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Rachel Maddow Demolishes Therapist Who Claims He Can Make Her Straight

Richard Cohen claims his therapy can turn gay people straight -- an absurd theory debunked by all national psychological associations.

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Maddow: Are you troubled at all to see Stephen Langa holding your book up and citing “Coming Out Straight” as inspiration. He is the main proponent of the kill-the-gays bill. Does that trouble you at all?

Cohen: Well, if you listen to his words, he only said that I was teaching about some of the causes, what we believe are the causes of homosexuality. We believe that nobody‘s born this way. You keep saying we think people choose to be gay. We do not believe that.

I believe that, psychologically, there are many causes to this phenomena, which means change is possible. So we are not a political organization. We‘re a therapeutic, counseling organization who provides help to men and women with unwanted same-sex attraction and their family members. We do not believe in this legislation, Rachel. We believe in tolerance and love for all people.

Maddow: I understand that you don‘t think of yourself as a political organization. The reason you‘ve been a subject of discussion on this show, and the reason I wanted to talk to you tonight is because your teaching and your activism have been used for a political purpose which is to promote this bill.

Cohen: Yes.

Maddow: I mean, as you said, Uganda has a history, as you said, going back many decades of criminalizing homosexuality.

Cohen: Yes.

Maddow: But you have told them, particularly in your book, “Coming Out Straight,” which I understand you donated multiple copies of to this organization that‘s promoting this bill. You‘re telling them exactly what they need to hear in order to justify the kill-the-gays bill. I mean, your book portrays gay people as predators who must be stopped to protect the innocent.

Cohen: Oh, no, no, no.

Maddow:It doesn‘t?

Cohen: No, no, no. Not at all. And in fact, Caleb told me he, with passion, shared to these people what he experienced as a homosexual man and as you heard Stephen Langa say, that people are searching for love. How could they punish?

It‘s just incomprehensible that they would - like, you know, as you have said over the last few days in this bill, that they would want to incarcerate or to criminally punish these men and women. We are totally against that. We are for your rights and anyone‘s rights to live a homosexual life. And we‘re for the rights for those who seek change and want to come out straight.

Maddow: Let me try to make more comprehensible to you. The legislator who sponsored the bill told the Associated Press today, that he insists these strict measures, which I know you abhor -

Cohen: Yes.

Maddow: But these strict measure they‘re proposing, including execution, are necessary in their country to prevent homosexuals from recruiting school children.

Cohen: Yes.

Maddow: Let me ask - I‘ll just read from your book, OK? Page 49, “Homosexuals are at least 12 times more likely to molest children than heterosexuals. Homosexual teachers are at least seven times more likely to molest a pupil. Homosexual teachers are estimated to have committed at least 25 percent of pupil molestation; 40 percent of molestation assaults were made by those who engage in homosexuality.”

This is the claim that you make in your book that exactly feeds these folks who want to execute people for being gay, what they need in order to justify that. Do you stand by what you said in your book?

Cohen: Actually, you know, that one particular quote, when I do republish it, reprint it, we will extract that from it, because we don‘t want such things to be used against homosexual persons.

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