Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wandering Around The Swamps

I went for a wander through the swamps of 'Christian News' this morning and found a few choice gems for consideration:

1. Regina Family Activist Refuses To Pay Fine

Wherein we find the latest ravings from Bill Whatcott after losing his case with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal:

The Regina Leader Post reports that Bill Whatcott has said he would not pay, even if the Regina Court of Queen’s Bench rules he must. The court heard the case on Thursday and Justice Fred Kovach reserved his decision.

Whatcott, an evangelical Christian and a licensed practical nurse, was instructed to pay the money to the four persons who complained when, in 2001 and 2002, Whatcott distributed flyers that denounced the teaching of acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle in schools.

Of course, there's more to the picture than this. I haven't seen Whatcott's "flyers", but I think this paragraph gives us a pretty good idea what they contain:

But Whatcott responded that only facts, not hurt feelings, ought to count in law. “If you can find factual inaccuracies in my flyers or if you can find that I said something in bad faith, at that point there should be civil penalties,” he said. “I’d be the first one to agree with that.”

The Leader Post quotes Whatcott: “If I’m lying by saying that homosexuals are predisposed to sexually transmitted diseases at a rate greater than the general population, by all means find me liable for slander. If I’m wrong in saying….that there is a predisposition in homosexuality towards the sexual abuse of children, if that can be factually proven to be wrong, find me guilty of libel. But don’t tell me that I can’t say something that is true.”

Ah yes, the usual "homosexuals are all disease ridden" routine. It's well enough known that promiscuity increases the odds of contracting an STI. I'd put pretty good odds that the rates of STIs among heterosexuals that are promiscuous are similar to those for promiscuous homosexuals. Of course, when we treat homosexuals as though they should be ashamed of themselves, we get horrifying cases like Ted Haggard popping up. You've got to suspect that cases like Haggard aren't all that unusual simply because of the social pariah status that guys like Whatcott would impose.

If I’m wrong in saying….that there is a predisposition in homosexuality towards the sexual abuse of children, if that can be factually proven to be wrong, find me guilty of libel.

Ummm...this one is factually wrong. There is no credible evidence that links homosexuals to pedophilia. In fact, if we must turn that on its ear, the vast majority of pedophiles consider themselves to be quite heterosexual - outside of the proclivity for young children.

2. Catholic Medical Professionals Criticize New US Bishops Document on Homosexuality

Continuing in the campaign of misinformation about sexuality, we find this little gem in which we find some "Catholic medical professionals" group complaining that the Bishops' latest paper on ministering to homosexuals is "omitting good science".

According to WorldNetDaily, one of the memos sent to select bishops attending the November 13-16 conference in Baltimore objected that "the health risks inherent in the lifestyle and the real grounds for hope of recovery and healing are never mentioned in the [proposed] document."

Yeah, well, when you source from Wingnut Daily, you might as well get your news from the National Enquirer or Weekly World News - you'd have a better chance of finding real journalism.

However, let's take a look at their claims, and who they seem to be citing, shall we?

"Persons with SSA (Same-Sex Attraction) suffer real physical and emotional physical illness in this lifestyle. There is no mention [in the document] of the deleterious effects of homosexual behavior on the person; the abuse, the diseases and the psychological pain that accompanies that lifestyle," said Richard Fitzgibbons, M.D., a contributor to the Catholic Medical Association's statement on "Homosexuality and Hope."

Wow, that's quite a mouthful. Last I checked, the rational research out there shows quite clearly that any emotional problems that homosexuals experience is due not to their homosexuality (which they are usually quite comfortable with), but the hostility and bigotry of the world around them.

A quick google search turns up quite a bit about Richard Fitzgibbons. Let's see, he shows up with associations to a "marital healing" organization, Leader U (a group that names Stephen Harper and several other prominent CPoC members among its alumni) and NARTH.

If one thing leaps out at me, it was this little piece of tripe, which once again raises the utterly bogus link between effeminate behaviour and homosexuality. For crying out sideways, how long does it take these clowns to pick up on the real world research that long ago debunked the stereotype of the "mincing queer"?

Reading further in the article, we find them citing Dutch Psychologist Dr. Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg

"Among psychotherapists there indeed is consensus that the key factor in the development of homosexual feelings is a defective gender-identification in childhood and adolescence," writes van den Aardweg, who added that many experts also agree that "diverse forms of therapy, counseling, and guidance can help change a homosexual orientation -- at least in part in most cases, and in a minority of cases, deeply and radically."

Again, a little bit of digging on Google turns up a few tidbits about van den Aardweg - and none of it particularly promising.

First off, he is citing a consensus that I've never been able to find - and certainly none of the psych. material I've read over the years has ever asserted that homosexuality has roots in "defective gender-identification in childhood and adolescence". I've some evidence that suggests that there is a higher probability that an effeminate boy will be gay, but it's far from conclusive - nor does it explain any more than a handful of cases.

Of course, digging through Google's results, we again find van den Aardweg associated with NARTH, and a couple of obscure books that he has published here and here. A quick search on Amazon suggests that these books are no longer in print.

A quick dig through a number of psychology journal indexes doesn't turn up either of these people as regular participants in the research world. Both of van den Aardweg's books are the "gays can change" type of material, with all of the credibility that the "ex-gay" movement possesses. (Slightly less credibility than the phrase "honest politician").

In other words, when they can't find credible researchers to corroborate their idiocy, the religious "family values" movement turns to people willing to prostitute their names in order to lend a false legitimacy to their arguments.

1 comment:

BC WaterBoy said...

I would like to be a subject of one of these alleged "Studies" that World Net and Lifesite quote so often. I could debunk several of their false assertions. I could also round up a few other well-adjusted, happy, boring gay people for them to "study". It's embarrassing to state the obvious to these stupid people that they neglect to mention that there are many gay people who are quite content with their "lifestyle" and live happy, healthy lives.