Earlier this month, Amazon pulled all titles by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, the “father of conversion therapy,” after they determined that his books violated the site’s guidelines.
However, in response to Amazon’s move, a group of U.S. House Republicans known as the The Republican Study Committee is asking fellow GOP lawmakers to “contact Amazon with concerns” over its “censorship.”
According to a memorandum from The Republican Study Committee acquired by VICE News, lawmakers are saying:
“In recent days, Amazon has banned the sale of several books addressing unwanted same-sex attraction. Catholic psychologist, author and therapist Dr. Joseph Nicolosi (deceased) penned multiple books to assist men struggling with unwanted homosexual attractions, feelings and lifestyles.
“These books were available on Amazon until an LGBT activist repeatedly petitioned Amazon to remove the ‘homophobic books’ from the company’s website. Amazon removed Dr. Nicolosi’s books and those of several other authors on similar topics. It is not clear that any of the banned books have violated an Amazon policy, but rather that the company is choosing to censor speech.”
Republican lawmakers call Amazon’s censorship of Nicolosi’s book “hypocritical” because the online retailer “still sells books by Adolph Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, Benito Mussolini, Timothy McVeigh and David Duke,” according to VICE News.
The memo goes on to say:
“The gay community, a supposedly oppressed and marginalized group, wields an extravagant amount of power today, and does so without regard for the rights of anyone who chooses to not support them. How long until the most widely read book in the world is banned because it takes a dim view of homosexuality?”
Among Nicolosi’s no-longer-available books are A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality and Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality. And unlike books by famous fascist leaders and hateful ideologues, Nicolosi’s books have no historical value and merely push a widely debunked form of psychological torture.
Thus far, 18 U.S. states have banned conversion therapy for minors. Religious conservatives have tried to fight ex-gay therapy bans as violations of their “free speech” and “religious freedom” stating that people should have the right to rid themselves of “gender confusion” and “same-sex attraction.”
But the actual methods of ex-gay therapy are shady and questionable. They include telling people not to masturbate, rigorous exercise and bible study, “covert aversion” (making LGBTQ identity seem dangerous, unhealthy and repulsive) and “reframing desire” onto “heterosexual surrogates” (re-directing sexual desire onto opposite-sex partners).
Other methods include not shaking hands with anyone of the same-sex and not listening to music.
A 2013 survey showed that 84 percent of former patients of ex-gay therapy said it inflicted lasting shame and emotional harm. Numerous conversion therapy advocates have later come out as still gay and apologized for the harm it causes.
Polling also shows that most American oppose conversion therapy, and the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear cases challenging these bans as a violation of religious freedom. With a conservative majority now seated on the nation’s highest court, it remains to be seen whether these state bans will continue unopposed.