Setting Peter Straight

Email sent to Peter Madden after we met to discuss his upcoming anti-gay marriage rally.

Wed 9/11/2011 3:05 PM

Hi Peter

Good to see you yesterday. I am glad that you contacted me… know I am always willing to chat.

From our chat yesterday I would like to make some suggestions if I may.

I think it is important that you check out for yourself some of the stuff being passed on to you……especially by Peter Stokes and others. They have been caught with egg on their faces many  times. I refer to two of these in my blog article. If you just quote what they give you without checking it out then your credibility is being seriously undermined. Personally, I always go back and check the sources before I quote.

1. Regarding quoting gay academic Graham Willett saying he encourages recruiting young people into homosexuality. You will see that this quote you use regularly has been taken out of context. When you mentioned it on 2GB I was shocked and doubted that anyone from our community would make such a statement….if anyone knows you can’t be converted into homosexuality it is us. Too many of us wasted years of our lives trying to convert to heterosexuality. Neither works.

After your comment on 2GB I checked out the source (something you should have done)  and got the context from Graham himself. It is not at all like you portrayed. You should correct that you have misquoted him and remove your media release before it gets too well known that you have taken things out of context and you have to answer to that accusation. After I alerted Graham to what you said he clarified things in the gay press for me.

2. Regarding the comment you also made that night on 2GB about the life expectancy of gay men when you boldly stated. “Being a homosexual, particularly for a male, is a very very dangerous thing. In Denmark and Norway the life expectancy of a male homosexual is 20 -25 years less than heterosexual male. That is the statistic”. As I mentioned yesterday this is an urban myth that is constantly perpetrated in Christian books and websites by quoting the ‘research’ of the totally discredited Dr Paul Cameron. For a detailed description of how these figures are falsified then click here). Basing data on obituaries in newspapers is not scientific research. Best if you steer away from anything Paul Cameron says or you will be shot down in flames. This was also a flaw in 21 Reasons why Gender Matters. You can see how many professional bodies have barred him here.

3. And regarding Warwick Marshes 21 Reasons why Gender Matters you mentioned. Warwick did himself a great disservice on many levels.

a. Firstly one of the things Warwick said about 21 Reasons is, "there are 34 co-authors of the paper, some of them very eminent people." The ‘co-authors’….were not really eminent people and not even considered experts in any field. This is very misleading. (Shirley Baskett and Ron Brookman are just two examples…quite a number are pastors and ministers……Warwick failed to mention this fact.

I am assuming that this was done on purpose as he wanted to reach the non-Christian community with the document and thought if everyone quoted were Christians then the document would appear biased …..which it clearly was). Dr Graham McClellan sounds impressive but he is a dentist. In fact he was my dentist when I lived in Orange and I stayed with he and Pam when I first moved there.  I know Tim O’Neil as well from the early Charismatic days and his parents from Faith Centre.

b.    Secondly it is claimed that the document is 'evidence-based'. While this document “seems” to have nearly 200 referencesquoted, what the document claims that research says is not all it seems. Very few people would bother checking out the references…..and therefore the objective of credibility is achieved. But some people have checked it out…..I quote below.

When people claim that the Gender Matters document is 'evidence-based' and 'accurate', it is clear they haven't gone and checked whether the citations are accurate, merely thought that it looks evidence-based or authoritative. For example, there is clear misrepresentations or scientific errors in at least two of the references in that document.

For example, the Gender Matters document says the study by R. Green,, "Lesbian Mothers and Their children: A Comparison with Solo Parent Heterosexual Mothers and Their Children," Archives of Sexual Behaviour 15, 1986, pp. 167-184, apparently claims to show "...developmentally important statistically significant differences between children reared by homosexual parents compared to heterosexual parents."

But does that study actually say that? Well, no! Indeed, the abstract summary of that study, which can be found online t says in fact the opposite
"No significant differences were found between the two types of households for boys and few significant differences for girls. Concerns that being raised by a homosexual mother might produce sexual identity conflict and peer group stigmatization were not supported by the research findings. Data also revealed more similarities than differences in parenting experiences, marital history, and present living situations of the two groups of mothers. The postulated compromised parental fitness of lesbian mothers, commonly asserted in child custody cases, is not supported by these data."

So, it appears that the Gender Matters document clearly misquotes and skews data, or claims that research says certain things, when it doesn't. The Green study says that the children of lesbians are just fine, thanks very much. So how could they get it so wrong? One might want to ask Mr Marsh how?

Secondly, though, the study cites at least one deceptive study by anti-gay 'researcher' Paul Cameron, which has been thoroughly disproven. The Gender Matters document claims the study "Federal Distortion of The Homosexual Footprint" is evidence that homosexuals die at an average age two decades younger than heterosexuals.

However, Mr Cameron (a proven distorter of statistics) has had two studies on mortality of gay men invalidated due to basic and fundamental statistical errors. For example, see these sites:

The facts of the matter are is that there is a more balanced and independent viewpoint on the efficacy of gay and lesbian parenting from reputable sources. The Gender Matters document cited one (and distorted it to claim the opposite), but a full narrative is available from the peak psychological bodies.

The above in blue italics is part of a detailed analysis by Rod Swift which you can find on several sites on the web….if you haven’t seen them already.

From my observation Peter a lot or what is written and spoken about gay and lesbian people in Christian circles is nothing more than cherry picking research. It seems that people will quote one or two research projects that backs up their opinion whilst ignoring the major body of research in these areas which says the opposite. I think you would agree this is not very objective… fact deceptive

What mostly happens is that conservatives Christian writers read what has been previously poorly researched and written about and they just quote that. And so the urban myth continues to be perpetrated.Only in the Christian world though. The rest of the world has moved on out of ignorance.

There was a time when people could get away with misrepresentation and misquoting…..but these days all it takes is a Google search and in a nano-second and information is available.

Christian leaders and groups need to be more circumspect if they want to present with credibility. Your message is being undermined by your methods. Each outrageous statement is making you look more and more ridiculous especially to people outside the church but increasingly within the church as well.

I had a look at the Mass resistance video you suggested I watch which you said demonstrated how marriage equality will mean young primary school kids would be taught about homosexuality. The way you spoke about it I actually thought I was going to watch a sex education lesson. Clearly this was not the case.

I don’t think that one day a year in a school calendar called Pride Day could be classed as brainwashing. How wonderful that one day a year kids with gay or lesbian parents are affirmed in the school and the school saying it is not appropriate to call people queer or name call.. To label this brainwashing is sensationalizing and fear-mongering……something I have highlighted previously that you do consistently.

Please don’t try and motivate by fear. Check your sources. Make sure you are being given the whole picture and not just the piece that fits into your world view. ……as you suggested I was doing yesterday.

Please feel free to send me anything you think I should read. Not books though. I have already read so much stuff on both sides and don’t have the time currently to read any more books.

Regarding the invitation for you and your wife to come over for dinner……that still stands.  I actually have someone I think you’d find very interesting to meet. I’m sure we would have a stimulating….but also hopefully relaxing and pleasant evening.

I have no doubt that one of the major contributing factors to your lack of understanding about sexual orientation, our relationships and the gay community is that you actually don't know anyone who is gay. You stand from afar and make assumptions and condemn. This reminds of the behaviour of the religious Pharisees of the New Testament in contrast to the life of Jesus who mixed with the marginalised and rejected.

I am sure that I don't have to remind you of this but it's worth saying anyway.....lying, deception and spreading false information are not Christian values.

Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Exodus 23:1 Do not spread false reports.

Speak soon.

Anthony Venn-Brown