Glenn Stanton

FRC And Focus On The Family's 'Scientific' Denial Of Transgender Identity

Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton spoke at the Family Research Council Monday on “The Scientific Objectivity and Universality of Gender Difference.” The context, explained in FRC’s promotion for the talk, was the Obama administration’s directive on transgender students’ access to facilities that match their gender identity — or, in FRC’s words, the administration’s “working to elevate the cause of these individuals who believe their observable, biological sex does not match their gender identity.”

In other words, FRC asked Stanton to validate the organization’s belief that there is no such thing as a transgender identity. FRC’s Peter Sprigg, who introduced Stanton, has written, “Virtually all people have a biological sex, identifiable at birth and immutable throughout life, which makes them either male or female. The transgender movement represents a denial of this physical reality.” It is the trans version of the Religious Right argument that there is no such thing as a gay identity, only a person who experiences “same-sex attraction.” Stanton has previously called homosexuality “a pernicious lie of Satan” and said “there is more evidence for Bigfoot than there is that homosexuality is just who we are.”

Stanton, whose education is in philosophy and religion, spent the better part of an hour making his case, drawing on a New Yorker cartoon as well as a series of books and scientific studies by socio-biologists, evolutionary psychologists, and “secular anthropologists” to argue that there is “a universal male and female nature.”

Stanton discussed books on differences between male and female brains, suggesting that the gender divide in Silicon Valley does not reflect sexism but the fact that the female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy, while the male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems. Among other differences he said hold true across cultures: women smile more; women see danger where men see challenges; men are more interested in the world outside their village; women attempt suicide more often but men do so more violently and successfully.

But Stanton utterly failed to link all this to the conclusion that he and FRC are drawing about gender identity and public policy. In fact, the whole exercise left me thinking: So what? How would the existence of some predominant traits in men and women deny the reality of those whose sexual orientation or gender identity falls outside the norm? And how would it justify denial of humane treatment or legal equality?

It may be true that some traits predominate across cultures in men more than women. But that hardly makes them “universal.” There are male pacifists and female warriors; effective female executives and happy stay-at-home dads. Stanton acknowledged that there are many ways to be male — mentioning Clint Eastwood and Mr. Rogers. And, he said, some women can do “man things.” He cited Richard Simmons as someone who intentionally presents himself in a way that doesn’t clearly fit the “objective” way to be male and female. But he brushed all those aside, saying they do not challenge the universal binary norm.

Similarly, in response to a question about Native American cultures that recognized androgynous figures, and even considered them to play a sacred role, Stanton acknowledged the existence of such figures, such as the berdache, which he said have been “co-opted by the gay and lesbian community.” But he clearly could not make this reality fit his universalizing theory.

“Typically,” Stanton said, “that individual tends to be more of a she-male. It’s sort of, if you will, the Richard Simmons type, maybe the Mr. Rogers type, a man who is physically male, but he’s got clear kind of identities for the feminine. He’s — we would call, not in a nice way, in our culture, the Nancy boys, growing up.”

Furthermore, Stanton said, “They do not fit either in the male or the female category, but they are a mix of the two.” But rather than admitting that such a figure undermines his thesis, he claimed that they somehow “prove the rule” because “we understand them based on the binary.”

If you are feeling justifiably skeptical of Glenn Stanton’s claims for the “scientific objectivity and universality” of his views on gender identity, you might read what the American Psychological Association says about transgender identity, or check out some of the many resources available for transgender people and their allies. 

What the World Congress of Families Tells Us About the Global ‘Pro-Family’ Movement

The World Congress of Families — an organization that hosts an annual global gathering of “pro-family” advocates —  brought together more than 3,300 people in Salt Lake City last week. The summit included authors and counselors focused on strengthening marriages as well as academics talking about the social and economic consequences of later marriages, declining birthrates and widespread divorce. It also included and anti-reproductive-choice activists from around the globe, as well as hundreds of “emerging leaders” expected to lead the movement into the future.

We’ve reported on individual speakers and will continue to do so as we dig through a week’s worth of notes and recordings — and a shopping bag full of books and other swag. But what’s the big picture? What does the WCF tell us about the state of the global Religious Right?

There were differences in priorities and approaches among the participants, but among the themes that emerged:

They See Themselves at War with the Enemies of God

Warfare imagery was common at WCF and the preceding gay-focused Stand4Truth event organized by people who needed just a little more anti-gay intensity than the WCF schedule promised. The “natural family” and “complementary” male-female gender roles were ordained by God, and therefore proponents of feminist or gender ideologies or notions of LGBT equality are not only political opponents but spiritual ones, out to destroy both the natural family and religious freedom.

Francisco Tatad, a former senate majority leader in the Philippines, said the threat to the family and human society is not simply those who deny God, but those who actually hate God:

The global attack on human dignity, on the integrity of the human person, and the family, is ultimately an attack on God. The war of religions is over, but the war on religion has hardly begun. And the target is no longer any individual religion in particular, but God himself. He has become the arch-enemy.

American Hispanic evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez:

So I can share with you the fact that there is a spiritual battle, a spiritual battle, to annihilate the idea, the construct, God’s ordained institution of la familia. It is a battle. It even, before it’s a political battle or a legislative battle, it is, above all things, a spiritual battle.

And, engaging biblical allusions, it’s the spirit of Pharaoh, once again attempting to force and prompt families to make bricks without straw and to maintain families in the Egypt of bondage and fear. It is the spirit of Goliath, of intimidation. It is the spirit of Jezebel, an attempt to destroy the family via the conduit of sexual perversion and manipulation. It is the spirit of Herod, killing families through abortion, killing families through sex trafficking and violence against our children, disconnecting the child from mom and dad. These spirits are alive and well today, not only in America but across the world.

Rafael Cruz, father of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, declared, “What we see in America right now is an outright attack on Christianity.” Paige Patterson, president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and former head of the Southern Baptist Convention, decreed that “a few rogue lawyers claiming to be the Supreme Court of the United States of America has no right to act in such a way as to restrict our freedom of religion.” Patterson told the story of a missionary doctor killed by Chinese communists in the 1950s, and declared about religious freedom, “Today the blood of thousands of martyrs calls out to all of us, ‘Do not squander the greatest and most costly gift bequeathed to you by the founders of this nation.’”

They’re Intensely Committed to Enforcing Traditional Gender Roles

The catch-all term used by the global Religious Right for just about everything it doesn’t like is “gender ideology” — something that can encompass opposition to sex education, contraception, abortion, cohabitation, marriage equality and legal recognition for LGBT people.

At WCF, speaker after speaker talked about the “complementarity” between men and women as something that was divinely ordained — grounded biblically in the Genesis creation story in which God made humankind male and female. God’s creation of two genders was cited as a sacred rationale for opposing gay couples being allowed to marry or be parents — and for denying the very existence of transgender people, who were portrayed as sick and pathetic. One of the most reliable ways to try to get a laugh at WCF was to make a joke about Caitlyn Jenner. Rafael Cruz even pulled out the old chestnut that God had created “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

Glenn Stanton, director of Global Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family, said new findings on gender differences support his basic premise: “that men and women are different, and that men and women need each other in those differences.” As a scientist, he said, he believes there is evidence across cultures of a universal male and female nature. And as a Christian, he said, the issue is a theological one, grounded in the creation story declares humans male and female, who together “uniquely, mysteriously image the nature of God in the world.” He displayed a William Blake painting, “Satan Gazing Upon the Caresses of Adam and Eve” and said:

Satan came to attack humanity, not just by approaching Eve or Adam but what William Blake is telling us here is to attack a couple. He sees that man, he sees that woman, he sees them loving one another, and he says, ‘I know who loved one another, the Trinity, God, and I hate them, so I must break this up.’ The original attack was not on two human beings, it was on a man and a woman. And that attack continues today, because Satan knows what male and female represent.

Theresa Okafor, a WCF representative from Nigeria who was honored at the conference, said the complementarity of the sexes “comes from God.” She complained that Western feminist ideas threaten the family by demonizing patriarchy, blurring lines of gender and making women feel that they are autonomous from men. (In contrast, she cited as one positive example of strong cultural support for the family in Africa the fact that a woman who went to the police to report being beaten by her husband would be told to go home and settle with him.)

Every WCF participant received a copy of the Mormon Church’s 1995 Proclamation of the Family, which portrays men’s roles as providers and women’s as nurturers to be essential to God’s plan. It declares, “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

Miriam Grossman is a psychiatrist whose blog identifies her as “One Hundred Percent MD. Zero Percent PC.” She insisted, “A man cannot be transformed into a woman, or a woman into a man. It is simply impossible” and decried that popular culture’s focus on transgender issues was perpetuating a “lie” and a “delusion.”

They Don’t Want To Be Called Anti-Gay While Being Anti-Gay

Well, at least some of them, anyway. Before the conference started, WCF responded to its critics by claiming that being pro-family was not the same as being anti-gay, and declared that it would never support policies that harm individual people. But in fact the program was full of people who have a record of demonizing LGBT people, including those who have actively supported laws that not only criminalize gay sexual activity but even make it a crime for gays to meet with each other or advocate for their rights.

Portraying LGBT people as a threat to children has a decades-long pedigree, including the activism of Anita Bryant, California’s Prop 8 and succeeding state constitutional amendment campaigns, and this week’s vote in Houston, where an anti-discrimination ordinance was rejected after an ugly, dishonest campaign portraying it as an open door to child molesters. Gwen Landolt, a Canadian who has been active in WCF, called it intolerable that innocent children are being “used as tools of social engineering” by being fostered or adopted by gay couples. And she said that children’s character is being deformed because schools are teaching that homosexual relationships are the equal of heterosexual ones.

As BuzzFeed’s Lester Feder pointed out, there’s division within the movement about the usefulness of strident rhetoric that, for example, equates gays with pedophilia. That division was clear at WCF. The opening keynote address was given by Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Ballard explained that Mormon theology of the family is integral to the church’s defense of “traditional marriage,” but he also touted the church’s willingness to back the Utah compromise, an agreement reached earlier this year in which the church supported legal protections against housing and employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in return for the inclusion of broad religious exemptions. Said Ballard,

We demonstrate our best humanity when we show love and kindness to all of God’s children. We demonstrate our discipleship when we refuse strident tones, when we refuse derisive labels, and when we enter the public square seeking fair outcomes through understanding and mutual respect.

Ballard’s standard was violated frequently at WCF, including during its closing keynote from Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma University, whose address was an angry rant against liberal “ideological fascism.” Piper angrily asserted that “the rainbow banner of tolerance has become the dark flag of tyranny almost overnight.” Some conference participants objected to the Utah compromise; Austin Ruse of C-Fam has called it “lunacy” for the Mormon Church to engage in a nonaggression pact with the LGBT movement.

Another voice heard on the opening day of the conference was that of Gov. Gary Herbert, who welcomed participants to Utah, declaring “We are a great state with wonderful people and wonderful families of different varieties in this state.” That was a nod toward the kind of inclusive definition of family that is being ferociously fought by WCF partner groups at the United Nations and other international bodies.  Activists like C-Fam’s Ruse and Family Watch International’s Sharon Slater bragged at WCF about their work to eliminate references to “various forms of the family” from international human rights documents.

They’re Not Going Anywhere: They’re Organized and Organizing and God is on their Side

There was some difference of opinion among WCF speakers, based on where they are from and whether they are more focused on abortion or LGBT issues, about the extent to which they are currently losing or winning the global culture war. But there was virtual unanimity that with God on their side and a commitment to collaborative organizing, they will ultimately be victorious in defeating the LGBT movement, resisting the advance of “gender ideology,” and resurrecting as a cultural norm, protected and promoted in law, the “natural family” — a mom and a dad and a whole lot of children.

Allan Carlson, retiring after years at the head of WCF’s sponsoring organization, the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, talked about his forthcoming book, which portrays the weakening and strengthening of family systems in America since 1630 as following 50 year swings.  According to Carlson, we could be “on the cusp of a great wave of new family morality,” poised for a generational upswing— a return to early marriage, appreciation for the complementarity between men and women, and higher fertility. Carlson said the sexual revolution “regime” is “crumbling even at the point where it seems to be winning.”

Warren Cole Smith, a vice president of the Colson Center and co-author of “Restoring All Things,” recounted the story of a friend who received a call from someone nearly in despair after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling, saying “it’s over.” Smith recalled his response:

What is over? What exactly is over? Has God left his throne? He has not. Is He not still sovereign? He is. When the Obergefell decision came down from the Supreme Court, did God say, ‘Wow, I sure didn’t see that coming.’? Friends, He did not say that….

The story of the universe God is still writing, the arc of history is still unfolding. Unlike what our friend said, it is not over. And I’ve read the last chapter of the book, and guess what? God wins.

That’s not to say that between now and then we won’t have lots of battles to fight and lots of problems so solve. But I want to be clear, I think we should be happy warriors in this process, knowing that God is indeed building the house. God is indeed on our side. And we have the great joy of participating in what God is doing in the world, if only we will.

The World Congress of Families, with its dozens of partner organizations and more than 3,300 participants from 65 countries, is a dramatic demonstration of the institutional cultural, legal, and political infrastructure that has been built by conservative religious organizations not only in the U.S. but around the globe, with financial and strategic support flowing in all directions. 

Seasoned activists and the hundreds of “emerging leaders” had the opportunity to get training in starting a new organization and raising money online from Ignacio Arsuaga, whose HazteOir and CitizenGo platforms have put social-media organizing techniques developed in the U.S. into the hands of conservatives in Europe and elsewhere with campaigns in an expanding number of languages. Conference attendees could take a workshop on messaging from Frank Schubert, the mastermind of fearmongering strategies used by campaigns against marriage equality in the U.S. They could study networking and coalition building with Alexey Komov, the Russian activist who says that Russia and Eastern Europe, having been helped by Western countries to throw off communism, can now return the favor by helping the West defeat the new totalitarianism of the sexual revolution.

 

World Congress of Families In Denial Over Promoting Homophobia Globally

This is the second in a series of posts about the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read our introduction to the World Congress of Families here.

The World Congress of Families has been stung by intense criticism over its promotion of anti-gay bias and policies around the world, and has mounted a public relations campaign portraying itself as interested in civil discourse and uninterested in slamming gay people. If only it were true.

WCF Executive Director Janet Shaw Crouse has said the group’s support for traditional notions of family “does not mean disrespect for anyone else.” Crouse says, “We do not and will not engage in ‘gay-bashing’ or ‘hate’ language." In its 2014 “Call for Civic Dialogue” WCF said:

In its history, the WCF has never taken a position for or against anti-sodomy laws, nor has it attempted to roll back the rights gained by these individuals and organizations…. The WCF never has and never will advocate for any policy that brings harm to innocent individuals….

These assertions are grossly disingenuous and deceptive. WCF depends on, and celebrates, its association with what it calls “exemplary” anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council, American Family Association, Alliance Defending Freedom, and many others who aggressively resist the advance of LGBT equality in the U.S. and overseas -- and promote policies that most definitely bring harm to innocent individuals. For example, WCF and its allies played a significant role in organizing the stridently anti-gay “pro-family” movement in Russia. And not taking a position on laws that subject LGBT people to long jail terms and worse is hardly something to brag about.  

WCF’s “civil dialogue” claim is laughable on its face, especially given that the group is providing a speaking platform to Rafael Cruz, who has no policy expertise to share but has gained folk-hero status on the Religious Right with outlandishly inflammatory attacks on LGBT people and other political opponents. Cruz, father to presidential candidate Ted Cruz, called it “appalling” that a gay woman could win elected office, said that Satan controls the U.S. government and that the devil was responsible for the with Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. He has repeatedly lied about religious freedom, claiming that the government will force churches to hire homosexual pastors and perform homosexual marriages. Cruz has suggested that President Obama is intent on seizing Americans’ guns because, like Stalin and Mao, Obama is pursuing a totalitarian government – and that the American left is out to do away with the entire Bill of Rights.

Sadly, Cruz is not an outlier. WCF and the speakers it provides with a platform have a long record of resisting protections for the rights of LGBT people. Last year WCF initiated a letter signed by 120 Religious Right figures from around the world in “vigorous protest” of the U.S. Embassy’s participation in a gay pride celebration in the Czech Republic. It refers to marriage equality as a “pseudo-right” that debases human freedom and dignity. The letter concludes, “We can not imagine a worse form of cultural imperialism than Washington trying to force approval of the ‘gay’ agenda on societies with traditional values.”

More to the point, WCF’s own Africa regional director, Theresa Okafor, who is being honored at the event, supported a harsh anti-gay law in Nigeria that not only provides for long jail sentences for gay sex, but also bans gay people from meeting in groups. Okafor has suggested that pro-equality groups from the west are allied with the violent Islamist Boko Haram in a conspiracy to silence Christians.

WCF Executive Director Crouse has her own track record. She has said children being raised by gay couples are being “used as guinea pigs.” She has praised Russia’s anti-gay right, saying approvingly, “I wouldn’t bet on the Russians capitulating to western LGBTIQ fascists without a fight.” At a 2013 Howard Center press conference, Crouse said American gay-rights activists are “turning into thugs who are destroying freedom of speech, destroying religious liberty.” She praised anti-gay activists in France, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, and Nigeria. And while Crouse portrays American gays as enemies of free speech, she enthusiastically backed the prosecution and jailing of Pussy Riot activists over their anti-Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.

Among other anti-gay speakers who will be given a platform at WCF:

  • Peter Sprigg represents the stridently anti-gay Family Research Council, whose leader Tony Perkins once defended Uganda’s notorious “kill the gays” bill as an effort to uphold morality. Sprigg, who once said he would like to “export” homosexuals from the U.S., complained this year about Randy Berry, Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons, for traveling to Uganda and Jamaica. Sprigg criticized the Obama administration for trying to “force this American-style homosexual agenda down the throats of other countries” like Uganda, “which is one of the countries that has been most bitterly attacked by homosexual activists around the world.”
  • Robert Knight, a Religious Right pundit and former FRC staffer, has argued that judges who rule in favor of marriage equality should be impeached.
  • Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage has not only pushed for anti-equality legislation in the U.S., he has supported anti-gay efforts globally and encouraged legislators in Russia to pass legislation banning adoption by gay couples.
  • Errol Naidoo received training from the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C before founding the Family Policy Institute in South Africa in response to the legalization of marriage equality, which he had lobbied against. He blames abortion and “the homosexual agenda” for creating a “culture of death” that is “slowly killing off the human family in Western civilization.”
  • Glenn Stanton, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, has called marriage equality a “pernicious lie of Satan” and said that “quite literally there is more evidence for Bigfoot than there is that homosexuality is just who we are.”
  • Jennifer Roback Morse, president of the Ruth Institute, formerly affiliated with the National Organization for Marriage, says the “sexual revolution” is a “totalitarian” movement” and “a pagan ideology” that Christians should refuse to compromise with. She says “the only reason we’re dealing with gay marriage now is because we never faced up to the harms that have already been inflicted by feminism.”
  • Mark Regnerus: His New Family Structures Study, funded by the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute, has been widely discredited, but continues to be cited by right-wing as if it provided scientific evidence for harm caused by gay parenting. It was used extensively as justification for passage of anti-gay laws in Russia.
  • Frank Schubert is a political communications strategist notorious as the mastermind of the strategy to ground the campaign for California’s Prop 8 in fear-mongering about gay people and couples being a threat to children. Schubert was paid handsomely to take that destructive strategy to other states.

 

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 6/4/14

  • Bryan Fischer flatly declares that "Bowe Bergdahl deserves to die for what he has done."
  • Tony Perkins is a class act: "Taxpayer-funded sex changes: They aren't just for traitors and illegal immigrants anymore!"
  • Rob Schenck calls on Evangelical leaders to speak out against gun violence, saying "while I appreciate so much of what the NRA has done historically, it is not playing a constructive role in this situation."
  • We have no idea what this "Unite to Restore America As One Nation Under God Event" is going to be, but Cindy Jacobs is involved, so we'll be sure to watch.
  • Linda Harvey lays out the "12 Ways Homosexual Adults Endanger Children."
  • Gordon Klingenschmitt says that everyone remembers "when those terrorists from Afghanistan" carried out the 9/11 attacks. We'd like to point out that none of the hijackers were from Afghanistan.
  • Finally, Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton says that gay relationships are not at all like straight relationships: "[I]t is difficult to say with honesty that serious gay and lesbian relationships are just like heterosexual relationships."

Focus on the Family Spokesman Distances Himself from Dobson While Mefferd Is Curious About Pro-Gay Group's '666' Address

Focus on the Family spokesman Glenn Stanton, who called same-sex unions satanic, ironically told virulently anti-gay talk show host Janet Mefferd in an interview yesterday that the Religious Right should move away from the polarizing rhetoric of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and James Dobson, the founder of Focus. While discussing a study pointing to greater acceptance of gay rights among evangelicals, Stanton said that people are moving away from the tactics and style of leaders like “Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, you know even speaking here from Focus, Dr. Dobson.”

Stanton said that activists who aren’t “fire breathing” conservatives are having a stronger appeal, such as the late Chuck Colson: “People aren’t reacting against that, they are reacting against certain manifestations of the culture war and in some sense we can say you know what some of those things were fine for the 70s but we are in a new age and we need to address these issues in truth and in a very different kind of way. I think Chuck Colson, who we don’t have anymore, was a wonderful example of that kind of thing.

That’s right, Stanton thinks that the Religious Right leader who said gay marriageinvites terrorist attacks,gravely damages children, leads to the end of democracy and a Nazi-style dictatorship and unleashes “cultural Armageddon,” and longed for the day when homosexuality was condemned as “sexually deviant” and “ shameful and embarrassing” is a figure of moderation.

Just in case you thought that anti-gay activists were toning down their rhetoric in any way, prior to the interview Mefferd discussed the lawsuit against Scott Lively over his role in Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. She “found it interesting” that the Center for Constitutional Rights, a pro-gay group representing Sexual Minorities Uganda in the case, is located at 666 Broadway, New York, and wondered if the organization “sought out the address.” “Not that that means anything, just interesting.”

Truth In Action Ministries Film Warns Gays 'Puts Boys At Serious Risk'

Truth In Action Ministries, which last year produced a film warning that the “radical homosexual agenda” will destroy America like an iceberg hitting the Titanic, is out with a new short film opposing gay members in the Boy Scouts. Featuring Religious Right leaders like Bob Knight of the American Civil Rights Union, Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, the anti-gay activists warn that gays pose a physical and spiritual danger to children and do away with morality.

Watch highlights here:

Stanton: Same-Sex Marriage Is a 'Pernicious Lie of Satan' that Imperils Society and Humanity

Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family appeared with John Rabe and Carmen Pate on Truth that Transforms, the flagship radio program of Truth in Action Ministries, to argue that same-sex marriage is an oppressive and satanic ploy. After Rabe asked him why opponents of same-sex marriage sometimes have problems explaining “why redefining [marriage] is deadly,” Stanton claimed that the marriage debate “goes deep into not just our own faith but humanity itself.”

He argued that resistance to same-sex marriage is necessary because “throughout the world if you look at how cultures do marriage, every single culture throughout time has done marriage as a union between men and women, God has given it to us this way.” “Every human culture needs marriage and we redefine it at our own peril,” Stanton said.

Later, Stanton repeated his assertion that homosexuality “is a really pernicious lie of Satan” because it denies “the distinct God imaging in each of us as males and females.” He went on to warn that gay equality leads to the “persecution” of Christians and will “redefine not only marriage but the family itself if not humanity completely.”

Stanton: This is a really pernicious lie of Satan to say that the gender part of humanity doesn’t really matter because the gender part of humanity is really denying the distinct God imaging in each of us as males and females. We need to understand that as Christians. That’s the biggest thing. The other is that, ‘you know kids don’t really need a mom and a dad they just need any configuration of loving adults who care for them,’ in fact, and this has already been in the case, we all know about what hate speech is, the fact of saying a child needs a mother and a father will be deemed hate speech because that is a statement against same-sex marriage and parenting. That’s a radical thing. The other thing is religious freedom, I mean we’re already seeing that on a vast, vast scale; the other side really in a pitiful way goes, ‘oh we’re not going to violate religious freedom, you’re not going to have to marry same-sex couples in your church,’ but it goes far beyond that. But it goes far beyond that. Doctors refusing to inseminate a lesbian couple because it violates his conscience, people like that have and will be hauled into court and prosecuted and persecuted because of their long held and deeply felt convictions about what is right and what children need.

Rabe: That’s a major point. The way that this has been portrayed societally and how it’s gotten so much traction is via the idea, ‘well if two people love each other, who are we to say that they shouldn’t be together and that they shouldn’t be able to get married?’ That very simple idea has a lot of persuasive power with people as it turns out and yet when you really break it down you start to get the sense that that’s really not what this is about. It’s not so much that people want to be able to have that long-term commitment to each other as it is being able to redefine what society is about and being able to silence people who disagree.

Stanton: That is exactly it. As a good friend of mine says, ‘you know a lot of these people advocating for same-sex marriage, I’ve been in the marriage work for decades, I’ve never seen these people come to the stump to advocate for marriage, the only time they are for marriage is when it has same-sex in front of it.’ Think about that. These are not advocates of marriage; they’re advocates for redefining marriage. They know that making gender any irrelevant part of the equation really does redefine not only marriage but the family itself if not humanity completely.

Glenn Stanton: 'There is More Evidence for Bigfoot than there is that Homosexuality is just Who We Are'

Janet Mefferd spoke to Focus on the Family official Glenn Stanton yesterday about a new study in The Quarterly Review of Biology which suggests that epigenetics may explain what causes homosexuality. Right off the bat, the two were wary of the study because its principal researchers work in the field of evolutionary genetics and anyone who believes in the theory of evolution should not be trusted. Stanton maintained that upholding the science of evolution “takes as much faith” as believing in creationism!

Mefferd: It’s strange, you have scientists here headed up by an evolutionary biologist at the University of California Santa Barbara and right away I saw ‘evolutionary biologist.’ Is there more of a propensity do you find for people who subscribe to evolution and have an evolutionary bias to buy into this?

Stanton: They do come with that bias but basically the evolutionary sociobiology as they call it is a very interesting field of study, basically as I read it and I read it all the time because that’s the norm or the orthodoxy, it’s basically trying to utilize evolutionary theory for explaining what God did: there’s a male nature, there’s a female nature, we’re affected by these things. So they talk about our evolutionary development for why men tend to be more sexually adventurous and why women tend to be more sexually conservative, well you know it takes as much faith to believe that these things evolved as it does to say, that’s the way God wired us.

He later argued that any instance where scientific findings contradict his religious views, the science is wrong and leads to rebellion against God.

Stanton: To understand it, at the end of the day there is no real separation between good science and our Christian faith. It was Christians and a Christian worldview that created scientific investigation; it has its roots in that. At the end of the day, God is right, he is true, he is lord, and he set things in orbit, not just inter-planetary, but within our human makeup. When we follow those things, good things happen; when we rebel against them, bad things tend to happen.

Stanton dismissed those who have researched the biological or hormonal link to homosexuality as biased and “politically motivated” ideologues, unlike say a Religious Right activist who has his masters in religion. He concludes by arguing that “quite literally there is more evidence for Bigfoot than there is that homosexuality is just who we are.”

Stanton: Up to now most of the scholars have been politically motivated, they have a very deep, personal interest. But here’s the thing and all your listeners need to know this, there is no evidence whatsoever that has come up in the last twenty years—and not for a lack of trying—but no evidence that has come up in the last twenty years that shows any evidence that homosexuality is solely and purely genetically driven, like we are not born that way. Quite literally, this is a provocative statement, but quite literally there is more evidence for Bigfoot than there is that homosexuality is just who we are, we’re just born that away because of our genetic makeup and you’re not going to hear that from the mainstream media.

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/19/12

  • Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family accuses Dinesh D'Souza of engaging in "attitudinal bigamy."
  • Is anyone surprised that Glenn Beck is now paling around with EW Jackson? 
  • Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries says "This is an apocalyptic election. It's clearly the most important election in the history of America."
  • Bryan Fischer reiterates his call to ban immigration from Muslim countries.
  • James Robison says President Obama Vice-President Biden "have claims of religious beliefs that directly contradict the words and actions of both ... this is intentional political activism directly opposed to a supposed belief, which can only lead to one conclusion: what they claim to believe is not what they actually believe."
  • Finally, FRC prays against marriage equality: "May God-fearing men and women be moved to make profoundly generous gifts to support marriage protection efforts in these four states. May the citizens of Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington, through their votes, boldly say NO to same-sex marriage!"

Focus on the Family Spokesman Calls it 'Very Unscientific' to Believe Same-Sex Parents Can have Healthy Families

Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton joined John Rabe of Truth in Action Ministries on Truth that Transforms yesterday to discuss same-sex parenting. The two claimed that supporters of marriage equality are “unscientific” when it comes to family stability and have “completely ignored” evidence showing that same-sex parenting harms children.

Rabe: Glenn, it’s always very interesting to me because we Christians are portrayed as being often anti-science and anti-progress and so forth yet when you talk about the issue of marriage and family it’s interesting how the other side very quickly becomes the sentimentalists in the group, suddenly all the empirical data, all the scientific stuff, is completely ignored and you hear statements about ‘people who just love each other should be able to marry and define that for themselves.’ From an empirical perspective there’s not even any argument about how beneficial a traditional man-woman marriage and family is as opposed to other models, is there?

Stanton: You said it exactly right. It’s remarkable how those folks on the other side being the ‘reasonable ones,’ the ones who unlike us don’t believe in sentimentality and myth and things like that, they become very, very unscientific.

The claim that there is no “empirical data” or “scientific stuff” confirming the idea that same-sex parents can raise healthy and well-balanced children is false. In fact, it is anti-gay activists who are ignoring the research about same-sex parenting.

The American Psychological Association’s review of mainstream scientific literature has debunked claims that children of same-sex couples would have more mental and emotional problems. In addition, studies consistently find that children raised by same-sex parents are just as well-adjusted those raised in households with opposite-sex parents.

A University of Amsterdam study [pdf] on the “quality of life (QoL) of adolescents in planned lesbian families” found that their quality of life is no different from their peers:

In conclusion, the reported QoL for adolescent offspring in planned lesbian families is similar to that reported by the matched adolescents in heterosexual-parent families. This finding supports earlier evidence that adolescents reared by lesbian mothers from birth do not manifest more adjustment difficulties (e.g., depression, anxiety, and disruptive behaviors) than those reared by heterosexual parents.

Researchers from the University of Virginia similarly found that “adolescents with same-sex parents did not differ significantly from a matched group of adolescents living with opposite-sex parents”:

The results of the present study, which is the first based on a large national sample of adolescents living with same-sex couples, revealed that on nearly all of a large array of variables related to school and personal adjustment, adolescents with same-sex parents did not differ significantly from a matched group of adolescents living with opposite-sex parents. Regardless of family type, adolescents were more likely to show favorable adjustment when they perceived more caring from adults and when parents described close relationships with them. Thus, as has been reported in studies of children with lesbian mothers (e.g., Chan et al., 1998), it was the qualities of adolescent – parent relationships rather than the structural features of families (e.g., same- vs. opposite-sex parents) that were significantly associated with adolescent adjustment (Golombok, 1999; Patterson, 2000).

A Stanford University sociologist also sees no major differences among children in terms of educational achievement:

To the extent that normal progress through primary school is a useful and valid measure of child development, the results confirm that children of same-sex couples appear to have no inherent developmental disadvantage. Heterosexual married couples are the most economically prosperous, the most likely to be white, and the most legally advantaged type of parents; their children have the lowest rates of grade retention. Parental [Socio-Economic Status] accounts for more than one-half of the relatively small gap in grade retention between children of heterosexual married couples and children of same-sex couples. When one controls for parental SES and characteristics of the students, children of same-sex couples cannot be distinguished with statistical certainty from children of heterosexual married couples.

But groups like Focus on the Family and Truth in Action Ministries try to damage to the health and welfare of families led by same-sex parents with their consistent promotion of anti-gay laws and social stigmas.

Stanton Focused On Ensuring "Family" Doesn't Include Gays

Last week we noted how a new book "showed a significant shift toward counting same-sex couples with children as family" and how this trend was not sitting well with the Religious Right, especially Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton, who refused to accept the idea that legally married gay couples constitute a family.

And Stanton is apparently so very intent on restricting the use of the word "family" to only situations that meet his narrow definition, which is why he is lashing out against it once again, saying that people who think gay couples are a family are young and naive and generally have no idea what they are talking about:

"If they want to be called a family, that's fine. But, first of all, the conviction is not very deep," contends Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family. "It's absolutely not well thought out because if you ask them -- and other scholars have done this -- what supports [their] conviction...there's not a whole lot they can tell you."

He further argues that the demographic target of the study greatly influences the polling outcomes.

"This is primarily among young people, and young people are especially akin to that kind of 'whatever' attitude," Stanton points out. "Plus, one of the ideals of being young is sort of your open-mindedness, your idealism. [But] when you get older -- when you start to get married, when you start to have kids yourself -- you...become more conservative in the sense of they start to realize...kids do need a mom and a dad."

Stanton is the "director for Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family" and he sure does seem focused on making sure that the term "family" does not include gays.

Focus on the Family: Legally Married Couples Do Not Count As "Families"

A new book, "Counted Out: Same-Sex Relations and Americans' Definition of Family," reports that surveys taken over the last several years "showed a significant shift toward counting same-sex couples with children as family - from 54 percent of respondents in 2003 to 68 percent in 2010. "

Of course, the surveys also found that there is "a solid core resisting this trend who are more willing to include pets in their definition than same-sex partners" ... and I am guessing that Focus on the Family falls into that category:

"Same-sex marriage is a dangerous social experiment," said Glenn Stanton, director of family formation studies for Focus on the Family. "A lesbian couple who legally married in Massachusetts - are they family? We would say, 'Absolutely not.'"

Stanton said it was increasingly difficult to engage in serious debate on the definition question.

"We're moving in this headlong direction toward same-sex families without any intelligent discussion about whether it's actually good for the children and the adults," he said. "This whole issue has boiled down to, 'Are you a bigot or not?'"

You know, I keep wondering when we are going to see this new kinder and gentler Focus on the Family that Jim Daly keeps promising.

What A Surprise: Fischer Doesn't Approve of Positive Portrayals of Gays

It it too much to ask of the mainstream media that if they are going to quote the AFA's Bryan Fischer, that they mention his long history of making militantly anti-gay statements, especially when they are quoting him in an article relating to gay issues?

Apparently, because Fischer's well-established hatred all of things gay didn't warrant even a passing mention in this USA Today article about how increasingly "gay relationships and gay families are portrayed as just like other families" in movies and television:

It's a landscape that many Americans still don't accept.

Such movies and TV shows "desensitize the public to the raft of problems associated with homosexual behavior," says Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the American Family Association, one of the proponents of Proposition 8, California's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage now tied up in court. "Hollywood is conveying a deceptive message about that behavior and doing a disservice to (viewers) who are coming to conclusions based on what they see on the silver screen. It's a distortion of reality."

Says Glenn Stanton, director of family studies for Focus on the Family: "When actual gay and lesbian weddings are shown on TV (as in news coverage), we win. When they're shown through the lens and creativity and artifice of Hollywood, we don't. Hollywood is succeeding, but they're doing so by not representing reality."

Of course Fischer doesn't accept it - he thinks all gays are violent, deviant perverts and pedophiles who ought to be treated like criminals. 

Maybe the media ought to at least mention that fact the next time they decide to quote him.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The ACLJ calls Arizona's anti-immigration law "sound and constitutional" and "plans to file an amicus brief in support of defending the law."
  • The Family Research Council says there is only one option for Obamacare: Repeal!
  • On a related note, groups that fought abortion coverage in health care reform are now using a provision in the bill to try and limit abortion coverage by private insurers.
  • Along with Fred Barnes, Marco Rubio addressed the Florida Family Policy Council dinner, which also honored Don Wildmon of the American Family Association.
  • Bill Donohue has gotten into a tiff with the National Catholic Reporter, which called him "a buffoonish bully, a carnival barker posing as a defender of the faith."
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton lamenting the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill:  "The arrival of the Pill was supposed to have Andromeda unleashed from her chains, as its proponents told she would be. But maybe the proper analogy is not woman becoming unfettered from the chains of her biology, but rather her trading the God-given power of her femininity for the lie of thinking she will find happiness if she approaches sexuality more like a man."

The Logical Result of Abstinence Education: Marry Younger!

About a week or so ago, I saw an article in Christianity Today called "The Case for Early Marriage" that argued, among other thing, that abstinence was the only acceptable option for young people, it was creating a dilemma when coupled with the fact that young people are simultaneously waiting longer before they get married.

Written by Mark Regnerus, author of "Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenager," the article's solution is for young people to just get married at an earlier age:

[O]ver 90 percent of American adults experience sexual intercourse before marrying. The percentage of evangelicals who do so is not much lower. In a nationally representative study of young adults, just under 80 percent of unmarried, church- going, conservative Protestants who are currently dating someone are having sex of some sort. I'm certainly not suggesting that they cannot abstain. I'm suggesting that in the domain of sex, most of them don't and won't.

What to do? Intensify the abstinence message even more? No. It won't work. The message must change, because our preoccupation with sex has unwittingly turned our attention away from the damage that Americans—including evangelicals—are doing to the institution of marriage by discouraging it and delaying it.

Without getting into the various arguments Regnerus makes in favor of his position, I just wanted to highlight this one section in which he claims that younger marriage is good for everyone, as it prevents young women from turning into a barren spinsters and makes young men "grow-up" faster:

The ratio of devoutly Christian young women to men is far from even. Among evangelical churchgoers, there are about three single women for every two single men. This is the elephant in the corner of almost every congregation—a shortage of young Christian men.

Try counting singles in your congregation next Sunday. Evangelicals make much of avoiding being unequally yoked, but the fact that there are far more spiritually mature young women out there than men makes this bit of advice difficult to follow. No congregational program or men's retreat in the Rocky Mountains will solve this. If she decides to marry, one in three women has no choice but to marry down in terms of Christian maturity. Many of the hopeful ones wait, watching their late 20s and early 30s arrive with no husband. When the persistent longing turns to deep disappointment, some decide that they didn't really want to marry after all.

Given this unfavorable ratio, and the plain fact that men are, on average, ready for sex earlier in relationships than women are, many young Christian women are being left with a dilemma: either commence a sexual relationship with a decent, marriage-minded man before she would prefer to—almost certainly before marriage—or risk the real possibility that, in holding out for a godly, chaste, uncommon man, she will wait a lot longer than she would like. Plenty will wait so long as to put their fertility in jeopardy. By that time, the pool of available men is hardly the cream of the crop—and rarely chaste. I know, I know: God has someone in mind for them, and it's just a matter of time before they meet. God does work miracles. But the fact remains that there just aren't as many serious Christian young men as there are women, and the men know it.

Men get the idea that they can indeed find the ideal woman if they are patient enough. Life expectancies nearing 80 years prompt many to dabble with relationships in their 20s rather than commit to a life of "the same thing" for such a long time. Men have few compelling reasons to mature quickly. Marriage seems an unnecessary risk to many of them, even Christians. Sex seldom requires such a steep commitment.

As a result, many men postpone growing up. Even their workplace performance is suffering: earnings for 25- to 34-year-old men have fallen by 20 percent since 1971, even after accounting for inflation. No wonder young women marry men who are on average at least two years older than they. Unfortunately, a key developmental institution for men—marriage—is the very thing being postponed, thus perpetuating their adolescence.

Apparently, the logic at work here is that young Christian men want to have sex and chaste Christian women don't, forcing the men into sexual relationships with not-chaste Christian women, thus postponing the development of their emotional maturity and ultimately narrowing the pool of eligible and acceptable marriage partners for women, leaving them to become childless, husband-less ascetics.

Thus, the obvious solution is just for people to get married at a younger age.

And that idea seems to be gaining traction among the Religious Right, judging by this recent Associated Press article:

Among evangelicals, there's a tendency to wait because many believe God "is going to deliver me a spouse right to my door," so they don't actively seek one, said Glenn Stanton, director of family formation studies for the evangelical ministry Focus on the Family, a young marriage promoter.

Then there's what Stanton calls the "eHarmony philosophy" — the belief God will deliver someone perfect.

Stanton doesn't blame the abstinence movement. "I don't think that it's so much to much focus on abstinence, but the silence on marriage makes the abstinence message sound so much louder," he said.

At Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., associate pastor Michael Lawrence emphasizes that marriage is a covenant, not a convenient arrangement, and offers advice to young couples on overcoming arguments over money, sex and family.

"We probably haven't served our young people well by on the one hand emphasizing abstinence, but on the other hand telling them to wait to get married," Lawrence said. "It seems to be setting them up to fail."

Like most proponents of young marriage, Lawrence does not set an arbitrary "right" age for marriage. Waiting until after college might be advisable if the alternative is crushing debt or dropping out, he said.

Supporters of abstinence programs promote them as both marriage-preparation tools and longer-term support systems for those who don't marry.

Jimmy Hester, co-founder of True Love Waits, part of the Southern Baptist Convention's LifeWay Christian Resources, disagreed with the argument that abstinence past a certain age is too much to ask.

"There are too many examples of people who have done it," he said. "And not out of their own strength, even, but out of a relationship with God who gives them strength."

 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Peter LaBarbera weighs in on the decision to include Eugene Robinson in the Inauguration ceremonies, calling it a "tragic departure from America's godly, Judeo-Christian heritage" while Tony Perkins calls Robinson "divisive," saying the move was "designed to placate angry liberals." For his part, Rick Warren applauded the decision.
  • Just weeks after passing an anti-discrimination ordinance, the Kalamazoo City Council has rescinded it after an outcry from the American Family Association.
  • Speaking of the AFA, they have launched a boycott against Pepsi for its donations to the Human Rights Campaign and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays ... though they had no complaints last month when Pepsi partnered with Liberty University.
  • Today's episode of Dr. Phil featured "expert" advice from Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton and the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality's Joseph Nicolosi - Good as You and Queerty have more.
  • Finally, despite the fact that he passed away last month, Paul Weyrich still seems to be penning columns for Townhall.
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Glenn Stanton Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Tuesday 05/24/2016, 12:07pm
Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton spoke at the Family Research Council Monday on “The Scientific Objectivity and Universality of Gender Difference.” The context, explained in FRC’s promotion for the talk, was the Obama administration’s directive on transgender students’ access to facilities that match their gender identity — or, in FRC’s words, the administration’s “working to elevate the cause of these individuals who believe their observable, biological sex does not match their gender identity.” In other words, FRC asked... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 11/05/2015, 4:28pm
The World Congress of Families — an organization that hosts an annual global gathering of “pro-family” advocates —  brought together more than 3,300 people in Salt Lake City last week. The summit included authors and counselors focused on strengthening marriages as well as academics talking about the social and economic consequences of later marriages, declining birthrates and widespread divorce. It also included and anti-reproductive-choice activists from around the globe, as well as hundreds of “emerging leaders” expected to lead the movement... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 10/21/2015, 11:59am
This is the second in a series of posts about the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read our introduction to the World Congress of Families here. The World Congress of Families has been stung by intense criticism over its promotion of anti-gay bias and policies around the world, and has mounted a public relations campaign portraying itself as interested in civil discourse and uninterested in slamming gay people. If only it were true. WCF Executive Director Janet Shaw Crouse has said the group’s support for traditional notions of family “does not mean... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 06/04/2014, 5:30pm
Bryan Fischer flatly declares that "Bowe Bergdahl deserves to die for what he has done." Tony Perkins is a class act: "Taxpayer-funded sex changes: They aren't just for traitors and illegal immigrants anymore!" Rob Schenck calls on Evangelical leaders to speak out against gun violence, saying "while I appreciate so much of what the NRA has done historically, it is not playing a constructive role in this situation." We have no idea what this "Unite to Restore America As One Nation Under God Event" is going to be, but Cindy Jacobs is... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 08/16/2013, 3:45pm
Focus on the Family spokesman Glenn Stanton, who called same-sex unions satanic, ironically told virulently anti-gay talk show host Janet Mefferd in an interview yesterday that the Religious Right should move away from the polarizing rhetoric of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and James Dobson, the founder of Focus. While discussing a study pointing to greater acceptance of gay rights among evangelicals, Stanton said that people are moving away from the tactics and style of leaders like “Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, you know even speaking here from Focus, Dr. Dobson.” Stanton said... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 05/03/2013, 1:25pm
Truth In Action Ministries, which last year produced a film warning that the “radical homosexual agenda” will destroy America like an iceberg hitting the Titanic, is out with a new short film opposing gay members in the Boy Scouts. Featuring Religious Right leaders like Bob Knight of the American Civil Rights Union, Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, the anti-gay activists warn that gays pose a physical and spiritual danger to children and do away with morality. Watch highlights here: MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 02/07/2013, 5:45pm
Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family appeared with John Rabe and Carmen Pate on Truth that Transforms, the flagship radio program of Truth in Action Ministries, to argue that same-sex marriage is an oppressive and satanic ploy. After Rabe asked him why opponents of same-sex marriage sometimes have problems explaining “why redefining [marriage] is deadly,” Stanton claimed that the marriage debate “goes deep into not just our own faith but humanity itself.” He argued that resistance to same-sex marriage is necessary because “throughout the world if you look at how... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 12/14/2012, 2:45pm
Janet Mefferd spoke to Focus on the Family official Glenn Stanton yesterday about a new study in The Quarterly Review of Biology which suggests that epigenetics may explain what causes homosexuality. Right off the bat, the two were wary of the study because its principal researchers work in the field of evolutionary genetics and anyone who believes in the theory of evolution should not be trusted. Stanton maintained that upholding the science of evolution “takes as much faith” as believing in creationism! Mefferd: It’s strange, you have scientists here headed up by an... MORE >