Friday, January 30, 2015

#1275: Wendy Wright

Wendy Wright is a creationist, wingnut, conspiracy theorist, former president and CEO of Concerned Women for America (CWfA; good resource on them here), and currently vice president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. As such, Wright is an advocate for “legislation and international policies that are beneficial to women and families,” where “beneficial” means “in line with her choice of fundamentalist bigotry.” Indeed, her job at the CWfA was to “brief congressional and presidential staff on pro-family issues, and train grassroots activists.” Her new job is apparently to stop the girl scouts’ “radical, feminist, pro-abortion agenda”. (She previously argued that the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood were “working together to steal children’s innocence and make them vulnerable to the negative consequences of promiscuity thereby creating clients for their abortion and STD services,” a conspiracy theory so insane that I’m not sure even would have published it without hesitating.)

The CWfA (founded by Beverly LaHaye), which to those who didn’t know better would easily come across as a parody of the Anti-Sex League in George Orwell’s 1984, is predictably opposed to anything good, just, fair or right in a society, from the standpoint of objecting to what they – as wingnut fundie radicals – view as the “sex-saturated culture” of America. Their attacks are launhed against pretty much anyone who isn’t an American, Christian, heterosexual male, and in particular against freedom of choice, Muslims, homosexuals, and everything remotely resembling anything having to do with women’s rights, including equal pay, abortion, and maternity leave (women should instead leave the workforce permanently). The CWfA has stated that publicly funded HIV screening and publicly funded STD treatment are objectionable programs, because the results of such results may conceivably lead to people being able to skirt their just and horrible punishment for what the CWfA defines as promiscuous lifestyles.

And of course there are hidden agendas, especially those promoted by gay rights defenders, of course. According to Wright one of the greatest threats to America today is the power gay “bullies” have over the government. Take sex-ed classes. To Wright “they want to encourage [kids to choose to have sex] because they benefit when kids end up having sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancies and then they lead them into having abortions, so you have to look at the financial motives behind those who are promoting comprehensive sex education.” Please read that at least twice. And yes, the standard of argumentation is fairly typical of Wendy Wright. Here, for instance, Wright and Chelsen Vicari denounce Jon Stewart’s hypocrisy – that is, they denounce the discrimination against Christians for which Stewart was responsible in a hypothetical scenario that they invented. Then they took this to be evidence of a systematic persecution of Christians by liberals. To get an idea of how ingrained is Wright’s persecution complex, note that she has, in addition to fictional examples, tried to use the Crusades as an example of anti-Christian persecution.

As for anti-gay activism, one of the main tools of the CWfA is myth-spreading, such as equating homosexuality with pedophilia, downplaying numbers of homophobic hate crimes and endorsing hoaxes (here is Iowa state director of CWfa, Tamara Scott, trying to argue that gay marriage is bad for the economy). Those efforts has resulted in them being correctly labelled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Indeed, when a study published in the journal Pediatrics found that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers, Wright rejected the results out of hand as “biased”, without actually discussing the results, and because the results “just def[y] common sense and reality” (thereby of course also splendidly revealing why Wright should be careful to talk about “bias”; not that she’ll ever notice). Her arguments against abortion – she has even testified before the UN – are similarly based on her imagination and “common sense”.

Another – very much related – mainstay for the CWfA is pushing religion and pseudoscience in public schools, including school prayer and Intelligent Design. Wright herself is a hardcore evolution denialist, claiming that evolution is based on a series of hoaxes and no evidence whatsoever – there are, for instance, no transitional fossils, according to Wright. That her arguments have been refuted a thousand times is apparently of little concern to her, and when their flaws are pointed out to her she tends to respond by accusing her critics of ad hominem attacks. That she has no expertise on any remotely related issues, or that those who do uniformly disagree with her, is of no concern to her. Indeed, Wright has argued that (apparently since she doesn’t like the results scientists arrive at) it shouldn’t only be scientists doing science; even the uneducated should be empowered to debate scientific facts and flatly deny evidence. Accordingly, Wright thinks that “evolutionists” are “oppressive” because “they won’t let other ideas through,” just because those other ideas fail to even remotely accord with the evidence.

Wright is also opposed to environmentalism, apparently viewing it as an anti-Christian conspiracy.

There is a good Wendy Wright resource here.

Diagnosis: Phyllis Schlafly and Beverly LaHaye appear almost reasonable by comparison. 

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