Religion

FRC Activist Wants Trump To Save Conversion Therapy (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Peter Sprigg of the conservative Christian Family Research Council is hoping President Donald Trump's administration will save controversial gay conversion therapy programs from being banned (video below).

"I certainly hope that this administration will pull back from some of the aggressive activism that the Obama administration engaged in," Sprigg told ABC News' "20/20," which will be broadcast on March 10.

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, under the Obama administration, has said that "conversion therapy is not sound medical practice," and that these types of treatments "are harmful and are not appropriate therapeutic practices."

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers and the World Health Organization all believe efforts to change a person's sexual orientation do not work, noted Newsweek.

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California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and the District of Colombia have all banned gay conversion therapy programs, but Sprigg and the FRC have fought efforts to ban the therapy in 20 other states.

"They certainly should not be outlawed," Sprigg told ABC News. "They certainly should not be prohibited by law. As a Christian, I believe that the Bible teaches that to choose to engage in homosexual conduct is a sin."

In the same broadcast, ABC News notes two gay conversion therapy programs in Alabama, one of which resulted in child abuse convictions of Christian pastors who were accused of beating gay teens who refused to change from gay to straight.

"If someone is experiencing something mentally, like same-sex attractions, that is causing distress, then that’s a mental health issue," Sprigg explained. "The kind of therapy that we support is ordinary talk therapy like anyone would have for any type of psychological issue."

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The ABC News report shows young people who did not have distress with their same-sex attractions, but their parents did and sent them to the conversion camps, which did cause the young people distress.

According to the FRC website, Sprigg has a Master of Divinity degree, and a Bachelor of Arts degree  in economics and political science. He does not list any formal psychology education or professional training in his official bio.

Sprigg said he does "not believe that experiencing same-sex attractions is a normal and natural variant of human sexuality."

He is hopeful there will not be any federal laws against gay conversion therapy under Trump: "I see it as unlikely that any sort of legislative -- federal legislative attack upon sexual reorientation therapy will ... go anywhere."

The American Academy of Pediatrics warned against gay conversion therapy in 1993: "Therapy directed at specifically changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation."

The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its diagnostic manual of mental disorders in 1973, while the American Psychological Association issued a statement in 1975:

Homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability or general social and vocational capabilities; further, the American Psychological Association urges all mental health professionals to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual orientations.

Sources: ABC News, Newsweek, FRC / Photo credit: Peter Sprigg/Twitter

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