Antigay Groups Defend Rekers



The Family Research Council had quickly distanced itself from Rekers, who cofounded the group in 1983 along with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. FRC officials said they have not had contact with Rekers for more than a decade.

A Southern Baptist Convention spokesman said he could find no record indicating Rekers is a pastor with the church, though Rekers cites in his curriculum vitae that he was ordained as a minister in the church in 1994 and that he provides ongoing “evangelistic outreach, substitute Bible teaching, and consultation on counseling ministry” to a Southern Baptist church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

A fellow purported expert on gay marriage and parenting also denied that Rekers’s decades of research had influenced his own work, despite apparent evidence to the contrary. David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values, who testified as an expert witness in the federal Proposition 8 trial in January, said that he did not draw on Rekers’s research in expressing his views to the court. “If you review my expert testimony submitted to the court, you will see that I do not cite anyone named ‘Dr. Rekers.’ I am not familiar with him or his work,” Blankenhorn wrote in an e-mail.

A list of materials referenced in Blankenhorn’s signed expert report submitted to the court, however, includes a declaration of support written by Rekers for California’s Proposition 22, a ballot measure prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriage that passed in 2000. Blankenhorn said he was unaware of any court document provided by him that references Rekers’s work and said it was possible that he “or the lawyers or someone else made a mistake somewhere” in the report.

Ted Haggard, a former president of the National Association of Evangelicals who resigned from his position as founding pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs following a highly publicized gay sex scandal in 2006, said he expected more groups would abandon Rekers as the story continues to unfold. “I know exactly what it feels like to have both sides hating you bitterly,” Haggard said. “Some Christians will throw him away. Some gays will crusade against him.”

Following revelations in 2006 that Haggard had hired gay escort Mike Jones and had purchased crystal methamphetamine from him, Haggard has struggled to revive his pastoral career. He said this week that he and his wife, Gayle, had incorporated a new church for the primary purpose of managing income from their paid speaking engagements, though they have not ruled out the possibility of creating a new ministry.

“If there is any truth to the accusations, this may be his opportunity to find a safe environment where [Rekers] can process the embarrassing, internal battle that conflicts with his Christian ideals,” Haggard said. “He may need to work through that with someone who won’t judge or tear him apart.”

Rekers may be doing just that: In a Wednesday e-mail to Christianity Today, Rekers said he made an “unwise decision” to hire a “travel assistant after knowing him only one month before the trip,” adding that he was participating in “ongoing meetings with an experienced pastor and counselor from my church, so I can more fully understand my weaknesses and prevent this kind of unwise decision-making in the future.”

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