Alvin McEwen — an activist and blogger who has been following the U.S. religious right for nearly a decade — recently noted, “anti-gay groups are relying less on junk and cherry-picked science and more on basic and anecdotal lies to smear the LGBT community and our right to equality.”
The junk-science that McEwen is referring to is best typified by the widely discredited 2012 Mark Regenerus study. The study failed to prove its erroneous conclusion that same-sex marriages hurts children and was also funded in part by two groups opposing same-sex marriage; so much for impartial research.
Indeed, the 2012 study marks one of the last times we heard of U.S. anti-LGBT groups using any study to vilify same-sex relationships. But that doesn’t mean its use is over. As American bigots spread their hateful messages abroad in South America, Russia and Africa they could continue to rely on junk-science to persuade the uninformed masses. While Regenerus gets widely mocked around American gay circles, it may not be as widely known of elsewhere.
Second, the religious right’s tactical shift to anecdotal lies reveals a powerful toxin that bigots still have in their arsenal: disgust. One need only consider the sermons of Martin “Eat Da Poo Poo” Ssempa — a Ugandan-American pastor who claimed that all gays like to eat feces and fist one another — to understand the depths that anti-gay religious figures will go to foment hatred (and votes) against gays, lesbians and bisexuals. Claims of “gay pedophilia” are another long-proven hate tactic.
Even though Ssempa’s words were later turned into many hilarious dance remixes, his words are no laughing matter. In 2014, Uganda passed a severely anti-gay law that sought to punish “aggravated homosexuality” and banned the “promotion of homosexuality” with imprisonment. A constitutional court later invalidated the law, citing a procedural technicality, but the societal animosity it sowed against gays and bisexuals can’t be as easily undone.
(featured image via Ross Griff)