One Step Forward For Mental Health, We Hope

Almost as soon as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed in to law a ban on gay to straight conversion therapy for children under the age of 18 in his state, the conservative lobbyists flew in to action. Spearheading the movement behind their unfounded complaints is a group known as Liberty Counsel. This organization has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Camden, N.J. against the ban, on the premise that it “will prohibit New Jersey Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists from respecting the rights of clients to make the decisions because the state has already made the decision for every client that may seek counseling from a licensed professional on the issue of sexual orientation” and that therapists they have spoken to  are “hopelessly conflicted” between following the law and upholding its professional code of conduct.

Side effects may include depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. Take as instructed by your lobbyist.

Side effects may include depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. Take as instructed by your lobbyist.

Where did these people find enough therapists willing to support a federal suit fighting a ban on a practice the American Psychological Association has found destructive to the health of young people?

Better still, who are the people who make up this lobby group? Here is how they themselves:

Liberty Counsel® is an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro-bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. With offices in Florida, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and an outreach in Israel, Liberty Counsel has hundreds of advocates around the world.

What that really means is they are a private Christian organization offering pro-bono litigation (because why would you pay for this service), biased education, and conservative political insight in the interest of Christian religious freedom, support of pro-choice radicals, and their definition of family since 1989. Two states (including my own, Virginia) and our nation’s capital are lucky enough have offices of this organization available; the people of Israel also find themselves in this position.

A review of their website reveals more misguided and one-sided arguments. Some such agendas include “40 Days To Save America” devotionals, which seems to involve a lot of fasting, weeping, and praying; a purportedly non-partisan voter education guide, just in case someone un-opinionated and uninformed enough happened to stumble upon their site and felt they needed some guidance at the polls; and of course the “I <3 CHRISTmas” campaign, always a perennial winner among the Fox News crowd.

My favorite campaign of theirs, though, is the “Adopt a Liberal” program. I guess they needed something more specific than just 40 Days’ worth of praying for the bastard liberalized soul of the nation. They appear to feel the need make unwelcome exhortations based on quotes taken out of context from ancient texts to save people who don’t need saving and, in the case of the lawsuit in New Jersey, endanger people who deserve to live free of such stressors. Never mind the petty discomfort I feel as a liberal at the thought of being spiritually petitioned upon; the larger issue is that they push their own moral agenda around without concern for the health and safety of others.

They are not a human rights group. They are barely even a human interest group. They are a group out for their own interests at whatever cost or offense it might bring to others. Liberals, non-Christians, and the LGBTQ community would be advised to keep a close eye on this organization’s movements and fight back against their legal incursions and attacks on the rights of others they feel are not like them.

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Original image source: The good wife’s guide



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