Monday, June 15, 2009

Religous right distortions deserve more attention

From the Washington Blade comes this news:

The U.S. Senate is expected to approve hate crimes legislation by Wednesday, according to a Democratic source.

Lawmakers are expected to pass the measure by amending S. 1023, or the Travel Promotion Act, said the source. The bill is geared toward establishing a national travel promotion program to communicate U.S. travel policies and to promote travel to the United States.

"The idea is that that will be an amendment to the tourism bill that's going to be on the floor this week in the Senate, and we're thinking that the vote will happen probably [Tuesday] or Wednesday," said the source.

This news means we can expect more lies from the religious right about pastors being arrested for calling homosexuality a sin and how the bill protects pedophiles. It never ceases to amaze me out how those folks will lie even after being refuted.

But one thing we probably won't see should the law pass is an lgbt community so happy that we will get caught up in a celebration and forget about the other fights.

We are too focused for that.

I am aware of the fact that there has been a lot of anger towards President Obama regarding his slow movement on pro-lgbt legislation and his Administration's baffling defense of DOMA.

To say that the lgbt community is pissed is an understatement and personally, I like it.

Now I don't know if its because of Proposition 8, but there is an interesting tone of intensity in the community that I find refreshing.

It's about time but I have one small suggestion.

Can we take just a little bit of that intensity off of President Obama's Administration and focus on religious right lies? Not too much, mind you, because we need to continue to put the president's feet to the fire.

But earlier today, I talked about the myriad of researchers who have complained about the distortion of their work by the religious right and yet how very few people are aware of this.

Not counting the ones I mentioned in the post earlier today, there are many cases of this happening. The following are just a few of the ones I am aware of - 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. Kyle Pruett, Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, Carol Gilligan, Dr. Robert Spitzer, Dr. Francis Collins, Gary Remafedi, Professor Michael King, and Professor Lisa Diamond.

And religious right distortions are like cockroaches - for every one you see, there are at least five others you don't see.

The one thing that always frustrated me is how in the past the lgbt community let religious right lies slide. But now we don't seem to be in the mood to let anything slide.

On the blogs, there seems to be momentum and a push to expose religious right distortions. Sites like Truth Wins Out, Good As You, Box Turtle Bulletin, Americablog, Pams House Blend, and my humble blog , Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters (if I am forgetting a site, please charge it to my head and not my heart) are doing what we can.

But I am serious when I say I would love to a cover story in The Advocate magazine, The Washington Blade , or any of our major publications about the religious right misuse of studies. Now is the perfect time.

While we are demanding our rights to self-determination from the Obama Administration, let's take the next step and demand the right to proper news and education from those who claim to be our media representatives.

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Monday midday news briefs

First - proof that the religious right just ain't that original when it comes to hyperbole:

"The real question here that needs to be asked -- and nobody on our side, from a columnist to a TV commentator to anybody in our party has the guts to ask: How can a president nominate such a candidate? And how can a party get behind such a candidate? That's what would be asked if somebody were foolish enough to nominate David Duke or pick somebody even less offensive." - Rush Limbaugh whining about President Obama's pick of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court

“Putting Kevin Jennings in charge of ‘Safe Schools’ is like appointing David Duke to head up a federal panel on Racial Reconciliation."
Peter LaBarbera whining that GLSEN founder Kevin Jennings is being picked as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Education Department’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.

So I guess with a black president, bringing up David Duke's name is now a popular occurrence.

Now onto news briefs:

Focus on the Family Again Misstates Researchers’ Facts about Sexual Abuse and Origins of Sexual Orientation - In my zeal to post this morning and then rush off to work, I neglected to include Truth Wins Out (a very good webpage and organization) in the Focus on the Family debunking post. This organization, as well as Warren Throckmorton, originally broke the story by consulting directly with the researchers. Truth Wins Out has been on the front lines when it comes to debunking religious right distortions about the lgbt community

Gary Randall, Fundraising Failure - The fight to repeal the domestic partnership law in Washington (i.e. Referendum 71) seems to be failing financially. Who says Mondays always have to suck?

UPDATE: National Media Coverage of KRXQ Hosts’ Apologies - They had better!

State Assembly Votes to Approve Domestic Partnerships!- Good news out of Wisconsin this weekend!

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Focus on the Family caught distorting research . . . again

This week ought to be fun. It's Black Pride Week in the state of South Carolina.

Which means I'm going to be ripping and running to get things done.

How nice is it to celebrate Black Gay Pride in a state where a Republican activist compares the First Lady to an ape.

But I will hold my head high and pray that I get through this week without having to cut anyone with my razor.

Nevertheless, last weekend yielded some very good news. Focus on the Family has been caught in another attempt to distort credible research. Via Box Turtle Bulletin (I skimmed to a few choice parts. Click on the link to get the full story):

Focus On the Family is preparing to have their Love Won Out roadshow make its stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan this weekend. One of the principle arguments they are likely to spring on unsuspecting parents (if past history is any guide) is Melissa Fryrear’s assertion that she has never met a gay person who hadn’t been sexually abused, while drawing the insistent link that this abuse somehow is a major cause of homosexuality. (We saw Pat Robertson mine this same material earlier this week.) This damaging and abusive claim — imagine the horror of parents of gay kids in that audience who will hear her say that — has been a very steady theme in Love Won Out’s arsenal.

To bolster that claim, Focus On the Family recently issued one of their “reports” by Jeff Johnston, who is touted as the “gender issues analyst” at Focus On the Family (his degree and qualifications are never mentioned). That report, “Childhood Sexual Abuse and Male Homosexuality,” is further intended to reinforce the claim that most gay men have experienced some form of sexual abuse in their childhoods, and that this is the reason they became gay. To back up his claims, he cites the book, Unequal Opportunity: Health Disparities Affecting Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States, edited by Richard J. Wolitsk, Ron Stall and Ronald O. Valdiserri. That book contains a large number of research papers on various topics related to men’s health, including child sexual abuse.

. . . Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton contacted Ron Stall and Ron Valdiserri and asked them to comment on the Focus On the Family report. They responded with a statement condemning the report as “inaccurate and, in our opinion, a distortion of the scientific literature.” They go on:

Most basically, the Focus on the Family characterization of the literature on childhood sexual abuse among gay men represents a misunderstanding of scientific approaches to distinguishing between correlation and causation. The book chapter in question reports that gay men are more likely to report childhood sexual abuse by men than are heterosexual men. This correlation does not mean that the reported abuse caused the adult sexual orientation. If that were the case, then the fact that some heterosexual men report sexual abuse by women means that sexual abuse by women “causes” heterosexuality in men. It is also worth noting that the argument that childhood sexual abuse causes homosexuality in gay men is undermined by the fact that the vast majority of gay men are not sexually abused as children.

I guess we can include these researchers with the others who complain about how the religious right distorts their work.

This is something that needs to be brought to the public's attention as of yesterday. Instead of waiting for the religious right to attack us, the lgbt community need to be on the offensive and make the religious right explain themselves for their consistent misuse of science.

How long do we have to wait before the powers that be in the lgbt community, including those with stroke in the lgbt media (i.e. The Advocate magazine) bring attention to this issue?

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