I’ve had some thought-provoking interactions on social media recently.
I recently posted an article entitled ‘Emotional Problems among Children with Same-Sex Parents: Difference by Definition‘, published in the mainstream peer-reviewed secular journal, The British Journal of Education, Society and Behavioral Science. The article found that:
‘Emotional problems were over twice as prevalent for children with same-sex parents than for children with opposite-sex parents…Joint biological parents are associated with the lowest rate of child emotional problems by a factor of 4 relative to same-sex parents, accounting for the bulk of the overall same-sex/opposite-sex difference.’
Forget the Peer Review Process: This Article is Flawed!
What I found interesting were the comments that started coming my way after I posted it to my FB account. Many people posted reviews of the article from left-wing pro-gay publications like thinkprogress.com, that purported to point out the flaws of the study. Now, I’m no sociologist (neither were the people commenting), but in assessing the article, would you trust a pro-gay journalist writing in a pro-gay publication, or would you trust the social-scientific peer review process?
Call me foolish, but I’d be loathe to trust a politically biased non-social scientist, over the peer review process. But my commenters trusted the pro-gay publication over the peer review process. Why?
You’re Demonizing Homosexuals.
More to the point, one commenter accused me of ‘demonizing homosexuals‘, and ‘doing this on a regular basis‘. Why? Because I had merely posted an article that showed a difference in health outcomes between children raised in same-sex households, vs traditional households.
And so that made me wonder: what if I had posted this article from an Australian Government health website, pointing to worse health outcomes of children in Indigenous families, compared to non-Indigenous families: would I have then been automatically labeled as ‘demonizing Indigenous people‘?
When President Obama, giving a father’s day address in 2010, pointed out that, in the African American community:
‘We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it’.
Did anyone accuse Obama of ‘demonizing single mothers‘, or of being a ‘racist‘?
I dare say no one did.
And yet, raising a concern about children raised to same-sex parents landed me in the ‘homophobe’ box. That is very interesting, or rather, disturbing.
And so in thinking about this a little more, I’ve come to a number of conclusions.
1) You’re a Bigot No Matter What…If You Speak Against Same Sex Marriage.
The key observation that I’ve taken away from this, and other encounters that I’ve personally experienced (or read about), is this: you’re no longer allowed to say anything critical of marriage redefinition. Well, you can say critical things about it, but expect the labels of ‘bigot’ and ‘homophobe’ to come flying thick and fast your way.
You can raise concerns about Indigenous children, or children raised in African American (or other) single parent homes. But you’re just not allowed to raise any concerns whatsoever about the push for Same Sex Marriage, or the issues surrounding it.
2) You’re a Bigot…Even If You Agree With This LGBT Activist.
If you read my previous blog post on this issue, you’ll see that the crux of my opposition to marriage redefinition comes down to this: what will be the effect on the practice of marriage in our wider culture, if the State redefines marriage? That is, will your average Bill and Sally’s view of marriage, and thus their practice of marriage, change, if marriage is redefined? And if so, will that change in their view of marriage serve to weaken marriages, strengthen marriages, or not affect marriages at all?
In answering that question, I pointed out that Masha Gessen, one of the world’s most prominent LBGT activists (pictured above), gave a very candid, and I think, intellectually honest answer:
“…Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we’re going to do with marriage when we get there, because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.
The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change, and again, I don’t think it should exist.”
That sounds quite ominous. Instead of marriage redefinition having nil impact, Gessen insists it will have an impact, and that the impact on marriage will be a negative one.
And so my point in quoting Gessen is simply this: it’s not just so-called narrow-minded-ultra-right-wing-conservative-bigots-and-throw-whatever-other-disparaging-term-you-want-in-here who believe that a legal redefinition of marriage will lead to a culturally different practice of marriage, which will weaken, if not abolish, marriage across our culture.
But of course, even though I’m simply agreeing with what an LGBT activist like Masha Gessen is saying, I’m still a bigot. Go figure.
Why is that? Why can I agree with a prominent LGBT activist about the negative impact of marriage redefinition on marriage, and still be automatically labelled a homophobe?
3) Political Correctness is Taking Hold.
I think a large part of this answer comes down a type of thought-control known as political correctness. One of the most interesting articles about political correctness comes from an article that appeared recently in the New York Magazine, (which interestingly enough, is very much on the secular left).
In an article entitled ‘Not a very P.C. thing to say: How the language police are perverting liberalism‘, author Jonathan Chait writes:
‘Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate.’
Now that’s one of the most pithy summaries of political correctness that I’ve ever read. You don’t like what other people are saying? Just label them a bigot, homophobe, whatever-phobe. That’ll shut people up! (I would add that it’s no longer just radical members of the left who define opposing views as bigoted, at least when it comes to the topic of SSM).
Of course, once you start bullying and intimidating people this way, there are further consequences, which Chait mentions.
4) The First Casualty of Political Correctness is Truth.
Political correctness is great at shutting down legitimate questioning, discussion, and even research. Chait continues:
Indeed, one professor at a prestigious university told me that, just in the last few years, she has noticed a dramatic upsurge in her students’ sensitivity toward even the mildest social or ideological slights; she and her fellow faculty members are terrified of facing accusations of triggering trauma — or, more consequentially, violating her school’s new sexual-harassment policy — merely by carrying out the traditional academic work of intellectual exploration. “This is an environment of fear, believe it or not,” she told me by way of explaining her request for anonymity.
So legitimate academic study is now being adversely affected by political correctness. One wonders how long it will be before there’s a petition put forward calling for the The British Journal of Education, Society and Behavoural Science to remove the ‘offensive’ article?
5) The Second Casualty of Political Correctness is Civility.
The comment on FB page accusing me of ‘demonising homosexuals’ is not unusual: one only needs to raise the issue in polite society (or not so polite social media) to get some serious pushback from otherwise polite people. Many an educated secular westerner will happily wax lyrical about values such as diversity, tolerance, and caring for others: but just try questioning the push for same sex marriage, and see how much tolerance and care comes your way.
The Truth matters. It really does. Whether it be the truth about the food we eat; the environment we live in; or the truth about marriage and family. And if the truth matters, so does the search for truth. Up until recently, western societies have been relatively tolerant of people searching for the truth, even if people came up with differing conclusions from the expected norm. However, when it comes to this issue of marriage redefinition, even the search for truth is no longer allowed: if you want the truth about same sex marriage, we’ll give it to you, otherwise you’re a bigot.
So much for a society that values openness and truth.