Update: Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of Family Pride, responds in Time.
James Dobson of “Focus on Families I don’t approve of” has officially joined the Order of Paul Cameron, meaning that any official or activist who cites him as an authority on public policy can be immediately dismissed as a hack.
Dobson’s two-dimensional understanding of gender really shines in this Time op-ed. This is only the latest manifestation of his pattern: a statement of his notions about men and women as creatures with essential, mutually exclusive sets of characteristics, followed by the citation of either non-existent or irrelevent research about broken families that has nothing to do with families headed by same sex couples. Besides, who cares about evidence? Dobson instructs readers to not worry about all that, and instead look for “something in our hearts that tells us, intuitively” that human beings are more like the symbols on restroom doors than they are individuals.
First Andrew Sullivan smacked him (“He attacks [Mary Cheney’s] family but says it isn’t personal. Yes, it is, Mr Dobson.”). Now the noted psychologist and author Carol Gilligan has demanded a retraction, apology, and assurance that her work will never again be misrepresented by Focus on the Family.
Dear Dr. Dobson:
I am writing to ask that you cease and desist from quoting my research in the future. I was mortified to learn that you had distorted my work this week in a guest column you wrote in Time Magazine. Not only did you take my research out of context, you did so without my knowledge to support discriminatory goals that I do not agree with. What you wrote was not truthful and I ask that you refrain from ever quoting me again and that you apologize for twisting my work.
From what I understand, this is not the first time you have manipulated research in pursuit of your goals. This practice is not in the best interest of scientific inquiry, nor does bearing false witness serve your purpose of furthering morality and strengthening the family.
Finally, there is nothing in my research that would lead you to draw the stated conclusions you did in the Time article. My work in no way suggests same-gender families are harmful to children or can’t raise these children to be as healthy and well adjusted as those brought up in traditional
I trust that this will be the last time my work is cited by Focus on the Family.
Carol Gilligan, PhD
New York University, Professor
This follows the July denunciation of Dobson by three other social science researchers, including Dr. Judith Stacey, professor of sociology and a prominent researcher on children raised by same-sex couples:
Stacey says, “I am deeply troubled by the ways in which Focus on the Family willfully misrepresents my research on lesbian and gay parenthood to support their ideological opposition to homosexuality. This politically motivated distortion of social science contributes to serious harm to lesbian and gay parents and their children.”
Stacey joins Dr. Robert Spitzer of Columbia University and Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc of the University of British Columbia in taking Dobson to task for his distortion of their work in support of a political agenda that seeks to deny civil rights to LGBT people.
If the only means of suppressing a cultural shift toward inclusion and equality for GLBT people is bearing false witness – otherwise known as outright lying – clearly there is something very wrong with that agenda.