Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Focus on the Family's Anti-Gay Rhetoric Ungrounded say two Researchers

In his article entitled "Childhood Sexual Abuse and Male Homosexuality," published on the Focus on the Family "Citizen Link - Issue Analysis" site, Jeff Johnston says "Many pro-gay researchers, activists and theorists deny that there could be a connection between child sexual abuse and adult homosexuality." To support the "connection," Johnston quotes, among others, the findings of an article from the book Unequal Opportunity: Health Disparities Affecting Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States, edited by Richard J. Wolitski, Ron Stall, and Ronald O Valdiserri.

With all the "data" seeming to weigh in on the side of Johnston's argument, he prematurely concludes that pro-gay researchers avoid "the connection" for reasons of (1) "stigma" (sexual abuse itself), (2) negative "associations" (such as pedophilia and recruitment) and (3) belief systems ("homosexuality is inborn").

But what say two of the editors of the book from which Johnston, in part, builds his case – Ron Stall and Ronald O. Valdiserri? How do they interpret the raw data? According Truth Wins Out, the two editors made a written statement in which they said:

" . . . Focus on the Family . . . misrepresented findings in the book to suggest
that childhood sexual abuse causes male homosexuality. The Focus on the
Family description of the findings in Unequal Opportunity is inaccurate and, in
our opinion, a distortion of the scientific literature.

"Most basically, the Focus on the Family characterization of the literature on
childhood sexual abuse among gay men represents a misunderstanding of scientific
approaches to distinguishing between correlation and causation
. … " [Emphasis added]

According to Truth Wins Out, "this letter marks the tenth researcher in two years who has claimed that Focus on the Family misrepresented their work." [Emphasis added]

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