Christine O’Donnell’s History Of Activism To “Pray Away The Gay”
The American Psychological Association and The American Psychiatric Association have debunked the idea that you can turn from gay to straight by embracing Jesus, but the scam has been around for years, and one of its advocates has been Christine O’Donnell. Wayne Besen of “Truth Wins Out” appeared on Rachel Maddow’s show to discuss this fraudulent scheme and O’Donnell’s involvement in it (via AmericaBlog).
Wade Richards (pictured), seen in the video above, was an ex-gay, now an ex-ex-gay, who became O’Donnell’s spokesman as he was struggling to overcome his gayness — until he decided that the whole thing was a scam, and he was fooling himself by trying to be something he’s not. As Michelle Goldberg at The Daily Beast reports:
The SALT wasn’t much of an organization. It was run out of O’Donnell’s apartment, where Richards lived for his first month in California, and the two of them seemed to be its only employees. But O’Donnell was good at getting publicity. She appeared frequently on Politically Incorrect and other talk shows, and the two of them toured the country, giving press conferences and speaking at churches and colleges about sexual purity and curing homosexuality. Richards, though, was having doubts, which he confided to O’Donnell. “I told her, ‘You know, Christine, I’m still super struggling with same-sex attraction,’” he says. “‘I don’t really know if this is real, if I can really be this changed person that I’m going around the country speaking and saying that I am.’” She paid little attention, he says. Campaigning against gay rights was too central to her mission.
Ironically, it was O’Donnell’s gay sister who helped Richards come to terms with his own identity.
“What helped me really come to grips was that her sister is an open lesbian and was living in L.A. and was in a long-term relationship and was working with a youth organization,” he says. “By hanging out with her, I saw, wow, she has a pretty normal life.” Being gay, he started to realize, needn’t condemn him to a life of seedy anonymous hookups, drug abuse, and nihilism.
Richards worked for awhile for Peter LaBarbara, a virulent anti-gay activist who runs “Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.”
Richards was unnerved when he went into Americans for Truth About Homosexuality’s “media room” and found copious hard-core porn—for research, naturally—as well as leather bondage gear for undercover work. “The sad thing was, there’s that 80-year-old grandma in Wichita, Kansas, thinking she’s donating this money to a good cause, and it’s going to who knows what kind of ‘research,’” says Richards. “As someone struggling with same-sex attraction, I thought, this is really not a place I need to be hanging out in.”
Richards reached out to Besen after debating him on my radio show, which led to Richards truly finding himself. Richards says after that O’Donnell “totally turned her back on me. I never heard from her ever again. That’s been my experience with the Christian community in general. The minute I was struggling and saying, ‘Hey, listen, I don’t know really where I am with this,’ that’s when everyone really turned their back on me.”Click here for reuse options!
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