I really feel sorry for George Rekers. After giving in to the initial euphoria of schadenfreude after reading about his European vacation with a male prostitute from the web site Rentboy.com, it has sunk in for me just how sad Rekers’ situation really is.
Rekers has resigned from his position on the board of the ex-gay group NARTH—the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, ostensibly, as the Washington Times reports to have time “to fight the false media reports.”
Conservative law group the Liberty Counsel said they stand ready to help Rekers mount a defamation case against the Miami New Times—the newspaper that snapped a picture of Rekers and 20-year-old “rentboy” Jo-vanni Roman as they arrived home from their European romp.
Rekers has insisted he is not gay, despite Roman’s assertion that the contract he had with the 61-year-old doctor required daily nude massages where Roman has said Rekers became sexually aroused.
As the story of all these anti-gay religious right crusaders caught in compromising positions with same-sex partners goes, Rekers, like Haggard and others before him, has entered the “regret” stage, telling Christianity Today:
”I confessed to the Lord and to my family that I was unwise and wrong to hire this travel assistant after knowing him only one month before the trip and not knowing whether he was more than a person raised in a Christian home,” Rekers said. “I also confessed to the Lord and to my family the sin of thereby putting myself into a vulnerable situation where I tragically became subject to false allegations.”
This is the part of the story that has never been fully explained by Rekers. He keeps claiming that he didn’t know this “travel assistant” was a gay prostitute—yet, there’s no way Rekers could have hired him except by going through Rentboy.com’s process, which entails searching through profiles filled with nude (or semi-nude) pictures of beautiful young men advertising their sexual prowess and their God-given endowments.
That makes “unwise” sort of an understatement. Rekers had to go through a lot of pictures of naked guys to get to Roman.
As much as sympathetic publications like Christianity Today try to put an innocent spin on it—Rekers is caught red handed. I suppose he believed that he was so behind the scenes of the ex-gay industry that no one would know him if he courted a young man and took him on a trip. Now that he’s caught, he cries foul and threatens a suit against the people who caught him.
Liberty Counsel founder Matthew Staver called it a classic case of “’If you can’t destroy the message, you destroy the messenger,’ … and I think this is a personal attack designed to cast aspersions on his character and reputation.” But, it never would have happened if Rekers hadn’t surfed the Rentboy website and made Roman an offer. Now, Rekers has no choice but to own up to what he calls his “weaknesses.”
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that those who protest the loudest against gays and lesbians may, indeed, be struggling with their own “weaknesses” around this matter. Instead of being urged to be honest with himself—to view his “weaknesses” as perhaps his ultimate strength and authentic identity, poor Rekers will now be forced deeper and deeper into the closet and his own self-loathing.
And that makes me feel sad—not just for Rekers, but for all those ex-gay crusaders who will come after him—caught in the act of giving in to a hunger so deep within them that it cannot—and ultimately should not – be denied. Being gay or lesbian is no sin, and it is not a sickness, and as long as it’s treated as either or both, we’ll continue to see this parade of sad, repressed people who can’t stand living a lie any longer.
Dr. Rekers, if you are gay—do all of us a favor and embrace it. It’s not a weakness—it is a blessing. The truth really can set you—and the rest of us—free.