At some point, you stop disliking a few political foes and start pitying them. I crossed that line today with Regina Griggs, the Executive Director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX). She has always been somewhat of a tragic figure, the embittered mother of an openly gay son who responded to his coming out by taking over a particularity insidious “ex-gay” program. Her actions have no doubt strained that relationship and likely created awkward silences around the Thanksgiving table.
But today I am simply concerned for Griggs’ current mental state. I’m no doctor or expert, but I strongly suggest she considers going for a check-up. My very existence has driven her organization batshit and bonkers.
In an appearance on The Janet Mefferd Show, (7:05-19:35) she came across as spectacularly divorced from reality. Griggs consistently fabricated stories and desperately tried to link me to the recent shooting at the Family Research Council. Griggs badly distorted science and misrepresented the facts. She viciously attacked me and expressed bitterness that the O’Reilly Factor won’t put representatives from her bizarre organization on TV. This is not bias, as she suggests, but cool discernment from FOX, which may be conservative, but usually prefers nuts in their shells, not in their studios (The Glenn Beck era excluded). Here is how Griggs began her Jeremiad:
“Why is FOX News service giving him any lip service? He’s talked about that it was safe to have sex with people of the same sex, including those who had AIDS. He did that a year and a half ago. Nobody challenged it.”
For the record, I have no clue what Griggs is talking about. But simply “making stuff up” is what Griggs and PFOX are known for. Everything from probably faking alleged hate crimes to get attention, to distorting science is business as usual for this group. For instance, Dr. Robert Spitzer recently asked this group to take down a video they have posted of him on their website. According to Spitzer:
“I ask that PFOX stop showing this video. This is quite misleading. I had no way, really, of knowing when I examined any particular subject whether they really had changed or whether they were deceiving themselves or even outright lying when they claimed that they had changed. So, please don’t show this to anyone.”
Even after repeated pleas from the scientist, PFOX has dishonestly and defiantly kept Sptizer’s video up on the group’s Internet homepage. Don’t take my word for it, hear it from Dr. Spitzer’s own mouth:
Grigg’s appearance on Mefferd’s show is part of an ongoing campaign by right wing organizations to keep me off of FOX News. They have created a petition signed by several anti-gay activists and organizations, such as The American Family Association, Liberty University, and Rep. Sally Kern (R-OK). Griggs is also attempting to bully her way onto FOX News, whining to Mefferd that, “We have never been able to get on there. We’ve never been able to send an ‘ex-gay’ from one of the therapy organizations or a doctor.”
Most disturbing, was Griggs’ failed attempt to blatantly defame me and falsely tie me to the attempted murder at the FRC building.
“Our concern is when you do these things. When you are promoting violence. When you are calling people snake oil, liars, etc. look what triggers.”
“When you promote hatred towards another group, there is always that person out there who may not be playing with a full deck. So, look what they do. They get a gun.”
“Why would you give somebody who promotes hatred, and that’s what his website does, the opportunity to speak to millions of people?”
It’s rich to see an organization short several cards discussing those not playing with a full deck. It seems that PFOX is upset because people are critiquing the organization’s extreme views and outlandish “cures” for homosexuality — one that she has notably been unable to use on her own son. In Griggs’ twisted view, holding her mendacious organization accountable is tantamount to promoting violence and hatred. Truth be told, Griggs likes to dissemble to fundie audiences (she won’t appear in mainstream settings) with absolutely no resistance. When she is called out for misrepresenting the facts, she lashes out in anger and launches into ad hominem attacks.
Such blistering and bogus attacks are not unusual for PFOX, but the detachment from reality was unsettling, even for this group. Here are a few of the unsubstantiated charges Griggs made on the Janet Mefford Show:
“He hates Christians and he hates the ‘ex-gay’ community. He harasses. He actually filed a bogus lawsuit against PFOX which a federal judge just threw out of the courts because he was trying to introduce information how you can’t change…And we all know science, including both APA’s say you are not born gay. It’s never been proven. Change is possible.”
“If you want to blame the Christians blame the scientists at the same time because they happen to concur.”
“Nothing Mr. Besen says can be backed up…there is no credibility.”
See what I mean when I suggest that this appearance by Griggs may be a subconscious cry for help? Either she is in deep denial beyond belief or is simply incapable of telling the truth. First, the mental health organizations are squarely and unambiguously against “ex-gay” programs and believe attempts to change can cause “anxiety, depression, and self-destructive behavior.” This is backed by a growing field of biological research. Furthermore, I sued PFOX because the group’s President, Greg Quinlan, fabricated a story saying that I tried to have him killed. The court never ruled on or considered evidence on whether “ex-gay” therapy works. It is incomprehensible for Griggs to interpret the court case in this way. She either doesn’t understand the case or she is misleading the public.
In terms of “hating Christians” this is an outrageously false claim. What I do proudly disdain are dishonest and hateful individuals who cloak their bigoted views in the guise of religion. I don’t consider Griggs or Quinlan real Christians. They are phonies who use the label of “Christian” but have nothing in common with the actual life of Jesus Christ. The ease in which they bear false witness, express contempt of others, and brazenly demonize sexual minorities is not Christian at all. If Griggs was a real Christian, would Dr. Spitzer’s video still be up on her website? I don’t think it would.
In terms of science and Griggs’ backward brand of fundamentalism being in agreement? I won’t even bother refuting such incoherent drivel. I’ll just imagine Jesus riding on a dinosaur and healing so-called “ex-gays” and laugh.
As for Janet Mefferd, she ought to be ashamed of herself. She claims to be a “former news and religion reporter and editor for newspapers including The Dallas Morning News and the Daily Herald.” Yet, it seems that she did not do one minute of research and simply provided a puff-platform for Griggs to engage in a despicable smear campaign and character assassination. What happened to her journalistic ethics and training? Did she throw them out the window when she went to work for Christian radio?
The most stupefying statement uttered by the host is when she compared me to Tony Perkins, the leader of a Southern Poverty Law Center hate group:
“Tony is not as inflammatory as Wayne Besen.”
I guess that Mefferd isn’t on Perkins’ mailing list or pays attention to his statements. How did someone so flagrantly ignorant get a job on radio?
Mefferd’s local program airs on KWRD-FM in Dallas. It is syndicated and heard daily on over 110 stations across the nation. If Mefferd wants to have an adult conversation that includes fact and reality, she can contact me at any time. As for Griggs, I hope she gets some rest or some help. Based on her rabid attacks and bizarre statements, she does not appear to be well.