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Witherspoon’s Matthew Franck Lies About The Anti-Gay Regnerus Study

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Given that the NOM-linked Witherspoon Institute has already engaged in a ton of lying related to the anti-gay “study” it paid Mark Regnerus to carry out, there is little surprise that Witherspoon’s Matthew Franck now promotes the booby-trapped study by lying about it in a series of articles on Witherspoon’s’ Public Discourse.

Still, noting that Franck is lying, so that we highlight the overall lack of integrity of this “study” is a necessary exercise.

Franck is Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute on the Princeton University campus.

That title of Witherspoon Director is one that Brad Wilcox held in 2010 when he organized the so-called New Family Structures Study.

Wilcox was, in fact, Director of Witherspoon’s Program for Marriage, Family and Democracy.

Wilcox recruited Regnerus for the study, and Witherspoon then gave Regnerus a $55,000 planning grant. Subsequently, while a Witherspoon Program Director, Wilcox collaborated with Regnerus on study design.

Nobody at Witherspoon voluntarily disclosed these facts about Wilcox’s involvement with the study. Rather, the facts were dragged out into the light of day through investigative reporting efforts.

Nonetheless, both Regnerus and Witherspoon continue attempting to mislead the public, with use of such phrases as “No funding agency representatives were consulted about research design, survey contents, analyses, or conclusions.”

Clearly, with Wilcox as a Witherspoon Program Director collaborating with Regnerus on study design, it is a lie to say that no funding agency representatives were consulted about research design.

Despite the documentation of Wilcox’s involvement with the study, Franck in one of his series of articles says:

“Regnerus . . .  told his readers that neither Witherspoon nor Bradley had any role in shaping the conduct or the conclusions of his research,” and then, Franck goes on, untruthfully;

No one has ever gainsaid this avowal on his part.”

Not only have authorities “gainsaid” Regnerus’s false claim; sociologists have actually called Regnerus out for lying about his relationship with Witherspoon.

Wilcox additionally is known to have collaborated with Regnerus on data collection, data analysis and interpretation. He is an old crony to Regnerus and to James Wright, editor of Elsevier’s “Social Science Research,” which published Regnerus. Wilcox, moreover, is on the editorial board of that journal. And, Wilcox’s conflicts of interest with Regnerus’s funders do not stop with The Witherspoon Institute. Regnerus received $90,000 for the study from the Bradley Foundation, which contributes money to The Ridge Foundation, whose chief officer is Brad Wilcox. (On page 3 at this link, you may see the Bradley Foundation’s $20,000 grant to Wilcox’s Ridge Foundation).

Mr. Franck did not reply to this reporter’s e-mail, asking if he acknowledges that Wilcox, as a Witherspoon Program Director, collaborated with Regnerus on study design.

The second of Franck’s mendacious articles promoting the scientifically invalid study his Witherspoon Institute commissioned is titled The Vindication of Mark Regnerus.

The case Franck tries to make involves a number of articles — including Regnerus’s Additional Analyses — that were published in the November issue of Social Science Research, the Elsevier journal that published Regnerus in June without benefit of valid peer review.

Whereas the June issue featured corrupt peer review, the Regnerus-related articles in the November issue were not peer reviewed at all.

One of these new articles, by Walter Schumm, does not disclose that Witherspoon paid Schumm for initial consulting on the Regnerus study.

How is that for integrity in science publishing?

Franck’s fellow anti-gay bigots will lap up his propaganda — undermining the trust on which science is based — but serious-minded sociologists do not consider that the Regnerus study received valid peer review.

Because Franck’s articles contain only anti-gay propaganda, and no serious considerations of sociology, his arguments are not legitimate grounds for any scientific debate, yet exposing just one of his lies is worthwhile by way of illustration.

Franck wrongly claims that Regnerus “proved” that virtually no gay or lesbian couples stay together long enough to raise a child from birth to 18.

After saying that the study included just two young adults raised from birth to 18 by “lesbian mothers,” Franck writes: “This, out of an initial population of 15,000.”

Screening 15,000 people of a general population is not adequate to doing a study of young adults  aged 18 – 39 raised from birth to 18 by one or two gay parents.

Franck is attempting to mislead people about social science when he implies that screening 15,000 of a general population should be adequate.

Additionally, the Knowledge Network panel from which Regnerus screened for study participants does not include a representative number of employed adults.

A son raised by a lesbian couple, now 31 and working as a surgeon, is not sitting around taking Knowledge Network surveys every week for a $5 incentive.

Neither is a daughter raised by a lesbian couple, now 26 and working two jobs to help to support her household.

Dr. Michael Rosenfeld’s study based on the 2000 census included 3,502 children of same-sex couples who had been together at least five years. Rosenfeld found that those children of same-sex couples did as well in school as children of heterosexual parents.

Franck’s claim that Regnerus has been “vindicated” through non-peer-reviewed papers is ridiculous.

The President of the American Sociological Association, Dr. Erik Olin Wright, has co-signed a letter with over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s calling Regnerus’s groupings “absurd” and expressing concerns about the invalid peer review process through which the study was published.

Eight major professional associations including the American Medical Association filed an amicus brief analyzing Regnerus’s methodology as scientifically unsound.

In the face of that massive expression of professional opinion that the Regnerus study is scientifically invalid, a few non-peer-reviewed articles, including one by Regnerus himself, can not “vindicate” Regnerus or his study.

What Franck has written is nothing other than an advertorial for the Regnerus study, published by the anti-gay-rights group that commissioned it and of which he is a part.

That Franck lies outright in saying the funders were not involved in study design demonstrates that he has no integrity.

Franck’s behavior demonstrates once again why it is so contemptible for Princeton University to continue with its intimate, incestuous relationship with The Witherspoon Institute.

New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.

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News

Trump’s Scheme for Absolute Immunity From State Prosecutions Forever: Report

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Having successfully obtained delays in his federal trials and his state trial in Georgia, possibly until after the November election, Donald Trump is now seeking an “insurance policy” to protect him from any future state prosecutions if he again becomes president.

The indicted ex-president who turns 78 next month “seems convinced that if he wins another four years in the White House, state prosecutors will still be waiting for him on the other side of his term — ready to put him on trial, or even in prison, just as they are now,” Rolling Stone reports.

“To avoid such risks, the former and perhaps future president of the United States wants Congress to create a very specific insurance policy that would help keep him out of prison forever, two sources familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone. Trump vaguely alluded to this idea last week outside his New York criminal hush money trial, when he said he has urged Republican lawmakers to pass ‘laws to stop things like this.'”

Trump “has pressured” Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill to do so, describing it as imperative that he signs such a bill into law, if he again ascends to the Oval Office.”

READ MORE: Pence Defense of Alito’s Insurrectionist Flag Highlights Its Ties to Violent Government Overthrow

Rolling Stone also notes, “Trump appears fixated on the idea of passing a law to give former American presidents the option of moving state or local prosecutions into a federal court instead, the two sources add.”

Trump “has hinted at a legislative push to limit his exposure to such criminal charges. In an improvised press conference outside the Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday, Trump said he’s been telling the Republican lawmakers who want to attend his trial and show solidarity to focus on legislation instead.”

“We have a lot of ’em. They want to come. I say, ‘Just stay back and pass lots of laws to stop things like this.’”

In 1973, while still President but under the cloud of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon said, “People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook.”

If Trump is elected in November, he can have his Attorney General drop any federal prosecutions he is currently facing. That may call into question, for some legal experts, the actions of the far-right justices on the U.S. Supreme Court who have delayed ruling on his immunity claim, and U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

On May 7, Judge Cannon indefinitely suspended the Espionage Act case, also known as the classified documents case, against Donald Trump.

READ MORE: ‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

Foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf this week blasted the judge:

“Judge Cannon is not, as commentators and cartoonists would have it, just working on behalf of Trump. She is actively working on behalf of the enemies of the US who have and would benefit from the national security breaches she is effectively defending and making more likely.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) earlier this month declared, “The courts are deliberately delaying justice — and effectively denying it.”

This coming week Americans may get a verdict in the New York criminal case against the ex-president. If it comes, it may be “guilty” or “not guilty,” but it could also be a hung jury, forcing another trial which also would not likely come before the election.

If Trump is elected in November, and can get his “insurance policy” legislation passed, he could possibly avoid all criminal trials for the rest of his life.

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OPINION

Pence Defense of Alito’s Insurrectionist Flag Highlights Its Ties to Violent Government Overthrow

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Mike Pence is defending far-right U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, whose ethics and ability to serve on the nation’s highest court are being questioned after The New York Times revealed he had been flying a highly-controversial flag used by the January 6 insurrectionists, neo-Nazis, and a far-right neo-fascist hate group. Democrats are demanding the justice recuse himself from all cases involving Donald Trump and the 2020 presidential election, and some are also demanding his resignation or impeachment.

The former Trump Vice President, in defending Alito, may have made the situation even worse for the 74-year old jurist by highlighting the flag’s ties to revolution and the overthrow of government. In his defense Pence also encourages all Americans to fly the flag: “The ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag is part or our proud heritage of Faith and Freedom and every American should be proud to fly it,” he writes.

“The Appeal to Heaven Flag” dates back centuries, to the American Revolution, but in recent years was very clearly co-opted by the radical religious right and was seen being carried by the insurrectionists during the assault on the U.S. Capitol, some of whom who chanted, “hang Mike Pence,” as he and his family were being whisked away by Secret Service on January 6:

MSNBC columnist Sarah Posner, who for years has been writing about religion and politics, on Thursday noted, “the more one knows about the background of the flag, the more chilling its presence at [Alito’s] house becomes.”

READ MORE: ‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

Posner says the flag is “an unmistakable emblem for an influential segment of Christian nationalists who claim the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, contrary to God’s will, and that believers’ spiritual warfare is essential to restoring God’s anointed leader to his rightful office.”

“It was one of numerous Christian nationalist flags and other iconography carried by Trump supporters Jan. 6 and at the Jericho March, a series of prayer rallies that were like jet fuel for the insurrection,” Posner explains. “The Jericho March featured right-wing evangelical and Catholic speakers alongside militants such as conspiracist Alex Jones, Trump’s disgraced national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Oathkeepers founder Stewart Rhodes, now serving an 18-year prison sentence for seditious conspiracy and other crimes.”

Posner adds the flag “originated in Revolutionary times as a call to take up arms against unjust rulers who ignored the pleas of their citizens.”

Pence also refers to the Revolutionary War in his defense of Justice Alito, ignoring that the Revolutionary War was won several hundred years ago, and ignoring that a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice promoting the very concept of taking up arms against rulers, unjust or otherwise, is, as constitutional scholar and University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, Laurence Tribe wrote, “close to treason.”

Pence calls the “controversy” of Justice Alito’s flag-flying “absurd and anti-historical.” He quotes English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke, promoting his idea of the right to revolution, to replace a government.

In its Bombshell report Wednesday announcing the existence of a second Alito flag tied to the insurrectionists, The New York Times explains the Locke tie to the “Appeal to Heaven” flag.

READ MORE: Trump Adviser Scanned and Saved Contents of Box That Had Classified Docs: Report

“Since its creation during the American Revolution, the flag has carried a message of defiance: The phrase ‘appeal to heaven’ comes from the 17th-century philosopher John Locke, who wrote of a responsibility to rebel, even use violence, to overthrow unjust rule. ‘It’s a paraphrase for trial by arms,’ Anthony Grafton, a historian at Princeton University, said in an interview. ‘The main point is that there’s no appeal, there’s no one else you can ask for help or a judgment.'”

Coincidentally or not, Grafton’s “trial by arms” seems to echo Trump acolyte Rudy Giuliani’s January 6 speech in which he specifically called for “trial by combat.”

Religious studies scholar Matthew Taylor, quoted in The New York Times’ report on Alito’s “Appeal to Heaven” flag, told CBS News (video below) Christian nationalist leader Dutch Sheets “was given one of these flags and he believed that he received a prophecy when he received this flag, that it was a symbol of a revolution that would take place in America, a spiritual revolution that would reconstitute the United States as a truly Christian nation.”

He adds the “Appeal to Heaven” flag has become a “very potent symbol of Christian nationalism, Christian Trumpism, opposition to abortion, opposition to gay marriage, and the desire for a more Christian America.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump’s Bronx Rally Attendance Claim Fuels Mockery as Aerial Images Show a Different Story

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OPINION

‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

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A senior U.S. district judge is denouncing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito‘s flying of two insurrection-related flags at his homes in Virginia and New Jersey, declaring the actions “improper. And dumb.”

Judge Michael Ponsor, 77, who has served on the federal bench since 1984, writes in a Friday New York Times op-ed that he has “known scores, possibly hundreds, of federal trial and appellate judges pretty well,” and “can’t think of a single one, no matter who appointed her or him, who has engaged or would engage in conduct like that.”

“You just don’t do that sort of thing, whether it may be considered over the line, or just edging up to the margin. Flying those flags was tantamount to sticking a ‘Stop the steal’ bumper sticker on your car. You just don’t do it.”

Justice Alito’s first flag scandal came late last week, when The New York Times reported an upside down U.S. flag had flown at his Virginia home jut days before Joe Biden was sworn in as President. That flag is associated with the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. As of January, more than 1200 who were there that day have been arrested and charged with crimes.

Alito blamed his wife, claiming she made the decision to fly the flag upside down, which according to the U.S. flag code should only be done to signal distress. Martha-Ann Alito, her husband claimed, had gotten into an argument with a neighbor and manifested her anger by flying the “Stop the Steal” flag.

READ MORE: ‘Investigate Now’: As Alito Scandal Grows Pressure Mounts on ‘MIA’ and ‘AWOL’ Judiciary Chair

The second flag scandal came on Wednesday, when The Times again revealed an Alito insurrection-related flag, this time at his New Jersey home, where the Alitos were flying the “Appeal to Heaven” flag which has ties both to the insurrectionists, and to extreme right Christian nationalists.

Justice Alito has not made any public comment defending his second flag.

Judge Ponsor offered up a hypothetical to counter Justice Alito’s claim his wife was to blame, in this case, an example of him presiding over a death penalty case.

“Let’s say my wife was strongly opposed to the death penalty and wished to speak out publicly against it. I’m not saying this is true, but let’s imagine it. The primary emotional current in our marriage is, of course, deep and passionate love, but right next to that is equally deep and passionate respect. We would have had a problem, and we would have needed to talk,” Ponsor explained.

“In this hypothetical situation, I hope that my wife would have held off making any public statements about capital punishment, and restrained herself from talking about the issue with me, while the trial unfolded. On the other hand, if my wife had felt strongly that she needed to espouse her viewpoint publicly, I would have had to recuse myself from presiding over the case, based on the appearance of partiality.”

READ MORE: ‘Going for the Jugular’: Legal Scholar Warns ‘Trumpers’ Want to End Major Civil Right

Note he mentions as a sitting federal judge he would have applied the same standards that jurors are expected to observe: to not discuss the case with anyone, including their spouses.

And should there have been a discussion, or if she were to air her views publicly, he would be forced to recuse himself from the case.

Justice Alito has not recused from any 2020 presidential election cases, any Trump-related cases, any insurrection-related cases.

That includes the Trump “absolute immunity” case the Supreme Court heard in April, for which they have yet to rule.

The Supreme Court “recently adopted an ethics code to ‘guide the conduct’ of the justices,” Ponsor observes. “One of its canons states that a justice should ‘act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.’ That’s all very well. But basic ethical behavior should not rely on laws or regulations. It should be folded into a judge’s DNA. That didn’t happen here.”

READ MORE: Trump Adviser Scanned and Saved Contents of Box That Had Classified Docs: Report

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