January 15th, 2009
Guest columnist Clayton Critcher emailed me (Jim) a few days ago with comments on my critique of the NGLTF report on Prop 8. Since he had some very pertinent observations — that the relationship between religion and race with regard to African-Americans and Prop 8 is more complex than reported — I invited him to write up a guest post for Box Turtle Bulletin.
Clayton Critcher is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale University, and is now a PhD candidate in social psychology at Cornell University, where he is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. His research and publications include experimental work on political ideology and unintended consequences of anti-gay public policy.
The recent NGLTF-sponsored report on Prop 8 and race has reignited the discussion about the determinants of support for Prop 8. Unsurprisingly, most of the interest in this report has been on what it says about African American voters’ support for the amendment. In my opinion, the report does an impressive job of demonstrating that exit polls likely overstated Black voters’ support. Instead, just under 60% of both African Americans and Latinos supported Prop 8, while Whites and Asians were barely against it.
But what explains the gap between Blacks/Latinos and Whites/Asians? This is where things get controversial. The report suggests that the remaining gap between these ethnic groups can be explained by differences in religiosity. On Monday, Jim suggested that this analysis may have suffered from a low sample size, which can make real differences difficult to observe (statistically). Was the NGLTF report too quick to claim that racial differences were entirely explained by religious differences?
I set out to answer this question by doing my best to reconstruct the results of the poll on which the race and religion results were based. According to a comment on BTB by Jamie Grant of NGLTF, there were 149 African Americans sampled. I used other information from the report about the poll’s sample size, data about the demographics of the sample, and the study’s assumptions about the California voting population, to complete a “best-guess” reconstruction of the racial composition of the remaining sample.
Report Modification #1: Although it is true that there is no significant effect of race after controlling for religion, there was not a significant effect of race before controlling for religion. This suggests that Jim’s point about high margins of error was right on. If we could not find racial differences before controlling for religion, it is not very impressive that we cannot find them afterwards.
Because the first point in the report was that African Americans’ support had been overstated, and that it was African Americans and Latinos together that showed (modestly) more support for Prop 8 than Whites and Asians, I then dichotomized people racially. I identified each person as a minority (African American or Latino) or not. By not dividing into as many small groups, we help to bypass the sample size problem identified by Jim.
Report Modification #2: This analysis produced an unexpected finding, one that has not been considered in the discussion. The influence of race depended on whether one was religious. Among those who were highly religious, support for Prop 8 was equally high across the races. But among those who were less religious, African Americans and Latinos were more supportive of Prop 8 than Whites and Asians. The NGLTF report misses this effect because neither Latinos or African Americans by themselves show significantly higher support (in the low religiosity subsample) because of Jim’s high margins of error.
This suggests that the relationship between race, religion, and Prop 8 support is slightly more complicated than has been discussed. Being religious was associated with increased support for Prop 8, but among those who were not religious, being African American or Latino was associated with support for Prop 8.
These conclusions aside, I must say I have been confused by the intense interest in whether religiosity can “explain away” racial differences in support for Prop 8. Unless one believed that the skin color gene also produced support for Prop 8, racial differences in support for Prop 8 would have to be “explained through” some cultural factor. If that factor is religion, the question simply becomes, “Why do some racial groups show more interest in homophobic religious institutions than others?”, and I do not see why this would be any less troubling to those who seek to shift this discussion away from race. Nevertheless, my new analyses suggest that among the non-religious, an unidentified explanation for racial differences remain.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.