The National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) bills itself as “a scientific, secular organization.” However, this year the organization’s annual conference in Phoenix, AZ will begin with a decidedly religious and political tone. On the first day (Nov. 4) of the conference, Rev. Michael Brown and Sharon Slater will speak. Brown, who recently wrote a book called A Queer Thing Happened to America, will speak in a plenary session, while Sharon Slater, leader of Family Watch International will talk about her anti-gay work internationally and at the United Nations (Slater’s name does not appear on the current conference schedule, however, NARTH’s David Pruden confirmed today that she is giving the speech labeled “The United Nations and an International Overview.”)
Regarding homosexuality, Dr. Brown told religious talk show host Sid Roth in April of this year that some people can be delivered from homosexuality by ridding them of demons. To Roth, Brown said:
Sid: I have met people that have been prayed for deliverance that were homosexual and when the demon was cast out of them even their walk was different.
Mike: Listen, why is it that people can accept demonic influences in other behaviors? Someone’s a heterosexual pornography addict and they get delivered from demons and their free. Someone’s addicted to drugs, they get delivered from demons, someone’s got a horrific fierce temper, they get deliver from demons and their free. Why can’t we recognize that this can happen with homosexuality too? It’s not every person. I was in Israel Sid, talking to a top national leader and he talked to me about some men in his congregation and he said that he watched them in front of his eyes and get truly delivered, he said and they are free. They are different, they are fully heterosexual.
More recently, Brown accused unnamed gay activists of complicity in the murder of Larry King, the young gay teen who was murdered in school by classmate Brandon McInerney. Brown wrote on the OneNewsNow website:
Of course, there is only one real killer, Brandon McInerney, just 14 years old at the time of shooting. He confessed to killing Larry in cold blood in full view of his classmates. But there are others who are complicit in Larry’s terribly tragic death, and rather than point the finger at a “homophobic” society, they should point it at themselves. I’m speaking of course of gay activists, who have made Larry into a martyr for the cause of gay activism when, in reality, he was more a victim of gay activism.
Brown argues that gay students should keep their feelings hidden because such feelings, when expressed, provoke harassment from other students. In the article on Larry King, Brown asked:
If our schools really are so “homophobic” and dangerous, why not encourage these kids to keep their sexual orientation to themselves until they’re in a safer environment?
Sharon Slater is the director of Family Watch International, a Phoenix based group which opposes the repeal of laws criminalizing homosexuality. Last month in an interview, Slater told me that she favored laws in the United States which make homosexual behavior a crime. She and her organization Family Watch International work with United Nations member nations to maintain laws which criminalize gays. About those laws, Slater said
“We do not support any laws that promote violence against homosexuals.” She added that her organization presents research showing that gays can change orientation. Such research is relevant to her stance because, “laws that promote violence would discourage therapy for people with unwanted same-sex attraction.”
I asked Mrs. Slater if she considers a 14-year jail sentence a form of violence. She said that her organization has no position on that question saying, “FWI does not dictate to nations what specific laws people should enact or protect regarding homosexual sex or whether they should fine or jail individuals.”
In December, 2009, I asked NARTH’s leadership about the organization’s position on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. At that time, some proponents of the bill were suggesting that forced therapy for gays should be included in the bill. NARTH’s David Pruden rejected the forced therapy as ineffective. However, NARTH’s Dean Byrd declined to take a position on criminalization saying,
We are aware of the situation in Uganda but thank you for bringing this to our attention. I am sure that you are aware that as a scientific organization, NARTH does not take political positions; however, we are happy to provide a summary of what science can and cannot say about homosexuality for those who do.
NARTH takes no position on criminalization and yet brings in a non-scientist who supports criminalization around the world in an “applied workshop.” NARTH claims to be a secular organization but brings in a minister who believes some homosexuals can be changed by removal of demons. I cannot imagine another scientific group giving a platform for similar views.