An African-American gay group has called on an organisation claiming to convert gay people back to heterosexuality to justify its beliefs after one of its members launched a controversial defence of the slave trade.

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) was outraged by Gerald Schoenewolf, a member of the National Association of Research Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), after he posted comments about political correctness on the “ex-gay” group’s website appearing to justify slavery.

He said: “With all due respect, there is another way, or other ways, to look at the race issue in America. It could be pointed out, for example, that Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle, as yet uncivilised or industrialised.”

He goes on to criticise the civil rights movement for complaining about lynching when African countries historically sold their citizens as slaves, and even claims slaves in Europe and South America were in fact better off.

In a letter to NARTH the NBJC said it is “deeply troubled” by the article.

“His comments reflect not only a misunderstanding of history, but a trivialization of the suffering caused by slaver,” the document said.

The group calls on NARTH to explain why it allowed the article to be printed.

NARTH has also been criticised by Ex-Gay Watch, a group opposed to conversion therapy.

It’s not the first time NARTH has angered the gay community recently, last month it was forced to defend comments by another member who advocated bullying children who had gender identity issues.