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Academy official under fire for past work promoting 'recovery' for gays

Nov. 19, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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'Sanctification Coaching' by Mike Rosebush ()

The Air Force Academy is under fire after a news blog reported Tuesday the school employs a senior official in its Center of Character and Leadership Development who has an extensive history of work with organizations that seek to change gays’ and lesbians’ sexual orientations.

The organization Truth Wins Out, which advocates against therapies to change gays, on Tuesday called on the academy to fire Mike Rosebush and called Rosebush an “ex-gay charlatan.”

Rosebush published a book called “Sanctification Coaching: Sexual Purity and Peace for Christian Men With Same-Sex Attractions” in 2009, the same year he was hired at the academy. The book offers ways for gay Christian men to “achieve sexual purity, peace and heterosexual confidence,” according to the summary on Amazon.com.

In his book — excerpts of which are posted on Google Books — Rosebush said he sought to compile methods that worked for him as he sought “recovery” from homosexuality. The Amazon summary of Rosebush’s book says he “has decades of success in counseling Christian men who struggle with same-sex attractions.

“This book is for men who have entrusted their life over to Jesus and intend to do whatever it takes to live His way — and who also happen to have a homoerotic capability,” Rosebush wrote in the first chapter of his book, according to excerpts posted on Google Books. “Men like me. And you.”

Academy spokesman Maj. Brus Vidal said Rosebush declined a request for an interview, but said that Rosebush wanted to express how honored he is to work at the academy and said Rosebush stressed that “we at USAFA are committed to respecting the human dignity of everyone.”

In a statement, the academy said Rosebush “does not and will not evaluate or counsel cadets,” and “has had no interaction with cadets at any time since he was hired in 2009.” Rosebush last interacted with cadets during his previous employment at the academy, which went from 1988 to 1992. During that period, Rosebush worked in the academy’s directorate of education and taught a course on marriage and family and a behavioral science core leadership course, and he won an outstanding instructor award, the academy said.

He also was named the Cadet Wing “civilian of the year” by the commandant of cadets in 2011.

Rosebush, who graduated from the academy in 1975, was hired by the academy’s plans and programs directorate in 2009, and in 2011 moved to the Cadet Wing’s Center of Character and Leadership Development, where he developed a program called Mosaic Personalized Coaching.

The academy said the Mosaic program is part of its character and leadership 101, foundations of honorable living course, which is required for fourth-class cadets, or freshmen.

“This course is ... designed to focus cadets towards a strong internal commitment to personal values/virtues and ownership of their personal character and leadership development,” the academy said. “Cadets are paired with trained developmental coaches and required to meet with those coaches multiple times throughout a given semester.”

Cadets choose one of the 11 Air Force virtues they wish to strengthen under the program, and the coach helps the cadet strengthen those behaviors, the academy said.

AmericaBlog, which describes itself as having a progressive point of view, first reported about Rosebush’s employment at the academy Nov. 19.

“All cadets in need of counseling are vulnerable, whether they’re gay or straight,” Truth Wins Out Associate Director Evan Hurst said. “The fact that Dr. Rosebush has so little regard for best practices on issues of human sexuality and so-called ‘reparative therapy’ begs the question — how can any cadets trust such a man to be on their side when that man has proven over the course of his career that his ideology always comes before his clients’ needs?”

The Amazon summary says Rosebush was the professional counselor’s network director at Exodus International, the now-defunct ex-gay ministry. For 37 years, Exodus promoted reparative therapy and efforts to change gay and lesbian sexual orientations. But in June, Exodus issued a statement apologizing to the gay community and closed its doors.

Rosebush also was a clinical member of NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which advocates for therapies that seek to change people’s sexual orientation. NARTH says on its website that it is a scientific and professional organization and not a religious organization, but many of its officers and board members have backgrounds with Christian organizations.

The Amazon page for Rosebush’s book also says he is a former vice president at Focus on the Family, which is a Christian organization that advocates against same-sex marriage.

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