As if it's a surprise to anyone, the Family Research Council is rushing to support Dave Agema, the Michigan Republican leader who is facing a firestorm for putting outdated anti-gay propaganda on his Facebook page.
Last week, Agema posted on his Facebook page something called Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuality, a vicious anti-gay litany of lies, including:
Many homosexual sexual encounters occur while drunk, high on drugs, or in an orgy setting.
Homosexuals live unhealthy lifestyles, and have historically accounted for the bulk of syphilis, gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, the "gay bowel syndrome" (which attacks the intestinal tract), tuberculosis and cytomegalovirus.
25-33% of homosexuals and lesbians are alcoholics .
Homosexuals are 100 times more likely to be murdered (usually by another homosexual) than the average person, 25 times more likely to commit suicide, and 19 times more likely to die in a traffic accident.
Since that post, Agema has been catching a lot of flack, including from members of his own party demanding that he resign.
The Family Research Council has just backed Agema. In an email recently sent out, the organization said the following:
When leaders like Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema so much as raise questions about the harms of homosexuality, the RNC throws them under the bus faster than you can say "political correctness." Agema, a staunch Michigan conservative, is taking fire from his own party for a Facebook post that detailed the harms of homosexuality. And while people may not agree with everything in his column, they should agree on his freedom to call for a discussion. But under this new "inclusive" and "welcoming" RNC, simply raising awareness on certain social issues is off-limits. A group of GOP officials is calling on Agema to resign -- including state party chairman Bobby Schostak, who claimed that statistics about the consequences of homosexual behavior (consequences which even the Left acknowledges!) are a "form of hate."
While Agema's research may be somewhat outdated, FRC's "Top 10 Myths about Homosexuality" highlights a summary of recent data, which all point to the high rates of physical and mental illness associated with homosexuality. Several of these hazards are echoed by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, which makes a point of posting the risks so that people can discuss them with their doctors. To his credit, Agema isn't backing down. He insists that we shouldn't cut off debate about a lifestyle with direct public policy implications.
While FRC rightfully calls Agema's information outdated, it replaces the information with some distortions of its own. The post it highlighted, "Top 10 Myths about Homosexuality," has several problems with accuracy. For one thing it repeats the same lies as Agema, but backed with cherry-picked studies.
A perfect example of this is FRC's claim about the work taken from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. FRC cherry-picked the GLMA's work to give it a totally different meaning.
While FRC lists the health problems that may affect gays and lesbians, the organization is careful to omit the information from the GLMA that points to how homophobia and societal rejection plays a part in creating these health problems and hindering LGBTs from receiving adequate care. By omitting this information, FRC incorrectly makes it seem that the sexual orientation itself is a factor when it comes to gay and lesbian health problems.
For the record, Agema was not debating. He was spreading lies and distortions derived from bad sources. One source listed as a citation on the post Agema cited, Paul Cameron, has been either censured or dismissed from several medical associations for his bad research methodologies and outrageously homophobic claims, including the claim that gays stuff gerbils up their rectums. The problem here with Agema is that he is so wrapped up in his own self-righteousness that he fails to realize no one is persecuting him or trying to hinder his right to free speech.
With free speech comes responsibilities and the main responsibility is the hope that one doesn't use his or her free speech to spread lies and deceptions. Caught up in his own phony martyrdom, Agema doesn't want to realize that in bearing false witness against the LGBT community, he has betrayed those Christian values which he is seeking to defend.
The Family Research Council, on the other hand, is another case entirely. It wasn't that long ago when the group peddled the same lies in the same unabashed form as Agema. However, knowing fully well that the information was propaganda, FRC dialed back the rhetoric and is now attempting to portray a more "kinder, gentler" image of homophobia.
And a central part of this false image is portraying every ugly offense it lodges against the LGBT community as merely a way of "starting a debate." What FRC does to the LGBT community is no different than a reporter asking a politician, "so when did you stop beating your wife," and then whining about being silenced when the politician objects to the offensive nature of the question.
This is not debating. It's called demonizing. It's called lying. And it has no place in the public square. The question is how long will it be before the media stops being fooled by FRC's shuck-and-jive?
It wouldn't be allowed if Agema and FRC were talking about African-Americans. It wouldn't be allowed if Agema and FRC were talking about people of the Jewish faith. And it certainly wouldn't be allowed if Agema and FRC were talking about women.
What is about the LGBT community which makes it permissible to treat us any different?