To refute a claim by Politico that evangelical Christians are slowly embracing same-sex marriage, the religious right trots out the author of the most widely excoriated anti-gay parenting study in history: Mark Regnerus.Indeed, which study should we believe is more accurate? I think I'll go with the polling done by the Public Religion Research Institute.
Of course, actual science -- especially science with which Evangelical leaders disagree -- is anathema to the entrenched religious right.
Enter Russell D. Moore and Andrew Walker, leaders among the southern Baptist convention. In the National Review (Maggie Gallagher's online home,) early this morning, the pair published a defiant refutation of Politico's report.
"A Sexual Revolution for Young Evangelicals? No," the op-ed insists. "Defying the secular culture, churchgoing Christians are sticking to Biblical teaching," they claim.
To prove their point, the Southern Baptists trot out none other than Mark Regnerus, author of the most widely-discredited "study" -- purportedly, but almost totally not -- of gay parents. They also posted a video of Regnerus explaining his most-recent claims.
When Regnerus testified in a federal court case on same-sex marriage the judge in his ruling called Regnerus' testimony before the court, "entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration."
Moore and Walker in their National Review op-ed, point to "research, to be fully released in September," that was, they say, "introduced in Mark Regnerus’s presentation 'Sex in America: Sociological Trends in American Sexuality,' unveiled at a recent gathering of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s leadership summit. According to Regnerus, when compared with the general population and with their non-observant peers, churchgoing Evangelical Christians are retaining orthodox views on Biblical sexuality, despite the shifts in broader American culture."
polling by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute," which finds "among young evangelicals under age 35, a near majority ... now support same-sex marriage."
Moore and Walker write that Regnerus' research finds "only 11 percent of young Evangelicals actively expressed support for same-sex marriage."
Whose science should we believe?
The New York Times and the media are widely reporting the results of a new study of 500 children raised by same-sex couples. Researchers are aghast that such a shoddy piece of work, which is based on a convenience sample of parents who volunteered to be surveyed, and which relies solely on these parents’ reports to determine child well-being, should have been published in a reputable peer-reviewed journal. The author is facing a petition and statement signed by hundreds of reputable academics, questioning his moral character and scientific integrity, and the editor of the journal who published such a thing faces similar attacks and enquiries about whether the peer-review process was compromised. Oh wait, the study shows children of same-sex parents do better than the average child, after adjusting for income. Never mind. - Maggie Gallagher, writing for the National Review.via JMG and Good As You
And, the Aussie authors of the study have responded to some of their critics (on the right):
In reality, the only objections to the University of Melbourne study appear to be coming from the right, including Gallagher, the Red State blog, and The Christian Post in the U.S., plus some right-wing groups in Australia. Lead investigator Simon Crouch addresses the critics on the blog Research Connect.via The Advicate
On the fact that the study looked at families who volunteered to participate, Crouch writes, “The volunteer sample is the only option” in Australia, which has “no population datasets that capture parent sexual orientation.” He notes, “It is argued that only parents with a vested interest in promoting positive health outcomes will volunteer. While this cannot be discounted as a possibility there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case.”
He continues, “There has also been an unfortunate focus on more personal aspects of the research. Some groups have highlighted the fact that I, the lead author on the paper, am a gay man raising children, suggesting that this is a conflict of interest and introduces inappropriate bias.” He points out that the research team has a range of family backgrounds and that “all published papers go through a rigorous peer review process that is blind to such things, assessing work on its methodological merits alone.”
“To suggest that my family situation is of relevance implies that no heterosexual researcher can produce unbiased work on heterosexual families,” he adds. “Or that any non-Caucasian researcher would be able to objectively conduct research on racial discrimination and child health.”