Michelle Goldberg, famous for her work at salon.com work and her book Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism said the following in the interview article The Growing Threat of Right-Wing Christians:
One of the first pieces I did on the Christian right was on the ex-gay movement. What struck me going to the Exodus Conference was that it takes place in this whole entire parallel universe. They have their own psychologists, psychological institutions and their own version of professional medical literature. The amount of books, magazines and media, and the way it almost duplicated everything that we have in our so-called reality, is remarkable.
Dr. James Dobson penned the piece Two Mommies Is One Too Many. Researchers who were quoted by Dobson have indicated their research was misconstrued or misused. Focus On The Family (FOTF) has now officially responded to the claims Dobson misconstrued or misused research in his recent Time Magazine piece.
My first reaction to the FOTF retort Left Apoplectic Over Dr. Dobson’s Time Platform was “Huh? Oh. What?” I’m rarely surprised to the point of being dumbfounded, but I found I was literally stunned.
The reason is fairly simple: It really is no surprise that Dr. James Dobson and FOTF put out a piece indicating they believe their views on same sex marriage and same-sex parenting are “right,” but my real astonishment was in the incredulous tone that they’ve taken towards two researchers (now up to three, by the way) to stating their research was misconstrued/misused:
“The attack against Dr. Dobson has been as unceasing as it has been baseless,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, director of issue analysis for Focus on the Family. “The only thing that can explain the vehemence with which gay activists have responded to his commentary is that it galls them for a major publication like Time — with a circulation of more than 4 million — to give a platform to someone like Dr. Dobson, who stands for everything they oppose.”
The first attack came in claims from two researchers whose work Dr. Dobson cited in his piece that he had “twisted” their science. They only spoke up, it is worth noting, after being contacted by a gay activist with a long history of personally vilifying pro-family leaders; in fact, he once called Dr. Dobson “a Scripture-spitting, simple-minded, superstitious savage.” No matter why the researchers weighed in, though, their objections are off-base, according to Dr. Bill Maier, Focus on the Family’s psychologist in residence.
“These are well-respected scientists who probably feel they have no choice but to cry ‘foul’ because they work in a field that is so dominated by liberal groupthink,” Maier explained. “But the fact they aren’t happy their data was used to reach a conclusion they disagree with doesn’t mean the data was not properly applied. Dr. Dobson never claimed these researchers share his view on this issue — they clearly do not. But there is no denying that the data they compiled can be appropriately cited to show the unique contributions mothers and fathers make in the lives of their children.
“Many ‘progressive’ academics would prefer to ignore these unique contributions and claim that mothers or fathers are ‘optional,’ ” he added. “But anyone who takes the time to read the research in question will find that Dr. Dobson quoted the researchers accurately. While these individuals may personally hold positions on same-sex parenting that are different from his, their findings on gender differences clearly support his thesis. The sad fact is that gay parenting intentionally — and permanently — deprives a child of either a mommy or a daddy.”
The subtitle to Focus On The Family’s piece is Academics and gay activists have hurled a lot of epithets at Focus’ founder for his commentary on gay parenting — but none of their charges are sticking. I find it difficult to believe that FOTF actually believes that none of [the] charges are sticking, but by their tone it seems apparent to me that they actually believe none of the charges that they are engaging in pseudo-science, misquoting of research studies, or unethically misusing research studies is sticking.
Feeling the heat of international condemnation, Dobson turned to character assassination on his webpage this week, suggesting his accusers were hostage to “liberal groupthink.” I suppose, as a group, these acclaimed scientists do think that misrepresenting science is wrong. And, of course, it is worth noting that Dobson respected these very researchers enough to quote them last week. He only changed his tune after they upbraided him for unethical and unprofessional conduct.
Focus on the Family’s big “ah ha” moment was more like a “ha ha” moment, as it was quite laughable. They pointed out that I was the one who first contacted all of the professors. But, Focus neglected to say that if Dobson had been honest, I wouldn’t have had to make these calls. Finally, Focus on the Family derided Dobson’s detractors as name-callers. However, some of Dobson’s fiercest critics have come from the far right.
In October, former ultraconservative Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX) said that Dobson is a “real nasty bully” who commands a “gang of thugs.”
I would agree that his organization more often acts like Crips than Christians. It is time to take the Dramamine, as Dobson is about to spin legitimate criticism in the same dishonest way he spun the actual studies he is being criticized for distorting.
Confronted with researchers specifically stating to Dobson that he misconstrued or misused their research, Dobson stands firm in his interpretation of their research; his FOTF Psychologist in Residence stating:
“But there is no denying that the data they compiled can be appropriately cited to show the unique contributions mothers and fathers make in the lives of their children.”
Even public rebuke can’t shake the “parallel universe” Goldberg described. No wonder the FOTF folk don’t think any of the rebuke “sticks” — in their “parallel universe,” they’re apparently coated in Teflon.