In Letter, National Black Justice Coalition Urges Dr. Joseph Nicolosi To Apologize For His Organization’ Divisive Article

joseph nicolosi TWO Calls On Focus On The Family To Drop Therapist As Conference Speaker After His Group Justifies SlaveryMIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Truth Wins Out called on Focus on the Family today to cancel a Saturday keynote speaking appearance by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, the Executive Director of The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), after a column was discovered on the group’s website that appeared to justify slavery.

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) also wrote a letter to Dr. Nicolosi this afternoon, calling on his organization to apologize for posting the article. NBJC is a national civil rights organization of black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people that fosters equality by fighting racism and homophobia.

“In the name of propriety, respect, common decency and professional integrity, the National Black Justice Coalition strongly urges NARTH to issue a public apology on the front page of its website for publishing such an outrageous and offensive article,” wrote H. Alexander Robinson CEO/Executive Director in the group’s letter. “We also hope that you reevaluate your relationship with Dr. Schoenewolf whose peculiar views have no place in civilized discourse.”

The column causing the uproar was penned in 2005 by Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D., a member of NARTH’s “Scientific Advisory Committee,” and re-posted last week by Timothy Kincaid on the website Ex-Gay Watch. According to Schoenwolf:

“With all due respect, there is another way, or other ways, to look at the race issue in America. It could be pointed out, for example, that Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle, as yet uncivilized or industrialized. Life there was savage, as savage as the jungle for most people, and that it was the Africans themselves who first enslaved their own people. They sold their own people to other countries, and those brought to Europe, South America, America, and other countries, were in many ways better off than they had been in Africa. But if one even begins to say these things one is quickly shouted down as though one were a complete madman.”

The NARTH endorsed comments were discovered only days before Dr. Nicolosi was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at Focus on the Family’s Sept. 23 “Love Won Out” conference in Palm Springs. Love Won Out is a traveling road show that purports to teach gay people how to become heterosexual through prayer and therapy.

“This column rips away the veneer of respectability that NARTH has worked to cultivate and has exposed its extremism,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “In light of this divisive article, we can’t fathom why Focus on the Family would still allow Dr. Nicolosi to speak unless the group sympathizes with the sentiments expressed by NARTH’s leader.”

TWO is a non-profit think tank and educational organization that debunks the ex-gay myth, counters right wing disinformation campaigns, and provides accurate information about the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

- 30 -

nbjc TWO Calls On Focus On The Family To Drop Therapist As Conference Speaker After His Group Justifies Slavery

National Association of Research & Therapy of Homosexuality
Attn: Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, NARTH Executive Director
16633 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1340
Encino, CA 91436-1801

Dear NARTH:

The National Black Justice Coalition is deeply troubled by an article written by Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D that has appeared on your organization’ website. His comments reflect not only a misunderstanding of history, but a trivialization of the suffering caused by slavery.

As a member in good standing on NARTH’ Scientific Advisory Board, we can only assume that Dr. Schoenewolf’ statements are a reflection of your organization’ beliefs and values. NBJC would like to know how NARTH rationalizes or justifies publishing an essay that stated the following:

“With all due respect, there is another way, or other ways, to look at the race issue in America,” wrote Schoenwolf. “It could be pointed out, for example, that Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle, as yet uncivilized or industrialized. Life there was savage, as savage as the jungle for most people, and that it was the Africans themselves who first enslaved their own people. They sold their own people to other countries, and those brought to Europe, South America, America, and other countries, were in many ways better off than they had been in Africa. But if one even begins to say these things one is quickly shouted down as though one were a complete madman.”

Dr. Nicolosi, we are particularly disturbed with Dr. Schoenewolf’ comments drawing a parallel between the civil rights movement and the murder of innocent African Americans. Please clarify what message NARTH was trying to impart when Dr. Schoenewolf wrote the following statement?

“The irony is that the Civil Rights Movement has been vehement about pointing out the hysterical lynchings that took place in the Old South, but completely blind to its own hysterical tactics.”

It has been exactly one week since Dr. Schoenewolf’ article has been uncovered and no action has yet been taken on behalf of NARTH to distance itself from this divisive rhetoric. In lieu of such inaction, NBJC can only conclude that NARTH is in concurrence with such sentiments. Taking the offending article down off your website in the dead of night is no substitute for honestly and earnestly addressing this festering issue.

In the name of propriety, respect, common decency and professional integrity, NBJC strongly urges NARTH to issue a public apology on the front page of its website for publishing such an outrageous and offensive article. We also hope that you reevaluate your relationship with Dr. Schoenewolf whose peculiar views have no place in civilized discourse.

As the leader of NARTH and a prominent speaker on Focus on the Family’ Love Won Out symposium, the messages imparted by you and NARTH have an impact on real people. We hope that you consider our concerns and contact us so we can hear NARTH’ explanation on how such abhorrent and racially insensitive content found its way onto the group’ website.

Sincerely,

H. Alexander Robinson CEO/Executive Director
The National Black Justice Coalition