Christian Group: Don’t Say We Support Gay Conversion Therapy (Even Though We Do)

By Hemant Mehta

During John Oliver‘s fantastic segment on Last Week Tonight about Mike Pence, he noted Pence’s belief that sexual orientation is a choice.

Pence is rumored to be a believer in “gay conversion therapy,” an ineffective and cruel way to supposedly turn gay people straight. Even though that’s not how being gay works, the method is still championed by many evangelical Christians. Pence himself alluded to it in his first campaign for congress when he said, “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

Since that time, Pence has denied supporting conversion therapy. He openly rejected the idea that electrical shocks — one of the tools people have used for the therapy — help turn gay people straight. That’s good… but it doesn’t go far enough. The question John Oliver really wanted to know was whether Pence believes people choose to be gay. Because if it’s a choice, then Pence presumably believes it can be reversed.

We may not get an answer to that question anytime soon. However, even if Pence won’t talk about it, he still supports the evangelical group Focus on the Family and its founder and former leader James Dobson, who absolutely supports conversion therapy. Dobson even wrote in one of his books, “Focus on the Family promotes the truth that homosexuality is preventable and treatable.”

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