Ex-gay guru Richard Cohen of the International Healing Foundation has published an “apology” to gays and lesbians he has hurt:
“We at IHF wish to offer a sincere, heartfelt apology to everyone in the LGBTQ community,” said IHF founder and director, Richard Cohen. “I apologize and ask forgiveness to those who were hurt by our message.” Cohen, a leading expert in the field of sexual orientation and married father of three, knows first-hand how it feels to be ostracized having lived a gay life.
Beginning today, IHF’s doors are wide open to everyone in the LGBTQ and straight communities. The new mission, “Coming Out Loved,” is the catalyst of true tolerance, real diversity, and equality for all. IHF staff will assist anyone who is conflicted about their sexuality and other challenging issues that arise for many in the gay community.
Could there be a more cynical attempt to jump on the “I’m sorry” bandwagon? If he really understood the gravity of how his message has hurt LGBT people, he certainly wouldn’t be presenting himself as “a leading expert in the field of sexual orientation.” Nor, having said he’s now promoting a message of diversity and tolerance, would Cohen throw in his lot with NARTH, the supposedly professional organization actually made up mostly of anti-gay religionists and activists, not the mental health professionals it says it represents. From Cohen’s press release:
IHF has adopted therapeutic guidelines from the American Psychological Association for members of the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities; American Counseling Association guidelines for the transgender community; and National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality therapeutic guidelines for anyone questioning their sexuality and/or experiencing unwanted SSA.
In 2007, former ex-gay leaders Jeremy Marks, Darlene Bogle and Michael Bussee unambiguously apologized for the harm they had done. Canadian ministry New Direction really did take a new direction when it turned its back on the false promises of Exodus International. More recently, John Smid went further than ever before in acknowledging how badly he had gotten his message wrong, and it was clearly one more important step along a journey he has been making since the events surrounding Love in Action in 2005.
Now Cohen, sensing the tide is against him, emerges from nowhere and rattles off a glib apology, announceing that his organization will embrace everyone, gay and straight. The smell of cold, calculated fakery is nauseatingly potent.