Tactics of Gay Lobby May Have Chilling Impact on Academic Freedom

Mark Regnerus

I want to be clear, at the outset, that this is not yet another blog about Catholic teaching on the morality of homosexuality, nor is it (except indirectly) one more defense of the traditional family. It’s partly (but again indirectly) about the social effects of treating homosexual unions as though they were equivalent to marriage based on the union of one man and one woman: but again, it’s not about the morality or theology of active homosexuality.

It’s about the politics of it: it’s about the way in which the gay lobby operates. Just as most secularists are very hesitant to have a go at Islam, when they don’t think twice about mounting an attack on Christianity, so I detect a growing reluctance among Christians to risk getting on the wrong side of the gay lobby. The gay lobby doesn’t actually go in for assassination: you may not get shot or blown up: but the result can be pretty unpleasant all the same. And there is mounting evidence that this phenomenon is already having a clear effect on academic freedom.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the research of Professor Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, who after a very large-scale survey found (publishing his findings, after the usual process of peer review, in the widely respected journal Social Science Research) that “children raised by homosexual parents are more likely than those raised by married heterosexual parents to suffer from poor impulse control, depression and suicidal thoughts” and that “They are also more likely to require more mental health therapy; identify themselves as homosexual; choose cohabitation; be unfaithful to partners; contract sexually transmitted diseases; be sexually molested; have lower income levels; drink to get drunk; and smoke tobacco and marijuana.”

I don’t want, here, to talk about these findings (I have already done that), rather I want to home in on the surrounding circumstances of their publication, for they reveal much about the ruthlessness of the gay lobby, and about the way it uses intimidation to prevent too many people with Professor Regnerus’s inclination to tell what he believes to be the truth on this subject from raising their heads above the parapet.

As for why this is a subject for a Catholic blog: Professor Regnerus is himself a Catholic and that is one of the reasons for his attack proffered by the gay blogger Scott Rose, who then made a complaint to his employers of academic misconduct, a complaint which was then promptly and thoroughly investigated by Texas University, who in the end found that Professor Regnerus had conducted his research with complete integrity. But the real question is why should a respectable university have jumped to it quite so quickly at the behest of an activist individual of this type, a person with no more status or authority than his own blog and his position in the gay activist world? The answer is that he had so successfully stirred up such vitriolic opposition to Professor Regnerus’s findings in the liberal media, that the university was actually frightened of him. So when he said “jump,” the university authorities at Austin, in the great state of Texas, jumped.

What Mark Regnerus was then put through is disquieting. Rose accused Regnerus of scientific misconduct in two letters, first charging him with deviating from “ethical standards” and later accusing him of “possible falsification” of his research. Rose claimed the study was compromised because it was funded by the conservative Witherspoon Institute and also because Professor Regnerus is a Catholic, and therefore incapable of impartiality on such a subject (unlike himself, presumably).

The inquiry into their colleague’s integrity was conducted by a four-member “advisory panel” composed of senior faculty members, who (for all the world like a police force investigating fraud or paedophile offenses) actually seized Regnerus’s computers and 42,000 emails. Once the inquiry was complete, the university commissioned a former associate director of the Office of Research Integrity, in the US Department of Health and Human Services, to review the inquiry, which he found was “consistent with federal regulatory requirements of inquiries into research misconduct.”

So all’s well that ends well? Well, not quite. For there has now been established a precedent, which in the future, those who conduct academic research might find intimidating. The moral seems to be not so much that if you tell the truth and proceed with integrity all will be well but that if you want to be sure of avoiding that kind of grueling ordeal, make sure you don’t choose a topic which might get you on the wrong side of the gay lobby: best just to steer clear of any such subject.

There is also the question of what a Catholic academic can now research and write about.  Earlier this week, there appeared an article in the New York Times, looking back on the Regnerus affair, tellingly entitled “Sociologist’s Paper Raises Questions on Role of Faith in Scholarship.”

“Because Dr Regnerus would not be interviewed,” says the article’s author, Mark Oppenheimer, “it is impossible to know his latest views about the relationship between his faith and research. But we can still ask if, in principle, belief in the divinity of Jesus could affect one’s social science. Put another way: “is there a Christian way to crunch numbers?”

“The answer, in my personal opinion, is no,” said Mark Chaves, a sociologist of religion at Duke Divinity School. But, he added, religious concerns “can very profoundly shape the kinds of questions we ask, and what we’re interested in, what we think is important and so on.” So while “in the narrowest sense it doesn’t affect his computations,” Dr Regnerus’s Christian faith may have drawn him to questions about same-sex relationships and family structure.

And a religious worldview, like any worldview, can dispose a researcher toward certain mistakes in thinking. Somebody critical of same-sex relationships may be more likely to group all such relationships together, as Dr Regnerus did.

Why that is a “mistake in thinking” is not explained: after all “grouping” relationships, or anything else, together is the necessary preliminary to discovering whether or not meaningful generalizations about them can be made.

“Dr Regnerus,” says Oppenheimer, “was a proud Christian witness, once upon a time. But these days he won’t discuss his faith, even with a Christian magazine. Two weeks ago, Christianity Today ran a lengthy interview with Dr Regnerus in which he said nothing about his religious beliefs. ‘I just didn’t think it was a profitable line of inquiry,’ Dr Regnerus said, in the one answer he would e-mail me. ‘I still don’t—sorry.’”

Can anyone blame him, after all he has been through? It is very sad—and disquieting—all the same.

The column first appeared October 19 in the Catholic Herald of London and is reprinted with permission.

Dr. William Oddie

By

Dr. William Oddie is a leading English Catholic writer and broadcaster. He edited The Catholic Herald from 1998 to 2004 and is the author of The Roman Option and Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.olsen.9210 Mary Olsen

    In the same vein, it’s ironic that most research regarding abortion comes from “the highly respected” Guttmacher Institute.

  • ghostdance

    I converted in a time when the mantra of many of my peers was “If it feels good,,do it”, or “sex drugs and rock and roll”., so I can understand the backlash from the current crop of ‘anything goes’ advocates.Their tactics seem designed for these times of headline journalism that places sensationalism before content. I admire Prof. Regnerus for his work and willingness to hang in there and stand by his work.

  • Matthew Ogden

    I cannot say this is surprising. What passes for learning in society today is “research”: the belief that education has to be driven by coming up with new stuff rather than learning about an objective reality that may be already documented. The consequence is that “researchers” posturing as academics have cornered themselves into tiny little overspecialized holes that no one cares about and benefit no one at all to know. Since they know nothing outside of their fields, even what little they know in their fields is poor quality stuff because the outside stuff influences it, and they don’t understand that. Couple this with the belief in academic freedom, that anyone can say anything at all, and you get no standards of truth at all. “Academic rigor” is simply who can provide better smoke and mirrors for fashionable garbage. Seeing as these people abandoned truth all the way back in the time of the Humboldt brothers who began the research university, is it any wonder they would silence unpopular truths in academia?

    • UtahTwisted

      It’s quite apparent that your measure of truth, academic rigor, or garbage is nothing more than what agrees with your preconceived notions of truth. Anything that might conflict with what you know is “true” is a lie.

  • Ford Oxaal

    One wishes Regnerus would contact the ADF or some similar legal group, and light up the U. of Texas in court for their idiotic brown shirt tactics. Of course progressivist judges have all but eliminated the possibility of a defamation lawsuit against Rose and his apparently baseless and vexatious claims, so there may not be a clear road to justice there, but you never know until you try. Regnerus seems to have been damaged, and I hope he is seeking what justice he can get.

  • HigherCalling

    So objectivity is only possible when research is Godless? Right — no agenda there. It should be a given that there is bias in everything. The question now is whom to trust. I would trust the results of a respectable Catholic researcher a hundred times over those of a respectable godless academic. Why? Because Catholicism, almost by definition, is always concerned with the finding of truth. Having abandoned God, modern academia has abandoned any honest search for truth. In short, modern academia is concerned with justifying falsehoods, not pursuing truths. The academic aristocracy that has hijacked so much power and control in society is cause for great concern. Or, as Chesterton said, “Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.”

    • withhope

      agree – the neo-pseudo-neo’neo-pseudo-pseudo-multiqueer-cultural-anti-christ-‘studies’ – are bent on making neurotic fantasy a fact, well – bruce bawer’s ‘victims’ revolution addresses it, and he’s gay?! The thing is truth and its trustees are the contempory swept under the carpet martyrs – well, if they don’t make an agreement with the no man’s land between speaking truth and disquietly watching the lies go by.

      You get a lot of credits on your ‘anti-christ-card’ if you register ‘gay’, ‘liberal’, ‘a-historical’, and ‘a-historical-feminist’, or the biggie, willing to live in ‘peace’ with Islam.

    • Proteios1

      I don’t think that is the case. What I see is that atheist (ffrf) and gay activists behave like thugs. Threatening Pete with legal action by a financial form of terrorism. Just like terrorists could never match a national military. Not ours. They can be effective with deliberate and intense strikes. One at a time. Giving them time to get organized, plan and attack. Then the threat, after multiple successes, is enough. Freedom from reason foundation…I mean religion, has been so successful at terrorizing people for showing their values in public that most towns or small school districts will buckle beneath the mere threat of these people.

      • withhope

        Historically – and, at least my generation is radically a-historical – it was secular not ecclesiastical courts that put the noose on people on the whole – its not for nothing that possibly one ‘witch’ suffered the stake in pre-calvinist Ireland. What then – Protestantism fat and wide; before that people used to plead for the justice of the ecclesiastical over the ‘secular/profane’ courts. Happily I was a student of medieval studies before I got old. This:

        http://www.catholicity.com/commentary/crocker/00175.html

        Is a pithy piece on Christendom v Islam, but replace Islam with communism, puritanism or the fundamentalism of ‘post’-christiany and with a little faith and there’s familiar theme.

  • James McLaughlin

    You know the world is going screwy when folks in rootin’ tootin’ six-gun shootin’ Texas have to worry about saying the holy name of Jesus in public (or even in print).

  • mally el

    Everybody, religious or not, has a philosophy of life so should not atheists, libs and homosexualists also be denied what Catholics are being denied because of their views?

  • James

    Remember everyone, that we are born gay, that our homosexuality is about far more that the act, and the celibacy that we may or may not choose is a choice. Make your judgements as you like, God knows the truth about us all and God only will judge in the end. The most important fact is that we make our choices alone on the way to redemption.

    • withhope

      we are born in original sin which means everyone who’s taken breath has had this or that inherent falleness to, God willing, have washed away in baptism. After that we have our house of hope, if we simply decide to stop cleaning it ’cause we have soft a spot for that bit whatever etc.. seems once upon a true fact, in Christendom we were not confused about those sins, those places in our house of hope that needed attention – we seem to want to make feature wall out of them now. Everyone’s a sinner, but that don’t mean we start advocating sins, or these days, maybe it does.

    • Proteios1

      I’m not entirely sure on the message here, but I suspect you are reminding all of us of something we (hopefully) never lose sight of. I mean the other 99.9% of Christians who are not Westboro members. And that is to love everyone. Show compassion as we all struggle in life in the way God intended. The goal is not to hate homosexuals, liars or drunks or whatever each of is doing that falls short of the glory of Heaven. I think political action gets tied in with respecting and treating those we disagree with, with contempt…but that is another discussion altogether.

    • John

      James,

      It’s possible that people are “born gay,”as you say. It’s also been widely suggested that certain environmental factors lead people toward non-heterosexual lives. It would be reassuring to know that proper social science could help address this, and many of the other issues surrounding human sexuality that we might all be better able to live (and teach our children) God’s plan for chastity, fertility, and marriage. This article cogently argues that such research–indeed ANY research done by a non-homosexual–will not be allowed. That is unfortunate for everybody.

    • John200

      You are not born homo”sex”ual. You should enlist others in the effort to make the correct choice, because your choice-making mechanism is biased toward a choice that will separate you from God for eternity.

      Do not put yourself in hell. No one can give you better advice.

  • Merkel

    Politics uses research for their own ends. The cigarette companies, believe it or not used to have studies saying smoking didn’t impact health. The oil company has studies saying their products use don’t impact global co2 levels, contraception (listed by scientists as carcinogen) is among the deadliest things prescribe outside of chemotherapy agents, etc. and I am speaking as a Catholic scientist, also.
    And with all those who whine about how bad the USA is, unlike the idle east we don’t execute or imprison scientists who dare say smoking, burning oil, taking contraception and having two dads is going to have negative consequences…do we want to deal with the negative consequences? Although, duly for political reasons we certainly do try to intimidate. The gay mob mentality needs to evolve and use their money to buy off this type of research like tobacco companies do to some of us scientists, to ensure the “research” give the desired results. Yes, I say that sarcastically. They are being bullies and we have learned from university administrators, city managers, restaurant owners that the gay mafia will oppress whoever they can. Ironic isn’t it.

    • UtahTwisted

      contraception is a carcinogen??? Our natural hormones are carcinogens? WOW Gay mafia? I left the catholic faith many years ago, is hate now one of the creeds?

      • Bob

        Yup. Oral contraceptions are a classified carcinogen. Also, J&j research has always shown a 2.7% breakthrough pregnancy with their pills. In other words, a woman’s pills will fail her three times where conception will happen, and the conceived child will be spontaneously aborted due to the thinned lining of the uterus from the oral contraceptive. And nope……the Catholic Church does not have a “hate” creed. If you were truly Catholic ( which, you probably weren’t…..it’s interesting how many people lie on this website by starting a statement with that language before attacking the Church) you would know the fullness of the Truth of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church. So please…..don’t waste your time lieing in here to some how make yourself feel better for living a life of ugly sin.

        • UtahTwisted

          First of all thank you, I did learn something (contraceptives are possible carcinogen), however you do misrepresent the studies. The facts from the National Cancer Institute are listed at the bottom of my response.

          Second, if you only consider a “true” catholic as one who blindly adheres to the dogma from the church, then I guess I don’t fit your definition of “true” catholic. However I did grow up catholic, received communion and conformation went to mass every Sunday for all of my early life – but no, I don’t believe any of the fairy tales any more, nor the idea that my life is full of sin, or that this “merciful god” is going to send me to hell. It’s very sad to see so many people still saddled with this kind of burden and the need to be told how to act and what to think.

          From the national cancer institute:

          A number of studies suggest that current use of oral contraceptives
          (birth control pills) appears to slightly increase the risk of breast
          cancer, especially among younger women. However, the risk level goes
          back to normal 10 years or more after discontinuing oral contraceptive
          use.

          Women who use oral contraceptives have reduced risks of ovarian
          and endometrial cancer. This protective effect increases with the
          length of time oral contraceptives are used.

          Oral contraceptive use is associated with an increased risk of
          cervical cancer; however, this increased risk may be because sexually
          active women have a higher risk of becoming infected with human
          papillomavirus, which causes virtually all cervical cancers.

          • Bob

            “fairy tales”???? Tell me what part of the Church do you believe to be fairy tales? You’re right twisted, a merciful God does not send a person to hell. An unrepentant sinner sends themselves to hell. The teachings, doctrines of the Catholic Church are the protective parts of the ark given to us by Christ to get through the storms of life. I’ll challenge you twisted: do you believe that you are such an expert on the Church’s teachings to render such a negative opinion? Have you thoughtfully and extensively studied the Church’s encyclicals, scripture,, the writings of Aquianas, Augustine, Kempis, Loyola, Therese of Liseux, the Catechism, etc? If not…….what’s stopping you from learning more about what really the Church teaches? Take the time and effort, I challenge you to start with the Catechism. Or do you fear the Truth you might learn?

            • UtahTwisted

              Fairy tales: talking snakes, talking donkeys, bats are birds, world wide flood, people living in a whale, flat earth, the sun goes around the earth, the exeodus, virgin birth, resuscitation, transubstantiation, miracles, but to name a few.

              I find it very interesting that anyone can find that this loving god sending his “children” to eternal torture in hell is somehow justifiable. I find it to be the most immoral abhorrent act possible. Trying to pin the blame on the “sinner” is nothing short of blaming the victim (I only wanted his wallet, he chose to make me shoot him). Incredible. Infinite torture is in no possible way justified for any- I repeat – ANY crime. Let alone the “crime” of not worshiping this invisible god. What kind of ego does that take, what kind of monster is that. All the apologists in the world cannot explain it away.

  • Alecto

    It did not reach the level of academicians like Dr. Regnerus, but I had my own experience with the aggressive gay lobby in graduate school. It shocked me and others that even something as innocuous as an election for student body president was subjected to the litmus test of the radical gay agenda. These people are twisted, frighteningly vicious and duplicitous jack-booted thugs. That was the 1990s. Where has everyone been…singing Kumbaya? This isn’t a recent phenomenon, people.

    Our failure to react and support our own solid values for decades has resulted in what is now perceived as a rapid loss of liberty. In my own case the Church’s reaction to Catholic students’ plea for support caused me to become disillusioned and leave the Church for years. I hope Dr. Regnerus’ faith is not compromised by these attacks. I will never, ever trust and don’t have much respect for the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, many of whom are cowards and are gay themselves, therefore incapable of countering the attack from the radical gay lobby. May God have mercy on us.

  • J G

    My experience has been that no one, no one, is more intolerant then a radical homosexual.

MENU