Monday, February 13, 2006

handcuffs, Prozac, "ex-gay" ministry, State of Tennessee, ...

There is an interesting article by Ben Popper in the weekly newspaper, The Memphis Flyer, regarding the Love In Action controversies (see: Queer Action Coalition's blog). It follows up on the DJ Butler controversy. Apparently, Butler ranaway from home in Georgia so his parents handcuffed him and forced him into LIA. Butler also alleges that his father somehow obtained a Prozac prescription which LIA administered to him. Butler has since left LIA and may have been emancipated from his parents' legal authority. The article also mentions the litigation between the State of Tennessee and LIA. In response to a similar situation in which a young teen, "Zach", was forced into LIA, the Tennessee launched an investigation into the services LIA was providing. Since LIA has agreed not to treat mentally ill patients, TN stopped taking action against LIA. However, LIA believes its constitutional rights have been violated because it is a religious organization. What is really interesting to me, is that the TN vs LIA legal issues may finally force an 'ex-gay' ministry to define itself and the treatment it provides. If LIA is simply a religious group, then its 'ex-gay' program is a faith-based cure akin to faith healing. However, if LIA also poses as providing a type of conversion 'therapy', then it should be subject to the same guidelines as all other professional counseling services. Regardless, no child should be forced into religious indoctrinationor experimental therapy.

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