Sunday, May 9, 2010

The More They Condemn It, The More They Want It


Professor George Rekers is a professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioural Science Emeritus at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. He holds a Ph.D. in human developmental psychology from the University of California Los Angeles, a Th.D. from the University of South Africa (a correspondence-only university), and an MBA from Southern Wesleyan University. He is a prominent social and cultural conservative who has gone to great lengths to agitate in favour of the abrogation of the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans, and he has made it clear on numerous occasions that he considers homosexuality to be a “sin”. Rekers has testified in court that he considers the Bible to be the infallible word of God. Nevertheless, he holds himself out to be a scientist and an expert in the field of homosexuality; he is on the board of the “National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality” (NARTH), which touts itself as a source of legitimate scientific information about homosexuality, and which promotes “reparative therapy” – a form of psychological intervention intended to “convert” gay men and lesbians into heterosexuals. In fact, NARTH has been widely condemned by the scientific community, and the American Psychological Association has warned that so-called "reparative therapy" can be extremely dangerous (several gay persons have committed suicide whilst undergoing such "therapy").

Rekers is also a co-founder (with James Dobson) of the “Family Research Council” (FRC), which is a virulently homophobic propaganda-spewing organization which called for the criminalization of homosexuality in the early months of 2010. The FRC issues numerous position papers in which it condemns homosexuality as a diseased “lifestyle” which is intentionally chosen by gay men and lesbians. In making this pronouncement, the FRC and the NARTH stand in isolation; almost every reputable scientific and medical organization which has studied homosexuality considers this to be a normal variant of human sexuality, in much the same way that left-handedness is considered to be a normal variant of laterality.

Rekers has appeared in court on several occasions, to promote legislation intended to prevent gay men and lesbians from adopting or fostering children. He appeared as an expert witness in a 2004 case involving the trial of the constitutionality of an n Arkansas state statute which forbad gay men and lesbians from adopting children (this legislation went into force in 1999). Pulaski County Circuit Court judge Timothy Fox held the Arkansas statute to be unconstitutional, referring to Rekers’ testimony as “extremely suspect” and commenting that Rekers appeared to be testifying purely for the purpose of promoting “his own personal agenda” (Howard v. Child Welfare Agency, Case No. CV 1999-9881 (2004)). The Arkansas Supreme Court subsequently affirmed this ruling in Howard v. Arkansas, 348 Ark. 471, 79 S. W. 3d 273 (2006).

Rekers was also called as an expert witness in a Florida case defending that state’s ban on gay adoption (Fla. Stat. §63.042(3)), which had been in place since 1977. In this case (in re Gill (2008)), Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Cindy Lederman wrote that "Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court can not consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy."

Equality Florida, an organization dedicated to advancing equal rights for gay persons, reported on May 7 that Attorney General Bill McCollum wasted $120,000.00 of taxpayer money securing Rekers' testimony (double the amount originally reported), and also lavished an additional $36,000.00 on Rekers' cohort Walter Schumm. McCollum is scrambling to put distance between himself and his "star" witness, but records clearly show that this money was paid to Rekers by the "Office of Attorney General -- Finance and Accounting" (see, the link to view payments made to Florida vendors).

In short, Rekers is an extreme cultural conservative who has allowed his religious beliefs to adulterate the relevant science. He is virulently homophobic, and recently published an article calling on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to revisit its 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (now in its Fourth Edition (DSM-IV)). Wayne Besen, the Executive Director of the New York based organization “Truth Wins Out”, which investigates and documents the anti-gay movement, states that “While he keeps a low public profile, his fingerprints are on almost every anti-gay effort to demean and dehumanize LGBT people. His work is ubiquitously cited by lobby groups that work to deny equality to LGBT Americans. Rekers has caused a great deal of harm to gay and lesbian individuals."

It was reported earlier this week that Rekers returned from a 10 day European vacation last month with a “travelling companion” who has been identified as a gay “rent boy” (prostitute). Rekers has been engaged in frantic and desperate attempts at damage control. He first stridently insisted that he had been unaware of the fact that his companion was a gay prostitute until half way through the vacation. However, his story has changed several times since it first broke and was picked up by the mainstream media.

Let’s examine the facts. This Bible-thumper hired a gay male prostitute – a person who at least earns an honest living, which is more than can be said of people such as Rekers, who specialize in stirring up hatred of gay Americans – who advertised on the web site named, to accompany him on a 10-day vacation in Europe!

First, Rekers claimed that he had hired the rent boy unwittingly, to help carry his luggage due to the fact that he suffered from a painful back condition which made it difficult for him to travel without assistance.

Yes, I can see that – were I a heterosexual man dedicated to stirring up hatred of gay persons, harming the gay community, seeking to ban gay persons from adopting or fostering children, and doing everything in my power to prevent the enactment of gay marriage and civil unions, and were I in need of somebody to carry my luggage for me due to medical reasons, the very first place I would look to for a porter would be a web site named, advertising the services of gay male prostitutes (excuse me, “escorts”!). This web site is unambiguous in its advertizing, and the advertizement for this particular rent boy even included the size of his endowment!

Upon returning to Miami from his 10-day romp with the rent boy, Rekers was photographed carrying his own luggage while the rent boy stood in the background, carrying nothing. Rekers then changed his story – he then claimed that he had hired the (barely legal) rent boy so as to be able to preach to this young man about the error of his “lifestyle”, and to “save” his soul from eternal damnation! (Come to Jesus, my son!)

Hypocrisy is an expensive and unforgiving teacher. “Lucien”, the Puerto Rican rent boy hired by Rekers, gave an in-depth interview to the New Times Miami confirming the sexual nature of the relationship between the blond “escort” and the professional homophobe. Rekers particularly enjoyed what he referred to as the “long stroke” – a special nude massage which Lucien administered “down there” once a day. Following this interview, the FRC dropped Rekers from its web site. Rekers placed the following “explanation” on his Facebook page for his fans:

  • Like John the Baptist and Jesus, I have a loving Christian ministry to homosexuals and prostitutes in which I share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them (see I Corinthians 6:8-11). Contrary to false gossip, innuendo, and slander about me, I do not in any way “hate” homosexuals, but I seek to lovingly share two types of messages to them, as I did with the young man called “Lucien” in the news story: [1] It is possible to cease homosexual practices to avoid the unacceptable health risks associated with that behavior, and [2] the most important decision one can make is to establish a relationship with God for all eternity by trusting in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, including homosexual sins. If you talk with my travel assistant that the story called “Lucien,” you will find I spent a great deal of time sharing scientific information on the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse, and I shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him in great detail.

(The naked self-aggrandizement reflected in this man's comparison of himself to Jesus Christ and to John the Baptist disinvites comment, other than to shed light on the psychology of this man's massively overinflated ego and grandiose self-image.)

Now isn’t that special? Rekers wasonly interested in trying to “witness” to the rent boy!

This is horribly reminiscent of the fate of the erstwhile poster boy for the “ex-gay” movement, John Paulk, who worked for the FRC opposing homosexuality until he was photographed by a gay rights activist desperately trying to leave a gay pickup bar (Pete’s) on DuPont Circle without being identified. Paulk had been there for more than an hour, chatting up another gay male patron and asking for sex before the activist arrived with his camera. When questioned by his FRC handlers about his dalliance at this watering hole, Paulk first claimed that he had needed to use the men’s room. When it was pointed out to him that there were any number of rest rooms he could have used at other establishments much more conveniently located, Paulk changed his story and claimed that he was merely “curious” about the “lifestyle” which he had supposedly left, years ago.

This was too much even for an organization as bigoted and as despicable as the FRC to stomach, and Paulk was thrown out in disgrace, neck and crop, losing his job with the FRC and fading into ignominious obscurity.

When all is said and done, what emerges from this sorry imbroglio is a portrait of a self-hating closet case who is prepared to go to any lengths, regardless of the extent to which he insults the intelligence of his handlers at the NARTH and the FRC, to lie, obfuscate, and disguise the fact that he hired this young man (whose endowment was prominently advertised on the web site in question) for the purposes of having, and enjoying, gay sex – period.

The only speculation still worth addressing is whether this man, who is utterly bereft of any redeeming social value, engaged in any other sexual activities with "Lucien" (who, for legal reasons, may be holding back on the specifics), and if so, whether he was the "top" or the "bottom" in this pathetic relationship. And the only sympathy worth bestowing on anybody in this matter should be reserved for this young man, who had to shut up and pleasure this disgusting piece of slime for 10 whole days and nights.