FRClogoIn a word, no.

This obvious question dawned on me several months ago during the presidential campaign. I visited the FRC site, which is full of information, misinformation, homophobia, conservative philosophy, and outright fear-mongering. Mind you, I fully respect other’s rights to an opinion, but I don’t have to respect the opinions themselves and I found little worthy of respect there.

In fact, while the FRC prominently features the word “research” in its title, precious little evidence of research shows up on its web site. It would appear that what is vaguely referred to as “research” are actually the opinions of writers from various think tanks (an ironic term in this context) and the FRC itself.  All things considered, the “research” appears to be more of an intellectual circle-jerk, an endless process in which the FRC’s experts merely cite each other for support of their opinions. More often, they simply make pronouncements with no reference to science or supporting data.

Not content to accept my own analysis, I emailed the FRC and asked the very simple question: “Does the FRC conduct research?”  I followed up with the question, “has any of the research cited on your web site ever appeared in a peer-reviewed journal?” After several exchanges with a staff member, it was apparent that she was not going to answer the questions, other than to repeat that the FRC supports family-oriented research on topics they believe are critical to the protection of the family.  I learned four things from this exchange:

  1. Once you email the FRC, you are on their mailing list forever. After clicking on “unsubscribe me” several times, I continue to receive mailings from the FRC, all of which now end up in my spam folder for later amusing reading. Also, the content of the emails is often more shrill and histrionic than what appears on its rather staid web site;
  2. If you end your questions with “God Bless you” they think you’re one of them and will answer anything, although the answer is generally superficial;
  3. My family is in peril from godless forces trying to restrict religion, legitimize homosexuality, and undermine the nuclear family, which of course largely does not exist;
  4. The FRC’s agenda does not include supporting the social sciences.

Of course, this does not really surprise me. An organization that rejects true scientific research and the conclusions reached therein is only interested in supporting the appearance of using science. This is important to those of us who support the issues the FRC is strident about (gay marriage, separation of church and state, freedom of choice to name but a few.) We would do well to remember that in spite of a more promising future for these issues, there are strong alliances dedicated to keeping us in the 19th century, where religion and not science played the deciding role in public policy development.

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