Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Anti-gay Family Research Council still can't prove accuracy of alleged Feldblum quote

Feldblum wins. FRC loses
Hold on to your horses.

The Family Research Council has answered my question regarding a quote it attributed to the EEOC's Chai Feldblum.

First a little background.

Last week, I wrote how the Family Research Council falsely attributed a quote to EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) member Feldblum to further a narrative that the rights of evangelical Christians would be hindered because of lgbt equality.

The alleged quote, "Gays win. Christians lose" was supposedly an answer to a question posed to Feldblum years ago when she was asked about dynamic of religious beliefs vs. lgbt equality. And it was a quote which traveled through right wing circles for a number of years.

I sent a tweet to the Family Research Council asking that they correct the assertion that Feldblum made the statement. The organization said it would get back with me. Today it sent the following tweet:

That tweet was a link to a" fact sheet" (a better word would be a smear sheet) on Feldblum and why FRC felt she shouldn't serve as an EEOC commissioner. On page two of the sheet was the following:

Was the lead drafter for ENDA, which she would be responsible for enforcing if she is confirmed to the EEOC. When questioned on the rights of Christians hiring employees of their choice, Feldblum stated “Gays win; Christians lose.” Thomas Peters, “Chai’s ENDA vs. Religious Liberty,” American Principles Project, October 26, 2009.

However that link is dead. When you click on it or type it in, you will see that the article no longer exists.

Still, it would appear that the Family Research Council has, at least, a little bit of justification in citing the false "Gays Win. Christians Lose" quote.

Not so fast.

In an earlier post, I pointed out that it was the group Media Matters who first refuted the belief that Feldblum made that statement.

In that post, I failed to include the following, which throws a bit of light on just where Americans Principles Project pulled the quote:

The rumor started in an opinion blog post, NOT a news story, at  the Christian Post on October 26, 2009. The author, Penna Dexter, writes:
When asked about the rights of employers to follow their religious beliefs in hiring people, she replied, "Gays win; Christians lose."
A factual news report would include when and where Feldblum made such a statement, but Dexter neglected to include important details that could be used to validate her claims.  Our attempts to trace the rumor further back did not turn up any results.

From there, the line was picked up by the American Principles Project, which quoted Penna Dexter's opinion piece and reported it as fact.

Next, the Family Research Council quoted the American Principles Project, repeating the claim.

In 2012, I was able to point out that the rumor came from "journeyman" anti-gay activist Robert Knight:

Georgetown University Law Prof. Chai Feldblum, whom President Obama appointed to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is one of the more honest gay activists.

Feldblum writes that when it comes to civil rights, "we are in a zero-sum game: a gain for one side necessarily entails a corresponding loss for the other side."

I once asked Ms. Feldblum at a seminar if it bothered her that a Christian club would be thrown off a college campus for not having gay leaders or others who reject basic Christian doctrine. She shrugged, smiled and said, "Gays win, Christians lose." I did admire her candor. 

As I pointed out in the same post, Feldblum said Knight distorted their conversation to create the "Gays Win. Christians Lose" meme.

So where does this leave FRC in this entire mess? Back to square one. The Family Research Council still needs to come clean with the fact that it attributed a false quote to Feldblum.

Also, I would love to ask organization why it repeated a meme years after it was refuted.

Unfortunately, I  doubt that FRC would be in the mood to answer any more of my questions.

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