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The Illinois Family Institute Again Cites Discredited Research, Briefly

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?

Well, the IFI has for some weeks now been in a hot dispute with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which publishes this blog and also began listing IFI as a “hate group” earlier this year. The group has accused SPLC, ironically enough, of “bullying” IFI by listing it as a hate group (apparently, that’s okay for homophobic kids and teachers, but not for critics of IFI). IFI official Laurie Higgins has angrily disputed the hate-group label, which was mainly based on the posting on IFI’s website of a laudatory story about the discredited work of anti-gay “researcher” Paul Cameron, a man who has been thrown out of two professional associations because, as one said, he “consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism.” IFI’s story on Cameron — “New Study Shows that Homosexuals Live 20 Fewer Years” — was preceded by what amounted to a full-throated endorsement of Cameron from then-IFI Executive Director Peter LaBarbera. (“Paul Cameron’s work has been targeted for ridicule by homosexual activists, and he’s been demonized by the left,” LaBarbera wrote, “but this should not discount his findings.”) Higgins wrote angrily that SPLC’s listing was based on a single article, posted in 2005, and that she would not remove it because it showed how “flimsy” SPLC’s characterization of IFI was.

As the SPLC noted years ago, the Cameron “study” cited by IFI was based on obituaries in gay newspapers and has been completely discredited. It was published in what IFI characterized as “the scientific journal, Psychological Reports” — actually a vanity publication that charges “researchers” a mere $27.50 a page to publish their work. Interestingly, it was another version of the Cameron study on gay longevity — the subject of the piece published by IFI — that was referenced in the video IFI put up this week. But now Higgins has apparently decided that IFI should avoid repeating the Cameron defamations, and thus the scrubbing of the video it published. The film also apparently managed to get something else wrong — if you believe IFI’s story on Cameron, that is. That article says that the Centers for Disease Control found that “9% of heterosexuals who died of AIDS were at least 65 years of age.” In the video — until it was scrubbed by IFI — the claim was that only 9% of homosexual men live past the age of 65. Needless to say, those are entirely different statements.

But who’s surprised by that? When an organization like IFI relies on the work of discredited crackpots like Cameron, what’s a fact wrong here and there? Higgins said weeks ago that she would look into SPLC claims about Cameron. But so far not much has happened — other than IFI’s obvious attempt to avoid the embarrassment of, once again, quoting the infamous Paul Cameron to support its homophobia.

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