crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

While we are grousing about marriage equality rights, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and hate crimes legislation, a story has been slipping through our fingers.

Well to be honest, it's not necessarily a story that has sprung up suddenly but rather quietly crept on us through the years.

There has been a steady number of complaints from researchers and medical professionals as to how their work is distorted by the religious right.

The lastest complaint comes via Truth Wins Out from three researchers who have complained as to how Focus on the Family misused their work to claim that there is a link between child sexual abuse and homosexuality:

In the article, “Childhood Sexual Abuse and Male Homosexuality”, (Focus on the Family's Jeff)Johnston wrote, “Many pro-gay researchers, activists and theorists deny that there could be a connection between child sexual abuse and adult homosexuality.” As proof of a supposed connection, he cited a 2008 book, “Unequal Opportunity: Health Disparities Affecting Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States”, edited by Professors Richard J. Wolitski, Ron Stall, and Ronald O. Valdiserri.

When approached by Truth Wins Out, the researchers were surprised by the manipulation of their data and agreed to respond.

“We want to respond to a recent Focus on the Family characterization of scientific findings reported in our book, ‘Unequal Opportunity: Health Disparities Affecting Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States’ that misrepresented findings in the book to suggest that childhood sexual abuse causes male homosexuality,” Stall and Valdiseri wrote in their letter. “The Focus on the Family description of the findings reported in Unequal Opportunity is inaccurate and, in our opinion, a distortion of the scientific literature.”

According to Truth Wins Out, this complaint is the 10th one in two years. Others include:

Dr. Lisa Diamond – University of Utah, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Dr. Carol Gilligan – Professor of education and law at New York University and author of In a Different Voice

Angela Phillips – Professor, Goldsmiths College in London, and Author of “The Trouble With Boys”

Dr. Kyle Pruett – Professor of child psychiatry, the Yale University School of Medicine, and author of Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child.

Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc – Associate professor, school of nursing, University of British Columbia

Dr. Robert Spitzer – Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University

Dr. Judith Stacy – Professor of sociology, New York University

And it goes farther back than that:

A. Nicholas Groth – Groth complained twice (1984, 2002) about how his work was unfairly used by first Paul Cameron and then the Family Research Council to make a connection between pedophilia and homosexuality. (Editor's note – one of the links – the 2002 letter courtesy of HRC – isn't working. But I have a printed copy of the original webpage).

Robert Garofalo – The Massachusetts pediatrician who 1998 complained that Concerned Women for America and other religious right groups were distorting his work to claim that the lgbt orientation is indicative of unhealthy behaviors. (Boston doctor says ads distorted his work on gays, The Boston Globe, August 4, 1998).

Joanne Hall, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee’s College of Nursing Professor who complained how the religious right distorted a Nursing Research article she wrote to claim that all lesbians have a serious problem with drug abuse.

And last but least, my favorite (because I've referenced it so many times):

Robert S. Hogg, Stefan A. Strathdee, Kevin J.P. Craib, Michael V. Shaughnessy, Julio Montaner, and Martin T. Schehter – Six Canadian researchers behind a 1997 study consistently misused by the religious right to claim that “homosexual behavior takes 20 years off of your life.”

In 2001 the researchers said that their work was being distorted and yet the 1997 study continues to consistently be misused.

So counting Truth Wins Out's 10 and the four I have dug up, that's 14 complaints of misusage of scientific research by the religious right.

How many more are needed before some serious snooping is done in this situation?

Maybe if Perez Hilton put it on his page, then perhaps The Advocate would devote a cover story to the subject.

Who knows?

Alvin McEwen

Alvin McEwen