A great piece today from Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters. If you’ve wondered where people like Tony Perkins and Peter LaBarbera do their fact checks, here’s a handy guide to decipher their terminology about the gay community. Please share, especially with those people who only watch Fox News.
Six ways the religious right groups lie about the gay community
This a repost which has been updated. We know that religious right groups peddle distortions designed to demonize the lgbt community.
However we really should do more than simply declare them bigots. The lgbt community needs to follow the advice of high school math teachers and “show our work” in proving what needs to be known about these so-called pro-family groups, i.e. that they lie intentionally to create a phony picture of the lgbt community. So I have compiled a pattern of religious right deception which can be broken down to six techniques:
1. Using nonrepresentative or out-of-date studies to make generalizations, or distorting legitimate studies to give misleading conclusions
Example 1 – Religious right talking point: According to the book Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women, 43 percent of white male homosexuals had sex with 500 or more partners, with 28 percent having 1,000 or more sexual partners. Therefore gays have no concept of mongamy and certainly can’t be trusted to raise children.
Truth – Homosexualities was a book written in 1978 that only looked a certain portion of the lgbt population (gay men in the city of San Francisco). It also did not look at same-sex households. In addition, the authors of Homosexualities (Alan Bell and Martin Weinberg) said that their book should not be used to generalize about all gays in general:
“. . . given the variety of circumstances which discourage homosexuals from participating in research studies, it is unlikely that any investigator will ever be in a position to say that this or that is true of a given percentage of all homosexuals.”
Example 2 – Religious right talking point: Same sex marriage and gay adoption are bad ideas because research shows that the best places to raise children are in homes with a mother and a father.
The truth – The research only looked at heterosexual two-parent households as opposed to single parent heterosexual households. Same-sex households were never included.
Point of fact – The following researchers, physicians, and Ph.D.s have complained about how the anti-gay industry has misused their work:
Theo Sandfort, and
2. Repetition - Despite the fact that several physicians and researchers complain about the distortion of their work, corrections are usually not made. In fact, you can still find the work of the six Canadian researchers, Judith Stacey, A. Nicholas Groth, and Robert Garofalo, as well as many others being distorted on various religious right webpages.
3. Conspiracy Theory – Claiming that gays and lesbians are consistently plotting to “erode traditional values”
Example – “The agenda of homosexual activists is basically to change America from what they perceive as looking down on homosexual behavior, to the affirmation of and societal acceptance of homosexual behavior. It is an agenda that they basically set in the late 1980s, in a book called After the Ball, where they laid out a six-point plan for how they could transform the beliefs of ordinary Americans with regard to homosexual behavior—in a decade-long time frame.” – Craig Osten, Q&A: The Homosexual Agenda, Focus on the Family, July 25, 2003
4. Dire Consequences – Claiming that a pro-gay law or ordinance will lead to negative consequences without proof that the consequences will take place.
Example 1 – “Imagine, if you will, a 280 lb linebacker who likes to wear a dress and high heels and lipstick, you know comes to church wanting a job at the front desk as a receptionist and they turn him away because they don’t feel that that represents their values or the image that they’re trying to hold at that church, under ENDA they could be held accountable for discrimination against that individual.” – Matt Barber, Concerned Women for America, 2007
Example 2 – “H.R. 254 elevates one group of Americans above others, creating a special class of victims. All things being equal, it means that if a 5-foot-2-inch grandmother is violently attacked on the street, she is less worthy of justice than the 6-foot-4-inch homosexual man who is attacked by the same assailant.” – Matt Barber, Concerned Women for America, 2007
5. Phony Experts – Creating their own “experts” on the lgbt community. One such “expert” is Linda Harvey of Mission America. According to her bio, she is a former ad executive who became a born again Christian. Another phony expert is Glenn T. Stanton of Focus on the Family. He is considered an “expert” on the subject of homosexuality but has a master’s degree in interdisciplinary humanities with an emphasis in philosophy, history and religion. And this also includes organizations. In a recent appearance on the news program Hardball, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins cited the “work” of the American College of Pediatricians as proof that “homosexuality poses a danger to children.” However Perkins neglected to mention that the American College of Pediatricians is not a legitimate group but a sham organization laundering religious right distortions as scientific fact.
6. Dehumanizing Semantics – Consistently using language (i.e. demonstrative verbs and adjectives) in their talking points, sound bites, and press releases to deliberately make gays and lesbians seem like impersonal, threatening outsiders. These verbs and adjectives include such phrases as:
- promoting homosexuality
- marketing homosexuality
- endorsing homosexuality
- teaching homosexuality
- homosexual activists
- radical gay agenda
- forcing their agenda on us
- sodomy advocates
- sodomy lobby
- sexual anarchists
- special rights
- homosexual behavior
- legitimizing their lifestyle
- deadly lifestyle
- redefining marriage
- counterfeit marriage
- aggressive minority of sexual deviants
- homosexual indoctrination
- ramming their agenda down our throats
- gay militants
- they are after our children
- homosexuals can’t reproduce so they have to recruit
- normalizing homosexuality
- marketing their lifestyle to children
- indoctrinating children
If the lgbt community is going to get any headway with combating religious right groups, the labeling of these groups as bigots without any discussion or knowledge of their techniques of deception must stop. The lgbt community must roll up its collective sleeves and do the hard work not just to educate those in the mainstream, but also itself.
Many people in our community have NO idea what is being said about them in the everyday right-wing press. And if you don’t know what the homosexual agenda is, you have to realize that we’ve let these right wingers make it up for their fund raising and political means.