Thursday, July 29, 2010

Anti-gay activist Scott Lively makes a fool of himself on The Daily Show

More proof that if you give members of the religious right enough rope, they tend to hang themselves.

I give you anti-lgbt activist and Ugandan anti-gay law supporter Scott Lively on The Daily Show.

God, I love Jon Stewart:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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How the Family Research Council manipulates legitimate data to hurt the lgbt community

Once religious right groups find an item which can be used to demonize the lgbt community, they repeat this item ad naseum, even if they have to omit some crucial facts which could change the flow of what they are trying to push.

For example this quote by AIDS researcher Ronald Stall:

One of the nation’s leading AIDS researchers, Ronald Stall, has declared, “It may be a fallacy to say that HIV is the dominant, most dangerous and most damaging epidemic among gay men in the United States today. There are at least four other epidemics occurring among gay men that are intertwining and making each other worse. This is called a syndemic.” The “four other epidemics” are “substance abuse, partner violence, depression and childhood sexual abuse.”

That is how the Family Research Council spun the quote while using it to make the case against a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

FRC also manipulated it to use against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) (item 7 with Peter Sprigg).

But like so many other things they use, the Family Research Council distorts the meaning of Stall's words.

The organization is omitting the rest of his quote:

“It may be a fallacy to say that HIV is the dominant, most dangerous and most damaging epidemic among gay men in the United States today,” Stall said. “There are at least four other epidemics occurring among gay men that are intertwining and making each other worse. This is called a syndemic.”

Stall cited the population-based Urban Men’s Health Study, which demonstrated that at least four other epidemics – substance abuse, partner violence, depression and childhood sexual abuse – may be affecting this patient population.

“What do these other factors have to do with HIV infection?” Stall said. “The analysis further demonstrated that men who were most affected by this syndemic were also more likely to have recently engaged in high-risk sex and/or be HIV positive. Therefore, we now have these co-occurring psychosocial conditions that are intertwined and are making each other worse driving an infectious disease epidemic.”

Stall added that other marginalized populations – including ethnic minorities and the urban poor – may also be suffering from a similar syndemic; this may be further exacerbating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in these patient populations as well.

In other words, Stall isn't implying that it is the lgbt orientation causing these problems but the marginalization of lgbts.

How FRC manipulates Stall's words is similar to how the organization manipulated medical information in its  pamphlet The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality.

In the pamphlet, FRC cited information that listed the medical problems facing the lgbt community (i.e. depression, drug abuse) but omitted the part of the data calling homophobia the cause of these problems.

 It's a cagey thing to do. Not very Christian or moral, but highly cagey.

And one more thing, Box Turtle Bulletin says the following which throws another monkey wrench in FRC's claims:

According to our estimates, the prevalence of HIV is probably below 10% of the total LGBT population. (Those estimates however are fought with unknowable variables, so caution is advised whenever anyone attempts to estimate HIV prevelance in the LGBT population.) All people entering the military are tested for HIV, and all military personnel are retested at periodic intervals. 

Related posts:

Family Research Council using fraudulent pamphlet in anti-gay ad

Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality' Is a Huge Homophobic Fraud

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Fox News admits mistake in pushing Sherrod story

It's interesting how the Shirley Sherrod story demonstrates the similarities between the African-American and lgbt communities. Both communities are seeking equality and both communities have to combat forces who seek to dominate the narrative with the idea that they are either overly complaining or attempting to unfairly "change the definition" of normalcy.

For those who have been complaining that Fox News has been unfairly targeted in the Shirley Sherrod debacle comes this item, which as far as I am concerned, is an admittance of a faux pas on the part of the company:

The first mention of the Sherrod video, which surfaced on Monday, July19th on Andrew Breitbart's, was made later that day on Bill O'Reilly's 8 p.m. show. O'Reilly later apologized for how he characterized Sherrod.

But did run a story about the existence of the video, titled "Video Shows USDA Official Saying She Didn't Give 'Full Force' of Help to White Farmer" at 5:58 p.m. on Monday, an hour before the Agriculture Department announced Sherrod’s resignation. And Wednesday, (Fox News Senior Vice President of News Michael) Clemente told POLITICO that was a mistake.

"There was a breakdown in the system, and it is being addressed," he said. "But it must say something about the power of Fox, that a week after she resigned, we're still talking about this."

The breakdown occurred following Fox's afternoon news meeting that day, when Clemente, according to The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz offered the following advice: "Let's take our time and get the facts straight on this story. Can we get confirmation and comments from Sherrod before going on-air. Let's make sure we do this right."

Clemente said he gave the advice in the meeting, not in a memo to staff, and his guidance clearly did not make it down to the reporter and producers who put the story on

Clemente was wrong about one thing. It does not demonstrate the power of Fox News that people are talking about the Sherrod incident a week later.

It demonstrates the bullheadedness of Fox News to not admit its error.

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