Truth Wins Out or Will It?

John Becker

By Frank Pizzoli

Central Voice talked to Wayne Besen and John Becker, of Truth Wins Out (TWO), on Michele and Marcus Bachmann’s “Pray Away the Gay” problem.

July 13, 2011 – Media of every kind – network, cable, Internet, blogs – are flush with interviews on what has become known as the “Pray Away the Gay” problem for presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann and husband Marcus.

At a Christian counseling clinic Bachmann and Associates, the Lake Elmo, Minn.-based clinic co-owned by the couple, TWO has secretly taped five counseling sessions between John Becker, 26, and a counselor who suggested to him that God made a man’s eyes to appreciate a woman’s body.

“I had five, privately-paid for sessions from June 23 to June 30,” Becker told Central Voice today. He characterized the sessions and subsequent therapeutic suggestions made by his counselor as based on prayer, a better understanding of God, and that changing from homosexual to heterosexual was possible.

“Never did my counselor acknowledge that homosexual orientation is a naturally-occurring variation of human sexuality,” Becker said. His feelings for men were treated as an outside force that prayer could heal. “My counselor said that being heterosexual is the core value of how God has created us,” Becker explained. Marcus Bachmann is squarely on the record in previous media statements as referring to gay people as “Barbarians” who need “discipline”. Becker has been married to a man for five years whom he describes as “the center of my world”.

Bogus Science?
The controversy focuses less on “reparative therapy” than on the fact that Marcus Bachmann has repeatedly said his counseling service did not offer such therapy. The therapy’s claim that one can change sexual orientation from homosexual or lesbian to heterosexual is discredited as false by both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association. Those organizations, and former MTV host and now on-air cable face Dr. Drew Pinsky, have described the practice as potentially harmful to individuals already feeling the social strains of rejection from churches, family, schools, and bullying. Becker said he founded the sessions “very emotionally draining and I’m an actor-performer. What about individuals who are less equipped and vulnerable,” he asked?

Federal Funds?
Further stoking the controversy is that the clinic has received $137,000 in federal funds for treating patients in Medicaid-backed programs. NBC’s Michael Isikoff reports the previously unreported payments are on top of the $24,000 in federal and state funds that the clinic received in recent years under a state grant to train its employees, state records show. The figures were provided to NBC News in response to a Freedom of Information request. These revelations bait the question: Have the Bachmann’s used taxpayer funds to train therapists in the use of reparative therapy?

TWO founder Besen told Central Voice that “Michele Bachmann made her career on touting her strong beliefs. Now she is willing to discard her principles for political expediency. It is time the Bachmann’s admit they do reparative therapy and stop running from their record.”

See Interviews
See interviews with John Becker, Wayne Besen, others by MSNBC, NBC Nightline, Chris Matthews, and Anderson Cooper at


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