Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Why J. Matt Barber is demonstrably wrong - again

J. Matt Barber
Matt Barber is one of the reasons that his employer, Liberty Counsel, has been designated an anti-gay hate group by the SPLC. For years now, Mr. Barber has been obsessed with all things gay. Barber's spectacular homophobia, in all its vitriolic glory, depicts an equally insecure man behind the angry rhetoric. The holier-than-thou crackpot is also a divorced man. But I digress.

Consistent with the pathology Barber is claiming that gay men are intent on having sex with teenage boys. Perhaps Barber has some interesting fantasies.

Barber writes:
… this latest episode has once again shined the spotlight on the long-established link between the homosexual lifestyle/movement and pedophilia – a link that, despite “progressive” denials to the contrary, is hiding in plain sight.
The "episode" that Barber is relying upon involves Michael Egan who, at the age of 32, is claiming that he was abused as a 15 year-old. That would be 17 years ago. Egan is suing three prominent Hollywood figures for the alleged abuse. All three have vehemently denied the allegations. Some would say – indeed, I would say – that Egan is looking for a paycheck. The onetime minor part childhood actor doesn't seem to have much of a career. Yet, would it matter if the allegations were true? Not really.

I am reminded of Doug Phillips. Phillips is a Protestant pastor and former leader of a Christian ministry followed by the Duggar family as well as former child actor, Kirk Cameron. Phillips has been accused of using a teenage girl as a “personal sex slave” in a $1 million lawsuit. Can we draw the conclusion that all heterosexual men are intent on having sex with teenage girls? Or should we limit our speculation to Christian pastors?

Barber goes on to say:
Consider, for instance, a study published in the left-leaning Archives of Sexual Behavior of over 200 convicted pedophiles and pederasts. It found that “86 percent of offenders against males described themselves as homosexual or bisexual.” This demonstrates, as notes Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, that “homosexual or bisexual men are approximately 10 times more likely to molest children than heterosexual men.”
The Christianists trot out this study (which is never linked) every time they try to prove that gay men are a danger to children. I am sure that a much higher percentage of men who have molested girls would describe themselves as heterosexual or bisexual. And, no, that does not correlate, in any way whatsoever, to Peter Sprigg's Christian mathematics. Moreover, as Dr. Gregory Herek at UC, Davis explains:
This study was based on a retrospective review of the medical records of male sex offenders admitted to the Minnesota Security Hospital between 1975 and 1984. Apparently, 70% of the men abused girls, 26% abused boys, and 4% abused children of both sexes. (The paper is unclear in that it doesn't explain how perpetrators with multiple victims were counted.) The paper asserts in passing that "Eighty-six percent of offenders against males described themselves as homosexual or bisexual" (p. 83). However, no details are provided about how this information was ascertained, making it difficult to interpret or evaluate. Nor did the authors report the number of homosexual versus bisexual offenders, a distinction that the Groth and Birnbaum study (described above) indicates is relevant. 
Dr. Herek goes through the various research, including some of Paul Cameron's nonsense, in meticulous detail. He concludes:
The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children. This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so. And, as explained above, many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.
From there, Barber goes off on another favorite anti-gay fairy tale:
This makes perfect sense when coupled with another 2001 study in the same peer-reviewed publication. It found that nearly half of all “gay”-identified men who participated in research were molested by a homosexual pedophile as boys: “46 percent of homosexual men and 22 percent of homosexual women reported having been molested by a person of the same gender. This contrasts to only 7 percent of heterosexual men and 1 percent of heterosexual women reporting having been molested by a person of the same gender.”
Actually that makes no sense at all. Again, no link, no citation and no indication of who the authors are. In a 2000 fact sheet about sexual orientation, the American Psychiatric Association noted that “no specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for homosexuality has been identified, including histories of childhood sexual abuse.” They go on to say that sexual abuse does not appear to be any more prevalent among children who grow up and identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual than in children who grow up and identify as heterosexual.

Barber goes on the write “[t]he connection between homosexual abuse and “gay identity” is undeniable.” Undeniable? Really? What Mr. Barber lacks in erudition he tries make up for in sheer unhinged zeal.

Who to believe? Barber from an unidentified and unattributed source or the American Psychiatric Association? That's a tough one. From there Barber goes on and on, hitting the requisite points, from Kevin Jennings to Harry Hay. It's part fiction and part conservative Christian rote.

The bottom line to all of this is that Mr. Barber has a simplistic agenda; Gay is evil. Christian is good. The reasons for his apparent derangement are irrelevant. Rather, it is the relevant facts that I take issue with. Barber quotes Sprigg, Sprigg quotes Barber and it all rattles around in some bizarre echo chamber. It all gets regurgitated over and over again by uninquisitive people with the intellectual curiosity of a rutabaga. These are not people seeking scientific truth. Real researchers start with a hypothesis and eventually draw conclusions from tests and evidence. These folks start with a conclusion and work backwards to find supporting evidence through selective observation (counting the hits while discarding the misses) and conjecture. If it doesn't fit they are perfectly happy sticking a size 12 foot into a size nine shoe. Ouch!

Frankly, it all gives me a colossal headache. But I'll be back when the next bit of batshit, from the usual suspects, hits my radar.
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