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QUEERTY INTERVIEW

The Horrors Inside A Christian Conversion Cult Are Exposed First-Hand

CFeGDBZtXpZKMrBlwYPxvAKRx_H6aQb3y8G9b9Ia6YI,tph9qmOCapdiTAS9p5NcJwne4kapzGuksrzoriM7RuU,VYylPUtXPGk76foc_SHqcga1lSBGpzAd_5ArQtRVRoM“In a lot of ways, I would describe it as a cult,” documentary filmmaker Kate Logan (pictured) tells Queerty. “Nobody questions the leadership. You follow authority. It’s very isolated. A lot of bad things happen.”

Logan directed and produced Kidnapped For Christ, which recently won the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary at the 2014 Slamdance Film Festival and will air on Showtime on July 10.

In 2006, she traveled from her home in Los Angeles to Escuela Caribe in the Dominican Republic. She was there as a Christian filmmaker with the intention of documenting what she believed was a positive program for troubled youth. She lived on campus for six weeks, filming the school’s daily operations, interviewing staff, and getting to know students. But it didn’t take long for her to realize that things were not as they seemed. Logan witnessed students being verbally abused by employees, forced to perform repetitive chores and hard labor, and locked in solitary confinement for hours, sometimes days, at a time.

In an exclusive interview, Logan spoke to Queerty about her disturbing experiences inside what she describes as a “cult-like” Christian reform school, the young man who was sent there for being gay, and how making this Kidnapped For Christ changed her views on both homosexuality and Christianity.

ec-signHow did you first learn about Escuela Caribe?

I had been in the Dominican Republic previously as a missionary, and I met some staff members who worked there. The way they described it was: This is a therapeutic program for kids who are either going to be on the streets, in jail, or dead. And I kind of thought it was a place for kids who had gone down the wrong path that could come and learn about another culture and get away from the bad influences or situations back home.

But you soon learned this wasn’t the case.

Within the first couple of days, I saw some things that just didn’t sit right. I saw a lot of students doing very pointless, repetitive labor. One of the first days I was there I saw a girl who was just scrubbing outdoor concrete steps all day. I saw a staff member go up to her and say: “You’re not allowed to rest your knees on the steps.” She basically had to hold what is essentially a stress position for hours and hours. And right off that bad that just didn’t strike me as appropriate or therapeutic. It became pretty clear that this was a much darker story than I had anticipated.

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A student at Escuela Caribe forced to stand facing a wall as punishment.

You also saw students being subjected to all kinds of painful punishments, including one student with a prosthetic leg being forced to run around a muddy track field. Did you ever approach the staff about any of this?

If I had, they would have immediately kicked me off campus. It was clear from the get-go that questioning what they were doing would not be well received. We had to play everything very close to the chest. Once I left I did speak to the U.S. Consulate and I voiced my concerns, but to my knowledge they didn’t do anything about it.

I’d imagine getting students to open up to you must have been difficult given the extreme supervision.

That was one of the biggest challenges, more so than keeping in the good graces of the staff. Probably 80% of the interviews were total bullshit. A lot of them were just saying the company lines. Because students could get in trouble for saying bad things about the school, and they didn’t know if they could trust us.

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Logan interviewing Tai, who was sent to Escuela Caribe for behavioral problems resulting from childhood sexual abuse.

But two students — David and Tai — spoke pretty openly with you.

We were very lucky that David and Tai opened up to us the way that they did, and were willing to say negative things about the program that could have gotten them in a lot of trouble. David, in particular, was so new. He had only been there for about six weeks when we got there, and he was just so desperate to have anyone that he could talk to.

And one of the things he told you was that he’d been sent there because he was gay.

When he came out as gay, his parents couldn’t deal with the fact that he wasn’t going to try not to be gay, and that he wasn’t going to go the therapy to be “fixed.” So they took this extreme measure. But he wasn’t a bad, rebellious kid. He had a 4.2 GPA. He was on track and in the IB program. He’s the last kid you would imagine getting sent away to a reform school.

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17-year-old David was sent to Escuela Caribe for being gay.

As a Christian Evangelist at the time, what were your opinions of gay people?

Going into this, honestly, I thought that being gay was a sin. But in getting to know David and advocating for him and in exposing this Christian school, one day I realized that I kind of never really believed [being gay] was sinful all along. I never prayed for David to not be gay. If anything, had he come and said, “I accepted Jesus and I’m not gay anymore,” I would have said, “No! They got to you. Just be who you are.”

So he was the catalyst for your change of heart.

I think it was one of those cases that I’m sure a lot of other people have experienced. Until you’re really close to someone who is LGBT, it’s easy to hold this homophobic view. But once you get to know someone, it’s so apparent that there’s nothing wrong with it, and it’s part of who they are. And that’s really what changed my view. He played a big role in that.

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Students at Escuela Caribe being forced to do push-ups as punishment.

After you finished filming, you actually tried to help David escape the school, but you were unsuccessful.

It was very frustrating when we left the Dominican Republic without him because we knew that he had the right to leave.

Because by then he was 18.

Yes. We knew there was no reason why he couldn’t leave. The only reason we couldn’t get him is because the U.S. Embassy wouldn’t compel Escula Caribe to release him.

Why not?

The U.S. Embassy just didn’t care enough about his rights as a citizen to tell the school that legally they have to produce this 18 year who was in distress and wanted to leave. I knew the school would put up resistance, but I expected our embassy to care that a U.S. citizen was being unlawfully held. What are they there for, if not for these situations?

Dominican_Republic_Santo_Domingo_EXT1_944_1

U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, D.R.

And when the school learned about what you were doing, they weren’t happy.

They told me: “You had an agenda from day one!” and “You’re serving Satan!” It was absurd. They never filed anything, but both the school and David’s parents threatened to sue if I didn’t stop the film and turn over all the footage. I kind of had to lay low on it for a few years until that blew over.

After all this, do you still identify as Christian?

I don’t identify as Christian. I would probably put myself in the Agnostic category now. Not entirely because of everything that had to do with the film. There were other factors. But I don’t identify myself as Christian.

Watch the trailer for Kidnapped For Christ below. And don’t miss the film on Showtime on July 10.

By:           Graham Gremore
On:           Jul 8, 2014
Tagged: , , , , ,
  • 56 Comments
    • ted72
      ted72

      I’m so tired of religion. It hurts so many people. Religion is a mental illness. If I talked to an imaginary friend, I’d be locked up. Why not them?

      Jul 8, 2014 at 7:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stefano
      Stefano

      Where are the gay Christians ? They don’t comment this article?

      Jul 8, 2014 at 8:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank
      Frank

      This is probably where the bigoted Bible Belt GOP In Texas plans to ship all the gays they can get their praying little hands on to convert them against their will by force and brainwashing for the cause of Jesus.

      And they will probably also force them to wear the ugliest 35 buck sweat pants known to mankind, with stupid bigot Nash Grier’s name plastered in big white letters across the crotch and butts.

      See: http://www.queerty.com/millions-of-people-follow-this-homophobic-teen-dweeb-on-vine-20140707

      Jul 8, 2014 at 8:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blondeboyz
      blondeboyz

      @ted72: I also see religion as a mental illness. There is nothing wrong with having hope but when you equate that with “everything is by god’s plan” or “it’s god’s will” then are you nothing but a pathetic puppet on strings?
      Thankfully more and more people, especially today’s youth, see religion as total BS and are becoming atheists. And why wouldn’t they? When they hear the church preach love, compassion, forgiveness BUT their actions are the total opposite toward anyone “different” than they are, yeah they see right through the BS.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 8:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mezaien
      Mezaien

      As a behavioral Psychology, I have saying that for 35+ years NOW! Christianity, and Islam, is a mental illness there fore they are mentally ill.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 9:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billy Budd
      Billy Budd

      Religiousness is more like a genetic trait than an illness. It is obviously a problem that humanity (almost) as a whole shares. Scientists like Daniel Dennett (Tufts University) propose that religion can be explained by evolutionary biology.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 9:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • petensfo
      petensfo

      Does anyone know the update on this young guy, David? Or if the school remains in operation?

      Jul 8, 2014 at 9:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jonjct
      jonjct

      Here is the link. It goes by a different name now. Many parents use these “boot camp” models to help set their teens on the right path. The programs are both criticized and praised, it depends on your perspective. This place is NOT a re-programming camp for gay kids. It is for kids with discipline problems. Often it’s the last resort, an effort to save the kids from jail. However, Christian hating gays will always seize an opportunity to criticize the church, even if it is a stretch. This story IS a stretch.

      http://crosswindsyouth.org/therapeutic-christian-boarding-school/?gclid=CK7SzJn0tb8CFUYA7AodEnUA9A

      Jul 8, 2014 at 10:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • IvanPH
      IvanPH

      This, along with the documentary Jesus Camp, take the horror genre to whole new levels.

      Good thing to know that CHRISTIANITY can actually be CURED.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 10:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ppp111
      ppp111

      @petensfo:
      I know. I’m curious too. I hope that young man is okay. Unfortunately, I doubt this will be the last story we hear about those camps and therapy groups.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 11:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MelindaMoore
      MelindaMoore

      I read about this school in the memoir Jesusland. I’ve wondered for years how this place stayed in operation. I highly recommend the book, btw.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 11:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • justSomeGuyFromNJ
      justSomeGuyFromNJ

      The rest of the nation needs to follow California and New Jersey’s lead and outlaw conversion therapy.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tbird
      tbird

      There is a similar situation occurring right now at another “Christian” reform school in Florida.

      http://brucegerencser.net/2014/06/week-christian-abuse-perversion-extremism/

      Jul 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • redcarpet
      redcarpet

      There has been expose’s on this before regarding kids dying in these foreign boot camps, but this is the first time I’ve heard it from a gay angle.

      What happened to the boy? I hope he got out and ditched his parents. He has so much potential to lead a happy and fulfilling (and very very gay!) life if he doesn’t let them hold him back. Hopefully they will come around someday, but you can’t put your life on hold to wait for them to pull their heads out of their ass.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charlie in Charge
      Charlie in Charge

      @blondeboyz: Speaking as neither a Christian nor an Atheist, it’s clear that both of those camps concern themselves deeply with evangelism and concerted efforts at conversion. But then, people with a good deal in common often become the most bitter of enemies.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 2:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sansacro
      Sansacro

      @jonjct: Oh honey, you’re a stretch. But as long as you feel better defending your walk-on-water, raised-from-the dead fantasy action figure.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 2:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bgrkls
      bgrkls

      I mostly just want to know if he got out or not.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 2:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank
      Frank

      As I just said in the Nash Grier raging Vine queen article:

      The worst sort of psychological brainwashing that usually occurs in a child’s life is going to be the religious indoctrination from their parents, bar none. And hey, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny is all harmless fun and games, until the religious indoctrination finally kicks in, and takes the idea of an imaginary fantasy world to a whole other, mentally destructive, level.

      Because actively talking to the voices in your head (called your thoughts by sane people) and mislabeling them and calling them God and Jesus is probably not going to end well for you, and those around you.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank
      Frank

      And BTW, it was this news article and the closet gay Nash one that finally pissed me off enough to register and post something here. As a long time lurker I now expect a full blown party to celebrate my arrival, and the fact that after 30 years of being with my partner, I was finally officially married last month. And I was married just a few hours before the state appealed it and stopped it again, but that’s still progress, right girlfriends?

      Jul 8, 2014 at 3:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • corey
      corey

      This story made me want to cry at the same time disgusted at all the conservative Christian scum bags in the USA.

      Conservative Christianity – Always The Problem In The USA

      It seems to me that when “conservative” ideology is mixed with any religion, a problem has been created.

      Simply, a Theocracy.

      In the USA Christianity is the most practiced religion. More people will say they are “Christian” even when not broken into sects like Catholicism or Protestant. Since I was born in America, and have spent my whole life here, my experience and whatever historical information I have come across, has formed my opinions on what effect Conservative Christianity* has had on this county alone.

      * (Conservative Christian, Conservative Christians or Conservative Christianity will be referred to simply as “CC” for the rest of the reading)

      Because historical sources do not always agree one hundred percent of the time, I keep to the “facts” most easily verifiable.

      CC believe everyone is out to get them, a fear-based reality that creates a “us against them” ideology. This has a negative effect on any group that does not follow their ideology, and there is no room for compromise, especially if it is a minority who is the “them”.

      For instance, whenever a minority gets rights that come too close to being equal with their rights, they need to attack. This is what makes-up the history of CC.

      Let’s take a look at a the last 400+ yrs. Short, simple, and to the point. I will describe the behavior of the Conservative Christian movement with the limited knowledge of a lay person and personable experience of a citizen.

      Lets begin:

      Christopher Columbus, Christian, cut the hands off of Natives if they didnt bring him enough gold, bragged about how easy it was to make them into slaves and offered up groups of Natives to be gang raped.

      Puritans, Christian, fled their homeland so they could practice their religion their way, this is understandable, however, Quakers were bared from having government jobs, forced to fund the Puritan’s churches even though they didn’t attend, some were even driven out of the colony, some were even lynched.

      In fact, many of the first 13 states were created by those who fled or were driven out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony because of the theocracy the Puritans were pushing.

      Even Benjamin Franklin, from what I understand left Massachusetts, one reason being the religious intolerance.

      Joseph Smith, the creator of Mormonism, was killed, from what I understand, a group raided the jail he was locked up in, and, like the mob run witch trials, they mob murdered him.

      When blacks wanted equal rights both during the “Civil Right” movement with MLK and years prior when slaves wanted freedom, the bible was used to support the argument that even God believed blacks were inferior and should not “mix” with white people.

      The same thing happened when woman, immigrants, the disabled, Veterans, the elderly and even when people fought for children having rights.

      This has never stopped, not even today. Those still using the bible to fight against LGBT people getting some equal rights, are people who follow the same ideology the first settlers on the North American continent did.

      This movement has been front in center making themselves out to be the victims, as usual, when any minority they were once allowed to abuse, kill, and oppress are treated more equal than they once were.

      You can even take the words of Hitler, and replace the word “Jew” with the name of whatever group is being oppressed at whatever time in US history, and it will sound just like a conservative Christian had written it at any time in history, again, even today.

      I know bringing up Hitler makes many lose all respect and interest in any point trying to be addressed, but in this case, I like to use him, he being the most extreme figure in history that my generation, and many of us in America are familiar with.

      Unfortunately, even today, CC on school boards and historical societies, even in Congress, are trying to “white wash” history by rewriting history. For instance, removing Thomas Jefferson out of school books, so the whole “separation of church and state” debate would no longer be. There have been attempts to rename “slavery” into some economic-commerce movement, and so on.

      There are even groups of CC’s, non-profit organizations from the USA, that have traveled all over the world: Russia, Uganda, etc. to speak with those in governments about the “evils” of homosexuality, actually using the rise of the acceptance of LGBT people in the USA, as a negative example of what happens when CC is not allowed to be the rule of law, a Theocracy more accurate.

      These are the same people that demand the presence of our elected officials, have the power to, create laws, ban books and movies, move tax payer’s money into private religious schools, and institutions, and fight anyone who wants equal rights and protections under the law. These are simply modern day Puritans who have found a way to create a society where they, and only they, have the real power, all the while, fooling many people into believing they are victims of persecution and always have been.

      Many people from around the globe see America more accurately than many Americans, because we are taught, not so much about the past, but how other countries treat their civilians and told to compare it to the way we are treated in this country.

      For example, we no longer believe lynching someone for a crime is acceptable, however, we allow the death penalty. To many in America there is a difference. Many people in other countries still see this as murder. Many also know that this country wad built on Genocide, we in America celebrate Columbus Day and Thanksgiving instead.

      In conclusion, it is my honest belief and opinion, that Conservative Christians are, and their movement is, has always been, and will always be, a danger to our civil society, and our world.

      To get a better understanding, here are some helpful websites and organizations, most will look familiar because they have been demonized by the loudest voices; FOX, Tea Party, Pat Robertson, you know the type I am referring too:

      Americans United
      AU.org

      Freedom From Religion Foundation
      FFRF.org

      Military Religious Freedom Foundation
      MRFF.org

      There are many more Secular, Humanist, and Interfaith organizations that will also have a pleather of information.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 3:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaoni
      Jaoni

      I was going to ask if this is to be aired in the UK, but I hope it doesn’t, it is so sad that these things are allow.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ann Mason
      Ann Mason

      This is horrifying, and we should be grateful there are people like Kate Logan who will look carefully at the religious brainwashing industry and report their findings. It’s especially upsetting that the U.S. Ambassador’s staff chose the easy way out when they learned about David’s situation. Either they didn’t want to risk an “international incident,” or they just didn’t care to bother with it.

      The religious right went bonkers when the California Legislature passed a bill forbidding licensed healthcare providers from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation. However, the legislation failed to address these programs run by religious charlatans, where parents in California can still send their kids to have their lives destroyed.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 4:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CodyJ
      CodyJ

      man, I HOPE that poor dude is ok (David)…what the FK kinda people are his parents to do this? worst fkn MONSTERS I imagine.aka ‘devout fundie xtians,sooo saaaad.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ogre Magi
      Ogre Magi

      @jonjct: Are you a worker at one of these camps?

      Jul 8, 2014 at 4:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tdx3fan
      tdx3fan

      @ted72: Abusive people will find reasons and excuses to be abusive. Its purely that simple. Religion as a force is actual neutral. It is the way that it is used that is either negative or positive. However, it is a majorly coercive factor for a great deal of people who buy into it.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tdx3fan
      tdx3fan

      @blondeboyz: Religion in some people is very possibly a sign of Scizotypal Personality Disorder. These would be people that are so religious that it causes a serious separation from reality.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 5:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jacob23
      Jacob23

      I saw this award-winning film at a film festival earlier this year. I urge everyone here to watch it on Showtime. Even if you don’t usually watch documentaries, just watch it. You won’t be disappointed.

      There is a vast network of these schools. I have to admit that even though I read more news than probably 99% of the US population, I was not aware of this. I was vaguely aware that there were some “boot camp” type outfits which worked with kids who were involved with drugs or crime. But that is not what this is about. This was a revelation.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 5:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mezzacanadese
      mezzacanadese

      I don’t know if I could bear to watch this movie. Just the short clip is traumatizing enough.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 5:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jacob23
      Jacob23

      @jonjct:
      @JonCt:

      You are really full of it. In the film, we meet a bunch of kids, but there is a focus on three. Not one of these three is headed for jail. One girl suffers anxiety attacks and has academic and discipline issues related to those attacks. Another girl has disputes with her parents because she is strong-willed. And there’s David, the gay kid, who is a straight A student, with no academic or disciplinary problems, who is popular, who is looking forward to getting a scholarship for college, and who even holds an after-school job. They are all shipped down to this school. Despite their differing backgrounds and issues, they all get the same horrible treatment by untrained and uneducated religious people.

      While there might be a place for boot camp-type facilities run by trained and licensed professionals, for kids with certain issues, none of these kids needed this. The first girl needed counseling with someone experienced in anxiety disorders. The second girl might have benefited from some counseling which involved the parents. David needed no intervention at all. And none of them needed to be sent to a foreign country against their will, isolated from their friends and families.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 5:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkZephyr
      DarkZephyr

      @Mezaien: Lol I’m not a Christian, but a raving, r*cist lunatic calling other people “mentally ill” is f**king HILARIOUS!

      Jul 8, 2014 at 6:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkZephyr
      DarkZephyr

      @corey: “Joseph Smith, the creator of Mormonism”. Yeah and Mormonism is one of the most homophobic religions in the world and has been a huge driving force in keeping gay people down through legislation in the USA so don’t act like this b*st*rd was some innocent victim of persecution. This is an example of religious bigots killing each other.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 6:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • James Hart
      James Hart

      These poor kids. Their parents are nuts.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 6:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Desert Boy
      Desert Boy

      There’s no end to the evil that is Christianity.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 6:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • James Hart
      James Hart

      @Mezaien: I’s time for you to take ENGLISH lessons.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 6:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • James Hart
      James Hart

      @Charlie in Charge: You’re so right.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 6:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rand503
      rand503

      @jonjct: And what qualiciations do the instructors have to operate such a place? And what is their success rate? Their website fails to list anyone’s credentials or experience in counseling youth, and they fail to give any rates of success, however they choose to measure it.

      That alone makes the place highly suspect.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 6:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paco
      Paco

      I guess we need to do more for gay youth to prevent their parents from abusing them by sending them off to these Christian brainwashing camps. It is child abuse and very disgusting that it is allowed to happen. I hope David is doing well.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 6:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnMc888
      JohnMc888

      God, all my straight relatives, including some church goers, would be delighted to have that gay kid as a son or nephew.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 8:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnMc888
      JohnMc888

      @rand503: None. That’s why they operate abroad. They know what they are doing is illegal.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 8:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • interesting
      interesting

      I was curious about David’s whereabouts too, and did some research. Here’s the quote I from another article I’ve read about his final escape.

      “The letter confirms the fears of Angie and David’s friends, neighbors, and teachers back home. They had started getting curious, then concerned, by David’s absence. Even if he were “doing Katrina relief” or “visiting family abroad”?–?as his parents were telling people?–?he would have called, texted, tweeted, or something by now. They had been gathering money and wanted to get him home for graduation. They have some time to plan an rescue mission as they wait for David’s 18th birthday.

      Two friends fly down to the Dominican Republic after David’s birthday. Knowing they only have one shot to get the information they need to get David out, they engage the U.S. Consul office before going to the school. After telling the school that David was an adult and that they wanted him to come home with them, they were kicked off the property. The embassy declined to get involved, so they returned to Colorado without David. A local judge issued a writ of habeas corpus, requiring David to appear in court in Colorado in order to get him out of the school. David’s parents and the school were suing Kate to stop production of the movie and David was forbidden from seeing Kate and Angie while he was in town.

      Kate interviews former Escuela Caribe staff and alumni. One woman, who had tried many other options before voluntarily enrolling in Escuela Caribe, claims her time there saved her life. The others are haunted by their time there. The legal battle prevented the film from being released for several years and kept Kate from knowing what was happening in David’s life for some time. When they finally reunite, David seems to be back on track toward a successful life, but one thing has changed. Having seen how the term can be abused, David no longer identifies as “Christian”; now he just “believes in love.””

      I do wonder though, what is his relationship with his parents are like? But whatever happened, I’m glad he finally escaped.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 8:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • interesting
      interesting

      Whoops, sorry here’s the link to the article about David and the documentary if anyone want to read the whole article:

      http://spotlightcle.com/issues/2014/03/kidnapped-for-christ/

      Jul 8, 2014 at 8:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • steph
      steph

      I was a student there. I was there in the late 80’s through early 90’s – before David but I do know that David got out. This school was taken over by a company called Lifeline, which is the umbrella company over Crosswinds Academy (formerly Escuela Caribe). When the internet emerged in the 90’s, many of us former students found each other and banded together to shut down Escuela caribe, which was an extension of the overarching program New Horizons Youth Ministry based out of Indiana. I really don’t know what Crosswinds is like but they did employ staff members that worked for New Horizons. This school wasn’t just about conversion therapy for gay kids. Many of us were sent there for little to no reason or we were acting like typical teens but there were some with serious mental and behavioral issues that were exacerbated by this place. I was able to rise above the experience and move on but I do have the occasional nightmare still. Others are stuck and suffering PTSD, depression, and other related problems. The hardest part of growing up after going through this is feeling like nobody believes you. This film gave all of us a voice and some validation that what happened to us was wrong. I’m thankful it was done and the story is being told. Sharing is healing. Thank you all for your interest, concern and validation.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 10:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • steph
      steph

      @rand503: they have no qualifications except being Christians.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 10:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill
      Bill

      I remember reading about this some while back. It is easy to put all evangelical Christians in the same category as the leaders of this cult, where brainwashing has taken place. But it would not be correct to do so. However, the evangelical churches need to condemn such practices unequivocally, if they wish to follow Jesus’ command to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. Anyone who seeks to control another human being’s right to make decisions for themselves is a bully and an abuser. I don’t care if they call themselves Christian and say they “love the sinner” and “hate the sin”. That is bullshit. They hate the “sinner”, because they have made a conscious decision to ignore the command not to judge others. As Saint John says in his epistle: How can you love God whom you cannot see when you hate your brother whom you can see? I hope the US Congress and House of Representatives come up with a law to prosecute all involved in the “project” in the Dominican Republic and such places, and I recommend the US special forces and the SAS go in and rescue all the students! I am almost serious in this.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 10:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jacob23
      Jacob23

      @Frank: Frank, thank you for sharing. The fact that you have been with your partner for 30 years and got married makes me respect and admire you. I hope that by this time next year, the status of your marriage is resolved and that we are all coming off a hangover from the huge celebration following a SCOTUS win.

      Jul 8, 2014 at 11:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkZephyr
      DarkZephyr

      @steph: Thank you for sharing your story with us. *big hugs*. I’m so glad you are doing well Sweetie. Thanks for the expanded information as well!

      Jul 9, 2014 at 1:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • seaguy
      seaguy

      Who is the Ambassador? The state department needs to shit can his ass and put someone’s down there who will care and do the right thing. I am going to write the state dept and express my displeasure having such a shitty embassy in the DR.

      Jul 9, 2014 at 1:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • QTYMann
      QTYMann

      @Stefano: What would be the point? Everyone’s mind is made up and if you disagree, despite what the comment instructions say (“avoid personal attacks”) you will be attacked. I’ve read enough of these to know. No one will argue points, just resort to name calling, like a child; the more vehement the disagreement, the more vile the names and language.
      For what it’s worth, true Christians would point out that we all have our cross to bear. I Corinthians 10:13 (KJV) says: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Why no one ever mentions this verse in association with homosexuality, or even seems to think of it, is a mystery to me. God does not impose His will on anyone; what would be the point of giving us a free will? He wants a relationship with us. We have to choose to follow Him and do His will. We will fall short, and He will be there to help us when we fall, if it is truly our desire to please Him and have faith. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.
      We are all different and unique. It is just as wrong to judge all Christians by the actions of a few, like those in this story, or the Westboro (so called) Baptists, just as it would be wrong to judge all gays by the actions of Andrew Cunanan or Jeffrey Dahmer.
      Cultists have a problem with God’s Word versus Man’s. My Pastor always said that if it doesn’t line up with what the Bible says, don’t believe it. Christ rebuked the Pharisees for vainly worshiping him “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:7. A cult will usually die with it’s leader because it is man-centered, not God-centered. There are exceptions, as there are with any group. Generalizations only hold true so far. As the sayings go, “There is an exception to every rule,” but “the exception proves the rule.”
      Hopefully this helped someone, or meant something to someone….

      Jul 9, 2014 at 3:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • b2rocketfan
      b2rocketfan

      I feel sick reading this. These people know nothing of what following Jesus is about. To abuse children in the name of Christ..,,what a. absolute horror. Jesus said to let the little children come to him. He would never advocate brutality. I’m so saddened and appalled by this complete farce of my faith. I’m so sorry that religious people use my Lord’s name to hurt children and adults. To those who look at These people and think that’s Christianity, I offer a heart felt apology girl one who identifies as gay and knows the Lord’s love and mercy. Please know not all of us are evil nutcase.

      Jul 9, 2014 at 4:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill
      Bill

      Perhaps the people who run the camps need to remember Jesus’ words for those who sought to harm any child. “It were better if a milestone were put on their necks and they were thrown into the sea”. Those are strong words. Beware who is claimed to have said them, according to the Bible, which these same people claim is the Word of God.

      Jul 9, 2014 at 4:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill
      Bill

      Let us get the definition of sodomy cleared up once and for all. If you are a Christian and believe that the Bible is the Word of God, then you will be interested to know that the people of Sodom were judged not because of homosexuality but because they broke the sacred code of hospitality, as Jesus himself confirmed. Check it out for yourself. So to talk of sodomy in the same breath as homosexuality is completely wrong from the Christian point of view.

      Jul 9, 2014 at 6:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill
      Bill

      @Opponent of Homosexual Lifestyles being promoted to kids: Sir, your reply does not deserve to be given any credence whatsoever. I think you are unable or unwilling to engage in respectful debate, so I am not continuing this discussion. I am not going to trade insults with you. I feel very sorry for you, because I think you are ashamed and feel guilty about something you don’t want others to know about you. I have no idea what that is, and I am not going to speculate, even though I have a suspicion. I used the word, Sir, advisedly. Please don’t bother to reply to this, if you think I’ll read it, because I won’t.

      Jul 9, 2014 at 6:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rohanbarn123
      rohanbarn123

      I’m gay and a Christian. These so called Christians going the straight and narrow way only lives by the old testament. Everything in their eyes is a sin of some sort but most of them eats bacon and as far as I know according to the Bible pork are not allowed to be consumed nor is it allowed to drink alcohol until you are drunk or passed out… So how the hell can they judge gays and say that we are going to hell because we sin? On the contrary in the New testament we actually read that Jesus affirmed a gay couple (Matthew 8: 5-13) and welcomed a gay member to church…. (Acts 8: 26-40). And to crown it all Jesus himself said gays are born this way(Matthew 19: 10-12). So my personal opinion is that all these Christians judging gays should rather stop judging( that’s God’s privilege) and start reading their Bible’s the correct way and to stop following churches that twists the Bible to fit their expectations and beliefs. Each one is entitled to the REAL TRUTH of the Bible and not to the ‘truth’ of the believes of a cult church.

      Jul 9, 2014 at 9:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • fagmango
      fagmango

      It is interesting how similar the tactics are for this and AA. They both warn of the similar demise of institutions, jail or death as your only other option to their “love” and the same shunning system and seperation tactics.

      Stay away from Christianity. …it is a cult system of control…thought and otherwise.

      Jul 9, 2014 at 1:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill
      Bill

      @rohanbarn123: Thank you so much for your message here. I am also gay and it is very difficult describing myself as a Christian, when there is so much hatred from so-called Christians towards us as a community. If only they followed the example of Jesus, then their attitude would be one of unconditional love, not judgementalism!

      Jul 9, 2014 at 10:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID
      PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID

      @Frank: “As a long time lurker I now expect a full blown party to celebrate my arrival”

      Consider yourself fully blown by the party, sis! ;)

      Jul 10, 2014 at 6:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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