Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dan Savage exposes religious right talking head for his lies

I've given Dan Savage hell before, but when he nails something, I've given him his props.

And in this case, Savage gets tremendous props for doing something I have done only once and have dreamed of doing more times - Calling out a religious right talking head on his/her deception.

Equality Matters gives the full story:

On the April 16 edition of KCTS 9’s new show, Public Affairs with C.R. Douglas, the program spotlighted Washington state’s recent decision to legalize same-sex marriage. Panelists included Joseph Backholm – leader of the Protect Marriage Washington effort and president of the Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW) – and prominent gay activist Dan Savage.

While much of the episode followed the show’s signature use of the Socratic Method, the debate became more confrontational after Backholm began discussing same-sex parenting:

BACKHOLM: I think there’s a general understanding of the fact that if you have a million kids who are raised by their mother and father and a million kids who are not raised by their mother and father, knowing nothing else about them, that the million kids who are raised by their mother and father are going to do better.
SAVAGE: That’s bullshit.
BACKHOLM: Now there’s certainly going to be outliers in that–
SAVAGE: Sorry, that’s bullshit.
DOUGLAS: What is your basis for that?
BACKHOLM: I think it’s observable reality. And of course, to my left here, Professor Schwartz knows a lot more about the data, and as she just admitted there’s a lot that we don’t know about this because we have not been -- we haven't been far enough down this road. We don’t have longitudinal data to really be able to study this. But I think most people understand that it’s good for kids to have a mom and a dad and that’s one of the reasons why the current definition of marriage is one that we are in support of.
Savage went on to point out that Backholm’s “observable reality” and “general understanding” actually contradicted the majority of data relating to same-sex parenting. As Savage noted, opponents of marriage equality incorrectly cite studies about single parenting, usually ignoring the “mountain of evidence” – including longitudinal studies – demonstrating that committed same-sex couples are capable of effectively raising children.

Notice how Savage's take down reduced Backholm to ridiculous explanations of his distortions. Savage's ability to call Backholm out for his distortions came no doubt from studying how the opposition works and distorts.

And that highlights something sorely missing from our side. It's not enough to call these folks bigots. We have to study how they lie. And believe it or not, it's relatively easy because these folks are lazy. They rely on the same tactics using the same junk science and the same cherry-picked studies time and time again. It's sad to say but a matter of truth to realize that the only reason why they have gotten away with it is because we have not done the work to call them out.

Savage has clearly shown how it's done.. Now if more of us can do this when we are debating folks like Maggie Gallagher, etc (even though Gallagher will probably talk over you and whine about being unfairly attacked), just think of how much ground we would gain.

And how much ground folks like Gallagher would lose.

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Chris said...

The question I've never had answered is, if the religious right is presenting this GREAT evil of kids not being raised by a mother and father, why do they want to take steps to prevent it from happening (by banning gay adoption and gay marriage), and yet, when the "evil" does occur be it through unwed teenage mothers, the death of a loved one, or divorce, why do they not take any steps to correct the "Evil" when it does happen?

It's like saying speeding is a problem on a certain road and to prevent it from happening banning Ferrari's from traveling on the road.

Anonymous said...

Professor Schwartz did not say a word, did she ever say a word during the debate? She looks scared and lost. Backholm did not make a sound arguement. He stated that marraige has been between a man and a women for 3,000 years...sorry Backholm that is not true. The Catholic church in the mideval times did same-sex marriages. So he lied right there. I believe religion teaches people to lie, thats all I ever hear come out of their mouths. The religious people need to read "The Jesus Mystery: Was the Original Jesus a Pagan God" and "The Laughing Jesus", it will blow christianity right out of the water.

Galileon said...

I have done some work along this line of defense:

where I show how every single argument used for denying equal treatment to gay people is based on ignorance, arrogance and lies.

Mykelb said...

Basically, we need to make the case to the legislature. These a**hole religionists need to be shut down by legislation favorable to the LGBT community.

Jim Stone said...

I wish Dan would have brought up Zach Wahls. My partner and I met him in San Francisco at the premier of "The Right to Love-an American Family" about our friends Jay and Bryan Leffew who adopted to "throw away" kids from a drug addicted mother and are giving them a wonderful life FULL of love. (btw. no "straight-perfect?" couples wanted the kids because their son has physical disability issues due him mother's drug use)
Zach is an amazing intelligent articulate young man. We were surprised that he was only twenty years old. His Moms did a fantastic job. He also is "hate free" unlike the children raised by evangelicals.!

Sage said...

With all due respect Jim Stone, Dan Savage, in my opinion and observation, is primarily interested in and invested in bringing attention to himself, reaping financial rewards from that attention and I additionally view him as primarily being interested in wild self promotion.

With this understanding of his motivations, it becomes crystal clear why he would not bring up Zach Wahls nor anyone else who in his probable view would likely only serve to steal any attention away from himself; attention he would likely much prefer be lavished on himself instead.

I am glad Dan Savage can somehow still manage to do and say things that serve the LGBT communities in some small way through his knowledge, research and various convictions. I however am pretty much over Dan Savage. I prefer to give my props and attention to LGBT activists and allies who don't have the incredibly cumbersome baggage Savage has when it comes to advocating for LGBT folk who *don't* happen to be gay, white men with significant economic privilege and copious amounts of social capitol.

Alvin, I absolutely do not hold anything against you for anything you post that shows Dan Savage in a positive light. I completely respect your right to do whatever you wish there. My opinions and decisions are my own and are in no way meant to criticize anyone else's, especially someone I deeply respect, such as yourself.

BlackTsunami said...

No offense taken, Sage. You make an excellent point ;p

Gregory Peterson said...

"We have to study how they lie." I would add that we also need to study how the religious-right propagandized in the past.

Urban Albany said...

Sage, Dan Savage brings up examples of other gay people's actions and words ALL THE TIME. To be honest, I really don't understand how the one of the few people in America trying to stop anti-gay bullying via a (free) YouTube series and a book (with proceeds going to the Trevor Project) is doing it for himself alone. Yes, he has a career to worry about, and yes, I can understand people having a low opinion of him, but this is patently untrue and honestly quite silly.

Why didn't he bring up Zach Wahls? Because he didn't. Because people don't always remember to include every possibly relevant example that exists of what they're discussing and expecting otherwise is totally delusional. It's the same principle as all the people who expect him to single-handedly end gay teen suicide overnight. Dude, he's a sex advice columnist. Be a little bit realistic.

BlackTsunami said...

In Sage's defense, I don't think he is speaking against Savage's commitment to lgbtg equality. But he is making a very pertinent point about how Savage is unfortunately and inadvertently indicative of the mindset of some of those in the gay equality movement who has access to power and the media. They seem to emphasize the stereotype that all gays are skinny white men who are upper middle class and come from large cities. In their zeal to speak about equality, they sometimes alienate folks by not emphasizing the simple fact that the lgbtq identity is a multicultural identity. And the question I have is what do they do to create and mentor future leaders who don't necessarily look like them or fit into their social circle. It's a very good question to ask.

Urban Albany said...

Sorry, but that is a little too close to your latest shameful and, frankly quite racist post. It's called diminished credibility, and it currently does not lie with Dan Savage. It's also not at all what Sage said.

Urban Albany said...

Ahh I see I was wrong, after re-reading Sage's post. They did mention that aspect, after all. My apologies. I still disagree, because that premise itself is ridiculous, racist, insulting and shameful anyway. I'll repeat my comment from the Facebook post about it:

It's no one's responsibility to raise your voice but your own. So raise it. Or don't. But don't try to shift blame to the "thin, white, upper middle class men who [live] in large cities", who, by mere virtue of the visibility that you so... disdain, have brought our shared struggle to light. Personally, I find that you are one of the most important voices to do this, but posts like these have just about gotten me to the "unlike" point.