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Focus President Jim Daly Misrepresents Anthropology

Daniel Gonzales

July 29th, 2009

This isn’t the first time Focus has misrepresented the entire field of anthropology. Last year Focus staffer Glenn Stanton and Citizenlink claimed:

Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, said there’s a clear consensus among anthropologists.

“A family is a unit that draws from the two types of humanity, male and female,” he said. “Those two parts of humanity join together, create new life and they both cooperate in the legitimization of the child, if you will, and the development of the child.”

Stanton’s claim prompted rebukes from actual anthropologists including Bill Maurer, the anthropology department chair at UC Irvine and Damon Dozier, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Director of Public Affairs. Dozier reminded us in 2004 the AAA Executive Board issued the following statement in response to President Bush’s proposal for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage:

The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.

But Focus apparently didn’t learn anything about anthropology in the last year since Stanton’s bone-headed remarks. Yesterday, Focus president Jim Daly wrote in the Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog:

And that is why marriage is universally and fundamentally about male and female. Examine how leading anthropologists over the last 80 years – from the Royal Anthropological Institution’s Notes and Queries, to Edward Westermarck, George Murdock, A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, Bronislaw Malinowski, Kathleen Gough, Ward Goodenough and Pierre van den Berghe – define marriage across all cultures – religious and secular – and see how constantly you encounter references to male and female, procreation and off-spring legitimization as the universal and primary qualities of this sacred institution.

It should be noted according to Daly’s bio on Focus’ website, his only degree is a BS in business administration.

But most of all I find it disappointing Daly and Focus are again misrepresenting an entire field of science in their war against gay families.

Focus President Jim Daly may be contacted at: jim.daly@fotf.org
And the Washington Post’s “On Faith” editor can be reached at: onfaith@washingtonpost.com

Comments

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Focus President Misrepresents The Entire Field of Anthropology
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

[…] from BoxTurtleBulletin, a more serious activist blog I also write […]

Piper
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

Oh man!

As a Anthropology student I am VERY offended. This man has obviously not read Margret Mead, whose studies of Gender do not agree with him. Also there have been studies of both Brazilian transgendered and Indian transgendered, as well as Native American 2-spirited people. (I only have a bachelors in Anthro, so I can’t be called an anthropologist)

I don’t have to work in front of me, if anyone remembers the names of the researchers or their works, you can put it up, I’d have to go through my old texts, which are at home in Texas.

Why do people constantly feel that they can use this field to support insulting views? I know I personally talked to my adviser after the last time this happened, she was PISSED. She studies the tklinkit gender roles herself, and their gender roles are VERY different from what we think of as typical gender roles. I’ll have to pull out my copy of her book when I get home and see what she says exactly.

Emily K
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

I know this is obvious, but a degree in “BS” is right.

(I know it means Bachelor of Science; I think my mom has one.)

Burr
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

Heck you don’t even have to look to same-sex partnerships to know that’s a load of bull. Back in the day all kids were practically exclusively raised by the women while the men went out to hunt. They only got involved when it came time to teach the boys something. Not to mention all the situations over the centuries where children end up in the custody of a mom and aunt/grandmom/etc. with no man around, or even the opposite with only men to take care of them.

This notion that you need both genders intimately involved or else you totally forget what your plumbing does is a bunch of voodoo nonsense.

Patrick
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

Focus on the Family continues to lie. Unfortunately, the mainstream media probably won’t call them on it.

Last year when I was debating Glenn Stanton on this blog, Stanton admitted that same-sex marriages have existed in cultures around the world. But he refused to accept them as marriages because they weren’t identical to modern same-sex marriages. Yet, by that very standard we should not consider Mr Stanton’s marriage legitimate, for it barely resembles heterosexual marriages of centuries past.

Regarding procreation, the Tiwi of North Australia had no requirement that procreation (or even sex) was a necessary part of marriage. Marriage has traditionally been about joining families into social and economic alliances – other things are extras.

Nevada Blue
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

People in general, are so abysmally ignorant of the diversity of human cultures that Anthropology should be a required course in high school. Then these lies would never fly.

Among the South American Lache and Caquiteros peoples, homosexual marriage is not uncommon. Same with the Achnutshik of Greenland. 300 miles from the now infamous Wasilla, Alaska, the Konjag eskimo would rear certain male children as females, and they would then marry a chief or tribal elder.

Heck, the Bugis of Indonesia have five genders! The one androgynous gender is not allowed to marry. They are however, considered shamans, not second class citizens.

As the melting pot of the planet, our goal should be to take the best of the other cultures. Instead we are myopic. It’s beyond frustrating.

The Religious Right’s “Manhattan Declaration” | Asterisk
November 20th, 2009 | LINK

[…] Daly, Focus on the Family’s new president, who misrepresented the science of anthropology earlier this year in order to make a false point about Homosexual […]

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