Amazon has permanently removed from its website books by Joseph Nicolosi, who was often referred to as the "father of conversion therapy," in a move some say portends censorship of anything Christian regarding sexuality.
For months the global online retail giant has been petitioned by LGBT activists who have urged the company to discontinue selling the works of Nicolosi, a clinical psychologist and Catholic author who died in 2017, NBC reported this week. Nicolosi wrote several works about homosexuality in men and therapeutic approaches for persons with same-sex attraction.
A Change.org petition that was launched five months ago and has garnered over 80,000 signatures that asks Amazon to stop selling his books links conversion therapy to aversion therapy practices such as electroshock and taking medications to "cure" homosexuals into becoming heterosexual. In the past few years, several states have adopted bans on so-called conversion therapy for minors. LGBT activists assert the practice is harmful, discredited, and contributes to the suicide of LGBT persons.
Yet some say the phrase is a ruse and that Amazon's decision is hypocritical in light of other materials from which they continue to profit.
In an email to The Christian Post on Thursday, Daren Mehl, president of Voice of the Voiceless — who was a recent guest on the CP podcast about men who left the gay identity and life behind — insists that the phrase conversion therapy is a manipulative "scarecrow" concocted by LGBT lobby groups. Today, no electrical shocks or similarly abusive methods are employed and what is being contested around the country is talk therapy, he maintains.
"The truth is that sexual orientation is fluid, and one can experience a change in desires of sexual attraction from same-sex attraction to opposite-sex attraction. While the LGBT lobby has millions of dollars at their disposal to obfuscate the truth and influence culture, no amount of money can change the truth," Mehl stressed.
Amazon also disallowed Catholic attorney David A. Robinson from selling his book on the platform in which he shares his personal story of leaving homosexuality. Robinson's short book, Orientation and Choice: One Man’s Sexual Journey, was sold on Amazon for nearly a year before it was removed last week. When Robinson inquired why this happened, an Amazon representative informed him in an email — which was forwarded to CP — that during a review they found his work was in "violation of our content guidelines" but did not explain why or point out which parts were objectionable.
"Their desire to remove books of psychologists will not change the truth. Banning books of our life stories is in vain, we still exist, and we will still speak of the good works of Jesus," Mehl said.
Mehl added that while he never went through any of Nicolosi's specific counseling models, he has read a few of his books, some of which articulated remarkable parallels to his own journey and explained some of his life experiences.
Author and Eastern Orthodox Christian Rod Dreher said Amazon's move was the latest example of "woke" capitalism.
"It is only a matter of time before LGBT activists start attacking any book that contradicts their ideology — because now Amazon has shown that it will knuckle under. You don’t have to agree with Nicolosi’s theories to be alarmed at what Amazon has done here," he wrote on his blog on The American Conservative on Wednesday.
Dreher noted that Amazon still sells books like Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampft, white supremacist David Duke's book on Communism, and works by Grover Furr, an apologist for Joseph Stalin. For those who assert Nicolosi's work is not scientific and should therefore not be sold, that is not a valid excuse, he opined, since the website also sells books on healing through crystal therapy.
"What is it going to take to wake people up to the power these LGBT activist fanatics assert over freedom of speech and inquiry? Where does it stop, their censorship?" he asked.
Similarly, theologian Denny Burk, a professor at Boyce College in Kentucky, emphasized on Wednesday that although he is not a fan of Nicolosi nor of what he advocated, Amazon's action was "chilling" because in so doing they "set the precedent for banning Christian teaching about sexuality from the books that they sell on their platform."
"Christianity has always taught that Jesus both saves and sanctifies sinners — meaning that the Gospel helps us to change, even in our wayward sexual desires," Burk said.
"The sexual revolutionaries used to ask us, 'How does my gay marriage harm you?' Well, this is how. They have gone from 'live and let live' to 'affirm our sexual immorality, or we will tar and feather you as causing the deaths of gay people.' It is a calumny and a lie, but that is where we are."
Yet in addition to Amazon's move to appease activists, Mehl expressed disappointment that he has also observed some professing Christians dismiss talk therapy for unwanted sexual attractions as akin to heresy since such counseling is not sufficiently "biblical" as they see it.
"These same believers don't go after oncologists with the same zeal they do psychologists. One deals with healing the body, the other with healing the mind. There are a plethora of scriptures which speak to renewing our minds and taking every thought captive and submitting it to Christ," he explained.
"Therapists worth their salt have a Judeo-Christian worldview and understand that men who want out of the homosexual life can leave. There is actual evidence that this happens. Therapists affirming the false belief of 'born gay' or the trans-affirming therapists who believe that patients might be 'born in the wrong body' are the ones that should get criticism as their worldview is based on a false faith that science doesn't even support."