front page and you’ll see this in the center column:

7.25.07 – Distortions of Science
Studies of Homosexual Parenting: A Critical Review [link]

That handy little link will take you to a paper by George Rekers and Mark Kilgus that was published in the Regent University Law Review back in 2002. Regent University, if you’ll remember, is the school established by Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson. That same law review issue contained two other articles which cite Cameron, Child Molestation and the Homosexual Movement (PDF: 76 KB/16 pages) by Stephen Baldwin (not the actor), and Homosexuality: Innate and Immutable? (PDF: 340 KB/42 pages) by A. Dean Byrd and Stony Olsen, 2002. Meanwhile, NARTH continues to maintain their own articles citing Paul Cameron on their web site.

These are just a few of Paul Cameron’s many collaborators who are complicit in not only perpetuating his pseudo-science, but who also help to support his stated agenda for gays and lesbians.

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