Air Force Academy used to send gay cadets to Ted Haggard to be “cured”

Rachel Maddow digs even further into the story AMERICAblog broke earlier this week about the Air Force Academy hiring an “ex-gay” “heterosexual confidence” expert to run its “character coaching” program.

[UPDATE: We learned this morning that the acting-Secretary of the Air Force has directed the Air Force Academy to investigate its own cover-up of the anti-gay culture at the academy. That should go well. More on that, below.]

Rachel starts with a look at Colorado Springs, Colorado, the city the academy is located in, and the inordinate power that one of the main religious right organizations, Focus on the Family, welds in that town.

She then gets into the Air Force Academy’s sorry history of infiltration by the religious right, and how they used the academy to basically jam conservative Christian religion down the throats of the cadets.

Then she segues to this week’s story of the academy hiring a man whose only professional experience of the past two decades is working for the religious right and trying to “cure” gay people. Rachel asks, “why is he on staff in the first place, why did you hire him.”


Good question.  At first, the Air Force Academy told Stars & Stripes that the records were gone, they couldn’t say why he’d been hired and whether his “ex-gay” expertise played a role.  But then, yesterday, the Air Force Academy switched gears and did a 180, claiming they suddenly knew exactly why Dr. Mike Rosebush had been hired, and rest assured it wasn’t due to his nearly 20 years “curing” the homosexual.  They hired him for his work during the time that Ronald Reagan was president.

Which is great news, since it means those “records” that were “lost” have now been “found.”  I’m sure someone at the Pentagon, or the Congress, would be thrilled to review those records.  And perhaps a FOIA is now in order as well.

Rachel then had on a guest, Scott Hines, who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1992, and who the Air Force Academy sent to Ted Haggard’s New Life Church so they could give him therapy to make him straight. Ted Haggard, who was once America’s top evangelical, was famously outed a number of years ago.

It didn’t work.  But his male therapist did sexually harass him.

Of course, this story has now gotten far bigger than just the ex-gay angle.  We learned yesterday that the Air Force Academy is now lying about a recent meeting the Superintendent (the general running the academy), Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, held with around two dozen gay cadets.


Air Force Capt. Michelle L. Reinstatler says gay cadets have not expressed any concerns about the Air Force Academy. Multiple sources say Reinstatler is wrong.

Multiple sources with direct knowledge of what transpired at that meeting say the cadets expressed a number of concerns about an anti-gay culture at the academy inhibiting their progress.

Incredibly, the academy issued a press release claiming that no concerns were raised at the meeting.  They even quoted an officer, Air Force Capt. Michelle L. Reinstatler, claiming that, “During the forum with leadership, the cadets of Spectrum expressed multiple times that the Academy is a safe and validating place to be LGBQ.”  Reinstatler went on to claim that several cadets were “frustrated” with negative articles about the anti-gay culture at the academy, thus sending a clear message to any future whistleblowers that they are “hurting the academy” if they tell the truth about harassment, anti-gay, sexual or otherwise.

Reinstatler said nothing about the multiple cadets who expressed concerns about the lack of a safe and validating culture at the academy.

What’s more, the question now arises, who else was told the lie that the meeting with the gay cadets didn’t bring up any concerns about anti-gay bias?  Did the Air Force Academy relay this lie to anyone on Capitol Hill, or to anyone at the Pentagon or the White House?

We are now talking with military lawyers and other federal officials to determine what action can be taken against Capt. Reinstatler, and whoever drafted and approved of the press release, as – if the multiple sources with knowledge of the meeting are to be trusted – this has now become a conspiracy to cover-up, and undermine, what amounts to an EEO complaint, similar to when military brass in the past have refused to investigate, and then covered up, complaints of sexual harassment against service members.

If the Air Force Academy is going to lie in the names of Capt. Reinstatler and the Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, then that means the chain of command at the academy is broken, there is nowhere for gay cadets – or any other cadet who has suffered harassment in the workplace – to go, and that outside intervention, legal, administrative and political, is now necessary.

According to the Huffington Post, acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning released a statement today (Friday) saying that the academy is looking into the matter of its alleged anti-gay culture:

The Air Force Academy released a statement from Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning and Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force chief of staff, on Friday saying the academy is looking into the matter.

“The Air Force is comprised of a rich workforce whose backgrounds reflect various races, origins, orientations, ethnicities, languages, cultures and life experiences,” it said. “We promote an atmosphere of inclusion throughout our ranks and strive to ensure every Airman is treated with dignity and respect.”

How exactly is the academy going to look into a matter that the academy, all the way to the general running the academy, lied about and tried to cover up? This is increasingly looking like the ongoing sexual harassment scandals in the military, where the same military officials who cover up the scandals and then asked to investigate the cover up that they themselves orchestrated.

We need an independent investigation.

The part about the academy begins at 2:30 into the video below, and at 4:00 Rachel begins talking about Rosebush, the “ex-gay” “heterosexual confidence” expert.

(I’m told that in order to actually see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me – so say the experts.)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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39 Responses to “Air Force Academy used to send gay cadets to Ted Haggard to be “cured””

  1. Muzturds says:

    The only was to cure heterophobes/libturds is with a bullet to the head!!! They are of the devil!

  2. Muzturds says:

    Quit letting heterophobes in the military. men who stick their Penis in another mans anus are mentally ill. You don’t have to be a Christian to feel this way.. Libturds are scum of the earth.. They have no shame or morals and are very intolerant,racist people.They support killing defenseless unborn babies as well. Soetoro must be impeached and deported to Indonesian where he is a citizen. .

  3. Iwasactuallythere says:

    I’m an atheist, a class of 2010 grad, and personally know many homosexual cadets who suffered no bias in their four years there other than not being able to openly express it before the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell. This article is sensationalized and completely ludacris. Get a life, seriously. Hilarious how they’re going to “determine what action can be taken” based on heresay. Reply all you want, I won’t be wasting anymore of my life looking at unsubstantiated claims like this. I’d suggest you do the same.

  4. Jeffrey Marks says:

    What did he win? A sense of humor or a copy of Airplane to watch by himself?

  5. karmanot says:

    Pete WON!

  6. karmanot says:

    I guarantee you that Grant left more needless carnage on the battlefield than you have down arrows.

  7. karmanot says:

    “Or that they haven’t actually won a war since 1945” Exactly. Oh, they did win the war against the Falkland Islands…..kinda.

  8. glasper9 says:

    After a concerted effort, the Air Force is now completely under control of the religious right. Bizarre since, as the most highly educated of the three services, the Air Force is traditionally a hotbed of “left-wing” (by military standards) sentiments. The religious right picked their target and infiltrated and converted people until they gained complete control.

  9. Jeffrey Marks says:

    Yes, next time I use an incredibly popular quote from an iconic movie, I’ll be sure to use a full citation — do you prefer MLA or APA?

  10. crash2parties says:

    We didn’t want to “win” any of those wars, just keep the nations invaded safe for exploitation by a few very large corporations.

  11. PeteWa says:

    quote from a movie?
    I wasn’t quoting any movies, and outside of Number Six’s comment, I don’t think anyone else was either – just referencing Hagard.
    edit: on looking it up, I see that Becca was quoting from Airplane as well, so very sorry that I’m not as adept on that particular cultural reference as you are.

    and, if you were quoting from a movie, it might have made more sense if you had at least put it in quotes rather than not, where it appears the comment is directed at me.

  12. Jeffrey Marks says:

    It’s a quote from a movie.. The same movie as many of these other posts — try to keep up.

  13. Jeff Jankowiak says:

    This is just another example of the radical religious right infiltrating our government. These people profess separation of church and state as long as they can meddle in the military and pass laws discriminating against tax paying citizens. These people must be shown the door and it includes senior people in the military who have already been indoctrinated. Maybe we might want to hire an ex-religious zealot counselor.

  14. PeteWa says:

    are you as dumb as your question leads me to believe you are?

  15. Jeffrey Marks says:

    Have you ever seen a grown man naked?

  16. Nick says:

    Moderation in all things, including moderation. — Benjamin Franklin

  17. Nick says:

    Or, making Col. Sanders a chicken’s life-coach.

  18. karmanot says:

    So bad! :-0

  19. karmanot says:

    Ulysses S. Grant was a monster and one of the most corrupt presidents in American history.

  20. Number Six says:

    Just don’t call me Shirley!

  21. PeteWa says:

    “honey, when I told you that I needed you to carry my trunk I wasn’t talking about the suitcases.”

  22. BeccaM says:

    “Do you like gladiator movies?”

  23. ArthurH says:

    Today’s military doesn’t promote by ability but by seniority and clout. That’s why we get so many officers who emulate Capt. Wallace Binghamton instead of Gen Ulysses S. Grant.

  24. Naja pallida says:

    This is really what we’ve become. One side so weak and cowardly that they are incapable of standing up to the complete and utter ridiculousness of the other side. A place where completely made up bullshit is a valid counterpoint to reality, and even the supposedly “serious” people debate it in public as such. Where we have people in positions of power who view it as a sign of strength that they can push the most pathetic nonsense as actual policy. And they’re winning on far too many fronts.

  25. Naja pallida says:

    Yeah, but I don’t know a cookbook that does meth and hires prostitutes to satisfy its closeted, self-loathing urges.

  26. Stev84 says:

    There was already an investigation into the extreme religious climate at the AFA. They played it down and covered it up. They admitted that there were some problems and a religious toleration program was planned. But the fundamentalist chaplains got it toned down and basically made it ineffective at combating the real problems. There was one chaplain who spoke up against that and informed the public about the truth. They retaliated against her by transferring her to Asia. Instead she left the Air Force.

  27. Houndentenor says:

    Sending someone to Ted Haggard to be cured of homosexuality is like putting someone on a diet by giving them a Paula Deen cookbook.

  28. jomicur says:

    The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. –OSCAR WILDE, The Picture of Dorian Gray

  29. jomicur says:

    But…but…but we have the greatest military in the world, don’t we? How can our military leaders be that clueless? Jesus, you almost think they’re so dumb they’d spend millions to inscribe Bible verses on bullets or something. Or that they haven’t actually won a war since 1945, even though we keep invading third-world countries. I have to click my heels three times and keep repeating “we have the greatest military in the world”…”we have the greatest military in the world”…”we have the greatest military in the world”…. Who knows, maybe it’ll come true.

  30. pappyvet says:

    It irritates to think how dummed down so many have become that there is any need to discuss the validity of nonsense. But then I suppose it is better than what I believe the reality to be. That they know exactly what they are about and what they are doing.

  31. PeteWa says:

    “and don’t get upset if he wants to naked wrestle with you. just remember, you’ll be in Europe, it’s totally cool there!”

  32. BeccaM says:

    “…and while you’re at it, my good friend George needs someone to help him with his…luggage. Yeah, that’s it, his luggage.”

  33. PeteWa says:

    that is really, really funny.
    and sad.

    “now, do a line of meth off my cock, say three hail marys, and presto-chango! cured!”

  34. BeccaM says:

    Temptation isn’t difficult at all if one opts to surrender to it.

    Just sayin’.

  35. good_reader1 says:

    Working for a retired JAG Col hired as a GS-15 he talked about the FagXXXs and address gays that way. At the time I didn’t speak up even though as a civilian I was concerned about my career. I know exactly how these cadets feel in their situation. I had heard the evangelicals had taken over the Air Force Academy and they had to have an Evangelical Christian prayer at their meetings.
    They need an outside investigation.

  36. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Fortunately, he did not have sex with his crystal meth dealer, in Denver, or so he claimed.

  37. Jack Giles says:

    Oh that headline is just so Funny……… I’m sure that Queen had them kneel on their knees

  38. bkmn says:

    Oh how difficult it must have been for old Teddy to keep his hands off those brawny muscular men they sent to him for his loving care.

    Anyone want to speak up?

  39. Drew2u says:

    Didn’t Rand Paul and a Democrat jointly speak out against rape and sexual assault in the military? I’d love to hear what he says on record about this.
    Who would be the best person to head an independent investigation into this?

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