12/27/09-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Ex-gay therapy has been, largely, discredited by scientific inquiry. Of course, those conclusions are often rejected by people who are committed to their religious beliefs that homosexuality is wrong. The Michigan Department of Corrections is looking into severing ties with one of these ex-gay ministries over their practices and beliefs. The department has a strict policy against derogatory and defamatory language and actions regarding LGBT Americans. Department spokesperson John Cordell stated “The department’s position is that when you are ministering to a group or even an individual that the content of that not be defamatory or derogatory. We have shut down ministries in the past for doing just that.” Nation of Islam and a variety of white supremacist groups have been banned from ministering to prisoners.
Lansing based Corduroy Stone is an ex-gay ministry which has come under a great deal of fire over their practices and “treatments”. Currently, the Michigan Department of Corrections is determining whether or not to allow the ministry to continue to speak to prisoners. Currently, the group is allowed to visit prisoners without the prisoner loosing their visitor privileges; however, Cordell feels that they fall under the anti-discrimination rules. Information regarding the group has been sent to Mike Martin, the prison system’s director of special activities.
Corduroy Stone has been under national scrutiny since Lansing resident Patrick McAlvey told Truth Wins Out about the practices at the ex-gay ministry. These included “cuddle therapy”, where the patient is forced to cuddle with someone, usually their councilor, and demeaning inspections of McAlvey’s body. McAlvey was also asked, usually by Corduroy Stone founder Mike Jones, about his penis size and personal grooming habits as well.
Truth Wins Out executive director Wayne Bessen said “I think it’s terrific they are looking further into this mess. Corduroy Stone doesn’t have the credibility to continue and is a threat to public health if allowed to continue.” He applauded the decision by the MDOC to review its connection with Corduroy Stone.
The bulk of the scientific research into homosexuality shows that it is genetic rather than behavioral. Ex-gay ministries are almost always rooted in the religious convictions of those who believe that homosexuality is a sin, and they often are unable to back up their beliefs with hard data. Typically, follow up regarding “ex-gay conversions” are rare, and many people who have undergone treatment have come out to say that it does not work.
Mich. Dept. of Corrections ‘looking’ into ex-gay ministry affiliation with prisons