CommunityPam's House Blend

Did Concerned Women for America commit a 'super distortion?'

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Sometimes we get so caught up in calling religious right groups liars and bigots that we sometimes neglect giving specific proof of our claims.

With that in mind, I want to focus on an interesting item I discovered on the Concerned Women for America's (CWA) webpage.

In the 2005 piece which remains on the webpage, Several Reasons to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage, CWA outlines several reasons why Americans should oppose same-sex marriage.

Like the majority of information put out by religious right groups, this list is full of distortions and studies taken out of context. However, there is one thing I want to zero in on:

One epidemiological study found that “gay” men lose 8-20 years off their lifespan. (Source: Hogg RS, Strathdee SA, Craib KJP, O'Shaughnessy MV, Montaner JSG, Schechter MT. Modelling the impact of HIV disease on mortality in gay and bisexual men. Int J Epidemiol 1997;26(3):657-61)

In Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver AIDS has been the leading cause of early death among men since 1989. (Source: Hogg RS, Heath KV, Strathdee SA, Montaner JSG, O'Shaughnessy MV, Schechter MT. HIV/AIDS mortality in Canada: evidence of gender, regional and local area differentials. AIDS 1996;10:889-94)

Now those who are familiar with my work on religious right distortions know that the first citation I showed is a distortion of a 1997 Canadian study. We know this because in 2001, the six researchers listed complained about how their work was being distorted.

The fact that CWA cited this study four years after the authors' clarification says a lot about the organization's dishonest.

However, CWA has “proof” that its citation of the 1997 study is accurate:

The above confirmed in other studies as well. Studies in Omega: The Journal of Death and Dying and the International Journal of Epidemiology indicate that homosexuality can take decades off men's lives.

Please note that CWA did not name the authors of these two studies. And I think I know why.

The first study from Omega: The Journal of Death and Dying was co-authored by our friend, the discredited Paul Cameron.

That's another mark on CWA's dishonesty.

The second study is even more interesting – the study from the International Journal of Epidemiology.

I think that it is the 1997 study – the same study CWA claims is proof of the alleged short life span of gay men.

So breaking it down:

CWA says that a 1997 study in the International Journal of Epidemiology proves that gay men have short life span.

It also says other studies prove this point. One of the studies CWA lists as proof is the original 1997 study.

If you doubt me, then I invite you to search the International Journal of Epidemiology's archives like I did.

When I looked for information, I couldn't find anything talking about the “gay life span” except for the 1997 study and the 2001 clarification.

But just in case I am in error, I emailed CWA asking for more information.

I was polite but I doubt that I will receive an answer.

Continuing to distort a study even after it's been clarified as well as relying on a discredited researcher is bad enough.

But if the CWA actually has the cojones to commit such a bold act as distorting the same study in two different contexts, then I'm simply speechless.

Because I have officially seen it all.

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Alvin McEwen

Alvin McEwen