“Zach” is real. His name is Zach Stark.
A Google search finds that, until today, Zach had only been identified by full name in one obscure blog.
However, in an interview for Pat Robertson’s national CBN TV network, father Joe Stark now defends sending Zach to what critics call an ex-gay boot camp:
“We felt very good about Zach coming here because… to let him see for himself the destructive lifestyle, what he has to face in the future, and to give him some options that society doesn’t give him today,” Stark said. “Knowing that your son… statistics say that by the age of 30 he could either have AIDS or be dead.”
(Hat tip: Norm)
Has someone been providing false life-expectancy statistics to Mr. Stark for media consumption, or is he expressing deeply ingrained stereotypes that Love In Action merely reinforced?
Whatever the case, CBN also distorted what Stark’s son wrote in his blog.
(Hat tip: Timothy)
From Zach’s blog, with the text removed by CBN in italics:
“…Well today, my mother, father and I had a very long ‘talk’ in my room where they let me know I am to apply for a fundamentalist Christian program for gays. They tell me that there is something psychologically wrong with me, and they ‘raised me wrong.’ I’m a big screw up to them, who isn’t on the path God wants me to be on. So I’m sitting here in tears…”
Here’s how CBN rewrote Zach’s message:
“My mother, father, and I had a very long ‘talk'” he wrote, “…where they let me know I am to apply for a fundamentalist Christian program for gays… I’m a big screw up to them, who isn’t on the path God wants me to be on. So I’m sitting here in tears.”
Joe Stark claims he’s just offering his son options:
“Zack has got a mind of his own, and that’s a God-given gift,” Joe said. “And Zack will have to make those choices when he is an adult as to what exactly he is going to do with his life. But until he turns 18 and he’s an adult in the state of Tennessee, I’m responsible for him. And I’m going to see to it that he has all options available to him.”
Sorry to disappoint, but I fail to see how weeks of compulsory “treatments,” conducted by unlicensed fundamentalist counselors utilizing the propaganda of Paul Cameron, provide a youth with freedom of choice.