We found this interesting.
Apparently a second counselor at Marcus Bachmann’s Christian counseling clinic is being accused of participating in “pray the gay away” conversion therapy.
Bachmann, himself, was previously exposed in a sting operation for participating in the same practice.
What we find interesting isn’t that the clinic is still practicing this controversial (and let’s face it, idiotic and dangerous) form of therapy, but that it appears to shock people that it’s occurring.
Furthermore, we’re also questioning their methods of exposure.
More after the jump.
First things first, whatever your beliefs may be with regards to the Christian faith, Bachmann does run a “Christian counseling clinic,” so it’s a not a stretch to believe that prayer and/or the Bible may play into to the counsel provided.
It would be more surprising if it didn’t.
Secondly, in this latest example of “exposing” the Bachmanns, the counselor, Sheila J. Marker, was listed as a marriage and premarital counselor. Documentary film producer (GAY U.S.A. The Movie), Melanie Nathan, admits that this counselor was specifically chosen to be part of this sting operation (though they originally wanted Bachmann himself). The patient’s “cover” was that she’s a woman pretending to be engaged to a man (and who apparently intends to marry him), though she’s having sexual feelings for other women.
It stands to reason that a marriage counselor would be advising you on ways to preserve your marriage—and again, since this is a Christian counseling clinic, part of that marriage preservation would more than likely include prayer.
We’re not saying that these counselors are right. In fact, we think they’re extremely wrong. You’d be better served to get guidance on how to come to terms with your sexuality and how to be true to yourself and your orientation.
That said, if you’re going to a specifically Christian counseling center under the pretense of wanting to move forward with your marriage, it’s not entirely shocking that a therapist would move you in that direction.
Plus, if you’re setting appointments with a marriage counselor at a Christian counseling service—isn’t a prayer and a Bible verse pretty much what you’re paying for?
The latest addendum to this controversy is that Sheila J. Marker apparently has a lesbian daughter—one who’s spoken out openly in defense of her mother. Writing directly to film producer, Melanie Nathan, who set up the sting operation, she says:
“I am gay and my mother (Sheila Marker) loves and accepts me. My girlfriend and I went to Easter dinner with my family at my parents house. I am upset that you would try to portray a wonderful woman like my mother in this way. She is a CHRISTIAN counselor. Of course she is going to tell you to pray not to mention, Christians believe that giving the lord your problems is the thing to do with ANY problem, not just your sexual desires. furthermore, as a marriage counselor, of course she is not going to encourage your “desires” for people other than your fiance, whether it is for women or men. she is going to encourage you to stay true to your commitment. I know my mother and am positive that she was encouraging the woman in accordance to her self proclaimed desire “to start a family and please society and my religious community.” to a man that she claims is “my best friend, my buddy.”
This sort of Slander of a wonderful woman is not helping out the cause, a cause that i am very much involved in and am passionate about. Not to mention, you really can’t paint her as an enemy if she is supportive of me and my relationship. Her goal is to help people live in happy, loving, committed relationships. Not encourage people cheat on their fiances and spouses.”
We get the intention of the filmmaker. Really we do.
In fact, we don’t necessarily think they failed in their mission. If anything this sting operation provides evidence that the clinic participates in disreputable reparative therapy practices, which is especially damning considering the clinic received federal funding via Medicaid.
We also agree that ex-gay conversion therapy is dangerous and “praying away the gay” is foolish (And dangerous. Did we mention dangerous?).
But we’re wondering whether this could have been executed better.
As Sheila Marker’s daughter implies, this really does feel like a “gotcha” gimmick that used a woman that may not actually be the villain the filmmaker wants her to be in order to reach their aims of controversial footage for their documentary.
And for some reason that doesn’t sit well with us.
Check out Melanie Nathan's account of the sting here. (And FYI, Marker does serve up more than a few spoonfuls of crazy talk, so she's not off the hook.)
What do you think, Instincters?