'Gay Curer' Psychologist Claims Africans 'Better Off' As Slaves
By Brentin Mock, Intelligence Report
In the latest episode of the so-called "ex-gay" movement's straying toward racial bigotry, the movement's leaders and its Christian right allies have failed to condemn an essay arguing Civil Rights Movement was "irrational."
A prominent member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is under fire for publishing an essay in which he argues that Africans were fortunate to have been sold into slavery, and the civil rights movement was "irrational."
"There is another way, or other ways, to look at the race issue in America," writes Gerald Schoenewolf, a member of NARTH's Science Advisory Committee. "Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle… Life there was savage … and those brought to America, and other countries, were in many ways better off."
NARTH is a coalition of psychologists who believe it's possible to "cure" homosexuality, a position rejected by the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association. The controversy over Schoenewolf's apology for slavery has battered the so-called "ex-gay" movement with accusations of racial bigotry for the first time. The movement's leaders and their close allies at Christian Right powerhouses like Focus on the Family have failed to condemn Schoenwolf's inflammatory arguments.
Titled "Gay Rights and Political Correctness: A Brief History," Schoenewolf's angry polemic was published on NARTH's website. In addition to his outrageous historical claims about the conditions of life in Africa, he writes that human rights proponents are intellectually stunted. (Schoenewolf draws upon Swiss child psychologist Jean Piaget, who theorized four stages of intellectual development, with the most advanced stage consisting of abstract and complex thinking. "[F]ollowers in the Human Rights Movement," have not reached this stage, according to Schoenewolf.)
Schoenewolf, a psychotherapist who lives in New York City, is director of The Living Center, an online therapy center for people in the arts. He has authored 14 books, among them The Art of Hating, in which he writes, "Many people talk about hate, but few know how to hate well."
When interviewed last week for this article, Schoenewolf stood by his comments on the intellectual inferiority of civil rights movement supporters. "The civil rights movement has from the beginning and today seen itself as good and others are evil, like slaveowners are evil," he said.
During the interview, Schoenewolf lambasted civil rights, women's rights, and gay rights. "All such movements are destructive," he said. He also claimed the American Psychological Association, of which he is a member, "has been taken over by extremist gays."
Schoenewolf's essay first appeared on NARTH's website in the fall of 2005, but apparently went unnoticed by critics until mid-September, around the time the executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a black gay and lesbian advocacy organization, delivered to NARTH a formal letter of protest. "In the name of propriety, respect, common decency and professional integrity, the National Black Justice Coalition strongly urges NARTH to issue a public apology on the front page of its website for publishing such an outrageous and offensive article," wrote H. Alexander Robinson. "We also hope that you reevaluate your relationship with Dr. Schoenewolf, whose peculiar views have no place in civilized discourse."
Then, in late September, the gay rights group Truth Wins Out called on Focus on the Family to cancel a speaking appearance by NARTH executive director Joseph Nicolosi scheduled for a Focus on the Family conference held September 23 in Palm Springs, Calif.
Nicolosi appeared as planned. But the Schoenewolf essay was erased from NARTH's website the same day as the Focus on the Family conference. Then, on October 6, NARTH posted this statement to its website: "NARTH regrets the comments made by Dr. Schoenwolf about slavery which have been misconstrued by some of our readers. It should go without saying that we do not wish to minimize the suffering of those who have been mistreated because of race, sex, religious beliefs or sexual orientation." The statement makes no mention of the civil rights movement.
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