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GLORIA.TV EXCLUSIVE – JONAH case: Nobody is Condemned to be Homosexual

Arthur A. Goldberg, J.D.

Interview with Arthur A. Goldberg and Elaine Silodor Berk, former co-directors of “Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing” (JONAH). JONAH was a Jewish non-profit organization, which offered therapeutic resources for people who desire to be healed from unwanted homosexual attractions and want to lead a life consistent with their religious beliefs. JONAH was forced to shut down after a lawsuit brought in by the radical and powerful Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The case is explained here.

What is your assessment of the controversial verdict against JONAH?
We believe that the tragic miscarriage of justice that occurred in the JONAH case reflects the near triumph of political correctness and the gay activist agenda in the USA.

Do we have to put up with this?
No, we pray for the day when the outcome will be recognized as one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in modern history. While many of the Court's outrageous pre-trial rulings ended any real chance for a fair trial or verdict, we hope that ordinary citizens of good will assert themselves in order to reverse the tide of “political correctness” now sweeping our country.

Can you cite examples of the erroneous rulings?
Not allowing our six defense experts to testify as well as the outrageous ruling that stated that calling homosexuality "disordered" violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. Then there was the ruling during the trial which prohibited our attorney from arguing our freedom of religion First Amendment rights. Of course, there were many other errors during the proceedings.

Does the verdict curtail defendants' constitutional right to religious liberty?
Jewish tradition states that certain moral imperatives were revealed by G-d to His people. Jews, as the original recipients of the Seven Noahide Laws as well as the Ten Commandments from Moses at Sinai, are obligated to not only follow these commandments themselves but to also teach all the nations of the world about the existence of these commandments and to encourage all of humanity to observe them. When a society takes away the religious liberty of its citizens, it has ceased to be a just society.

You think that history is on your side?
We know that the Torah's values on sexuality and the family will triumph because these universal laws produce the most just societies. They offer G-d given truths for all humanity to follow.

From the now defunct JONAH webpage

Why do gay activists want to eliminate freedom of choice in the case of unwanted same-sex attraction?
We can't be certain of their motives but we believe it allows them to continue the propaganda that a "change" of sexual orientation is not possible. If no one tries to change, no one will change and then we have a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the gay activists can get the public to believe the lie that all homosexuals were "born that way" and have no choice about their feelings, behavior, or identity, the activists believe it will somehow alleviate their own issues of shame, pain and fear. In addition, adopting such a view provides a convenient excuse to do nothing to overcome unwanted same-sex-attractions.

What is the consequence of this?
The tragic statistics on the emotional, physical, and addictive diseases which are sadly prevalent among homosexuals show that the current ill-conceived campaign to end reparative therapy has not changed (and in fact has contributed to) the major physical and emotional risks associated with being an active homosexual.

What are the dangers following from the attempts to normalize homosexuality?
Here are just a few frightening ones: Youngsters who feel same-sex-attractions will believe they were “born gay” and thus have no choice but to follow their feelings and identify as gay or lesbian. Religious objections to homosexuality will be considered "hate speech" and thus be muffled. The moral guidance traditionally given by religion to humanity will erode and pagan or atheistic practices will overtake society.

Paganism is also a kind of religion, isn’t it?
Yes. The Hebrew Bible dramatically differs from paganism and was the first authority to outlaw homosexuality. Together with its subsequent incorporation into the Christian canon, these texts formed the foundation of the western world's values. We cannot allow our beliefs to be pilloried on the altar of paganism even if paganism in this case is called “political correctness.”

How has the JONAH verdict impacted individuals struggling with same-sex-attractions?
Most of those who contacted JONAH for help, wanted and needed both religious and secular counseling. The religious aspects provided them with the courage and conviction to undertake the difficult and time consuming secular counseling. This internal strength allowed them to deal with the underlying pain, shame, and fear that in many instances initially caused their unwanted same-sex attraction. It is unclear at the moment how a struggler in New Jersey (where JONAH was based) could receive secular help.

Does the decision against JONAH threaten other groups who seek help overcoming unwanted same-sex-attractions?
Yes, it does. With JONAH being forced to close its doors by the Court, other similar faith-based as well as strictly secular organizations have reason to fear that in the future they will not be allowed to help those who wish to grow out of their homosexual feelings, behavior, or identity. A recent example is a proposed action against a group called People Can Change which has been initiated by the Southern Poverty Law Center at the United States Federal Trade Commission.

Did the verdict reinforce the false belief that overcoming same-sex-attractions is impossible?
Yes. When the court made the several pretrial and trial rulings set forth in Charles LiMandri’s Q & A, the court effectively made unwarranted statements about sexual morality and hardened those views as ingrained social mores.

The San Diego JONAH legal team around the lawyer Charles Limandri. From left to right: Johnpaul Salem (Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund-FCDF), Theresa Mendoza (FCDF), Paul Jonna (FCDF), Charles LiMandri (CEO, FCDF), Elaine Berk, former co-director, JONAH), Claire Reese, board member of FCDF), Arthur Goldberg, former co-director, JONAH and a defendant in lawsuit), Scott Maxwell, (former development director FCDF), Kathy Denworth (Administrative Assistant, FCDF), and Alan Downing (defendant in law suit), not pictured is Jeffrey Trissell, FCDF.

What is the effect of a key point in the court’s ruling that those who believe in overcoming same-sex-attractions are analogous to those who formerly believed in the flat earth…?
The court’s egregious ruling blocks the freedom of individuals to seek change of sexual orientation and imposes upon them a destiny inconsistent with their own beliefs and values. It ultimately betrays and discriminates against those whose homosexual leanings are unwanted.

What does this discrimination mean?
It means that the following beliefs and ideas may soon be considered "hate speech" and thus unlawful: (a) To articulate the Judeo-Christian commandment that homosexual activity is contrary to G-d's desire, (b) To explain that homosexuality is neither inborn, immutable, nor unchangeable, and (c) To discourage individuals who freely decide to choose to pursue change efforts.

The verdict applies specifically to the prohibition of counselling for same-sex attraction…?
Right, and that brings up another issue. It does not apply to opposite-sex attraction issues. Therefore, those who wish to eliminate their same sex feelings, behaviors or identity are being discriminated against. The freedom to choose one’s own counseling of choice has been eliminated.

Are other self-help groups potentially adversely affected by this verdict?
Yes, the verdict most likely endangers other non-profit programs. It puts at risk those who desire to change aspects of their life and join self-help groups such as Weight Watchers or Alcoholics Anonymous. There is now a precedent for those groups to be sued in New Jersey under the Consumer Fraud Act if the self-help program in question doesn't work for someone or if someone believes those programs made promises which were not fulfilled.

Has the Southern Poverty Law Center, who persecuted JONAH, threatened to seek to outlaw reparative therapy for same-sex-attraction throughout the USA…?
Yes, their website and publicity releases are unalterably clear about this objective. The Southern Poverty Law Center wants society to hammer into young men and women with unwanted same-sex-attractions that homosexuality is a normal variation of human sexuality. We believe this is a risky assumption and simply is not based on authentic science.

Are there medical and psychological risks involved in homosexuality?
Of course there are. Among the many dangers currently faced by practicing homosexuals are increased risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, as well as other sexually transmitted infections, including hepatitis, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes simplex, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital warts and syphilis. In fact, 20% of the practicing homosexuals in the US have HIV/AIDS. How could these tragic health outcomes possibly be “normal”?

How does religion fit into this?
Believers recognize the existence of a G-d who is the norm of our actions. If there is G-d (and there is), human beings are not the first arbiters of right and wrong. Morality cannot be altered to suit one’s personal whims or for one’s social convenience. We have the right to these beliefs under the First Amendment. As believers, we are commanded to protect and uphold the family by strengthening G-d ordained marriages and bearing and raising children. This includes avoiding acts of sexual immorality and promiscuous behavior. We are obliged to follow what G-d tells us in the Bible and the state is obliged to respect this.

What options are left for those who want to be free of same-sex attractions?
It is clear that one size does not fit all in terms of successfully coming to terms with unwanted same-sex-attractions and integrating it into a thoroughly G-d-centered life. Residents of New Jersey, where JONAH was based, are free to read books and articles on the causes of same-sex-attractions and perhaps gain some insight into the source of their attraction. Research is also available online describing the fluidity of sexual attraction, especially among teens and young adults. There are literally thousands of first-hand stories of change of sexual orientation on numerous web sites, all of which provide inspiration for those who wish to change their unwanted same-sex attractions.

Arthur A. Goldberg's groundbreaking work

And beyond New Jersey?
Residents outside New Jersey may have additional resources, including therapy, seminars, experiential weekends, religious retreats and other support, but this will probably change as the lawsuits move forward to other states. What is important: People really can change. Many people have changed and will continue to grow out of unwanted same-sex attraction in spite of the hurdles put in their way by those who want to outlaw freedom of choice.

Does it also outlaw religion?
Well, you ask an interesting question here. Devout people of many faith traditions, Christians, Muslims, and Jews, have similar religious obligations to avoid sexual sin, whether we speak of sex outside of G-d ordained marriage or any other sexual issue. The verdict against JONAH was one step in prohibiting believers from following their faith.

Can you be more specific?
Under a guarantee of religious liberty, all Americans who believe they must avoid sexual sin should have access to the support they need to live according to the beliefs they cherish.

So?
A married man or woman who is troubled by an attraction to someone other than his or her spouse, might seek help – prayer, therapy, seminars, life coaching, etc. – from a counselor who shares his or her views on the importance of marital fidelity. Of course, there is no guarantee that the couple will remain faithful to each other, but having the option to choose support to keep their marriage together is vital.

And?
The same is true for an unmarried man or woman involved with a member of the opposite sex who desires to seek help to stay chaste until marriage. They are free to work with a counselor who supports their belief. Again, there is no guarantee that these young people will follow through on their beliefs but being able to choose support that aligns with their worldview is vital under our First Amendment.

So, is it only the same-sex attracted young person who is denied such a choice?
In fact, those under 18 who are troubled by unwanted same-sex-attractions no longer have the option to get the help they want in a handful of states that have legislatively acted to deny youth such a choice. This is discriminatory against those with unwanted same-sex-attractions and causes a chilling effect on exercising one's religious liberty.

Does the verdict restrict choice only for people with same-sex attraction?
That’s right. After the decision handed down by the New Jersey Court in June 2015, when the believer is troubled by unwanted same-sex attraction (rather than unwanted opposite sex attraction outside marriage) many therapists have been intimidated to the extent that they no longer wish to engage in such counseling. Under the holding of the case and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, one does not need to prove that a person actually relied on the alleged misrepresentation or that a counselor misrepresented the results of any therapy, seminar, or coaching. Such a standard of absolute liability is contrary to common-sense.

Isn’t it a contradiction in logic for JONAH to be forbidden to provide resources for those desiring psychological and spiritual assistance to overcome their homosexual feelings, behavior, or identity while society promotes and subsidizes programs for those claiming to be transgender and permit them to mutilate their bodies?
Absolutely. On the one hand, the politically correct continue to deny the reality of change of sexual orientation, denying people the right to choose the path they believe is right for them if they desire psychological help to deal with their homosexuality in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs. While on the other hand, those seeking to change the body in which they are living are frequently encouraged to do so in spite of the major medical and psychological risks associated with so-called “sexual reassignment surgery.”

Where were the people whom JONAH helped to overcome their same-sex-attractions during the trial?
Hundreds of people volunteered to testify on our behalf about their success in overcoming same-sex attractions. However, the Court limited the number of such testimonies, and the few who did testify, heard the Court skeptically question their change of sexual orientation. In some instances, the Judge even made some disparaging remarks about the testimony of these overcomers.

What can religious parents do to help their children if they suffer from unwanted same-sex-attractions?
First, parents need to be aware that religious and psychological help is still available although psychotherapy and counseling for those under 18 years old who have unwanted same-sex-attractions may not be available in about 4 or 5 states. There are also hundreds of excellent books and articles available online and for purchase that will help parents figure out what is the best way to help their child.

JONAH's mission statement

Which is the best path?
Change is very possible, but forcing a child to get help won't work, so parents should read the available material, speak to their religious advisors, attempt to figure out why their particular child is dealing with same-sex-attractions and become active in their communities to educate the public that no one is born gay.

How can one help other organizations which may be the next target of the Southern Poverty Law Center?
The radical and extremist cultural climate we are facing in the USA is creating great damage to our families and to the individual. Those who are part of the Judeo-Christian tradition must become more active in the public sphere by, for example, electing government officials who believe in the need to follow Biblically based moral laws for a just society to exist. Only by actively promoting Biblical morality will we enable our families and our culture to flourish.

What other initiatives are these anti-free choice groups and individuals pushing because of the negative trial results?
Several pro-homosexual lawmakers now seek a nationwide Federal Trade Commission regulatory action to ban ALL so-called "Change Therapies." This requested ban would prohibit counselors from providing, and clients from receiving, any help if the client desires to change, reduce, or eliminate unwanted same-sex sexual attractions, behavior, or identity. Such a regulatory action would mean that counselors could only affirm homosexuality as normal, even though it is against the client’s wishes.

Did any good come out of the trial?
The publicity around the trial brought up important questions about the gradual erosion of our First Amendment rights in America as well as the pseudo-scientific view of homosexuality espoused by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and other groups that falsely purport to base their views on “science”.

Has this been reported in the media?
Several religious media have highlighted a series of issues from the trial. We hope that this publicity (including yours) about the negative consequences of the trial will bring the dangers of this verdict to the attention of a broader audience.

How does the verdict affect the average person?
Many believers have been forced to give careful thought as to whether their own behaviors are consistent with their religious value structure, and if not, how to rectify the situation. The trial reinforced questions about our beliefs concerning the relationship with our Creator and the responsibilities we have in this bond with Him.

What does this mean for our future?
The trial made it very clear that those who believe in the Judeo-Christian tradition must work more closely to fulfill common goals by speaking out in public and demanding that our lawmakers not bow to vicious and well-funded hate groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center that wish to undermine the traditional Biblical morality which has made this country great.

Are you currently working on new projects?
Yes, we believe G-d has called us to establish a new organization called the Jewish Institute for Global Awareness (www.JIFGA.org). JIFGA’s goal is to bring awareness of the seven Laws of Noah which are a universal ethical system based upon Judeo-Christian values initially revealed in the Torah. These moral imperatives, given by G-d as a binding Code of Conduct for the descendants of Noah, apply to all humanity and need to be strongly promoted as a means to defend society against the politically correct attempt to substitute moral relativity and materialistic hedonism for ethical monotheism.

Website of the Jewish Institute for Global Awarness

How should the Noahide principles be characterized?
The moral values initially set forth in the Hebrew Bible (The Torah) as explained by the Oral law (the Talmud) were adopted by Christianity. These views historically shaped many of the tenets upon which the western world has thrived. For this reason, it is appropriate to refer to the Noahide laws as the guiding principles which are representative of either the “Judeo-Christian world-view” or the essence of the three Abrahamic religions.

What are these Seven Noahide Laws?
1. Believe in One G-d: Reject any form of idol worship
2. Honor G-d: Do not blaspheme
3. Preserve Human Life: Do not murder
4. Respect Family Relationships: Do not commit adultery, incest, homosexuality, etc.
5. Respect Property: Do not steal & cheat
6. Respect G-d's Creatures: Do not eat the flesh of a living animal — avoid animal cruelty
7. Establish Honest Courts: Create a just legal system
Abramo
Never, the homosexuals have received so little mercy from the Church as in our days, because they are not told the truth about their situation, rather they are led in error by a lot of double-speech.
Jungerheld
Fighting with such vigor to squelch any notion of homosexuality as something you would not wish to embrace couldn't be further from true mercy. If only there were efforts in the Church in this declared Year of Mercy to truly acknowledge and have compassion with their misery, we could be the light to the world that is our irrevocable call.
Uncle Joe
Both the New Testament and the Old Testament speak clearly about homosexuality. Yet, so called 'Catholic' politicians nearly fall over one another in support of the anti-religious rights of homos 'trumping' the rights of private business to exercise their own rights of free association. The result is that bakeries who refuse (on religious grounds) to bake a homo wedding cake or photographers (on …More
Both the New Testament and the Old Testament speak clearly about homosexuality. Yet, so called 'Catholic' politicians nearly fall over one another in support of the anti-religious rights of homos 'trumping' the rights of private business to exercise their own rights of free association. The result is that bakeries who refuse (on religious grounds) to bake a homo wedding cake or photographers (on religious grounds) who refuse to photograph a homo wedding are subsequently sued into bankruptcy.
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Sure the media plays into the homo agenda with their pro-homo news stories and homo normalization on TV sitcoms. And sure organizations like the anti-Christian Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union promote and defend the homo agenda but I don't blame any of these degenerates for the success of the Homo Agenda.
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The blame for the degeneration of American, indeed the World's, moral backbone lies firmly in the hands of the prelates within the Catholic Church.
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Here is what has happened up till now:
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Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States. …
Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack. (See Black Lives Matter.)
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Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policy making positions.
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Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
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Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
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Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
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Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.” …
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Infiltrate and gain control of big business. …
The communists have been working on these goals virtually unimpeded for over a half-century thus far. Those that don’t recognize them for what they are will of course be overwhelmed when they bear fruit.
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And you ask where is the push back by Catholic clergy to any of these realities? The answer is there is little resistance and if there is any mention of homosexuality at all it comes from traitors like this.
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And that is why Catholics when asked about whether gay and lesbian couples should have the legal right to marry, 60 percent of all U.S. Catholics said that they are in favor compared to 55 percent of all Americans. TV shows and the outfits like the ACLU reinforce their own agenda free from any moral imperatives.
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Are Catholics stupid? Generally speaking, No. Are Catholics poorly catechized regarding the truths of their faith by Catholic Clergy? Definitely Yes.
Abramo
We preferred to ignore homosexualism, we even choose to sympathize with its victimism and its complaints and when it is too late, we will wake up...