Here we have the spectacle of folks who grovel in obedience to invisible magic beings calling perfectly healthy folks sick. Like psychotics... they ignore reality and instead insist that they have "scientific proof" of their mad viewpoints when science itself says "No" you are quite incorrect". Isn't it time that society as a whole started to recognize, out loud, what everyone already privately knows but politely fails to say out loud... that the religiously deluded are just that--- DELUDED, and are to be given the same benevolent disregard as any other town drunk or the village idiot.
Groups Buy Anti-Gay Advertisements
By JOSEPH SCHUMAN
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a campaign supporting the remarks of some Republican lawmakers, religious conservatives this week paid for a series of national newspaper ads urging gays and lesbians to leave their homosexuality and ``let the real healing begin.''
The ads, in The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today, have angered both gay rights groups, who say they promote discrimination, and medical researchers, who say homosexuality is neither a condition or disorder that requires healing.
The ads ''fly in the face of scientific fact and are at odds with what we know from biological and psychological science,'' said Dean Hamer, a geneticist at the National Institutes of Health.
''Their motivation is one of prejudice rather than trying to be helpful to anybody,'' Hamer said.
The ads, sponsored by such groups as the Christian Coalition and the Family Research Council, cite ''thousands of ex-gays'' as proof gays and lesbians are capable of ''leaving their homosexual identity for sexual celibacy, and even marriage.''
Recounting the tale of a ''former lesbian,'' the ads describe homosexuals as unhappy, self-destructive people who are committing ''sexual sin.''
They also praise Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and football player Reggie White, who have denounced homosexuality as a sin, for speaking ''the truth'' in the face of criticism. Lott was recently slammed by gay rights groups, many Democrats and even members of his own party for comparing homosexuality to alcoholism and kleptomania.
Other congressional Republicans have made similar remarks, and Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., has proposed a measure that would block President Clinton's order barring job discrimination against homosexual federal workers.
Janet Folger, national director of the Center for Reclaiming America and the coordinator of the ads, said they had no political purpose, and their aim was to thank Lott, White and others and to protect what she said was their right to free speech.
''If you look to see what has happened to virtually everyone who has spoken up in public on this issue, they have been shouted down, name-called, treated with hostility that would not be tolerated'' if it was aimed at homosexuals, Folger said.
''There's an anti-Christian bigotry trying to silence those who disagree,'' she said. ''It's a far cry from tolerance.''
The ads were bought at a time when Republican leaders have come under increased pressure from conservatives like Christian broadcaster James Dobson, the Family Research Council's Gary Bauer and others to adhere to the so-called family values of their core constituency.
Republicans hold a narrow majority in the House and cannot afford to have conservatives - their most active voters - stay away from the polls in the elections this fall.
Elizabeth Birch, director of Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, accused religious conservatives of timing the ads to raise funds before the elections.
''The extreme right has been very effective in using anti-gay rhetoric for years as a cash cow,'' Birch said.
The ads, she said, ''are filled with pseudo-science and out-and-out lies. Gay people are just as likely to be happy as the population as a whole.''
The American Psychiatric Association does not consider homosexuality a disorder and said in its fact sheet on the issue that there is no published scientific evidence supporting attempts to change a person from a homosexual orientation to a heterosexual orientation.
''The major effect (of such ads) has to do with stigmatizing a group of people and also implying that it's an illness when it isn't,'' said Edward Hanin, chairman of the association's council on national affairs.
Folger said the ''fact'' that the thousands of people cited in the ads did ''in fact change'' counts as ''scientific proof.''