Last week, in only the fourth issue of SFGN, we were fortunate to team with Wayne Besen and Truth Wins Out to expose a convicted felon who had engineered a two billion dollar fraud against poor people and U.S. taxpayers, from East Saint Louis to the Pacific U.S. territory of Guam.
After getting out of prison 20 years ago, Arthur Abba Goldberg then founded JONAH, Jews Offering Alternatives to Homosexuality, an ex-gay group which has become nationally known. Conveniently, he built his new reputation while running from his past, owning up to no one who he was and where he had been.
In a letter to one of his supporters after our story broke, he accused SFGN of shooting the messenger and denying him his message. He and fellow spokespersons at JONAH have now explained away his conduct two decades ago simply as a ‘major error in judgment.’
Since Mr. Goldberg even wrote a book entitled “Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality and the Power to Change,” let us share this with him- the Torah is the Book of Truth. You cannot deny what you have done, or who you hurt. You can’t hit a button and delete your history. Good or bad, it is you.
Consequently, Mr. Goldberg, you can’t call collecting ten million dollars in illegal fees and then orchestrating a billion dollar fraud in 1989, an ‘error in judgment’ in 2010. It just won’t fly.
Your deeds then were knowing, conscious and deliberate. They were acts which led to a federal criminal prosecution and a sentence of imprisonment. It enriched you illegally, and it was a crime then and it would be a crime if you did it now. Ask Bernie Madoff. It was a crime of significant magnitude at that, causing enormous material harm, heartbreak, and financial suffering to many.
Today, Mr. Goldberg wants to help all of us cure our same-sex attraction. He seeks redemption, and says he has devoted his life to helping people get ‘through’ homosexuality the way they would a ‘drug or alcohol’ problem. Do not know if his openly gay son, a member of the local gay chorus in Jersey, is buying into his prayers. On behalf of the South Florida gay community, neither is this paper or its readers.
We do not have a gay national anthem yet, but if there was one, a likely candidate would be the song from La Cage Aux Folles, where a big drag queen rips off his wig and sings “I am what I am; I am my own special creation.”
Mr. Goldberg, we are proud of whom we are, and we do not need your cures or your healing spirits. You are like the travelling snake oil salesman with a horse and carriage selling his potions from town to town in the old west. Yours is the scam. Our lives, with its promise and potential, its pain or its weakness, are real. Let us be.
Mr. Goldberg, the gay communities of America do not need your praise or want your pity. We bang our own drum, and we sir, have no closets to hide in. Not anymore, and never again. You might want to come out of yours. Start by owning up to a crime, and not an ‘error in judgment.’