Tuesday, June 28, 2005

TN ends investigation of LIA/Refuge

The state of Tennessee has closed its investigation of LIA/Refuge due to lack of evidence to support child abuse. I would take this to mean that either Zach was there and, upon examination, was found not to be found under overt duress or that he was not there at all; psychological abuse is extremely difficult to prove and Zach (if he's there) is there with his parents expressed consent and support.
John Smid, executive director of Love In Action, said the allegations were never described to him but he assumed they involved a complaint of psychological abuse.

The program, Smid said, "is to help kids to grow in their relationship with Christ."
Whether the facility will have to obtain a license for operating as a de facto mental health facility (logically one would think a program that deems itself a rehab center for addictions should have to be licensed) was not addressed in the new report. Regardless, they will be able to practice their ministry as they see fit.
"It is our spiritual conviction that sexual behavior outside of heterosexual marriage is considered wrong in the sight of God," said John Smid, the program's director, who describes himself as "ex-gay," according to a transcript of the news conference available on the Love In Action Web site.

"This program is operated on the will of the guardian or parent. We will work with the minor children as long as they are not overtly distracting to their own program or the program of others," Smid added. "If it is shown that the client is overtly treatment resistant, we will work with the parent towards alternative options for their care and overall relational health."
It will be interesting to see what, if anything, Zach blogs when he concludes his tenure at LIA. He is beholden to his family and, as he indicated in his blog, he was extremely upset at being such a disappointment to his parents. Whatever happened at LIA, it is my sincere hope that Zach will be able to discover and accept who he is as he evolves into an adult and that his family follow suit and support him. The most important wish any parent should have for their child is that (s)he grow up into a happy, healthy, productive member of society. There are a lot of parents who don't get that opportunity and I'm sure anyone who knows the pain of the death of a child they love would prefer that child being able to grow up healthy and lead that life regardless of sexual orientation. Any parent who says otherwise must not know what love is.

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