Saturday, November 27, 2010

Concerned Women for America - endorsing hateful anti-gay comics and bad data

While the Concerned Women for America was profiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center for the spewing of anti-gay propaganda, it wasn't designated as an official anti-gay organization. This may be because the group has kept a low profile since Obama's election as President. However, when CWA does rear its ugly head, there are a lot of questions as to whether this group does actually stand for "Christian principles." 

The following is a repost of a piece I did about the group in June of this year. Added is a very special emphasis on an anti-gay comic which CWA's founder Beverly LaHaye endorsed in 1986. This comic is pertinent for three reasons - it totally refutes the notion that CWA is being "picked on" for its supposed traditional values (i.e. its stand against gay marriage), and to my knowledge, LaHaye never apologized for endorsing this very homophobic comic. Lastly, I doubt that the CWA has backed away from the positions stated by the comic. My guess is that they don't present them as graphically hateful as Hafer (the comic' s creator) did:

From June 2010:

Research has come out today justifying 200 other studies and basic common sense - children do not suffer from being raised in a same-sex household:

For their new study, published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, researchers Nanette Gartrell, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco (and a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles), and Henry Bos, a behavioral scientist at the University of Amsterdam, focused on what they call planned lesbian families — households in which the mothers identified themselves as lesbian at the time of artificial insemination.

. . . The authors found that children raised by lesbian mothers — whether the mother was partnered or single — scored very similarly to children raised by heterosexual parents on measures of development and social behavior. These findings were expected, the authors said; however, they were surprised to discover that children in lesbian homes scored higher than kids in straight families on some psychological measures of self-esteem and confidence, did better academically and were less likely to have behavioral problems, such as rule-breaking and aggression.

Naturally members of the religious right went apoplectic over the research. Wendy Wright from Concerned Women for America was the first up at bat, attacking the funding sources of the research in a CNN article:

Funding for the research came from several lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy groups, such as the Gill Foundation and the Lesbian Health Fund from the Gay Lesbian Medical Association.

Dr. Nanette Gartrell, the author of the study, wrote that the "funding sources played no role in the design or conduct of the study."

"My personal investment is in doing reputable research," said Gartrell. "This is a straightforward statistical analysis. It will stand and it has withstood very rigorous peer review by the people who make the decision whether or not to publish it."

...Wendy Wright, president of the Concerned Women for America, a group that supports biblical values, questioned the legitimacy of the findings from a study funded by gay advocacy groups. "That proves the prejudice and bias of the study," she said. "This study was clearly designed to come out with one outcome -- to attempt to sway people that children are not detrimentally affected in a homosexual household."

She also said:

Studies have shown that children thrive having both a mother and a father, Wright said.

"You have to be a little suspicious of any study that says children being raised by same-sex couples do better or have superior outcomes to children raised with a mother and father," she said. "It just defies common sense and reality."

Of course Wright omits the fact that none of the studies she vaguely refers to even looked at same-sex households.

And she also seems to be saying that since the study looked at same-sex parenting in a positive fashion, then it's automatically biased, which is like an anti-Semite saying that a study favoring the Jewish community should be seen as automatically biased, or a racist saying that a study favoring African-Americans should be seen as automatically biased, or . . . I think you get the picture.

People for the American Way puts CWA's attack on this study in proper perspective:

This coming from an organization that has repeatedly cited the "research" of Paul Cameron.

Allow me to put it in another perspective.

In the late 80s, this comic book, Homosexuality: Legitimate, Alternate Deathstyle, was published by a man named Dick Hafer and it supposedly gave the "facts" about the "gay lifestyle."

By "facts," Hafer meant Paul Cameron's discredited studies and cherry-picked legitimate science enhanced by cartoons of gay men coming out of sewers to sexually accost potential victims, sexually molesting children, and spreading diseases with abandonment.

This book even puts forth the belief that gay men need to be quarantined in their homes so that parents whose children are stricken with AIDS and HIV don't harm them.

So what does this have to do with the Concerned Women for America?

Concerned Women and its president at the time, Beverly LaHaye, endorsed this monstrosity. On the back cover of the comic book are the words:

Americans need to wake up to the facts regarding the Homosexual movement. Dick Hafer exposes the depravity of their lives in his book, Deathstyle. This is a book which needs to be read by all of those concerned about society and our nation.

Now one could say that CWA shouldn't be judged on what it endorsed over 20 years ago. Fair enough.

However, to my knowledge, neither CWA or LaHaye ever rescinded the endorsement of Homosexuality: Legitimate, Alternate Deathstyle.

And it can be argued that CWA continues to push the "gays and lesbians are diseased dangers to society, but to children in general" narrative contained in Deathstyle, albeit in a less "spectacularly provocative" fashion. The group certainly continues to cite Cameron's research, which makes up a huge part of  the booklet.

But basically, it comes down to one question. Who do we trust in regards to lgbt parenting?

A meticulously done study which has stood up to peer reviews?

Or a group who endorses literature which says, amongst other things, that gays should be quarantined to protect them from the families of children stricken by AIDS and HIV?

And just in case you have the stomach for it, the following are other images from this anti-gay comic book:

Hat tip to this webpage featuring DeathStyle. It is not anti-gay but a site which looks at "problem-based comics" from the past.

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1 comment:

Jonathan Justice said...

While it is true that Beverly and Tim LaHaye manage to live in an all too special universe where frightening supposed Christians and projecting major fantasies of revenge have made them rich while causing lots of suffering to the rest of us, the question of child raising outcomes is a serious matter. Complaining about how those awful gay people are funding research is particularly slime afflicted when we consider why the researchers have to look to gay identified funders. It has more than a little to do with rightists' efforts to prevent public funding of research into such questions. One might press some buttons by suggesting that now that a properly peer reviewed study has indicated 'no harm, and perhaps a few positive outcomes,' it is at least time to fund larger studies on matters that connect to such largely divisive public concerns. One of those buttons, of course, is that the CWA folks do not have a particularly positive regard for peer review processes, preferring instead the verities of public opinion (as presented among their own very special sort of people).