Thursday, May 19, 2011

For 'Christian news service,' homophobia replaces ethics

I would never say that the American Family Association's One News Now practices decent journalism.

The online publication claims to speak for the "Christian perspective," and it probably would if this perspective was  totally devoid of accuracy or integrity.

Two articles point this out clearly.

One, Clinton's cries against pro-family 'hate', attempts to take Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to task for issuing a proclamation for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

And the article's only source is "Porno" Pete LaBarbera (so named because of his penchant of taking photos of gay men at "subcultural events" while ignoring the heterosexuals in attendance):

"A day against homophobia and transphobia -- what they're saying is Judeo-Christian morality is the equivalent of bigotry and irrational fear, and that is a false message."

And he points out that Clinton made a statement at the event that decried the cycle of hate.

"What they're saying essentially is if you are a Christian...a Muslim or a Jew, and you oppose sexual perversion or gender confusion, you are a hater; you are a bigot," LaBarbera assesses, adding that "this is the liberal message."

That's not what Clinton's statement said. It doesn't even mention religion. You can read the entire statement here but in part it says:

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am proud to reaffirm our support for LGBT communities at home and abroad, and to call for an end to discrimination and mistreatment of LGBT persons wherever it occurs. Whether by supporting LGBT advocates marching in Belgrade, leading the effort at the United Nations to affirm the human rights of LGBT persons, or condemning a vile law under consideration in Uganda, we are committed to our friends and allies in every region of the world who are fighting for equality and justice. These are not Western concepts; these are universal human rights.

Another article in One News Now - 'Gay' lifestyle = higher cancer rates - distorts a recent article in a medical journal which talks about gay men and cancer. On May 9th, I said that some in the religious right would exploit this study:

A study published in the journal Cancer reveals homosexuals are twice as likely to have had cancer than are heterosexual men.

While it is not the first research to come to that conclusion, Dr. Andre Van Mol of the Christian Medical & Dental Association says the one published in Cancer serves as verification.

“The study's main author, a Dr. Boehmer from Boston University, noted in an interview she did on this that the higher rates of cancer are both HIV-related and not,” states Van Mol.

In 1979 the book The Gay Report -- written by two authorities on homosexuality -- pointed to the lifestyle as a heavy contributor to cancer. “What the authors found was that the sexual practices common in the gay and lesbian communities were of a nature that would have unhealthful consequences,” according to Van Mol.

Van Mol, by the way, is the article's only source and it doesn't give a clear indication of his supposed expertise. It does say that he is a member of the Christian Medical & Dental Association.  However, this organization is not legitimate. It is a shell group created to give anti-gay lies a veneer of respectability. 

And if Van Mol had any legitimacy, he would have never cited The Gay Report.

The Gay Report was published in 1979 and according to watchdog site Box Turtle Bulletin:

The Gay Report was modeled after many other informal sex surveys which were popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Magazines like Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Playboy often conducted reader surveys.

Twenty-five hundred responses came from a gay magazine questionnaire. The magazine, Blue Boy, was a softcore porn magazine. Because of this, said Box Turtle Bulletin, the authors of The Gay Report:

. . . have virtually guaranteed an exceptionally heavy biased towards the opinions and experiences of those who are much more sexually experienced.

In other words, it is the equivalent of claiming that those who respond to a sex survey in an issue of Hustler magazine are indicative of the American heterosexual population.

Even the authors of The Gay Report said:

We agreed at the outset not to pretend that these percentages represented the practices and views of all gay people—they reflected only our respondents.

The author of the cancer study made a statement to Reuters news service (a more legitimate news source):

Liz Margolies, executive director of The National LGBT Cancer Network, told Reuters that more information is needed to plan care and prevention strategies.

She pointed to research which suggests gay men, lesbians and bisexuals are more likely to smoke and abuse alcohol than straight people and said that LGB people are less likely to visit doctors for health check-ups, partly because of stigma.

“Health care facilities and social service agencies – any organisation that addresses the needs of cancer survivors — must understand the extra challenges that lesbian and bisexual cancer survivors and gay men have,” she said.

Van Mol has an answer for that - not a good one - but an answer:

The homosexual groups have contended the statistics would be better if their lifestyle were more accepted by society. Van Mol counters that argument.

“We see in Northern Europe and in Canada -- where the GLBT community enjoys very supportive governments, affirmation, and even celebration from liberal churches, and a public coerced into silence by hate speech codes -- that their health statistics are every bit as bad,” he concludes.

"Conveniently" Van Mol does not give any examples of this, so one would have to question the veracity of that statement.

But notice what is going on here. Van Mol has no problem with the conclusion of the cancer study (i.e. gay men are more likely to get cancer), but he has a problem with the reasoning behind this conclusion (homophobia).

Van Mol clearly cherry-picked the portion of the study because it reinforced his personal beliefs (i.e. homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle) but rejected the portion of the study (homophobia plays a role in the possibility of cancer in gay men) because it contradicted those same personal beliefs.

No legitimate physician would do this sort of thing. No legitimate Christian would do this sort of thing.

And above all, no legitimate news source would give anyone room to intentionally commit this error of intellectual dishonest.

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