Sunday, December 12, 2010

Peter LaBarbera's ramblings exposes the Family Research Council's deception

Leave it to Peter LaBarbera to unwittingly call the Family Research Council a liar.

LaBarbera is no doubt still smarting from his organization being called an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Now one of the main reasons why SPLC named LaBarbera's organization, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, as a hate group (as well as several other religious right groups) is because they continue to push many falsehoods about the lgbt community. One in particular is the notion that homosexuality and pedophilia are related. The SPLC said this is not true:

According to the American Psychological Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.

Anti-gay activists who make that claim allege that all men who molest male children should be seen as homosexual. But research by A. Nicholas Groth, a pioneer in the field of sexual abuse of children, shows that is not so. Groth found that there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive. The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because “he often finds adults of either sex repulsive” and often molests children of both sexes. Regressive child molesters are generally attracted to other adults, but may “regress” to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations. Groth found that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships.

The Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute notes that 90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends. Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside schools waiting to snatch children from the playground, as much religious-right rhetoric suggests.

However,  LaBarbera  in advertising his recent appearance on a Concerned Women for America radio program said the following:

I challenge the SPLC’s “hate” criterion chastising any group that says homosexuals are disproportionately involved in child molestation. (I ask why there are so many boy victims of pedophilia if homosexual men comprise such a tiny percentage of society; I assume few boys are molested by women.)

I won't even begin to ponder where LaBarbera looked to find the photo of the pedophilia magazine he used on his webpage to illustrate his point.

But I will point out that LaBarbera, who has absolutely no training in the field of pediatrics, child welfare, or the prevention of child sex abuse, seems to think that he is more skilled to make a correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia than those who do have adequate training in these fields.  I think that the statement by the Southern Poverty Law Center (using the statements of legitimate groups and researchers) is more than enough to refute his nonsense.

But here is the thing that's interesting about LaBarbera's need to bring up pedophilia and homosexuality -  doesn't it contradict the recent whinings of the Family Research Council concerning SPLC's labeling of them and other religious right groups - LaBarbera's included - as hate groups?

FRC claims that SPLC is trying to "shut down the discussion" by labeling them simply because they stand the for the so-called "Judeo-Christian" definition of marriage:

The surest sign one is losing a debate is to resort to character assassination. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal fundraising machine whose tactics have been condemned by observers across the political spectrum, is doing just that.

The group, which was once known for combating racial bigotry, is now attacking several groups that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman. 

I fail to see how the covert labeling of gay men as pedophiles aligns with "Judeo-Christian moral views." But if the inaccurate linking of homosexuality and pedophilia isn't a huge part of this controversy, then why did LaBarbera feel the need to bring it up?

The lgbt community owes LaBarbera a degree of thanks for his ignorant stridency. He has proved that FRC's claim is merely a talking point designed to obscure and deceive.

Make no mistake about it. SPLCs' designation has nothing to do with gay marriage and more to do with groups passing along propaganda and lies under the guise of Christianity. It's not about trying to shut down "Judeo-Christian" beliefs and more to do with exposing those who would exploit these beliefs to cage the lgbt community or make us pariahs to ourselves and the mainstream community at large.

This issue is about bearing false witness, an ugly sin but one which FRC and other religious right groups  - LaBarbera's included - are committing with unrestrained glee.

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