Slay It With a Smile

Paul Cameron's mission to stop homosexuality is hard to swallow

To try to prevent that disaster, Cameron says, he is focusing on homosexuals as teachers. One of his new studies will target whether homosexuals "pose a threat" to students. He already knows the answer: "They are eight to fifteen times more apt to molest their charges. And once this appears in print, every district that deliberately hires homosexual teachers will be exposed to [lawsuits]. This is the correct approach to fight homosexuality."

Another project nearing completion, says Cameron, focuses on gay parenting. His flashy stat: Those with homosexual parents are fifty times more likely to be molested by a parent or parent's associate. But even Cameron admits that he may be overstating this one, because that study's raw numbers aren't very large. "I wouldn't put my flag down on 'fifty times,'" he adds, "but it is disproportionate."

There's little doubt that Cameron's upcoming flurry of activity--he says he has five new articles nearing publication--will spur opponents to rush into print themselves. It's happened many times before.

During the Amendment 2 campaign, Cameron and his cohorts at CFV trumpeted statistics attempting to prove that homosexuals, though a small percentage of the population, were responsible for 50 percent of all child molestation. Dr. Carole Jenny, then of the Kempe Children's Center, countered with an article in the journal Pediatrics purporting to show that people who identified themselves as gay or lesbian actually committed very few molestations. Jenny and her co-authors didn't automatically count incidents in which adults abused children of the same sex as homosexual assaults. Many experts have said that pedophiles are a different breed from either heterosexuals or homosexuals.

Dr. Richard Krugman, dean of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, puts a pox on both sides' houses for failing to look at the big picture.

"Are homosexual parents more likely to molest kids? I know of no such risk," says Krugman, who also is a professor of pediatrics and formerly ran the Kempe Center. But then he adds, "Who knows?" The fact is that major studies have not been undertaken to determine the answer. Krugman is more concerned that the larger issue of child abuse has been clouded by sexual politics. In a commentary in Pediatrics that followed Jenny's study, he complained that sexual politics were simply interfering with the protection of children. Jenny's study, he noted, was hardly definitive, as she herself had acknowledged. But Krugman also had no use for the anti-gay argument, which he said "preys on the fears of the general population."

God, there are so many lies," says gay activist Rick Cendo of Boulder. "How do we counter this?"

Cendo describes Cameron as an "incredibly effective propagandist" pushing the buttons of people who know little about homosexuals except what people like Cameron tell them, and taking advantage of people's suspicions about those who are different.

Many gay activists see Cameron's career as fueled by repressed homosexual desires or, at the very least, a confused sexual identity. There's no obvious reason to think that's the case: Married for decades, he has three children, one of whom works closely with him.

According to his own statistics, however, Cameron's heterosexual activity beats the odds. His institute's 1985 study indicates that only 4 percent of heterosexual men reported that their first sexual experience was homosexual.

Amateur shrinks could point out that Cameron's male molestation was accompanied by "dirtiness" and that his molestation by a female was accompanied by a bath, the ultimate in cleanliness. They might wonder why the memories of molestation make him laugh. They might say that he was driven by his own sexual experiences to focus his life on others' "dirty" sexual practices. Or maybe he does secretly desire gay sex. But Cameron easily and calmly dismisses speculation about his motives. He sees himself as a noble crusader who is guided by faith.

Psychologist James Cole, who jousted with Cameron back in Nebraska, calls such conjecture about Cameron's interior motives merely irresponsible "pop psychology" and "a cheap shot."

"It's too easy to talk about his being an unconscious homophile," says Cole. "It's too easy to label him that way." Cole acknowledges, though, that he has "no idea" what drives Cameron's obsession.

Maybe it's something as simple as a combination of sex and money. Cameron does admit to dreaming about the big score, and it has to do with the deaths of homosexuals.

His musings concern something called "viatical" transactions, a huge new industry that has sprung up since AIDS came on the scene. Terminally ill AIDS victims, many of them gay men, sell their insurance policies to investors, through middlemen, for a certain percentage. The victims get lump-sum payments to help with their expenses. The buyers of the policies cash in when the victim dies. The quicker the death, the higher the annualized rate of return of the investment. Essentially, the sooner a patient dies, the better off the investor is. The thriving market now generates hundreds of millions of dollars.

When asked whether he thinks it's insensitive for him to joke about AIDS victims' deaths, Cameron brings up viatical investments. "It's not a joke," he says. "If I'd known that there was a billion dollars to be made on viatical settlements, I would have done it."

The idea makes him laugh. Again. "Just think," he says. "If I'd bought a bunch of AIDS victims' policies ten years ago, I'd be a billionaire.

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