THE BLOG
05/13/2010 06:58 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Why Can't Religious Right Groups Stop Lying About Hate Crimes Legislation?

One of the most nauseating things about so-called "pro-family" groups is how they will repeat a talking point even after it has been exposed to be a lie.

A perfect example was pointed out yesterday by People for the American Way's Religious Right Watch.

According to the site, Liberty Counsel member Matt Barber was exploiting an incident in Britain to claim that lgbts in America want to imprison Christians who believe that homosexuality is a sin:

When it was first reported that Dale Mcalpine, a Christian street preacher in Britain, was arrested for saying that homosexuality is a sin, you know it was only a matter of time before the Religious Right in the US started using this incident to work up fears about how this is exactly what gays want to do to Christians here in America.

Case in point:

Liberty Counsel Cultural Affairs Analyst Matt Barber raised the warning that such cases will be seen more and more in America, too.

"We know that what's happening in Europe and what's happening in Canada offers us a window into the future of what will happen here in the United States," he said. "The hate crimes laws and employment sexual orientation laws such as ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act here in the United States, have been the precursor to the more oppressive hate speech laws," Barber explained.

In the original World Net Daily article, Barber cites the tired example of the 11 individuals who were arrested in 2004 for disrupting a gay pride event in Philadelphia. He claims that the 11 were merely "preaching the gospel."

Of course Barber conveniently (more like intentionally) omits several facts such as those 11 so-called Christians were disruptively pushing their way into the middle of the festival and got arrested after they refused to follow police orders and that the hate crimes charge was dismissed.

And it is the only example from this country he cites as proof that American hate crimes legislation will lead to the imprisonment of  Christians. All of his other examples are from foreign countries.

But before there is even time to ruminate over the irony of Barber listing foreign examples in order to smear laws in this country, he then tells an even more suspicious tale:

This WND article also contains audio of the entire interview with Barber, during which he also claims that after he first learned of this incident, he "started perusing a number of homosexual news sites and homosexual blogs" and found that "the majority of homosexuals and homosexual activists for this same kind of homophobia/hate speech persecution here in the United States"

Just what blogs and news sites did Barber peruse to get this opinion? Certainly not mine, because I've said a number of times that I don't believe in arresting people for declaring homosexuality to be a sin. I know that Barber didn't get his opinion from any post on Pam's House Blend, Box Turtle Bulletin, Goodasyou.org, Truth Wins Out, Queerty, Towleroad, Joe.My.God., or any of the other prominent lgbt blogs. And I suspect the same thing from lgbt news sites.

In short, I don't think Barber told the truth here. He made a vague, unprovable accusation. It's not the first time he has done this.

In September 2008, Barber tried make the case against GLSEN's Day of Silence event.  In the piece, he said the following:

In fact, multiple studies have established that homosexual conduct, especially among males, is considerably more hazardous to one's health than a lifetime of chain smoking.

To the consternation of "gay" activist flat-earthers and homosexual AIDS holocaust deniers everywhere, one such study - conducted by pro-"gay" researchers in Canada - was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology (IJE) in 1997.

On more than one occasion, religious right groups have distorted this study. They are always so quick to cite it as proof that lgbts have a "short life span" but never seem to mention that in 2001, the researchers of the study claimed that it was being distorted.

But Barber did mention the 2001 complaint by saying the following (I bolded the most important part of his statement):

Not surprisingly, that same homosexual lobby and its codependent enablers in the mainstream media moved quickly to sweep the IJE study under the rug. Under tremendous pressure, the researchers who conducted the study even jumped into the political damage control fray issuing a statement which read, "[W]e do not condone the use of our research in a manner that restricts the political or human rights of gay and bisexual men or any other group."

And where is Barber's proof of this "tremendous pressure?" He does not give any citations.

Then in June of last year, he told a story about the so-called dangers of allowing gays in the military. According to Barber:

I served twelve years in the Army National Guard. During basic training a young man who later turned out to be homosexual was discharged after making unwanted advances toward other soldiers and for inappropriately touching several while they slept in the barracks.

"A lengthy investigation ensued. Troops were pulled away from their regular training to answer questions. It was a tremendous distraction for our entire platoon. This incident most definitely disrupted unit cohesion and harmed troop morale.

At the time, I thought the juxtaposition of his claim was bizarre. I said the following back then and I continue to stand by it:

. . . Barber is quoted repeating the alleged incident in a One News Now article which also quotes Elaine Donnelly. Donnelly is the head of a the Center for Military Readiness and has been vocal with attacking the concept of gays in the military.

The question I have is where was Barber and this story last year when Donnelly was figuratively and deservedly butchered in front of a Congressional committee last year for her abysmal testimony against allowing gays in the military.

You will remember that one example she cited about an alleged incident in 1974 concerning a white female who was accosted by a group of lesbians. Why didn't Barber supply her with his incident, which would have been a more up-to-date story.

One thing is clear. It doesn't matter if George Rekers was caught with one escort, two escorts, or even three. Five years from now, Barber and company will be citing his discredited work as if nothing happened.