If the state of American society wasn’t already looking grim enough, reports have revealed hundreds of anti-gay conversion camps are sprouting up throughout the country.
According to ABC News, the camps are run by Christian pastors and preachers who “use the Bible and sometimes the belt” to try to change teens’ sexuality.
As most sane people know, such methods are ineffective and have a damaging impact on one’s mental and physical health.
A preview of ABC News’ investigative report was shared early Friday by Brian Ross on “Good Morning America.”
The network’s undercover team visited Alabama-based Blessed Hope Christian Academy, one of the many camps where “gay teens are sent by parents who want their children to change their sexuality."
According to Raw Story, the camp charges families a whopping $21,000 annual fee to put their kids through this torture.
Ross’s segment highlights the abuse that goes on in these camps, such as one facility he visited that is “unlicensed and surrounded by barbed wire” and the pastor has a longstanding history of abuse.
While these facilities sound disturbingly horrific, Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council — a conservative lobbying group that advocates for “sexual reorientation efforts” — argues in favor of the camps’ existence.
“They certainly should not be outlawed. They certainly should not be prohibited by law,” Sprigg reportedly said. “As a Christian, I believe that the Bible teaches that to choose to engage in homosexual conduct is a sin.”
Although Sprigg showed support for the camps, he did note that he does not believe physical abuse is an acceptable method of therapy.
At the end of the clip, Ross revealed that following ABC’s investigation, one cruel pastor featured in the report was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison after six of the boys he abused agreed to testify against him in court.
While the report sheds light on a serious issue that should be brought to the forefront, it also sparks the realization that there are hundreds more of these facilities throughout the nation that no one knows about.
Now that the whistle has been blown on these so-called pastors’ abusive tactics, they will likely retreat even deeper into the shadows so they can continue these horrendous practices without the fear of facing legal consequences.
The only way these camps will continue to be exposed is if the teens, themselves, speak out and their parents wise up and acknowledge what they’re really subjecting their children to.