Zach's Father Speaks Out

LiaZach's father has given an interview to the Christian Broadcasting Network regarding his decision to send Zach to the "Love in Action" camp to cure him of his homosexuality. You'll remember Zach posted the camp's rules on his MySpace blog and issued a journal entry that lamented the fact that his parents were sending him there. Zach's plea resonated throughout the blogosphere and was soon picked up by the MSM. The attention finally compelled his father, Joe Stark, to come forward.

Stark tells the CBN: "We felt very good about Zach coming here because… to let him see for himself the destructive lifestyle, what he has to face in the future, and to give him some options that society doesn't give him today. Knowing that your son... statistics say that by the age of 30 he could either have AIDS or be dead."

Uh, Mr. Stark, we could all be dead by the age of 30. Denying that you're gay doesn't stop you from getting AIDS, but education can. And denial is not education. Forcing one perspective on a child is not education. It's brainwashing.

Stark continues, "Zack has got a mind of his own, and that's a God-given gift. And Zack will have to make those choices when he is an adult as to what exactly he is going to do with his life. But until he turns 18 and he's an adult in the state of Tennessee, I'm responsible for him. And I’m going to see to it that he has all options available to him."

Doesn't "all options" mean the ability to talk to someone who can teach him to be proud of himself as he is, no matter what his sexuality? Apparently not.

A local radio host in Tennessee, Mike Fleming, chimed in with some words regarding the recent investigation of "Love in Action" over allegations of abuse and of supplying drug and alcohol counseling without a license: "The child services of the state dismissed the charges. And I frankly think that the bottom line of this is that homosexuals are afraid that this does work, and they have set out to destroy 'Love in Action.' I don't think there can be any doubt about that."

I love hearing this old yarn—that there are gangs of homosexuals out there, just waiting to recruit innocent youth into our fold. What a crock. There's so much ignorance in this world, it's alarming.

A former "Love in Action" client, Brandon Tidwell, provides a contrary view: "Rarely in life will you ever live that closed off from the world. It's very, I think, deceiving, or misleading, or creates a false hope for people, to help them to create change in that very isolated environment, and then move out into the real world and try to continue to…understand themselves in a whole different way."

Thank you, Brandon. Yes, this is a breeding ground for closeted hypocrites — those who leave environments like "Love in Action", whether it's a family or a church, or whatever organization — telling people that what they feel naturally is somehow wrong or unnatural. So destructive. So ignorant. And then, of course, some go on to political careers and adversely affect the lives of millions by using bigotry to affect legislation.

Stark concludes: "To me it's not what's right and what's left, it's what's right and what's wrong. My wife and I will stand by that 'till the day we die, as far as homosexuality is not in God's plan – it's wrong."

So somehow God made a mistake. Would you have the balls, Mr. Stark, to stand in front of God and tell him/her what the plan should be? If there's any mistake, it's in the Christian's use of scripture as a tool to inflict hate and intolerance upon others. Personally, I'm thanking God that Zach will be 18 one day so he'll be able to make his own decisions.

Joe Stark Interview [christian broadcasting network] (if you're one of those people who doesn't believe in giving web traffic to Christian sites that espouse ignorant values, then don't click this link)
Father Of Gay Teen Sent To 'Ex-Gay' Camp Comes Forward [365 gay]

"Love in Action" [tr]

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  1. Extraordinary ignorance!
    This saddens/angers me to no end.... but I find it an interesting sign that this man feels the need to come forward and admit to his actions. Why? To show what a virtuous, loving human being he is?

    Posted by: redmonkey | Jul 15, 2005 10:24:31 AM

  2. Absolutely DISGUSTING! This is why I waited to move out of my parents home before I told them I was gay. I'm sure they would have tried to do the exact same thing Zach's parents are doing. This entire ordeal is so chilling.

    Posted by: Timothy | Jul 15, 2005 10:28:31 AM

  3. I hope Zach grand marshals a gay pride parade next year, or becomes the first gay president, or does drag professionally or whatever he wants to do! This kid is being robbed by his own parents and his home state.

    Posted by: Rob | Jul 15, 2005 10:36:15 AM

  4. Yes, Mr. Stark, and "statistics" also say that Zach might be beaten against a wall by his father until he dies.

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 15, 2005 11:02:48 AM

  5. So where is Zach? Is he still in that concentration camp? I know they sent him back for a second round of brainwashing and torture. God, this makes me so sad, so angry . . . everyone needs to keep that poor kid in their thoughts and prayers. And when he finally gets out, offer him a helping hand.

    Posted by: kimmer | Jul 15, 2005 11:04:14 AM

  6. Interesting that per the "hygiene code" you can't have side burns that fall below the TOP OF THE EAR... um, I dunno about you, but my side burn doesn't even begin until slightly BELOW my ear... also, guess they have to shave their heads, because hair cant "long enough to be pinched between two fingers." This IS like a prison or concentration camp.

    Even more ridiculous... they make a point to not allow any patients to wear two distinct apparel labels, Calvin Klien and Abercrombie (lol)...guess the ads are too gay friendly for them!!

    POOR ZACH!! Someone rescue him!

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Jul 15, 2005 12:46:58 PM

  7. If I had a nickel for everytime my crazy Christian parents told me "Homosexuality is not God's plan for you," I'd have that villa in Greece I always dream about. I'd tell Mr. Stark that he seems to be confusing himself with God. Do these people really imagine that they could fathom the plans of an omnipotent and omniscient being who (they believe) created the universe?

    Posted by: Tom | Jul 15, 2005 2:22:38 PM

  8. Good point, Tom. I refuse to believe in a God that has become a proxy for everything from dehomo-izers to the raison d'etre of terrorists.

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 15, 2005 2:28:35 PM

  9. Is that picture really of this place? Looks like it has a MOAT!

    Posted by: Paige | Jul 15, 2005 3:53:24 PM

  10. I just hope that by the time Zack turns 18 that he won't be too fucked up by all this.

    Posted by: Ken | Jul 15, 2005 3:55:36 PM

  11. Zach's father is a redneck, inbred moron who has "scripture" shoved so far up his ass that he has become about as logical as a drunken frat boy undergoing a breathalizer.

    I still say that Zach should say a royal "fuck you" to all of those lunatics in TN and come up north, where I'm sure Judith Regan would be interested in publishing his story.

    Every negative has a positive. I say if they treated Zach like this, he should sell them out and expose them for what they are, and earn himself some money in the process so he can attend univeristy and be on with his life.

    As for these so called "Christians"


    Christianity has got to be one of the worst things that has happen in a long time. It makes people delirious beyond belief, and despite the fact that the church has discriminted against a set group for a very, very long time (women, blacks, now gays) no one seems to wake up and smell the hatorade!

    So far the church has justified the murder of women, the slavery of blacks, the condemning of gays, and even the molestation of children (as for the pedophilie scandal, if they did nothing to stop it, they might as well have just made it public policy for goodness sake)

    Zach, if you're reading this, hang in there. Once you turn 18 tell your father to go fuck his cousins and then use religion to call other people immoral.

    Oh and If I pissed off any southerners or christians again, I wish I could say I'm sorry but one of my new years resolutions was to remain honest!

    -- J

    Posted by: Jason | Jul 15, 2005 4:33:45 PM

  12. Well, all I can say its a good thing Zach's parents are Christians and NOT muslims, otherwise they might be having Zach stoned to death as per Islamic Sharia law (see Andy's post on the Nigerian judge incident a ways below.)

    Oh...and if I just pissed off any muslims or their multiculturalist sympathizers here again, I wish I could say I'm sorry but one of my new years resolutions was to remain honest!

    Posted by: Cassius | Jul 15, 2005 5:03:03 PM

  13. Zach, you are a beautiful child of God, period. Love yourself just the way you are.

    Posted by: sportyjoe | Jul 15, 2005 11:35:57 PM

  14. Any Tennessee lawyers out there? Can Zach sue for emancipation from his parents in that state?

    Posted by: Tom | Jul 16, 2005 12:59:24 AM

  15. I had a similar experience to Zach, when my parents sent me to be "fixed" at the hands of a psychiatrist who specialized in sexual orientation reassignment via behavior modification. He worked on me for months; tried every trick in the book from hypnosis to assigning me "homework". At the end of the day, it didn't cure me, but it did turn me in to a highly politicized fag. I went on to co-found the Gay Student Union at my university and I have been raising hell ever since.

    Posted by: Ron (Out There) | Jul 18, 2005 5:34:57 PM

  16. A couple things - the last issue of the Advocate ran a story about Zach - if anyone still reads the Advocate is another discussion - and the July 18 NY Times has this article:

    Also, Tom - Tennessee has no emancipation laws for children. Parents have final say until children are 18 years old. Nice, huh?

    I can't help wonder what will screw with the kid more - the time spend in the refuge or the fact that he's become an international poster boy (as far off as India & Brazil) for something that he had no control over.

    All in all, I have to say I haven't hurt this much about a gay kid since Matthew Sheperd. We've come so far and yet...

    If you feel like joining the fray, check out these addresses & send a card:

    Now a story to make us all feel better: I was walking down Ventura Blvd in Studio City, CA the other day. Just ahead of me were 2 teen-aged gay boys (one white, the other brown & both cute) walking arm in arm, totally into each other, totally out & totally completely not caring what the world thought...I don't think they really knew there was a world outside of them. They stayed arm in arm when they turned went into (the very crowded) Panera Bakery for food - I just grinned the rest of the afternoon thinking about them. Here's hoping the big cities meet the little towns one day...

    That's all for now...

    Posted by: hank | Jul 18, 2005 6:18:25 PM

  17. Please visit for more absurdities about the bible and religion. Christianity has to be the most evil philosophy ever unleashed on humanity, the worst part is that it spreads just like a virus and totally renders the infected, completely incapable of rational thought. Everything turns into a false dichotomy and total black and white thinking.

    If you have been infected with the disgusting illness called Christianity there is a way out... Read Atlas shrugged by Ayn Rand, it will give you the tools to see through the absurdities.

    Posted by: James | Jul 22, 2009 12:38:13 AM

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