Why we should care about Paul Cameron
crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
In the past days, I have talked about discredited researcher Paul Cameron.
But if you want a short recap:
Paul Cameron is the head of the Family Research Institute, an organization declared an official hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He has been censured, rebuked, and called the carpet on numerous occasions by people on the left and the right for his tendency to use bad research techniques as well as manipulate data to claim that lgbts are leeches on society.
He has been caught making up tales about gay men castrating children in restrooms, and called out on his claims that gays have a “short life span,” molest children at a high rate, and engage in extremely deviant sexual practices (including those involving feces and gerbils).
In 1983, he was dismissed from the American Psychological Association after refusing to cooperate in an investigation brought about by member complaints of his work.
Since I’ve written this series I have been disappointed with the reaction of some in the lgbt community.
“This isn’t a big deal.”
“Paul Cameron is just a crackpot.”
“You are wasting your time talking about him.”
It's a mistake to dismiss Cameron as a mere crackpot when one looks at his connection to so-called legitimate religious right groups.
He has been and still continues to be the go-to guy (although covertly at times) by them when it comes to pushing bad theories about lgbts.
In the past, they relied on Cameron heavily.
In 1991, a Colorado amendment was created to ban gay-rights ordinances. Backers of this amendment, Amendment 2, used Cameron’s data in their position statement. Also, the week before the 1992 vote over 100,000 copies of one of his pamphlets, What Homosexuals Do, went across Colorado. Not surprisingly, the amendment passed. (It was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.)
In 1992 during the anti-gay referendum campaign in Colorado, Cameron was the “chief scientific consultant” for organizations for the referendum.
In 1994, when gays and lesbians challenged the validity of Amendment 2, state Attorney General Gail Norton paid Cameron $15,000 for his research and wanted to use him as an “expert witness.” When informed of his reputation, Norton used neither him nor his research.
Anti-gay spokesperson Robert Knight (formerly of Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council), in 1994, cited Cameron's work in testimony in front of Congress opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
Since that time, Cameron's work was cited here and there but his effectiveness lessened due to his dubious reputation.
However, he did enjoy a short resurgence when George Bush was re-elected president in 2004.
In May 2005, Cameron announced the completion of another study that supposedly proved that homosexuality is more dangerous than cigarette smoking and being overweight.
What he did was take over 10,000 obituaries from the gay newspaper the Washington Blade and compare them to a CDC report entitled AIDS Cases in Adolescents and Adults, by Age—United States, 1994-2000.
He claimed that this supported his gay life span study. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said otherwise.
Ronald Valdiserri, deputy director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, said Cameron uses bad methodology.
He also said:
“[The CDC] does not collect statistics on the life span of gay men. While gay men continue to be severely impacted by HIV and AIDS, AIDS-related death data cannot be used to indicate that homosexual men live shorter lives than heterosexual men overall.”
In June 2005, when Texas Governor Rick Perry signed a “defense of marriage” bill, accompanying him was televangelist Ron Parsley. Parsley had this to say about homosexuality:
“Gay sex is a veritable breeding ground for disease. Only one percent of the homosexual population in America will die of old age. The average life expectancy for a homosexual in the United States discounting AIDS is forty-two years of age . . . A lesbian can only expect to live to be forty – five years of age . .”
Parsley now heads the Center for Moral Clarity, an organization dedicated to “Christian grassroots organization that advocates for public policies based on biblical principles.”
Cameron’s claim that homosexuality is more dangerous than cigarette smoking even made its way to the lower echelons of the Bush Administration.
In July 2005, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter asked that the national Health and Human Services look at a certain web site because it allegedly showed inaccurate information about homosexuality and contraception.
The web site, 4parents.gov, received information from an organization called the National Physicians Center for Family Resources. The chairman of the National Physicians Center for Family Resources board, John Whiffen, said the organization was correct regarding what it had printed about homosexuality.
“It’s fairly well-accepted that smoking is not a good idea. It takes seven years off of your life. It appears that male homosexuality takes more than that off your life.”
That's the trouble with some “crackpots.” If you leave them alone to cause mischief, they will.
The lgbt community should care about Paul Cameron for a multitude of reasons. He is masquerading as a legitimate researcher and his mess continues to hurt the us.
But for me, it mostly comes down to this:
We reacted because the police kept harassing us as Stonewall,
We reacted because Anita Bryant told those lies about us in the 70's,
We reacted because of the AIDS crisis,
We reacted because of the Proposition 8 vote.
Our history seems to be a pattern of reacting.
When you react, you lash out and are on the defensive. You are not in control of the situation because you are trying to rally yourself from whatever calamity that has been thrust upon you.
And that has been our problem.
We are constantly trying to rally ourselves after being slapped. We wait until we have been wronged before we act and then we try to take care of the situatio
n with a rushed public display of anger.
I hate to say it but let’s take a tip from those people who claim that Obama was not born in the United States.
The only reason why the “birthers” have gotten so much attention is because they have been insistent in pushing their point. They have been on the offensive from the beginning.
And we certainly have a more legitimate case than the “birthers.” Paul Cameron has made a career out of lying about the lgbt community. He couldn’t be believed if his blood was replaced with truth serum.
Yet the right continues to cite him either overtly or covertly.
But we are just sitting by and letting it happen without challenge.
We are wasting a valuable opportunity to not only put the religious right on the defensive but bring attention to the fact that they are neither religious in their tactics nor right in their claims.
Sometimes winning the fight is not reacting after being kicked but doing the kicking yourself.
With that in mind, please be aware of the following:
According to the webpage Box Turtle Bulletin, Cameron's work continues to be cited in the following pieces, which are still present and available on each corresponding group's webpage:
American Family Association:
Targeting Children, Part Four: Access to children: Homosexuality and Molestation — Ed Vitagliano, June 2001.
Targeting Children, Part Three: Activists Encouraging Experimentation — Ed Vitagliano, May 2001.
Homosexuality in America: Exposing the Myths (PDF: 299 KB/24 pages) — Robert G. Howe, 1994.
Americans For Truth:
Study Shows “Gay Married” Lifespans Average 24 Years Shorter than Hetero Marrieds in Norway, Denmark — Peter LaBarbera, April 5, 2007.
Canadian Research Suggests only 1.4% of Adults Homosexual — Peter LaBarera, March 27, 2007.
Stanford Nurse Details Lethal Consequences of Engaging in Promiscuous Anal Intercourse — Kathleen Melonakos, Dec 2, 2006.
Living In Truth: Unsure Of Your Sexuality? — unsigned, 2000
Concerned Women For America:
Indianapolis Rejects Domestic Partner Benefit — Robert H. Knight, Aug 2, 2002
‘Sexual Orientation’ and American Culture — Robert H. Knight, July 10, 2002
Rosie and the Docs Peddle Bad Medicine (PDF: 62 KB/7 pages) — Robert H. Knight, May 2002.
Pediatrics Academy Joins Crusade for ‘Gay Parenting’ — Robert H. Knight, Feb 7, 2002
Ears To Hear:
Myths, Facts, and Consequences of the Homosexual Lifestyle — unsigned, April 30, 2007.
Gay Identity and the Gay Rights Movement — Jason Park, 1996.
Behavior (FAQ) — Jason Park, 1996.
Why Am I Attracted to Men? — Jason Park, 1996.
Canadian Research Suggests only 1.4% of Adults Homosexual — Unsigned, March 27, 2007.
Expert Research Finds Homosexuality More Dangerous Than Smoking — Unsigned, April 3, 2007.
US Sexuality Survey Shows Gays 107% More Likely To Engage In Criminal Activities — “JJ,” June 13, 2005.
Yet Another Study Confirms Gay Life Expectancy 20 Years Shorter — “JJ,” June 6, 2005.
Same-Sex Parenting is Harmful to Children Says REAL Women of Canada — Unsigned, March 2004.
The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage (Originally published in Crisis magazine) — Tim Leslie, January 2004.
Homosexuals Declare War On Boy Scouts — Unsigned, August 23, 2000
National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH):
Joseph Nicolosi e Linda Ames Nicolosi, Omosessualità. Una Guida per i Genitori, (PDF: 174 KB/5 pages) (Italian: Joseph Nicolosi and Linda Ames Nicolosi. Homosexuality. A Guide for Parents) — Roberto Marchesini, October 2005.
Conversion Therapy Revisited: Parameters and Rationale for Ethical Care — Christopher H. Rosik, Spring 2001.
Revisión de la Terapia Teparativa: Parámetros y Fundamento Para el Cuidado Ético (PDF: 280 KB/18 pages) (Spanish: Conversion Therapy Revisited: Parameters and Rationale for Ethical Care ) — Christopher H. Rosik, Spring 2001.
Pediatrician Says Childhood Gender Identity Disorder Requires Treatment, Not Sex-Change Surgery — Ross Olson, undated (updated April 20, 2006).
Father-son Relationships and Male Sexual Development — Gregory Dickson, undated (Updated Sept 30, 2002).
Attorney, Group Blast Bishops Over Sex Ed — Matt C. Abbott, August 21, 2005.
Sometimes, Where There’s Smoke, There’s the Fired — Selwyn Duke, February 11, 2005
Expert Research Finds Homosexuality More Dangerous Than Smoking — “David Virtue,” April 4, 2007.
1.4% of Adults Homosexual? — “David Virtue,” March 23, 2007.
Sites like Box Turtle Bulletin should be commended for their diligent work in cataloguing all of this nonsense.
But the question needs to be asked – why have we let this go on for so long without raising hell about it?
The only reason why the religious right gets away with citing Cameron is because no one calls them on it.
Isn't time for us to do a little calling out?
Other HB/HM articles on Paul Cameron: