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Tuesday June 14, 2005


Swear to god the more I read about John Smid, the creepier he gets. According to an article in today's Memphis Commercial Appeal (registration required), John Smid admits that he's still a homosexual, all that ex-gay rhetoric notwithstanding. In his book, Not Afraid To Change another more spectacular failure of an ex, John Paulk, writes that Smid told him "The label of ex-gay is still connected with your past....So from now're not an ex-gay; you're a man. And not just a man, but a heterosexual." Considering Paulks' later episodes of off again on again heterosexuality, perhaps Smid thinks that a little restraint is in order when talking to the press:

LIA's director, John Smid, who says he's been free from the homosexual lifestyle, although not same-sex attractions, for 20 years, says it's not LIA's goal "to make sure clients never act out in homosexual relationships."

The mission, he says, is to help the teens make informed, honest decisions about their sexual choices, and to seek God's best for their life.

That's disingenuous. This is taken directly from the page of Love In Action's Teen Program "Refuge""

We believe scripture contains the final truth and authority concerning all matters of morality. We also affirm that scripture contains the hope and healing for all moral dilemmas. We acknowledge the sinfulness of any sexual act outside of the scriptural context of Holy Matrimony between a man and woman.

So their mission is to make teens seek "God's best for their life", which is that sex must not be "outside of the scriptural context of Holy Matrimony between a man and woman." Making sure clients never act out in homosexual relationships is exactly what they are about. Smid looked that reporter in the face and lied through his teeth. And he's a man of God. Oh...and he demands honesty from his teenaged clients...

Group Norms

1. Be honest, authentic, and real.

This is what he expects of his clients. Maybe someday he'll expect it of himself.

The charge that gay people pose a special risk to children is infamous. But sexually immature adults who fear and or loath their sexual nature, and who deal with it by denying or suppressing it sure as hell are. Catholic Priest Scandal anyone? At the risk of sounding like a broken record here...

The clients may not wear Abercrombie and Fitch or Calvin Klein brand clothing, undergarments, or accessories...

Bikini-style underwear is prohibited...

As non-residential clients, Refuge participants must submit to an F.I. search every morning....Refuge clients will arrive daily at the Love in Action campus no later than 8:50 a.m., waiting in a designated area until a staff member meets them to perform the F.I. search and check them in...Items that violate the F.I. policy or the dress code will be held for the client, to be returned no later than the client's last day in program.

The human identity is not a blackboard anyone can just scribble their will upon. Ask the children of Marx and Lenin. Ask the shades that walk the corridors of Hitler's bunker. A false concept of human nature that denies us who and what we are does not remake us, it takes from us the only means of self control we have: understanding. We are indivisible creatures of flesh and blood and mind and spirit, and the ancient ancestors that brought us forth tug at our hearts still. The flesh and blood desires they have bequeathed us do not shame us. They simply are. Our bodies are the living history of millions of years of life on earth. It is a noble story, and it has made us what we are. We shame ourselves by choosing to be less then what we have been given the chance to be, by choosing not to bear our heritage honorably, by choosing ignorance over knowledge.

Does this man who admits he's still experiencing same sex attractions, but who insists that they can be kept under lock and key simply by not "acting out", actually inspect his teen inmates underwear himself? I hope the hell not. Does he listen to their forced sexual confessions in private?

by Bruce Garrett | Link


Zach, the kid in Tennessee who was forced against his will into John Smid's Love (sic) In Action ex-gay camp is not named Bartlett. Bartlett is the name of the town he's from. My apologies to Zach, and his friends.

You read the messages of support and love from his friends, left on the open comment section of his blog, and you really see the depth of the wound John Smid has made in one small corner of a young world. But they seem like a strong bunch. And more importantly, they care about each other. That is what will see them all through this difficult time. Here's what love in action really looks like:


Zachary..I miss you..God, I cant believe all this..

Zach.... i am extremely happy that i got to see you today! i hope it made you feel a little better. Seeing you smile just made me realize that everything is going to be ok. and yea... **** doesnt actually go to that church.... we just all missed you so much and had to see you. I hope you didnt get in trouble for us hugging you or talking to you. I know your dad knew that the real reason we were there was to see you but that just shows him that we love you no matter what. anyway i'm sure i will write you another message tonight! i love you!

Zaaaaach.... I MISS YOU! When this is over we r having a **** and Zach day and we r going to Starbucks and the mall and wherever else u wanna go even if its juss sitting in Barnes n Noble for 3 hours! haha!

Zach... i miss you... A LOT... i can't wait until this is all over! just stay strong and dont change! I love you just the way you are!

I MISS YOU!!!!! :'(

Hey darlin. I loved seeing you at that bogus meeting Tuesday. I just hope you didn't believe that crap they were preaching to you and I hope I didn't get you in trouble after you said Hi to me and I gave you a shoulder squeeze and told you I was there for you. That's poo if you did and I'm sorry. That lady gave me crap when I refused to fill out that card. She was like... "So who did you hear about us through???" and I was like... uh... a friend of mine is going through it...She was quite the evil woman.

i was at the protest today. be strong

Zachary!..ahh how long has it been since I've last seen or talked to you? Me and **** miss you so much! I will savor that last time we went to your house and visited you. I miss you like crazy!! I'm so used to speaking to you everyday and now..I don't even see your SN on my buddylist. Well you know you've got our support and we'll all be here for you no matter what, so just hang in there. You're strong, you'll make it through. And you know I love you!!

hey...I will be there at 8:30 in the morning, and every morning I can make it.. I am proud of you, be strong, and don't let anyone make u something your not.. much love.

Hopefully, one of these days, Smid will get his comeuppance for not only brutalizing innocent kids, but turning their pain into money in his pocket. In a just world, he'd be behind bars with the other child abusers.

I hope some of Zach's friends are saving these little messages of support for him to read later, because you just know that the instant Smid or anyone in the group or his parents gets their hands on the password from that kid, that blog will simply disappear.

by Bruce Garrett | Link


Greetings to the readers of World O' Crap! I read it often myself, and should probably put it in my blog list. But I have to admit I read it sparingly. I can only let myself get so angry in one day. Some days I really envy the writers' ability to keep their head, and their sense of humor, while reading the chatter in the kook pews. I wish I could manage that.

And Speaking Of Cults And Their Family Values

As if the plight of Zach Bartlett and other kids like him isn't enough to make you spitting angry, the Los Angles Times (registration required) has a really heart breaking article up about hundreds of teenaged boys that have been dumped in St. George, Utah, like so much human garbage by a polygamous sect in Colorado City and Hildale.

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Abandoned by his family, faith and community, Gideon Barlow arrived here an orphan from another world.

At first, he played the tough guy, aloof and hard. But when no one was watching, he would cry.

The freckle-faced 17-year-old said he was left to fend for himself last year after being forced out of Colorado City, Ariz., a town about 40 miles east of here, just over the state line.

"I couldn't see how my mom would let them do what they did to me," he said.

When he tried to visit her on Mother's Day, he said, she told him to stay away. When he begged to give her a present, she said she wanted nothing.

"I am dead to her now," he said.

Gideon is one of the "Lost Boys," a group of more than 400 teenagers — some as young as 13 — who authorities in Utah and Arizona say have fled or been driven out of the polygamous enclaves of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City over the last four years.


Some say they were sometimes given as little as two hours' notice before being driven to St. George or nearby Hurricane, Utah, and left like unwanted pets along the road.

Authorities say the teens aren't really being expelled for what they watch or wear, but rather to reduce competition for women in places where men can have dozens of wives.

"It's a mathematical thing. If you are marrying all these girls to one man, what do you do with all the boys?" said Utah Atty. Gen. Mark Shurtleff, who has had boys in his office crying to see their mothers...

The cult leader, Warren Jeffs is apparently, according to the article, in hiding somewhere in Texas, laying the groundwork for another new cult headquarters, and who knows, possibly scouting around the neighborhood for another small town to serve as his dumping ground for unwanted children.

Some of the boys are taken in by families in St. George, and luckily, it looks like Gideon has been taken in by a loving couple, Stacha and Neil Glauser, who had heard the stories of what they're calling in that part of the world, The Lost Boys. Gideon is one of 71 children born to his father, 73-year-old Dan Barlow, who has eight wives. I'm fifty-one, and don't cry easily when reading newspaper articles. But this paragraph toward the end brought me to tears:

As for his mother, Gideon is moving on.

"This is my mom," he said, nodding toward Glauser. "She treats me the way a mother should treat a son. She wakes me in the morning. She always talks to me. I don't know if I could ever pay her back."

I regard myself as a liberal on most social issues, and regarding religion, I'm with Jefferson who said that it neither picks his pocket nor breaks his leg for his neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. But more importantly, one's own spirituality is a very personal, very intimate thing, and I believe strongly that family, let alone perfect strangers, should just leave you alone in those matters. We all have a right to seek that inner light on our own terms, in our own way, just as we are.

But your right to your religious beliefs ends at the heart of another. They have their rights too. Even if they're your children. No...especially if they're your children. Children need to be nurtured and raised healthy and strong and able to make their own way in the world, not heart damaged and emotionally stunted and flung into the world like abandoned pets. It's unconscionable, it is obscene, to snuff love, and the awe and wonder of life out of a kid's heart; and the rest of us end up having to deal with the consequences of that kind of parental abuse. Parents that do this need to he held accountable for it. Their religious beliefs are no excuse.

I am generally liberal on matters sexual. Alone with someone I am head over heels in love with, I seem to myself like I'm either a naive nitwit or a shy little prude most times. Cold feet, warm heart...okay? I take love and sex seriously, religiously even, and maybe that's too much. But it's what makes me absolutely certain in my gut, that other people have to be given space to sort their own sex lives out for themselves, in their own way. What's important is that a person is honest, that they are trustworthy, that the people they take into their arms are better for having been loved by them, and not worse. Everything else is detail. The older I get, the more fiercely I value the important stuff, and tolerate the detail in a person's life. So what if they like to sleep around. I wouldn't ever date such a person, but probably someone like that has no need of a guy who wants commitment either. So what if they have some weird fetish? They find someone else who shares it and they make each other happy. You just go your own ways and leave each other's hearts alone. We all have our intimate needs. Desire takes us each a little differently. All we have a right to expect of each other, is that we do no harm to the people we take into our arms. The rest is our affair.

But I see now that I've had this notion of polygamy that was something quaint and archaic, like a scene out of Paint Your Wagon...suffy prudish Mormons with a couple of wives. So what if your neighborhood has a few of them? But look at what's happening in Colorado City. A few dominant males are rounding up females like chattel, and competing with the other dominant males for harem size. The women are rendered progressively more and more powerless, dependant, and ignorant, because independent, strong willed, intelligent women are systematically selected out of the culture by men who don't want their women straying out of the harem to find their own sexual and emotional fulfillment. Very young girls are taken by dominant males before they're old enough to make their own choice, and maybe go with some other guy they actually like. In Colorado City, the local government has been utterly corrupted by the practice. And now they're dumping their male children by the road out of town like so much human garbage, because each one of them is a potential challenger the older they get. This isn't theoretical rhetoric...this is actually happening. We can watch it happening. Somebody tell me why this isn't the necessary outcome of polygamy.

The question is always raised, if same sex marriage, why not polygamy too?'s why.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

The Delicate Flavor Of Cult

Janus Online has a couple really good posts up, comparing John Smid's Love In Action ex-gay ministry to cults, as defined by CultWatch, as a group which uses mind control tactics as part of their daily operations. Read this one first, then this one.

I think if you looked beyond Love In Action you would likely find that most, if not all of these ex-gay ministries, exhibit cult like behavior. This is something that is probably well worth documenting in its own right, and exploring in more detail. How much of the following list sounds familiar?

Mike follows this up with an appeal for support:

If you live in the Memphis area, please take part in the protest of Love in Action. The safety of kids is at stake.

I also encourage you to contact Senate Majority Leader, Tennessee Senator Dr. Bill Frist, and ask him what he thinks of this type of coercion happening in his state.

Okay...I can't think of anything more pointless then asking the Senator who once adopted cats from animal shelters so he could experiment on them while he was a medical student, what he thinks of the emotional rape of gay minors. But if you have a somewhat more compassionate and sane congresscritter in your state, it might be worthwhile to write them about it. Because I'm hearing now that this outfit collects kids from fundamentalist churches and angry vengeful parents all over the country, and brings them to a residential program on site. Ask your representative if minors from your state are being shipped off to these unmonitored and unregulated camps, where mostly untrained ex addicts and "ex" gays get to examine what kind of underwear gay minors are wearing, and maybe make a few take theirs off for them. Ask your representatives what they are doing to protect kids in your state from this kind of thing.

And if you're in the Memphis area, please take some time to join in the growing protests.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Monday June 13, 2005

Lynching Laws, Congressional Apologies, And Hate Apologists...(continued)

Richard Cohen responds to my email (see post below).

You are confused. Anti-lynching laws were sought at the federal level because lynchings were not being prosecuted at the state level. This is not the case with hate crimes. As it is, lynchings would now probably be prosecuted as civil rights violations, if the state took no action, as was done with the killers of Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner. I am not against punishing such people. I am simple against making their political beliefs, no matter how odious, an additional crime.

And Cohen knows that charges under civil rights statutes have been brought against defendants who, it was deemed, had not been adiquately punished by their state courts. And lynching is still murder by another name. Why not simply call it murder? Because it a kind of terrorism. And as such, it was a political act as well as being an act of murder.

And in any case, there is no hate crime law that punishes political belief. It takes an act of violence for a hate crime law to kick in. Here Cohen obfusicates the nature of hate crime laws exactly the way anti-gay hatemongers do. It is an utterly grotesque sight.

But never mind... I didn't actually expect a brick to suddenly turn into a brain.

by Bruce Garrett | Link


Mike Airhart of Ex-Gay Watch questions the quote attributed to John Smid by one of his former clients, Tom Ottosen. ( see the cartoon for the week). In his blog comments, Mike Ditto of Janus Online sent a message to the editor of We the People requesting more information on the authenticity of the quote. I asked them all (in the Ex-Gay watch comments section), how you verify a quote that only two people heard. Well, it seems in this case you can only verify that the publication that went with it, didn't edit or alter it as given to them, which they have now done. The editor of We The People has responded thusly:

I can verify the quote attributed to John Smid, director of Lone in Action, San Rafael's ex-gay organization. An ex-member, then 24-year old Tom Ottosen recalled Smid's words while speaking with We the People's Dennis Anderson. At the time, Ottosen was grappling with suicidal thoughts and was considering leaving Love in Action.

It's still in the realm of he said/she said, but at least we have been assured that there hasn't been any additional filtering. This is what Tom Ottosen, a two year client of Love In Action, told We The People. And John Smid, while denying he said just that, confirms that a private conversation with Ottosen did occur. Smid's defenders can argue that Ottosen, distraught and grappling with suicidal thoughts, does not recall the conversation accurately, but at minimum all that defense does is show what a horrific councilor Smid must be, to leave a client in a state where he thinks the very people treating him for his homosexuality want him to die. Why would a client of Love In Action feel that way?

Probably because, that's the message they're giving to gay people. You should not exist... At some point, the issue of whether or not Smid said exactly that to Ottosen becomes moot. However, I do not for a moment doubt Ottosen's word on this. The statement rings true, with the self righteous disconcern for human life that is the essential nature of American fundamentalism.

One additional note... Mike Airhart now says that he regards all this focus on the plight of one gay teen (Zach Bartlett), as a distraction "from Love In Action's history, its stated agenda, and the experiences of those who have benefited, suffered or died as a result of LIA activities." To that I say that putting a human face on what is for many an abstract issue, can be immensely clarifying. It's one thing to argue that these groups do much more harm then good, and another to read a gay teens anguish in his own words, the night before he's being packed off. That takes it out of the realm of the abstract, and makes it something that really happens, something that is really happening now. Airhart obviously cares about what these outfits are doing to people. He needs to be careful the cause doesn't become more important then the people in it.

Zach, as near as I can tell from comments being made (friends have seen him in church), knows nothing of what is going on right now. His door to the outside world is being kept shut for now by his wardens. Which means he's actually insulated a bit from the controversy. So I'm a little fuzzy about how it could be adding stress on him at the moment. Right now, the only people stressing him out are his keepers, using tactics like those "shaming sessions" to make him hate himself.

I can appreciate that he may feel a little overwhelmed by it all when he's finally able to reach out to that world again, and can see how many people were worried for him. But, for now, the adults responsible for what's going on in there need to be told, over and over again, that the whole world Is watching them, and that they will be held accountable. To let them hide behind the very gay people they're themselves busy terrorizing would be the final insult to injury.

Zach, and anyone else who has been involuntarily committed into one of these outfits, needs our support. You know...Amnesty International "adopts" prisoners of conscience, and asks its members to send them messages of support, and their keepers little postcards telling them that the whole world is watching what they are doing to them. That might be something someone involved in all of this could organize. Get their names, organize Amnesty International-esque shows of support, let them all, prisoner and keeper alike, know that the world is watching...

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Sunday June 12, 2005

Lynching Laws, Congressional Apologies, And Hate Apologists

TO: Richard Cohen (
FROM: Bruce Garrett (

I'm watching the CBS news this evening, and I see a story about James Cameron, said to be the oldest known living survivor of an attempted lynching in America. He was sixteen at the time a mob set on him. He tells the camera the faces he saw in the mob were people whose cars he washed, whose shoes he shined. Tomorrow, or so I am told, Congress will pass a resolution apologizing for not passing an anti-lynching law.

I immediately (yes, immediately) think of you. I think of your persistent and semi regular attacks on hate crime laws, on the very idea of hate crime laws. At least, with regard to violence against homosexual people.

Well, what is an anti-lynching law, except another form of hate crime law? Murder is, after all, already a crime…right? That is the rhetoric I hear over and over again regarding hate crime laws, and I'm sure I've heard it from you too, although I don't have any specific examples handy. Murder, assault, these are already crimes. Hate crime laws exist only to further punish hate, which is to say, they exist only to punish thought. And isn't that what an anti-lynching law is? Why call it anything but murder? And murder is already a crime.

Would you care to write a column this week, telling James Cameron that congress need not apologize to him? Would you, if you could, look him in the eyes and tell him that murder was, even in the segregated south, already against the law, and that punishing people simply for hating blacks would have accomplished nothing?

And yes...I think congress, and America as a whole, need to apologize. Terrorism isn't new to these shores since 9/11. Ask James Cameron. Ask the family and friends of another black man, Nicholas West, who was killed because he was gay. Motive has always played a role in sentencing. If you seriously believe that a man who kills someone over a lost girlfriend is committing an act no different from the one Benjamin and James Williams committed when they murdered couple Winfield Mowder, and Gary Matson, then give me Jesse Helms.

Bruce Garrett
Baltimore, MD.
by Bruce Garrett | Link

How It's Done

People who think the intellectual big wings of the so-called reparative therapy movement, the ones that push their science credentials forward and soft peddle their fundamentalism, take their positions in intellectually honest, if mistaken, understandings of human sexual orientation, have never actually read any of them. That's the only conclusion I can come to, after reading this paragraph at the end of (Dr.) Charles Socarides essay, How America Went Homosexual:

And, when homosexuality takes on all the aspects of a political movement, it, too, becomes a war, the kind of war in which the first casualty is truth, and the spoils turn out to be our own children. An exaggeration? Well, what are we to think when militant homosexuals seek to lower the age of consensual sexual intercourse between homosexual men and young boys to the age of 14 (as they did in Hawaii in 1993) or 16 (as they tried to do in England in 1994)? In the Washington March for Gay Pride in 1993, they chanted, "We're here. We're queer. And we're coming after your children."

I got your casualty of war right here Doc. Every single one of those age of consent battles were fought, not to lower the age of consent, but to equalize it between gay and straight. Yes, that's right, the age of consensual sexual intercourse between heterosexual men and young girls is fourteen in Hawaii. The statehouse in Hawaii isn't run by gay men Doc. Heterosexual men wrote that law. Heterosexual men put the age of consent in Hawaii at fourteen Doc. And I don't hear you complaining that heterosexual men want it there so they can prey on young girls, do I Doc?

Personally I think grown men should keep their hands off of people that young, whether it's legal or not. At a certain age you should be setting an example, and nurturing pride and self confidence in kids, and treating them like sexual junk food sure as hell isn't doing that. So I wouldn't necessarily object to an age of consent law that kicked in when one partner is an adolescent and the other is a much older adult. But...Doc...if you think fourteen is too young for kids to be having sex with anyone, let alone adults, then just raise the fucking...erm...raise the doggone age of consent why don't you? I know...I know...that wouldn't make you popular with a lot of very important heterosexual men, would it Doc?

But I digress. It's one thing to argue that the age of consent for homosexual people should be higher then for heterosexuals, and another to calculatedly, cynically, deliberately, misrepresent the fight as one of merely lowering the age of consent, rather then for equality. This is how bigots tar homosexuals as a class as pedophiles to justify violence against us. You could have argued with some small degree of honesty that the age of consent for gay sex should be higher. You didn't do that, because then you'd have had to admit that what gay people want is equality, not access to children. The word for that is propaganda. No man of science, let alone a man of medicine, engages in propaganda. First do no harm, unless it's to homosexuals, eh Doc?

We're here. We're queer. And we're coming after your children.

Not bad, for an essay that begins with this little bit of halo polishing:

For most of this century, most of us in the helping professions considered this behavior aberrant. Not only was it "off the track"; the people caught up in it were suffering, which is why we called it a pathology. We had patients, early in their therapy, who would seek out one sex partner after another-total strangers-on a single night, then come limping into our offices the next day to tell us how they were hurting themselves. Since we were in the business of helping people learn how not to keep hurting themselves, many of us thought we were quietly doing God's work.

Hey Doc... What part of God's work is spreading subtle and vicious lies about minorities in order to incite violence toward them? You keep a copy of Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion next to your bible too?

by Bruce Garrett | Link


Your IQ Is 120
Your Logical Intelligence is Exceptional Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius Your Mathematical Intelligence is Above Average Your General Knowledge is Exceptional
A Quick and Dirty IQ Test

This is close to the kind of result I usually got on my general intelligence tests in grade school. Good logical abilities...not so good mathematical abilities. I'm posting this because I'm actually a little thrilled in a way I never expected to ever be about a test result My math scores are improving! Wow...

That I scored above average here in the math part is only due to the fact that for years now I've been struggling to force my head to look at algebra as symbolic logic, and equations as algorithms, not a bunch of scary numbers stacked up in a jumble that I had to take literally somehow. Had I taken this test in my teens or twenties, even up in my thirties, I'd have scored below average in math for sure. I have spent nearly the last half of my life so far, struggling to unlearn how I was taught to look at numbers in grade school.

Everyone learns in a different way. If I could wave a magic wand I would make it a generally accepted understanding about school, that each kid had to be taught in the way they learn.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Saturday June 11, 2005

Apologies...Fixed Queer Action Coalition Link

Once again...apologies for the munged Queer Action Coalition Link (though I got it right in the parenthesis) For those of you who tried to click on through, the actual link is Here. (again...

The latest post there is a tidbit from a former inmate of the Love (sic) In Action program, who says...

He told us about the program, and described some very horrific things that took place while he was apart of it.

These things included "shaming sessions", where the clients have to, once a day, describe in emotional detail "sinful activities" they'd partaken in...these sessions were then extended to having to describe these things in front of 50 or 60 people on "friends and family" nights, where the family was encouraged to shame them, not be supportive.

He also verified that most of the staff of LIA are not certified to do any sort of therapy, and that he knows several former clients who've all left the program and since come out as gay, who feel the program is emotionally damaging, and/or ineffective. He also informed us that the program offered him no alternatives when he left, referred him no where else and only mentioned that they were there if he needed them.

(Some spelling corrected) This confirms my suspicions after looking over their staff page (see below). These clowns don't know crap about how to do therapy, they're just mucking around inside of kids' hearts and minds here and there without the slightest shred of understanding about what they're doing...and likely very very little care or concern about it either. They're on a mission from God, and they are answerable to no one for the damage they do.

Shaming sessions. Maybe someday someone will make them stand in a room full of people, and tell them everything they ever did to kids to make them hate themselves. Actually, the real world has something very similar to that. They're called courts of law. Maybe one day, these child molesters will be held accountable in one.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Yes, My Father Was A Decent Man. And You'd Never Know It To Look At Me Would You?

PulpFaction, which bills itself as Gonzo Journalism For The New South does a little digging into John Smids' past...

Referring to his earlier experiences in life with homosexuality and his father's disagreement but ultimate understanding of his struggle, he says:
"My friends were aware of my dad's respect for them. They respected him and trusted him, not because he accepted their homosexuality, but rather because he treated them as human beings loved by God."
In the end, Smid did revert back to a heterosexual way of life. It seems to me that someone that had themselves experienced a peaceful resolution to what they now consider a "problem" would be more understanding of someone undergoing the same struggle. Furthermore, the hypocrisy that is revealed through articles such as this, written by Smid himself, is absolutely stomach-churning.

Why would he forcefully enact "counseling" and reform on youth going through what he himself once experienced, why would he encourage parents to do this tot heir children, when he so respected the compassion and understanding from his own father that allowed himself to find his own way?

(Emphasis in the original)

Oh...I dunno... Because what Smid says about his father's example is all a made up pot of crock, designed not so much to venerate his dad's example as to wave the Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin banner for his audience? Because Smid knows he will never be the decent man his father was, so he's hoping that by telling people how decent his father was, people will mistakenly think he's a decent man too? Because deep down inside Smid not only hates himself for being homosexual, but his father too for not beating the homosexuality out of him? Nearly all reparative therapy quacks blame bad parenting for homosexuality. Who knows? You have to take everything, and I mean Everything, the religious right says with a great deal of skepticism. There is nothing too small for them to lie about.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Friday June 10, 2005

Well This Certainly Looks Safe To Me...

Via Jesus' General, I find my way to the web page of another John Smid enterprise, A Safe (sic) Place.

In the summer of 2002, Love In Action International opened Refuge, a program specifically designed for youth to experience the same freedom offered to adults.

I read the staff biographies. Nearly every single one of them is someone who has a past history of drug or alcohol abuse, "sexual addiction" or likely is (because the bios are very coy about it) an "ex" gay. I see only two bios in the entire lot that look like people whose background is strictly professional. A good number of the rest are themselves "graduates" of some fundamentalist treatment program. One of them has a husband who went into one of Smid's programs.

And the problem, as any even casual perusal of the stories of "ex" gay ministries readily shows, is that gay sex within them happens more often then they'd like to admit. Between the inmates, and between the inmates and the staff. So you have a bunch of people in denial about their sexuality, or with some drug or alcohol addiction that was never professionally treated by anything more substantial then a faith healer's sweaty hands, putting themselves in dominance situations with gay teens who are themselves struggling to cope not only with their own sexuality, but the hostility of peers and parents and the often resulting low self esteem. Tell me what that adds up to.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Update On The Zach Bartlett - Love In Action Protests

The protests against the emotional rape of gay youth at the Love (sic) In Action campus in Memphis now has its own blog. You can ping it at Queer Action Coalition ( The good news is that the protests are growing:

Day five of the protest included more parents with their kids, and people that had never been there before.

Pictures posted soon.

Contrasted to yesterday, with police, and conversation, LOVE IN ACTION seemed almost shut down today. We were informed by a source that has been going inside and interviewing them, that they had a staff meeting this morning. No clients arrived at Love in Action the entire time we were there...

The bad news is that this could mean they've started farming the kids out to other little camps...

I have to hand it to these kids organizing this. It's wonderful to see. And our big national gay rights groups ought to be ashamed of themselves. Where the hell are they on this? Not only this one poor kid's plight...but all the kids being shovelled into these hell holes. What the hell are our national gay rights groups doing about this? They have utterly no visability on this at all. None. It's as if they don't give a flying fuck about the fate of these kids, or the struggle of gay youth in these deadly hostile times. Where's their goddamned spine?

Ah...but it was kids that lit the gay rights fire at Stonewall too, wasn't it.

Next time one of the big gay civil rights groups asks me for money, I'm going to ask them where the hell they were while these kids were fighting for the rights of gay youth in Memphis.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Mail...I Get Mail...

I guess I get somewhat less crank mail then most gay bloggers, but I probably don't see much of it since my mail accounts are heavily filtered. Not for crank mail that is, but spam. Unsurprisingly, a lot of crank looks like spam. But the other day a crank got through and what was interesting about this particular one is that instead of actually writing something To me, he sent me one of his missives to some other guy. Gotta love it.

The subject line referenced "Your criticism of Dr Satinover", which made me think he'd found his way into my blog archives via google or some such. But a quick search of the archives turned up only a single reference to Satinover, and that was glancing: a quote from a newspaper article actually.

But Satinover is one of the bigger quacks leading the so-called reparative therapy movement, and a contributor to NARTH (the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) NARTH is to actual science regarding sexual orientation, as the Institute For Creation Research is to geology and astronomy (Other well known names sitting on this kook pew are Joseph Nicolosi and Charles Socarides, whose son is gay). In other words, this is a group of profoundly superstitious men, using Leibniz' calculus to determine the maximum speed at which angels can dance on the head of a pin. I reckoned my email crank the other day, may have taken exception to my characterization of John Smid, the Director of Love In Action, and the emotional rape of gay youth like Zach Bartlett.

Typically, instead of responding to Me, this nutcase sends me a copy of his response to some other guy. And he's a Harvard man no less. A DocTah. Maybe he can only compose coherent prose once or twice a year, and this just wasn't his time. But then judging from the content of this missive, it wasn't his time then either...

Dr Serrao,

Your words are eloquent but subjective. Comparatively speaking, most of the rest of the critical comments against Dr. Satinover are much more juvenile. Calling people names is neither professional nor productive. Labeling and name calling is also usually just an immature defense that fills the void left from the lack of valid argument.

If you have an objective, scientific argument you should present it. If you have a spiritual argument then you should substantiate your rationale for your system of belief. (Self-relative revelations are not valid outside a larger rationale for your belief system. In other words, provide the evidence and proofs for what you believe. You are not allowed to make it up.)

The deception that clouds the mind is really not the issue, but rather the black hole that the heart is unable to escape. Jesus, The Christ, came from His realm into ours to set people free from the things in our lives that in-slave and create separation between us and Him. His love and sacrifice cries out for an intimate relationship. We were created to know Him in a personal, intimate way unlike any other relationship. Perhaps this is not a reality for you. If it is not I hope your mind and spirit are soon freed from whatever it is that in-slaves you. Don't believe the lie... all of us are or have been en-slaved to something. Jesus has provided the proof. The evidence He has provided for us is the best documented in antiquity. The question then becomes... which takes more faith - beleiving He is God or beleiving He is not God?

Dr Satinover and I may not agree about this pivotal question, which has eternal consequences. You can be assured that he and I could carry on an intellegent and respectful discussion/debate over what we disagree on. Why is it that the pro-homosexual/liberal crowd is so hateful and intolerant of beleifs different from theirs?

Dr. H

Why? Well...maybe this has something to do with it...

Santa Fe gay bash victim James Maestas clings to life

Queer Day
March 03, 2005

James Maestas, the young gay man savagely beaten Sunday morning in a Santa Fe motel parking lot still clings to life in critical condition. "We’re not out of the woods yet,” family spokeswoman Rachel Rosen said. "The doctors say he will be getting worse before he gets better." At least four young men beat Maestas while repeatedly calling him and his friend "faggots." Maestas was kicked so hard the food in his stomach came up his throat and went into his lungs with stomach acid badly burning the interior.

"They haven't even been able to see if he has all his lower teeth because his lower lip is so mangled," Rosen said. Maestas has yet to regain consciousness. The two men had been eating with friends inside a Denny's restaurant. Police say when the two gay men and their friends got up to leave, the three attackers started yelling slurs and throwing rocks at their vehicle, chasing the men to the La Quinta motel about a half mile away where they beat Maestas unconscious.

Or maybe it's this...

Attack targets gay UNC student

By Eric Ferreri
The Herald-Sun (North Carolina)
Feb 28, 2005

CHAPEL HILL -- An attack on a gay UNC student late last week is having a ripple effect in the university's gay and lesbian community, which is struggling to come to terms with what local police are deeming a hate crime.

"It came as an absolute, total surprise," said David Ruskey, a UNC senior and member of the executive board of the university's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Straight Alliance, a student group. "It's something I never would have foreseen happening in this area. From what I've seen of Chapel Hill, it's a fairly welcoming, open area. An incident happening like this is just mind-blowing."

Though the victim wasn't hospitalized, he was examined by doctors and suffered broken bones, police said. His attackers, described only as six or seven white males around the age of 20, have not been identified.

Police still have few details about the attack other than what the 21-year-old victim could recall. The student was walking alone around 2 a.m. Friday near the intersection of Franklin and Columbia streets when he was first taunted by the group of young men. They made derogatory comments about the victim's sexual orientation before assaulting him, said Jane Cousins, a Chapel Hill police spokeswoman.

Or maybe it's something like this...

3 Cleburne teens charged in brutal assault of 17-year-old

By David Webb
The Dallas Voice

A 17-year-old Cleburne High School student underwent facial reconstruction surgery this week after three teenage men attacked him, police said.

Sgt. Amy Knoll, a spokeswoman of the Cleburne Police Department, said police arrested three suspects. They have been charged with aggravated assault with serious bodily injury and hate crime enhancement penalties. Those arrested are Christopher Paul Lathers, 18, Cory Dallas Gibson, 17, and Billy Lynn Calahan, 19.

The trio were jailed on $25,000 bond each. If convicted of the first-degree felony they face five to 99 years in prison.

Knoll said the teenager suffered a "severe" beating. He was jumped from behind, punched, knocked down and kicked in the face, she said.

"They found out it was worse than they thought it was when they started the surgery," Knoll said. "They don't know how many more surgeries he's going to have to have."

Knoll said the beating occurred at a party held at a Cleburne apartment on Sunday evening. The student arrived at the party with several teenage women and was confronted by the three teenage men who questioned him about his sexual orientation, she said.

"He decided not to answer them," Knoll said. "He went back to his friends and started trying to make arrangements to leave."

The teenager was attacked as he asked his friends to leave the party with him, Knoll said.

Or this...

Gay Man Burned to Death in California

The Datalounge
Friday, 1 March 2002

SANTA BARBARA -- Hate crime charges were filed on Thursday against a California murder suspect who allegedly set an acquaintance on fire after learning the man was gay.

Martin Thomas Hartman, 38, surrendered to authorities on Tuesday and was held pending bond in the Santa Barbara County Jail. Prosecutors expect he will be arraigned shortly on charges of murder and arson.

The Associated Press reports Hartman could face the death penalty if convicted of all charges, including the recently added hate-crime allegation.

Hartman apparently broke into the 37-year-old victim's home, crept into his bedroom and set on fire. Police say the man burned to death fully conscious. When firefighters arrived he was dead. Hartman knew the man for about six months, but only recently found out he was gay.

"Marty Hartman said he has ill feelings toward gay people and decided to put the person out of his misery," said police Sgt. Mike McGrew. "He said he thought it was the right thing to do. ... He said he felt this person deserved to die."

Or it could be this...

Gay bash attack at church reported

By Kimberly O'Brien
The Roanoke Times
Friday, August 03, 2001

Two attendees of a predominantly gay Roanoke church were attacked Wednesday night while getting into their car after a Bible study and prayer meeting, police and the church's pastor said.

The Rev. Catherine Houchins, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge on Kirk Avenue Southwest, was also struck in the face when she tried to call 911 on her cellphone, she said.

The attacks came without warning, Houchins said Thursday.

Two men - one 36, the other 28 - were getting into their car about 8:30 p.m. when three men came from a nearby alley and began shouting anti-gay epithets, Houchins and police said. The 28-year-old was knocked down while he was opening the driver's side door. When the other man ran around the car to help, he was struck in the face.

Houchins was still inside the church, locking up, when she heard shouting from outside. She ran outside to see the 28-year-old being thrown to the ground.

When another church member tried to pull two of the attackers off the 36-year-old, he had a punch thrown at him. One of the attackers spat in the church member's direction, Houchins said.

At one point, one of the attackers threw a flower pot, Houchins said.

Houchins pulled out her cellphone to call 911, but said she had a hard time getting through at first. When she yelled inside the church for someone else to call 911, one of the attackers tried to grab her phone, she said. Houchins was struck in the face, but kept hold of the phone.

The three men ran off and turned onto First Street, she said. David St. Clair, another church attendee, ran after them. When St. Clair first approached the men while they were still at the car, they directed comments to him, too.

"I guess he's one of them, too," he heard. One of the men spoke more, and did more of the punching, than the other two, St. Clair said.

"They were in a total rage," he said. "I've never seen such rage in my life. I thought: 'He's got a weapon. He's going to kill someone.'"

St. Clair said he chased the men to the fire station on Church Avenue and lost them in the parking garage next door. He then flagged down two police officers who were responding to the 911 call.

"I didn't know what to do in this situation except run after them," St. Clair said. "These maniacs were running around loose."

Houchins and the two men were not seriously injured - a black eye and a few bumps and bruises - but the incident shocked Houchins' congregation, which has been enjoying the relative peace since last September's fatal shooting at the Backstreet Cafe. One man was killed and six others injured when Ronald Gay opened fire inside the predominantly gay bar.

Or maybe it's this...

Or this...

Belief you see, is one thing, hate mongering is another, and going on a crusade to eliminate homosexuals is yet another. Gay and Lesbian people (that's "people" you drooling moron with a doctorate...go look up the word someday) are being killed because of pure ignorance and hate and you can't excuse that with the magic word "belief".

And the simple fact is that the so-called reparative therapy organizations are saying, in their every word and in deed, that it would be a good thing if homosexuals did not exist. All Reparative Therapy is predicated on this "belief", that homosexuals either do not, or should not exist, that their existence is harmful to people, to society, to nations. And John Smid, the man at the center of the case of Zach Bartlett, has made it clear in the past, that if all else fails, death will do:

I would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle. In a physical death you could still have a spiritual resurrection; whereas, returning to homosexuality you are yielding yourself to a spiritual death from which there is no recovery.

The Final Indoctrination from John Smid, Director, Love In Action

There is the heart and soul of the reparative therapy movement. Clearly, obviously, sickeningly, it isn't about "repairing" anyone, otherwise no one in their right mind would claim that killing the patient amounts to curing the patient. Death is a cure, only to the mind that has embraced the genocidal impulse. That is why the rhetoric coming out of these groups is utterly devoid of compassion, and reeks of incitement to violence. Homosexuals are a menace to children, to families, to communities, to America. Homosexuals spread disease. They prey on children. They destabilize society. There must not be any homosexuals. God will bring down his judgement on a nation that tolerates homosexuality.

The deception that clouds the mind is really not the issue, but rather the black hole that the heart is unable to escape. Jesus, The Christ, came from His realm into ours to set people free from the things in our lives that in-slave and create separation between us and Him. His love and sacrifice cries out for an intimate relationship. We were created to know Him in a personal, intimate way unlike any other relationship. Perhaps this is not a reality for you. If it is not I hope your mind and spirit are soon freed from whatever it is that in-slaves you. Don't believe the lie... all of us are or have been en-slaved to something.

Like a religion that tells you that you don't have try to be a better man, just forgiven? Like that sweet, sweet feeling that you are sitting at the right hand of God, and all the fear you ever had of the unknown, of your own failures, your own inadequacies, your evasions and secret little cheats are all swept away in the euphoric knowledge that none of it really ever mattered, that all is forgiven, that you don't ever have to try hard to be better then you know you are, then you know you will ever be. Peace. Bliss. Have you considered heroin instead?

DocTah H...I'll tolerate a lot of things, but not some ersatz man of science who belly flops into the cheapshit superstitions of fundamentalism, rather then muster up the courage to look God in the face and ask Him a question. Jesus didn't die for your craven little sins DocTah...he died trying to make you love your fucking neighbor. The Good Samaritan, was the hated outcast of his time. And you...DocTah...are the Levite who walked on by. Man of science are you? My ass. Intimate relationship with God, did you say? I'm laughing in your face. Step away from your computer. Now. Right now. Walk outside. Look down at this good earth. Find yourself a small grain of sand. Something, say, the size of a mustard seed. Look at it. If God is that which created all that is, all that was, and all that will ever be, then that grain of sand is the handwriting of God. There is the primary source. There is the original manuscript. There the testament of God. Are you a man of science? Then fucking read it.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Thursday June 9, 2005


I'm sorry about the way I've been screwing up my permalinks these past couple of days. I've reviewed the ones below that weren't working right and they're all working right now. Just a tad too absent minded lately I reckon.

Wednesday June 8, 2005

Life In Post Science America

Good cartoon from Troubletown.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

If A Stranger Makes Someone's Teenage Kid Take Their Underwear Off They Could Face Life Behind Bars...But If The Stranger Runs An Ex-Gay Ministry And The Kid Is Gay...

The more I read that list of rules from the Love In Action turn-your-gay-kid-straight camp (see previous post, Another Gay Teen Abused), the more disturbing it gets. Take another look at that False Image concerns list, particularly this item:

As non-residential clients, Refuge participants must submit to an F.I. search every morning. With the exception of the very first program day, when they may arrive no later than 9:00 a.m., Refuge clients will arrive daily at the Love in Action campus no later than 8:50 a.m., waiting in a designated area until a staff member meets them to perform the F.I. search and check them in. Refuge clients may not enter any of the client spaces on campus before submitting to an F.I. search. All belongings brought to campus will be searched, including book bags, notebooks, wallets, handbags, purses, etc. Items that violate the F.I. policy or the dress code will be held for the client, to be returned no later than the client's last day in program.

Now...about that dress code...

Men: Shirts are to be worn at all times, even while sleeping. T-shirts without sleeves are not permitted at any time, whether worn as an outer garment or an undergarment. This includes 'muscle shirts' or other tank-tops. Bikini-style underwear is prohibited.

Let us pause for a moment, and see if we can put two and two together. Exactly how do you prohibit a kind of underwear at a non-residential camp? Well heck, that's covered in the FI rules isn't it, where it clearly says that Refuge participants must submit to an F.I. search every morning and that items that violate the FI policy or the dress code will be confiscated and held...uhm...for the client. In other words, they make the kids show them their underwear every morning at check in, to make sure they aren't wearing the wrong kind. Here...let me repeat that. The "ex" gay man running this little secluded unregulated, unmonitored turn-your-gay-kid-straight camp, is according to this document, making sure the kids' underwear is examined every morning at check in, and if they're wearing anything sexy, he (or his duly appointed staff member) takes it. Note that he doesn't give it back to the parents or guardian (there's nothing in the rules about the parents even having to be present during this "FI" search), and the moment its confiscated, he keeps it. For at least as long as the kid is in his care. What is more, parents are paying him to examine what kind of underwear their gay kids are wearing, and make them take off the False Image stuff and give it to him. Somewhere, there's a catholic priest up to his collar in hot water over sex abuse allegations with teenaged boys beating himself over the head that he didn't think of this.

But perhaps I'm reading too much into all this.

Kevin Tebedo
Executive Director
Colorado For Family Values

Dear Kevin:

It has come to our attention that you are promoting a known child molester, Rev. Colin Cook, as a counselor to sexually confused youth in your "Time to Stand" seminars across the state.

In a CFV advertisement in the 4/24/95 issue of the Rocky Mountain News, you describe Cook as someone "who once lived the homosexual lifestyle and now helps others escape it through his ministry, FaithQuest."

As you surely must know, Kevin, Rev. Cook's first "ex-gay" ministry was abolished by the Seventh-day Adventists when they discovered that Cook uses his position of power as a "minister" to coerce sexually troubled young men into having sex with him. The Lawson Report for the Seventh-day Adventists discovered repeated instances in which Cook tried to coerce young men -- including a 16-year-old boy -- into such activities as allowing Cook fondle their penises, allowing Cook to give them "full-body naked massages," routinely letting Cook hug them for long periods of time during which Cook would rub his erect penis against them, sleeping in the same bed as Cook, and agreeing to strip naked during "therapy sessions" with Cook. And these documented instances are very likely only fraction of Cook's orgy of sexual abuse of young men -- men who were tragically convinced to entrust themselves to this monster in minister's clothing.

Nevertheless, Kevin, you are in the process of promoting Colin Cook in "family values" meetings across Colorado as a person whom parents should entrust with their sexually troubled or confused children...

The stories of gay sex going on in ex-gay ministries between grown adults are everywhere, and about as remarkable as discovering Bush lied about WMDs. But a man who was, and almost certainly still is, struggling with his homosexuality, having this kind of license over gay teenagers that have been taken to him against their will is deeply troubling. Who is watching what he is doing to them?

That's actually a good question regarding all of these quack outfits. Child sexual abuse has apparently already happened at one of them (the one Cook was involved in). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that these outfits are putting kids who are at risk for sexual abuse into dominance and submission situations with sexually immature or self loathing adults and that is a recipe for disaster. And nobody is watching what is going on in these entities, because they are often working under the umbrella of ersatz religious institutions. Were they actual psychiatric hospitals, there would be a body of law and regulations in place for the safety and welfare of both the doctors and the patients. In these ex-gay operations, anything goes.

Michael Jackson should have built a church, and started an ex-gay ministry, instead of building Neverland Park. He'd be untouchable, no matter what he did with a kid, as long as the kid was gay, and he claimed he was trying to cure them. Fundamentalist boobs all over the country would be sending their gay kids to him for treatment by the busload.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Ya Think?

BBC News is reporting that The American Geophysical Union is warning that cuts in Nasa's 2006 budget will hamper progress in understanding our planet and the rest of the Universe. I can tell you for a fact that we're facing big layoffs here at the Space Telescope Science Institute in our software engineering staff because of those cuts. How badly that could affect the Institute's ability to keep doing the science we've been doing all this time I couldn't say. People here are used to putting in 150 percent. Everyone here is devoted to the Institute's mission. We all passionately believe in what we're doing, and if we have to go the extra mile again and again we will. But at minimum we'll be loosing talent, institutional expertise, and the flexibility and capability to hit the ground running on new space science efforts that we really didn't need to be loosing.

Nasa's proposed 2006 budget would reduce science research by about $1.2bn over the next five years.

Wait a minute....??? I thought the president's Mars initiative was a great thing for science. Okay...I never actually thought that...

by Bruce Garrett | Link

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