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Conservatives call on Amazon to bring back banned books on overcoming homosexuality

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WASHINGTON, D.C. July 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- The Republican Study Committee, which brings together 70 percent of House Republicans, is urging conservatives to call on Amazon to end its ban of books aimed at helping people leave behind the LGBTQ lifestyle. 

According to VICE News, conservative Republicans received a handout on July 17 from the Republican Study Coimmittee (RSC) asking them to “contact Amazon with concerns” about “censorship” of certain books that counsel people who are experiencing same-sex attraction. This came after the mammoth online retailer announced that it would no longer carry books written by clinical psychologist Joseph Nicolosi, who is credited with originating reparative therapies that opponents call pseudoscientific. 

The late Dr. Nicolosi authored several books, including “Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality” and “A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality.” A petition on Change.org denounced his books and requested that Amazon remove them from sale. Amazon did so on July 2. A search of Amazon for Nicolosi’s books failed to produce any results.

On the day before the handout was distributed, executives from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google answered questions before a House Judiciary Committee inquiring about antitrust issues raised by the social media giants’ control over online content and web searches. The company executives faced congressmen who expressed concern about the companies’ alleged misuse of market dominance.

Amazon confirmed that Nicolosi’s books were removed, saying they violated the company’s content guidelines. Amazon’s critics pointed out that the online retailer continues to sell books by racists, dictators, and terrorists, including Adolf Hitler, Timothy McVeigh, and David Duke. An article at The Federalist asked whether the Bible may be the next book that Amazon bans. 

According to the handout quoted by VICE News, RSC advised, “In recent days, Amazon has banned the sale of several books addressing unwanted same-sex attraction.” The handout said, “Catholic psychologist, author and therapist Dr. Joseph Nicolosi (deceased) penned multiple books to assist men struggling with unwanted homosexual attractions, feelings and lifestyles.” It said, “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.” 

A petition emerged at Change.org requesting Amazon to reverse its decision about books penned by Dr. Nicolosi, and others whose works have been dubbed homophobic by critics. As of Monday, more than 17,000 signatures were added. Several books that advocate for leaving behind the LGBTQ lifestyle remain on the platform, however. 

Several members of the study committee had not yet heard of the initiative when asked about it Thursday by VICE News. That included the three co-chairmen of the Values Action Task Force, which focuses on promoting conservative values in Congress.

The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, which succeeded the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (founded by Dr. Nicolosi), continues to advocate therapies directed at persons experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction. According to its website, the group is guided by three principles:

1. Client Self-determination

Mental health clients have the right to explore, with the assistance of a supportive therapist, questions or issues in their lives that may be causing them concern or distress and to participate in the setting of counseling goals that are compatible with their freely chosen personal or religious values.

2. Licensed, Trained and Ethical Therapists

Complicated life questions that are being addressed in a mental health context concerning a client's attractions, values, behavior, and identity require that a counselor or therapist be qualified by demonstrated training and experience to provide effective, ethical, and empathetic treatment.

3. Reliable Research and Viewpoint Diversity in Mental Health 

Individuals who seek therapeutic assistance, reflective of the larger society, are sociologically, culturally and politically diverse. To appropriately serve and appreciate clients with differing, yet equally healthy needs requires an equivalently diverse socio-political representation in academic, clinical, research, and professional association leadership in the behavioral sciences. 

In an email response to LifeSiteNews, Daniel Boland Ph.D -- a clinical psychologist with decades of experience -- wrote, "Any intrusion or legal action which works against the relationship between client and therapist -- and forbids the mutually-decided goals of that therapy which are initiated by the client -- is an unconscionable breach of civil and moral rights and professional confidentiality. To forbid the client's self-initiated desire to overcome his homosexual behavior in the therapeutic context tramples on the fundamental moral right of every self-determining individual to change. To forbid a therapist from assisting this client to change his homosexual behavior sullies the very heart of American legal tradition and cultural history." 

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