Rachel Maddow on Air Force Academy’s “heterosexual confidence” expert

Rachel Maddow, at the top of her show last night, tackled the story we broke yesterday morning about the prestigious Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado hiring an “ex-gay,” who spent the last twenty years attempting to “cure” homosexuals, to oversee the academy’s mandatory program of “coaching” every cadet.


Dr. Mike Rosebush is a “heterosexual confidence” expert who has spent nearly the past two decades working at the religious right anti-gay activist groups Exodus International and Focus on the Family, and he’s affiliated with NARTH as well.

Here’s a blurb from a book of his on Amazon:

Dr. Rosebush’s Sanctification Coaching provides the groundbreaking methods that helped his clients achieve sexual purity, peace and heterosexual confidence. If you are a Christian tired of being distressed over your same-sex attractions, then Sanctification Coaching was written for you! ….

Dr. Rosebush is also a contributing author to The Handbook of Therapy for Unwanted Homosexual Tendencies: A Guide to Treatment. Dr. Rosebush has decades of success in counseling Christian men who struggle with same-sex attractions.


“Homoerotically-capable.” Is that like “handicapable”? You know, disabled?

Rosebush also set up his own private practice, called “Coaching Confidant,” to cure gay people by phone in the years immediately preceding being hired by the Air Force academy to help build “character” and “leadership” among malleable young cadets.

The Air Force Academy has taken a multi-tact approach in deflecting criticism about the hire.

First, they say that Rosebush doesn’t counsel cadets personally.

Second, they claim that it’s not even “counseling” at all, it’s “coaching.”

And third, they trotted out Rosebush’s job experience from 1994 and before.

I get into a detailed dissection of the Air Force Academy defense in my story this morning, but in a nutshell, the academy’s defense falls flat in a number of ways:

1. Rosebush doesn’t counsel, he coaches?

That’s a nuance without a difference.  The point is that the man is responsible for building “character” and “leadership” when he has worked for nearly two decades for organizations devoted to the notion that openly-gay service members are capable of neither.

2. Rosebush doesn’t meet cadets personally?

He runs the entire program, designed it, and oversees it.  He’s worse than someone who counsels “some” cadets. He’s in charge of counseling (“coaching,” whatever) every cadet at the academy on their character and leadership.

3. Rosebush was qualified before he went off the deep end in 1995, nearly two decades ago?

That’s nice.  You should have hired him in 1994.

But to suggest that in 2011 you hired him for a social science job, while ignoring his nearly two decades of professional experience embracing quack social science – you ignored his six most recent jobs – and instead looked to his seventh-most-recent job from 16 years ago, stretches all credulity.

After President Obama, your commander in chief, signed the law setting the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in motion, you hired a man with virulently prejudiced, anti-gay credentials.

Here’s what Rachel Maddow had to say about that:

Did the Air Force hire him despite this being his area of expertise, or did they hire him because this is actually what they wanted, this is who they wanted, specifically because of his past, overseeing the mandatory counseling program for every Air Force cadet?

Good question.

(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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28 Responses to “Rachel Maddow on Air Force Academy’s “heterosexual confidence” expert”

  1. elyssaelizabeth says:

    You know, I’m all for raising awareness, and I’m glad that this story is getting national attention. That said…I think it’s really scummy to steal a story away from someone who put in weeks of effort of on-the-ground investigation. Really, would it have destroyed liberty and justice if you had waited a day until her story was published and linked to her and credited the person who did all the work? smh.

  2. elyssaelizabeth says:

    Too bad he didn’t do any of the hard work investigating the story, stole the article from the journalist who did, and refused to give credit. But hey, who gives a shit? The story was on Maddow!!!1!

  3. Tell what you really think, Paul. :)

  4. Hurrah for foreskin!

  5. Paul Loebe says:

    You lack journalistic integrity you thief! I was sworn to silence but since I’m now allowed to call you out I shall. You are slime. Less than slime, really.

    Pam Zubeck was working on this story for WEEKS! She called you during her investigation to use you as a source and then you went BEHIND HER BACK and published the story (with wrong facts) one day prior to her story going to press.

    Sack of garbage…

    The original story is here:

  6. Rich Wilson says:

    Shame. I personally think plagiarism stinks.

  7. karmanot says:

    No I mean John’s article. Next question?

  8. Silly Me says:

    Stole the story, did you?

  9. Rich Wilson says:

    You mean Pam Zubeck’s article’s article?

  10. wmforr says:

    The ads that pop up are robot driven by word used on the page in in the discussions. Recall that when the subject was the idiocy of Sarah Palin, we get ads for Sarah’s books. The robots search for words, not attitudes.

  11. chrisrodda says:

    I just can’t get over the remarkable”coincidence” that you just happened to “break” this story the day before Pam Zubeck’s article about it was going to come out in the Colorado Springs Independent. I wonder how that happened.


  12. dcinsider says:

    Keep the pressure on John. The AF needs to hear this repeatedly, and the Pentagon needs to be embarrassed into a response.

  13. pericles9 says:

    Thanks for the Rachel post; I missed it last night and its replays. And now I know ho to pronounce “Aravosis.” (I thought its was French.)

  14. Nicholas A Kocal says:

    They hired him so that he could teach the cadets that rape is okay cause it builds character.

  15. TLCTugger says:

    Why the hell does every Maddow related site have an ad for fracking? Did I miss something?

  16. FLL says:

    Good segment from Maddow. I can’t help thinking that John’s post nudged her.

  17. karmanot says:

    Grooming at the highest level.

  18. karmanot says:

    Finally Maddow stepped forward and delivered some excellent investigative journalism. —Thanks to John’s post in good part.

  19. The_Fixer says:

    And thank you!

  20. gsherri says:

    Having worked with hundreds of clients (many of whom were LGBT) for decades as a licensed therapist, I am convinced that we are truly born either ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ and this fact can never be changed. I have listened to countless horror stories of abuse, shame, and bullying, and have been told by clients that they would certainly not have ‘chosen’ to be gay because living in an intolerant, hostile straight world was extremely painful. It saddens me to know that unlicensed, misguided, judgmental individuals can call themselves ‘coaches’ and prey upon vulnerable men and women. These people do not adhere to ethical principles which are sacred to me and to my colleagues. I wrote a song called,

    “Let Us Help You Pray The ‘Straight’ Away”, which illustrates the absurdity of trying to change one’s gender orientation — i’m hoping that combining music and humor might open at least a few more hearts and minds. here’s the URL:


    …and i’ll be performing this, as well as my marriage equality song (“What If We Are Just Like You”) in Sydney, AU in February 2014 at the G&L Mardi Gras Festival Fair Day :). There are millions of us who are working ‘on the right side of history’ — things are changing!

    thanks for listening…

    Sherri Gray

  21. Reasor says:

    Oh, certainly. This particular type of scam isn’t just a beard, it’s also a great way to meet young, gay men while they’re emotionally vulnerable.

  22. JONES says:


    MRFF Mikey Weinstein on AIR Force Dominionists.

  23. JONES says:

    Air Force is full of Dominionists so Rosebush’s hire and attempts to shroud this form of proselytizing as ‘santification counseling’ is all about spreading their vision and being able to cry ‘religious liberty’ when confronted. His hire is a red flag of alert but what is disturbing and should be challenged immediately is that these sessions were made mandatory.

  24. FuzzyRabbit says:

    1 – I have noticed over the years that many outspokenly anti-gay men turn out to be closeted gays. The admitted “ex-gay” Dr. Mike Rosebush seems to fit this description

    2 – Air Force Academy students are generally good-looking healthy young men.

    3 – It occurs to me that a closeted middle-aged gay man could find no better way to locate potential young lovers than to get a job “coaching” gay college students.

  25. LOL it did.

  26. cole3244 says:

    sounds like we have a 19th century academy in the 21st century.

  27. BeccaM says:

    Re: ‘Counseling’ vs ‘Coaching’ — it’s quite simple, really. Counseling would fall under the auspices of professional state licensing as a psychologist, psychotherapist, or psychiatrist. Complaints that Rosenbush is using quack science and coercive tactics could and likely would result in his license to practice being pulled — and, not coincidentally, the Air Force Academy being sued for medical malpractice.

    Coaching is just… coaching. Even if it’s made mandatory. Even if it’s an attempt to brainwash young men and women into denying their sexual orientation. Hell, by sticking ‘Sanctification’ in front of ‘Coaching,’ they turn it into a religious thing, adding another layer of protection against malpractice challenges.

  28. ArthurH says:

    Congrats on you being cited as a national experts on Maddow’s program, John.

    As for Rosebush, he almost certainly got his job not for his expertise but by an altered form of ring-knocking. I once missed out on a managerial position at a company because the CEO who had to sign off on the hire (the department head recommended me) instead insisted they hire another finalist who graduated from the same college as the CEO. Turned out to be a bad decision, and by the time they got back to me I had a better-paying job elsewhere. Hopefully the Air Force Academy hired Rosebush because he had the same evangelical anti-gay beliefs as the officers running the school. And it will probably prove to be an equally bad decision for all.

    I can’t get it out of my head about Rosebush being called a coach. Didn’t an entry on the blog a few weeks ago concern Pat Robertson warning a mother to keep an eye on her gay son’s “coach”?

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