In October 2008, Truth Wins Out reported:
…We learn from Ken Avidor (via Pam Spaulding) that U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is requesting $500,000 in U.S. taxpayer money for Minnesota Teen Challenge, a pray-away-the-drugs program whose parent organization ‚Äî strangely enough ‚Äî hires ex-gay speakers, utilizes ex-gay media, and is operated by the Assemblies of God, the world’ largest Pentecostal denomination.
The “Teen Challenge” network apparently offers no reputable professional counseling; instead, its amateur employees program youths with church ideology while blaming teens’ problems on “Satanic” influences such as Halloween and Harry Potter. It offers no well-designed tracking of success and failure rates; its reports and supposed success stories appear to consist of isolated anecdotes and head counts which exclude youths who failed to complete a treatment program.
In January 2009, we published a follow-up article:
Strapped for cash and suffering from a former board member’ alleged role in a Ponzi scheme, the Minnesota Teen Challenge now sees profit potential in launching a taxpayer-subsidized religious and cultural war against Haiti ‚Äî a Caribbean neighbor that the organization falsely accuses of being demon-possessed.
The Minnesota Independent reported today that the state still has not halted aid: In the past seven years, the evangelical, antigay program has received more than $10 million in government funds with little accountability. Instead of treating people for drug addiction, the taxpayer-funded program converts participants to a conservative pentecostal ideology and discriminates against non-Christian and gay would-be employees.
Its parent organization, Teen Challenge, still hosts ex-gay speakers around the country.
“To me, I think, that the legislature is setting special rates for a pervasively sectarian organization is enough to make that funding unconstitutional,” said Alex Luchenitzer of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. “You have clear favoritism and endorsement of a religious program.”