The fight against “ex-gay” conversion therapy continued in New Jersey today, where former patients of a group that promised to convert people from gay to straight filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey.
Four young men and two of their parents filed the lawsuit against the founder of Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), Arthur Goldberg, and a counselor for the group, Alan Downing, alleging that the group violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act by claiming that they could “cure” gay people of their homosexuality.
Happy to hear about the lawsuit. Confounded to learn about the name of this group: “JONAH.”
What on earth are these people thinking? Have they never read the book of Jonah?
That’s it — 48 verses in total. That’s the whole book. You can read the whole thing in 15 minutes, tops.
And if you do read the book of Jonah, here’s what you’ll notice: Jonah is the Bad Guy. He’s always wrong. He is, unfailingly, a jerk. He is the butt of every joke because he deserves to be. Jonah is an object of ridicule and withering scorn. His story comes to a miserable end because he did everything he could do to earn such an ending.
This isn’t subtle — it’s the whole point of the story and it’s reinforced at every point in the story.
And yet, people like these folks in Jersey continue to name things after Jonah as though he’s some kind of biblical hero. People continue to name their children after Jonah. What is the thinking there? “We were going to name him Daniel, but then we decided we really didn’t like our son very much, so we went with Jonah.”
Stan Lee seems like he actually read and understood the book of Jonah. When Lee used the name Jonah — for J. Jonah Jameson — it was because he wanted you to know that this was a character you weren’t supposed to like.
There’s a long list of names that you just shouldn’t use for sympathetic characters: Ahab, Jezebel, Humbert, Brutus, Iago, Vlad, Moriarty, Cruella … and Jonah.
Those are also all names to avoid if you’re starting some kind of religious charity scam.
The hucksters leeching money by fostering and then offering to “treat” discontent with sexuality identity knew enough not to name their operation “AHAB” (Alternative Healing for Any Body) or “MANASSEH” (Making Anyone New And Sexually Super by Extreme Healing), because they’d presumably read the scriptures and realized that Ahab and Manasseh are held up as icons of evil. But the scriptures also present Jonah as an icon — not so much of evil as of a petty, sour, resentful and pompous foolishness.
That probably makes “JONAH” an appropriate name for this New Jersey clinic, but you’d think they wouldn’t want to brag about that.