Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Myth of the Homosexual Predator

I just read this article in the Christian News Wire that made my blood boil.
The entire article is copied below with my comments in bold.

Peter LaBarbera: How Many Boy Victims of Penn State Homosexual Predator Jerry Sandusky Will End Up Thinking They are 'Gay'?

The discovery that former Penn State University defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been molesting boys as young as 10 years old -- and that university officials including head coach Joe Paterno did not do more to apprehend this predator -- has shocked America.  Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), said the scandal exposes the continuing problem of homosexual predators in society. He offers the following observations related to the PSU scandal:

Many openly homosexual ("gay") men, like CNN anchor Don Lemon, were molested as boys or experienced abnormally early sexualization. Yet many of these same men do NOT see their boyhood victimization at the hands of homosexual male predators as causing their homosexuality. (This is due partly to the success of the modern "gay" movement that falsely ascribes "gayness" to a person's (innate) identity, and emphasizes the ambiguous notion of "sexual orientation" as opposed to behavior that is sinful, destructive and changeable.)

I have written in the past about the tendency of the religious to paint homosexuality as a behavior, rather than a sexual orientation.   For those not convinced, take a moment to think on the time in adolescence when you decided who you were going to be attracted to and what societal norms you were going to adhere to.  Right, let’s move on.

Homosexuality is the sexual attraction to members of the same sex.  It is not a mental illness and is not caused by strictly environmental factors.  The evidence points to  a biological (genetic) preference. Like handedness.  Pedophilia is the sexual attraction to children.    The characteristics that define a pedophile’s attraction have little to do with the victim’s gender and much more to do with their age.   There are several different categories of sex offenders and lumping them into gay and non-gay is a gross over-simplification.  I would assume the author had not read any of the psychological research if he were not the head of an association discounting said research.

The descriptions of "sinful, destructive and changeable" are false and misleading as well.  Sinful is arbitrary and subjective to the Abrahamic religions.  Destructive only applies to the people who are convinced that it is sinful, the rest of us are just fine with it.  And you can see the previous link for the mountain of research proving how un-changeable it is.  I would argue that the trauma experienced by those who undergo Conversion Therapy is so destructive to the psyche that most theists would label it abuse if it were in any other context.  

Thus, how many boy victims of homosexual predator Sandusky will end up believing that being homosexual ("gay") is "who they are"? How many will struggle with sexual identity issues? And how many will be told by LGBT advocates and liberal-minded people just to "accept being gay" as "who they are" because they were "born that way"?

We have no way of knowing the number of pedophiles in the world.  But we can say with relative certainty that there are far more victims of sexual abuse than those who identify as gay.  Part of the title of the above article is true, the male victims of sexual abuse by men often become confused about their sexuality.  This is a result of the grooming process perpetrated by sex offenders.  The victims are often from broken homes, are abused and/or neglected by their families.  They are given gifts and praise.  In some cases the physical act can feel good to the child, further confounding the guilt and shame.  These are the tools the offender uses to prey on children without the resources and intellectual capacity to protect themselves.  In most of these cases, once the abuse stops and the victim receives some type of distance and closure (with or without treatment) their natural sexual orientation emerges.  

Because the media and academia have largely become apologists for the modern homosexualist movement, they downplay or ignore obvious causative factors in the formation of "gay" identity -- including pederastic molestation. CNN's Lemon is a case in point: he is now an "out gay" celebrity, yet few question the absurdity of him not associating the molestation of his youth with his later embrace of homosexuality as a positive identity.

There IS a long history connecting homosexuality to pederasty, and a disproportionate link between homosexuality and pedophilia: why else would so many child molestation victims be boys when only 1-3 percent of the population is homosexual? Since cases of women molesting boys remain rare, if homosexuality were not such a strong factor, nearly all of pedophile victims should be girls, which is far from the case.

Homosexuals make up approximately 4% of the population (self-identified in 2008 poll).  True the majority of child molesters are men but the victims of abuse are of both genders.  According to the Dept of justice:  “1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys will become victims of sexual abuse by the time they reach their 18th birthday.” It is widely believed that sexual abuse of males by women is significantly under reported.  That said, there are too many victims of sexual abuse to imply that it causes homosexuality, and there are not enough gays to account for the number of pedophiles.  It's just math.

There is indeed a long history of connecting homosexuality to pederasty.  This history is built on fallacies that have been perpetuated by anti-gay bigots and religiously motivated hate mongers.  There is no “disproportionate link” between homosexuality and pedophilia.  This is a very old stigma that will not go away because it plays into the narrative of the immoral queer preying on children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics stated in Pediatrics in 2004:
"Sexual orientation probably is not determined by any one factor but by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences. In recent decades, biologically based theories have been favored by experts. Although there continues to be controversy and uncertainty as to the genesis of the variety of human sexual orientations, there is no scientific evidence that abnormal parenting, sexual abuse, or other adverse life events influence sexual orientation. Current knowledge suggests that sexual orientation is usually established during early childhood."

Sandusky is married but obviously has a homosexuality (perversion) problem. Yet pro-"gay" liberals will deny any linkage between homosexuality and Sandusky's rape/seduction of boys. In fact, after news of the Penn State scandal came to light, "gay" activists stressed that Sandusky is married and that most pedophile cases involve "straight, married men." However, behavior is what matters -- not a person's marital status or self-described "sexual orientation." Sandusky was married but was he really "straight" (sexually or morally)? Some inner demons or life traumas -- probably in his own youth -- caused him to lust for boys, wrecking untold misery in the lives of his victims. Behavior is the issue, and this was a case of a serial homosexual predator raping boys.

Nice work inserting "perversion" between homosexuality and problem. Real subtle.  The view of homosexuality as a perversion is an attempt to shift the focus.  I reject the implication that pedophiles that abuse girls are somehow more normal than those who sexually abuse boys.  On the scale of immorality, is the rape of a boy by an adult male somehow more atrocious then the rape of a girl?  

The majority of sex offenders identify themselves as heterosexual.  The author is tying to discredit their self-report by saying that their sexual offending behavior is the true measure of their sexual orientation.  Again, we are blending attraction to an adult of the same sex with the attraction to a child.  An attraction to another consenting adult who is one’s equal in physical, emotional and intellectual maturity is very different from the desire to injure, intimidate, threaten, coerce or rape an actual child.  These attractions have little in common other than as aspects of human sexuality.  Unless of course, you are throwing homosexuality into the category of immoral behavior.  

The selection of the victim is equally complicated and the motives can range from availability to a specific physical traits.  Most sex offenders have a type of preferred victim but many are opportunists who are grooming  whatever children are available to them; often several at a time.  The gender of the victim is not always significant to the offender.  Some offenders cruelly choose to use a child’s body as an instrument of self-gratification.  Others, who may be developmentally delayed may view their offense as a type of consensual romance. There is a significantly high percentage of offenders who were abused themselves.  Many of these individuals are playing out the abuse and reversing the role.  In many of these cases the victim is chosen because of their similarity to the abuser’s memory of himself as a child.  This type of a predator is not committing a homosexual action.  It is a crime of power and control.  A ritual manifestation of a cycle of abuse rooted in deep psychological dysfunction.  Predator indeed.  Homosexual Predator: not so fast.

As someone who works with a population of abused children, I am much more concerned about the laundry list of potentially crippling psychological and developmental issues that stem directly from sexual abuse.  Any abuse is damaging but sexual abuse is particularly destructive to a child’s psyche.  The majority of victims know their offender (they are most often a member of the family).  This only enhances the guilt/shame aspect of coming forward.  Although many offenders have a history of abuse, the majority do not grow up to be offenders themselves.  An abuse victim who grows up to have a successful adult same-sex relationship isn't a "perversion." The appropriate word for that individual is "survivor."

The national conversation does need to take place about trust, institutionalized corruption, and the legal and moral responsibilities of the authorities.  Identifying the victims and making sure that they receive treatment is paramount.  LaBarbera seems to be using this event to reignite fear of the gays in a culture that is becoming ever more tolerant.  Dismissing sexual abuse to the casual act of a homosexual does nothing but perpetuate the social shame that keeps victims silent.  LaBarbera’s agenda is transparent.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Link Dump 11/25/11

Kingdom Now Theology & The New Apostolic Reformation Part 3 in my Dominionism series. I like the part where they’re crazy.

Burnout & Apathy: Symptoms of a Stagnate Movement Yeah, so I kinda had a slight moment of “what the hell are we doing this for?” I blame Martin Pribble and Paul Fidalgo.

The aforementioned gentlemen's blog posts that are related to mine.

My Atheism Will Not Save the World by Paul Fidalgo on Near Earth Object

Why Doubt? Dismissing Faith (Positively) Embracing doubt and utilizing reason over saying unanswered prayers or attributing all good occurrences to God has been a positive experience. Dismissing faith is not a loss.”  The always on-point Ms. Mason. Aside from her usual awesomeness, you can’t look away or you might miss her posting screenshots of some of the most horrifically ignorant things Americans say. Huzzah!

Ultimate Christmas Quiz – With Answers /Prints this out. /Folds it up. /Stuffs in Wallet. /Waits for Xmas dinner.

The Roots play "Lyin' Ass Bitch" for Michele Bachmann on Fallon Tasteless. Wrong. Hilarious. This ballsy episode aside, this is one of the few hip-hop groups that I not only like, but I love! I have seen them three times live and they always rock. If you pay attention around here you know I am a metalhead through and through. So...that is high praise from me.

"In some cases babies too young to be vaccinated have contracted the illness from contact with infected older children who have not been given the jabs."


The Religious Right's disingenuous interest in history Somehow, despite the obvious problem of overzealous Christians in the military, we are asked to believe that reasonable observers should understand a 13-foot cross towering over military property as being something other than a pro-Christian endorsement.”

NPR audio: would the world be better off without religion? Rabbi Wolpe, while I disagree with him, seems like a perfectly nice guy. Conversely, Dinesh D'Souza is a weaselly, intellectually dishonest prick.

Prayer Warriors and Freethinkers by Sikivu Hutchinson

City lights could reveal E.T. civilization “Looking for alien cities would be a long shot, but wouldn’t require extra resources. And if we succeed, it would change our perception of our place in the universe,” (emphasis added)

Survey: People Who Watch No News Know More Than Fox Viewers Fox News has become this unique organism that evolved to eat its own shit in order to sustain itself.

Why Mozart Rocks So Hard. Artistic Genius Explained.

Perry Promises To End Civilian-Controlled Military This is straight out of the Dominionist handbook. Why? Because the American military is already frighteningly infested with Evangelical Christians. I’m pretty sure America isn’t stupid enough to elect this man as Commander-in-Chief. Notice I said “pretty sure.”

Sexy eyes offend Saudi purity police Ah yes. It's women's fault that men cannot control themselves and their junk.

Sam Harris ~ Not Being Indoctrinated Into Christianity I think my comment on that page sums it up.

Down with Agnosticism

To GOP candidates: Enough already with God–our nation has real problems and lack of religion in politics isn't one of them Co-signed, but the assumption that they care about much of anything else is...naive.

Open Letter to America's Liberal Christians This is related to the “burnout & apathy” I discussed earlier this week. I know atheists and Christians in America have a tenuous relationship, if any, but it would be nice if they would pick up the slack every once in awhile when it comes to the fundies. Aside from the obvious mutual benefit of keeping the crazy people away from power, it would also do them the added benefit of negating some of that “moderate Christianity tacitly allows fundamentalism and extremism to take hold” thing. Just sayin’.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Censorship and the Religious Right

Once again a group of prominent  republicans has joined forces with he Catholic League to put pressure on an exhibit that offends them.

Last year, A Fire in my Belly: a compilation video by David Wojnarowicz was successfully banned from a Smithsonian Exhibit called Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture thanks to political and financial pressure from House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader, Eric Cantor and the machiavellian Bill Donahue of the Catholic League.  I responded with (Hell)Fire in my Belly(video included) after the event.

This year the Brooklyn Museum is under pressure to remove the same video.  Per Right Wing Watch:

Republican state senator Andrew Lanza introduced legislation to have the government withdraw “all public funding of the museum”:

“It is outrageous for an institution that accepts funding from city, state and federal governments to display content that is so blatantly disrespectful and offensive to Christians during the holiday season,” said Senator Andrew Lanza. “Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for hatred and ignorance.”
Senator Lanza believes that the actions of the Museum are analogous to a hate crime. He is calling for all public funding of the museum to be withdrawn.

That’s right, he actually said that without a hint of irony.  “Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for hatred and ignorance.” As if we didn’t do that already by paying his salary.  For that matter, you can find tax-exempt hate every sunday morning.    The image in question is 10-12 seconds of ants crawling on a plastic crucifix.  

The good news is that the Brooklyn Museum is not backing down.  A statement from the museum spokeswoman Sally Williams said that Wojnarowicz's video “is an expression of the artist’s outrage at indifference to human suffering during the early years of the AIDS crisis... We strongly encourage anyone who has concerns about ‘Hide/Seek’ to visit the museum and view it in person."


Earth-Time Lapse Flyover From ISS


Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Link Dump ~ 11/18/11

The Theory of Evolution in 2 Minutes

Christian Reconstructionism: The Template for Modern American Theocracy Part 2 of Steve’s intrepid Dominionism series.

Monday Morning Quotes ~ Natalie Angier Among the more irritating consequences of our flagrantly religious society is the special dispensation that mainstream religions receive. We all may talk about religion as a powerful social force, but unlike other similarly powerful institutions, religion is not to be questioned, criticized or mocked.”

Mid-Week Rant: Bill Maher, the GOP and A Christmas Carol


(TED) Michael Specter: The Danger of Science Denial

New Research Says Anti-Atheist Prejudice Stems from Distrust   Well DUH.  How can a reasonable person be expected to trust someone who doesn’t think they are being watched at all times by the creator of the universe???

There Is a Super-Entity Inside the Human Brain

Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will?

Girls Beaten and Raped? Or The Catholic Church? Who are the victims? In truth the Catholic hierarchy can and probably will continue to deny contraceptive services to human trafficking victims. They just won’t get our tax money to do it.”

Is it time to occupy the world?

This Is Serious: Help Stop the Very Real Prospect of Widespread Internet Censorship

99% v 1%: the data behind the Occupy movement - animation

The Ten Point Vision for a Secular America

Sweet Spot for Life's Chemistry Discovered

Why are the young abandoning Christianity? Maybe theists need to rail against the evils of science and technology via text message.

'Mitochondrial Eve': Mother of all humans lived 200,000 yrs ago

Mimicking the brain, in silicon: New computer chip models how neurons communicate

A very silly calculation "It's simply making the lottery fallacy. The odds of winning the Minnesota state Powerball lottery are 1 in 195,249,054 — why, it must be a miracle that anyone wins!"

Why doesn’t the field of psychology have a unifying theory — and where can it get one? There are several unifying theories actually, but that is the problem.  How about this?  Everything we do is to get something or to get away from something.  I’ll send a bill.

Fastest Stellar Spinner Will Die a Violent Death

Five Cognitive Biases That Prove Your Brain Hates Science

More data shows neutrinos still faster than light

Huge lakes of water may exist under Europa’s ice Cool...Really cool.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Morning Quotes ~ Natalie Angier

“Whatever else I might have thought of [President George W] Bush's call, with its assumption that prayer is some sort of miracle Vicks VapoRub for the national charley horse, it's clear that his hands were reaching for any hands but mine.”

“So, I'll out myself. I'm an Atheist. I don't believe in God, Gods, Godlets or any sort of higher power beyond the universe itself, which seems quite high and powerful enough to me. I don't believe in life after death, channeled chat rooms with the dead, reincarnation, telekinesis or any miracles but the miracle of life and consciousness, which again strike me as miracles in nearly obscene abundance. I believe that the universe abides by the laws of physics, some of which are known, others of which will surely be discovered, but even if they aren't, that will simply be a result, as my colleague George Johnson put it, of our brains having evolved for life on this one little planet and thus being inevitably limited. I'm convinced that the world as we see it was shaped by the again genuinely miraculous, let's even say transcendent, hand of evolution through natural selection.”

“When I sent out a casual and nonscientific poll of my own to a wide cast of acquaintances, friends and colleagues, I was surprised, but not really, to learn that maybe 60 percent claimed a belief in a God of some sort, including people I would have bet were unregenerate skeptics. Others just shrugged. They don't think about this stuff. It doesn't matter to them. They can't know, they won't beat themselves up trying to know and for that matter they don't care if their kids believe or not.”

“Still, the current climate of religiosity can be stifling to nonbelievers, and it helps now and then to cry foul. For one thing, some of the numbers surrounding the deep religiousness of America, and the rarity of nonbelief, should be held to the fire of skepticism, as should sweeping statistics of any sort. Yes, Americans are comparatively more religious than Europeans, but while the vast majority of them may say generically that they believe in God, when asked what their religion is, a sizable fraction, 11 percent, report "no religion," a figure that has more than doubled since the early 1970's and that amounts to about 26 million people.”

“As [The Nation columnist Katha] Pollitt points out, when one starts looking beneath the surface of things and adding together the out-front atheists with the indifferent nonbelievers, you end up with a much larger group of people than Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Unitarians put together.”

“Among the more irritating consequences of our flagrantly religious society is the special dispensation that mainstream religions receive. We all may talk about religion as a powerful social force, but unlike other similarly powerful institutions, religion is not to be questioned, criticized or mocked.”

Thanks again to Positive Atheism.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Link Dump ~ 11/11/11

Left Hemispheres passed 100,000 hits this week.  Thanks to all our random visitors and faithless faithful readers.

Dominionism: A Primer on Christian Theology & American Politics The first in a multi-part series by our chief writer and intellectual masochist, Steve.  Not afraid of Dominionists you are?  You will be.  You will be.

Religious Bullying Protected by Potential New Law

Happy Birthday, Carl Sagan!

Mid-Week Rant: Hitchens & How Religion Is Like North Korea

A Response to "The God Test" “Human emotion and experience IS intrinsically meaningless. That is not the same as worthless. We live subjective lives in a material world with other subjective beings that we need to get along with in order for the whole wheel to roll. You diminish that by adding the god concept.”  --Preach brother!

After AtheismAs an atheist I am able to examine the human condition as it presents itself; not squeezed into the box of theism with a list of answers begging for corresponding questions.”

Monday Morning Quotes: Hugo Black

Morality 3: Of Objectivity & Oughtness

Sunday Morning Crazy: Cindy Jacobs "If You Care About the Environment, you are a Dominionist....  Riiiiiight.

A Freethinker is Satan’s Slave “Rationalism says man’s mind, his reason, can determine and know truth. Presuppositionalism says man’s reason is so dependent on his creator that knowledge must begin with God’s revelation of Himself.”

Pastors Challenge The Extremism Behind 'The Call: Detroit'  This is an example of moderate Christians fighting Christian extremism.  We are always asking for it, so we like to highlight it when we find it.

Report: Military Blew $1 Trillion on Weapons Since 9/11

Atheist Army Sergeant Unleashes on the Bully Known as JD the Christian Fighter Pilot

World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns Can we please find a republican to travel the country and speak about this?  Maybe then we can stop dismissing the messenger and make a genuine attempt to solve the problem.

Fox News Lies: Obama’s Christmas Tree Tax You are going to hear about this over and over as Fox kicks off it’s annual “War on Christmas” propaganda machine.  Just remember two facts: It was initiated as a request form the National Christmas Tree Association and it began in December of 2008.  Back when Obama still had a blackberry.

Grilled Cheesus Yes, this is as real as it is awesome.