John M. Becker

Newsweek Owner Endorses 'Pray Away the Gay' Quackery

Filed By John M. Becker | March 30, 2014 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Media
Tags: Christopher Doyle, conversion therapy, Etienne Uzac, evangelicals, ex-gay, ex-gay myth, Johnathan Davis, Newsweek, pray away the gay, reparative therapy

johnathan-davis-etienne-uzac-newsweek.jpgA new profile piece published by The Guardian reveals that Johnathan Davis (at left in photo) and Etienne Uzac (right) -- the co-owners of IBT Media, which bought Newsweek from the Daily Beast last August -- are both far-right, socially conservative evangelical Christians.

Not only that, but Davis, the company's chief content officer, is so conservative that he's apparently an enthusiastic supporter of the "pray away the gay" myth:

Davis... has personally endorsed the view, espoused by the so-called "ex-gay" movement, that gay people may have developed their sexuality as a result of being sexually abused as children, and can be cured by therapy to make them heterosexual.

In a Facebook post in February 2013, Davis described as "shockingly accurate" an op-ed article written by Christopher Doyle, the director of the International Healing Foundation (IHF), which works to convert gay people. Davis said it "cuts like a hot knife through a buttery block of lies".

Doyle, who once identified as gay but is now married to a woman, wrote that "same-sex attractions" are typically felt by people born with a "sensitive nature" and then subjected to "early sexual initiation and/or sexual abuse" or unusual attachment issues with their parents. He said last week that he was delighted by Davis's praise. "Considering how much of the media is very gay-friendly, this is a breath of fresh air," he said.

The American Psychological Association states that "ex-gay" therapies are "based on a view of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major mental health professions".

More, after the jump.

christopher-doyle-ex-gay.JPGDoyle (left), as readers might remember, is a professional "ex-gay" activist and self-described "former homosexual" who helped to organize "Ex-Gay Pride Month" and an "Ex-Gay Awareness Dinner" last year in Washington, D.C. Both events failed miserably.

In January, he blamed the recent rash of anti-LGBT laws in countries like Nigeria, India, and Russia on the advance of LGBT rights in the West.

When The Guardian directly asked Davis whether he falsely believes, as Doyle does, that LGBT people can be "cured" of homosexuality, Davis deflected:

"Whether I do or not, I'm not sure how that has any bearing on my capacity here as the founder of the company. I'm not sure how it's relevant. People believe all sorts of weird things. But from a professional capacity, it's unrelated."

Translation: Yeah it's weird that I think this, but I do, and so what? Got a problem with that?

The post has since been removed from Davis's Facebook page.

And yeah, I've got a problem with that. The "ex-gay" myth isn't just "weird," it's downright dangerous. Every major mainstream organization of medical and mental health professionals agrees that sexual orientation cannot be changed, and that efforts to do so have the potential to harm patients, putting them at a greater risk of anxiety, depression, and suicide.

Given the public's rapid shift in favor of accepting LGBT people and the consequent push of extreme homophobia from the mainstream to the far fringes of society, it's not at all surprising that Davis would seek to downplay the significance of his rabidly anti-gay views. But thanks to The Guardian, the cat's out of the bag.

And it may damage the Newsweek brand -- one of the most recognizable in the American print media landscape -- as a result. After all, can a magazine helmed by homophobes really be trusted to accurately and fairly cover LGBT civil rights issues?

Color me deeply skeptical.

h/t: Joe. My. God.


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