Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ever have a really good comeback days after the argument?

On November 29th, Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews. He was up against Tony Perkins of the Anti Gay hate group, Focus on the Family.

But before we get into this lets get a little background.

Tony Perkins is the head figure for a group called Focus on the Family. An Anti-gay group who consistently argues against gay marriage. This group is known for making statistics up out of thin air and quoting junk science reports. Recently the Focus on the Family group was identified as a hate group. Lumped right up there with the KKK. Who did this?; 

Enter Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
"The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education and other forms of advocacy, we work toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality. "
The SPLC defines a hate group by many criteria but mostly because of a groups need to spread lies and hate.

Why was the Family Research Council Listed?
You can find out right here:

So on to the debate itself. During the show in true Focus on the Family style Tony Perkins quoted the infamous American College of Pediatricians:

“If you look at the American College of Pediatricians, they say the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a danger to children,” Perkins said. 

Sounds pretty legitimate doesn't it? This was left to dead ear without any sort of rebuttle. 
And then 

"Perkins also referenced a 1988 article that came from a real scholarly journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior, that said 86% of child molesters in a particular study group identified themselves as homosexual or bisexual"

Again it sounds legitimate. And again, no rebuttle. The show abruptly ends and thats it.... Wait what?!?!?!?!
Yup that was it. 

Mark Potok the following day writes his response in the form of a blog. See it here:

In which he aptly points out the flaws. 

"In fact, the American College of Pediatricians is a tiny group of doctors who broke away from the American College of Pediatrics in 2002 because the latter group supported LGBT parental rights. The American College of Pediatricians, believed to now have about 200 members, explicitly demands, as a condition of membership, that would-be joiners “hold true to the group’s core beliefs … [including] that the traditional family unit, headed by an opposite-sex couple, poses far fewer risk factors in the adoption and raising of children.”

The group Perkins cited as authoritative has come under repeated attack by real scientific authorities. After it publishedFacts About Youth last spring, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association described the booklet as non-factual. Several individual researchers — including Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health — said the handbook misrepresented their findings. “It is disturbing to me to see special interest groups distort my scientific observations to make a point against homosexuality,” Collins wrote. “The information they present is misleading and incorrect.”
In other words, the American College of Pediatricians, despite its erudite name, is akin to the fake environmental front groups some energy corporations have set up to make dubious claims about the non-existence of global warming."

And continues:

Perkins also referenced a 1988 article that came from a real scholarly journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior, that said 86% of child molesters in a particular study group identified themselves as homosexual or bisexual. But the statement was entirely parenthetical to the article and, as other sex researchers have pointed out, does not provide any supporting data whatsoever. The claim is at stark odds with most other research into the nature of pedophiles. The American Psychological Association, for example, says in a policy statement that “homosexual men are not more likely to abuse children than heterosexual men are.”
This morning, Warren Throckmorton — a psychology professor at a Christian college who has counseled clients conflicted about their sexual identity for years — offered his insights into the SPLC’s criticisms: “Reviewing the charges leveled against the Christian groups, I think their responses are mostly unfortunate and unhelpful. The SPLC has identified some issues which are legitimate and have damaged the credibility of the groups on the [hate] list. Going forward, I hope Christians don’t rally around these groups but rather call them to accountability.”

Applause for Mark Potok? Absolutely not. Why? Because its too late. We need to be better prepared to respond to these types of things. Mr. Potok missed a glaring opppurtunity to point out why the Focus on the Family Group is listed as a hate group. For lying! and spreading mis information. 

Lets face it people are sheep. They are going to go on their marry way and repeat like parrots what they heard on this show. All the time repeating and mocking false information. Not a single one is going to do their own research into the issues just mimic what they watched on the magic black box.

Its frustrating as hell to see these things pass. We have to do better then this people. Watch some of Dan Savages interactions with Tony Perkins, You can find them on youtube. He comes prepared to discuss and knows what he is talking about. We need to stop giving the spotlight to people who are not prepared to speak about these issues. 

Where I appreciate Mark Potok and the great work of the SPLC, I am disturbed by the lack of information available to discuss and in reality may have caused more harm then done any good.

We are better then this. 

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