Wacky group that “cures” gays loses tax-exempt status

About time.  NARTH (the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality), a lead pseudo-scientific organization that promotes the debunked notion that homosexuality can be “cured,” has lost its tax-exempt status, Raw Story reports.

The IRS announced the revocation of NARTH’s tax-exempt status on the IRS Web site, below:

NARTH loses tax-exempt status

The “ex-gays” are a troubled lot.

They’re a weird mix of people who legitimately believe gays can be cured through prayer, others who think you can be cured through very weird counseling sessions that “teach you how to be a man,” and hateful religious right activists who co-opted the “ex-gay” movement a good ten+ years ago because they saw a beneficial opportunity to bash gays (after all, if you can be “cured,” it’s not a civil right, the bigots would argue).

The problem for the “ex-gays” is that they don’t really exist.  I did a ton of research on the ex-gays for a feature story I was writing for Talk magazine back in 2001, and the one common thread you find among actual ex-gay groups themselves, rather than their political leaders, is the admission that no one is “cured.”  At best they try to turn you celibate.  While their political leaders claim that “thousands” of gay people have been “cured.”  It simply isn’t true.

NARTH is, was, a “scientific” organization the religious right uses to lend credence to the notion that there’s actual science behind all of this “pray away the gay” hoopla.  Of course, NARTH has had its own problems, when one of its top names, George Rekers, was caught going to Europe with a rent-boy he’d hired to “carry his luggage.”  (So that’s what the kids are calling it now.)

Another prominent NARTH member got into trouble for suggesting that Africans were fortunate to have been sold into slavery, and that the civil rights movement was “irrational.”

A prominent member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is under fire for publishing an essay in which he argues that Africans were fortunate to have been sold into slavery, and that the civil rights movement was “irrational.”

“There is another way, or other ways, to look at the race issue in America,” writes Gerald Schoenewolf, a member of NARTH’s Science Advisory Committee. “Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle…. Life there was savage… and those brought to America, and other countries, were in many ways better off.”….

Titled Gay Rights and Political Correctness: A Brief History (PDF) Schoenewolf’s angry polemic was published on NARTH’s webpage. In addition to his outrageous historical claims about the conditions of life in Africa, he writes that human rights proponents are intellectually stunted.

Gabriel Arana, who writes for the American Prospect, and has written for AMERICAblog from time to time, wrote a story a while back his unsuccessful efforts to cure his homosexuality with NARTH’s cofounder and former President, Joseph Nicolosi.

In recent years, “ex-gay” leaders in the US, Europe and Latin America have renounced the “ex-gay” therapy that they once embraced.  Dan Savage had something to say about that.  But that didn’t stop Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus, who apparently knows a lot about gay stuff, from taking federal funds for his “ex-gay” clinic.

We’d reported a while back on JONAH, a Jewish “ex-gay” group that, according to two former clients, had young gay men take off their clothes, in counseling, until they’re completely nude in front of their much older male counselor, who then directs them to start fondling themselves.  Oh yeah.

Another lead “ex-gay” doctor, well, not a doctor, he’s a “certified sexual reorientation coach” – he was “the” lead “ex-gay” cure-guy until the Daily Show destroyed him (you can watch that video further below) – was Richard Cohen.

In this CNN piece, he demonstrates how he uses “touch therapy” to cure gay couple – do watch it, it’s a winner.  Here’s an example of touch therapy from the Daily show video, further down:

by default 2013-03-13 at 10.58.06 PM

He also shows how hitting a pillow with a tennis racket can “release memories in your muscles” to help cure you as well.

Hitting the pillow, from the Daily Show video further down in this story.

Hitting the pillow, from the Daily Show video further down in this story.

Watch this, please.

There’s a great Colbert Report on the “ex-gays” too:

And probably the best video out there is Jon Stewart’s Daily Show’s coverage of the “ex-gays”:

California has recently banned “ex-gay” therapy, and the fact that NARTH lost its tax-exempt status is one more step in the right direction.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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