The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Minnesota Anti-LGBT Group Spouts, Then Hides, Timeworn Lies

By Robert Steinback on May 27, 2011 - 3:00 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

Among the most obsessed anti-gay activists, lies die hard.

The Minnesota Family Council (MFC) — an independent affiliate of both the Family Research Council and the more-moderate Focus on the Family — was one of the most prominent proponents of a state referendum to constitutionally outlaw same-sex marriage. After the state Legislature’s May 21 vote to place the referendum on the ballot, MFC President Tom Prichard told the media he hoped that Minnesotans could hold a “respectful discussion” about the issue that wouldn’t get “personal.”

Prichard, evidently, hoped LGBT people and their advocates wouldn’t take personally the fact that his organization was spreading vicious falsehoods about them. Bloggers quickly revealed the existence of a “legislative handbook” on the MFC’s website claiming, among other things, that “the homosexual population includes a disproportionate number of pedophiles,” that “some homosexuals have become urolagniacs (ingesting urine and feces) and engage in bestiality as well as other deviant behaviors,” and that LGBT people are abnormal and disordered — all claims that have been roundly rejected by credible scholarly researchers. The handbook also advocated the removal of “sexual orientation” from the state’s Human Rights Act, asserted that “[t]here is no evidence that a significant number of homosexuals are being discriminated against,” and recommended that a “religious and conscientious objector” clause should be added to the law — evidently to allow Christians to ignore the legally protected human rights of LGBT people.

The MFC quickly removed that section of its handbook from its website, although it can be seen here. On Wednesday, Prichard defended the postings in a National Public Radio interview as getting “into the nature of homosexuality and homosexual behavior.” But he didn’t restore the lurid material to his group’s website. (Read the Intelligence Report’s recent article debunking the anti-gay movement’s 10 key myths about LGBT people.)

The MFC attributes much of its handbook data on homosexuality to a 1994 publication called “Informed Answers to Gay Rights Questions” by Roger Magnuson, dean of the Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy, a Christian law school in Fresno, Calif. In that publication, Magnuson repeated many of the claims he made in a 1990 book, “Are Gay Rights Right?” In a review of the earlier book, Dr. Ralph Blair, a New York City psychotherapist and founder of the Homosexual Community Counseling Center and Evangelicals Concerned, wrote that it was “filled with inflammatory stereotypes and misinformation.” According to Blair, Magnuson wrote, for example, “Most homosexuals have had some experience with … sadomasochism, group orgies, bondage, or transvestism” and that “one-fifth of all homosexuals admitted to having sexual contact, or at least masturbating, with animals.” Blair was so astounded by Magnuson’s illogic, misrepresentations of research and unsupported assertions that he wrote, “How can a Christian write such a book? How can Christians buy into such a book?” He concluded, “This is a book about homosexuals bashed by a fundamentalist who hasn’t spent enough time in the library.”

Although he hadn’t read Magnuson’s later book, Blair concluded from a synopsis that it amounted to the “same misinformation and misinterpretation.” In an E-mail to Hatewatch, Blair wrote of Magnuson, “I assume he is more careful serving his law clients than he is in writing against homosexuality.”

Other “facts” presented by the MFC – such as the claim that domestic violence rates among homosexuals are four to 25 times higher than for married couples — were drawn from material published by the Family Research Institute, headed by thoroughly discredited anti-gay pseudo-scientist Paul Cameron. Past MFC posts have cited other thoroughly debunked Cameron statistics.

In December, MFC representative Barb Anderson proudly claimed credit for keeping LGBT-themed school safety materials out of the Anoka-Hennepin School District near Minneapolis, which saw at least four LGBT students die from suicide during the past two school years after being bullied by classmates. Anderson, speaking on a radio show hosted by fellow anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, blamed the suicides on gay advocacy groups, saying they were “creating an environment where these children that are sexually confused suddenly become affirmed as a homosexual or that they are born that way, and then these kids are locked into a lifestyle with their choices limited, and many times this can be disastrous to them as they get into the behavior which leads to disease and death in some cases.” While acknowledging that bullying exists and has “just been awful,” Anderson said, that shouldn’t be a springboard for “promoting” homosexuality.

Focus on the Family had its own bit of drama last week. Its president and chief executive officer, Jim Daly, set conservative (and surprised liberal) tongues aflutter in an interview with the Christian publication World, in which he said of the same-sex marriage issue, “We’re losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don’t know if that’s going to change with a little more age — demographers would say probably not. We’ve probably lost that.”

But just a few days later, Daly was backpedaling. In a Washington Post opinion piece Wednesday, Daly insisted, “I am not waving a white flag. I’m not even contemplating picking one up. There is still much work to be done by those of us in the faith community to advocate for marriage as it has been defined, and practiced, by every civilized society for millennia. … [W]e cannot expect the culture to be the church. As Christians, we are called to speak the truth in love, and advance it in public policy, regardless of opinion polls or shifting political winds. But our responsibility doesn’t end at the bully pulpit or the ballot box. We also must model the beauty and permanence of traditional marriage to society. And, to be frank, we have not done a very good job in that regard.”

  • dave

    Freud wrote : “It’s all about sex” The longer I’m alive the more tue it sounds. He also said “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” . The tough part seems to be to know when its not about sex.

  • DLGeorge

    What’s with this obsession about sex? All these supposed “small government” folks are so fascinated with what others do in the privacy of their homes that there are laws on the books, and more coming constantly, about consenting adult sex, especially gay sex. It’s these crazy attitudes about sex that have most likely been the cause of so many sexually-disturbed people, like pedophiles and rapists. Sheesh! Let’s focus on real problems, like jobs and affordable healthcare. And controlling the budget. Come on, America, drop the sex obsession bullshit and let’s get with real, and important, change.

  • Sam Molloy

    Johnathan, I believe that your bringing up points like these is serving God very well.

  • Pickwick

    What I can’t understand is why anti-gay bigotry isn’t in the DSM. If any group of people is mentally disordered, it’s folks who obsess on other folk’s sexual practices.

  • Beverly Kurtin

    Pardon me, I hope nobody is offended when I say that the terms “good” and “Christian” is an oxymoron. Consider this for a moment: One hundred percent of all gays, lesbians and transgendered people WERE BORN FROM STRAIGHT COUPLES!
    I have witnessed “good Christian” parents throw out their son when he told them that he was attracted to other males. THREW HIM OUT WHEN HE WAS JUST FOURTEEN!
    How hypocritical can people get? I know gays and lesbians and even one lady who was unfortunately born in a male body. They could teach Christians a few things about love and respect. I have been blessed to be born “normal.” But that does not give me a license to someone who was born a NORMAL homosexual or transgendered individual. Homosexuality and transgenderism occurs in nature! A certain fish changes its sex whenever it is needed to save the population. Not enough males? Change and vice-versa. Apes, monkeys and other near human animals are “gay.” Ever been to a zoo? I was at a zoo once when a gorilla (a beautiful silverback male) started to masturbate. A “church woman” was horrified and told a nearby keeper to tell the gorilla to stop what it was doing immediately, it was “unnatural.” I laughed so hard I almost wet myself, the keeper did the same. “Lady, it is a wild animal, it is as natural a thing as you can imagine!” She insisted that someone in the zoo had to teach the poor critter how to masturbate! (With that, I did wet myself.) She was the funniest thing I’d seen in years. She tried to round up her good little Christian boys and girls, but they were fascinated and wouldn’t leave.
    It is a sad thing when hate groups claim to be “good Christians” when they are so filled with hate for anyone who isn’t them. Isn’t there something in the bible that says love your neighbor as yourself?
    Approximately ten percent of all human beings are homosexual. That number has remained level for hundreds of thousand generations and isn’t about to change. If you can’t accept homosexual or transgendered people, at least keep your bigotry to yourself and stop claiming to be “good Christians.”

    I will admit that I am not a Christian of any stripe; however, I have met a handful of people who WERE fine people and fine Christians. They never had to go around telling others what they were, they LIVED their religion. Those people I loved a lot.

  • RLavigueur

    Mick,

    I don’t think the SPLC is intentionally mocking religious beliefs here, they are calling attention to the lies and hypocrisy of some of those who purport to be “Good Christians”, lies and hypocrisy that are actually among the main reasons support for same sex marriage is growing in your country. This makes sense, since the problem with an argument against homosexuality that is based on the fact that we’re all perverted child rapists loses its power when people realize it’s not true. Lying also tends to make people suspicious of your other arguments and your position in general. After all, if your best evidence of homosexual depravity is a fabrication, people start to wonder if you even have any legitimate evidence to back up your position.

    As a “homosexual”, it grows very tiring to hear Christians like yourself complain about how the gay rights advocates are attacking Christianity. For one thing, 85% of America professes to be Christian, but 100% of Christians do not oppose same sex marriage. There are a range of positions within the umbrella of Christianity; it’s a broad religion with different people who claim the title interpreting scripture and faith very, very differently.

    More importantly, by and large we are not interested in mocking your or any other Christian’s beliefs; most of us couldn’t care less what you believe or even how you act so long as you don’t harm us as a result. We oppose efforts to impose your beliefs upon others who do not share them, and we especially tend to mock and oppose justifications to such actions where they are based on lies, distortions, and appeals to fear. The organizations detailed above are infamous for these tactics, the SPLC, on the other hand, is not.

    Anyway, if you have any specific points or comments about the SPLC’s article here or its feedback you’d care to point out as insensitive or negative stereotyping, I’m always happy to debate the issues involved.

  • Mick

    Interesting comments . So we judge all of the 85 percent of this country that confess to be Christians what this organization informs us about ? And we have to agree with gay marriage to be deserving of your respect ?

    Sounds like what this organization did was expose some folks who attempted to make homosexuals out to have some characteristics that were quite negative . I would supporters of this organization would not in turn do the same thing ? Whats the deal here .

    Appears unless some one thinks like you on gay marriage or is a Christian you do the same thing with the negative stereotypes . To the point you mock religious beliefs . . I wonder if your group will be on the next Hate Watch ?

  • Jonathan

    There is a scripture in one of Paul’s letters (Galatians or Colossians, can’t quite remember) that says in part (and I am paraphrasing) “…make it your aim to live quietly and MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS”…why is it that Christians keep picking and choosing what they want out of the bible and ignoring verses like this one as well as 1 (or is it 2) Timothy 3:16 (again paraphrasing) “ALL scripture is inspired of god and beneficial for teaching…for setting things straight and for disciplining in righteousness”

    I mean seriously folks, when was the last time you saw a woman running around town having just started her period yelling “unclean, unclean”

    If the good book tells you to but out of the affairs of others when why don’t they do it??? Because they are no more servants of the god of the bible than I am, that’s why

  • Ryan

    Anti-gay activists seem to spend an awful lot of time imagining what homosexuals get up to in their sex lives, and I have to say their imaginations are somewhat vivid.

    I wonder why? ;)

  • Tom

    Ironically, the MFC recently honored Newt Gingrich (who is married to wife #3, who he cheated with while married to wife #2, who he cheated with while married to wife #2, who he served with divorce papers while she was in a hospital bed recovering from cancer surgery) at a Minneapolis dinner as a moral leader. Apparently the MFC values chronic phlandering and invited Gingrich because Rudy Gulianai and Arnold Schwartzenager weren’t available.

  • Linnea

    “Called to speak the truth in love.” Oh, really? Then why is there so much hate and lies coming from the mouths of self-proclaimed Christians??
    “You can put earrings on a hog, but it just doesn’t hide the ugliness.” -Jim Hightower