Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Glenn T. Stanton is no expert

Focus on the Family staff member Glen Stanton was on Dr. Phil today on a program about transgender children. At one point, Stanton was billed as an "expert."

Now in Dr. Phil's defense, he pretty much allowed Stanton and the other guest, Joseph Nicolosi to cut their own throats. They had no idea what they were talking about and it showed. Also Dr. Phil gave the legitimate medical professional the final word in a one-on-one conversation; something that was very appropriate.

So all in all, I thought the show went well.

But I think in terms of religious right spokespeople, the word "expert" is used too much.

I looked into Stanton's background and found the following:

Glenn T. Stanton is the research fellow for global family formation at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs. He is also directing a major research project on international family formation trends at the Institute of Marriage and Family in Ottawa. He debates and lectures extensively on the issues of gender, sexuality, marriage and parenting at universities and churches around the country. He recently served the Bush administration as a consultant on increasing fatherhood involvement in the Head Start program.

. . . A graduate of the University of West Florida, Glenn earned a master’s degree in interdisciplinary humanities with an emphasis in philosophy, history and religion. He has also taught in each of these disciplines.

All impressive but there is nothing that constitutes him to speak expertly on the issue of homosexuality.

That bothers me.

Other things bother me about Stanton.

According to Box Turtle Bulletin, last year, Stanton claimed that there’s a “clear consensus” among anthropologists that “A family is a unit that draws from the two types of humanity, male and female.”

The University of California at Irvine’s Anthropology Chair Bill Maurer and Associate Professor Tom Boellstorff as well as the American Anthropological Association all vehemently disagreed with this claim.

I have no idea how Stanton felt he was credentialed to speak for the anthropological community. Whatever the case, the rebuke put Stanton in the company of so many other religious right spokespeople who have been called to the carpet because of their distortion of legitimate studies, including his boss James Dobson.

And then I am bothered by a piece Stanton wrote called Why Homosexuality Falls Short of the Ideal. This passage especially gave me pause:

HIV is the most notable infection associated with homosexual sex and other promiscuous behaviors, but it is important to realize that this is only part of the problem. Professor Thomas Schmidt, in his excellent study of homosexuality, Straight & Narrow?, explains, "Doctors who work with homosexual men are now trained to look regularly for at least 15 common afflictions apart from HIV/AIDS and we could double or triple the number by taking into account less common problems."

The problem with this is that Thomas Schmidt, who is not a medical physician or researcher but a theologian, freely used the work of discredited researcher Paul Cameron in the book Stanton cited - Straight and Narrow? Compassion and clarity in the homosexual debate.

Proof of that is here:

6. About 80% of homosexual men engage in anal intercourse, and consequently suffer from a condition known to doctors as 'Gay Bowel syndrome'. This is a cocktail of physical trauma and a long list of infectious diseases. (Schmidt, p.108,109; F.R.I. report, "Medical Consequences...")

8. In the homosexual community as a whole, evidence of life-long faithful relationships is almost non-existent. One study showed 1%. (Schmidt, p.105-108; F.R.I. report "Same Sex Marriage")

22. While only a minority of homosexuals are paedophiles, male homosexual paedophilia is intensely active. Consequently approx. 80% of paedophilic victims are boys who are molested by adult males. (Schmidt, p.114; F.R.I. report. "Child Molestation and Homosexuality")

Editor's note - F.R.I. stands for Family Research Institute, the organization created and run by Paul Cameron.

What Stanton did is a clever trick propagated by religious right "experts" who are well aware of the flaws in Cameron's work - not citing Cameron directly but citing another person who originally cites Cameron.

Last year on this blog, I talked about how the Family Research Council has covertly removed the "studies" of its homosexuality expert Timothy Dailey from its webpage.

It seems that the same bit of chicanery may be going on with Focus on the Family and Glenn T. Stanton.

I first found Stanton's homosexuality paper on the webpage of the Palmetto Family Council. It said clearly that he was the author of the study.

However, on the Palmetto Family Council's new webpage, the study remains but Stanton's byline is gone.

In addition, I could not find the piece on the Focus on the Family webpage.

It just goes to show that one unfortunate aspects of this so-called cultural war is how anyone with a religious testimony and/or a phony organization with an official sounding name can suddenly be considered to know more about homosexuality than us who are lgbt.

From Linda Harvey to Janet Folger Porter to Timothy Dailey to Matt Barber to Peter LaBarbera to Glenn T. Stanton - the list goes on and on. and they are all phonies.

Let me clarify one fact. I don't have a problem with these folks entering the conversation on lgbts, gender identity or the like. I have a problem with their audacity and their lack of honesty. Often times, these individuals have no desire to be objective. They already have a preconceived religious beliefs which they manipulate science, facts, and common sense to adhere to.

They are not experts and they don't need to be called such.

The problem is that talk shows like Dr. Phil won't vet these people. They just book them on the show as "experts," which gives them undeserved credibility. And all under the guise of "seeing both sides of the issue."

In the long run, it's up to the lgbt community to make the noise and expose these charlatans.

We need to put a serious kibosh their lies by challenging their credentials, or lack of credentials, and their shoddy workmanship at every turn.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

"In the long run, it's up to the lgbt community to make the noise and expose these charlatans."

I think more importantly, we need to expose those who use and present these charlatans as "experts."

Our letter writing campaigns, boycotts, and protests need to be geared toward those like Dr. Phil, Anderson Cooper, Lou Dobbs, Chris Matthews, Larry King, etc.

I realize that these people are generally advocates, but their carelessness in having people like Tony Perkins on is inexcusable.

They're such a simple target, too. Not just in focus, but also in approach.

Their media stories rely on things that affect people.

We could form an informal 'task force,' or loose net that would respond to these shows (mostly written) by illustrating and proving the lies and patterns of lies that these pro-family groups engage in.

It wouldn't take more than a few of us, but it would have to be relentless, and our claims and information would have to be flawless.

And it would have to be easy.

Explain one lie, or aspect of it, demonstrate and/or link to the proof, and send.

And these letters couldn't be puff pieces that blather on about how we respect them and how much we wish they'd be "more sensitive" to our cause...or whatever such nonsense.

That time has long passed.

Any letters written should be so sharply truthful they convict of guilt.

Or at least sharply truthful enough to be remembered. :)

P.S. And then keep a public record of those letters. So we know, that they now know, what we know.

P.P.S. We need to turn this thing around and make the story about the anti-gay "experts."