In September, an insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church — where Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has worshipped for about six years — promoted an upcoming Love Won Out conference that sought to “convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.” In an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren last night about suspected arson at the church, Palin defended the promotion of the event, claiming that “people looked at that and wanted to spin that into something that it was not”:
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know about that at all, what that controversy was?
PALIN: Yes, I think there was an insert in the church’s bulletin one Sunday that had advertised a seminar that was being (INAUDIBLE) at another church in Anchorage, and it had to do with those who wanted some assistance or some kind of counseling in dealing with any struggles that they would have regarding homosexuality.
Asked if gay men and women were “welcome” at her church, Palin responded by using nearly the same language she used to describe Love Won Out’s efforts to “help” gay people. The church is “quite open in terms of welcoming people into the church and assisting anyone who desires assistance or counseling or help,” said Palin. Watch it:
Love Won Out denies that it aims to “cure” homosexuality, despite the fact that it claims “same-sex attractions can be overcome.” Additionally, the group’s website approvingly cites a paper on “Ex-Gays” that seeks to demonstrate “that it is possible for homosexuals to change their physical attractions.” The website also refers readers to a number of “ex-gay” organizations and websites.
As the New York Times notes, “most mainstream mental health professionals dismiss attempts to eradicate homosexual desires or to change someone’s sexual orientation as quackery that is potentially harmful.” Mental health experts say that the damage sexual reorientation therapy can “inflict on self-esteem, triggering depression and even suicide, is well documented.”