On April 1-2, 2011, Mission America and Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) will be cosponsoring the second Truth* Academy in Columbus, Ohio. I thought it might be helpful to see what tone and substance attendees can expect from each of the instructors before the conference begins. You can find all of my Truth* Academy posts at this link.
Peter LaBarbera will be giving a speech at the Truth* Academy in Columbus, but more importantly he’s the ringleader of this circus. He’ll certainly set the tone for the two half-days, so let’s look at his tone. But where in the world should we begin?
Do we start with the Box Turtle Bulletin’s LaBarbera Award, given for the “most outrageous, offensive, malevolent, crazy, or excessive statement or claim”?
Do we go back to 2009 and see how LaBarbera was so extreme and so hateful that the anti-gay forces gathered there asked him not to come, and when he came anyway, they denounced him before his press conference was even over?
How about we start with an interview LaBarbera did in July 2010 with radio host David Pakman. About six minutes into part one, LaBarbera starts scolding Pakman because the show‘s producer didn’t tell him that Pakman isn’t anti-gay. It’s a really weird interview, and LaBarbera lets his hood slip a bit.
One interesting tidbit that I was surprised Pakman got out of LaBarbera is that he really thinks that anal sex between consenting adults should be illegal in the United States. More on that in another post.
Then there’s Peter LaBarbera’s unabashed devotion to the work of Paul Cameron.
In 1983, Cameron put forth a booklet that soundly vilified gay people. For example, the lines about gay men having 100+ sex partners a year and a life span of 42 years come from Cameron. He’s behind the gerbil thing too.
Cameron’s claims have long since been disproved. Read more about that in this exhaustive 12-part series by Box Turtle Bulletin’s Jim Burroway. Importantly, Cameron’s research methods (such as they are) were revealed and soundly denounced by anyone with a passing knowledge of statistical methodology.
He was drummed out of the American Psychological Association the same year he brought his claims, in 1984 by the Nebraska Psychological Association, and in 1986 by the American Sociological Association. Even still, Cameron’s claims are a major source of material for anti-gay hate groups today.
Fast forward to 2010, when researcher Walter R. Shumm, an associate of Paul Cameron, claimed to have duplicated some of Cameron’s findings. While their claim that LGBT families are more likely to produce LGBT kids is patently ridiculous to reasonable people, it does perpetuate the deeply held right wing belief that gay people are predators and steal your children at night.
And for that reason, Peter LaBarbera and other hate group leaders got all tingly when they read the news.
It came as no surprise when we found out that Shumm had reused Cameron’s preposterously unscientific methods to reproduce Cameron’s findings, as detailed here, again by Box Turtle Bulletin.
Shumm’s results, in other words, are nonsense.
But that didn’t stop Peter LaBarbera from hailing Shumm’s work in a radio interview and deriding reasonable people for not accepting it at face value.
This just confirms what we already knew: Truth is irrelevant in Peter LaBarbera’s world. All that matters to Peter LaBarbera is the validation of his hatred of LGBT people.
Kind of makes the April Fool’s Day scheduling of LaBarbera’s Truth* Academy especially appropriate, don’t you think?