Dr. James E. Phelan recently caused quite a stir with a disturbing and somewhat gleeful report on his blog about having “one-two drop kicked the hell out of” a man in the Columbus Marathon. Phelan had heckled a gay group, one of many who had gathered alongside the road to cheer the runners on. The victim of his drop kick had protested this by allegedly shoving Phelan. No one we contacted remembered such an event so we can’t confirm or deny what happened. Phelan himself confided that the police had not been notified.
In the mean time, we noticed that Phelan’s name no longer appears on the Exodus International referral list of ex-gay ministries and therapists. He was listed there when this story broke last month (cache), but not now. Exodus has not yet responded to our request for more information.
If Exodus has indeed dropped Phelan from their referrals, we applaud them. His comments in the post mentioned above, responses to comments about that incident and statements since on various blogs, including XGW, display a troubling attitude and certainly not one conducive to a healthy patient-therapist relationship of trust and vulnerability. We are still waiting to see if NARTH, Transforming Congregations*, Richard Cohen and JONAH will take similar action. Phelan actually spoke at the NARTH annual convention days after this incident, where he also received an award.
Apparently NARTH values such attitudes in their therapists.
* Transforming Congregations has released this brief statement on their website:
The Board of Directors of Transforming Congregations has accepted the resignation of Dr. James Phelan as one of its co-Presidents. Although the Board disapproves of some of Dr. Phelan’s recent public actions and comments, we did not request or desire his resignation, having hoped instead that we could come to a mutual understanding regarding mission and ministry. We appreciate Dr. Phelan’s integrity in recognizing that his approach has diverged from ours, and we wish him well in his future endeavors.