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Rachel Maddow socks it to gay “cure” advocate

December 11, 2009

Rachel Maddow slamdunks Richard Cohen

In recent days a disturbing story has emerged from Uganda which tells of an agenda by the Ugandan Government to imprison, criminalize and in some cases “execute” gay people. They even want to make it legislation that family members can be jailed for seven years for failing to inform the government if someone is gay within their family.

KAMPALA, Uganda — Proposed legislation would impose the death penalty for some gay Ugandans, and their family and friends could face up to seven years in jail if they fail to report them to authorities. Even landlords could be imprisoned for renting to homosexuals.

Gay rights activists say the bill, which has prompted growing international opposition, promotes hatred and could set back efforts to combat HIV/AIDS. They believe the bill is part of a continentwide backlash because Africa’s gay community is becoming more vocal.

“It’s a question of visibility,” said David Cato, who became an activist after he was beaten up four times, arrested twice, fired from his teaching job and outed in the press because he is gay. “When we come out and ask for our rights, they pass laws against us.”

The legislation has drawn global attention from activists across the spectrum of views on gay issues. The measure was proposed in Uganda following a visit by leaders of U.S. conservative Christian ministries that promote therapy for gays to become heterosexual. However, at least one of those leaders has denounced the bill, as have some other conservative and liberal Christians in the United States.

Gay rights activists say the legislation is likely to pass. But the bill is still being debated and could undergo changes before a vote, which has not yet been set.

The Ugandan legislation in its current form would mandate a death sentence for active homosexuals living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape. “Serial offenders” also could face capital punishment, but the legislation does not define the term. Anyone convicted of a homosexual act faces life imprisonment.

Anyone who “aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage of acts of homosexuality” faces seven years in prison if convicted. Landlords who rent rooms or homes to homosexuals also could get seven years and anyone with “religious, political, economic or social authority” who fails to report anyone violating the act faces three years.

Disturbingly the Ugandan authorities have been using the work of a self “cured” gay man turned straight, Richard Cohen, to bolster their views and add weight to the idea that gay people can be cured of their ailment. He believes gay men and women has unwanted same sex feelings, and bases this on a few reasons:

  • Heredity
  • Temperament
  • Hetero-Emotional Wounds
  • Homo-Emotional Wounds
  • Sibling Wounds/Family Dynamics
  • Body Image Wounds
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Homo-Social/Peer Wounds
  • Cultural Wounds

and other factors, including divorce, death of a “caregiver”, adoption and religion. These can all be found on Cohen’s “International Healing Foundation” website. It should be noted that Cohen’s assertions are based on his own personal experiences and although he cites on his website “holds a Master of Arts degree in psychology”, and many so called working experiences, Cohen’s findings are based on his “coming out straight” experiences:

…through his own personal experience transitioning from a homosexual to a heterosexual orientation in the 1980’s Cohen has been interviewed by newspapers, radio and television media, including appearances on 20/20, Larry King Live, The O’Reilly Factor, Paula Zahn Now, and Jimmy Kimmel Live. He is the Vice President and co-founder of Positive Alternatives To Homosexuality (PATH.) In addition to academic papers, Mr. Cohen has authored Coming Out Straight: Understanding and Healing Homosexuality; Gay Children-Straight Parents: A Plan for Family Healing, and Alfie’s Home.

Sadly there is no real concrete evidence that shows his theories work. He says that “no one simply chooses to have SSA” [same sex attraction] and that “there is no compelling evidence that anyone is determined from birth to have same-sex attraction (SSA).” Yet this flies in the face of many years medical research and ask any gay person if they just chose to be gay and I am sure they would tell you different. I have plenty of gay friends who would assert they were born to be who they are. Yet Cohen, based purely on his own experience claims he has cured thousands of people and even in newsletters on his site using his own scale to evaluate why people like Rosie O’Donnell, Melissa Etheridge and others are gay.

Rachel Maddow, from MSNBC has been following this story over the past few days and has recently had Cohen on her show to highlight that his book, his teachings and the way it has been picked up b the Ugandan authorities means Cohen has blood on his hands. Some say due to Maddow being a lesbian herself, she therefore has an agenda, and yes in some ways she does – but of tolerance and acceptance instead fear, persecution and ignorance.

During her segement, she cites a passage in Cohen’s book Coming Out Straight:

Homosexuals are at least 12 times more likely to molest children than heterosexuals; homosexual teachers are at least 7 times more likely to molest a pupil; homosexual teachers are estimated to have committed at least 25 percent of pupil molestation; 40 percent of molestation assaults were made by those who engage in homosexuality.

This is dangerous propoganda, based on research that has been thoroughly discredited. Cohen says that he plans on removing this from his book but the problem is future editions may not have this line anymore, but that doesn’t mean people will not hold past editions with this dangerous lie within it.

Ultimately Maddow handed Cohen’s backside back to him on a platter, pointing out how he is not a licensed psychiatrist and that his research is based purely on his own “experiences”. She also accused Cohen of having blood on his hands.

So as I think it is the duty of any tolerant person, gay or straight, to highlight how dangerous this man is and how disgusting Uganda’s agenda towards gay people is, here is Rachel Maddow’s segment. Please help spread the word.

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