crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
If you want the quintessential fact why the Southern Poverty Law Center is correct in calling out certain religious right organizations for their anti-gay bias, check out this portion of an interview between members of two of these groups - Peter LaBarbera, head of Americans for Truth and Martha Kleder of the Concerned Women for America:
Kleder: One of the things I've also noticed is that the SPLC seems to be riled by the fact . . . uh . . . if they don't particularly like your source that you document then you must be a hate group.
LaBarbera: Paul Cameron
LaBarbera: They say if you cite Paul Cameron, then you are a hater. I mean that's ridiculous. You know there is a researcher who just came out and found that Paul Cameron's work on the greater likelihood of homosexual adoptive parents to have . . . for the child to emerge as a homosexual. He confirmed Cameron's thesis. You don't have to agree with everything Paul Cameron ever did but how proposterous to say that citing a researcher . . Paul Cameron's work has been published in peer-reviewed journals. What they've done, Martha is set up these criteria and then you violate them, they call you a hate group, and then they have their little echo chamber on the left which reports their charge. And of course the media, which really doesn't like us anyway. The media is very pro-gay, they cite us and so it begins to take a life of its own.
One of the main reasons why religious right groups (i.e. Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, The Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, etc.) have been profiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as anti-gay hate groups is because of their repeated citings of the work of discredited researcher Paul Cameron. They use his work to spread propaganda about lgbts.
As all of us, if the not the vast majority of us, knows, Cameron is a researcher who has made a name for himself by creating studies designed to demonize the lgbt community. These studies for the most part have been published in “vanity” or “pay-for-publish” journals and they are not “peer-reviewed” in the normal sense. No “peer” who objects to Cameron's work has the right to remove it from the journal.
He has also been discredited and censured by many group and individuals on the left, the right, and in the middle due to his bad research techniques. Several of his studies have been criticized for such errors as having small sample sizes, showing an anti-gay bias in interviews, and not having enough responses to establish a suitable analysis.
Let's take a quick look at his history:
“Right now, here in Lincoln, there is a 4-year-old boy who has had his genitals almost severed from his body at Gateway in the rest room with a homosexual act… It’s really awkward. I could see where Gateway would want to suppress this. I could see where the parents would want to suppress it. It could be just a rumor. But enough things have happened recently so that such a thing doesn’t have to be invented.” – Paul Cameron told this story to a group in 1982 in Lincoln, NB in an attempt to kill a human rights ordinance, Lincoln Star May 8, 1982
The story was discovered to be a hoax and Cameron was called out in the local newspaper- “A leading opponent of the proposed Lincoln Human Rights Amendment spreads rumors of an alleged vicious incident calculated to damage the proposal’s chances at the polls. When asked about it, he admits the rumor was without foundation. He refused to say from whom he heard the rumor. Nonetheless, he still insists it ‘could be true’, even though responsible authorities in the city say there was not a shred of evidence such an incident ever took place. The seed is planted, to the contrary.” – Editorial. Lincoln Star (May 10, 1982), as quoted by Brown, Robert D.; Cole, James K. Letter to the Editor, Nebraska Medical Journal 70, no. 11 (November 1985)
. Cameron has also had numerous condemnations rained down on him by the medical community:
“(Cameron) misrepresents my findings and distorts them to advance his homophobic views. I make a very clear distinction in my writing between pedophilia and homosexuality, noting that adult males who sexually victimize young boys are either pedophilic or heterosexual, and that in my research I have not found homosexual men turning away from adult partners to children . . . I consider this totally unprofessional behavior on the part of Dr. Cameron and I want to bring this to your attention. He disgraces his profession.” – Dr. A. Nicholas Groth in letter written to the Nebraska Board of Examiners of Psychologists on August 21, 1984
“Paul Cameron (Nebraska) was dropped from membership for a violation of the Preamble to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists – American Psychological Association, 1983
The science and profession of psychology in Nebraska as represented by the Nebraska Psychological Association, formally dissociates itself from the representations and interpretations of scientific literature offered by Dr. Paul Cameron in his writings and public statements on sexuality. Further, the Nebraska Psychological Association would like it known that Dr. Cameron is not a member of the Association. Dr. Cameron was recently dropped from membership in the American Psychological Association for a violation of the Preamble to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists – Nebraska Psychological Association, 1984
Dr. Paul Cameron has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism” – American Sociological Association, 1985
The Canadian Psychological Association takes the position that Dr. Paul Cameron has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism and thus, it formally disassociates itself from the representation and interpretations of scientific literature in his writings and public statements on sexuality. – Canadian Psychological Association, 1996
And while we are at it, let's not forget those on the right who dismiss Cameron's work:
“Given what I now know, I believe there are flaws with Paul Cameron's study. One cannot extrapolate from his methodology and say that the average male homosexual life span is 43 years.” – former Ronald Regan Cabinet member William Bennett criticizing Cameron's “gay lifespan study.” – New Republic (1998, February 23, page 4)
This article has been removed due to the inaccuracies surrounding the research of Paul Cameron. – A posting on the webpage of Ex-gay group Exodus International
And if that's not enough to convince you of Cameron's lack of credibility, check out various comments he has made regarding the lgbt community:
“What homosexuals do is so incredibly stupid, so patently absurd and antibiological, that only a foolish society would take their whimpering about ‘equal rights with heterosexuality’ seriously . . . Are we supposed to feel so sorry for them that we join them in the march to the cemetery?” – Paul Cameron, The Advocate, October 29, 1985
“At the 1985 Conservative Political Action Conference, Cameron announced to the attendees, ‘Unless we get medically lucky, in three or four years, one of the options discussed will be the extermination of homosexuals.’ According to an interview with former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, Cameron was recommending the extermination option as early as 1983.” – Mark E. Pietrzyk, New Republic, October 3, 1994
“If you isolate sexuality as something solely for one’s own personal amusement, and all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get – and that is what homosexuality seems to be — then homosexuality seems too powerful to resist. The evidence is that men do a better job on men, and women on women if all you are looking for is an orgasm.” - Paul Cameron, Rolling Stone, March, 18, 1999
Cameron is the religious right's dirty little secret. Many of the organizations named as anti-gay hate groups by the SPLC have used Cameron's studies even though they are aware of his dubious history of condemnations.
However, many of them won't admit to this fact.That is except for Peter LaBarbera. And what makes it worse is that LaBarbera is trying to justify work he knows has credibility problems.
And by the way, LaBarbera's claim that another researcher proved Cameron's thesis about children in same-sex households is also incorrect. LaBarbera failed to mention that the researcher, Walter Schumm, used the same bad methodology Cameron used to come to his original thesis:
Schumm’s “meta-analysis” (and Cameron’s before him) doesn’t even have the benefit of being built off of random convenience samples. There were no convenience samples in any of the ten prior works that Schumm used for his meta-analysis. In fact, they weren’t even professional studies. They were popular books! That’s right, each of the ten sources that Schumm used to construct his “meta-analysis” were from general-audience books about LGBT parenting and families, most of which are available on Amazon.com. Schumm read the books, took notes on each parent and child described in the book, examined their histories, and counted up who was gay and who was straight among the kids.
But here is the important thing – with Cameron's credibility problem, if he were “publishing studies” about the African-American community, Jewish community, or women, then he and those who freely cite his work would be thought of as either racist, anti-Semitic, or gender biased.
So what's the difference between Cameron's work impugning any of these groups and what he is doing to the lgbt community? Why shouldn't be he and those who use his work be thought of as “haters” in spite of the fact that they can hide their lies behind the Biblical condemnation of homosexuality?
At any rate, the usage of Cameron's work certainly does put a monkeywrench into religious rights claims that they are being “targeted” by the SPLC because of their “Judeo-Christian” beliefs.
I never knew that freely citing research known to be sloppy and inaccurate was a tenet of “Judeo-Christian” beliefs.