But that’s what happened: at the same time as the Rabbinical Council of America, the largest professional association of Orthodox rabbis in the world, was disavowing any connection with a leading provider of “reparative therapy” for gays in the wake of a new lawsuit, not one but two television doctors gave the therapy’s practitioners a sympathetic national spotlight.
In case you didn’t already know, “reparative therapy” is neither reparative nor therapy, but a collection of weird, disproven techniques designed to turn gay people straight. Most “clients” come from conservative religious backgrounds, and are desperately trying to live as they believe God wants them to live. To most twenty-first century folks, the whole thing may seem ridiculous, a throwback to the days of quack cures for masturbation or “hysteria.” But as someone who works with LGBT religious people professionally, I’ve seen that it’s much worse than that; for many, it is deeply harmful.
On Tuesday, four former clients of a Jewish reparative-therapy outfit called JONAH (“Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing”)—sued the organization for fraud, claiming that it sold them quack therapies that were ineffective and counterproductive.