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Anti-gay billboard is latest scientific distortion from religious right

By: Monday December 15, 2014 11:19 pm

PFOX’s billboard backfires on the organization.

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Last week, the anti-gay group PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays) suffered a huge embarrassment because of a billboard it put up on a Virginia interstate:

The billboard appeared recently beside I-95 in Richmond, Virginia, according to NBC affiliate WWBT. The sign depicts two males, one dressed in a suit and the other in a white T-shirt, and says: “Identical twins: One gay. One not. We believe twin research studies show nobody is born gay.”

As it turned out, the two males featured in the billboard sign was only one man, Kyle Roux, who happens to be openly gay.  This slip provided a delicious degree of schadenfreude
for the lgbt community.

However, in the midst of the laughter and derision, the lgbt community seem to be missing the larger picture which can be potentially beneficial to the community.

The way PFOX cited twin studies is inaccurate, according to lgbt activist and Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen:

“PFOX’s billboard underscores the groups scientific illiteracy and shows that ‘ex-gay’ activism is about demagoguery and marketing, rather that truth and results,” said Besen. “In reality, twin studies prove that there is a genetic link to sexual orientation. It is stunning that PFOX would pay for a billboard to showcase its ignorance and incompetence.”

A Truth Wins Out press release accused PFOX and other anti-gay groups of continuously distorting science:

 . . . anti-gay activists consistently distort research. They point to twin studies and say, “if homosexuality was truly genetic, the concordance rate for identical twins would be 100-percent.” Scientists say that this is a gross misunderstanding of the research. According to Dr. Eric Vilain, Professor of Human Genetics, Pediatrics and Urology at UCLA, and the Director of the Institute for Society and Genetics:

“All sorts of traits that are clearly genetic do not show 100% concordance [in twins]. I’ll give you examples, if people look at obesity. Or autism, looking at twins. There is undeniably, no one will even challenge that there is a genetic cause for both obesity and autism. The twin studies do not show that it is 100% genetic. They just demonstrate that there is a genetic influence. There could be other influences on sexual orientation. Some of them might be environmental. For instance, the older brother effect [studies showing the more older brothers a boy has, the more likely he is to be gay] is an environmental influence. That’s what has happened in the past, in the same womb seems to influence the sexual orientation of future pregnancies. So, it is certainly not an all or nothing phenomenon.”

Truth Wins Out’s  press release also quoted  Dr. Marc Breedlove, Michigan State University, Rosenberg Professor of Neuroscience and Dr. Simon LeVay, author of Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation. They both went into detail about what was omitted by the simplicity of PFOX’s billboard.

PFOX’s  billboard is the latest in a long history of scientific inaccuracies and distortions undertaken by various anti-gay groups to bolster their negative claims against the lgbt community.

And at various times, authors of research distorted by anti-gay groups have been vocal in calling out  how their work was being misused.

Arkansas victory exposes hypocritical nature of the Duggar family’s version of Christianity

By: Wednesday December 10, 2014 5:52 pm

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Earlier this week, the lgbt community suffered a nasty defeat in Fayetteville, Arkansas. According to LGBTQNation:

Voters in Fayetteville, Ark., on Tuesday repealed a controversial LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance approved by the city council in August.

KFSM-TV reports that 52 percent of voters cast ballots to repeal the ordinance, compared to 48 percent who voted to retain the measure — a difference of fewer than 500 votes, with turnout less than 30 percent of registered voters.The ordinance, approved by the city council in a 6-2 vote on August 20, prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations.

LGBTQNation points out how this vote got nationwide attention due to the inclusion of the reality television stars, the Duggar family:

Opposition to the ordinance gained national attention due in part to the efforts of the Duggar family of TLC’s reality series “19 Kids and Counting.” In August, Duggar matriarch Michelle Duggar recorded a robocall urging residents to pressure council members to oppose the measure, claiming it would lead to women going topless at public swimming pools, men using women’s restrooms, and allow pedophiles and sexual predators to abuse people. As of October 31, the Duggars had donated $10,000 toward the city council campaigns of the ordinance’s three most outspoken critics, two of whom were listed as contacts on a press release for the repeal effort.

In fact, when vote was announced, Josh Duggar, who spoke against the ordinance and is also employed by the anti-gay Family Research Council, sent out the following mindboggling tweet:

 

 

One good thing about this setback – however minor – is that it exposes the hypocritical nature of the Duggar family.

Folks who were angry at how the Duggars were spreading inaccurate information about the ordinance signed a petition demanding that their show be canceled. Other lgbt activists used the controversy to raise a large amount of money for an Arkansas charity, Lucie’s Place, devoted to helping homeless lgbt youth.

The Duggars themselves and their allies claimed that they were under a so-called “malicious attack” by “radical homosexual activists” who attacked them because of their faith and sought to deny them their “religious liberty.”

However, this victory in Fayetteville contradicts the “religious liberty” card played by the Duggars.

You can’t exploit your fame as reality tv stars to bear false witness against the lgbt community and deny us equality while simultaneously claiming victimhood status when we react to your actions.

The sad thing is that I think the Duggars family actually think they can get away with this subterfuge.

The good thing is that in reality, they can’t. And they won’t.

 

Family Research Council owes the Southern Poverty Law Center an apology

By: Monday December 8, 2014 5:39 pm

Anderson

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Steve Anderson, the pastor of Arizona’s Faithful Word Baptist Church, has caused shock and revulsion for his recent claim that the AIDS crisis would end if gays were executed. However through it all, folks are missing a point that only us wonky individuals would bring up.

In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center listed Anderson’s church as an anti-gay hate group along with several other organizations. Of course much of the attention following this announcement had to do with the other groups SPLC listed, particularly the Family Research Council and the American Family Association.

In fact, it caused such a stir that FRC began a campaign entitled Start Debating, Stop Hating. Through this campaign, the group claimed that SPLC was trying to ‘silence’ Christian groups:

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. How does the SPLC attack? By labeling its opponents “hate groups.” No discussion. No consideration of the issues. No engagement. No debate!

FRC did not differentiate between itself and other organizations named as anti-gay hate groups. However the organization did run a full page ad in Politico. According to Talking Points Memo, several Republican leaders signed on to this ad:

The ad is undersigned by a number of leading Republican politicians, social conservative and mainstream alike: House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Sen, Jim DeMint (R-SC), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Rep. Steve King (R-IA), and even Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

I should also point out that SPLC received considerable criticism from many circles for supposedly attacking “Christian groups.”

So what’s the point with me bringing all of this up? Certainly not to imply that FRC believes that gays should be executed.  However, it should be noted that FRC is tacitly silent about Anderson and his church right now, both of which the organization defended in 2010, as are the Republican leaders who supported FRC’s campaign back then.

And it should also be noted that Anderson’s recent homophobic spew only proves SPLC’s point about anti-gay hate groups who hide their vindictive nature behind “Judeo-Christian” beliefs. And also that SPLC was not trying to “silence Christians.”

I think certain parties owe SPLC a huge apology right now.

Gary Bauer – the anti-gay talking head who helped undermine the fight against HIV/AIDS in the Reagan Administration

By: Tuesday November 25, 2014 8:49 pm

The late President Reagan gets a lot of deserved flack for his negligence in the early days of the AIDS crisis. Today, we learned that there needs to be some flack dispensed around because Reagan isn’t the only person in his Administration who needs to be called to the carpet. According to Right Wing Watch: [...]

The Erasure of ‘Gay’ From Black History & the Black Community Must Stop

By: Sunday October 19, 2014 5:53 pm

As a gay African-American, I’ve heard the argument about how “you can’t compare the gay civil rights movement to the African-American civil rights movement” more times than I care to count. The constant so-called moral outrage of some African-American heterosexuals when the topic is mentioned has gotten me to the point where my mind automatically [...]

Anti-gay activists justify HRC’s ‘Export of Hate’ report

By: Tuesday September 30, 2014 10:05 pm

Last week, the Human Rights Campaign published an explosive report, The Export of Hate, which pointed out how various anti-gay figures were peddling lies and propaganda to foreign countries in an attempt to spread anti-gay hate abroad. The Export of Hate called out several religious right leaders, including Peter LaBarbera, Paul Cameron, and Scott Lively: [...]

Family Research Council learns lesson about pride on eve of Values Voter Summit

By: Thursday September 25, 2014 5:37 pm

Wednesday morning, several progressive groups including the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and People for the American Way published an open letter in the Washington Post and The Hill calling out the Republican Party for its allegiance to anti-gay groups such as the Family Research Council and for the decision of several Republicans to [...]

HRC’s “Export of Hate” report is stunning, truthful expose of international homophobia

By: Monday September 22, 2014 7:53 am

I have never engaged in the negative banter about the Human Rights Campaign whether it was deserved or not because I’ve always felt such things are self-defeating. But that’s not to say that when the organization creates a direct hit against the religious right, you won’t find me singing from the rooftops and dancing in [...]

Marriage equality opponents won’t get momentum with Louisiana victory

By: Wednesday September 3, 2014 9:12 pm

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Louisiana upheld that state’s anti-marriage equality law, thereby breaking the lgbt community’s streak of successes in the courts when it comes to marriage equality cases after the SCOTUS’s Windor ruling. However, other than having to deal with the gloating and overreaction of anti-gay groups and spokespeople, I don’t necessarily see this [...]

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly has cozy relationship with anti-gay Family Research Council

By: Thursday August 7, 2014 6:01 pm

In spite of the Family Research Council being declared an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to its long history of attacking the lgbt community via lies, bad science, and unsubstantiated charges, according to Equality Matters, (FRC president) “Tony Perkins has appeared on Megyn Kelly’s shows more than all other Fox [...]

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