September 7th, 2010
[Update: In an earlier version of this story, I incorrectly identified the New Yorker’s author as Peter Boyle. His name is Peter Boyer. My apologies for the error.]
We noted previously that Jeff Sharlet’s upcoming book C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, will explore, among many things, the specific connections between the secretive American evangelical movement known as the Fellowship or “The Family” and the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill that was introduced into Uganda’s Parliament last year. A key chapter of that book has already been published in the September issue of Harper’s, and another modified excerpt was posted online at The Advocate. Now it appears that the Family has decided to react, and they are in full PR mode with the help of Peter Boyle Boyer at The New Yorker.
By all accounts from those who have met the reclusive Doug Coe who heads the group, Coe is an very quiet and charming man. With this New Yorker article, it is evident that Boyer has fallen for Coe’s charms. Boyer describes The Family as little more than a “frat house”, composed in equal parts of Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Jews. In fact, he appears to have fully bought the line about The Family not being a Christian organization at all, but merely a group of people whose sole mission is to influence powerful political and business leaders “to follow Jesus.” One wonders exactly how one is supposed to define Christianity better than that, particularly when one is talking about a group that seeks to impose its understanding of Christianity’s tenets, if not its theology, from the top. Boyer’s description of events in Uganda are equally naÃ¯ve.
When Uganda’s Parliament took up a bill last year that would have punished some homosexual acts with death, [“Family” member Bob] Hunter and his friends in the Fellowship felt they had the standing to urge the proposed measure’s defeat. [Uganda President Yoweri] Museveni appointed a commission that studied the matter and then recommended that the bill be withdrawn.
One wonders how Boyer managed the dexterity to write those two lonely sentences with his hands over his ears while singing “lalalala” to drown out the noise.
Nowhere does he mention that it was MP David Bahati, a key “Family” man in Uganda — a guy who organizes Uganda’s version of the National Prayer Breakfast that the Family is best known for in the U.S. — who proposed the bill, stands by it, and still insists that the bill must be passed in it entirety so that they can begin “to kill every last gay person.” Boyer would have you believe that the Family was responsible for the bill being dead when in fact the bill, while stalled, is still very much alive. It is currently in committee, and MP Bahati and other Ugandan Family members continue to push for its full enactment. Others however recommend that the bill be dismembered with different provisions attached to other bills with less flag-waving titles, and passed surreptitiously.
As for the Family’s assertion that they had “the standing” to urge the measure’s defeat, that completely ignores the international outrage that the bill engendered. Sweden threatened to withdraw its foreign aid if the bill passed, and Germany reportedly made similar noises. Meanwhile, when Uganda president Yoweri Museveni announced a special commission to study the bill, he cited phone calls from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. According to Museveni, Clinton had him on the phone for 45-minutes talking about the bill. I think we all know Sec. Clinton well enough to understand that this conversation was probably very uncomfortable for Museveni.
To be sure, The Family was not united behind the bill. Bob Hunter, who was put forward as the Family’s main American connection to Uganda, appeared on American and international media outlets denouncing the bill. But Sharlet noted that the bill caused a split within the Family, and for quite a few months it was unclear whether MP Bahati or other prominent backers of the bill would travel to Washington to attend the National Prayer Breakfast. In the end, he didn’t come, but according to Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton, who did attend the Breakfast, many Family members of the Uganda delegation who were there at the Family’s invitation fully supported the bill.
When Jeff Sharlet learned that the New Yorker was preparing to publish a piece on The Family, he offered five predictions pointing to a whitewash. He was right on all five counts. The Family’s PR campaign is in full swing.
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.