“Pray Away”: What Would Have Jesus Thought?

If you want an answer about the religious legitimacy of conversion therapy in the American Christian right you might get a taste of it in “Pray Away” a Netflix original documentary released this month on Netflix.

Reparative or “conversion therapy” sprouted up in the 1970’s in right wing America as an attempt to convert the sickness of LGBTQ “perversion” into “normal” Christians the way the Bible and Jesus would have dealt with LGBTQ “afflicted” persons.

Now we have all seen how the Koran has been manipulated by Islamic terrorists who are stuck in a third century conservative interpretation to inflict misery and oppression. Has the Bible been equally manipulated to expose LGBTQ community members as deviants that only Jesus can correct? Given the historical perversions of the Koran and the Bible we never may get an answer to this question. But one can surmise that Jesus would have welcomed LGBTQ members into his community if they were consenting adults.

“Pray Away” is a sad and tragic look at the conversion movement in the United States from its inception in the 1970’s to the present day as 700,000 Americans have gone through this therapy. The documentary chronicles the growth and commercialization of the conversion “industry” as little better than slick and repetitive marketing we currently suffer with the vaccination “conversion therapy” flooding us.

We hear from founders of conversion “businesses”, conversion “survivors”, conversion therapy gurus and of course its many victims struggling to supress their sexuality for many years seeing it drilled into their heads as the sickness of being LGBTQ.

It is both a sad yet a damaging attack on conversion therapy. Whatever it is it has prolonged the suffering of those feeling guilt at being LGBTQ. Guilt can be easy pickings for any religion. The message of the film is that conversion therapy is damaging and destructive and is a big business as so many things are in the United States. Fortunes are made by conversion adherents and organizations and a dog and pony show of psychiatrists and psychologists latching on in a symbiotic relationship with the conversion movement with their half-baked unscientific approach. Its mutually beneficial for their businesses.

A personal and moving documentary about the business of conversion, its well-paid stars and its victims. Remembering documentaries tell a story of those who created it. I can only wish Jesus had watched the documentary and written a review.

Many of the prominent members of Exodus and Living Help leaders in the conversion movement are ashamed of their role in their movements but despite Exodus disbanding in 2013 new right wing Christian American blood has risen to the occasion to make a buck and terrify their simplistic followers like the old blood did despite the fact the old blood has created an anti-conversion movement.

Before we close I reviewed a documentary about conversion therapy in Israel and it was a resounding failure there. The federal government of Canada had almost passed a bill prohibiting conversion therapy but due to an election call it was halted. You can’t stop gayness as it just naturally seeps out.

You can watch on Netflix.

It was directed by Kristine Stolakis.

This American 2021 film runs for 101 minutes and you can catch the trailer right here   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk_CqGVfxEs  

A movement better suited to “Leave it to Beaver”, Sky King (brought to you by Nabisco), and “All in The Family”.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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