George Alan Rekers goes on a trip

GEORGE ALAN REKERS GOES ON A TRIP…. Even for those who follow the religious right, George Alan Rekers’ name is probably not that familiar. A Baptist minister who helped create the Family Research Council with James Dobson in 1983, Rekers generally avoids the media spotlight, but he’s been influential in shaping the religious right movement.

In particular, Rekers has been a virulently anti-gay activist. It’s what makes this week’s news all the more interesting.

A “general” for the Christian right — and vocal advocate for gay-to-straight conversion-therapy — has been accused of gallivanting around Europe with a gay hooker.

[Rekers] was spotted leaving Miami International Airport on April 13 with a 20-year-old he met on a gay escort site, the Miami New Times reports.

Contacted by the newspaper, Rekers claimed he was ignorant of his traveling companion’s profession when he hired him to accompany him on a 10-day European vacation.

According to Rekers’ version of events, he needed a travel companion for his European excursion to help him carry luggage after a recent surgery. While that may or may not sound plausible, the more obvious problem is that Rekers hired a male prostitute, known as “Lucien,” whom he met on a website devoted to connecting gay escorts with clients.

Rekers later said he counseled Lucien on how to stop being gay, and the importance of becoming a Christian.

Soon after, the Family Research Council removed all references to Rekers from its website. Apparently, the far-right group wasn’t persuaded by the minister’s explanation. I can’t imagine why not.

Given Rekers’ relative anonymity with the larger public, it’s unlikely this story will generate the kind of attention the Ted Haggard scandal created a few years ago. Still, it seems like another embarrassing setback for the misguided religious right campaign.