30 May 2013

Bachmann Overdrive

By now, you've all heard that Michele Bachmann is not seeking re-election.

I'm going to miss her.  After all, it's an accomplishment to make Sarah Palin look sane--and, at times, relatively coherent.  I mean, it's not just anyone about whom we can say that her insistence that gays can be "cured" is one of the least kooky things she says.

Plus, as you might know, her husband is a "Christian therapist" who runs an "ex-gay" clinic.  I'm sure he can tide her over until she transitions into the next phase of her life.  She might be getting a little old to work on Faux News (Rupert Murdoch interprets "child labor laws" to mean that no one over the emotional age of eleven should be hired.) but there may be a future for her with Glenn Beck, if he ever gets his own satellite network.  Or maybe she can be a regular guest on the Springer show. 

Anyway, I came across an interesting survey about ex-gay clinics from an author who spent time in one.  When Jallen Rix, who is also a facilitator at Beyond Ex-Gay, asked alumni of ex-gay "clinics" what good, if any, came of their experienced, 50 percent said "none".  Others said it helped them "come fully out of the closet", "feel less alone", leave religion or meet a same-sex partner.

In other words, for many alumni, their experiences of ex-gay "therapy", or whatever its practitioners call it, had affected them in ways that were exactly the opposite of what was intended.  

Moreover, about three-quarters of all participants said they quit the ex-gay movement didn't make them straight.  Twenty percent said they quit because of a nervous breakdown.  

And nearly all of them said, in different words, what one respondent wrote:  "I saw that NOBODY was being changed, and some of those guys had a lot more faith than I did," he wrote.  "The only ones I ever met who claimed to have been changed were the leadership.  And one of them was always hitting on me."

Nearly all of the respondents said that they were still paying for the experiences in more than one way.  "The financial cost of the ex-gay ministry  is not what I paid during the experience (which was nothing)," one wrote, "'but the thousands of dollars I have spent for therapy to get over the experience."

Hmm..Is that the legacy Ms. or Mr. Bachmann, who purport to be Christians--and to be pro-family--want to leave?  Perhaps they don't see the irony in it.  At least, she doesn't.  After all, she says things like "The founding fathers wouldn't recognize America today."  Indeed they wouldn't:  The fact that she was in Congress would surprise them in more ways than one!

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