In the ongoing battle over hate crimes legislation, religious right organizations and their allies claimed that pedophiles are protected under the legislation. They continued to claim this irregardless of the fact that the assertion had been refuted.
This repetition of an inaccurate talking point is one of six distortion techniques that religious right groups use to stigmatize the lgbt community.
As the battle over lgbt rights get more intense, I thought it would be appropriate to repost all of the six distortion techniques that I outlined in my book Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters.
See how many of them you recognize from recent battles:
1. Using nonrepresentative or out-of-date studies to make generalizations, or distorting legitimate studies to give misleading conclusions
Example 1 - Anti-gay industry talking point - Same sex marriage and gay adoption are bad ideas because research shows that the best places to raise children are in homes with a mother and a father.
The truth - The research only looked at heterosexual two-parent households as opposed to single parent heterosexual households. Same-sex households were never included.
Point of fact - The following researchers, physicians, and Ph.D.s have complained about how the anti-gay industry has misused their work - A. Nicholas Groth, the six researchers of a Canadian study (Robert S. Hogg, Stefan A. Strathdee, Kevin J.P. Craib, Michael V. Shaughnessy, Julio Montaner, and Martin T. Schehter), Dr. Robert Garofalo, Lisa Waldner, Patrick Letellier, Dr. Kyle Pruett, Dr. Joanne Hall, Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, Carol Gilligan, Dr. Robert Spitzer, Dr. Francis Collins, Gary Remafedi, Professor Michael King, and Professor Lisa Diamond.
2. Repetition - Despite the fact that several physicians and researchers complain about the distortion of their work by the anti-gay industry, corrections are usually not made.
3. Conspiracy Theory - Claiming that gays and lesbians are consistently plotting to "erode traditional values"
Example - “The agenda of homosexual activists is basically to change America from what they perceive as looking down on homosexual behavior, to the affirmation of and societal acceptance of homosexual behavior. It is an agenda that they basically set in the late 1980s, in a book called After the Ball, where they laid out a six-point plan for how they could transform the beliefs of ordinary Americans with regard to homosexual behavior—in a decade-long time frame." - Craig Osten, Q&A: The Homosexual Agenda, Focus on the Family, July 25, 2003
4. Dire Consequences - Claiming that a pro-gay law or ordinance will lead to negative consequences without proof that the consequences will take place:
Example 1 - “Imagine, if you will, a 280 lb linebacker who likes to wear a dress and high heels and lipstick, you know comes to church wanting a job at the front desk as a receptionist and they turn him away because they don’t feel that that represents their values or the image that they’re trying to hold at that church, under ENDA they could be held accountable for
discrimination against that individual.” - Matt Barber, Concerned Women for America, 2007
Example 2 - “H.R. 254 elevates one group of Americans above others, creating a special class of victims. All things being equal, it means that if a 5-foot-2-inch grandmother is violently attacked on the street, she is less worthy of justice than the 6-foot-4-inch homosexual man who is attacked by the same assailant.” - Matt Barber, Concerned Women for America, 2007
5. Phony Experts - Creating their own "experts" on the gay and lesbian community.
6. Dehumanizing Semantics - Consistently using language (i.e. demonstrative verbs and adjectives) in their talking points, sound bites, and press releases to make gays and lesbians seem like impersonal, threatening outsiders
Example 1 - “But unfortunately, the evangelist observes, many Christians have been bullied into submission on the aggressive homosexual agenda in public schools.”—Evangelist Proposes to Combat Homosexual Agenda in Public Education, Agape Press, May 11, 2005
Example 2 - “Elsewhere in the battle against the homosexual agenda, the Broward County School Board in Florida has voted to allow a pro- homosexual group to indoctrinate its teachers on tolerance.”— Children Adopted by Homosexuals Suffer, Family Advocate Says, Agape Press, April 25, 2002
Example 3 - “The ACLU continues to use a law license to bully school districts and harass parents in order to brainwash their kids abut the ‘normalcy’ of homosexuality.”—Jan LaRue, ACLU Seeks Mandatory Homosexual Sensitivity Training, Concerned Women for America press release, July 14, 2005