Thursday, October 27, 2011

More Lies from the American Family Assoication of Pennsylvania

The American Family Association of Pennsylvania is the Venango County-based affiliate of the American Family Association, a nationally recognized Hate Group headquartered in Tupelo, Miss.

While the lies that such groups use to demonize and dehumanize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been well documented, including in a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center titled "The Propagandists: Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association, and the Demonization of LGBT People," it's also important to see and document how the delusional adherents of these hate groups persistently spread such mendacious and harmful propaganda at the local level.

Here in Venango County, for example, Diane Gramley (at right), mouthpiece for the AFA of PA, recently posted this blatant lie on its web site:

afaofpa says:
October 27, 2011 at 12:55 am

In 2003, the International Human Genome Consortium announced the successful completion of the Human Genome Project, which, among other things, identified each of the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA. The press release read: “The human genome is complete and the Human Genome Project is over.”

While this accomplishment was widely reported, almost no one reported the words of Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the project. Collins, arguably the nation’s most influential geneticist, said, “Homosexuality is not hardwired. There is no gay gene. We mapped the human genome. We now know there is no genetic cause for homosexuality.”

THE TRUTH has actually been documented by Grove City College professor, Warren Throckmorton:

What Did Francis Collins Really Say About Homosexuality?

In his book, "The Language of God: A scientist presents evidence for belief," Francis Collins has this to say about homosexuality on page 260:

An area of particularly strong public interest is the genetic basis of homosexuality. Evidence from twin studies does in fact support the conclusion that heritable factors play a role in male homosexuality. However, the likelihood that the identical twin of a homosexual male will also be gay is about 20% (compared with 2-4 percent of males in the general population), indicating that sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.

On the web, there are a number of sources who have quoted the OneNewsNow report that Francis Collins said the following:

‘Homosexuality is not hardwired. There is no gay gene. We mapped the human genome. We now know there is no genetic cause for homosexuality.’”

The problem is – Dr. Collins did not say this. As I noted here, Dr. Collins confirmed to me that he did not make this statement. He did say this:

It troubles me greatly to learn that anything I have written would cause anguish for you or others who are seeking answers to the basis of homosexuality. The words quoted by NARTH all come from the Appendix to my book “The Language of God” (pp. 260-263), but have been juxtaposed in a way that suggests a somewhat different conclusion that I intended. I would urge anyone who is concerned about the meaning to refer back to the original text.

The evidence we have at present strongly supports the proposition that there are hereditary factors in male homosexuality — the observation that an identical twin of a male homosexual has approximately a 20% likelihood of also being gay points to this conclusion, since that is 10 times the population incidence. But the fact that the answer is not 100% also suggests that other factors besides DNA must be involved. That certainly doesn’t imply, however, that those other undefined factors are inherently alterable.

Your note indicated that your real interest is in the truth. And this is about all that we really know. No one has yet identified an actual gene that contributes to the hereditary component (the reports about a gene on the X chromosome from the 1990s have not held up), but it is likely that such genes will be found in the next few years.

Note this part of the quote: “That certainly doesn’t imply, however, that those other undefined factors are inherently alterable.” Sexual attractions may come from the operation of several factors, in different ways for different people. The nature of the cause however, does not directly lead to understanding of how alterable the attractions might be. Perhaps attractions develop with some mix of environment and pre-natal factors. However, once set, attractions for most people seem to be pretty durable.

How Long Will Venango County Be A Safe Harbor For and A Silent Partner in the American Family Association of Pennsylvania's Harmful Propaganda War Against LGBT People?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

THE PROPAGANDISTS: Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association and the Demonization of LGBT People

The Pennsylvania chapter of the American Family Association, the Mississippi-based Hate Group that is the focus of a disturbing new Intelligence Report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, summarized below, is based in Venango County. (The AFAofPA's activities are chronicled in the Emmy Award-winning film "Out In The Silence.")

It is from Venango County where vicious attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are broadcast (on the airwaves of American Family Radio station WAWN, 89.5 FM, Franklin), and it is from Venango County where the AFA of PA's president, Diane Gramley (pictured), launches vitriolic attacks and smear campaigns against LGBT people and their allies across the state.

Until Venango County's elected representatives, opinion leaders, and other voices of influence publicly denounce this organization's hateful and harmful activities, it must be assumed that they condone them.

In this case, cowardly silence must be seen as support.

Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association & the Demonization of LGBT People

Executive Summary

The American Family Association (AFA) is one of most powerful religious-right groups in the nation, with a $20 million budget, a network of 200 radio stations and two Internet television channels. Its spokespersons have appeared on all major networks and cable news channels, and in leading print and radio media. It is also one of the leading purveyors of lies about LGBT people and homosexuality.

The AFA has come under fire repeatedly over the years since it was founded in 1977 by the Rev. Donald Wildmon, who was sharply criticized in the 1980s for suggesting that obscene content on television and in the movies is largely due to the media being con- trolled by Jews. It once demanded that an openly gay Arizona congressman be barred from speaking at the Republican National Convention and suggested that he be arrested under a state law criminalizing sodomy. It regularly attacked corporations like Disney, which it described as a “two-faced” company that “welcomed hordes of homosexuals to celebrate their sexual perversions.”

But in the last three years, since hiring a radical Idaho preacher named Bryan Fischer (pictured) as its director of issue analysis, the AFA has gone even further. Since moving to Mississippi to join the group, Fischer has declared that “homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler … the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews” — a complete falsehood, as any historian knows. He has suggested that gay sex be recriminalized. He has routinely claimed that gay men molest children at rates far higher than those of heterosexual men — another falsehood, as all the relevant professional scientific associations have long agreed. Fischer has said that President Obama “nurtures a hatred for the white man” and suggested that welfare incentivizes black “people who rut like rabbits.” He has said that non-Christian religions “have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion,” claimed that the “sexual immorality of Native Americans” was part of what made them “morally disqualified from sovereign control of
American soil,” and suggested that the best way to deal with promiscuity would be to kill the promiscuous.

Words like these have consequences. While the AFA would certainly deny it, it seems obvious that its regular demonizing of members of the LGBT community as child molesters and the like creates an atmosphere where violence is all but inevitable. And that violence is dramatic. A study by the Southern Poverty Law Center found, based on an analysis of 14 years of FBI hate crime data, that LGBT people were by far the American minority most victimized by such crimes. They were more than twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews or black people, and four times as likely as Muslims. And that doesn’t take into account the anti-gay bullying that has resulted in so many recent teen suicides.

Based on the foregoing and other evidence, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) last year began listing the AFA as a hate group. The listing, as was said at the time, was based on the group’s use of known falsehoods to attack and demonize members of the LGBT community — not, as some have gratuitously claimed, because the organization is Christian, or because it opposes same-sex marriage, or because it believes that the Bible describes homosexual practice as a sin.

Many thoughtful Christian commentators have said as much. Warren Throckmorton, a respected professor and past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association, wrote last year that the AFA and other “newly labeled hate groups” were seeking to “avoid addressing the issues the SPLC raised, instead preferring to attack the credibility of the SPLC.” Reviewing an SPLC list of myths propagated by anti-gay religious-right groups, he said many are “provably false” and “rooted in ignorance.” The criticisms, Throckmorton concluded, are “legitimate and have damaged the credibility of the groups on the list. Going forward, I hope Christians don’t rally around these groups but rather call them to accountability.”

We hope public figures will do the same.