Monday, April 04, 2011

Sorry Newt, but the American Family Association IS a hate group

Bryan Fischer - one reason why AFA is a hate group.
With the Family Research Council taking the lead in attempting to smack down the Southern Poverty Law Center's charges of it and other "morality groups" being anti-gay hate groups (and doing a pitifully bad job at it), it's almost easy to forget the other groups on SPLC's list.

Luckily we have former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to remind us of another group on the list - the American Family Association.

Speaking with Think Progress today, Gingrich insisted that the AFA - a group he is teaming up with in order to create a network of "political oriented pastors"- isn't a hate group. This is what he said during the interview:

"You bring a series of allegations that I can’t check about a group that is largely a Christian based membership group, that is fairly widespread in its membership and I suspect most of those people do not in any way think of themselves as a hate group even if that’s how you would characterize them."

 According to the SPLC:

Methodist minister Donald E. Wildmon formed the National Federation for Decency in 1977, changing its name to the American Family Association (AFA) in 1988. Today, the group, which was taken over by Tim Wildmon after his father’s 2010 retirement, claims a remarkable 2 million online supporters and 180,000 subscribers to its AFA Journal. It also broadcasts over nearly 200 radio stations.

The AFA seeks to support “traditional moral values,” but in recent years it has seemed to specialize in “combating the homosexual agenda.” In 2009, it hired Bryan Fischer, the former executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, as its director of analysis for government and policy. Taking a page from the anti-gay fabulist Scott Lively (see Abiding Truth Ministries, above), Fischer claimed in a blog post last May 27 that “[h]omosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” (Ironically, the elder Wildmon was widely denounced as an anti-Semite after suggesting that Jews control the media, which the AFA says “shows a genuine hostility towards Christians.”) Fischer has described Hitler as “an active homosexual” who sought out gays “because he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough.” He proposed criminalizing homosexual behavior in another 2010 blog post and has advocated forcing gays into “reparative” therapy. In a 2010 “action alert,” the AFA warned that if homosexuals are allowed to openly serve in the military, “your son or daughter may be forced to share military showers and barracks with active and open homosexuals.”

Gays aren’t the AFA’s only enemies. In late 2009, Fischer suggested that all Muslims should be banned from joining the U.S. military. “Islam is a totalitarian political ideology,” Fischer added in August 2010. “It is as racist as the KKK. ... Allowing a mosque to be built in town is fundamentally no different that granting a building permit to a KKK cultural center built in honor of some King Kleagle.” A little later, according to the Huffington Post, Fischer said that whatever the government does to "to make it unthinkable for America's youth to join a white supremacist group," it should also do "to make it as unthinkable for a resident of America  to embrace Islam." Around the same time, the Huffington Post said, he blogged that Muslim values are "grossly incompatible with American values," and therefore no place in America should allow a mosque to be built.

And lest we forget,  Fischer is the same guy who:

  • wrote a ridiculous piece about the supposed lack of morals of Native Americans.

Aside from Fischer, AFA is the same group which publishes the phony news journal One News Now, which supposed publishes news from a "Christian point of view." Of course this usually means the articles are inaccurate and one-sided.  And some of them border on ludicrously offensive, such as the one asserting that African-Americans who vote for Obama are choosing their race over their faith.

And of course, what "respectable" anti-gay group wouldn't make the inaccurate homosexuals are oversexed, diseased pedophiles claim:

  • A direct mail letter from Don Wildmon of the American Family Association included this emotional appeal. "For the sake of our children and society, we must OPPOSE the spread of homosexual activity! Just as we must oppose murder, stealing, and adultery! Since homosexuals cannot reproduce, the only way for them to 'breed' is to RECRUIT! And who are their targets for recruitment? Children!"

  • Among homosexual lifestyle and sexual practices are included: "sex with boys...eating and/or rubbing themselves with the feces of their partners...urinating on or in their with animals."-, Homosexuality in America: Exposing the Myths.

    • Homosexuality is "a sexual behavior that is killing our young people and destroying families". - AFA ACTION ALERT via email, 4/25/97

      • "homosexuals seem to favor leniency regarding pedophilia" -, Homosexuality in America: Exposing the Myths.

        • "Prominent homosexual leaders and publications have voiced support for pedophilia, incest, sadomasochism, and even bestiality." -, Homosexuality in America: Exposing the Myths.

        Michael Johnston - another reason why AFA is a hate group.
        And to top it all off, there is a matter of the Michael Johnston controversy.

        Johnston was an "ex-gay" leader who spoke about how he turned his back on homosexuality after catching HIV. He was even featured in a video made by the American Family Association called "It's Not Gay." However, in 2003 it was discovered that he was having unprotected gay sex.

        So what did the AFA do? Why the organization continued to sell the video featuring Johnston talking about his "freedom from homosexuality" regardless of the fact that Johnston's actions proved his claim to be an ugly lie.

        Bottom line - if the American Family Association is a Christian organization, then God must have lowered his standards.

        The only reason why the AFA should be considered as a hate group is because there isn't a word which better describes the depths of the depravity this group has sunk in defense of its supposed "values."

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        Hate group organizing pastors and their churches and other Monday midday news briefs

        Porno Pete LaBarbera's 'Truth Academy' fails AGAIN - I swear Peter, you are the cure for the Monday blues. Heads up to my friend Matt Algren for keeping a close watch on this madness.

        Fischer's Religious Test: Romney's Mormon Faith "Ought To Be An Issue in 2012"
        - Bryan Fischer doesn't like Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon. How delicious.

        An Iowa Stop in a Broad Effort to Revitalize the Religious Right - All jokes aside - when a known anti-gay hate group is organizing scores of pastors it can only mean trouble. But for who?

        NOM Goes Ballistic Over Virginia’s New Foster Care And Adoption Regulations - Pay attention folks. I have been noticing how the National Organization for Marriage has been encroaching on other issues besides marriage equality.

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        Family Research Council accidentally admits truth about hate group charges

        On two recent occasions, the Family Research Council has again attacked the Southern Poverty Law Center's accusation that it passes along propaganda and bad information about the lgbt community.

        But if you ask me, FRC should have left well enough alone.

        The first instance was during a recent long-winded prayer to God expressing how the organization would like the so-called cultural battle in the United States to turn out.

        FRC's "prayer"  encompassed such issues as Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, DADT, and ENDA. 

        But what caught my attention is this passage about supposed "Guerilla Warfare Against Conservatives:"

        Human Rights Campaign (HRC) leader Joe Solmonese’s called upon homosexual activists everywhere to wage war against Tony Perkins for writing that Christian compassion requires speaking the truth about homosexuality; then the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) asserted and continues to assert that FRC is a “hate group” because it publishes social science data with which some homosexual activists disagree.

        The section about "Christian compassion" actually links to the piece Perkins wrote in The Washington Post last year regarding the "supposed harms of homosexuality." It's the piece which he got justifiably grilled for deliberately distorting scientific data.

        And that has a lot to do with the subtle change in which FRC addresses the problems with SPLC in the next passage of its prayer.

        FRC interpreted the problem with SPLC calling it a hate group as simply because "it publishes social science data which some homosexual activists disagree"

        This a big shift from what FRC and its supporters, such as Mike Huckabee, were initially claiming.

        Originally, FRC said that it were under attack for upholding the "Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman."

        Now,  it seems that FRC is giving a tacit acknowledgment that the problems with SPLC  goes beyond the organization's supposed "Biblical beliefs."

        And THAT is exactly what the argument should be about - i.e. FRC's deliberate distortion of scientific data to demonize the lgbt community, whether it be:

        • inaccurately comparing married heterosexual couples in the United States to unmarried gay couples in foreign countries, or

        And then came the second incident in which FRC addressed SPLC's accusations.

        FRC member Peter Sprigg gave an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network in which he said the following:

        “I don't expect everyone to agree with some of the things that we assert about the homosexual lifestyle but we do present evidence in support of those assertions. And they are certainly not falsehoods or fabrications,” Sprigg said.

        However, Sprigg is inaccurate. He went on to make an assertion that most men who molest boys identify as gay or bisexual.

        But, according to OnTop Magazine:

        Research on the subject, however, suggests that most abusers identify as straight or have no interest in consensual sexual relationships with adults. In 1978, after screening nearly 200 men incarcerated in Massachusetts for molesting children, Dr. Nicholas Groth concluded that “the adult heterosexual male constitutes a greater risk to the underage child than does the adult homosexual male.”

        That point is important to remember because in 1992, FRC came out with a study making the same assertion regarding gay men and pedophilia that Sprigg made to CBN. Dr. Groth at that time wrote FRC a letter demanding that his work be removed from its study:

        If you are, in fact, familiar with my research, you must realize that my studies have indicated that homosexual males pose less risk of sexual harm to children (both male and female)--from both an absolute and a percentage incidence rate--than heterosexual males. Your statement that "the evidence indicates that disproportionate numbers of gay men seek adolescent males or boys as sexual partners" appears to come from the assumption that if an adult male is attracted to a male child, this adult male's sexual orientation is ipso facto homosexual.

        Since your report, in my view, misrepresents the facts of what we know about this matter from scientific investigation, and does not indicate that my studies on this topic reach conclusions diametrically opposed to yours, I would appreciate your removing any reference to my work in your paper lest it appear to the reader that my research supports your views.

        Furthermore, the CBN report made reference to a study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior which supposedly backed up FRC's position regarding gay men and pedophilia.

        But  CBN conveniently didn't mention that FRC head Tony Perkins was again justifiably grilled for how he distorted the study on MSNBC's Hardball.

        In that particular case,  Perkins inaccurately used the study to generalize about the entire gay male community. In addition, he misquoted the study to further generalize about gay men.

        All in all, the only thing Sprigg spoke accurately about in the CBN interview was the need for us to start debating the claims FRC makes about the lgbt community. I agree fully with that. And let's begin the debate with how FRC gathers its data. 

        FRC is not as blatantly hateful as the Klan, but that makes the organization more dangerous. Under the veneer of respectability and morality, FRC either passes off  junk science or presents social science in a wrong manner to deliberately smear the lgbt community and make us appear - inaccurately - as a public health risk and a threat to religious liberty.

        Clearly SPLC's accusations are having an effect on FRC if it feels the need to constantly address them.

        However, FRC's problem is that every time it addresses these charges, the organization digs itself deeper in its hole of lies.

        Related posts:

        The top 12 lies of Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council

        The Family Research Council's deceptive use of social science to defend DOMA 

        Family Research Council pulling the 'gay = promiscuous pedophiles' card to defend DOMA

        Family Research Council has yet to come out with 'detailed response' against SPLC charges 

        Family Research Council defends itself with distorted studies . . . again

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