The Voice of the Voiceless (sic) Campaign: Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right

Subtitle: Conservatives Against Crazy Therapies #savethepillows (see video below).
Right wing website The College Fix misses the point in an article published last Friday (6/20).
The assumption on the part of Chris Doyle and author Claire Healey seems to be that incorrect information provided by college counseling or resource centers should lead to the addition of more incorrect information at those same centers. In other words, since LGBT centers say some things that might be inaccurate or can’t be proven, ex-gay supporters should be allowed to do the same thing.
This is not “right-minded” but rather wrong-headed.
Doyle can’t offer any evidence for his claims, and as his campaign shows, his group is hardly voiceless.
Conservatives should not react in a knee jerk fashion against what seems like viewpoint discrimination to simply offer what seems to be the opposite position (e.g., gay groups say gays can’t change, conservative groups then should support the notion that gays can change). What seems like the opposite position of the position you don’t like is not of necessity the correct one. In this case, it is true that research has not found a consensus around the causes of homosexuality. However, that does not mean that Doyle’s version of weak fathering and overbearing mothering is correct. In fact, that model doesn’t have support in research. There are many good empirical reasons to question that model for most gays.  Doyle’s therapy approach is based on that causal model which, in addition to the absence of any empirical support, opens it up to skepticism.
Two wrongs don’t create a “right-minded” stance and is a loser as a conservative position.
Chris Doyle’s mentor Richard Cohen in action:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtGouVqsmsg[/youtube]
Sorry, can’t imagine a college promoting this anti-science brand of ex-gay therapy but that is what Doyle’s IHF is known for.

What Does The International Healing Foundation Do?

Last year, I reported that the International Healing Foundation struck gold in 2011 with an apparent donation of over 500k. Some of the money was used to promote a video for schools.  However, salad days have returned for IHF as the current 990 form shows they burned through the rest of those funds in 2012 leading to a loss for the year of just over $202k. Another question raised by the 2012 990 relates to the nature of their services in 2012. From the 990, it appears that IHF is claiming that they did very little, if any, counseling.
First, let’s look at the year’s summary as compared to last year.

First, IHF saw a dramatic drop in total revenue from 2011 to 2012. Second, while contributions increased substantially, program fees nearly dried up. Program fees represent client payments for workshops, counseling sessions and any other professional services conducted by IHF. Year to year, it appears that IHF lived off of what they made in 2011. IHF spent 202,393 more than they received in 2012.
Next, examine the description of revenue for 2012:

IHF claims just over $140k in gifts and donations and $27,547 in revenue from services provided. The 990 preparer typed in “seminars/conf/projects” as the source of those funds. I am aware that Richard Cohen traveled around the world to speak and that IHF staff conducted workshops and seminars. However, what about the counseling sessions which IHF touts as leading to change in orientation? According to a former IHF client, the organization charges $125 per hour for counseling. At that rate, it is hard to understand how IHF is keeping a full time counselor busy.

I reached out to IHF Director Christopher Doyle to ask if perhaps they consider client fees to be donations or for any other information which would shed light on these figures. However, he did not reply. Perhaps IHF didn’t report counseling income on the 990. Or perhaps they weren’t very busy providing reorientation counseling services in 2012. If the latter is true, what did they do?

IHF founder Richard Cohen was being cited by Unification Church leader Hjung Jin Moon as being the foremost leader in the UC on homosexuality. Cohen also spoke in Spain at the World Congress of Families conference (not Unificationist).

IHF’s Chris Doyle appeared on the Dr. Oz show to claim that what IHF does is mainstream therapy. While that is a ridiculous claim, it may be true that very little therapy of any kind is actually taking place.

See also:

International Healing Foundation Again Tied To Unification Church

International Healing Foundation Staffer Conducts Workshops For Unification Church

In 2007, parenting specialist at the International Healing Foundation Hilde Wiemann first denied, then admitted being involved in the Unification Church (Church of Sun Myung Moon who taught that he was the Messiah). Due to her involvement, the International Healing Foundation was briefly placed back on Steve Hassan’s list of Unificationist front groups.  IHF was originally placed on Hassan’s list because Cohen was once a member of the UC. IHF was removed when Wiemann recanted and declared the UC to be a “satanic, heretical cult.” IHF founder Richard Cohen initially denied Wiemann was a part of the church but later acknowledged her statement.
Apparently, Ms. Wiemann has changed her mind again. She recently presented a series of sessions along with long time UC member Pam Stein on behalf of the Women’s Federation for World Peace. The WFWP is a Unification Church entity headed by Angelika Selle. Selle pastors a UC church in MD and was appointed to her post as president of the American WFWP by none other than True Mother, Sun Myung Moon’s wife, Hak Ja Han Moon.
Ms. Wiemann has also changed her name. She now goes by Hilde Reinold in her non-IHF pursuits. Any doubt about her identity is dispelled by her Hilltop Retreat bio:

Hildegard Reinold grew up in a small town in Austria and came to the United States in 1982, where she married her husband, John Wiemann. John works hand-in-hand with Hilde as a massage therapist and Shiatsu specialist. John and Hilde have two sons and one daughter in their 20s, all happily married. Being a mother was and is the most important and fulfilling part of Hilde’s life.

IHF continues to partner with Reinold/Wiemann however, often using her Hilltop Retreat Center for their workshops. She is listed as Hilde Wiemann in the IHF literature but Hilde Reinold on the brochure promoting the UC workshop (note arrows pointing out the audience and the presenters):

I addition to the tele-course, Rienold/Wiemann led a session for the WFWP in October as a part of their of their annual National Assembly. During this event, Reinold/Wiemann presented a break out session on leadership and was quoted extensively in the article.
Reinold/Wiemann is not a peripheral player at IHF. In IHF’s Winter, 2012 newsletter, Cohen lauded Wiemann as a “true sister” and said she is “intrinsically laced into the fabric of IHF.”
In October 2012, one of Moon’s sons, Hyung Jin Moon identified Richard Cohen as being in the UC movement and as the “foremost expert” on homosexuality in the UC. There was no comment at the time from Cohen.
For more on the UC, see this in depth New Republic report from Mariah Blake.
 
 

International Healing Foundation Announces The End Of Homosexuality

Really. Just look.

Announcing
THE END OF HOMOSEXUALITY
Want to Know How?

Greetings,
Want to be part of an exciting revolution? Want to end homosexuality and prevent bullying? Want to protect your children and grandchildren?
Everyday our kids are being inundated with false information about homosexuality-born that way and cannot change. This is both scientifically and scripturally untrue. We at IHF have developed solutions to end homosexuality:
1. Coming Out Straight: a plan to heal unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA)
2. Gay Children Straight Parents: a plan for family healing
3. Counselor Training Program: education for therapists & ministry leaders

Eventually all of this turns into a request for money. Want to end the gay? You gotta pay to play.
There is one thing that can be said about International Healing Foundation: Change is Possible.
They change their message and tone frequently. Good cop and bad cop, all in one package, all in one day.
Speaking of that slogan – change is possible – nearly two years ago, Cohen and IHF apologized for it.

We at IHF wish to offer a sincere, heartfelt apology to everyone in the LGBTQ community who may have been hurt by our message of “change.” As the director of IHF, I apologize and ask your forgiveness. I did not realize that by stating, “Change is Possible,” some would be offended. That was the furthest thing from my heart and mind. To think that our message of “change” would cause further pain to LGBTQ youth and adults is painful to imagine … I am deeply and profoundly sorry.

Now I can envision another future apology: We at IHF wish to apologize for claiming to bring about the end of homosexuality. We did not realize that by announcing the end of homosexuality, some would be offended.
One would be hard pressed to find a more confusing organization than IHF. On their “coming out loved” website, they claim to accept gays:

Some live a heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, or transsexual life, while others are unsure about their sexuality and seek to explore alternatives. We uphold your right of self-determination, to follow the path that fills your heart with love. 

Bringing in the bullying theme heightens the confusion and contradiction. I can only imagine how IHF’s message would be received by a GLB teen or young adult. IHF is now identifying with the bullies who also want to end homosexuality and is doing so in the name of preventing bullying.
Surreal.
 
 

Dr. Oz’s Reparative Therapy Adventure

You can watch what Dr. Oz puts on his website here.

On the show, International Healing Foundation’s Chris Doyle said what he does is mainstream therapy and he said IHF doesn’t discourage gayness. This is astounding.  Let’s remember what IHF does:

IHF and other reparative therapists tell clients that their same sex attraction is due to abuse or trauma at the hands of the same sex parent. I have seen families literally ripped apart by this kind of “intervention.” There is nothing supportive about these interventions.

Later Julie Hamilton came on and said that reparative therapists don’t stigmatize same-sex attraction. One of the opposing guests (Brad Lamm) said she was not being honest. He is certainly closer to correct. Just check out a few articles on the NARTH website:

Health Risks: Fisting and other Homosexual Practices – Assumes the health risks of certain practices are associated with sexual orientation.

Interview with Andy Comiskey – SSA is a pathology

Fathers of Male Homosexuals – The problem is with the father.

Homosexuality 101 – Julie Hamilton’s article blaming fathers

Reparative therapists on this show tried to make what they do about choice of a benign option. However, their model of homosexuality renders that strategy less than honest. When one teaches that same-sex attraction is always wrapped up in abuse, and/or a dysfunctional family, one cannot expect to be taken seriously or calmly.

 

International Healing Foundation Strikes Gold with School Project

After years of reporting meager income from operations of the International Healing Foundation, Richard Cohen reported over $600,000 in revenue on his 990 form for 2011. Most of that total – $540,000 – was revenue related to an IHF “special school project.” See below:

 The IHF website is silent about this project but it seems likely that this is the educational initiative Cohen described in his Fall 2007 newsletter. After lamenting what he considered to be school indoctrination relating to homosexuality, Cohen provided his solution:

To fill in the blanks left by the public school systems’ strictly gay-affirming curricula, the International Healing Foundation is set to produce a short DVD. This film is designed to be part of the schools’ health education courses, and clearly shows that people can change and come out of homosexuality. The film will feature the true story of a young man and his parents, as well as interviews with several other men and women who have made the change from gay to straight. Half the film’s $40,000 budget has been raised. The International Healing Foundation needs your help in raising the remaining $20,000 to make this film a reality. Please help save our children, and set the record straight!

Once this project is completed, an additional one million dollars will be needed to send a copy of the DVD to every school district in the country. We will urge them to provide a DVD for each of their schools, so the complete story of homosexuality can be told. This historical film will have the power to turn the tide of strictly gay affirmation by proclaiming the truth about change. Millions of students will then have the opportunity to decide for themselves the kind of life they choose to live.

As improbable as it might seem, it appears that IHF has found a donor or several donors willing to fund this effort. The project appears to be moving forward. According to the 990, IHF has spent over $180,000 on expenses relating to the “special school project.”

Yesterday I reported that Unification Church president, Hyung Jin Moon considers IHF founder Richard Cohen to be a member of the Unification church movement and the foremost expert on homosexuality in the church. With this school project, Cohen apparently wants to bring his “expertise” to the nations’ schools. Given the volatile climate of public schools related to anti-gay bullying, I am nervous about the impact of schools showing a video from IHF to students.

While I doubt these clips are a part of the school video, it is worth remembering how Cohen approaches sexual reorientation. First from a CNN appearance:

and then from the documentary, Chasing the Devil:

UPDATE: Another more likely possibility for the video expenses is the underwriting of Acception Productions (another hat tip to David Hart for reminding me of this). This video purports to be about bullying prevention but adds a “U” (for unwanted) to the usual GLBT designation of same sex orientation. Thus, IHF attempts to straddle the fence – claiming to support kids who are same-sex attracted but also supporting reparative therapy interventions which pathologize them. How ironic. Initially, Cohen claimed that gays were using the schools to advance ideological ends and now he is doing it for the same purpose.

Here is a description of the initial showing of their video to public school staff:

The event also featured a talk by Betsy Gallun, Supervisor of Health Education, Prince George’s County, MD and a panel discussion of middle and high school students from the Washington, DC area that was moderated by WHUR’s Molette Green.

Here is the trailer for the video:

In the curriculum booklet which accompanies Acception is this gem which is supposed to be discussed with students:

Group 5: Innate and Developmental Characteristics. – We are all born with unique personalities. We also develop specific characteristics through familial and environmental factors. In Acception, the cartoon “Are People Born Gay?” examines the scientific evidence surrounding homosexuality, and concludes with the American Psychological Association that: “Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”49 With your group, discuss some of the characteristics people are born with, as well as other characteristics that are acquired. What do you think we can and cannot change about ourselves? Share your thoughts with your classmates, and remember to accept and appreciate everyone’s opinion.

And then this claim is made regarding sexual orientation change:

Group 9: Respecting Choices. – While most people experience little or no choice in their sexual attractions, many people make decisions based on their personal, religious, and/or cultural values when it comes to their sexual behavior. For example, some individuals who experience same-sex attraction may find their feelings are at odds with their values and choose not to engage in homosexual behavior. Others, still, may actually experience a shift or change in their sexual feelings throughout their lives due to a variety of experiences; in fact, emerging research is finding that sexuality is somewhat fluid for certain individuals, and should not be viewed as fixed or permanent.52,53,54,55,56

I think it will be clear to most long time observers of IHF that this video is simply a means of getting the “change is possible” message in the schools. While I have no problem with the idea that some people choose to align their behavior with religious beliefs, it is another thing entirely to give students false hope and then route them to religiously oriented ex-gay programs which use bizarre methods to try to reorient sexuality.

Hat tip to David Hart.

Unification Church President Says Richard Cohen is Foremost Expert on Gays in Their Movement

From 2007 through 2008, I wrote a series of posts which revealed ongoing ties between the Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation and the Unification Church (aka Moonies). Initially, Cohen’s staffer Hilde Wiemann denied she was a member of the movement but then later admitted she had been in the movement long after Cohen said there were no ties between his organization and the church.

This week I have come across video which again links Cohen with the Unification church. On October 7, 2012, Moon’s son and president of the Unification Church Hyung Jin Moon held a town hall meeting at the Unification Bay Area Family Church. Sun Myung Moon recently died, but in 2008, he appointed Hjung Jin to be the leader of the church.

The full three hour video is here. Below is a brief excerpt of Hyung Jin’s answer to a question about homosexuality (at about 2 hours and 40 minutes into the session):

Moon says:

Richard Cohen is a member in our movement who has worked on this tremendously, the whole issue. Even as you mentioned, you said that people are gay through no fault of their own. But of course this is debatable; that’s an assumption. Richard Cohen actually debates that assumption. He’s actually an expert on this issue and so maybe we can connect you to him, Richard Cohen. If you could, give your contact information to Dr. Grubb, we will try to connect you to Richard Cohen. I think in our movement he is probably the foremost expert on that whole issue, and hopefully he can contribute and helping us with programs in the future as well.

I have asked IHF for comment with no immediate response. The mention of Cohen by Unification Church President Hyung Jin Moon does not conclusively prove that Cohen is member of the church. Perhaps Cohen is the only person Hyung Jin knows who claims expertise regarding homosexuality. However, the way he describes Cohen and the ease with which he indicates he can connect the questioner with Cohen again raises questions about Cohen’s earlier denials.

Cohen said he left the Unification Church in 1995. Hyung Jin was about 16 years old at the time.

Uganda: Caleb Lee Brundidge on the criminalization of homosexuality

During the Family Life Network conference on homosexuality in Kampala, questions were asked on a variety of topics. Criminalization came up via a question to Caleb Lee Brundidge. The conference speakers had an opportunity to address the topic via the questions asked, even the subject was not a part of their prepared remarks. Here you can hear the question and Mr. Brundidge’s response.

I am not sure what Mr. Brundidge is recommending here. He seems to laud the Ugandans for having “a standard” but notes that people are afraid to come out. This question might have caught Mr. Brundidge by surprise. His answer seems to come down on the side of criminalization if a person is “caught in the act.” However, much later, his mentor, Richard Cohen said he would not have sent Brundidge to Kampala if he understood the purposes of the conference.

Even though Brundidge notes a possible problem with criminalization, he provided inaccurate and misleading information to his audience. He could have taken a strong position against criminalization and for freedom of conscience. It seems unlikely that Richard Cohen’s letter has c0nnected with Ugandans the way the speakers did in March. I suspect some of those attending came away thinking that criminalization is an appropriate state response – and still may believe that approach is consistent with the teaching they heard from Americans at the Family Life Conference.

For all posts on the Family Life Network conference in March and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, please click here.

Note: Don Schmierer signed the letter sent by Exodus International to President Museveni which stated opposition to criminalization.

Ugandan travelogue from Caleb Brundidge and the International Healing Foundation

Back in the Spring, I reported on an ex-gay conference in Kampala, Uganda and hosted by Family Life Network (see links at the end of this post). Three Americans spoke by invitation of the FLN – Don Schmierer, Caleb Brundidge and Scott Lively.

ugandabrundidge

(L to R, unknown woman, Scott Lively, Caleb Brundidge, Don Schmierer, Stephen Langa).

At the time, Schmierer and Lively received much critical attention for their presentations but the role of the International Healing Foundation and Caleb Brundidge went largely under the radar. No one from IHF, including Brundidge commented on the Ugandan trip at the time. However, Brundidge has broken his silence in the most recent IHF newsletter available on Richard Cohen’s website. Given the recent introduction of a bill in Uganda which would impose the death penalty on some offenses involving homosexuality and dramatically suppress free speech and assembly, it is appropriate to examine how IHF portrayed the conference and effects to the organization’s constituents.

brundidge

Note that Cohen bills the trip to Uganda as a mission trip and seems proud of being represented there by Brundidge. As noted here and in footage provided by ExGayWatch, Cohen’s materials have been used by the group which convened after the ex-gay conference. 

According to a report from an unidentified person in the ex-gay conference, Brundidge supported the continued criminalization of homosexuality.When he was asked by someone in the crowd: “Do you feel it is okay to decriminalise homosexuality?” he did not speak against it, instead indicating

That for the law to be effective, one must be caught in the Act. Laws should be done through a value of standards from which legislators draw a given law.

I am not sure what the last sentence means. While this may not be what Brundidge said, he has not replied to requests to describe what he said in Uganda.

However, in the IHF newsletter, he referred to the repressive situation in Uganda.

My trip was extremely busy and event filled. Here is a brief synopsis of what took place: My first engagement was to give a brief two to five minute testimony to the Ugandan Parliament.

Believe it or not, in present-day Uganda, homosexual behavior is either punishable by life in prison or death! Also pornography is illegal. The members of parliament are being pressured by Western and European sources to make pornography and homosexuality legal. Yes, homosexual behavior is incompatible with God’s Word, however, we tried to make them understand that there are definite causes for someone’s same-sex attraction (SSA), and therefore, change and transformation are possible. Our efforts were to help them understand a more compassionate response to anyone who experiences SSA.

While he says now that he advocated for compassion, I cannot find a clear statement that he opposed criminalization. Elsewhere in the article, Brundidge said:

One thing that God showed me while there is that many people are suffering in silence because of their SSA. As I mentioned, homosexual behavior is illegal and punishable by life in prison or even death. They have fear to go. On the other hand, the word is out on the street to the young people: If you want to make good money, pretend to be “gay.”

Reading the entire account, I don’t get the impression that Brundidge or Cohen would support death for homosexuals. However, there is little indication that they comprehend the dire situation there. Brundidge ends his account with a surreal appeal for more money.

I would like to thank those who supported my mission to Uganda. Please know that the work of IHF is being carried into all corners of the world. We so appreciate your contributions to keep hope alive!

On the contrary, the situation now is more dangerous and less conducive to hope than when Brundidge went to Uganda. Instead of appeals for money, I hope that IHF will issue an appeal to their Ugandan hosts to defeat the proposed bill.

Additional links:

Uganda’s strange ex-gay conference

More on the Ugandan ex-gay conference

Ugandan ex-gay conference goes political: Presenter suggests law to force gays into therapy

Reparative therapy takes center stage at Ugandan homosexuality conference

Gay Ugandan man seeks asylum in UK: EU group condemns Ugandan ex-gay conference

Open forum: Report from the Ugandan conference on homosexuality

Christian Post article on the Ugandan ex-gay conference

Scott Lively on criminalization and forced therapy of homosexuality

Christianity, homosexuality and the law

Uganda anti-gay group holds first meeting

Follow the money: Pro-family Charitable Trust

NARTH removes references to Scott Lively from their website

Aftermath of the Ugandan conference on homosexuality

Uganda: The other shoe drops

Follow the money: Pro-Family Charitable Trust

This post is mostly about information without much commentary. Recently, I noted that NARTH (National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) had removed references to Scott Lively from their website. In that post, I reported that Mr. Lively’s foundation, the Pro-Family Charitable Trust chose NARTH as one of the first recipients of grant funds.
While the amounts are not large, Lively’s organization has funded other groups, including Paul Cameron’s Family Research Institute. Here is the list.
According to Lively’s website, NARTH has received $2000 total. PFOX, Exodus, Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, JONAH, Mission America and Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation have all been recipients.
Discuss…