By now, you've likely read about George Alan Rekers, the luxuriously mustachioed Christian fundie and co-founder of the Family Research Council, whom we caught coming home from Europe with a young male escort. Rekers claims his ill health necessitated hiring the boy as a luggage handler -- or high-price bellboy, if you will -- for ten days in Madrid and London.
"He was very good as a travel companion. He did carry my luggage and that sort of thing." Rekers said in a phone interview. "He is very good at that." His excuse is fast becoming a punch line. Dan Savage wants "Whatever Lifts Your Luggage" integrated into the English lexicon.
Yesterday, Rekers switched his PR tack and told a blogger that his strapping travel assistant doubled as a male Mary Magdalene. He took the boy to Europe, Rekers said, to show him Jesus -- with whom Rekers compared himself. The Christ wined and dined prostitutes, so why shouldn't Rekers?
Oddly, he didn't mention ministering to the boy when he spoke to us before the news broke. In fact, a few days ago, he pooh-poohed the story in an email.
"It is surprising to hear that the focus of your article is the trip I took to Europe in which I had simply hired [the man] to carry my luggage as a travel companion... That fact is not the least bit newsworthy."
Much of the global media apparatus seems to disagree. Despite his prediction of non-news-worthiness, the story is getting coverage in the Times of London, the LA Times, Salon, Slate and New York Magazine, among many other outlets. It's causing a bit of an international tizzy.
And rightly so. Rekers is a board member at NARTH, an organization that claims it can "cure" gay people. Come into their rehabilitation program guiltily craving cock; leave loving Christ and vagoo. In a blog yesterday, Rachel Maddow joked that the cure doesn't seem to have taken with Rekers. We have no proof Rekers is gay, but hiring a twink to see Europe with you is considered a giveaway among mere mortals -- Christ-like figures excepted.
NARTH has been mum on Rekers' Eurotrip until, apparently, today. Ted Braun, a commenter on our article, says he emailed NARTH and got this purported response from one of the org's email answerers:
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 7:05 PM To: Ted Braun Subject: Re: Please Advise
You have as much information as we do. Before this released we didn't have this much information. All we had was a simple accusation that he was with a "rent boy" so that was all we were able to talk about with him. His answers (as well as his demeanor) showed that the story wasn't exactly as it seamed [sic]. There are certain accusations that would and wouldn't surprise certain people about others. This comes as a complete surprise as Dr. Rekers is not only very old and in very poor health, but also very nice and soft spoken, so until we have further information or proof of this incident it remains rumor and speculation.
The Rekers expose is far from rumor and speculation. Rekers admits going to Europe with the boy, and the boy admits they met over Rentboy.com -- a site that is as transparently gay as, well, George Rekers' moustache.
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How much longer are NARTH and the Family Research Council going to duck the story? Their silence is unlikely to endure, now that Rekers' story has been featured on the New York Daily News, the Washington Post, and Jay Leno's Tonight Show.
NARTH and the Family Research Council need to quit playing coy. Is it policy to procure gay boys from Rentboy.com, and pay them to carry luggage and learn the Gospels on all-expenses-paid tours of the Old World? Do NARTH and the FRC recommend this approach?
-- Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp
On Friday they denied issuing the statement, but issued one that said they take the accusations seriously.