by Warren Throckmorton, PhD 

Now that is a catchy title. Let me unpack it.

Paul Cameron is the director of the Family Research Institute, a self-titled “scientific and educational institute” that publishes new releases about its research into homosexuality. The institute consists of himself, his wife and two children. They “welcome all who would join in the fight to restore a world where marriage is upheld and honored, where children are nurtured and protected, and where homosexuality is not taught and accepted, but instead is discouraged and rejected at every level.” Anyone following the career of Paul Cameron knows that his research focuses on the negative aspects of homosexuality.

I recently did a series of posts on my blog regarding a new report from the Camerons claiming to show that straights live over 20 years longer than gays. Along with Morten Frisch, Danish epidemiologist, I expressed significant concerns about the objectivity and credibility of the research. Dr. Frisch went further saying:

Although the Camerons’ report has no objective scientific value, the authors should be acknowledged for providing teachers with a humorous example of agenda-driven, pseudo-scientific gobbledygook that will make lessons in elementary study design and scientific inference much more amusing for future epidemiology students.

One of the significant red flags in evaluating research is when researchers have clear ideological biases about the outcomes of the research. All researchers have some kind of bias and so examining the findings closely for influence of that bias is important. Also important to assess is how strong and blinding the bias might be. How deeply does Paul Cameron’s animosity toward homosexuality run? Judging from an article uncovered blogger Jim Burroway at The Box Turtle Bulletin, Paul Cameron’s feelings toward homosexuals may reflect something darker than mere ideological disagreement.

The Family Research Institute’s newsletter from 1999 carried a very disturbing article titled, “Gays in Nazi Germany.” Even those who oppose homosexuality on ideological grounds should be disturbed by this article. It leads off with this question:

How did the Nazis deal with homosexuals? This question is partially answered by Rudolf Hoss — who was in charge of some of these decisions — in a recently translated German book…so the real issue for Hoss and his Nazi collaborators was how to “control” those addicted to homosexuality. Since the Nazi regime could get away with just about anything it wanted shy of execution to suppress homosexual activity, its experience provides some insight about the “containability” of homosexuality, at least under a dictatorship.

Rudulph Hoss was the Commandant at Auschwitz who oversaw the killing of millions during the Nazi reign of terror. You will need a strong stomach to read even brief excerpt of his approach to his “duties” in this Wikipedia entry about him. As incredible as it may seem, Cameron actually appears to be deriving lessons about the causes and “cures” of homosexuality from the memoirs of Rudolph Hoss. In fact, Cameron writes:

These experiences put the lie to the whole “born that way” claim or the notion that one’s sexuality is fixed after puberty. Clearly, homosexuals could and did “convert” at least some of those with whom they were housed and at a sufficient level for Hoss to consider it an “epidemic.”

I suppose I could be “cured” of a lot of things if I thought “my problem” would get me tortured or killed. Cameron quoted Hoss about the Nazi vision of “rehabilitation.”

On the subject of “curing” homosexuals, Hoss relates that some “were put to work in the clay pit of the… brick factory, separated from the other prisoners. This was hard work and everyone had to produce a certain quota… regardless of the weather… [this had] visible results with… the male prostitutes who wanted to earn their living in an easy way and absolutely avoid even the lightest work…. The strict camp life and the hard work quickly reeducated this type. Most of them worked very hard and took great care not to get into trouble so that they could be released as soon as possible. They also avoided associating with those afflicted with this depravity and wanted to make it known that they had nothing to do with homosexuals. In this way countless rehabilitated young men could be released without having a relapse…. Some men were homosexual because they became weary of women through overindulgence or because they looked for new highs in their parasitic life. These men could also be reeducated and turned away from their vice. But those who… had become addicted to their vice could not be reeducated…. they were slaves to their vice…. Since they would not or could not give up their vice, they knew that they would never be free again. This most effective mental pressure accelerated the physical decay in these sensitive characters.” (my emphasis)

In reading the article, I kept waiting for the disclaimer or some expression of revulsion, but I did not find any. Note Hoss’ use of the term “parasitic life” to describe homosexuality. Paul Cameron reprised this term in his response to my criticisms of his recent research report when he said:

A larger question goes begging in this discussion. Our methods and credentials are being impugned primarily because we have come to believe — on the basis of empirical research — that homosexual practice is injurious to society. Further, that we as a culture will pay a stiff penalty for elevating homosexual expression to the status of a powerful ‘right.’ So I ask the following question: Is it fair to give those who live parasitic lives ‘Super Rights?’(my emphasis)

When I first read “parasitic lives” in Paul Cameron’s letter to me, I thought what an oddly disparaging term to describe ideological opponents. Is his recent use of the term a coincidence, or did he learn something from Commandant Hoss? The article concludes with this warning from Paul Cameron.

We can certainly feel sorry for those who are so trapped by their vice that they cannot get free. On the other hand, if society were forced to accommodate the behavior of hardcore homosexuals, how many other lives would be damaged, perhaps irreparably? True compassion dictates that we not only attempt to keep those who are bent on self-destruction from reaching their demise, but more importantly, that we protect others who might get caught in the same wake of misfortune.

So, Dr. Cameron, what are we to learn? We do not live in a dictatorship but are we to learn that homosexuals are “containable?” And how should we do so? Can a researcher who invokes Rudolph Hoss’s writings as a template truly view data on homosexuality objectively? Suffice to say that Dr. Cameron is not simply ideologically opposed to homosexuality, he is fixated on “solutions” that even those who are ideologically at odds with homosexuality find abhorrent.  

Warren Throckmorton, PhD is Associate Professor of Psychology at Grove City College and maintains an active blog at www.wthrockmorton.com.

 

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