‘Porno Pete’ LaBarbera Tries to Have It Both Ways With CDC Health Data on Gay Men

On his webpage, Peter LaBarbera is exploiting a Centers for Disease Control Fact Sheet to demonize the lgbt community:

A new fact sheet put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a “troubling rise in syphilis infections among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM).” The federal health agency reports that MSM “account for three quarters (75 percent) of all primary and secondary syphilis cases.” The CDC Fact Sheet, “Reported STDs in the United States: 2012 Data for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis,” states:

“Trend data show that men who have sex with men (MSM)* account for three quarters (75 percent) of all primary and secondary syphilis cases. Primary and secondary syphilis are the most infectious stages of the disease, and if not adequately treated, can lead to visual impairment and stroke. Syphilis infection can also place a person at increased risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV infection. Surveillance data from several major cities throughout the country indicate that an average of four in 10 MSM with syphilis are also infected with HIV.”

The CDC reports an 11.1 percent rise in primary and secondary cases of syphilis from 2011 to 2012, with 15,667 reported cases in 2012. It states that the “rate increase was solely among men, particularly gay and bisexual men.”

Now when anti-gay activists such as LaBarbera cite CDC data, they generally cherry-pick the data, making a big deal about the numbers but also omitting that the CDC has also pointed out how homophobia can play a part in these STD rates. This time, LaBarbera actually cites the CDC when it comes to homophobia, but with his own caveats:

As is typically the case, the (very pro-homosexual) CDC cites factors like “homophobia” and “stigma” to attempt to explain the high homosexual syphilis rates. The Fact Sheet states:

Although a number of individual risk behaviors (such as higher numbers of lifetime sex partners or unprotected sex) contribute to disparities in the sexual health of MSM, other social and cultural factors may also play a role. For example, MSM with lower economic status may have limited access to health care and therefore may be particularly vulnerable to poorer health outcomes compared to other men. Complex issues like homophobia and stigma can also make it difficult for gay and bisexual men to seek appropriate care and treatment.”

LaBarbera probably considers this mention a way to for him to say “see, I am not cherry-picking.” However, I think it illuminates his homophobia even  more. His snide remark about the CDC being “pro homosexual” is mind-boggling in its stupidity. The CDC doesn’t show favoritism towards any group whose health issues it points out. The CDC is an objective organization which works to give the most accurate answers to health issues facing this country.

When you strip away that bull@! explanation LaBarbera attempts to throw at the CDC, you are left with a man attempting to walk a tightrope of logic, or lack thereof. He freely cites information to blame lgbts for bad health issues while at the same time admitting that the source of his information (the CDC) totally disagrees with his rational.

In other words, there is no need for anyone to point out LaBarbera’s lack of integrity in doing this. And there definitely is no need to say that LaBarbera is a clueless, lying homophobe for his bad citation of CDC data.

LaBarbera is freely performing both of these tasks himself.

Thank you, Peter. I knew that sooner or later, you would see things our way.

FRC’s Tony Perkins Crows About ‘Duck Dynasty’ While Hiding His Fear of Debating

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council

Of course Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is crowing like a rooster over the recent ‘Duck Dynasty’ controversy.

“Although the victory belonged to the Robertsons, the real winners may be the American people — who finally witnessed homosexual activists for what they are: intolerant bullies. As FRC has said for years, the goal of GLAAD and others is to silence anyone who dares challenge the idea that homosexual behavior should be celebrated. We’ve seen these vicious tactics used against wedding florists, bakers, photographers, sports journalists, students, and teachers who’ve been fired, hauled into court, fined, suspended, and ordered to violate their religious beliefs by endorsing same-sex “marriage.” For once, the American people have stood up and shouted, “enough!” I had the opportunity to talk about this incredible sea change over the holidays. If you missed it, check out the video from those interviews on ABC’s “Nightline” and Fox News’s “Kelly File . . .”

If you ask me, I think he is overestimating the entire thing by calling it a “sea change for three reasons.

First, wasn’t he and others on his side making the same ridiculous comments last year about how the “American people stood up to gay bullies” during the Chic-Fil-A controversy? And we see how much of a “sea change” that did NOT turn out to be.

Secondly, I find it ironic that Perkins would mention his interview on the  “Kelly File” It was on that program which Perkins allegedly REFUSED to debate lgbt activist and bloggger Jeremy Hooper, thereby forcing host Megyn Kelly to interview Hooper and then Perkins in one-on-one sessions. A good journalist knows how to find a new angle in any news story, but unfortunately everyone seems to have missed this one, including the lgbt media.

Lastly, if Perkins wants to talk about ugly tactics and intolerant bullies, perhaps he should take another look at his organization, as this clip shows:

According to Media Matters:

Perkins has called gay people “pawns” of the “enemy,” said that gays will experience “eternal damnation,” praised a Ugandan bill that would impose the death penalty for homosexuality, and declared that members of Congress who voted to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell had the “blood of young Marines” on their hands. His organization has been labeled a “hate group” for routinely peddling the myth that gay men are more likely to be pedophiles than straight men. In addition to regularly spouting anti-LGBT rhetoric, Perkins has also been linked to white supremacist groups in his native Louisiana.

Of course Kelly didn’t ask Perkins about any of these issues even after assuring Hooper that she would.

It’s relatively easy to use an interview to bolster your view of a “sea change” when you have the person doing the interview in your hip pocket, isn’t it Tony?

‘Porno Pete’ LaBarbera Attacks Researchers for Daring to Correct How He Distorts Their Work

Peter LaBarbera on patrol

Peter LaBarbera is again posting a ludicrous attack on lgbts on his webpage, complete with pictures of dildos. The post which accompanied LaBarbera’s photo was a rambling piece of nonsense, PUTTING THE “SEX” BACK IN HOMOSEXUALITY, by Eric Holmberg. The piece is the usual claptrap about homosexuality being a “health risk” which actually tries to defend Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty’s rather graphic homophobic comments regarding anal and vaginal sex. LaBarbera added some of his personal nonsense to the piece, particularly this part:

According to one peer-reviewed [1997] study done towards the end of the 20th century, the life expectancy for the average 20-year-old gay or bisexual man [assessing “vital statistics data … obtained for a large Canadian urban centre from 1987 to 1992″] was 8 to 21 years less than his heterosexual counterpart. (See the International Journal of Epidemiology.) Here [in 2001] the authors actually condemn as “homophobic” anyone who dares to point to their research as evidence that homosexuality carries with it certain inherent health risks. And yet they in no way deny the statistical evidence their research has uncovered. (This is one of the best examples of “professing to be wise and remaining fools” I have ever stumbled upon.) [Editor’s Note: Life expectancy for homosexual men is now much longer compared to when the original IJE study was done in 1997 — due mainly to AIDS antiretroviral drugs. Nevertheless, “men who have sex with men” (MSM) remain at the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said a CDC specialist describing a Fact Sheet assessing 2010 infections and published by the CDC earlier this year. Read the original 1997 Canadian study on “gay” and bisexual men’s lifespan HERE and the authors’ short 2001 response (referenced by Holmberg above) to conservatives who used their data to criticize pro-homosexual activism HERE.]

Allow me to explain. Anti-gay groups generally distort a 1997 Canadian study to claim that gays have a shorter lifespan than heterosexuals. In 2001, the authors of the study complained that their work was being distorted. LaBarbera continues to not only distort their work but also attack them for correcting the lies, claiming that their correction did nothing to disprove his negative point about lgbts. That’s not true. In the 2001 letter, they said:

In our paper, we demonstrated that in a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 21 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality continued, we estimated that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years would not reach their 65th birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre were experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by men in Canada in the year 1871. In contrast, if we were to repeat this analysis today the life expectancy of gay and bisexual men would be greatly improved. Deaths from HIV infection have declined dramatically in this population since 1996. As we have previously reported there has been a threefold decrease in mortality in Vancouver as well as in other parts of British Columbia. It is essential to note that the life expectancy of any population is a descriptive and not a prescriptive measure. Death is a product of the way a person lives and what physical and environmental hazards he or she faces everyday. It cannot be attributed solely to their sexual orientation or any other ethnic or social factor. If estimates of an individual gay and bisexual man’s risk of death is truly needed for legal or other purposes, then people making these estimates should use the same actuarial tables that are used for all other males in that population. Gay and bisexual men are included in the construction of official population-based tables and therefore these tables for all males are the appropriate ones to be used. In summary, the aim of our work was to assist health planners with the means of estimating the impact of HIV infection on groups, like gay and bisexual men, not necessarily captured by vital statistics data and not to hinder the rights of these groups worldwide. Overall, we 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 the grand irony of LaBarbera’s explanation? The CDC fact sheet  he used to make another point about the supposed health risk of homosexuality is also another distortion. Here, LaBarbera commits the sin of omission by not including another fact sheet which calls out the socioeconomic factors which heightens HIV risk, including poverty, discrimination, stigma, and homophobia. At no point does this fact sheet back up LaBarbera’s idea that the lgbt orientation is a “health risk.”

LaBarbera is beyond sad here. He not only distorts legitimate research but attacks the authors of the research for daring to complain about the misuse of their work  He is like one of those birthers who cling  so strongly to the notion that President Obama is not an American citizen that every bit of proof contradicting their belief is merely a piece of the “conspiracy.”

To put it another way, LaBarbera is what I like to call a “true believer,” the most pathetic of anti-gay activists. Unlike some folks like Brian Brown of NOM or Tony Perkins of FRC, LaBarbera isn’t doing what he does for a paycheck. He seems to have a deep, personal animus against gays which he covers up with Scripture and platitudes of love.  Rip away that phony cover and you find someone with not a hatred of gays, but a fear of gays. It’s a fear which is so intense, he won’t hum a show tune because he thinks  it would “turn” him gay.

Sometimes LaBarbera acts so much like a homophobic clown that he should be laughed at. Now, however, he should be pitied.

Photo by Gay Liberation Network, used under Creative Commons license

The Ugly Collusion Between ‘Religious Faith’ and Bigotry

There is an ugly collusion between religious belief and bigotry which we don’t talk about and it didn’t begin with the LGBT community.
There is no need to rehash this Duck Dynasty mess. We have all said our bits and pieces about Phil Robertson’s racism and homophobia. And it will continue to reverberate. But a larger picture of the entire controversy needs to be stated.

Remember last year when a pastor of an NC church got into trouble because he said gays should be put behind an electrified fence. Even with all of the backlash, there was a few who stood behind him because according to them, “the Bible says homosexuality is wrong.”

But the anger was due to the fact that this man said lgbts should be placed behind an electrified fence like they were cattle to be abused and killed off. Still,the pastor had a loyal bunch who continued to justify his words by claiming that he were merely preaching in accordance to his “faith.”

Never mind that his faith encompassed genocide.

Decades before that in the 1970s was Anita Bryant and her opposition to the pro-gay ordinance in a Florida county. She said as a Christian, she couldn’t support such an ordinance. But she wasn’t content on leaving her opposition rooted in her faith. She snuck in a little nugget. According to her, since gays can’t reproduce, we supposedly recruit children.

She was able to pull off that lie by reminding folks of her “Christian values.”

Years after Bryant came a plethora of anti-gay and supposed morality groups standing against lgbt equality. Using junk science, discredited sources, venomous accusations and name-calling, and out-and-out lies, they claimed to oppose lgbt equality because supposedly because it is a “public health menace.”

These groups, amongst them the Family Research Council, the American Family Association,and the Traditional Values Coalition, still exists today.

And what would generally happen – and still does happen –  when these groups are called out on their lies, i.e. the complaints of misappropriation of scientific work, the omission of CDC data which easily dispels their idea of homosexuality being a “public health menace,” the usage of work from discredited sources?

Well these groups would cling to their crosses of martyrdom so hard that their fingers would get splinters. They would claim that they were simply standing up for their faith and those who called their “facts” into question were trying to silence them. And thus all of the negative, untrue things they said about gays would be wiped away by the media as simple inconveniences which didn’t deserve any attention because apparently “making a stance in accordance to one’s religious values” trumps the methods in which the stance is made, even if the methods contradict said religious values.

There is an ugly collusion between religious belief and bigotry which we don’t talk about and it didn’t begin with the lgbt community. It wasn’t that long ago when religious belief and faith was used to justify slavery, segregation, and Anti-Semitism on a large scale. Sadly, the lgbt community seems to be the last bastion where it is okay to justify demonizing people under the guise of “adhering to one’s faith.”

We need to call out the fact that just because your “faith” says that homosexuality is a sin is no justification to tack on lies geared to demonize the lgbt community. It’s no justification to perform a humiliating psychological dissection on lgbts by saying things like “I don’t hate you as a person, just what you do.” It’s not about your alleged hate,but your proud display of your ignorance. And it is certainly no justification to judge lgbts based on your view of the Bible and play the victim when you are called out for it.

Folks who do these things always seem to think that they own the word “Christianity” and everyone else is beholden to their interpretation. They forget that many lgbts are also Christians and bring up good points when they lay out their case in proving that God doesn’t condemn them for being who they are.

But as it is, those who are so damn eager to speak against the so-called sin of homosexuality would be best to remember the sin of lying, speaking ill of one’s brother, or bearing false witness.

More often than not, it applies better to their situations. (more…)

Mike Huckabee Is Either a Clueless Fool or a Brazen Liar

Mike Huckabee

In their zeal to defend Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, many conservatives and religious right figures are being extremely hypocritical about free speech. I mean aren’t these some of the same folks who blow gaskets when they even hear about stores saying “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas?”

However, one man has gone way beyond the pale. I give you former Arkansas governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee. On a recent edition of his show, he defended Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty in a monologue:

HUCKABEE: Do you remember when America was a free country. Religious liberty, so foundational to our nation’s origin, that faith was embedded in the very first amendment in our Bill of Rights. The government is forbidden to prefer or prohibit an expression of religion. Religion is free to express, but government has never been free to infringe. In recent days, a small, but vocal and militant group of same-sex marriage advocates have co-opted religious liberty to force industry and government to go beyond tolerating homosexuality, but to approve it. Now I’m told to shut up advocating for traditional marriage, but those who force acceptance, approval and activism of same-sex marriage allow no deviation from their views. Wedding caterers and wedding photographers are being forced, by government, to serve same-sex weddings, even if it violates the conscience and religious convictions of the provider. It’s not just government. A&E network found a successful formula to save it financially from its beginnings of “Arts and Entertainment.” Reality shows have turned it into a cash cow, but none of its shows has ever rocketed it to the stratosphere of green and gold like its most popular show ever, “Duck Dynasty.” Elites have never understood its popularity in “fly over” country, but for those of us who live in the part of America, Duck Dynasty wasn’t about the beards or the ducks, but the strongly knit sense of family that the Robertson clan embodied. Their Christian faith is apparently a little too real for reality TV.

It goes on like this but then he said the following:

. . . . Gay rights groups used to lobby for tolerance. Now they’re lobbying for intolerance. Reality TV has given us such high brow viewing as Jersey Shore, Temptation Island and Cheaters. . . .  Most Christians I know (including me) are respectful and tolerant of those who are homosexual and engage in friendship with, employment with, social interaction with people who are openly gay. I can accept anyone, but I shouldn’t be forced to embrace a view of sex that is at odds with my faith. I’ve got friends who accept me and love me, but they think I’m a religious nut for believing the Bible and in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So are the militant homosexuals so insecure that they’re incapable of tolerating anyone who disagrees with them?

How can Huckabee claim to be “respectful and tolerant” of gays when, according to Media Matters, he has a long history of denigrating the lgbt community: (more…)

A Smidgen of Homophobia and a Dash of Racism Makes an Interesting ‘Duck Dynasty’

Phil Robertson

UPDATE – Phil Robertson has been put on indefinite filming hiatus by the A&E Network, which produces Duck Dynasty.

Recently, Phil Robertson of the reality television show Duck Dynasty set off a firestorm in a GQ magazine interview with the following homophobic comments:

“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” (Phil) Robertson told GQ. “That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” “Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine,” he later added. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.

Robertson’s comments were condemned by the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD while those on the right, such as the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer and Fox News reporter Todd Starnes, hailed him as a great American and the lgbt community as intolerant and “anti-Straight.”

Then came Act II.

Robertson proceeded during the same interview to compound his vocal faux pas by implying that black folks were happier in the days before integration:

“Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash,” he said.  “They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

I have yet to hear any defense of this comment from Fischer or Starnes. [cont’d.]

Family Research Council Smears Judge for Decision in Bakery Lawsuit

I could have sworn that one of the 10 commandments was “thou shalt not bear false witness.”

Perhaps the Family Research Council has special permission from God to ignore this commandment. Recently in an email, the organization smeared Colorado judge, Robert Spencer, simply because he ruled against Masterpiece Cakes owner Jack Philips. Philips was sued by a gay couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, when he wouldn’t sell them a cake. Craig and Mullins were going to use the cake to celebrate the wedding they had in Massachusetts since gay marriage is illegal in Colorado.

In his decision, Spencer outlined several very good reasons why Philips broke Colorado’s non-discrimination law, including the fact that baking a cake does not constitute religious conduct and selling cakes does not constitute speech.

However, the Family Research Council has pushed all of these reasons aside because apparently the real reason why Spencer ruled against Philips was because he is an “activist judge” :

 Like most activist judges, Spencer tries to equate sexual behavior with skin color, a comparison with no basis in science — or logic. What’s more, he tied the case to a Supreme Court suit involving Bob Jones University, in which the justices stripped the college’s tax status over its rule against biracial relationships.

I don’t have to tell anyone that FRC offered no proof of its charges against Spencer. That goes without saying. Right now, the organization is simultaneously playing defense while exploiting its followers’ fears and sense of entitlement via buzzwords. And the phrase “activist judge” is a powerful one to those on the right.

It’s a phrase they use when they lose court cases.  It’s akin to a football team blaming the referee after it loses the game. And in this case, it sends a message to FRC’s supporters to not consider the fact that perhaps their positions are wrong. God forbid that these folks would do a little introspection. No, they are not wrong. The entire system is rigged against them because the system is evil and supposedly against Christians.

While FRC’s caterwauling doesn’t change Spencer’s decision, it still makes me sad because it has the potential of changing many people’s idea of Christianity. I know many Christians and they consider their faith as one of love and hope. The Family Research Council reduces Christianity to paranoia, fear, lies and a false sense of superiority.  Perhaps those who truly consider themselves followers of the Christian faith should ask themselves just who is their friend. And their enemy.

Open Letter to Christians Who Claim They Are Being ‘Persecuted’

THIS is persecution: Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre
Dear Christians who think you are being persecuted,

I don’t expect you to be swayed by my open letter. I don’t expect to change your mind with my words. But certain things have to be said.

Now I understand how some of you don’t agree with marriage equality (some of you call it gay marriage, I call it marriage equality) and I respect your opinion. I have tolerance for your opinion.  I even have tolerance for your opinion that homosexuality is a sin.

However, please note – and don’t take this the wrong way –  that every time you gripe about being persecuted for simply for being ordered to treat gay couples like you would heterosexual couples by the rule of law, you make damn fools of yourself.

I’m serious. I don’t say this to be mean or nasty. I mean no malice intended.

But don’t you think that automatically seizing the “persecution card”  simply because you have to treat gays the same as heterosexuals in accordance to the law is just a bit too much? Don’t you think that you are taking dramatic license a little too far?  Or at least overacting just a little?

Let’s talk about this. When I think about “religious persecution,” I think about the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witchcraft Trials, how Mary I of England had over 280 people burned at the stake for supposed heresy, the mass slaughter of the Huguenots.

When I think of persecution in general, I think of mutilated corpses littering the streets, screaming victims being dragged away by brutal soldiers to suffer harsher fates.  I think about vandalized places of business, burning homes, mobs throwing rocks at innocent folks, the smell of death, violence, and anarchy in the air. [cont’d.]

Painting by François Dubois, ca. 1572-84 (more…)

I’m Glad That Nelson Mandela Was Here

Today the world mourns one of our greatest heroes.

Nelson Mandela died yesterday at the age of 95. Mandela’s fight against the awful system of apartheid in South Africa led to his 27-year imprisonment after which in 1994, he became the first black president of the country, helping to dismantle apartheid and inequality.

Mandela never gave in to the demons of revenge or resentment, choosing to use his time as president as well as his status to be a statesman for peace and equality for all, including lgbts.

The Human Rights Campaign issued the following statement:

Nelson Mandela tore down oppression, united a rainbow nation, and always walked arm-in-arm with his LGBT brothers and sisters—and with all people—toward freedom. Though every man, woman and child who seeks justice around the world mourns this loss, his vision of an equal future lives on undimmed. Mandela, who was South Africa’s first post-Apartheid president, was an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality. He appointed an openly-gay judge to South Africa’s High Court of Appeal and during his presidency, South Africa became the first nation in the world to constitutionally prohibit sexual orientation-based discrimination. Mandela will be remembered for his social justice activism and commitment to equality for all people.

While there is sadness over Mandela’s passing, I’m not really mourning. I never met him but I am so glad that he wasn’t taken from the world before he could fully impact it like other leaders such as John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mandela lived a long life and leaves a great legacy. And now he is at peace, taking his well-deserved rest. So while there is a void in our hearts, let there also be a bit of contentment and gladness. Let’s not waste so much time mourning the fact that Mandela is gone that we forget how thankful we should be that he was here in the first place.