Lisa Ling's "Ex-Gay" Puff Piece

BY Wayne Besen

March 17 2011 12:30 PM ET

It was also perplexing that Ling failed to include psychological experts to point out that such programs are rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization in America. During a live discussion of the topic directly following the show, a psychologist was featured. But as soon as she told the truth about Exodus and said it was based on "quack therapy," they ushered her off the air. I guess expert opinion wasn't as good for ratings as helping Exodus peddle its fairy tale.

Speaking of fairy tales, Chambers audaciously portrayed his marriage as true bliss and told Ling, "It [sex with his wife] felt natural, absolutely, and has every day for our entire marriage."

What? You've got to be kidding me.

Chambers admitted that it took nine months to consummate his marriage and said at a 2007 Love Won Out conference in Phoenix that to remain "ex-gay" he must "deny what comes naturally to me."

Why didn't Ling ask Chambers, "If your experience with your wife was so natural, then why are you saying that you deny what comes naturally to you?"

The most inexcusable mistake in Ling's report came when she portrayed Exodus as a group that no longer makes false promises of heterosexuality to clients. She contrasts this allegedly more honest Exodus with the harsher ministry run by Janet Boynes, ­ who unabashedly claims she helps people go from gay to straight.

It is amazing that Ling had no idea that Boynes is listed as a referral on Exodus's website, meaning her intolerant message offering false hope is actually the message of Exodus. Ling also was duped into believing that Exodus does not try to "pray away the gay." She obviously did not do her homework and review substantial evidence to the contrary. Exodus regularly creates videos in which "ex-gay" activists give testimonials on how they prayed and God made them into heterosexuals. Did Ling not bother to examine Exodus's website? Or did the harsh truth not mesh with her feel-good approach?

There were a few positive moments in her segment, such as the interview with Michael Bussee, a founder of Exodus who later renounced the "ex-gay" ministry. However, Ling made it appear as if Bussee were an exception to the rule. Why didn't she bolster his case by pointing out that former Exodus chairman John Paulk was photographed by me in a gay bar? Why not mention George Rekers, the antigay therapist caught last year with an escort he met on RentBoy.com?

The fact is, "ex-gay" ministries are a cruel fraud that exploits people who just want to be loved by their families and accepted by society. Instead of a promotional piece for Exodus, the focus of Ling's story should have been on the harm the group causes its victims. The Oprah Winfrey Network should take Ling's embarrassing segment off its website and not re-air it until factual inaccuracies are corrected.

If you are as disappointed by this segment as I am, please contact the Oprah Winfrey Network and send it a clear message about Ling's subpar reporting by signing Truth Wins Out's petition.

















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