A Baylor University institute has issued a letter of support on behalf of University of Texas faculty member Mark Regnerus’ disreputable study about children of gay parents
In response to growing criticism of Mark Regnerus so-called study about children of gay parents, a letter was released on June 20th through the Baylor Institute for the Studies of Religion, signed by 18 people, including Baylor ISR Director Byron Johnson.
Baylor University is located in Waco, Texas and is a private Baptist university that is also a nationally ranked and accredited liberal arts institution.
As previously reported on this site, an anti-gay study with funding arranged through the National Organization of Marriage’s Robert George appears to be political propaganda, rather than social science.
The Witherspoon Institute, located in Princeton, N.J. and unaffiliated with Princeton University, where Robert George is a Senior Fellow, gave Regnerus a $35,000 “planning grant” for the study, prior to giving him a grant for a study.
Regnerus has admitted that if he had opted for funding from the National Institutes of Health instead of from Witherspoon it would have served the long-term best interests of science.
Baylor ISR Director Byron Johnson, who issued and signed the Baylor letter, is also a Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute, which first arranged the “planning grant” for Regnerus and then later arranged Regnerus’s study funding. The letter does not disclose that Regnerus himself is affiliated with the Baylor Institute, as a Non-Resident Scholar for Family and Religion. One might have thought that persons hoping to support Regnerus at this time would not create any further appearance that he could be in political cahoots with the study’s funders.
Although the 18 signers rely on their academic credentials to attempt to give authority to their letter, they do not actually address any of the substantive criticisms made of Regnerus’s study. They instead appear to seek further to deceive the public, by repeating points that have already been thoroughly discredited and debunked. Of particular concern is that the signers trumpeted Regnerus’s sampling method as the best available, when in fact, address based sampling would have been superior, though more costly and time consuming. Another concern is that whereas the signers cite Paul Amato’s commentary on the Regnerus study as evidence of the study’s alleged integrity, they do so without disclosing that Amato was a paid adviser for the study. Loren Marks also signed the Baylor letter. His twinned study was published simultaneously with Regnerus’s in Social Science Research, and used prior to publication by Paul Clement in a DOMA-related case in California.
The correct thing for Byron Johnson to do now, is to update the Baylor letter with notes that 1) he, Johnson is a Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute, which first gave Regnerus a $35,000 “planning grant” before giving him monies for the actual study; 2) Regnerus has an affiliation with Baylor; and 3) Paul Amato was a paid adviser on the Regnerus study.
The image of the Baylor University logo and seal is courtesy of Wikipedia.
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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