Richard Cohen sends letter to Uganda’s Parliament; opposes Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Richard Cohen sent this letter today to his mailing list.

January 5, 2010

 

Dear Ugandan Legislators,

 

My name is Richard Cohen. I am a psychotherapist, former homosexual, and director of the International Healing Foundation in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. In March 2009, we sent a representative, Caleb Brundidge, to Kampala to share his wonderful story of transformation from homosexual to heterosexual at the Family Life Network conference. The purpose of the conference, as we understood it, was to inform people about the causes and potential healing of unwanted same-sex attraction. We had absolutely no idea that the teachings at the conference would be misused to contribute in any way to the persecution and criminalization of homosexuals as proposed in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill No. 18. If we had had any inkling of such an outcome, we never would have considered participating.

 

Over the past twenty years, as a psychotherapist, I was privileged to help thousands of men and women worldwide find freedom from homosexuality and fulfill their heterosexual dreams. Mr. Brundidge has likewise helped many find freedom from homosexuality. However, I shudder to think that if we had lived in Uganda under this proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, at a time before we found a way out of homosexuality, your legislation may have resulted in our being executed or incarcerated, as we both lived openly homosexual lives previous to our transformation. That thought is horrifying, and makes this bill very personal to me. I struggled for years with my unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA), but no one knew how to help me. Finally, after many years and tears, I discovered the causes for my same-sex attractions and then deep, lasting, and profound healing occurred in my life. Today I am living my dream, married to my wonderful wife Jae Sook (who hails from Korea) and we have three beautiful children.

 

I strongly believe that Bill No. 18 is extreme, cruel, and counter-productive. No one will benefit if you criminalize people who experience homosexual feelings that they never chose and cannot simply wish away through willpower or prayer alone. We have found that sexual reorientation therapies have been extremely beneficial and effective for those seeking change. However, this bill would frighten all people from seeking the very help they need, and that many want. In such a punitive environment, people like me would be terrified to reach out and ask for the help, love, and support that can bring real change.

 

I understand that a motivating factor behind this proposed legislation is the report of young children and those with disabilities being raped by HIV-infected persons. There is no doubt that this terrible behavior must be stopped. However, I believe that the bill, as written, is too broad in incriminating all persons who experience homosexual feelings and does not take into account heterosexual sexual abuse and the spread of HIV through heterosexual activity. I recommend amending the language in the bill to be more specific regarding consequences for those who abuse and rape minors and disabled people, regardless of their sexual preference. Furthermore, if you truly wish to be pro-active in the issue of homosexuality we recommend: 1) make available in your therapeutic agencies, places of worship, and public institutions opportunities for men and women who experience same-sex attractions to voluntarily receive confidential counseling, and 2) insure the legal protection of former homosexuals. Such an enlightened program would become a beacon of light in the world for true healing and transformation, far better than condemnation and punishment, by providing care, concern, and solution.

 

We at the International Healing Foundation believe in promoting understanding, love, and support for those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction, and also providing help for their family members and friends. This bill, as written, would punish the very people who are hurting and in need and discourage them from seeking the assistance that could otherwise result in transformation. In fact, it would send them underground, suffering in silence, only generating more pain and sadness.

 

I implore you to rewrite this proposed legislation and remove any criminalization for people who experience homosexual attractions. Rather, please provide counseling and opportunities for change which would be far more beneficial for those in need.

 

Thank you for your kind consideration in this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

Richard Cohen, M.A.

Director,

International Healing Foundation

It would have been nice for him to simply denounce the bill without the sales pitch.

Thoughts?

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  • Mary

    At least he denounced the bill in very clear terms from an ex gay person’s perspective.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    It would have been nice for him to simply denounce the bill without the sales pitch.

    Took the words right out of my mouth.

  • Mary

    My goodness you guys! Bitch, bitch, bitch. Pick your battles – huh?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Mary complained:

    Pick your battles – huh?

    That is what I was doing.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Here is the preface added by Jonah:

    Dear Colleagues, There has been enormous confusion about the political situation in Uganda in relationship to ex-gay organizations. The pro-gay lobby has attempted to declare that ex-gay organizations have approved the persecution and criminalization of homosexuals. Here is a recent letter written by Richard Cohen, Director, International Healing Foundation, which clears up a lot of the misconceptions. Please distribute this letter as widely as possible since “this side of the story” is not being shown in the main-stream media. Shalom, Elaine Silodor Berk, Co-Director, JONAH

    That probably clarifies the main reason for his writing this (little late to the party, isn’t he?), and for the included infomercial. Of the three from the original conference, Don Schmierer, Caleb Brundidge (ala Richard Cohen) and Scott Lively, I have to begrudgingly say that Lively comes out ahead on one point — he is honest enough not to claim ignorance when confronted with his participation.

  • Lynn David

    Sorta like jumping on the bandwagon with your harmonica when the orchestra’s seats aree already filled. But I have to wonder if letters from “former homosexuals” mean anything to these people when they willingly gorge themselves on Scott Lively’s “lots of data… lot of data… lot of data…”

  • David

    A few observations:

    1. You may notice that he never actually comes out against the criminalization of consensual adult homosexual sex. He is very careful to oppose only the criminalization of “people who experience homosexual feelings”. See the third paragraph, the penultimate paragraph, and the last paragraph. I don’t think that wording was used consistently by accident. He clearly does not want to go out on a limb to oppose criminal penalties for adult gay sex.

    In a legal sense, his objection is meaningless, since the Act only criminalizes acts — sexual acts, displays of affection, advocacy, or aiding and abetting. It doesn’t criminalize people or feelings. Thus, his letter deliberately misses the mark.

    2. He calls for legal protections (presumably against discrimination) for former homosexuals, but none for homosexuals. This indicates tacit approval to use discrimination to motivate homosexuals to become former homosexuals. Legal protection only kicks in, and discrimination should only terminate, upon conversion.

    3. He has helped “thousands of men and women worldwide find freedom from homosexuality and fulfill their heterosexual dreams”? Wow! Where are they? Dr. Throckmorton, have you seen them? I recall that the closest thing that these folks have to a legitimate study, covered in a prior post on this blog, showed only an average 1-point shift on the Kinsey scale, after 8 years of Exodus “treatment”, based on self-reporting, and only after disregarding all participants who dropped out of the study. Maybe that part where you lay on his lap and he hugs you is what gives him a higher success rate.

    4. I do give him props that he continues to be married to his wife. He married Jae Sook in one of those mass weddings that the Unification Church used to conduct in the 1980s and 1990s. I don’t know about Cohen’s particular case, but the typical participant in a “Moonie” mass wedding did not know his or her spouse-to-be; it was all arranged by Sun Myung Moon. Just your average normal traditional marriage of a fully hetero man and a total stranger.

  • http://aebrain@webone.com.au Zoe Brain

    Thoughts? Too little, too late. That may be unfair from a standpoint of justice, but not in terms of derailing the bill. Had this been done at the time Warren was starting up his Facebook campaign, it might have worked.

    Anyone and everyone in Uganda who speaks out in public against the bill is now targeted as a homosexual-sympathiser. The Purge will begin soon.

  • Mary

    Warren,

    Fair enough. Okay, okay. It just that’s is nice to see IHF be deliberate to voice an opinion agains the Uganda bill and so what if he advertises along the way. I’ve seen others promote themsleves where it did not seem needed at the time.

  • anteros

    call me a choosy beggar, but i’m sorry… this letter is unsatisfactory. it may serve as an official tool to publicly distance the author from the drama, noise and controversy surrounding the bill, but that’s about it.

    as i read the letter, i struggled to find genuine nuggets of goodwill towards practicing homosexuals in Uganda who are not uncomfortable with their same sex attractions and those who do not wish to change and become heterosexuals.

    at first glance, it may seem like another letter in opposition to the bill that can be added to the growing pile of letters that were only written after months of tiresome negotiation by activists. but… read between the lines. i noticed the some of the things David pointed out, and other things too.

    1) He creates the impression, as an expert, that all homosexuals are miserable beings who all dream of becoming heterosexuals.

    2) He’s only sorry he got caught. If opponents of this bill hadn’t drawn negative attention to him by exposing his supposedly indirect contribution to the bill, he wouldn’t have said anything. In other words, the bill would have been okay by him if his public image wasn’t at stake.

    3) “No one will benefit if you criminalize people who experience homosexual feelings that they never chose and cannot simply wish away through willpower or prayer alone.” …*sigh*… in other words, please don’t criminalize those who experience unwanted persistent homosexual feelings… but go ahead and do whatever you please with unrepentant sexually active homosexuals.

    4) “I understand that a motivating factor behind this proposed legislation is the report of young children and those with disabilities being raped by HIV-infected persons.” …not this again. Gender neutral laws against pedophilia already exist. This pathetic pitch is cleverly used by Ugandan supporters of the bill, riding on reports from South Africa (not Uganda) of witchdoctors who tell their hiv/aids clients to rape a virgin/kid to get themselves cured. Honesty, please.

    5) “Furthermore, if you truly wish to be pro-active in the issue of homosexuality we recommend: 1) make available in your therapeutic agencies, places of worship, and public institutions opportunities for men and women who experience same-sex attractions to voluntarily receive confidential counseling, and 2) insure the legal protection of former homosexuals. Such an enlightened program would become a beacon of light in the world for true healing and transformation, far better than condemnation and punishment, by providing care, concern, and solution.” …in other words, homosexuality is an issue requiring the state’s attention… please don’t just leave homosexuals in peace… do something! state-sponsored forced conversion will draw negative attention, so rather make available state-sponsored coercive mechanisms for “voluntary” conversion.

    The wording of this letter clearly took some careful thought, but luckily… such calculated words are likely to be wasted on homophobic Ugandans for at least two reasons:

    1) many Ugandans are pitifully ignorant about homosexuality… believing a wide range of incredibly unbelievable myths about homosexuals. when you listen to Ugandans talking about homosexuality, no distinction is drawn between homosexuality and anal sex… between same sex attractions and homosexual sex… between consensual gay sex and male rape… between loving gay relationships and promiscuous gay activities… between gay sex and pedophilia… etc.

    2) many Ugandans approach debates on homosexuality in black and white terms… no gray areas. in other words, if you are not with them then you are against them… if you do not support the bill, then you are promoting homosexuality… if you sympathize or show empathy towards homosexuals, then you are as good as gay yourself… if you fear god, then you must hate homosexuals… if you dont hate homosexuals, then you are anti-god…

    so, many Ugandans reading this letter, in their ignorance, will not notice the author’s implicit support for certain aspects of the bill. Cohen’s letter will likely receive the same response as Rick Warren’s.

    As unsatisfactory as it is, I’m thankful that he’s given supporters of this bill something to think about.

    Perhaps I was hoping for too much, and didn’t acknowledge some of the braver bits of the letter…

  • anteros

    “..causes of same sex attraction…”

    credits the idea that homosexuality is something that is “caused”… like an illness… and the causes of homosexuality are so sneaky, that those who present homosexual tendencies may need to be “helped” without their full consent… they are “in need”.

    okay, i’ll just let it all go… maybe even try to be grateful… it’s better than nothing, right?

  • Michael Bussee

    It’s better than nothing, but I agree with the criticisms made.

  • David

    I just saw this editorial in the WaPo. Pretty strong. I am sure they read WaPo at the Ugandan embassy in DC.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/06/AR2010010604016.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

  • Michael Bussee

    It would have been nice for him to simply denounce the bill without the sales pitch. Thoughts?

    Mary complained:

    Pick your battles – huh?

    Warren reliped:

    That is what I was doing.

    I think Warren was making an important point here. In my view, the battle isn’t just against this law. I think the “sales pitch” is a big part of the problem. The spark that lit the match, so to speak. I think that Warren thinks so too.

    I think that is why there were warnings not to go in the first place. Warnings that went completely unheeded because the presenters seemed more concerned with their sales-pitch than with anything else.

    Take the sales-pitch (the) that: (1) gayness is some sort of disorder that can be treated or cured, (2) that is an abominable sin, one that called for death in the OT, (3) that people can choose (with the “help they need”, of course) to not be gay, (4) that such “therapies” have proven results in “thousands” of cases, and that (5) former gays (not active ones) and reparative therapy programs to “treat” them should have legal protection and active government support.

    (BTW: Didn’t Exodus try this same pitch, lobbying US legislators back in the late 1980′s?)

    Add in Lively’s twisted, hateful, Nazi-revisionist, homophobic views — a guy who thinks the Bill is “too harsh” but who still favors criminalization and forced treatment. A man whose organization is listed as a Hate Group and who blames the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide on super-macho, heartless gays and their evil “agenda”.

    Then, introduce that “sales pitch” into a culture which is (1) already strongly, violently anti-gay, one that (2) conflates pedophilia with consensual adult behavior, (3) one that already criminalizes homosexuality and is (4) bent on entrely wiping out the “gay threat” to Ugandan children and families, (5) one that is overwhelmed by much bigger economic and social problems, still practices witch-hunts and vigilante justice and is looking for scapegoats .

    Explosive.

    They claim they did not know. That they were duped. Used. Tricked somehow. I suppose that’s possible. But maybe they were just unbelievably careless — so caught up in their sales pitch that they didn’t really think. I believe that’s why Warren has suggested that “the three should tell the people of Uganda — what we told you was wrong. Not just the Bill is wrong”. The three claimed they did not know about that. They need to tell the people of Uganda that what they TOLD them was wrong.That what they DID was wrong. And they need to make a pledge that they will never do this again.

  • http://pursuegod.wordpress.com Karen K

    It strikes me as a sincere letter. I appreciate his willingness to write it. I get the feeling Richard Cohen could have written just about anything and it would still be considered unsatisfactory by many who simply don’t like him.

    I don’t agree with Cohen’s approach, but I don’t think he desires to see homosexuality criminalized. The comment that said Cohen probably supports criminalization of *active* homosexuals does not seem warranted. He specifically says, “We had absolutely no idea that the teachings at the conference would be misused to contribute in any way to the persecution and criminalization of homosexuals as proposed in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill No. 18. If we had had any inkling of such an outcome, we never would have considered participating.”

    So he refers generally to “criminalization of homosexuals” (without specifying just feelings) and he also uses himself as an example of someone who was an *active* homosexual who would have been imprisoned if such laws were enacted when he was in those relationships. And this is what he finds very personal and disturbing about it.

    I don’t like Cohen’s sales pitch. And I do find it problematic that he gives the impression that anyone can change from gay to straight. Though I think he said on the Rachel Maddow show that he acknowledged the goal is not heterosexuality, but living out one’s convictions? He doesn’t emphasize that nuance enough though. He definitely gives the impression anyone can be cured.

    As far as I can tell Lee Brundidge (who one was the one actually involved in the Uganda conference and not Cohen) focused on telling his own story. Did Lee actually say anything that would incite? Are we going to say that a person cannot tell their own story? Or that one cannot believe in the possibility of change without being “dangerous”?

    I am much more concerned about Scott Lively’s rhetoric. Though, I do wish IHF and Don Schmeier (sp?) had listened to concerns that were raised back in March and had been more thoughtful about their participation. Its a good lesson for all of us to be more aware of who we are speaking alongside and to think through cultural dynamics in a foreign country that might cause one’s message to be heard differently than in the States.

    I think we can easily make the mistake that none of us would find ourselves in such a situation. Everything seems clear 20/20. Let’s not be so daft and arrogant to think that one of us could not make a similar blunder (perhaps not on the same issue, but in some situation).

  • http://pursuegod.wordpress.com Karen K

    PS–I guess Cohen was there by extension because of his book. From the video footage I saw, it sounded like they referenced the book in regards to psychological dynamics–the breakdown of parent/child relationships. Maddow pulled out the Cameron quote–though that does not seem to be the primary thing the Ugandans were drawing from the book as much as the point about raising children well. Good parent/child dynamics.

    Is the belief in reparative therapy, itself, considered dangerous? Does it depend on context?

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    A belief in reparative therapy as a solution for every gay person is foolish in my view but may not be dangerous if one never acts on that belief.

    However, if that belief is coupled with a desire for others to hold that belief and an effort to impose that belief on others, then I believe it is dangerous. The ex-gay conference is a sad example of that. I am going to post some audio of Don Schmierer telling about a man who went from gay to straight. It was all over his dad and when his dad changed then he changed. Easy, no muss, no fuss. If it is that easy then we just need to scare gays into treatment, then they will be glad we did (Uganda situation). As far as I can tell, no one at that conference told the audience that complete change is rare, that living in accord with beliefs is the primary reasonable goal and that objective is very difficult for many people and cannot be coerced.

    Cohen’s lack of exploring the situation (Who is Lively? What does he stand for?) demonstrates neglect. When Brundidge heard the material presented by Lively, did he have a problem with it? Brundidge wrote about all of this in the IHF newsletter with no mention of the Lively information. There was no grief demonstrated about the ridiculous theories presented there. Why did it take 10 months and coverage by Rachel Maddow and the NYT to bring out this remorse?

    I do believe Richard does not want countries to make homosexual behavior a criminal offense. But I do think he wants to see the government there offer his approach to therapy as an approved option. Knowing what I know about it, that is a scary thought indeed.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Warren and others,

    To be frank, this constellation of LIvely, Brundedge (sp) and Schmierer is not all that uncommon in Christian missionary appeals.

    Can we be honest about that?

    People who have a faith system and a wish to spread all its “benefit” often self fund and loosely affiliate with anyone who professes some similarity. Costs of a full-blown scientific and public policy seminar are enormous. The Ugandans did not want to foot that cost, in part because they didn’t want the answers that would come from such a presentation.

    Christian missionaries have always done things on the “cheap”…if that has to do with food, or medicine or overcoming environmental disasters it is a win, win for poor governments.

    Hiring Christian missionaries who are scientifically unqualified to establish both public law and public policy is trying to apply the “cheap” model of missionary work to a very complex field.

    Finally, how often have we seen such “dog and pony” shows where a pastor collects Christian “experts” to direct their congregation in areas in detail where the scriptures are nearly mute.

    There is a strong subculture of cynicism in the church which makes this triad of quasi-experts (mostly not) have such a highly visible role…what happened in Uganda is not uncommon for some fundamentalist, charismatic churches and denominations generally.

  • anteros

    Karen K, I admit… I got a bit carried away. I’ve got nothing personal against Cohen, at all. In my defense, I did point out that there were a some brave points in that letter… especially considering the fact that the author is from a ministry that attempts to heal homosexuals. It would be hoping for too much, for a human rights activist’s perspective to be presented in that letter. So, I admit… I didn’t put the author’s motive into context… >his< context. My bad.

    But… in the same way, the author didn't consider the context in which such a letter would be received by its Ugandan readers… who would include legislators, human rights activists, homosexuals, journalists etc.

    I'm not seeking sympathy, but as you may or may not be aware… there is a lot of homophobic noise in Uganda right now. A lot more than the usual. It's heavy with ignorance, hate and intolerance. Ugandans are not having casual conversations about homosexuality. It's a nearly one-sided heated campaign, about what Uganda – the state, the church, the people – must do to fix the homosexual problem once and for all. It's not pretty at all. Frankly, it gets sickening and it's not easy to disconnect from all the ignorant, militant homophobia being splashed around. So, when I read that letter… a letter which is meant to oppose the bill… only to re-encounter the usual banter about homosexuals being damaged goods in need of repair, counseling and saving. I get disappointed, especially since it's a lost opportunity for someone with credibility among Ugandans to actually help do what would get human rights activists in Uganda charged with "promotion of homosexuality"… even before the bill is passed, they threaten "promoters of homosexuality". There's no break from all the noise… and it's coming from the important, the influential, the decision makers, religious people, regular folk on the street, the media… it's everywhere… it's even in this letter which is supposed to oppose the bill. They are all making urgent plans about what to do about the homosexual problem, as though homosexuals were livestock infected with anthrax, mad cow or swine flu. They're all about urgent action, not intellectual discussions. I wish you would understand my disappointment, and why I would call that letter unsatisfactory… it's in the context of the actual bill, and the current climate in Uganda. In many ways, it's pretty much more of the same being echoed in that letter.

    Thanks to Cohen anyways. It must have taken guts to write that letter… or something.

  • Michael Bussee

    Are we going to say that a person cannot tell their own story? Or that one cannot believe in the possibility of change without being “dangerous”?

    Karen, no. I am saying it was a huge mistake to do it in Uganda. I think that is why Warren and others warrned against the conference. Warren expressed it very well:

    However, if that belief is coupled with a desire for others to hold that belief and an effort to impose that belief on others, then I believe it is dangerous. The ex-gay conference is a sad example of that.

  • David Blakeslee

    The only danger of reparative therapy is the advertisement that one size fits all..it is a potentially useful intervention for some folks with unwanted SSA…

    As the origins of SSA are diverse and bewildering…

    I believe Daniel Gonzales, an ex-gay patient of Nicolosi’s, at one point said the intervention was helpful in some ways (qualified), it increased his awareness around compulsivity and increased his sense of choosing in a healthy authentic way.

    This is, I believe, from an old posting on Ex-gay watch…which I think was posted here, although the links that follow are dead:

    http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2005/04/a-brief-history/

    I do not wish to assert that my words above are verbatim of Mr. Gonzales, or that this is his current view of the unintended benefits of reparative therapy.

    So, as with all psychological interventions, even when they don’t accomplish the treatment goal, there are indirect benefits.

    This is no way is a defense for coercing people into therapy or for poorly advising them on the origins and treatment of their SSA.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Karen K. said:

    It strikes me as a sincere letter. I appreciate his willingness to write it. I get the feeling Richard Cohen could have written just about anything and it would still be considered unsatisfactory by many who simply don’t like him.

    Karen, how low are you willing to set the bar on these issues before you accept that someone, just by their continued practice of bizarre, baseless “therapies” (and the generation of profit through expanding them), does not have the best interests of his “clients” in mind? I read things from you which at times seem to indicate that you get this issue, that you understand the harm. But at other times you pivot as though on the fence, with an apparent need to defend the indefensible from being called out.

    Maddow called attention to the wretched stuff in Cohen’s book because he put it in there. When that stuff is claiming race as a factor in the causation of homosexuality or quoting Paul Cameron on anything, that’s really enough reason to point it out.

    @David B

    Daniel rarely comments but I’ll ask him about your statement. I don’t remember him claiming any benefit to his experience with reparative therapy, other than that which is gained from trying something which is so unproductive that it removes itself from the equation, clarifying another direction as the more healthy option.

  • Michael Bussee

    The only danger of reparative therapy is the advertisement that one size fits all..it is a potentially useful intervention for some folks with unwanted SSA…

    And that it has the potenital of harming many people with “unwanted SSA” — as many Ex-gay Survivors can attest. And that there is no good scientific basis for it. And that it doesn’t make homosexuals into heterosexuals.

    And that it should be only be offered in free societies where consensual homosexual behavior is legal, never coerced under penalty of dealth or imprisonment.

    And that recklessly mixing it with Lively’s hateful nonsense — and then injecting this potentially harmful, scientifically unproven “sales pitch” into an extremely volatile situation like Uganda can be deadly.

  • http://pursuegod.wordpress.com Karen K

    Warren–I agree that those in this line of work need to speak out against the idea of coercion (I am glad Cohen put the word “voluntary” in his letter–though it would help to be more emphatic on that point). And it is a problem to not disclose the low conversion rate. I still don’t see enough transparency on that within the ex-gay movement in general. So, I agree they should have made that clear. And they also should have made an emphatic statement against coercive treatment, especially in light of Lively’s apparent support of mandated therapy. Even if they did not have the same rhetoric as Lively, they should have been more balanced in their presentation and also actively spoken out against the things Lively was saying.

    anteros–I hear what you are saying. And yes I am aware of the Uganda situation and have been following it since March. I have actively spoken out against the bill. One thing to keep in mind is that even though Cohen’s letter might not be what you would have written, his appeal has the potential to have more of an impact than a gay activist because he shares the same sexual ethics with these Ugandan leaders. Those in favor of the bill are likely to dismiss a gay activist outright. Whereas with Cohen or other conservatives who are speaking out, might give more pause because there is a certain shared worldview. Anyway, let’s hope Cohen’s letter has an influence in countering the bill.

    David–You write: “I read things from you which at times seem to indicate that you get this issue, that you understand the harm. But at other times you pivot as though on the fence, with an apparent need to defend the indefensible from being called out.”

    I find your statement confusing. When have I pivoted on this issue? Simply because I said I appreciated the fact that Cohen is finally saying something–I am now pivoting? And, because I believe him when he said he is opposed to the criminalization of homosexuality? I believe he is sincere in his opposition to the bill. Do you think he is lying when he says he is opposed to the bill? I suppose he could be, but that is not the sense I got from the letter.

    As for what is in his book–I agree there are problems with the book. The Cameron quote should have never been included, along with other statements. That wasn’t my point in bringing it up. My point was that the Ugandans seemed to be gleaning from it primarily a reparative therapy perspective (and for the record I am not advocating for reparative therapy). I have not read the book, so I don’t know what treatment options he recommends in it. Do you? For example, does he refer to holding therapy in the book? The holding therapy is the primary technique that he is criticized for, but I don’t know that that is in the book. It could be. Warren do you know?

    As for Daniel–I have also heard the same thing that David Blakeslee did. I remember being surprised to hear it.

  • David Blakeslee

    Thanks David Roberts…I do not wish to presume.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    FWIW, I’ve fixed the link in the XGW blog entry referenced above. It’s pretty much as I remember, though with more detail. Dan’s experience with counselling in general helped him by allowing him to talk about the issues in his life in a focused manner. I think this is a large part of the therapeutic value of counselling anyway — something that could almost be called a plecebo effect as I suspect it happens no matter what type of general approach is used.

    The ironic part is that, quite in spite of Nicolosi’s presentation of why he thinks people are gay and how they can change that, Dan became more secure as a gay man through his observation that Nicolosi was wrong. His most important contribution to Dan’s life seems to be an example of a useless and incorrect avenue, i.e. reparative drive theory and the warped ideas which surround it.

  • David Blakeslee

    …and to re-emphasize, it is not a justification for poorly informed clients receiving treatment based upon false assertions, flawed therapy or false hope.

  • David Blakeslee

    David,

    Thanks for re-posting Daniel’s description of his work with Joe and his process of identification with his SSA with integrity.

    Warren,

    Would you please get permission to post Daniel’s description of his work with Joe?

    I think there are many stereotypes about Joe’s theories and work there, but also some things that might surprise some.

  • Michael Bussee

    As far as I can tell, no one at that conference told the audience that complete change is rare, that living in accord with beliefs is the primary reasonable goal and that objective is very difficult for many people and cannot be coerced. — Warren Throckmorton

    Why not?

  • Michael Bussee

    You would think those three things could be clearly spelled out on their webpages or something.

  • anteros

    “Such an enlightened program would become a beacon of light in the world for true healing and transformation…”

    “I implore you to rewrite this proposed legislation and remove any criminalization for people who experience homosexual attractions. Rather, please provide counseling and opportunities for change which would be far more beneficial for those in need.”

    That really sounds like a call for state-sponsored coercive conversion… just my opinion. Could I be mistaken?

  • anteros

    bear in mind, the letter is addressed to Ugandan legislators.

  • anteros

    Another thing I noticed… causes of homosexuality was one of the things written as a heading on Lively’s whiteboard at that march conference… watch the video on Boxturtlebulletin and see it for yourself. Whether the speakers at that conference worked together to share ideas or streamline their talks before or during the conference… or whether Lively touched on the causes of homosexuality and it coincidentally re-appeared in this letter… or whether the writings on that whiteboard were from a previous speaker… it’s not easy to tell. But I’m finding it increasingly difficult to believe that each speaker at that conference spoke completely independently… surely there must have been some kind of collaborative preparation, even without my weak linkage of “causes of homosexuality”. At the very least, the other speakers let Lively’s outrageous assertions sink in… they knew better, but chose to give Lively’s remarks their silent support. They could have (and should have) done something even after the conference, in hindsight, but they chose not to. Instead, nearly a year later this is the response we read…

    “We had absolutely no idea that the teachings at the conference would be misused to contribute in any way to the persecution and criminalization of homosexuals as proposed in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill No. 18. If we had had any inkling of such an outcome, we never would have considered participating.”

    The purpose of that statement was to expressing regret in being associated with the persecution and criminalization of homosexuals… as proposed in the bill. He did not explicitly say he was opposed to the criminalization of homosexuals… was that omission accidental?

    I know, I’m really splitting hairs here… but the more I read the letter, the more uncomfortable I feel with its motive.

    May I learn to be more grateful… no sarcasm there.

  • Mary

    “We had absolutely no idea that the teachings at the conference would be misused to contribute in any way to the persecution and criminalization of homosexuals as proposed in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill No. 18. If we had had any inkling of such an outcome, we never would have considered participating

    Hard to believe when he compares homosexuality today to the “macho” homosexuals of the third reich. What did he think people would do to answer the threat of a growing sociopathic culture? Sit around and play nice? He expected a heightened reaction and he got one.

  • anteros

    Mary:

    Did Cohen compare homosexuality today to the “macho” homosexuals of the third reich?

    Isn’t that Lively’s comparison? …it sounds very pink swastika… and I remember seeing “macho” or “super macho” on Lively’s whiteboard in that video.

  • Pingback: Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill: What are American Christians doing? — Warren Throckmorton

  • Pingback: Uganda: Caleb Lee Brundidge on the criminalization of homosexuality — Warren Throckmorton


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