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Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Know-nothings on the march
The Traditional Values Coalition (warning: strong stomach required) has decided to go after research into sexuality on the grounds, that, well, they can. And what do those scientists know, anyway?
Op-Ed Columnist: The Big Chill at the Lab:
A list of nearly 200 scientific researchers has been compiled and given to federal officials by the Traditional Values Coalition, a conservative group that goes wild over gay issues and federal funding of research related to human sexuality.

The list, which has sent a chill through some researchers, is being used by the coalition and its government allies in attempts to discredit the researchers and challenge or revoke their federal grants. It's a sloppy, dangerous and wildly inaccurate list, put together by people who are freaked out by the content of the studies, and unconcerned about their value.

The targeted studies cover a wide range of topics related to health and sexuality, including H.I.V. and AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and adolescent sexual behavior.
The site complained that "nearly $100 million has gone to research many projects which reasonable people, even those with no particular religious or political perspective, would view as prurient."

For a right-wing coalition to be hung up on these matters is one thing. But the coalition's list, which includes some of the most respected scientists and institutions in the country, is circulating among members of Congress and was forwarded to the National Institutes of Health, which is responsible for awarding the crucially important grants.
Science has to suffer when the know-nothings come traipsing through the laboratories, infecting the research with their religious beliefs and political ideologies. Andrea Lafferty is the executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, which she says represents more than 43,000 churches.

"What makes us unique among all the conservative groups," she said, "is that I believe we truly represent the body of Christ."

Which makes them a perfect fit with the midevalism of the current administration, which seems to in all cases prefer revealed wisdom to actual knowledge.

A pre-emptive letter to your Congrescritters might be in order.

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