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Gay rights: Don’t ask, don’t think

Posted by Mats on 03/10/2010

Frank TurekThe central argument in favor of same-sex marriage or overturning “don’t ask, don’t tell” contains a fatal flaw. In fact, this is the flaw at the heart of the entire gay rights movement.

Joint Chief Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen dutifully proclaimed the flaw as truth the other day when speaking in favor of ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. He said, “I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”

Lie about who they are?

Sorry Admiral, but as a former ROTC instructor and legal officer in the United States Navy, I helped deny entrance to potential recruits and prosecuted existing service people for all sorts of behaviors that were incompatible with unit cohesion and military readiness. As you know, the Uniformed Code of Military Justice prohibits numerous behaviors that are not criminal offenses in civilian life (including adultery, fraternization, and gambling with a subordinate), yet I never once saw anyone excused for their behavior by claiming that’s who they are.

The military is essential to our survival as a nation. It’s not a social experiment, and serving in it is not a right. People have to qualify and then make sacrifices. Military people must subordinate many of their individual rights to advance the national interest. Recruits must agree to give up some of the freedoms that civilians enjoy, including certain sexual freedoms and even the freedom of speech! So even if homosexual behavior is permitted in society, that doesn’t necessarily mean it should be permitted in the military.

Having served, I believe that the military needs as few sexual distractions as possible, be they from men and women serving together in combat or open homosexuality. The job is too difficult and critical to be complicating matters sexually.

More could be said, but I want to zero in on the fatal flaw in most gay-rights causes, and the one the Admiral repeated. It is the failure to distinguish between desires and behavior. Having certain sexual desires — whether you were “born” with them or acquired them sometime in life — does not mean that you are being discriminated against if the law doesn’t allow the behavior you desire.

Take marriage as an example. Despite complaints by homosexual activists, every person in America already has equal marriage rights. We’re all playing by the same rules — we all have the same right to marry any non-related adult of the opposite sex. Those rules do not deny anyone “equal protection of the laws” because the qualifications to enter a marriage apply equally to everyone — every adult person has the same right to marry.

“But what about homosexuals?” you ask. The question would better be stated “what about people with homosexual desires?” Put that way, you can see the flaw. If sexual desires alone are the criteria by which we change our marriage (or military) laws to give people “equal rights,” then why not change them to include polygamy? After all, most men seem born with a desire for many women. How about those who desire their relatives? By the gay rights logic, such people don’t have “equal rights” because our marriage laws have no provision for incest. And bisexuals don’t have “equal rights” because existing marriage laws don’t allow them to marry a man and a woman.

If desires alone guarantee someone special rights, why are there no special rights for pedophiles and gay bashers? The answer is obvious — because desires, even if you were “born” with them, do not justify behavior, do not make anyone a special class, and should have no impact on our laws. (See Born gay or a gay basher: No excuse.)

Laws encourage good behavior or prevent bad behavior. Desires are irrelevant. We enact all kinds of laws in the country and military that conflict with people’s desires. In fact, that’s why we need them! We wouldn’t need any laws if people always desired to do good, which is why James Madison wrote, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

In other words, there should be no legal class of “gay” or “straight,” just a legal class called “person.” And it doesn’t matter whether persons desire sex with the same or opposite sex, or whether they desire sex with children, parents, or farm animals. What matters is whether the behavior desired is something the country or military should prohibit, permit, or promote. Those are the only three choices we have when it comes to making law.

The standard comparisons to race and interracial marriage don’t work either. Sexual behavior is always a choice, race never is. You’ll find many former homosexuals, but you’ll never find a former African American. And your race has no effect on your military readiness, but your sexual behavior often can. Likewise, race is irrelevant to marriage while gender is essential to it. Interracial couples can procreate and nurture the next generation (the overriding societal purpose of marriage), but homosexual couples cannot.

The truth is that our marriage and military laws do not discriminate against persons for “who they are” — they discriminate against the behaviors in which they engage. But so what? That’s what most laws do. For example, the Thirteenth Amendment discriminates against the behavior of some businessmen who might like to improve their profits through slavery, but it does not discriminate against those businessmen as persons. And the First Amendment’s freedom-of-religion protections discriminate against the behavior of some Muslims who want to impose Islamic law on the entire nation, but it does not discriminate against those Muslims as persons. Likewise, our marriage and military laws discriminate against the desired behaviors of homosexuals, polygamists, bigamists, and the incestuous, but they do not discriminate against them as persons.

Now some may object to my comparison of homosexuality to polygamy, incest, or pedophilia. I agree that the behaviors are not the same, but the point here is that the logic used to justify homosexuality is the same. “I was born with these desires” could also be used to justify polygamy, incest, pedophilia, and even gay bashing — “Don’t blame me. I just have the anti-gay gene!”

That’s the logic reduced to the absurd. And that’s why people who want to make a case for same-sex marriage or homosexual practice in the military should use different arguments. Claiming you “are” your sexual desires is a case of don’t ask, don’t think.

Frank Turek is the founder and president of CrossExamined.org and an award-winning author. He hosts a weekly TV program called “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.” This column is published with permission.

Opinions expressed in ‘Perspectives’ columns published by OneNewsNow.com are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of the staff or management of, or advertisers who support the American Family News Network, OneNewsNow.com, our parent organization or its other affiliates.

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Opinion: New Lesbian Parenting Study Makes Claims Unsupported by the Evidence

Posted by Mats on 31/07/2010

By A. Dean Byrd, PhD, MBA,MPH

July 30, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) published byAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers the following conclusion: “Adolescents who have been reared in lesbian-mother families since birth demonstrate healthy psychological adjustment (p. 28).”

Authors Gartrell and Bos generalize their findings to the lesbian population at large, claiming their research offers “implications for – same-sex parenting” (p. 28). Making an enormous scientific leap, they conclude that their study provides scientific proof that there is “no justification for restricting access to reproductive technologies or child custody on the basis of the sexual orientation of the parents” (p. 34-35).

Implied, though not stated, is the notion that fathers are not necessary or important for the healthy development of children. This implication is a throwback to an article published in the American Psychologist in 1999 titled “Deconstructing the Essential Father.” Like the authors of the American Psychologist article, Gartrell and Bos are on record as activists seeking public support for homosexual parenting.

However, a cursory review of this study (funded by the Gill Foundation and the Lesbian Health Fund of the Gay, Lesbian Medical Association) demonstrates significant flaws that most first-year graduate students would quickly recognize. Any reasonable observer would easily conclude that the authors overstated their findings and that in this instance, whatever external review process was utilized, was inadequate. Consider the following:

1. The problems inherent in any self-report study. The lesbian mothers’ own reports that their children were well-adjusted were accepted by the study’s authors uncritically. The authors should have clarified the limitation and usefulness of such qualitative, self-reported data in light of the fact that the lesbian parents knew that the study would be used to further their political cause; in contrast, the control group had no idea how their reports would be used. In addition, most mothers, lesbian or not, would likely report their children’s adjustment in a favorable light. Outside observers such as the child’s teachers or counselors, if consulted, could have offered a different perspective.

2. The lesbian parents were hardly typical parents: 93% were Caucasian. Most were college-educated (67%). Most were middle/upper class (82%). Eighty-five per cent were in professional or managerial roles. The control sample, however, had significantly more minorities; many more children from the South; they were very different in race composition and socioeconomic status; and the educational level of these mothers was unclear. A statistical adjustment for these differences could have been easily addressed. Had these differences been controlled, they might have been reduced, been proven negligible, or perhaps reversed.

3. The sample was far from random. Participants were recruited from gay and lesbian venues (i.e., lesbian pride events and lesbian newspapers in three major metropolitan areas – Boston, Washington. D.C. and San Francisco). Although the authors acknowledge the non-randomness of their subject pool and the potential problems this situation could pose, this limitation did not seem to limit their conclusions. As a result, a very strong case could be made for selection bias having invalidated the findings.

Despite the obvious study flaws, the authors offer the following generalization: “The NLLFS adolescents are well-adjusted, demonstrating more competencies and fewer behavioral problems than their peers in the normative American population (p.34).”

Notably absent was data about the sexual orientation of the adolescents or the preferences or expectations for the adolescents’ sexual orientation (some of this data was, in fact, collected for the 10-year study). Was this data collected and simply dismissed?

Remarkably, the authors report that the relationship-dissolution rate for the lesbian couples was 48% at the 10-year mark and 56% at the 17-year mark. (The average duration of the relationship prior to dissolution was 12 years.) When compared to the relationship-dissolution rates of the biological heterosexual sisters of the lesbians, the rate of relationship breakup is nearly double for the lesbians.

Is the reader to conclude that dissolution of the parents’ relationship has no effect upon the adjustment of the adolescents? This conclusion hardly fits the existing research.

Other research, perhaps even more interesting, was released about the same time as the NLLFS study – research conducted by Marquardt, Glenn and Clark, titled, “My Daddy’s Name is ‘Donor’: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived Through Sperm Donation.” The authors’ conclusions included the following troubling negative factors: on average, young adults conceived through artificial insemination were more confused, felt more isolated from their families, were experiencing more psychic pain, and fared worse than a matched group of children who were conceived naturally in areas such as depression, delinquency and substance abuse. And the list goes on.

No research was cited in the Gartrell and Bos study regarding the outcomes of children conceived through sperm donation, when compared to children conceived through the natural union of a man and a woman. The authors address the issue of donor status in a very cursory fashion, almost dismissively.

It seems an interesting coincidence that earlier this year, another paper authored by Biblarz and Stacey (2010) offered a similar conclusion to that of Gartrell and Bos: “In fact, based strictly on the published science, one could argue that two women parent better on average than a woman and a man, or at least than a woman and a man with a traditional division of labor (p.17).”

Based on these two papers, could one really conclude that a double dose of mothering is superior to a mother and a father? If a double dose of mothering is superior to mother and a father, would it follow that a double dose of mothering is vastly superior to and actually contraindicates the placement of children in homes where mothering is absent (i.e., gay men)?

Nowhere do Gartrell and Bos cite the extensive research demonstrating the importance of gender complementarity to the healthy development of children. Nowhere do these authors cite the extensive, peer-reviewed literature on the importance of both mothering and fathering for the healthy development of children.

To Gartrell and Bos’s credit, they do identify some of the reasons for what appears to be politically-motivated conclusions: “The study has implications – for the expert testimony provided by pediatricians on lesbian mother custody, and for public policies concerning same-sex parenting. (p. 34).”

What seems clear is that the flaws in this study render it unsuitable for anything other than the following brief description: “interesting.” Gartrell and Blos’ conclusions don’t rise to the level of support for lesbian parenting that they would like. Certainly, this study does not merit inclusion in any expert witness testimony nor does it rise to the level of policy implications. Until such limitations are addressed and more rigorous research conducted, the sought after conclusions stated by the authors are without substantial scientific support.

Perhaps the study would be better titled, “Preconceived Conclusions Seeking Research Support” or “Activism Masquerading as Science: A Study Suitable for Scrutiny by Beginning Graduate Students.”

Silverstein and Auerbach, authors of the “Deconstructing Fathers” article, offered the following disclaimer: “We acknowledge that our reading of the scientific literature supports our political agenda. Our goal is to generate public-policy initiatives that support men in their fathering role, without discriminating against women and same-sex couples. We are also interested in encouraging public policy that supports the legitimacy of diverse family structures, rather than privileging the two-parent, heterosexual, married family.” (p. 399).

The same could be said of this study. Gartrell and Bos should have offered the same disclaimer as Silverstein and Auerbach. But they did not.


References:

Biblarz, T.J. & Stacey, J. (2010). “How does the gender of parents matter?” Journal of Marriage and Family, February, p. 3-22.

Gartrell, N. and Bos, H. (2010). “US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-Year-Old Adolescents,” Pediatrics, Volume 126, Number 1, July 2010 p. 28-36.

Marquardt, E., Glenn, & Clark, K. “My daddy’s name is donor.” New York: Institute for American Values, p. 1-135.

Silverstein, L.B., & Auerbach, C. F. (1999). “Deconstructing the essential father,” American Psychologist, 54, 6, p. 397-407.

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The Danger of Affirming Homosexuality in the Public Schools

Posted by Mats on 29/06/2010

by Brian Thomas, M.S. *

Modern culture increasingly embraces the notion that homosexuals are born, not made. It is even sometimes presented as fact that a “gay gene” compels some people to seek same-sex partners. In that vein, more and more public school educators are being pressured to present homosexuality as a normal lifestyle that should be affirmed in students who feel they might be gay. The American College of Pediatricians, however, has issued a caution to educators warning of the dangers of these falsehoods.

An open letter addressed to school superintendents cited portions of The Language of God, a book by National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins. He wrote that homosexuality is “not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.”1 Dr. Collins, who is also the former director of the Genome Project, summarized studies showing that no known gene compels any behavior, and he further stated that “environment, particularly childhood experiences, and the prominent role of individual free will choices have a profound effect on us.”2

A news release from the college stated that “schools should not seek to develop policy which ‘affirms’ or encourages these non-heterosexual attractions among students who may merely be experimenting or experiencing temporary sexual confusion.”3

Nor are there merely moral motivations underlying this admonition. The letter provided a link to a fact sheet that highlights research-based conclusions that counter pro-homosexual school programs. For example:

The homosexual lifestyle, especially for males, carries grave health risks…. For many youth, homosexual attraction develops due to negative or traumatic experiences, such as sexual abuse. These students need therapy for the trauma, not affirmation of a “gay identity.”4

The letter also cited a “landmark survey and analysis of 125 years of scientific studies” into homosexuality. This survey affirmed that sexual orientation can be changed with therapy, especially among youth who are undergoing temporary sexual identity questions. In addition, homosexuals are plagued by far more diseases and suicides than heterosexuals, making it a very dangerous lifestyle.

An online summary of this landmark survey stated:

This is supported by studies that demonstrate the life-threatening risk-taking of unprotected sex, violence, antisocial behavior, higher levels of substance abuse, anxiety disorders, depression, general suicidality, higher levels of promiscuity and of non-monogamous primary relationships, higher levels of paraphilias (such as fisting), sexual addiction, personality disorders, and greater overall pathology among homosexual vs. heterosexual populations.5

Indeed, another study concluded that homosexuality and its associated practices serve to shorten life spans by 20 to 30 years.6

Both observations–that homosexuality is caused by choices and influences and not by DNA, and that a homosexual lifestyle is utterly unsafe–are consistent with a biblical worldview. On the one hand, the Creator intended that male and female “shall be one flesh.”7 And on the other hand, He uses the harsh consequences of disregarding those intentions as a kind of natural tutor to bring people back into relationship with Him. Romans 1 explicitly named homosexuality as deserving of judgment, but the next chapter warned anyone who would heed:

But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.8

Adolescents are vulnerable to confusions and outside influences as they make the transition from child to adult. A school environment that encourages a child to “come out” or self-identify as gay–especially based on false or misleading information–can cause tremendous harm. As the American College of Pediatricians’ letter to school officials states:

It is the school’s legitimate role to provide a safe environment for respectful self-expression for all students. It is not the school’s role to diagnose and attempt to treat any student’s medical condition, and certainly not a school’s role to “affirm” a student’s perceived personal sexual orientation.1

The efforts of the American College of Pediatricians and others who care for the well-being of youth are to be commended.

References

  1. Benton, T. Letter to School Officials. Facts About Youth, a project of the American College of Pediatricians. Posted on factsaboutyouth.com March 31, 2010, accessed April 13, 2010.
  2. Collins, F. 2004. The Language of God. New York: Free Press, 260, 263.
  3. College Cautions Educators About Sexual Orientation in Youth. American College of Pediatricians press release, April 5, 2010.
  4. What You Should Know About Sexual Orientation of Youth. Facts About Youth fact sheet. Posted on factsaboutyouth.com, accessed April 13, 2010.
  5. What Research Shows (Summary). National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality. Posted on narth.com, accessed April 13, 2010.
  6. Cameron, P., K. Cameron and W. L. Playfair. 1998. Does homosexual activity shorten life? Psychological Reports. 83 (3 pt 1): 847-866.
  7. Genesis 2:24.
  8. Romans 2:5-7.

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Memory Is Malleable, but the Bible Is Not

Posted by Mats on 03/10/2009

by Brian Thomas, M.S.*

http://www.icr.org/article/4967/

If someone witnessed an event firsthand, chances are that person would remember it pretty clearly, right? Not according to a recent psychological study, in which almost half of those tested disbelieved their own experience in favor of a faked video recording of the event. This shows the importance of being able to re-analyze past events for accuracy.

Dr. Kimberly Wade of the University of Warwick found that fabricated video evidence can radically alter people’s perceptions. Study participants were filmed as they took part in a computerized gambling exercise. Unknown to them, each was seated next to a research team member with whom he or she competed for a prize.

After the exercise, the video recording was altered to make it appear that the researchers had cheated. The study’s subjects were then asked to confirm whether they had seen the person next to them cheat. Of those who were merely told that there was video evidence of the offense, only 10 percent indicated that the suspect had cheated. But almost 40 percent of those who were shown the faked video believed “the video version rather than what they actually saw.”1 An additional 10 percent of this group indicated that the suspect cheated when they were questioned a second time.

Wade concluded, “Over the previous decade we have seen rapid advances in digital-manipulation technology. As a result, almost anyone can create convincing, yet fake, images or video footage. Our research shows that if fake footage is extremely compelling, it can induce people to testify about something they never witnessed.”1

Actually, the participants did “witness” what they saw in the video, so a more accurate conclusion is that they testified to something that never occurred. In any case, they witnessed two versions of the same event—one in person and one through the altered footage—and had to choose which was real. When asked again about it, more became swayed by mentally reviewing the video “evidence.”

This research diminishes the idea that human senses or perceptions are infallible, showing that even memories of recent experiences can be rewritten in the mind if presented with enough contrary external factors. Seen in a positive light, humans seem to be wired with the capability to review evidence for or against an event, with memories providing one line of evidence.

It therefore ought to be accounted to the grace of God that He chose to reveal Himself, and “all things that pertain unto life,”2 in the form of a written document. This way, one doesn’t have to rely on mere memories for the relevant information, but instead has access to a written account that can be read and analyzed as often as needed.

In the New Testament, Peter insisted that the apostles’ doctrines did “not follow cunningly devised fables.”3 Thousands of years after it was penned, the Bible is still available for testing the accuracy of its assertions. Unlike the deceptively ambivalent evidence the subjects of Wade’s study were exposed to, the preponderance of evidence for the veracity of Scripture is singularly positive, well-attested, and reviewable. This way, participants know they can get it right.

References

  1. Faked video dramatically alters eyewitness accounts. University of Warwick news release, September 14, 2009, reporting research published in Wade, K. A., S. L. Green and R. A. Nash. Can fabricated evidence induce false eyewitness testimony? Applied Cognitive Psychology. Published online before print August 20, 2009.
  2. 2 Peter 1:3.
  3. 2 Peter 1:16.

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