Peter Sprigg

Peter Sprigg is not a happy fundamentalist. Montgomery County, Maryland Public Schools Superintendent, Joshua Starr, called a PFOX brochure “reprehensible,” “deplorable” and “disgusting.”

At FRC, Sprigg has the pretentious academic title of Senior Fellow for Policy Studies.
Sprigg is a Baptist minister with an undergraduate degree in political
science and economics. He also has a master of divinity degree. What he is certainly not is a scholar nor expert on sexual orientation. Sprigg’s “contributions” are one of the reasons that Family Research Council is designated a hate group by the SPLC. But I digress.

According to Sprigg, in a piece appearing in LifesiteNews,

The [PFOX] flier states, “Every year, thousands of people with unwanted
same-sex attractions make the personal decision to leave a gay
identity,” and asserts that such people should be able to “seek help and
information on overcoming their feelings.”

Really? Where is the study that is published in a peer reviewed scholarly journal? Where are these “thousands” of outcomes documented? Where is the downstream data for outcomes over time? Sprigg goes on to state:

Perhaps the flier triggered anger because it calls into question a
widespread myth – that people are “born gay.” Yet even the American
Psychological Association (APA) has admitted, “[N]o findings have
emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is
determined by any particular factor or factors.”

 Mr. Sprigg is expert at selective observation. Here is another quote from the APA that Mr. Sprigg would prefer to bury:

The American Psychological Association Task Force . . . concluded that efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some
risk of harm
, contrary to the claims of SOCE [sexual orientation change efforts] practitioners and advocates. Even though the research and clinical
literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and
positive variations of human sexuality
, . . . the task force concluded that
the population that undergoes SOCE tends to have strongly conservative religious views . . .

The only “myth” that I can discern is that pray away the gay is either appropriate or effective. According to Sprigg:

The most defamatory accusation about the PFOX flier is that it is
“anti-gay.” This is simply false. The flier declares, “PFOX supports
tolerance.” That means tolerance for all – homosexuals and
ex-homosexuals. Apparently for some people, “tolerance” is a one-way

 Tolerant? Really? In addition to Mr. Sprigg (who works for a hate group), the board of directors of PFOX includes Matt Barber and Robert Knight     two of the most vitriolic anti-gay bigots on the religious right landscape. Just how tolerant can they be when these three extremists are on their board?

Pushing ex-gay quackpottery on young people is especially dangerous. They have the most fragile psyches and are not able to give informed consent. Consent then falls to a parent. To please the parent some kids pretend to be straight but, inevitably, that wears off after a short period of time. The child is then faced with parental disapproval. Organizations pushing the ex-gay myth will inevitably blame the kid. Either the poor youngster didn’t work hard enough, pray hard enough or isn’t sufficiently motivated. The parent blames the child and treats the “problem” as misbehavior. The potential for significant lasting damage is considerable.

The good news is that, in 2010 (the latest year for which information is available) PFOX had revenues of only $38 thousand, down from $44 thousand in 2009. Perhaps with such meager receipts, the damage that they cause is limited.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.