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They Can't Pray It Away!: The Publication Of A New Study And The Recanting Of An Old One Spell Dark Days For Homophobes!

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(Author's Note: When passion is involved, it can take a long time to write about something, especially something newsworthy. That's the frustration a journalist/reporter/blogger can face: immediacy can fall to the wayside. The Christian Right's obsessions with sex and homosexuality seemed to peak last week, with the National Organization for Marriage leading the way for bigotry with its "wedge memo." Then came the psychotic exchanges of Pastor DL Foster in response to a posting of his biblical call for the death of homosexuals ("The Wages Of Sin Is Death") and NOM's new strategy for marketing its boycott of Starbucks to homophobic (but caffeinated) countries.

The "back at ya" came in the form of two studies damaging the Right's credibility.

Yes, it's been a busy week for both sides of the culture war and the passion piled up. That is why this article may seem dated by a day or two, but its immediacy is still relevant.)  

Part I:


In the we-always-knew-it department:

"Individuals who identify as straight but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves...In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward."

Is Some Homophobia Self-Phobia?   is the title of the article in   Science Daily   that features the series of studies conducted by researchers at University of Rochester, the University of Essex, England, and the University of California in Santa Barbara. This is not a piece of twisted research ala Family Research Council, but a legitimate study conducted at more than several universities by respected researchers.  

And it tells us what we suspected: The Loud Ones Are Hiding Something

While the studies themselves do not indicate any psychotic behaviors or tendencies, we can see in some of our most outspokenly anti-gay pastors and social conservatives disturbing signs of repression: false accusations, twisted "research" and outlandish statements indicate people who may feel the need to punish everyone else for the feelings they themselves have. They act on their own self-loathing, lashing out at everyone as a threatening figure, a horrifying mirror.


When we take a hard look at the last decade's list of actively homophobic Christian Right leaders, politicians and pundits, there are names that stand out because of their vehement diatribes and mishandling of the truth:  

DL Foster.   T.D. Jakes.   Bradlee Dean.   Scott Lively.   Lou Engle.   Pat Robertson.   Eddie Long.   Fred Phelps.   Martin Ssempe.   Harry Jackson.   Ken Hutcherson.   Steven Anderson.   Bryan Fischer.   Tony Perkins.   Patrick Wooden.   Linda Harvey.   Joseph Nicolosi.   Paul Cameron.   Maggie Ghallagher.   Peter LaBarbera.   Mat Staver.*

Of course, the rhetoric of the diatribes ranges from the self-righteous (Tony Perkins) to the senile (Pat Robertson), then on to the stupid (Patrick Wooden, hear below) and the psychotic (DL Foster). It also never lets up: countless articles, broadcasts, posts, media appearances and op-eds have bombarded (especially right-wing) Americans with attacks and counterattacks aimed at making gays look politically powerful, depraved, selfish, abnormal, disease-ridden and intent on the "homosexual agenda" (whatever that is).  

From Conservapedia.com.:

The   conservative   journalist   Peter LaBarbera   of   Americans for Truth   wrote: "Anyone who has researched the subject of homosexuality knows that many of the most staunch advocates of homosexuality are those who hold a decidedly secular outlook."[2]   The   Barna Group   found that   atheists   and   agnostics   in the   United States   are more likely to approve of   bisexuality/homosexuality.


Among all the   liberal   belief systems, the homosexual ideology is the most self-centered or selfish.


Probably the most psychotic pronouncements have come from "ex-homosexual" DL ("Down Low") Foster: 

- Painted   Truth Wins Out Wayne Besen as a N*zi   and posited that militant gays might "exterminate" ex-gays. At that point (in 2007), Exodus International formally cut off ties with Foster.
- He proposed that Dan Savage should be arrested for starting the It Gets Better anti-teen suicide movement and said " No parent in their right mind should allow their child to associate themselves with such a demonic undertaking. The end does not justify the means."
- Formed a website -   Gay Christian Movement Watch   - which vilifies even the possibility that gays could be Christian:

Religious homosexuals have destroyed the biblical integrity of every major denomination that have accomodated them....homosexual activists in the church are much more aggressive in their lust for control, power and dominance that they will simply overpower the other side whose main desire seems to be summed up with "cant we all just get along?"

Then there was his reaction to Joe Jervis' (Joe.My.God) posting of his (Foster's) gay-flagged advertisement for a retreat stating "The Wages of Sin Is Death":

Some people don't believe that DL Foster was ever gay. Then again, he may be the loudest of the group and therefore the most suspect in repressing his true orientation. 

The Effect Of The Study

While the Science Daily article clearly strikes the nail on the head concerning homophobia, it merely reiterates what we suspected all along: some of the strongest, most virulent homophobes are afraid that they themselves might have homosexual tendencies. But will this latest study/revelation cause them to tone down the rhetoric? With the psychotic ones like DL Foster, any curtailing of diatribes is extremely doubtful, simply because they don't care what studies from obviously "liberal" university researchers posit: Fred Phelps and his clan will keep on picketing to everyone's disgust, Bryan Fischer will continue to attack anyone who isn't Bryan Fischer and Bradlee Dean will persist in false self-representation to schools. 

Put out as a foil against their rhetoric, however, the study might curtail the ramblings of people like Tony Perkins and Joesph Nicolosi who need to address the media in reasonable tones, thereby guarding their own personas. 


Spitzer was growing tired and asked how many more questions I had. Nothing, I responded, unless you have something to add. He did. Would I print a retraction of his 2001 study, "so I don't have to worry about it anymore"?   -   My So-called Ex-Gay Life   by Gabriel Arana

Prominent psychology researcher Robert Spitzer has been both a hero and a demon to homosexuals: he was instrumental in having the American Psychiatric Association declare that homosexuality was no longer considered a mental illness and in 2001 declared that "some" homosexuals benefited from ex-gay therapy. Now retired, at age 80, Spitzer is still sticking to his first tenet, while recanting his second.  

Certain people are going to explode. See the list above. 

From   Think Progress:

The magnitude of this disavowal cannot be overstated.  Almost every anti-gay organization  has used Spitzer's 2001 study to help justify its opposition to LGBT equality, including the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and numerous ex-gay organizations like PFOX and NARTH. National Organization for Marriage  spokesman Frank Turek  once  highlighted Spitzer's study  as his sole proof that ex-gay therapy works. Jerry Falwell himself  cited the study  to defend his belief that God commands that "homosexuals must change." And as  Jeremy Hooper points out , Focus on the Family's Candi Cushman still uses the study to support the "Day of Dialogue," which encourages Christian students to condemn their gay classmates as a response to GLSEN's Day of Silence.  Will these groups  purge their websites  and resources of citations to Spitzer's research per his retraction?

Good question. Family Research Council has had a habit of twisting research findings to the point of complete disavowal of the authors. Some have even threatened lawsuits against the FRC for complete misrepresentation. And after the research is dutifully erased from its website, it crops up later. The FRC, it seems, is not about to let a juicy bit of twisted research go. 

No doubt that the above incidents have put a serious dent into the machinations of homophobia and its chief purveyor, the Christian Right, but they will never have a lasting effect unless their enemies - the dreaded activists - keep using them consistently and persistently (just like the CR's own seven "clobber passages" of the Bible). And while it may seem to border on persecution (a point which they will use ad nauseum), every nuance of rhetoric, every false citing of "research"  will have to be quickly analyzed and discredited. The rhetoric might calm down if they adhere to the dictum they'be given the rest of us all these years:
*OK, I know people are going to venture far enough to ask "Well, which ones do you think are really gay?" You should note that the study in question cites only "similar tendencies in themselves,' but gaydar is always very tempting - and powerful. So here are some thoughts about some of them ...

DL Foster - no. He's too warped to be anything but asexual.
Bradlee Dean - ditto.
Lou Engle - I hope not, but he may be.
Scott Lively - no. His family life was so screwed up that he probably can't touch anyone's body parts, male or female.
Eddie Long - yes. The cover-up is too pathetic.
Fred Phelps - no. Phelps hates men and women - everyone but himself. The unpublished bio (of which I have a copy via the deposition) proves he is totally psycho and unfit to be around anyone/anything related to humanity.
Martin Ssempe -probably. The "eat da poo-poo pastor" is certainly repressed enough to accuse any enemy of being gay.
Steven Anderson - no. The man who called for the death of Obama, but has "memorized almost the entire Bible" is waaay too stupid to be gay.
Bryan Fischer - no. Like Fred Phelps, he loves only himself.
Tony Perkins - yes. but he has even more conflicts because he's a racist.
Joseph Nicolosi - yes. His arrogance doesn't hide his insecurity very well.
Peter LaBarbera - yes. Come on, "porno Pete" doesn't   need what is thought to be the world's largest collection of sex toys. He   wants   them.
(Not on the list) Rick Santorum - no. Seven kids aside, he has never had a sexual thought. Ever.
(Not on the list) Marcus Bachmann - hahahahahaha....!
(Not on the list) Rick Perry - yes. yes. yes. and...yes. 


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Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books éČ" Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most (more...)
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