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A proposed new federal hate crimes law would allow prosecution of crimes motivated by bias against homosexuality or “gender identity,” among other characteristics, and provide funding for the feds to go after hate criminals who local authorities fail to investigate or prosecute. But in their alternate universe, religious-right anti-gay groups have seized upon the act’s language protecting Americans of all “sexual orientations” to claim that it’s all a stealth operation aimed at legally protecting people with deviant sexual fetishes, including necrophilia and bestiality.
On May 5, for instance, the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) issued a claim that the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act would extend legal protections to pedophiles and necrophiliacs — those who are sexually attracted to children and human corpses, respectively — along with people with 545 other paraphilias. (Paraphilias are psychosexual disorders, typically involving sexual interest in non-human objects, non-consenting partners, or pain and humiliation. They do not include homosexuality, which is not considered a disorder by the American Psychiatric Association or any similar association of medical experts.)
The act says no such thing. After being contacted by writers at BoxTurtleBulletin, a blog that fact-checks anti-gay propaganda, the group issued a May 12 correction, though it did not bother to edit or delete the offending article on its website.
They weren’t the only ones. Exodus International, an “ex-gay” umbrella group that advocates so-called “conversion therapies” for homosexuals, formerly claimed on its website that the “APA [American Psychological Association] recognizes 30 human sexual orientations” including, among others, incest, prostitution and “telephone scatalogia.” That message appeared as a pop-up any time a reader scrolled over the word “orientation” on the Exodus website. After being reached by Ex-Gay Watch, a website that critically monitors the ex-gay movement, Exodus silently corrected pop-ups on its website to note, like IFI, that “sexual orientation,” in fact, refers to heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality. Period.
Other anti-gay groups simply keep on lying. The Liberty Counsel, a legal advocacy firm founded by the late Jerry Falwell, still claims that “[t]he hate crimes bill does not limit ’sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity’ and, thus, includes all these disorders and fetishes.” The far-right news site World Net Daily published a May 4 article headlined, “Next on Senate agenda? ‘Pedophile Protection Act’/‘Hate crimes’ law definitions would protect 547 sex ‘philias.’” Citizenlink, the magazine of the Focus on the Family, the nation’s largest Christian Right organization, didn’t mince words: “Even more concerning, the legislation could create special protection for pedophiles.” James Dobson, the group’s founder and president took the smear one step further, saying in a broadcast: “We have to assume that protection under the law would be extended to the 30 sexual disorders identified as such by American Psychiatric Association.” Dobson then went on to read a list that included incest and voyeurism. “I have to ask,” Dobson fulminated. “Have we gone completely mad? We’re going to protect all 30 of these forms of sexual perversion?” ( continue to full post… )
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Today is the 13th annual “Day of Silence,” an event organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to call attention to the bullying of sexual minorities in schools. And the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) is mad.
So mad, in fact, that it put up a ham-handed propaganda video on its website Wednesday, complete with a wicked teacher (who it suggests is a member of the National Education Association union) tossing a Bible in the trash, miserable kids with taped-over mouths forced to participate in the “Day of Silence,” and references to how school calendars have replaced Patriot’s Day and Easter vacation with “Earth Day and spring break” (“a day honoring the bravery of our forefathers and a time marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ supplanted by political correctness and radical environmentalism”). It goes on to describe how homosexuals have worked to be seen as “victims” even as they insidiously promote “tolerance“ and suggests that all is not what it seems.
“Hiding beneath this glossy veneer is the truth that in nearly every study, it is the homosexual who is more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, to accept abusive relationships, to acquire and spread sexually transmitted disease, to suffer in depression and doubt, even to view suicide as a solution. The median age of death of the homosexual man is 42. Only 9% live past age 65,” the narrator says.
Make that said.
Within hours of putting up the attack video, the IFI had snatched it down. First off, it had suggested the video was produced by a Baptist church in Arizona, but that church notified IFI that it was not the author and publicly denied being in any way involved. IFI fixed that up pretty quickly, attributing the video to another church, this one in Illinois, when it put back up the revamped video a few hours later. But there was one other little-noticed change, too.
When the video reappeared on the IFI website, two lines of narration had been mysteriously edited out: “The median age of death of the homosexual man is 42. Only 9% live past age 65.” What’s up with that? ( continue to full post… )
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Peter LaBarbera has spent more than 20 years on the hard edge of the religious right, ranging from a stint as a reporter for The Washington Times to a whole career as what he calls a “conservative critic of the homosexual activist movement.” He has been an official of far-right groups like Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, the Illinois Family Institute, and Accuracy in Media. The founder of the gay-bashing Lambda Report, LaBarbera is now president of Naperville, Ill.-based Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.
LaBarbera is no friend of gay people, whose lifestyles he characterizes as “aberrant” and whom he accuses of working diligently to “penetrate” the schools. But up until now, he hasn’t relied on the help of radical anti-Semites.
That ended the other day when LaBarbera — who claims to operate “in a spirit of love and truth” — posted portions of an article by one Ted Pike (right), the Oregon-based reverend who heads the National Prayer Network and who was described by LaBarbera as simply a “pro-family advocate.” (Pike’s article described an April 12 encounter in Champaign, Ill., which ended with one college student charged with an anti-gay hate crime for attacking another.) Pike may or may not be pro-family — but he is most definitely anti-Jew, as reflected in his endless rants about the “Jewish origins of bolshevism, Jewish dominance of Hollywood and the media, [and] Jewish control of Congress.” Last year, Pike said that the Jewish holy book, the Talmud, “is full of moral filth” and attacked mainstream Christian evangelical leaders for “carefully concealing the Jewish identity of those who corrupt Christian culture.” ( continue to full post… )