The silliness of anti-gay activists keeps plunging to new depths. Just this week, the clownish Matt Barber (left) wrote a child-like spoof ('Gay' penguin flies straight') for a series of homophobic publications. His article was about the San Francisco zoo's gay male penguin couple, that apparently broke up -- with one partner opting for a female bird.
"Male Magellan penguins Harry and Pepper have been together since 2003. The pair nested together and even incubated an egg laid by another penguin in 2008, but their relationship hit the rocks earlier this year when a female penguin, Linda, befriended Harry after her long-time companion died. Zookeepers say Harry and Linda are happy and were able to successfully nest this year," reported KTUV-TV.
Barber immediately jumped on the news as evidence that people could pray away the gay. Interestingly, Barber failed to note that:
1) The apparently bisexual penguin did not have to waste thousands of dollars on reparative therapy
2) There is no evidence that a distant father made Harry gay in the first place
3) The penguin was not delivered from "the demon of homosexuality"
4) There is no evidence that the bird found "freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ."
Actually, the real reason Barber churlishly exploited this issue, is because he has no real life human ex-gays to trot out that are not on the payroll of anti-gay political organizations. Barber and his ilk also have no research to back up their false claims of sexual conversion. Instead, the rely on bogus sham studies by NARTH -- a group that actually uses turn of the century (19 century) research and repackages it as new.
Interestingly, Barber is the Dean of Liberty University School of Law, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. Barber convienntly fails to mention that Falwell's personal ex-gay leader was Michael Johnston. For those who do not remember, Johnston had to step down from his ex-gay ministry after hooking up with multiple dudes on the Internet. Why doesn't Barber have the honesty and integrity to mention the failings of the ministry he represents?
Barber's column was picked up by other anti-gay sites including Americans for Truth, founded by Porno Pete, (aka Peter LaBarbera), the creepy, sodomy-obsessed activist who keeps showing up at gay S&M parties to conduct "research".
Um, Pete, at what point will you have your elusive lab sample? It's kind of odd that you've been working on the same "project" for two decades. Is there a new conclusion to draw, or do you just like looking at hairy leathermen in assless chaps?
On Porno Pete's website, he has a picture of me standing outside of a Boston church (on public property) with a megaphone. Inside the building, the ex-gay organization Exodus International is holding a seminar to help people pray away the gay. What the slippery LaBarbera omits was my chant in front of the building:
"Uganda, Uganda, Uganda."
I was reminding the activists of Exodus that they cannot advocate genocide, or play a supporting role, without vehement opposition. Just weeks earlier, Exodus board member Don Schmierer attended a conference in Kampala with holocaust revisionist Scott Lively. At the event, a new group was formed to advocate "wiping out" gay people.
I am very proud of the fact I and others in the group stood up to such tyranny and advocacy of violence. Indeed, at about the same time Exodus met in Boston, the persecution of gays in Uganda began. In the service of honesty and truth, Porno Pete should tell the entire story and admit his role in cheerleading such potentially genocidal actions by his cohorts.
To get back to the penguin theme, it is clear that those who push the "ex-gay" myth are birdbrains with therioes that just won't fly.
After speaking at the Campus Progress National Conference in Washington, DC, on July 8, the former president was asked if he supported same-sex marriage. Clinton, in a departure from past statements, replied in the affirmative.
"I'm basically in support."
The former president joins a string of prominent Democrats who have recently switched their position on the issue, including former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean, New York Senator Charles E. Schumer, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd.
It seems to me, that Obama may be the last Democrat to run for President who gets GLBT support, yet is not in favor of equal marriage rights. As more mainstream Democrats step out front, the days of opposition appear numbered. Any serious candidate who wants to secure the nomination in the future must be for true equality.
I vividly remember the first time I was introduced to the phrase "Family Values." It was the early 1990's and I was driving in my car. I looked out of the window and saw the strange verbiage promoting a new subdivision on a towering billboard above the highway.
The sign didn't perturb me, but I was puzzled by the slogan. Having grown up in a series of subdivisions, it went without saying that the existing cul-de-sacs were always brimming with families.
So, what made this development so different? Did they forbid singles from living behind the gates? What if a divorce occurred, did the broken family have to move? Did offspring have to eventually leave if they had not married by a certain age? Were gay people forbidden from living there?
What I found most bewildering was the idea of promoting family, as if it were a prefab product that could be marketed, packaged and came with 2 ½ bathrooms. That seemed as forced and unnatural as the wax fruit placed on the coffee tables of model homes in such developments.
At that time, my parents had been together for more than 20 years (They celebrate their 40 year anniversary in August). Their lifetime together was just an organic experience that didn't need to be trumpeted. They never had to say, "look at us, aren't we just the healthiest, happiest family you've ever seen? Check out our wonderful morals and values. Aren't we special? And, by the way, vote for a specific political party to keep us together."
Aside from politicians kissing babies and posing with their brood, I always imagined the value of family to be a private affair. It was an intimate bond between two people and their children. The ostentatious commercial worship of this unit seemed jarring and exploitative. Indeed, it seemed anathema to actual healthy families. If one's family were so wonderful, after all, why would it need a special subdivision?
Shortly after I saw this billboard, President George Bush and his vacuous Vice President, Dan Quayle, brought the "family values" mantra into the political arena. Religious scolds, who worked to transform marriage from a private institution to a very public one, championed this moral marketing campaign. The GOP soon recast itself as the great defender of family and assiduously catered to this crowd, who eventually took over the party.
In reality, of course, strong families don't need to be defended. If a husband and wife are busy cuddling, they don't need candidate crusaders. If parents are taking their children to soccer practice, they don't need James Dobson socking imagined enemies.
Come to think of it, the perceived family foes were always of straw. The main villains were dreaded liberals -- such as my parents and the Obamas. You know, the ones who actually kept their families together without a media campaign promoting their virtues. Even the Clintons, the bane of the right, have managed to keep their family together.
Twenty years later, the inconvenience of life has run the family values fraud off the rails. This racket is now the realm of fakes and flakes, phonies and freaks. The Republican Party is now dominated by news of preachy pols and their sordid affairs, with soap opera lives of tabloid fare. (Like a line-up of bad reality TV, we've got Sarah and Sanford and Ensign and Rush -- and let's not forget Vitter and Newt.)
At this point, the astonishment has worn off. Let's just be honest and admit that the modern GOP is a pathological party of head cases and closet cases.
The bombastic base consists of many people who lack self-control. They can't keep their hands out of the cookie jar, so they work the political system to ban the container, so no one can enjoy a treat. What must eat these hypocrites alive is the fact that many "immoral liberals" are actually more likely to take one cookie and walk away from sweet temptation.
In retrospect, Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings oddly cast the president in the role of Jesus Christ. He was pilloried by the self-righteous and they thirsted for his blood to atone for their own seismic sins. It is no coincidence that those who most stridently nailed Clinton, were the most likely to be nailing someone who wasn't his or her spouse. (Who can forget Sen. Larry Craig calling Clinton a "bad naughty" boy)
The family values ad I saw in my youth makes no more sense today than it did two decades ago. Perhaps, families never belonged on billboards to be politicized and commercialized in the first place. Seriously, if you need a congressman to save your family, maybe your marriage isn't worth saving.
In a brazen effort to preempt an American Psychological Association report on human sexuality scheduled for release in August, an anti-gay organization unveiled its own report, which amounts to rubbish in the guise of research.
The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality's (NARTH) "new" study, "What the Research Shows: NARTH's Response to the American Psychological Association's Claims on Homosexuality", is so embarrassingly slipshod that no scientist would take it seriously.
But, the goal, of course, is not to impress researchers who would cackle at the kookiness. The real aim, according to Dr. Jack Drescher, a renowned psychiatrist and author, is to confuse the public and gullible media into believing the APA and NARTH are equally credentialed scientific bodies engaged in a legitimate dispute over homosexuality.
The truth, however, is that NARTH is a fringe group held in ill repute by anyone who has even a rudimentary knowledge of science. The organization is best known for encouraging male clients to drink Gatorade and call friends "dude" to increase masculinity.
The first clue that this study was utter trash was the fact that NARTH and Focus on the Family referred to it as "new". Indeed, not one iota of fresh research took place. Not one moment was spent in the lab, nor were any subjects recruited to broaden the base of knowledge on the etiology of sexual orientation.
The study was basically a compilation of everything negative ever written about gay people, no matter how invalid, idiotic or biased the conclusion. NARTH essentially blasted shit out of a cannon, hoping at least some would stick to the wall.
The second clue to the inanity of this report was that NARTH's Scientific Advisory Board guided it. The last time this assemblage of reprobates appeared in the news, it was after one of their members (Gerald Schoenwolf) seemed to endorse slavery, while another (Joseph Berger) opined that gender variant children should be "ridiculed" by their peers.
The third clue was when NARTH claimed that its work appeared in the peer-reviewed "Journal of Human Sexuality." They conveniently fail to mention that this is their own journal -- staffed by other like-minded quacks. This is the equivalent of me offering a glowing review of my last book on my own personal website, while pretending it was an independent overview.
The fourth clue was that NARTH refused to rely on modern research. Instead, they elected to incorporate discredited and outdated century-old studies, where gay subjects were often recruited from prisons or mental hospitals. It is no coincidence that NARTH used work from the horse and buggy era, as no research in more than thirty years has supported their views on homosexuality.
Could you imagine how people would be howling if an organization used 125 year old studies on African Americans, climate change or even medicine? The idea is as shocking as it is laughable.
Most absurd, NARTH invoked the Stonewall uprising that ushered in the modern gay rights movement, on the event's 40thanniversary, to highlight the alleged oppression of "ex-gays." According to the group's website:
"Those who have received help from reorientation therapists have collectively stood up to be counted--as once did their openly gay counterparts in the 1970s. The first time a formal demonstration against the American Psychiatric Association was protested against--not by pro-gay activists, but by a group of people reporting that they had substantially changed their sexual orientation, and that change is possible for others--was on May 22, 1994, in Philadelphia. A similar demonstration occurred...at the 2006 American Psychological Association Convention in New Orleans."
Interestingly, NARTH writes this passage as if it is a casual observer witnessing an organic uprising. What NARTH conveniently fails to point out is that the group engineered and staged these protests as a public relations gimmick. I was at the so-called "protest" in New Orleans. The demonstrators were all professional "ex-gay" activists or members of NARTH -- including the group's president Joseph Nicolosi and his son.
So, let's put this "study" in perspective.
NARTH is repackaging 125-year old research as new and unveiling its "findings" in its own publication, while trying to claim that it survived peer review. The group is also pretending to document a spontaneous popular uprising that they had actually staged. They are hoping to pull off this publicity stunt by creating an online echo chamber, with Christian news outlets mindlessly repeating their obvious lies.
NARTH is not interested in science. Its real motivation is bigotry that can be best evidenced by a quote made by the group's late co-founder Dr. Socarides: "Homosexuality is...a purple menace that is threatening the proper design of gender distinctions in society."
If it quacks like a duck, it may just be quacks ducking out on reality.