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Based on Biased Reading of New Mortality Study, Paul Cameron Gives Sen. Portman Parenting Advice

In this month’s edition of the International Journal of Epidemiology, Morten Frisch and Jacob Simonsen reported a new study of mortality in Denmark. Paul Cameron wasted little time trotting out the study to give Senator Rob Portman advice on how to parent his gay son – tell him to get married to a woman. Apparently, any woman will do. After all, in the words of the song, what’s love got to do with it?

Cameron says he even went to Ohio to deliver his advice:

COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 24, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ – Dr. Paul Cameron, the first scientist to document the harms of secondhand smoke, went to Ohio’s capital to call upon U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to reconsider his recently announced support for gay marriage. “Sen. Portman, gay marriage is hazardous to one’s health. For the sake of the son you love, urge him to marry a woman.”

Cameron did say at least one thing that was true in his presser:

Cameron said, “Bad science is bipartisan…”

Proven by Cameron’s own press release, bad science is indeed everywhere.  And bad advice. One of the findings of the Frisch and Simonsen study is that mortality for same-sex married men is better than “unmarried, divorced and widowed men.” It is also important to note that the mortality rates for gay married men have improved since Frisch’s last study. Cameron doesn’t tell you that.

Cameron and Frisch tangled on this blog back in 2007 and 2008. Cameron made his mortality claims in a “study” presented before the Eastern Psychological Association and Frisch responded to him as a part of a nine-part series I did on gay mortality claims. Frisch’s first study on gay mortality was done in part to address Cameron’s spurious claims.

To understand more about Paul Cameron and his feelings about gays, read part 9 of the series. Disturbingly enlightening.

I have asked Morten for additional reactions and will have more reflections on the study in a coming post.

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  • Lynn David

    A blast from the past!

  • Bill Fortenberry

    Well, Warren, I’m sure that you will strongly disagree with this, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to mention my study on the biblical statements regarding homosexuality. My research on the topic is available at: http://www.increasinglearning.com/what-the-bible-really-says-about-homosexuality.html

  • David Cary Hart

    I read this release on my aggregator. Sadly, it is FAR from the most offensive or intellectually dishonest piece that I was confronted with today. The winner, btw, is http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/04/9970/

    Anyway, I doubt that Portman will bother to tell Cameron that he is not the least bit interested in the unsolicited advice. I am no fan of Mr. Portman BUT he is sane. Mr. Cameron’s mental hygiene, on the other hand, well …

  • Gregory Peterson

    Bill Fortenberry: “Homosexuality” is a much abused modern era social construct with a lot of discredited scientific baggage, which Dr. Throckmorton has exposed and is exposing. The social construct of “homosexuality” didn’t exist in biblical times. They had their own social constructs. As L. P. Hartley famously wrote, “The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.”

    Genesis 19:5: Gang rape isn’t “homosexuality.” Gang rape is about violently breaking a man into becoming a slave. I would worry about a person who can’t understand the difference between gang rape and mutual consensual, adult relationships.

    Leviticus 18:22: Why would a Gay man sleep with a man as with a woman? A Gay man sleeps with a man as with a man. However, a straight man might sleep with a man as with a woman. In any case, Lev. 18 is, as it says it is in the introduction, about the politics of identity, of not doing as the ancient Egyptians and Canaanites did. What they did were the fertility cult rituals listed in Chapter 18. Do not lay with a cross dressing priest to offer up a male “seed” sacrifice to Moloch/Baal/other fertility gods.

    Deuteronomy 23:17-18: Condemning prostitution isn’t condemning “homosexuality,” it’s condemning prostitution.

    I think I have better things to do at the moment than running down the rest of your list…

  • Scotty G.

    Bill,

    Having read your article at the link you posted, it’s more then a bit off topic but since your post is now set, I hope Warren will allow me to reply. Forgive me, it’s a long response.

    I have to advise you that the bulk of your interpretations regarding the verses you reference have long, long since been discredited.

    The main hindrance to the use of the scriptures as your manual lies in the notion that you are already acquainted with its contents. You’ve stumbled into what Orthodox Presbyterian Church minister Robert Letham (no Leftist) calls “the fundamentalist fallacy.” Here’s how he defines that:

    “For anything and everything, all we really need is the Bible, a good concordance, and an ability to find a collection of Bible verses that address our topic.” He criticizes “Fundamentalists [who] consider the Bible to have the precise answers to each and every question and dilemma we will ever face.” He says: “This view is very common among conservative Christians. It sounds good, since it purports to have a high view of Scripture. … However, all is not so clear as it seems. … God does not hand us everything on a plate. He expects us to think, to work, to labor. … He expects us to grow up.”

    That is a moral obligation because not to grow up means we’ll go on treating others from juvenile judgments and immature understanding. And that can be quite cruel and even deadly.

    Christians turn to the Bible for many reasons. Some do so to know what the Bible says. But too many Christians turn to the Bible merely to find footnotes for their foolishness and proof-texts for their prejudice. Not surprisingly, they find what they seek. Over the years they’ve found proofs that the world is only six thousand years old, that slavery is God-ordained, that women and blacks should not be allowed to vote, that interracial marriage is wrong, that women should neither preach not wear lipstick, and on and on. The Bible verses that once footnoted these notions are all still in the Bible. But most Christians have changed their minds about these matters. So they’ve made the Bible verses fit their changed minds or they simply ignore those verses altogether.

    When it comes to the issue of homosexuality, we need to see Scripture as a whole, and not isolate the topic. That’s what Anglican cleric John Stott says about the issue of divorce – an issue of particular concern to heterosexuals and about which the Bible is clearly negative. Says Stott: “We need to see Scripture as a whole, and not isolate the topic of divorce.” It’s a shame that he (and his antigay cohorts) do not see their way clear to apply this good principle of interpretation to the topic of homosexuality as well!

    Referencing just a few of the verses you’ve extricated; you refer to Sodom in Genesis 19 as a condemnation of homosexuality. But the prophet Ezekiel was very specific as to the sin of Sodom.

    48 “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.”49 “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy and this was abominable in my eyes.” Ezekiel 16:48-49 (NIV)

    You also reference Judges 19:22, which is almost a mirror image of the occurrence in Sodom. But of course you do not offer the full story; which gives us even more information then even the Genesis account of Sodom offers.

    23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.” 25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go.

    Are we to conclude that this unusually large group of ‘gay men’ satisfied their homosexual lust by raping a woman?

    No. Just as in Judges, the men of Sodom tried to dominate the strangers at Lot’s house by subjecting them to sexual abuse. Such attempted gang-rape is about humiliation and violence, not same-sex affection.

    Jesus reference Sodom regarding the hospitality of strangers to His disciples.

    14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly, I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” Matthew 10:14-15

    “Yale’s John Boswell notes that “Sodom is used as a symbol of evil in dozens of places [in the Bible] but not in a single instance is the sin of the Sodomites specified as Homo- sexuality.”

    An appeal to the story of Sodom, in Genesis 19, is a popular polemic against gay people. But unless we are to believe the statistically preposterous proposition that all of the men of Sodom were homosexuals, we have to admit that the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality, even if the sin would have been done homosexually.

    Your reference to I Corinthians 6:9, a New Testament passage that is abused to abuse gay people, is a further example of the tail wagging the dog. Here, in a list – which makes it even more difficult to determine meanings since a list lacks sentence context, there are two Greek terms: arsenokoitai and malakoi. The first word is totally obscure (Paul seems to have coined it on the spot) and the other must be essentially metaphorical and idiomatic since the term itself means “soft.” The soft people? It can mean the morally weak, the spineless, those who won’t stand up for what is right when the going gets tough. Nonetheless, they’re taken out of context these days and applied to the assault against gay people. Even antigay evangelical Bible scholar Gordon D. Fee admits that these two terms are “difficult.” Even The Fundamentalist Journal admits: “These words are difficult to translate.” Of arsenokoitai, Fee grants: “This is its first appearance in preserved literature, and subsequent authors are reluctant to use it, especially when describing homosexual activity.”

    Now, ironically, whatever the arsenokoitai and malakoi were in Paul’s day, they’re but illustrative of his main point which is: he’s horrified that Christians are suing other Christians in the secular law courts and he urges them to suffer being cheated by their brothers rather than sue in retaliation. In the meantime, the antigay Bible-thumpers who turn to this passage to make life more difficult for gay people don’t think twice about suing other Bible-thumpers these days.

    That bears repeating.

    Paul’s point in this passage does not depend on the meaning of any specific item in his vice list. His point is this: Christians who slander and sue each other in pagan courts are shameful. They are as shameful as robbers, drunkards, the greedy, and the malakoi and arsenokoitai, whatever they were. But today, some of the most viciously antigay preachers readily run rough-shod over Paul’s plain teaching and sue other Christians in the secular courts while they proof-text their attacks on gays by footnoting this very passage. One of the more recent of these is fundamentalist preacher Tim LaHaye, co-author of the best-selling series, Left Behind. For many years he’s blasted gays on the basis of this Bible verse. Then, in violation of the whole passage, he sued fellow Christians in secular courts.

    I’ve addressed just a few of the verses you sited, but in truth, none of these Bible verses contains anything that comes even close to homosexuality as we understand it today to be a psychosexual orientation just as unasked-for and just as unchangeable in a minority of men and women as a heterosexual orientation is in the majority. And yet the Bible seems to be the basis of so much of the antigay crusades these days. An ill-informed assumption of “biblical” abomination lurks behind the current rhetoric and a truer reading of the relevant passages is required to overcome this uncritical assumption that brings down so much distress on both gay people and their families.

    It’s a matter of the Bible’s being misused through anachronistic misreading and lifting out of context of passages apart from the context of the entire sweep of Scripture and the overarching emphases of Scripture. Whether the issue is cosmology, slavery, women’s ordination or homosexuality, is our best guidance given in a few isolated and misread verses or in the clearest statements of Scripture’s overarching themes?

    Matthew concludes Jesus’ teaching ministry with words that echo the closing of Moses’ ministry and, in Jesus’ case, his final teaching has to do with the judgment of all humanity at the time of the coming of The Son of Man. Matthew presents Jesus as saying that, in the end, Jesus will judge all people according to what they’ve done or left undone with regard to the welfare of others – both the very least of his followers and, by extension, anyone else. Here’s Scripture at its clearest.

  • Jon Rowe

    I think y’all risk turning Bill Fortenberry into another Robert Gagnon.

  • Bill Fortenberry

    Scotty, I will respond in more detail at a later time, but for now, let me suggest that you consider James B. DeYoung’s explanation of the term “arsenokoitai” from the Masters Seminary Journal. You can find his article online at:

    http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj3h.pdf

  • Ford

    Bill Fortenberry,

    What are you bringing to this dialog? I get that you believe the bible proscribes physical expressions of homosexual intimacy. I think you and Dr. Throckmorton agree on that point. But this post is about the integrity of someone who uses (often suspect) scientific studies in an attempt to stigmatize people who are gay, or, at the very least, justify their religion-based disapproval with non-religious “facts”.

    I don’t really care if you disagree with gay-affirming theology. I’m interested to know if you think the ends justify the means. Are people like Paul Cameron or Peter Sprigg, who would use questionable science to gin up homophobia, should be applauded or denounced?

  • Throbert McGee

    [arsenokoitai] is totally obscure (Paul seems to have coined it on the spot)

    On the contrary — aresenokoitai is a rather direct and literal Greek “calque” of the Hebrew phrase for “man who lies with a man” — from Leviticus, by way of the Septuagint translation. So the question is, “How did Jews of Paul’s time interpret those verses from Leviticus”?

    Presumably, if Jews of that time thought that Leviticus 18:22 referred narrowly to anal sodomy (for example), and not to male homosexual acts in a broader sense, then Paul’s coinage aresenokoitai was narrow to the same degree, because it’s taken directly from the Levitical language. But if the Levitical verse was read more broadly in that day, then Paul’s intent was presumably also broad.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Sorry guys, but can we kindly get back to the topic at hand? I don’t remember Warren running topics on, The Biblical says this ‘n that on homosexuality”. I come here to read about science, not about the Bible.. I’ll go read the old articles, in the meantime I wonder if all of you have seen the recent Paul Cameron interview by David Packman?

    http://youtu.be/fRdg1fABV3M

  • ken

    that was an interesting interview SG.

    And thanks for pointing out the purpose of this thread was about Science not religion.

  • StraightGrandmother

    I wonder why lesbians have a higher mortality rate especially for suicide, also shows cancer as a factor. I wonder what in the Danish environment/society would account for higher suicide rates among lesbian women? I wrote to Dr. Frisch and asked him if he would send me a copy of the study.

    For some reason the anti gays always seem to pick on gay men more then lesbian women and here it looks like the gay men are doing better at least on this measure. Will be waiting for Warren to lead us through it.

    Oy vey! I went through the Cameron/Throckmorton/Frisch archive. You know, on anti gay websites I still regularly see that quoted, that gay men have a shortened life span by 20 years. It’s still repeated. I wonder if that is on the FRC website? I am to tired to go look.

    What is with the Paul Cameron? He seems like a media W****. Just wants to be noticed and on camera. I wonder where they get their money from? Ken are you the same Ken I meet frequently at Mercator? Fitzgibbons is posting again more scientific junk on the article on the woman who though Jesus, changed her sexual orientation.

  • Shane Hardin

    Mr. Fortenberry, do you enjoy shrimp? Lobster? Perhaps raw oysters?

    Or

    Are the clothes you are wearing right now mixed with two different materials?

    If so, please do ever quote Leviticus again.