The Washington Post has spent much of the week under fire for its decision to celebrate "National Coming Out Day" by publishing an anti-gay screed by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on its On Faith microsite, a decision it said was an effort to balance out a Live Q&A it hosted for Dan Savage, who is leading a campaign to reduce suicide among gay youths. Perkins' homophobic rant has even been criticized by the Post's own Jonathan Capehart.
Sadly, the Post's hospitality towards anti-gay bigots is not limited to Tony Perkins. Nor is that hospitality a recent development: In April, the Post hosted a Live Q&A with Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg. As I noted at the time, the Post's decision to host Sprigg was troubling:
[T]he Post's decision to host Sprigg is alarming … Peter Sprigg says "gay behavior" should be outlawed. And Sprigg has said "I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe that homosexuality is destructive to society."
It seems safe to assume the Washington Post would not provide a forum to someone who says the practice of Judaism should be outlawed, or that he would prefer to "export blacks from the United States." So why does the Post host anti-gay bigot Peter Sprigg?
The answer to that question is becoming all too clear.
As you probably know, the Washington Post has been taking some heat for declaring that gay suicide is a two-sided issue, in which a live chat with Dan Savage discussing homophobic bullying and ways to prevent gay youths from committing suicide needed to be balanced by Tony Perkins' anti-gay hysteria. And it seems as though Perkins' falsehood-laden, homophobic rant in the Post was not viewed favorably by the Washington Post's own editorial board member, Jonathan Capehart.
In his blog post, he seeks to explain White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett's admittedly poor choice of words in suggesting being gay was a "lifestyle choice." Capehart recently interviewed Jarrett and asked her about the "rash of nationally reported suicides of gay youth." While expressing her concern about these tragedies, Jarrett laments that these were "avoidable deaths," in which the youths were "driven to commit suicide because they were being harassed in school and driven to do something that no child should ever be driven to do. And in many cases, their parents are doing a good job, their families are supportive." She then mentions meeting the family of a gay Minnesota youth who recently committed suicide following relentless harassment from his peers. She said of his parents: "These are good people. They were aware that their son was gay. They embraced him; they loved him; they supported his lifestyle choice. But, yet, when he left the home and went to school he was tortured by his classmates."
Jarrett took a lot of heat for her wording, and the following day, Capehart allowed her to explain her remarks:
In a recent interview I was asked about the recent tragedies about gay youth who have committed suicide, and I misspoke when I referred to someone's sexual identity as a "lifestyle choice." I meant no disrespect to the LGBT community, and I apologize to any who have taken offense at my poor choice of words. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not a choice, and anyone who knows me and my work over the years knows that I am a firm believer and supporter in the rights of LGBT Americans.
Capehart took the opportunity to tie this all back to Tony Perkins, writing: "Yes, Jarrett made a mistake. But those who think she and the president don't care about the rights of gay men and lesbians, don't give a damn about bullying and the tragedies of gay youth suicides are wrong. Jarrett is no Tony Perkins. She is no bigot." The link, of course, goes to Perkins's Washington Post homophobic diatribe. Capehart titled his post, "Valerie Jarrett is no Tony Perkins." Perhaps someone should have run Perkins's column by Capehart before deciding to publish. It might have saved the Post from a pretty big headache.
The Washington Post's "On Faith" blog published a reponse to Tony Perkins' controversial, anti-gay column on gay suicide. Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network boardwoman Sirdeaner Walker, whose son committed sucide after being harrassed by his peers for being gay, wrote, "Mr. Perkins' tactic, and that of others like him, is to use faith and religion to divide us. They seek to thwart efforts to deal with a problem at the heart of this current crisis--anti-gay bullying and harassment." She added:
If schools perceive addressing anti-gay bullying as a controversial issue, then they'll continue the status quo of putting their heads in the sand and hoping the issue takes care of itself.
It won't. And we need to be clear on one thing - addressing anti-gay bullying is not a controversial issue. If you move through the smoke screen organizations like Family Research Council try to create, you realize addressing anti-gay bullying is simply the right thing to do if we care about all of our young people.
Students who are perceived to be or identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are victimized at much higher rates. My son was bullied with anti-gay remarks. Those kids at his school called him those names because they were probably the most hurtful things they could think of to say. And they hit their mark.
Homophobic bullying and harassment is all too common. And too often school officials do not recognize this kind of bullying and harassment as unacceptable.
We need to ensure that all of our children are protected.
From the October 13 edition of Talk Radio Networks' The Savage Nation:
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Yesterday, we noted that the Washington Post celebrated "National Coming Out Day" by posting an anti-gay screed written by notorious bigot Tony Perkins on its On Faith microsite. Today, we learned that the Post thought the publication of Perkins' bile was justified by the fact that it hosted a live Q&A chat with Dan Savage about his efforts to prevent suicide among gay youths. Because, as everyone knows, if you're going to feature an opponent of gay suicide, you need … um … balance. Savage was understandably displeased to see the Post use him as justification for publishing Perkins.
But it's important to understand that Tony Perkins' anti-gay rant was not an anomaly. On Faith has posted several anti-gay missives just this week.
Jordan Sekulow, described by the Post as a "human rights attorney," insists "the United States is a Christian nation" and quotes biblical references to homosexuality as an "abomination" and "unnatural" and "indecent" and "perversion." Again: The Washington Post describes Sekulow as a "human rights attorney." Though, to be fair, they didn't say he's an attorney working on behalf of human rights.
Frank Pavone, president of the National Pro-Life Religious Council and a Catholic priest, writes that his church teaches that sex can only be had "in a marriage between a man and a woman, and when open to life," adding that "Sex is an extremely powerful force, and never a neutral one. Either it serves life, or it serves death."
John Mark Reynolds, who previously* used the platform granted him by the Post to call advocates of gay rights "ideologues" and compare them to "racists," wrote a rambling post yesterday that refers to gay rights advocates as "the hateful" ("When the unchaste, the libertine, or the hateful demand we call their wrongs 'good,' this too is not new") and refers to support for gay rights as "prejudice." Oh, and he compares the oppression Christians face at the hands of these hateful, prejudiced gay rights advocates to the murder of Christians by pagan cultures:
Via Pam's House Blend, I learn that the Washington Post's remarkably poor decision to post Tony Perkins's falsehood laden, anti-gay screed on their On Faith blog (on National Coming Out Day nonetheless) was because they felt they needed to "cover both sides" of "bullying and gay suicide." No, really, they're serious. Apparently they hosted a Live Q & A chat with Dan Savage to discuss "bullying and gay suicide" and his "It Gets Better Project," which is a You Tube channel Savage created in order to reach out to gay youths to prevent suicide. So, to balance Savage, the Post turned to Perkins to respond. Apparently to the Post, gay suicide is a two-sided issue.
GLAAD and the Washington Post had an exchange over Twitter, in which the Post responded to criticism over publishing Perkins' column, by saying, "[W]e're working to cover both sides. Earlier, we hosted Dan Savage of It Gets Better in a live chat." GLAAD rightly replied, "There are not 'both sides' to this issue. Teen suicide isn't a debate-it's a tragedy."
Need I remind you that Perkins's argument was that gay suicide, which often is prefaced by homophobic bullying, was caused not by the bullying, but because "homosexuals experience higher rates of mental health problems in general, including depression," and that the "homosexual movement and their allies" teach kids "that they are 'born gay' and can never change. This--and not society's disapproval--may create a sense of despair that can lead to suicide." To back up this insanity, Perkins linked to studies that showed exactly the opposite of what he claimed. While Perkins is right, "Several studies suggest that gay men, lesbians and bisexuals appear to have higher rates of some mental disorders compared with heterosexuals," he's just wrong that this is pathological, and he's equally wrong that there's no link between this and discrimination. Indeed, the article to which Perkins himself linked immediately goes on to report that "[d]iscrimination may help fuel these higher rates." The article further reported: "In a study that examines possible root causes of mental disorders in LGB people, [Susan] Cochran [PhD] and psychologist Vickie M. Mays, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, explored whether ongoing discrimination fuels anxiety, depression and other stress-related mental health problems among LGB people. The authors found strong evidence of a relationship between the two."
The article also reported that the researcher who conducted several of these studies was "concerned that these findings may give ammunition to people who want to falsely promulgate the argument that gay people are by nature mentally ill." The article added:
For one thing, she says, "these are certainly not levels of morbidity consistent with models that say homosexuality is inherently pathological." For another, the data simply don't prove either pro- or anti-gay arguments on the subject, whether it's that the inherent biology of homosexuality causes mental illness or that social stigma provokes mental illness in LGB people, she says.
It seems that Perkins counted on the fact that people wouldn't click through his links, and apparently the On Faith blog editors obliged.
Joseph Stiglitz once wrote of the 2004 elections:
Most of the media not controlled by the right wing tried to play the role of honest broker, giving equal weight to each interpretation. If one side said the sky was blue and the other said it was orange, journalists would work hard, for the sake of appearing balanced, to find some academic, even a color blind one, willing to say that the sky was indeed orange.
Unfortunately, the same still holds true today, and the Post feeling the need to balance a conversation with a gay man about how to prevent gay suicide with a homophobic rant from a crazy man who blames the gays for the suicides, is just the latest sad example of this fallacy.
It seems like many on the right can't stop gushing about Carl Paladino's recent remarks about homosexuality -- except, actually, Carl Paladino. Even after New York's Republican gubernatorial candidate Paladino issued an apology yesterday for his remarks to Orthodox Jewish leaders on Sunday, anti-gay conservatives keep praising his speech, which included a call to protect children from being "brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option" as heterosexual marriage.
Adding their voices to the many conservative pundits who have already applauded Paladino's comments, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah and CNSNews.com Editor-in-Chief Terence Jeffrey are now jumping on the bandwagon. In a post early this morning, Farah said that Paladino's comments were "perfectly reasonable" and said it's "undeniably true" that there's "an ugly, revolting side to the 'gay rights' movement." From the post:
Paladino doesn't want kids "brainwashed," he said. Most people don't realize that is exactly what happens in many or most public schools when it comes to homosexuality. Kids are taught values that would be anathema to their parents if they only knew what was happening. That's what Paladino was saying. He said there is an ugly, revolting side to the "gay rights" movement. That is undeniably true. When candidates boast about taking their kids to "gay pride parades," you have to wonder about their sanity. These are spectacles that could never be aired in their entirety on television because of obscenity laws.
Farah also falsely claimed that "the overwhelming number of Americans reject same-sex marriage." In fact, two recent polls -- one in September from the Associated Press, and one in August from CNN --show that a majority of Americans support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.
Jeffrey spewed similar vitriol in a post today, writing that "no prominent politician who questions the wholesomeness of same-sex sex can escape a vicious beating by the liberal elite" and that these beatings are "designed to uproot the laws and norms of our society from the immutable natural law that is the true foundation of our freedom."
He also furthered the idea that gays want to "brainwash" children by falsely suggesting that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit "ruled that parents cannot opt their kindergarteners out of Massachusetts public-schools classes that teach 5-year-olds that same-sex marriage is a good thing." Actually, the ruling simply stated that parents can't micromanage schools' curricula. The court never said parents don't have a right to move their children to another school, or a private school, or to homeschool them.
Paladino, in the meantime, issued a letter yesterday acknowledging that he made "mistakes" in his comments to the Jewish leaders. "I sincerely apologize for any comment that may have offended the gay and lesbian community or their family members. Any reference to branding an entire community based on a small representation of them is wrong," he wrote.
Too bad we'll never see Jeffrey and Farah apologizing for their own comments.
New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino recently said he didn't want children "brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option" as "getting married and raising a family." Right-wing pundits have since defended his remarks, calling his comments "dead on the money," "defensible," and "[not] bad at all."
In a column on the paper's On Faith blog, Perkins complained that "homosexual activist groups like GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) are exploiting" recent incidents of gay youth committing suicide after anti-gay "bullying." Perkins suggests that these tragedies are not caused by the homophobic attacks these individuals were subjected to, but rather because "homosexuals experience higher rates of mental health problems in general, including depression," and, according to Perkins, there's no "evidence to link this with society's general disapproval of homosexual conduct." Unfortunately for Perkins, the article he links to says no such thing.
Perkins links to a February 2002 American Psychologist article, which reported on the "results of several breakthrough studies are offering new insights on gay men, lesbians and bisexuals." While Perkins is right, "Several studies suggest that gay men, lesbians and bisexuals appear to have higher rates of some mental disorders compared with heterosexuals," he's totally wrong that these rates have nothing to do with discrimination. In fact, the article immediately goes on to report that "[d]iscrimination may help fuel these higher rates." The article reported: "In a study that examines possible root causes of mental disorders in LGB people, [Susan] Cochran [PhD] and psychologist Vickie M. Mays, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, explored whether ongoing discrimination fuels anxiety, depression and other stress-related mental health problems among LGB people. The authors found strong evidence of a relationship between the two." Several other studies back up this finding.
Undaunted that research completely undermines his bigoted claims, Perkins goes on to blame the "homosexual movement" for the contributing to the "sense of despair" that could have led to the recent suicides that have gripped headlines nationwide:
Some homosexuals may recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal--yet they have been told by the homosexual movement, and their allies in the media and the educational establishment, that they are "born gay" and can never change. This--and not society's disapproval--may create a sense of despair that can lead to suicide.
Perkins goes on to declare that being gay is a "self-destructive behavior," like "the excessive use of alcohol, drugs, reckless driving, or heterosexual activity outside of marriage." He announced that "homosexual conduct... qualifies as a behavior that is harmful to the people who engage in it and to society at large. It is not loving to encourage someone to indulge in such activities, no matter how much sensual pleasure they may derive from them."
National Coming Out Day, brought to you by the Washington Post.
From the October 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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From the October 11 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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Once again, Robert Knight has penned a bigoted column for the Washington Times. Knight claims that by sticking up for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, the ACLU is "trying to force sexual dystopia on high schools" and that the organization "insist[s] on promoting perversity as diversity." He also wrote: "In effect, the ACLU is at war with nature and nature's God."
From Knight's October 8 column:
[T]he ACLU was busy trying to force sexual dystopia on high schools in Mississippi. On Aug. 17, the ACLU and the ACLU of Mississippi sued the Wesson Attendance Center for leaving a picture out of the yearbook of a female student who insisted on dressing in a tuxedo instead of female attire.
The suit alleges that the school violated Ceara Sturgis' rights under federal code Title IX, which prohibits discrimination "based on sex and sex stereotypes," and the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection.
"It's unfair and unlawful to force students to conform to outdated notions about what boys and girls should look like," said Christine P. Sun, senior counsel with the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project.
Outdated? Perhaps we could solve the attire problem once and for all if everyone - and I mean everyone, including the football team - wore only burqas. It also would cover up those pesky cross necklaces and other Christian symbols, so it would be a win-win for the ACLU.
Back in March, the ACLU went after Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Miss., for canceling a prom because a lesbian wanted to show up with a girlfriend. Failing to allow Constance McMillen, 18, to turn the prom into a circus violated all sorts of constitutional rights to annoy your classmates, the ACLU contended, not in so many words. Constance is doing OK, though, nursing her grievances by starring as a victim of America's intolerance at leftist events.
In the ACLU's world, any public reflection of normalcy is regarded as a "sexual stereotype." In effect, the ACLU is at war with nature and nature's God, who specifically created male and female to be gloriously different and complementary.
Is any school safe from the ACLU's insistence on promoting perversity as diversity? Don't bet on it.
In an October 7 Washington Times op-ed, Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, accused the "Liberals of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) left" of attempting to "impose a radical social experiment on the American military." Donnelly called DADT's failure to pass "a triple victory for our military, but it could be undone if liberals succeed in backdoor efforts to impose the LGBT agenda on troops whose views have not been heard." From the Washington Times:
Liberals of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) left are really angry now. On Sept. 21, despite their multimillion-dollar public-relations and lobbying campaign, the U.S. Senate refused to impose a radical social experiment on the American military. Had the LGBT forces prevailed, military men and women would be required to pay the price. Liberals in Congress don't care - in the debate so far, they have treated the troops as an afterthought.
From the October 7 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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