Ex-Homosexual Advocate Had 'Lapse in Judgment' in Gay Bar

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - The visit to a Washington, DC homosexual bar by one of the country's leading voices in the ex-homosexual ministry constituted "a major lapse in judgment, but not a lapse in heterosexuality," said his employer, Focus on the Family.

The conservative Christian public policy organization based in Colorado said it was standing by John Paulk, the manager of the Homosexuality and Gender Department within the public policy division of Focus on the Family.

But the future of Paulk's role in similar efforts remains in question, as officials weigh the bulk of his work against the fact that he was present in a homosexual bar.

Paulk, who left homosexuality to marry and have children, is facing criticism after homosexual activists confronted him two weeks ago in a homosexual bar and photographed him.

Paulk initially said he didn't know "Mr. P's" in Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood was a homosexual bar when he walked in and only needed to use the bathroom. However, witnesses said "Mr. P's" has a dark exterior and is located on a block with many well-lighted restaurants and hotels.

An employee of the Human Rights Campaign, one of the country's leading homosexual advocacy groups, thought he recognized Paulk and called one of the organization's spokesmen, who hurried to the bar.

Accounts of the episode are somewhat conflicted, but according to one, Paulk offered to buy the HRC employee a drink, not knowing the man was on the HRC staff, according to a report in a homosexual news outlet. When asked if he was gay, Paulk replied that he was, the employee stated.

Shortly thereafter, a HRC spokesman arrived at the scene and photographed Paulk, who has appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine in the past along with his wife, Ann, a former lesbian.

The two men reportedly exchanged words and Paulk left the premises after telling the bar staff he felt threatened, both Paulk and the homosexual group's spokesman said.

The HRC employee told news outlets that when he called Paulk later to discuss the incident, Paulk allegedly pleaded with him to keep the story under wraps.

After news of the incident surfaced on the Internet, Paulk found himself defending his ministry's message that homosexuality is a lifestyle that can be left.

"The thing I'm most concerned about is that my reputation for the past 13 or 14 years will be damaged, and I have committed no sexual improprieties of any kind," said Paulk, who is also a long-standing board chairman of Exodus International, a Seattle-based ministry that offers help to homosexuals who want to leave the gay lifestyle.

A spokesman for Exodus International said the organization will make a statement on the Paulk case this week, possibly as early as Tuesday.

"Certainly we want to take action that is appropriate with our redemptive message. At the same time we do have certain standards for our leaders," said Bob Davies, director of Exodus.

Paulk currently is on vacation, but Focus spokeswoman Julie Neils said the Christian organization remains committed to its message of helping homosexuals leave the gay lifestyle and Paulk's "lapse in judgment" has not changed that basis message.

"Perceptions may have changed, but one man's lapse in judgment does not negate the fact that thousands of people have walked away from homosexuality and are very happy with their lives, and we will continue to promote that message," Neils said.