Monday, August 10, 2009

MCPS Award for Sprigg?

Last week PFOX issued a press release saying that they were nominating Family Research Council monkey-monk Peter Sprigg for an award. They didn't say what award it was, just that he is a sterling fellow for his work toward making life better for "former homosexuals" in Montgomery County. I blogged about it and made fun of the fact that it appeared that PFOX was giving a PFOX board member a PFOX award. The press release was very poorly worded.

PFOX is Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, a sad organization that is based on the proposition that gay people can and should change their sexual orientation. Their schtick consists mainly of pretending that "ex-gays," or as they sometimes call them, "former homosexuals," e.g., straight people who used to be gay, are discriminated against by society. This perspective gives them a platform for saying nasty things about gay people and how the "gay agenda" is trying to take over our society. This is just one front in the attack on gay rights, and in reality over the years PFOX has become isolated from the broader rightwing crusade as the others have come to see them as an ineffective band of crackpots.

Our friend Alvin McEwen is an author and blogger down in South Carolina who has been an active member of our online community for a long time and is getting to be quite well known for his relentless investigations of the anti-gay industry. Alvin was the one who first brought the PFOX announcement to our attention, he posted it to the TTF Yahoo group. I blogged about it here, and it was not clear what kind of award this was that they were nominating him for.

Alvin wrote about the nomination on his blog Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters. If you aren't sure who Peter Sprigg is, Alvin explains in his usual thorough way with references, links, video. There has also been quite a bit of discussion on the TTF Yahoo group about this.

Curious about the award, Alvin did the sensible thing and emailed Regina Griggs at PFOX and asked her what award it was. He found out that PFOX has nominated Peter Sprigg for an award by the school district for Distinguished Service to Montgomery County Public Schools.

The discussion at our Yahoo group has focused on communicating with the school board, who will make the decision about the award. Peter Sprigg is an anti-gay professional, he is someone who makes his living speaking and writing against gay people, pushing negative stereotypes as facts and promoting laws and policies to make their lives harder. MCPS already passes PFOX flyers out to students four times a year, and they made a special exemption to keep Peter Sprigg on the citizens advisory committee for another term. We are a liberal county, and these are elected officials, and I'd say they're on thin ice already with this situation. The school board may feel that if they give Sprigg an award they will hush criticism from the extreme right.

If you would like to express your opinion, pro or con, about awarding Peter Sprigg the MCPS award for distinguished service to our schools, you can contact the MCPS Board of Education at That email address goes to all the board members and relevant staff at the school district.


Blogger BlackTsunami said...

And here is more information about PFOX and its false information about the lgbt community from a post I completed this morning:

August 10, 2009 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I never realized Blacl Tsunami was you Alvin. I love your blog.

August 10, 2009 1:02 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Part 1 of the letter I sent earlier today:

August 10, 2009

Via e-mail:
Ms. Shirley Brandman, President
Montgomery County Board of Education
850 Hungerford Drive
Rockville, MD 20850

RE: PFOX Nomination of Peter Sprigg for an MCPS Distinguished Service Award

Dear Ms. Brandman:

It has come to my attention that PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays), a group from Fort Belvior, Virginia, has nominated Family Research Council Vice President Peter Sprigg for an MCPS Distinguished Service Award. See

As someone who has been involved in the same issues as Mr. Sprigg at MCPS, and who defended the MCPS approach to health education issues against Mr. Sprigg’s attacks in a 2007 debate on the Maryland Public Television Program State Circle (see, I wish to present my perspective on this nomination.

The MCPS Distinguished Service Award was established by the Board “to recognize and show appreciation to individuals [who] have made exemplary contributions to public education in Montgomery County,” or who have “made extraordinary contributions in the past, and whose impact has had a profound systemwide effect on Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) over the years.” See

The only “profound systemwide effect” that PFOX and Mr. Sprigg (a member of the Board of Directors of PFOX and its representative on the Citizens Advisory Committee on Family Life and Human Development) have had on MCPS was to force MCPS to spend tens of thousands of dollars defending frivolous and factually inaccurate lawsuits, in their ultimately unsuccessful campaign to prevent MCPS from implementing health education curriculum revisions that sought to do nothing more than place in the curriculum the findings of the mainstream American medical and mental health professional associations regarding sexual orientation.

August 10, 2009 2:55 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Part two of the letter:

While PFOX lauds Mr. Sprigg’s unsuccessful efforts to include in the curriculum discussion of so-called “ex-gays” – i.e., those who, through conversion or reparative therapies allegedly have changed from being gay to straight – MCPS properly rejected those efforts: As the American Psychological Association recently reaffirmed, there is no evidence that such “therapies” are “successful;” indeed, they cause great harm. See and Similarly, the American Medical Association explicitly “opposes the use of ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.” See

Moreover, the views of PFOX and Mr. Spriggs were roundly rejected in a 2008 American Psychological Association publication (a publication specifically endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of School Administrators, the American Counseling Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the American School Counselor Association, the American School Health Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Education Association, and the School Social Work Association of America). See Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel.

PFOX also asserts that Mr. Sprigg “enabled public school staff to promote a positive learning environment that holds mutual respect for others by participating in PFOX's flyer distribution program,” providing, in PFOX’s words, “factual information on sexual orientation and resources on alternatives to homosexuality.” But PFOX’s supposed “factual information” is at odds with everything the mainstream health care providers teach us about sexual orientation. According to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, groups like PFOX have a Constitutional right to use the “public forum” created by the flyer distribution program. But it would be a travesty for MCPS to effectively endorse the contents of the PFOX flyers by giving a prestigious award to a member of the PFOX Board of Directors for assisting in distributing false information to students – information that is directly contrary to what we teach in our health education curriculum, to what is provided in our Guidance Offices, and to what the mainstream health care professionals tell us.

Having attended, as a private citizen, nearly all of the Citizens Advisory Committee meetings during the period when the second round of curriculum revisions were being considered, I would have to say that Mr. Sprigg – unlike some of his predecessors on the Committee and an ally of his on the Committee who opposed the revisions by filibuster and attempted disruption of the Committee’s work – acted in a civil, non-disruptive manner. But simply acting in a civil manner and refraining from trying to disrupt the process at Committee meetings does not warrant special recognition from the Board of Education. That is the standard that everyone involved in MCPS activities is expected to meet.

In sum, I urge the Board to refrain from granting an MCPS Distinguished Service Award to someone whose sole involvement with MCPS has been to attempt to propagate information that conflicts with the wisdom of every mainstream American medical and mental health professional association regarding sexual orientation.


David S. Fishback
Member, Board of Directors, Metro DC Chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and former Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Family Life and Human Development (2003-2005)

August 10, 2009 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To David Fishback -- I went to PFOX's website. The organization doesn't even offer reparative therapy or counseling. It looks like a place where ex gays, gays and their families share a plethora of information and stories.

So I'm looking at your letter, which rants on and on about reparative therapy and I'm thinking....


August 10, 2009 8:35 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 10, 2009 8:58 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

Anonymous, if you looked at the following link, you will find all you need to know. It's a quick google search of the PFOX webpage. You will find the organization speakiing positively about reparative therapy on many occasions.:

And Robert, thanks for the compliment ;p

August 10, 2009 9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As the American Psychological Association recently reaffirmed, there is no evidence that such “therapies” are “successful;” indeed, they cause great harm."

Hey, look here.

David lied.

The APA said there was no evidence establishing any harm.

"But simply acting in a civil manner and refraining from trying to disrupt the process at Committee meetings does not warrant special recognition from the Board of Education."

No, but standing up for the rights of the ex-gay minority does.

So does alerting citizens to the unconstitutional nature of the Fishback revisions. The attempt by the Fishback-led committee to endorse a religion was thwarted.

Peter stood fast in spite of the mob and city hall raging against him.

We appreciate and hope this is the first of many awards he receives.

August 10, 2009 9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well before Michelle Turner represented the CRC,the later CRG and whatever they are called now, BOE gave her one. You know a friend nominating a friend thinking later on they would get nominated too, in return. Never turned out the friend got nominated.

August 10, 2009 10:49 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

Is this the same anonymous? If so, I get what you are doing. Throwing out statements and ignoring when you are refuted.

Now you are spinning wild tales. Ex-gay minority? Come on guy. Seems to me these folks wouldn't be bothered if they weren't so busy trying to make life hell for those of us who are comfortable with our lgbt orientation.

While it's not usually my habit to "feed the trolls," any attention devoted to the lies of Peter "I would rather see gays deported rather than imported" Sprigg and the Paul Cameron enablers of PFOX can only be a good thing.

August 10, 2009 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

I just emailed my letter to the MCPS BOE. Sprigg should not be given an award for promoting hate.

August 10, 2009 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sprigg's getting the award.

It's a done deal.

He deserves it for his selfless dedication to the welfare of teens.

You guys can't stop it.

"Candie's non-profit Candie's Foundation is releasing a new T-shirt bearing the slogan "I'm Sexy Enough...To Keep You Waiting."

Candie's Foundation's mission is to teach abstinence, and promote "safe sex in general."

Yet from most of what can be found at Candie's Foundation's website, the organization whose aim is "teen pregnancy prevention," talks mostly about abstaining from sex.

This isn't the first time Candie's Foundation has made headlines this year.

In May, Sarah Palin's exceptionally intelligent teen daughter Bristol was appointed the Foundation's new ambassador.

Beyoncé, Ciara, Jenny McCarthy, Ashley Tisdale, Hilary Duff and other stars have also lent their support to the cause.

Some of the celebrity catch phrases have included: "Be Sexy: It Doesn't Mean You Have to Have Sex" and "Be Smart: You Are Too Young to Start."

The wording on the latest "Be Sexy Tee" came from Sarina Adams, a contestant from Carmel, NY, who entered the slogan-writing contest sponsored by Candie's Foundation"

This Foundation is up for an award.

August 10, 2009 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, I wonder if Dave or Jim will get an award from MCPS

maybe the county thinks they've done enough alredy

August 10, 2009 11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A study showing that sexual orientation is changeable and that attempts to change are not harmful was presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA) in Toronto on Sunday.

Conducted by Dr. Stanton Jones, provost professor of psychology at Wheaton College, and Dr. Mark Yarhouse, professor of psychology at Regent University, the research looked at a group of individuals involved in the Exodus program over a period of seven years. Exodus International uses a Christian-based approach to bring about change in sexual orientation.

They found 23 percent of those participating reported a change in their sexual orientation. Thirty percent noted a dramatic decrease in homosexual attraction, which they categorized as successful change.

Randy Thomas, executive vice president of Exodus, has experienced change in his own life.

“This study not only gives credence to our lives,” he said, “but positively contributes to the ongoing cultural dialogue over sexual and gender identity, as well.”

The research also pointed out that those who attempted to change their same-sex attractions were not harmed. And many participants reported a “diminishing of psychological distress” the longer they pursued “reorientation.”

Many at the convention agreed more research is needed.

“We hope that future research efforts will make room for our experiences,” said Thomas, “so that personal autonomy and religious diversity are respected both in the field of science and in the public arena.”

For years, the APA has asserted that sexual orientation is not changeable, and that the potential risks of therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior.

In 1973, the APA Council and the Board of Directors adopted the Leona Tyler Principle, a precaution that directed the organization’s public statements to be founded on research, not political correctness.

Dr. Jones said in the ensuing years, the principle has taken a back seat as the association bowed to cultural pressure.

“Since then, it’s passed resolutions on everything from boxing to Zionism,” he said. “So frustration has grown around APA making pronouncements where it doesn’t have a good scientific or professional basis to make those pronouncements.”

The APA recently released a task-force report that shows some patients may want to change, but stops short of giving its blessing to such programs.

August 10, 2009 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As America's leading Christian denominations are once again feuding and splitting over whether they should allow gays and lesbians to marry, or ordain them as clergy, is it a miracle there are any gay Christians?

Given Christianity's history of exclusion and often outright homophobia, and the current bloodletting over their role, why do homosexuals bother staying, not to mention believing?

They do both in numbers that might surprise you:

A new survey of 9,000 gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans from George Barna, a well-known evangelical pollster, showed that 70 percent of gay adults describe themselves as Christian and 60 percent say their faith is "very important" in their lives.

Granted, those figures are lower than the population as a whole, which register 85 and 70 percent on those rankings, respectively.

But Barna, himself a Bible-believing, born-again Christian, points out that the numbers demonstrate that "popular stereotypes about the spiritual life of gays and lesbians are simply wrong."

"People who portray gay adults as godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers are not working with the facts," Barna said.

"A substantial majority of gays cite their faith as a central facet of their life, consider themselves to be Christian, and claim to have some type of meaningful personal commitment to Jesus Christ active in their life today."

Moreover, while Barna's data indicate that homosexual believers tend to avoid active participation in an institutional church, both anecdotal evidence and some research shows that gays and lesbians who are involved in their churches and denominations are often more committed to the church and more involved in ministry than their straight brethren.

August 10, 2009 11:44 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

Anonymous, let's focus on the Jones and Yarhouse study you alluded to. From

Their work was funded by Exodus and it utilized activist research subjects who were recruited with help from Exodus and the ex-gay therapy lobby NARTH. Critics said the study suffered from the following shortcomings:

•The study was conducted by two supporters of ex-gay ministries.
•Jones and Yarhouse originally sought 300 participants, but after more than a year of seeking to round up volunteers, they had to settle on only 98 participants.

•During the course of the study, 25 dropped out, and one participant’s answers were too incomplete to be used.

•Of the remaining 72 only 11 reported “satisfactory, if not uncomplicated, heterosexual adjustment.” (direct quote). Some of these 11 remained primarily homosexual in attraction or, at best, bisexual, but were satisfied that they were just slightly more attracted to the opposite sex, or slightly less attracted to the same sex.

•After the study ended, but before the book was finished, one of the 11 wrote to the authors to say that he lied — he really wanted to change, had really hoped he had changed, and answered that he had changed. But he concluded that he hadn’t, came out, and is now living as an openly gay man.

•Dozens of participants experienced no lessening of same-sex attraction and no increase in opposite-sex attraction, but were classified as “success” stories by Jones and Yarhouse simply because they maintained celibacy — something many conservative gay people already do.

•The study purposely declined to interview any ex-gay survivors: people who claim to have been injured by ex-gay programs and who have formed support groups such as Beyond Ex-Gay. Despite — or because of — this omission, the authors of this study make the unfounded claim that there is little or no evidence of harm resulting from unproven, unsupervised, unlicensed, and amateur ex-gay counseling tactics.
In short, the study design was so flawed that no mainstream, peer-reviewed, mental-health journal would publish it. And the study’s supposed success stories were gay celibate individuals who adopted false labels to direct attention away from frequently undiminished same-sex attraction.

The APA also found fault with the study:

A published study that appeared in the grey literature in 2007 (Jones & Yarhouse, 2007) has been described by SOCE advocates and its authors as having successfully addressed many of the methodological problems that affect other recent studies, specifically the lack of prospective research. The study is a convenience sample of self-referred populations from religious self-help groups. The authors claim to have found a positive effect for some study respondents in different goals such as decreasing same-sex sexual attractions, increasing other-sex attractions, and maintaining celibacy. However, upon close examination, the methodological problems described in Chapter 3 (our critique of recent studies) are characteristic of this work, most notably the absence of a control or comparison group and the threats to internal, external, construct, and statistical validity. Best-practice analytical techniques were not performed in the study, and there are significant deficiencies in the analysis of longitudinal data, use of statistical measures, and choice of assessment measures. The authors’ claim of finding change in sexual orientation is unpersuasive due to their study’s methodological problems.

August 11, 2009 6:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh dear

Alvin is unpersuaded

but, then, he's of that persuasion

August 11, 2009 6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blue Dog Democrats will offer to support the health bill is funds if reparative therapy is covered and if there is a mandate for counseling to advise homosexuals of their therapy option every five years

Nancy Pelosi is said to be considering the deal and a Congressional Medal of Freedom for Peter Spriggs

August 11, 2009 6:52 AM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

Laughably immature, anonymous.

Then again, you are of THAT persuasion ;p

August 11, 2009 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard today that Spriggs will be running for the Republican nomination for Maryland Senator.

Presumably, he'll be running against Mikulski, which should be a shoo-in.

That award from MCPS should be a nice crededtial to carry around.

August 11, 2009 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You hear all sorts of things from other patients.

Delusions mostly

August 11, 2009 11:16 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Sprigg for Senate, running against Barbara Mikulski? Good. He will lose in a landslide, as did Linda Chavez and Alan Keyes when they ran against her.

August 11, 2009 11:27 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Politico is reporting that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will be heading to Iowa to test the presidential waters.

Tom Schaller at Salon suggests:

A few requests to share as you begin packing [for your upcoming trips to Iowa to test the Presidential waters]:

1. Please run for president, Rick.
2. Please "amplify your voice" by taking a higher profile in the Republican Party.
3. Please distinguish your presidential campaign by staking out strong, unequivocal socially-conservative positions on abortion, evolution, gay rights, global warming and so on.
4. Please rally the birthers, the health care protesters, the CUFI crowd, and related fringe groups to your side as one big, merry band of crusaders.
5. Please win the 2012 Republican nomination.
6. Please pluck television talk show host and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin from non-obscurity by tapping her to be your vice presidential running mate.
7. Oh, and yeah: Please be gracious during your election night concession speech.

See Anon? Lots of us liberals share your support for Palin to be on the 2012 ticket!

Palin in 2012!

August 12, 2009 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:
That award from MCPS should be a nice crededtial to carry around.

Anon 2 writes now: Not happening, so do not hold your breath.

August 13, 2009 3:55 PM  

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