Rachel Maddow on Air Force Academy’s “heterosexual confidence” expert

Rachel Maddow, at the top of her show last night, tackled the story we broke yesterday morning about the prestigious Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado hiring an “ex-gay,” who spent the last twenty years attempting to “cure” homosexuals, to oversee the academy’s mandatory program of “coaching” every cadet.

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Dr. Mike Rosebush is a “heterosexual confidence” expert who has spent nearly the past two decades working at the religious right anti-gay activist groups Exodus International and Focus on the Family, and he’s affiliated with NARTH as well.

Here’s a blurb from a book of his on Amazon:

Dr. Rosebush’s Sanctification Coaching provides the groundbreaking methods that helped his clients achieve sexual purity, peace and heterosexual confidence. If you are a Christian tired of being distressed over your same-sex attractions, then Sanctification Coaching was written for you! ….

Dr. Rosebush is also a contributing author to The Handbook of Therapy for Unwanted Homosexual Tendencies: A Guide to Treatment. Dr. Rosebush has decades of success in counseling Christian men who struggle with same-sex attractions.

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“Homoerotically-capable.” Is that like “handicapable”? You know, disabled?

Rosebush also set up his own private practice, called “Coaching Confidant,” to cure gay people by phone in the years immediately preceding being hired by the Air Force academy to help build “character” and “leadership” among malleable young cadets.

The Air Force Academy has taken a multi-tact approach in deflecting criticism about the hire.

First, they say that Rosebush doesn’t counsel cadets personally.

Second, they claim that it’s not even “counseling” at all, it’s “coaching.”

And third, they trotted out Rosebush’s job experience from 1994 and before.

I get into a detailed dissection of the Air Force Academy defense in my story this morning, but in a nutshell, the academy’s defense falls flat in a number of ways:

1. Rosebush doesn’t counsel, he coaches?

That’s a nuance without a difference.  The point is that the man is responsible for building “character” and “leadership” when he has worked for nearly two decades for organizations devoted to the notion that openly-gay service members are capable of neither.

2. Rosebush doesn’t meet cadets personally?

He runs the entire program, designed it, and oversees it.  He’s worse than someone who counsels “some” cadets. He’s in charge of counseling (“coaching,” whatever) every cadet at the academy on their character and leadership.

3. Rosebush was qualified before he went off the deep end in 1995, nearly two decades ago?

That’s nice.  You should have hired him in 1994.

But to suggest that in 2011 you hired him for a social science job, while ignoring his nearly two decades of professional experience embracing quack social science – you ignored his six most recent jobs – and instead looked to his seventh-most-recent job from 16 years ago, stretches all credulity.

After President Obama, your commander in chief, signed the law setting the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in motion, you hired a man with virulently prejudiced, anti-gay credentials.

Here’s what Rachel Maddow had to say about that:

Did the Air Force hire him despite this being his area of expertise, or did they hire him because this is actually what they wanted, this is who they wanted, specifically because of his past, overseeing the mandatory counseling program for every Air Force cadet?

Good question.


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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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