The LaBarbera-Birther-Dominionist link
March 11th, 2010
To paraphrase a common phrase, “wackadoodle extremist nutcakes of a feather flock together”. So it should be no surprise to find anti-gay activists dancing the tango with “birthers” and other fringe political gadflies.
Currently anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera is waging war on Dr. Warren Throckmorton. Throckmorton engages in the grievous sin of believing that therapists – even Christian therapists – should allow same-sex attracted clients who are seeking congruence with their religion to determine their path without overlaying the therapists’ views, even if it means that “some religious individuals will determine that their religious beliefs may become modified to allow integration of same-sex eroticism within their valued identity.”
But Throckmorton infuriates LaBarbera even more by questioning the efficacy of reparative therapy and noting that “it appears from the research that change is infrequent in attractions”. LaBarbera sees this as heresy or, in his words, Throckmorton has “lost his faith in God’s ability to change people.”
LaBarbera has begun a letter and media campaign seeking to threaten Throckmorton’s employment at Grove City College. And he’s rounded up a number of “concerned citizens” to assist in his quest. Not surprisingly, they are as, ummm, colorful as is Peter himself.
But, for those who may not know the extent of Linda’s animus and how it goes to the very core of her self definition, these words from her “testimony” might shed some light.
It was 1992. I had spent months reading the Bible seriously for the first time in my life, and I was trembling on the brink of a stunning decision: to become a Christian, but not just another pew-warmer. I was increasingly tempted beyond all conventional wisdom — to accept the Bible as true, which would make me one of “those” Christians.
So I continued on, hopeful in the joy of discovery. Plodding through the morality code passages in Leviticus lambs being sacrificed, how to deal with boils and leprosy– I concluded some of the messages were symbolic, some were particular to that specific ancient time, while other messages were timeless. It was one of those timeless verses that stopped me cold.
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”
Whoa. If ever there was a definitive statement, this was it. I read it again, then continued on a little farther, looking for the escape clause. Not finding any, I read the passage again. Then I did some cross-referencing to find relevant verses about homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments. This led me to Leviticus 20, Romans 1, and 1 Corinthians 6, passages conveying a consistent platform, strong and uncompromising. I mulled it over for a while, recognizing that it was probably a sub-category of the commandment against adultery. And for a woman thoroughly grounded in heterosexual desires, I had a very interesting reaction. I closed the Bible and stopped reading it for several weeks.
A troubling internal debate threatened my new faith. Even back then in 1992 ancient history in the “gay rights” movement I had absorbed the notion that only obtuse bigots opposed homosexuality. Every enlightened person knew that the freedom to practice homosexuality –responsibly, of course — would surely not threaten the mainstream, but would simply meet the needs of a small, harmless and kind of pitiful minority.
For several weeks I stewed about this, strongly tempted to return to the comfort of my familiar plastic beliefs. Opposing forces wrestled for authority in my mind and heart as I considered first one, then an alternative view of “truth.” What was the reality behind this issue? It was the first time, but not the last, where I would encounter a Joshua 24 moment. I needed to “choose this day whom I would serve.” I didn’t recognize the moving of the Holy Spirit yet, how He presents evidence before each of us in unique ways to drive us toward understanding. In deciding what to believe, or even how to sort it all out, I would be starting a journey toward either one or the other kingdom of two completely different masters.
Linda’s very essence – as “Christian not a pew-warmer” – is grounded in the rejection of the idea that gay people are non-threatening and the adoption as literal, relevant, and objectively true a Scriptural passage that calls for the execution of gay men. To Linda, this was the separation between “plastic beliefs” and choosing to serve God; her entire “journey” is based on the belief in death for homosexuals.
Next up was Steve Baldwin, “the former Executive Director of the Council for National Policy, a former State Assemblyman in California, and a longtime conservative Republican activist.” Baldwin wrote Grove City College’s president, seeking to discredit Throckmorton and threated to “no longer be recommending Grove City College” to “hundreds of conservative high school students” who ask him for a recommendation.
As might be expected, Baldwin is no friend of the gay community. His article written for the Regent University Law Review, Child Molestation and the Homosexual Movement, is a recitation of fabrications and oft-repeated but debunked demonizations.
It is difficult to convey the dark side of the homosexual culture without appearing harsh. However, it is time to acknowledge that homosexual behavior threatens the foundation of Western civilization the nuclear family. An unmistakable manifestation of the attack on the family unit is the homosexual community’s efforts to target children both for their own sexual pleasure and to enlarge the homosexual movement. The homosexual community and its allies in the media scoff at this argument. They insist it is merely a tactic to demonize the homosexual movement. After all, they argue, heterosexual molestation is a far more serious problem.
Unfortunately, the truth is stranger than fiction. Research confirms that homosexuals molest children at a rate vastly higher than heterosexuals, and the mainstream homosexual culture commonly promotes sex with children. Homosexual leaders repeatedly argue for the freedom to engage in consensual sex with children, and blind surveys reveal a shockingly high number of homosexuals admit to sexual contact with minors. Indeed, the homosexual community is driving the worldwide campaign to lower the legal age of consent.
The thesis is breathtaking in its dishonesty.
As we have shown, the premises behind such claims are based on the false assumption that every adult who molests a child of the same sex is, by default, homosexual even if he identifies as heterosexual, is married, and has a long string of opposite sex victims.
Of course, activists like Baldwin don’t limit their extremist to gays. He also advocates for library censorship. But his greatest influence was as the executive director of the Council for National Policy, a dominionist secretive right-wing umbrella group.
After Baldwin was Priscilla Smith, “a freelance writer based in Indiana”. Smith disapproved of an email that was purportedly sent by “David Bier, Grove City College Senior” to LaBarbera in which he states, “Your recent article on Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton is yet another of your pathetic attempts to mislead otherwise moral individuals into the belief that God disapproves of homosexuality.”
This convenient email – whether genuine or contrived – was Smith’s jumping off point. She ranted:
They are about to graduate a young man from their so-called Christian institution without teaching him that God not only disapproves of homosexuality, but He describes it as an abomination, unnatural, dishonorable, perversion, depravity.
I don’t know much about Ms. Smith. If she is a freelance writer, she’s rather selective about making her writings available.
After the elusive Ms. Smith, the Peter ran a commentary by Michael Glazte. As readers may recall, Glatze had been a gay activist (though few knew who he was, he thought of himself as a “rising star”) who became ex-gay and converted to Mormonism before settling on conservative Christianity while working at a Buddhist retreat. Currently he seems to hold a grudge against Throckmorton, and lent his voice to the attack.
I have experienced Professor Throckmorton’s forked tongue, as he has pretended to seek “my side” of the story various times, then turned around and told a biased side of the same story, in a public sphere, with the intention of discrediting my testimony and shaming my stance for Gospel truth. As we have all seen, throughout Christian history, it is quite easy for people to create false worlds, to skew human perception, to persecute Christian truth. Sadly, this professor at a seemingly-reputable Christian school, has engaged in these tactics, with the outcome of persecuting the very truth he supposedly is teaching, atop his perch.
Aside from Glatze’s bitterness, he betrays a worldview that heightens the concerns that have been expressed about his mental stability. He seems to think that “objective” and “subjective” are filtered through dogma rather than observations so that “objective truth” becomes that which he’s been taught and now believes.
It is funny. In this world, truth seems to almost be subjective. Then, you meet Jesus. In Jesus, truth is objective. It is from this vantage point that I write this.
Such a way of thinking lends itself easily to cults and manipulation. It certainly has led to some peculiar political views. After advocating for bullying in schools (“Bullying in schools is a part of life, a part of growth“) and making some racists comments about President Obama, even NARTH removed him from their site.
But the very latest participant in LaBarbera’s campaign of personal destruction is also perhaps the most peculiar. Margaret Hemenway, described by the Peter as “a Virginia parent”. She pretended to be the mother of a 16 year-old girl who, after attending Catholic school, was considering attending the evangelical Grove City College.
We want our children to grow up to be healthy and happy–enjoying a wholesome college experience–not one which will undermine their years in a safe and nurturing Catholic educational environment. It is remarkable that the College would permit this professor, given your school’s Biblical charter, to crusade on behalf of homosexuality–would you also allow your staff to advocate openly for adultery, pornography or prostitution–other sexual sins? Where do you draw the line and how is the professor’s conduct and activity consistent with your Christian mission? We would look forward to your reply.
Hemenway first blipped my radar in 2008 when she claimed in an article hosted by Human Events that her daughter’s first grade teacher told her class that she was marrying another woman and “read aloud, “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,” about two male “gay” guinea pigs, promoted by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender Lobby for children.” She claims to have lodged a complaint.
But Margaret Calhoun Hemenway is no Virginia parent new to politics. Her bio states
Mrs. Hemenway spent 15 years on Capitol Hill in various staff positions in the Senate and the House, followed by five years in the Pentagon. She is married to a native of Washington, D.C. and is a proud parent of three school-age children.
And Hemenway is not shy in expressing her views. Currently she contributes to FamilySecurityMatters.org. And it is from her writings there that we find Hemenway’s more peculiar political activism.
It seems that Hemenway’s father-in-law, John D. Hemenway, is a lawyer heavily involved with the “Birther” movement, a collection of conspiracy theorists who believe that President Obama is not eligible to be President because he was not born in the United States.
That problem is this: the man now occupying the White House is likely Constitutionally unqualified to hold the office.
As an attorney, I facilitated a lawsuit (Hollister vs. Soetoro et al.) in the United States District Court (D.C. Circuit) demanding that Obama produce his birth certificate or satisfactory substitute evidence.
But I am not trying to peg Margaret with guilt by association. She has written or her own faith in the birther movement.
Mr. Obama’s lawyers are now threatening my 84-year-old father-in-law, through Judge Robertson, with penalties of legal fees for pursuing the truth about Mr. Obama’s birth. This threat of financial sanctions is meant to silence all of us who remain unsatisfied with equivocations by the Obama camp about his legal qualifications to become President, and to punish us for pursuing our Constitutionally-guaranteed right to redress.
The Obama campaign, with questions about his birth in Kenya to his Kenyan father (a British citizen), and his years in Indonesia where he was known as Barry Soetoro (taking the surname of his stepfather), was not nearly as forthcoming as the McCain campaign. What was posted in support of Mr. Obama’s eligibility was not a birth certificate, but something that resembles a “Certification of Live Birth” or COLB, which, even if authentic, does not prove “natural born” U.S. citizenship. In Hawaii, a Certification of Live Birth is issued within a year of a child’s birth to those who register a birth overseas or one that takes place outside of a hospital.
So in his desire to punish and discredit Dr. Throckmorton, anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera has surrounded himself with a most fascinating collection of characters: a woman who’s very identity is defined by her adoption of death-penalty based Levitical prohibition on homosexuality, a dominionist whose writings on homosexuality mirror those of Paul Cameron, an unknown freelance writer named Smith, an ex-gay with a grudge and a history of sporadic religious associations and a questionable worldview, and a Birther.
As history progresses and even conservatives begin to see gay people as human – as their friends, family, neighbors and co-workers – those who are left behind are increasingly appearing as fringe and, frankly, more than a little weird. And these are just the ones that Peter is taking public.