Tennessee closes down Christian ex-gay camp for treating mental illness without a license

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Tennessee state Department of Mental Health has ordered the closing of two Ex-gay ministries operated by Love In Action International Inc., a controversial Christian group that counsels gays to give up homosexuality.

The state deemed that Love in Action was "providing housing, meals and personal care for mentally ill patients without a license". In particular, the state found that Love in Action was dispensing medication to patients without the required license.

Love in Action has repeatedly drawn fire from gay rights groups who view it as preying upon the fears of religious parents in order to make Christian ministers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson seem more acceptable to the uninformed public. Gay rights advocates view such bootcamp style Ex-Gay camps as "tantamount to child abuse". [1] [2]

Love In Action is viewed as the first modern Ex-Gay group. Its co-founder John Evans, who abandoned the ministry, feels that it has led to "nothing but shattered lives, depression, and even suicide" and suggests that "The Church has been wrong in the past regarding moral issues and I’m sure there will be more before Christ returns."

The American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association strongly affirm that "homosexuality is not an illness", "does not require treatment" and "is not changeable." They feel that "gay men and lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation positively are better adjusted than those who have not done so," and warn that people seeking conversion therapy may be doing so under pressure from religious groups. The American public is evenly divided on the question of whether homosexual orientation can be changed, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life [3].