Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Family Research Council defends itself with distorted studies . . . again

It's a regular comedy of errors with the Family Research Council.

In the organization's zeal to defend itself from the charges of being an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, it continues to make huge missteps.

And the latest just happened today.

Now SPLC contends that FRC - and other so-called morality groups - either deliberately rely on junk science, distort legitimate science, or push propaganda to make the lgbt community seem like the dreaded "other" out to destroy American values.

FRC contends that SPLC is unfairly attacking them because they stand against gay marriage even though SPLC has made it clear that this isn't the case.

FRC spokesman Peter Sprigg, who has gone on record wanting gays and lesbians exported out of the United States and  "homosexual acts" to be made illegal, said the following about SPLC's charges in a blog post today:

For the record, FRC believes that every human being, including those who experience same-sex attractions and those who engage in homosexual conduct, is created in the image of God and is loved by Him. How this qualifies as “hate” is a mystery.

We will be preparing a more detailed response to Cohen’s charge that FRC spreads “falsehoods” in our well-documented research, which does show that certain harms are associated with homosexual conduct. Those wishing to examine that research in the meantime can refer to the FRC book Getting It Straight: What the Research Shows About Homosexuality or to our recent pamphlet, The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality.

For Sprigg's information, I have done just that several times in the past and have found a bunch of errors in both works he cited.

I've talked about these errors in several blog posts, but they bear repeating.

Let's look at the brochure The Top Ten Myths of Homosexuality.

At first glance, Ten Myths looks legitimate. However, a more intensive look reveals it to be a mishmash of inaccurate theories, cherry-picked work, and studies taken out of context created to justify homophobia

The following are just a few of the problems with Ten Myths:

1. Ten Myths repeats the lie that the Robert Spitzer study proves that homosexuality is changeable, excluding the fact that Spitzer has said on more than one occasion that his research was being distorted.

2. Ten Myths utilizes the work of  the organization National Association for  Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). The website Truth Wins Out calls NARTH  a discredited “ex-gay” fringe organization that peddles fraudulent “cures” for homosexuality.

According to Truth Wins Out, several NARTH members have been embroiled in controversies including:

Gerald Schoenwolf, PhD, a member of NARTH’ “Scientific Advisory Committee,” who wrote a piece on the group’s website that seemed to justify slavery

NARTH psychiatrist Joseph Berger, MD, another member of its “Scientific Advisory Committee,” who wrote a paper encouraging students to “ridicule” gender variant children.

Also, according to Truth Wins Out:

NARTH’ co-founder, Joesph Nicolosi encourages male clients to become more masculine by drinking Gatorade and referring to friends as “dude”. NARTH therapists have been known to practice rubber band therapy, where a gay client is made to wear a rubber band and snap it on his wrist when sexually stimulated. It is a mild form of aversion therapy meant to “snap” the client out of the moment of attraction. NARTH members have also been known to practice “touch therapy”, where a client sits in the therapist’ lap for up to an hour, while the therapist caresses him.

Earlier this year, another member of NARTH, George Rekers, resigned from the organization after caught coming from a vacation overseas with a "rentboy."

3. Ten Myths pushes the inaccuracy that a man who molests a boy is automatically gay even though the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Child Psychiatrists and the Child Welfare League of America, all say that the homosexuality and pedophilia are not linked.

Now let's look at FRC's other book, Getting It Straight.

In chapter 4 - Is Homosexuality a Health Risk, there is this passage (pg. 88):

A study of 3,365 high school students published in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found: “Gay, lesbian, bisexual, or not sure male students were 6.50 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than heterosexual male students. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, or not sure female students were 2.02 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than their heterosexual female peers.”

Robert Garofalo, et al, “Sexual Orientation and Risk of Suicide Attempts among a Representative Sample of Youth,” Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 153 (May 1999): 490.

In 1998, Garofalo complained that FRC and several other religious right groups was distorting his research. According to him, the groups omitted a crucial part of his findings (i.e. gay teens engage in negative behavior - suicide attempts - when faced with abuse from a homophobic society). Interestingly enough, when Garofalo complained, then FRC staff member Robert Knight questioned his credibility. (Boston doctor says ads distorted his work on gays, The Boston Globe, August 4, 1998 )

Then there is this passage in the same chapter on pg. 89:

A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on the mortality rates of homosexuals concluded that they have a significantly reduced life expectancy:

• “In a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age twenty for gay and bisexual men is eight to twenty years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged twenty years will not reach their sixty-fifth birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871.”

In 2001, the researchers of this study complained that their work was being distorted by organizations like FRC.

Chapter 5 of Getting it Straight, Do Homosexual Parents Pose a Risk to Children, is interesting in that except for a few alterations (i.e. rearranging of text) it is identical to Homosexual Parenting: Placing Children at Risk - one of the studies FRC removed from its webpage claiming that it contained "outdated sources."

By that same token, chapter 6 of Getting It Straight, Is There a Link Between Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse? is a total rehash of Homosexuality and Child Abuse, yet another study that FRC removed from its page for having "outdated sources."

What's interesting about Homosexuality and Child Abuse is that a researcher cited in it, Nicholas Groth, sent a letter to FRC in 2002 complaining about how his work was being distorted to prove that gays molest children at a higher number that heterosexuals - something that his work found not to be true.

However, despite his complaint , Groth's work is still cited in Getting It Straight (pg. 123):

Another study found that “some authors now believe that boys may be sexually abused as commonly as girls (Groth, 1978; O’Brien, 1980).”

The irony of all of this is that the title of Sprigg's blog post is called SPLC Equates FRC to Neo-Nazis—So Who’s “Demonizing” Whom?

Based upon Sprigg's shoddy work, created to demonize lgbts and pushed by FRC,  that is a very good question to ask, but not to SPLC.

The question should be asked of Sprigg and FRC.

Hat tip to Goodasyou.org


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3 comments :

Jim Hlavac said...

In an advertisement in Holland Michigan just this year the FRC listed two "myths" and the "facts" about gay folks -- and one odd contradiction is that according to the FRC we're more likely to have "mental illness" but on the other hand we have "significantly higher levels of educational achievement." And I wondered on my own blog -- how on earth can we be both crazier and smarter at the same time?

And since I came to your site through your comment at www.goodasyou.org I thought I'd point out my response there to the Sprigg "let's export 'em" concept of fairness -- just give us Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas, USA, and the two Baja states, and Sinaloa and Sonora in Mexico -- for our very own Gay Republic. We'd have everything from tropical beaches to snow covered peaks, and enough water, oil and food to take care of us all. Then the world can export their gays to us, and we'll do fine.

It's time we think outside the box, and really give these guys a run for their money. Some enterprising reporter should ask Sprigg & Ilk if this Gay Republic proposal would meet their approval. Just duck when their heads explode!

Marlene said...

Jim -- Get ready for a lot more ads from the FRC, and other hate groups in 2011, because Holland's city council is looking at adding at least sexual orientation to their non-discrimination ordinances.

Anonymous said...

I'vew seen Spriggs in action = his hands shaking, his voice shaky etc etc. The guy is full of evil and hatred so thick you could cut it with a knife.

What would you expect from a guy who is a baptist minister - the people who gave us slavery the kkk and segregation. And he never admits he is such a minister.

IMHO the guy is either a self hating gay, or a fixed gay. I know a couple fixed gays, to make matters short, one said gays support the westboro baptist church. The other said "matthew sheppards parents should have fixed him" God, Hitler couldn;t have come up with that second one.

And the export comment is code talk for sending gays to Uganda, where a gay geneocide bill is in the Uganda parliment. One of the key "sponsors" is Exodus board member Don Schiermier of Exodus. And a Ugandan named David Bahati, who said he would hang his own son if the son was gay.

Is this what our foreign aid is going to support.

Remember we could have prevented WWII by blowing up the reichstag in the 1930s. What about the Ugandan Parliment.