There is a courageous young man in Tennessee who, as of this writing, is being subjected to psychological torture at the whim of his parents, simply because he was honest with them about his being gay.
I am late in coming to this story, which apparently has swept the blogosphere over the past two weeks or so. Consequently, Zach's blog now contains thousands of messages of sympathy and support. The mainstream media (MSM) are just now catching up to it.
Here is how the Washington Blade describes the story in its edition for Friday, June 17:
A local Memphis TV station, WMC-TV, did a report on Love in Action, the organization that tries to brainwash gay teenagers. (If you don't listen to the words, can you tell which of the two interview subjects is openly gay and which one is the "ex-gay"?) The report can be found here.
A Tennessee teen is claiming in a blog that he was forcibly admitted into an “ex-gay” camp by his parents after coming out as gay, gaining attention from media outlets and gay activists.
Zach, a 16-year-old from Bartlett, Tenn., was sent to the camp Refuge, associated with Love In Action near Memphis June 6 and is to remain there at least until June 20, according to his June 3 blog entry.
Love In Action, an ex-gay ministry, is accredited by the ex-gay group Exodus International and supported by numerous area churches in Memphis. Officials with the ministry on Wednesday would not confirm whether the teen was enrolled. A friend contacted by this newspaper would not confirm Zach’s full name. His parents could also not be identified.
Gay activists tracking the teen’s plight have organized daily protests since June 6 outside Love In Action’s facility in Memphis. The organization scheduled a press conference for June 16, after this publication’s press deadline, to address the growing controversy.
“LIA is calling upon the community to extend open-minded consideration and tolerance towards young people with same-sex attraction who are currently undergoing the organization’s youth program called Refuge,” according to a press statement from the organization.
Wayne Besen, a gay author who tracks the “ex-gay” movement, said the teen is likely to experience psychological damage.
"This is significant child abuse,” said Besen, author of “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals & Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth."
Protests have been organized and took place at the Love in Action facilities in Memphis over the past several days. The protesters got the word out through their own blog.
According to Zach's blog -- which he has updated despite fear of punishment for doing so by the "counselors" at Refuge -- the organization has rules that seem designed to induce Stockholm Syndrome in its "clients", by cutting them off from the outside world and anyone who cares about their well-being. Zach laments:
What is with these people...? Honestly.. how could you support a program like this? If I do come out straight I'll be so mentally unstable and depressed it wont matter.. I'll be back in therapy again. This is not good--Some of the rules are downright bizarre. I was struck by this one (in addition to bans on clothing made by Abercrombie & Fitch or Calvin Klein):
6. No television viewing, going to movies, or reading/watching/listening to secular media of any kind, anywhere within the client's and the parent's/guardian's control. This includes listening to classical or instrumental music that is not expressly Christian (Beethoven, Bach, etc. are not considered Christian). The only exception to the media policy is the weekly movie. [emphasis added]Bach not Christian? What about the cantatas? "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"? The St. Matthew Passion? Or, for that matter, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis?
These people are philistines, pure and simple. Perhaps young Zach's blog will turn out to be the equivalent of young David's sling.