Thursday, September 27, 2012

Peter Sprigg is further proof of the Family Research Council's 'hate group' status

Peter Sprigg
Poor Family Research Council. They just can't lay off the Southern Poverty Law Center.

FRC is still sore over being designated as a hate group by SPLC.

Personally, I like it when FRC or one the organization's phony experts attack SPLC because it gives me the opportunity to demonstrate yet again their hypocrisy.

Today, FRC spokesman Peter Sprigg attempts to get semantic about what exactly constitutes a "hate group." He published a summary of the SPLC, making sure to note how much money the organization receives and and relying on old articles or straw man arguments to attack the group.

Like this for example:

What does the SPLC consider a "hate group?"
  • Logically, a "hate group" should be defined as one whose members 1) actually say that they hate a particular group of people; and/or 2) engage in or condone violence or other illegal activity toward such a group.
  • The SPLC, however, uses much broader criteria for defining "hate groups," and criteria which can vary depending on which of fourteen categories of "hate groups" you are looking at-ranging from "Neo-Nazi" to "Black Separatist" to "Radical Traditional Catholicism." These criteria are entirely subjective and largely ideological.
  • While their rhetoric ties "hate groups" with actual "hate crimes," the SPLC acknowledges alleged "hate group" activities include constitutionally protected activities such as "marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing," and that the "hate group" designation "does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity." However, they do not distinguish between racist or violent groups and legitimate organizations that participate peacefully in the political process-tarring all with the same label.
  • As genuine "hate groups" such as the Ku Klux Klan have dwindled, the SPLC has broadened its target list in order to justify its continued existence. In recent years, whole categories and new groups have been added not because of actual "hate" activities, but because they hold conservative positions on controversial political issues such as immigration and homosexuality.

Basically, Sprigg's gist is that SPLC is simply "creating" new hate groups because the organization is in need of money. If you look at Sprigg's piece, you will notice that he doesn't even address the reasons why SPLC considers FRC a hate group except for this one line - In recent years, whole categories and new groups have been added not because of actual "hate" activities, but because they hold conservative positions on controversial political issues such as immigration  and homosexuality.

I continue to be amazed by the absolute dishonesty of Sprigg and FRC. The following is what SPLC head Richard Cohen recently said:

Contrary to what the FRC has repeatedly claimed, we do not list the FRC as a hate group because of its opposition to gay marriage or because of its religious beliefs. Instead, we list the FRC because it engages in baseless, incendiary name-calling and spreads demonizing lies about the LGBT community. The FRC portrays gay people as sick, evil, perverted, incestuous and a danger to the nation. It insists that gay people are “fundamentally incapable” of providing good homes for children – a myth that has been rejected by all relevant scientific authorities.

Sprigg seems to be implying that since FRC is not advocating for violence against gays, then the organization is not a hate group. However, Cohen makes an excellent point.  The organization creates an image of gays as dangerous, diseased individuals who are out to "corrupt" children or destroy America.  And the organization does this via bad science, distorted science, and out-and-out lies.

And ironically, the proof of this is none other than Sprigg himself.

 While Sprigg is touted as an expert on human sexuality and other matters, the webpage Equality Matters reveals that Sprigg has absolutely NO EXPERTISE in anything he discusses as a talking head:

FRC’s inability to provide credible policy research might have something to do with its sources of “expert” analysis. FRC’s Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, for example, is Peter Sprigg – a man who spent 10 years as a “professional actor” and served as an ordained Baptist minister before joining FRC.

And if you looked at his work, i.e. his "studies, pamphlets, and research papers," you would find an alarming degree of distortions. And I have a feeling that it may be intentional. In 2010, he authored a piece entitled The Top Ten Myths of Homosexuality. Needless to say, it was a piece filled with errors in regards to scientific distortions and the use of known bad research.

But what caught my eye as what seemed to be a deliberate attempt by Sprigg to misinterpret health information from credible pro-gay sources. He made the case that negative behaviors in the gay community, i.e. depression, drug and alcohol abuse, were because of the lgbt orientation. But the sources he took the information from didn't say that at all. In order to reach his conclusions Sprigg conveniently omitted portions of  the information he cited. This is what I said about what he did:

 . . . the most egregious inaccuracy in Ten Myths - and also something that says a lot about the mindset of its author, Peter Sprigg - is the following passage:


Even the pro-homosexual Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) acknowledges:

• “Gay men use substances at a higher rate than the general population . . .”
• “Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate . . . .”
• “ . . . [G]ay men have higher rates of alcohol dependence and abuse . . . .”
• “ . . . [G]ay men use tobacco at much higher rates than straight men . . . .”
• “Problems with body image are more common among gay men . . . and gay men are much more likely to experience an eating disorder . . . .”

The GLMA also confirms that:

• “ . . . [L]esbians may use tobacco and smoking products more often than heterosexual women use them.”
• “Alcohol use and abuse may be higher among lesbians.”
• “ . . . [L]esbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women.”

Homosexual activists generally attempt to explain these problems as results of “homophobic discrimination.” However, there is a serious problem with that theory—there is no empirical evidence that such psychological problems are greater in areas where disapproval of homosexuality is more intense.

So Sprigg's point is that the lgbt orientation itself is indicative of negative behaviors (i.e. drug and alcohol abuse) and not the homophobia that lgbts face.

But strange enough, the source which he cites - the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association - says that homophobia is the reason for many of these health problems. Sprigg deliberately omits information pointing this out:

Sprigg:

“Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate . . . .”

GMLA:

Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate than in the general population. The likelihood of depression or anxiety may be greater, and the problem may be more severe for those men who remain in the closet or who do not have adequate social supports. Adolescents and young adults may be at particularly high risk of suicide because of these concerns.

Sprigg:

“ . . . [L]esbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women.

GMLA:

Research indicates that lesbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women. This may be due to added stressors in lesbian lives from discrimination. Lesbians need support from each other and from health care providers to find healthy releases, quality recreation, stress reduction, and coping techniques.

What Sprigg is attempting to do is create a straw man argument which goes like this - "FRC doesn't condone any violence against gays, so we should not be considered a hate group." But that argument seems to be irrelevant when one takes into account Sprigg's attempt to paint gays as diseased, even to the point of deliberately distorting information about gay health.

It's a tactic of doing damage without getting your hands dirty.

How many people reading Sprigg's nonsense will come away with a negative view of the gay community?

How many parents will disown their gay children if Sprigg's piece deceived them?

How many lawmakers will speak out publicly against laws which would protect gays from discrimination because they have Sprigg's junk to back up their prejudices?

You can beat a group down without laying a hand on them and Sprigg more than proves it. You can publish propaganda about them that exacerbates societal hate towards this group as well as the hatred that individual members of the group may feel about themselves.

It takes a special emotion to do this with a straight face and a clear conscience.

It's an emotion called hate.

UPDATE - According to Jeremy Hooper, Sprigg distorted the words of SPLC's Mark Potok in his piece. What's with Sprigg and lying? It's as if lying is like heroin to him.



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4 comments :

Ryan M McGuinness said...

I really don't get these people. I see hate as part of the human condition and believe it should be accepted as such.

I’m saying that, hate is the flip side to love. You love people on a one to one basis based on whatever reasons your brain is set to. You hate people who wrong you.

How can these rich bastard all be wronged by everyone who has a different sexual orientation from them? Did you all steal people that they fancied?

It's just blind idiocy! If every human became straight tomorrow, they'd find another target (Damn those Red haired Ginger scum!).

Humans are weird, but these guys make most of us look sane.

Rob from VA said...

Sprigg went on Chris Matthews "Hardball" and was asked if homosexuality should be criminalized; he said yes. FRC is a bonafide hate-group and you can see that in the statements and behaviour of their leaders...like Sprigg. They have zero credence.

http://commonwealthcommentary.blogspot.com/2012/09/president-obama-channels-mitt-romney.html

al in la said...

Excellent post Alvin!

Violence comes in forms that do not involve physical force. Lies that seek to discredit (and criminalize) a person's very existence are a form of violence.

Gregory Peterson said...

I think that the FRC can fairly be compared with the [white] Citizens' Councils of the 1950-60s. That suit and tie extremist group also denied that that they "hated," or that they were bigots and racists. They used similar propaganda tactics, claimed to be victims of radical bullies, claimed to support traditional families, used similar religious justifications and used and abused science studies etc in much the same way. So, by the standards of the FRC, they weren't a hate group either...but they were.