Remember a few months ago when I sent a couple people undercover into the Americans for Truth About Homosexuality Anti-Gay-Rights “Truth Academy”? (If not, you can read the reports here, here, and here.)
Well, a couple months ago, I was contacted by my local Fox Chicago news affiliate. They were going to do a story on AFTAH (more newsworthy now that the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled them a Hate Group) and they wanted to get in touch with my reporters.
Not only that — Fox was sending its own undercover reporters to an AFTAH fundraiser. And this time, they were bringing hidden cameras 🙂
I put the Fox folks in touch with my reporters, Maria Pahl and Perry O’Dolia (a pseudonym). The reporter, Mark Saxenmeyer, ultimately interviewed Maria — I think they got all the soundbytes they needed from her.
“It’s not like AFTAH is just saying, ‘we dislike what gay people do’ or “we’re personally disgusted by it.’ They think it’s a real threat to the nation at large,” said DePaul law student Maria Pahl, who recently signed up for a three-day AFTAH conference. Pahl considers herself bisexual and she wanted to see their presentations for herself.
“There were concerned mothers there, concerned grandmothers, grandfathers,” she said, describing the other attendees who, she believed, all supported AFTAH and its message. AFTAH dubbed the conference “The Truth Academy” and Pahl later blogged about all the supposed “truths” she was taught.
“They think that gay people want to force HIV blood into the blood supply, they think that gay people want to recruit straight people, they think that homosexuals have training camps where they’re all taught the same sob story so straight people are sympathetic to them,” Pahl said.
Pete LaBarbera comes off as a bigot dressed in sheep’s clothing — he thinks he’s completely blameless for any harm that comes to a gay person due to rhetoric like his:
LaBarbera, a married father of five, is insistent that AFTAH and its followers are not dangerous.
“Of course we denounce any hatred or violence towards homosexuals,” he said.
But Pahl says LaBarbera and AFTAH are missing the point. “They may not go out and beat gay children, and they may not go out and bully a 13-year-old who’s going through sexuality and identity issues, but the rhetoric they use is certainly being used to justify the actions of the people who do those things,” she said.
I’m so proud of Maria — she presented herself wonderfully, don’t you?
By the way, the Illinois Family Institute also make an appearance in the Fox clip — they were named a hate group by the SPLC as well.