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03/30/2010

Wayne, Evan, Joe, Rea: Do any of you mind if I go first?

by Jeremy Hooper

In a new post in which he continues challenging the Southern Poverty Law Center for making dubious note of his long career as an anti-gay activist, Peter LaBarbera has posed a "challenge" to yours truly, among others:

The folly of the SPLC’s expanding “hate” dragnet is that it threatens to engulf all religious/moral opposition to homosexuality. Indeed, it would be revealing to query the top 25 “GLBT” activist across the nation and ask them if they would also label, as Matt Barber pokes fun HERE, the following as “hate groups”: Family Research Council, AFA, the Roman Catholic Church, Focus on the Family, the Southern Baptist Convention and ADF. (I posed the question to one young “gay” activist, Alex Blaze, HERE, and received no response.)

[Homosexual activists] Wayne Besen/Evan Hurst/Joe Jervis/Jeremy Hooper/Rea Carey/[insert GLBT activist here]: take up the challenge!
‘Gay Liberation Network’ Leader Pronounces Catholic Church ‘Haters’ [AFTAH]

The odd thing: I, Jeremy, have already answered his call. In a few different posts, I have pointed out...

-that while the Southern Poverty Law has an unspecified set of criteria for classifying groups in the "hate" category, they clearly do have one. One that has a high threshold. This is why there are only a handful of anti-gay organizations who make their "hate groups" or "hate sites" lists.

-that while there are connections between many of the groups that Matt and Pete keep trying to drag into bed with LaBarbera's Americans For Truth (Focus on the Family recently quoted Matt and Pete, for instance), there are also clear differences. That doesn't mean that certain groups are more or less anti-gay, or even that certain people have motivations that are less heated than Matt or Pete's. It just means that they display them differently. This is what SPLC is going on: The public words and actions. In this regard, Peter and Americans For Truth have met a uniquely hostile high bar.

-that the other groups are surely annoyed with Pete and Matt's attempts to put them in the same incendiary boat. In fact in some cases, I'm 100% certain of it.

-that Peter has been responsible for two different groups earning the SPLC's attention on two separate occasions. He was the reason that the Illinois Family Institute used to be included on the list, based on his insistency on using the work of the disgraced Paul Cameron. Those other groups Pete mentions do not publicly embrace Paul Cameron. If they do, we call them on it. Loudly. And if they continued to use Cameron, the SPLC would surely take notice.

-that while I personally don't place "hate" labels on anyone, I see that there is a spectrum. Look, I chat with many of the "culture war" players both publicly and privately. Including Pete. I've heard what they say. I've shared off-record information with them. I've learned about the varying motivations and goals. The bottom line: There is a gamut and Pete and Matt are towards the far end of it, alongside Scott Lively (another SPLC listee), Brian Camenker (another SPLC listee), and many others. That's just the truth.

-that this is a man who personally attacked my wedding just a few days before the ceremony. At link is the unsolicited email he sent me for the sole reason of hurting me on one of the most deliriously happy weeks of my life: "it's not a real marriage, Jeremy." That is not normal "culture war" behavior: It is a beyond the pale personal attack. One that I would never wage in return.

-that this is a man who has tried to get a couple of his political opponents fired from their jobs. Most recently among them is Christian professor Warren Throckmorton, who has done nothing more than take a more liberal stance on homosexuality than Pete himself does. That's it -- he has disagreed with Peter. And because of this "sin," Pete has instructed his readers (in 12 separate posts) to contact Grove City College's president and demand action against Throckmorton. Again: That is not an action that some of the other groups that Pete and Matt are trying to drag in their bed would ever support.

-that in response to the Iowa marriage equality ruling, Peter called on his readers to "respond in righteous anger coupled with effective action," saying that our nation's downfall at the hand of an angry God is otherwise assured.

-that Pete and Matt recently joined up to say the following: "It boils down to this: there is nothing “conservative” about — as Barber inimitably puts it — “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’” Or two women awkwardly mimicking natural procreative relations or raising a child together in an intentionally fatherless home."
Now, this was so over-the-top that Matt's employer, Liberty Counsel, actually had to apologize for it! But not Matt. Not Pete. Their reaction was to continue the affront, with Matt calling his words "an unapologetically direct and accurate depiction of the sin of sodomy (a sin that God directly and accurately calls both an ‘abomination’ and ‘detestable’"

-that there are other groups who very well might earn SPLC recognition if they keep it up. For instance, the Family Research Council is playing with reputation-burning fire, so long as they keep Peter "export/ criminalize/ blame gays for AIDS" Sprigg on the payroll. The same goes with the American Family Association and Bryan Fischer. But as of now, these groups have not hit certain marks. Not in the same way and tone that Peter LaBarbera, Matt Barber, and the entire Americans For Truth About Homosexuality operation already have.

-that Pete has supported Scott Lively's work in Uganda, and in doing so said "that if states and localities here in America (and governments abroad) wish to ban sodomy, they have every right to do so — notwithstanding polemical U.S. Supreme Court decisions inventing newfangled “constitutional rights” and influenced by inaccurate homosexual activist amicus briefs." Where do we even begin with that?!

-that Pete publicly mocked, by name and photo, a six-year-old girl. Let me say that again: HE PUBLICLY MOCKED A SIX-YEAR-OLD GIRL! Her family. Her life. Her everything. See here.

-that, a few weeks after the six-year-old girl incident, Pete gunned for a 17-year-old gay teen. he even asked his readers to write in letters so that maybe the boy would "find and receive godly counsel and escape the clutches of a sin movement that endangers body and soul." See here.


And there is so, so, so, so much more. So yea, Pete: Challenge away, buddy. Game on.

***

**For the truly motivated: Here are the 166 posts we have written about Peter and Americans For Truth since August of 2006. That high number alone speaks to how eyebrow-raising Pete and AFTAH are: Americans For Truth Archive [G-A-Y]

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