Washington Times columnist Robert Knight is upset that the Southern Poverty Law Center has decided to “persecute” the ex-gay therapy organization Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) by suing it for consumer fraud.
Knight claims that suing JONAH over its offer to turn gay people straight – a practice discredited by all of the country’s major counseling and psychiatric groups – is like suing Alcoholics Anonymous or Weight Watchers.
“If the SPLC’s argument is valid that all temptations must cease for counseling to be legitimate,” Knight writes, “Alcoholics Anonymous, Weight Watchers and other groups assisting with behavioral change should be charged with fraud because some clients fall off the wagon.”
The Alabama-based SPLC has a project called Teaching Tolerance, with a website and print periodical of that name aimed at educators. Much of it deals with countering bullies.
Yet the SPLC itself, with a $281 million endowment and scores of attorneys, is the consummate bully in a case involving a tiny New Jersey organization.
Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) counsels people with unwanted desires, including same-sex attraction. The SPLC’s lawsuit contends that the group is committing fraud under New Jersey’s consumer law.
Their argument? People are born with same-sex desires, they cannot possibly change in any way and, therefore, any counseling to reduce temptations or re-channel them toward the opposite sex is fraudulent. This preposterous claim is based on the same thinking behind laws in New Jersey and California that punish licensed counselors for trying to help parents deal with their children’s unwanted same-sex desires.
The SPLC’s lawsuit, like those laws, violates the basic right to self-determination. They are dictating that a person cannot seek licensed help in overcoming an unwanted temptation. The SPLC has trotted out some disaffected people who tried counseling and say it failed. They ignore voluminous evidence of people who say they were helped.
If the SPLC’s argument is valid that all temptations must cease for counseling to be legitimate, then Alcoholics Anonymous, Weight Watchers and other groups assisting with behavioral change should be charged with fraud because some clients fall off the wagon.
The SPLC is throwing the kitchen sink at this for a reason: If they win, it will set the stage for outlawing all counseling that the left does not like, including counseling by clergy. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you.” That’s never easy, especially when someone is trying to use the law to abolish God-given moral standards and persecute good people who are trying to help others.