Anti-Gay Myths Promoted by Pastors of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Part 2: Same-sex parents harm children.

Copied from:  Southern Poverty Law Center

By Evelyn Schlatter and Robert Steinback

Ever since born-again singer and orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant helped kick off the contemporary anti-gay movement some 40 years ago, hard-line elements of the religious right have been searching for ways to demonize gay people — or, at a minimum, to find arguments that will prevent their normalization in society. For the former Florida beauty queen and her Save Our Children group, it was the alleged plans of gay men and lesbians to “recruit” in schools that provided the fodder for their crusade. But in addition to hawking that myth, the legions of anti-gay activists who followed have added a panoply of others, ranging from the extremely doubtful claim that sexual orientation is a choice, to unalloyed lies like the claims that gay men molest children far more than heterosexuals or that hate crime laws will lead to the legalization of bestiality and necrophilia. These fairy tales are important to the anti-gay right because they form the basis of its claim that homosexuality is a social evil that must be suppressed — an opinion rejected by virtually all relevant medical and scientific authorities. They also almost certainly contribute to hate crime violence directed at the LGBT community, which is more targeted for such attacks than any other minority group in America. What follows are 10 key myths propagated by the anti-gay movement, along with the truth behind the propaganda.



MYTH # 2

Same-sex parents harm children.

THE ARGUMENT

Most hard-line anti-gay organizations are heavily invested, from both a religious and a political standpoint, in promoting the traditional nuclear family as the sole framework for the healthy upbringing of children. They maintain a reflexive belief that same-sex parenting must be harmful to children — although the exact nature of that supposed harm varies widely.

THE FACTS

No legitimate research has demonstrated that same-sex couples are any more or any less harmful to children than heterosexual couples.

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry affirmed in 2013 that “[c]urrent research shows that children with gay and lesbian parents do not differ from children with heterosexual parents in their emotional development or in their relationships with peers and adults” and they are “not more likely than children of heterosexual parents to develop emotional or behavioral problems.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in a 2002 policy statement declared: “A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with one or two gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual.” That policy statement was reaffirmed in 2009 and in 2013, when the AAP stated its support for civil marriage for same-gender couples and full adoption and foster care rights for all parents, regardless of sexual orientation.

The American Psychological Association (APA) noted in 2004 that “same-sex couples are remarkably similar to heterosexual couples, and that parenting effectiveness and the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation.” In addition, the APA stated that “beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents have no empirical foundation.” The next year, in 2005, the APA published a summary of research findings on lesbian and gay parents and reiterated that common negative stereotypes about LGBT parenting are not supported by the data.

Similarly, the Child Welfare League of America’s official position with regard to same-sex parents is that “lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents are as well-suited to raise children as their heterosexual counterparts.”

A 2010 review of research on same-sex parenting carried out by LiveScience, a science news website, found no differences between children raised by heterosexual parents and children raised by lesbian parents. In some cases, it found, children in same-sex households may actually be better adjusted than in heterosexual homes.

A 2013 preliminary study in Australia found that the children of lesbian and gay parents are not only thriving, but may actually have better overall health and higher rates of family cohesion than heterosexual families. The study is the world’s largest attempt to compare children of same-sex parents to children of heterosexual parents. The full study was published in June 2014.

The anti-LGBT right continues, however, to use this myth to deny rights to LGBT people, whether through distorting legitimate research or through “studies” conducted by anti-LGBT sympathizers, such as a 2012 paper popularly known as the Regnerus Study. University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus’ paper purported to demonstrate that same-sex parenting harms children.

The study received almost $1 million in funding from anti-LGBT think tanks, and even though Regnerus himself admitted that his study does not show what people say it does with regard to the “harms” of same-sex parenting, it continues to be peddled as “proof” that children are in danger in same-sex households. Since the study’s release, it has been completely discredited because of its faulty methodology and its suspect funding. In 2013, Darren Sherkat, a scholar appointed to review the study by the academic journal that published it, told the Southern Poverty Law Center that he “completely dismiss[es]” the study, saying Regnerus “has been disgraced” and that the study was “bad … substandard.” In spring 2014, the University of Texas’s College of Liberal Arts and Department of Sociology publicly distanced themselves from Regnerus, the day after he testified as an “expert witness” against Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban. The judge in that case, Bernard Friedman, found that Regnerus’ testimony was “entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration,” and ruled that Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Despite all this, the Regnerus Study is still used in the U.S. and abroad as a tool by anti-LGBT groups to develop anti-LGBT policy and laws.

Anti-Gay Hate Groups and their propaganda

By Evelyn Schlatter

Even as some well-known anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family moderate their views, a hard core of smaller groups, most of them religiously motivated, have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities. These groups’ influence reaches far beyond what their size would suggest, because the “facts” they disseminate about homosexuality are often amplified by certain politicians, other groups and even news organizations. Of the 18 groups profiled below, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) will be listing 13 next year as hate groups, reflecting further research into their views; those are each marked with an asterisk. Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.

Gary: 
That last sentence is critical.  Just because a religious group, such as a Church, such as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, believes that homosexuality is a sin or unbiblical does not qualify it as a hate group.  If the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod would simply stick to this core teaching, I would not have an issue with them (I would refuse to attend their churches, send my children to their schools, or support any of their social organizations) but I would not be campaigning to have them placed on a Hate Watch List.
But the pastors and university professors of the LCMS are not satisfied to simply teach that homosexuality is unbiblical and a sin.  No, many LCMS pastors and prominent LCMS laity engage in online demonization of gay men and women, whipping up anti-gay hysteria and hate, based on unfounded stereotypes,  sometimes by making these demonizing statements themselves, but more often, allowing their readers to state—without any rebuke, condemnation, or threat of banishment—some of the most vile, anti-gay hate speech found on the internet.

It is for this active and passive demonization of law-abiding gay and lesbian Americans that the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, LCMS President Matthew Harrison, the thirty something LCMS District Presidents, and the Board of Directors of the official publishing house of the LCMS, Concordia Publishing House, must be taken to task until they apologize, cease, and desist of their bigoted, hateful, un-American behavior.

Examples of LCMS anti-Gay Hate Speech using this myth:

     Third Talking Point:  “Children Raised By Homosexuals Turn Out As Well as Children Raised by Heterosexuals

children raised by homosexuals turn out as well as children raised by heterosexuals.  Otherwise stated, the talking point that asserts that sexual orientation within the parental structure of the family has no significant disadvantages for children.

Is this true?

Mark Regenerus has recently challenged this talking point by using one of the largest statistics sets ever collected. In his study he interviewed 15,000 Americans ages 18-39 and found that,

respondents with parents involved with homosexuality were more apt to report ‘being unemployed, less healthy, more depressed, more likely to have cheated on a spouse or partner, smoke more pot, had trouble with the law, report more male and female sex partners, more sexual victimization, and were more likely to reflect negatively on their childhood family life, among other things.’[2]

Jamie Dean reporting on this study stated,

The study found the respondents in homosexual settings reported less stable upbringings, with less than 2 percent of children in lesbian households living with a mother and her partner for all 18 years of their childhood. [3]
The study did not establish that sexual orientation was at fault for the less than ideal upbringings, but Regenerus certainly challenged the talking point and the assumption that kids are all right in same-sex family units.

This third talking point has not been adequately substantiated as well.
                                                  —Rev. Matt Richards, The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog

“Since marriage is not about producing and raising children and is instead about adult personal fulfillment, there is no reason that “marriage” can’t include couples who are of the same sex. Yet along the way, something interesting happened.  Homosexual couples began to decide that children were a part of the equation that provided personal fulfillment.  By definition their union could not produce children.  But just as they had a right to marriage for the sake of personal fulfillment, so also they maintained that they had a right to children for the same reason. Even if marriage had already been redefined on the basis of adult personal fulfillment, and homosexuals had convinced the public that they had a natural disposition, there was one other hurdle to clear in order for homosexual parenting of children to be accepted by the public.  They needed to convince the public that there was no appreciable difference between the experience of children raised by heterosexual and homosexual couples.  Since academia as a whole and the social sciences in particular are dominated by a pro-homosexual orthodoxy, it is not surprising that their research produced these very results using research samples and methodologies that were suspect. Subsequent research by Mark Regnerus has called attention to these deficiencies and using better samples and methodology his research has yielded different results.  Not surprisingly, Regnerus has received concerted attacks (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/10/the-regnerus-study-social-science-on-new-family-structures-met-with-intolerance). As with the nature of homosexuality itself, once again a lack of certainty in the research has not stopped the homosexual movement from proclaiming as “scientific fact” that homosexual couples make equally good parents as heterosexuals (http://surburg.blogspot.com/2013/03/american-acadmey-of-pediatrics-speaks.html). This set the stage for what really made homosexual marriage inevitable.  At its most basic level, marriage is about children. Armed with “research” declaring that they made equally suitable parents, homosexuals began to be granted the right to adopt children.  There were already children in the homes of homosexual couples that had been produced in a heterosexual relationship from one of the partner’s past.  Artificial insemination and similar methods were allowing homosexuals to possess children. But when the state and society as a whole began placing children into the homes of homosexuals, the future of homosexual marriage was assured.  All efforts to prevent it amount to a rear guard action.  The arguments for homosexual marriage are a custom fit for the spirit of our age (http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2013/03/27/why-the-arguments-for-gay-marriage-are-persuasive/).”
     —-Rev. Mark Surburg, Surburg’s Blog, copied onto The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog

“It seems to me that the general and oft repeated argument in favor of gay marriage is for our society to recognize and treat homosexual couples as equal to heterosexual couples. The way to do this, as the argument goes, is to make the two different relationships the same in the eyes of the law. So the pro-homosexual marriage camp says that homosexual couples ought to be able, as their heterosexual counterparts are, to receive tax benefits and have children. To deny homosexual couples these two rights is, in the homosexual argument, treating them as unequal or even worse, as illegitimate.
But let’s look at what’s going on in this argument. I will speak to the last point first. It seems to me that the homosexual camp ought to repel the idea that being taxed the same and having children should legitimize their relationship. After all, especially to the latter point of having children, this is something only a man and woman can do. A homosexual couple will never have children because they are homosexual. Their relationship will never produce a child. Their relationship to others might. They might gain a child by surrogacy or adoption or other ways, but it will not ever, ever, ever be because they are in a committed, monogamous relationship with one another. On this point alone – an argument from nature – we see that homosexual couples and heterosexual couples are not equal. Nature says they’re not equal. To try and force the law to see them as equal is to insult the very thing that makes them different. Why not make laws that says men have the right to be pregnant or women have the right to impregnate? It’s insulting to both man and womanhood. Such an argument for the right to have children is illegitimate and makes homosexual relationships illegitimate.

In the end, any reasonable person will see that heterosexual relationships and homosexual relationships are not the same. They are not equal. They do not deserve to be treated the same because they are not the same.  I want to conclude by drawing attention to the fact that I have not belittled homosexuality. I have not argued against homosexuality. I have not used the Bible. I have not argued from religion. I have simply argued based on what many see as the homosexual’s biggest ally: nature. After all, if they’re born that way, who’s to keep them from behaving that way? But their behavior, no matter how legit, cannot produce children of its own, and so will never be and cannot be equal to or the same as or even remotely related to heterosexual marriage. To argue otherwise is truly insult the homosexuals among us.” —Rev. Mark Lovett, The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog


“Heterosexual couples that cannot have children naturally or are beyond childbearing years are privileged with the same rights and benefits of those who have had natural children and they should be. I do not argue otherwise.  The reason they should have the same rights and privileges (and do) is because marriage isn’t honoring the couple but honoring the estate of marriage, which naturally produces children. The two people in a heterosexual marriage may or may not be able to have children (for whatever reason), but the estate of marriage is still theirs because their union doesn’t prohibit conception. The union of homosexuals prohibits conception, so it is not marriage.
A married couple should always receive the benefits and privileges of marriage because of he estate of marriage, not because they can or cannot have children.”  —Rev. Mark Lovett, The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog


“However, I make neither of the assumptions you mention. First, I never said that one must be married to have children. What I said was that the institution society has always recognized as good for and to create children is marriage. No society has uniformly or for very long accepted the idea that babies can or should be conceived and raised outside of a marriage (whatever word one might use for marriage – the estate in which children are created and reared). This isn’t my opinion, one must only look at the world’s societies. It’s easy and obvious, even if one doesn’t agree it should be so, one must agree that it is so. That every society has honored the estate of a man and woman creating and rearing children as the norm (there are always deviations in societies) speaks volumes against any argument – especially an evolutionary one – that homosexual couples are the proper institution for children.

Secondly, you’re right: not all heterosexual married couples have children. Some by physical defects, some by choice. But – as I mentioned somewhere above – neither of these conditions is natural to the union, but, as the philosophers say, incidental. Men and women who cannot have children for physical reasons won’t know that until they are married (or try to have – ahem – natural children). So they enter the estate of having and rearing children with the expectation to do so – or at least the possibility. No homosexual couple can do that precisely because they are homosexual. They can’t have natural children. The couple who knows they can’t have children, say post child-bearing years, still enter the estate in honor of the estate; that a man and woman are meant to go together for the purpose of the society. This opens a whole can of worms about society and the estate of marriage and how we’ve screwed the pooch on our understanding that people get married not for selfish reasons, but for the society. But I digress.

Lastly, I never said gay people can’t have children. They are biologically fully capable (normally) of procreating. But a union of homosexuals cannot, ever, produce children in and of itself. They must adopt, or use a surrogate, or something else. So while the individuals are capable of procreation, their union is not. Therefore, the two unions are not the same, not equal, and not for the same reasons. Any two same-sex people who decide to join in some from of sexual relationship – for surely we can’t say simply enjoying one another’s company makes for a gay couple since then we’d all be gay if we enjoy the company of our same-sex best friends, etc. – must know that their union can never, will never, and is incapable of producing children.  So I conclude that any relationship between a man and man or woman and woman for the purpose of sexual pleasures and intimacy is not and cannot be what our society calls marriage. And to make the law say that it is, is to deny basic logic, common sense, AND biology and nature.”   —Rev. Mark Lovett, The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog


 

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