Ken Summers Should Probably Just Stop Talking

(This isn’t working out so well for Rep. Summers, who should have heeded our original advice: JUST. STOP. TALKING. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE #2: Here’s the response from reporter Emile Hallez Williams:

Evergreen Newspapers stands by the story, and I personally stand by my work. We welcome any concerns about the factual content of our stories and address inaccurate information promptly.

Though I regularly record many of my interviews, our papers are not in the practice of releasing recordings.

As we said earlier, this is why you don’t call a story a fabrication unless you have some pretty good backup — now, not only are you doubly guilty of saying some really stupid things, you look like a jerk and have probably permanently damaged your relationship with the local paper. Really, Rep. Summers, did you honestly think that calling an entire story a lie would be believable? Especially when you are quoted repeatedly?

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UPDATE: Rep. Summers responded in the comments section, claiming that the entire story was basically a lie by the reporter. We probably haven’t heard the end of this one, since challenging a reporter on an entire story doesn’t usually work out; there are a lot of quotes from Summers here, and if the reporter was recording the interview, this won’t end well. Here’s Summers’ comments:

Sorry to disappoint but Teen Challenge DOES NOT offer “reparative therapy.” I DO NOT believe taking drugs causes homosexuality and I DO NOT believe child abuse condemns one to a homosexual lifestyle. I DO believe that each person should have the freedom live their life as they see fit and seek appropriate help for issues they have when they determine they need it. You mean a reporter may have not accurately communicated the facts in an article and gave a distorted view based on a predisposed bias, what a rare occurance. Perhaps some reporters should stop writting.

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There’s a weird story in the current issue of The Columbine Courier about Rep. Ken Summers and his Teen Challenge of the Rocky Mountains program, which tries to help teens with alcohol and drug problems. Summers’ program also apparently offers “Reparative therapy,” which is a fancy way of saying they try to convince gay people that they’re not really gay.

“We would help people with those issues,” Summers said in a recent phone interview. Weeks before, he had sidestepped a question about whether Teen Challenge worked with clients on problems of a sexual nature, telling the Courier that the program primarily treats drug and alcohol addiction.

“It would depend on the situation of that particular issue,” he said, describing applicable clients as having a “cross-section of sexual behavior that has brought confusion into their life.”

When asked how many men the program had treated for homosexuality, Summers’ initial response was “zero.” But a phone conversation with a 180 Ministries staff member indicated the program had indeed attempted to “convert” gay men – and that Teen Challenge would likely accept such a client who had no history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Okay, so Summers apparently doesn’t want to freely admit that his program tries to “un-gay” people who come for help. We thought that was a bit odd, until he started trying to explain his theories:

Only after being confronted with the information obtained from the staff member did Summers concede that Teen Challenge has worked to “convert” gays to straight lives. But such treatment was secondary to drug therapy, he said, in explaining his previous response.

“I don’t think there have been that many in our program,” he said. “If people come to us for help, we’re going to tell them what the Bible says.”…

…But homosexuality is a behavior, Summers contends, a choice that can be changed – or controlled.

“The whole issue of sexual identity is very complicated,” he said, noting the Teen Challenge program confronts homosexuality through counseling and scripture.

“Those individuals have experienced some kind of violation in their history,” he said. “Many of them have been abused as a child, sexually.”

Summers also said homosexual behavior is often a side effect of drug abuse.

So, homosexuality is the result of childhood sexual abuse and/or drug abuse. Alrighty then! Well played, Mr. Summers. Well played. The retiring Sen. Dave Schultheis can rest easy knowing the role of class clown has plenty of candidates ready to carry on without him.

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