A nationally organized group of liberal journalists ran afoul of the Richmond-based Family Foundation by calling for a watch-dog style snooping on parents and ministers who aim to steer youth away from homosexuality and transgender beliefs.
Their call to action is national, however, is not focused only on the state of Virginia.
Muckrock issued a call to pro-LGBTQ youth, teachers and other activists to help a team of investigative journalists “uncover hidden conversion therapy programs,” where-ever they are, according to their website announcement. (scroll to the bottom)
The effort against ministries and private families arose out of frustration that Virginia conservatives defeated an effort to ban so-called “conversion therapy” along partisan lines in the legislative committee stage.
Arguments for and against the ban included confusion over what the ban would cover, and if ministries would be exempt as non-licensed, non-clinical entities.
According to Muckrock leaders issuing the call, ministries comprise a call to conversion that harms LGBTQ youth, so they should not be exempted from an eventual law.
They aimed particular attention at the fact that the Family Foundation played an instrumental role in defeating the ban against conversion therapy, however weakened by exemptions it might have been.
“Across the country, there are private ‘hidden’ conversion therapy programs, workshops, and camps masquerading as innocuous religious youth groups or family counseling programs,” the call noted.
“Some groups may not advertise the programs openly, which makes locating groups to investigate difficult,” it continued.
“We invite you to submit leads regarding pro-conversion/reparative therapy or ex-gay counselors, churches, camps, and non-profits local to you.”
Muckrock investigative journalists promised that with the help of whistleblowers they would begin to scrutinize local outreach efforts, and “we can work toward stronger oversight and action.”
Sean Maguire, a Family Foundation program director, characterized Muckrock’s call to action a Communist-style deployment of apparatchiks hunting for dissenters.
“It is a call for children and students to report parents and pastors to the LGBTQ watchdogs so they can scrutinize the conduct in question and work toward ‘stronger oversight’ of church activities that might be ‘conversion therapy’ in disguise,” Maguire said.
Support for conversion therapy is viewed as wishing that certain people were dead
Family Foundation president, Victoria Cobb, sounded the alarm even louder, naming the call to action an outright frightening use of Communist style tactics.
“The LGBTQ policy group wants to investigate counseling for children struggling with same-sex attraction that encourages God’s design for sexuality!” she said.
“These reported parents and pastors would be scrutinized by the LGBTQ group in order to advance their legislative goals,” she added. “The goal is to have stronger oversight of pastors by the State!
“The LGBTQ groups want to ban pastors from preaching what the Bible says about sexuality because it might be ‘conversion therapy’ in disguise.”
Muckrock presents itself as championing the Freedom of Information Act, probing government documents for signs of threats against personal liberties. A peek at their website revealed a staff of predominantly Boston-area liberal journalists.
Their stance visible through a collection of documents focused on the Virginia conversion therapy ban and its legislative process – what they prioritized in collecting and applying the documents – exposed their bias against ministries that reach out to LGBTQ people.
The Family Foundation characterized Muckrock as an LGBTQ policy group, no doubt.
“The LGBTQ community despises conversion therapy in any form,” Maguire said. “Support for conversion therapy is viewed as wishing that certain people were dead.”