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in the news/4

Volume 15/Issue 19

Deseret News Is Mouthpiece
for So-Called "Ex-Gay" Movement

O n Sept. 6, two days after a gay youth leader in Salt Lake City took his own life, the Deseret News ran two blatantly propagandist articles on the so-called "ex-gay" movement under the auspices of news. The primary story is about Evergreen International, which is the Mormon version of the radical Christian group Exodus. According to the story, the group was formed "by a group of young men who struggled with homosexual tendencies and wanted to help encourage each other to live gospel principles." The article then promotes an upcoming Evergreen conference.

While it neglects to seriously examine the massive criticism of the so-called "ex-gay" movement or quote anyone with a contrary view of this frequently damaging and shame-inducing practice, it throws this bone: "While some people argue that homosexuality is as inherent as race and can't be overcome, [group leader] Pruden said successful transition is possible. In fact, the founders of the organization have now made the transition, he said." It quotes Pruden: "Homosexuality is a psychological condition that professionals deal with [i.e. "cure"] very well in non-religious people."

The second story, by Scripps Howard News Service on other ex-gay "ministries," while biased towards the voices of "ex-gays," offers a little more balance. "Transformation ministries are highly controversial," it allows, "and they make people angry. The medical and psychological community says transformation methods don't work. Gay Christians and others who support equal rights for homosexuals are offended by the idea that they have to be straight to be saved." It also quotes a representative from Metropolitan Community Church, saying, "'I believe we are created in the image of God. Why would God heal us of that?"' Finally, the Deseret News lists the phone number and a toll-free hotline for the Mormon ex-gay group and another plug for the conference.

Seventeen-year-old Jacob Orozco, a gay youth leader who was to be the president of the East High Gay-Straight Alliance this school year, killed himself while living in a community where the overwhelming message about being lesbian or gay is one of shame, sickness and sin. In the same city where in 1996 the Salt Lake City School District banned all extra-curricular activities rather than allow East High students to form a support group for gay youth, the Deseret News continues the stigmatization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through inaccurate and aggressively biased journalism. [from GLAAD]

Christian Radio Host Urges Death to Gay People

O n the Aug. 29 show of Crosstalk on Christian- owned KBRT-AM in Costa Mesa, California, host Rich Agozino suggested that homosexuality should be punishable by death. According to his interpretation of the Bible, Agozino said that, "Lesbian love [and] sodomy are viewed by God as being detestable and abominable.... Civil magistrates are to put people to death who practice these things." He also urged listeners and callers to write to state legislators calling for laws that would sentence lesbians and gay men to death. When asked to comment on his host's execution-style morality, KBRT-AM station manager Ed Personius claimed Agozino was just encouraging people to follow the "word of God." Don Crawford, Jr., general manager of Crawford Broadcasting West, of which KBRT is a subsidiary, was unavailable for comment, but an assistant confirmed that Crawford Broadcasting was "Christian owned and operated."

At a Sept. 11 meeting, the Orange County Human Relations Commission passed a resolution urging people to: 1) Write the station manager at KBRT-AM; 2) Write Don Crawford, owner of the station; 3) Warn both that Agonizo's call for a death penalty on the basis of sexual orientation "foments deep fear in the gay and lesbian community" and "promotes violence against gays and lesbians in Orange County," adding that both KBRT and Crawford "are responsible" for any increase in violence against lesbians and gay men in the near future.; and 4) Send a complaint to the FCC.

In addition, people who are within the broadcast area of KBRT should note several sponsors and ask them if they feel it is "Christian" to urge death to gay people when one of the Ten Commandments states "Thou Shalt Not Kill," and urge advertisers to take their business to a station more interested in promoting genuine Christian love and inclusiveness. Contact: Don Crawford, Owner/President, Crawford Broadcasting, P.O. Box 3003, Blue Bell, PA 19422, phone: 215.628.3500, fax: 215.628.0818; Ed Personius, Station Manager, KBRT-AM, 3183 Airway Avenue, Suite D, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, fax: 714.754.0735; Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 1919 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20554, phone for AM Radio Complaint Division: 202.418.2795, E-mail address for complaints: [from GLAAD]

At Diana Memorial, World Watches Gay Couple Mourn

T hanks in large part to live feeds from British networks Sky News and ITN, the American media coverage of the Princess Diana funeral and memorial services featured two gay men comforting one another. According to viewer reports to GLAAD, coverage by at least E! Entertainment Network, MSNBC, NBC, CBS and ABC included a montage of mourners in London that had two men embracing and weeping, and one of the men gave the other a comforting kiss on the forehead. In addition, the September 15 issue of Newsweek features an image by the Associated Press of two men holding one another in mourning.

Considering that over 33 million Americans (86 percent of the audience share) watched the funeral and surrounding coverage on television, this casual inclusion of gay people showed how we are, indeed, everywhere and a part of the mosaic of society. [from GLAAD]

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