Year in review: Top ten stories of 2008

As in year’s past, I have enjoyed reviewing the posts from the year and coming up with the top ten stories.
1. Cancelation of the American Psychiatric Association symposium – Amidst threat of protests, the APA pressed to halt a scheduled symposium dedicated to sexual identity therapy and religious affiliation. Whipped up by a factually inaccurate article in the Gay City News, gay activists persuaded the APA leadership to pressure symposium organizers to pull the program. Gay City News later ran a correction.
2. The other APA, the American Psychological Association, released a task force report on abortion and mental health consequences. Basing their conclusions on only one study, the APA surprised no one by claiming abortion had no more adverse impact on mental health than carrying a child to delivery. I revealed here that the APA had secretly formed this task force after a series of research reports in late 2005 found links between abortion and adverse mental health consequences for some women. New research confirms that concern is warranted.
3. Golden Rule Pledge – In the wake of Sally Kern saying homosexuality was a greater threat to the nation than terrorism, I initiated the Golden Rule Pledge which took place surrounding the Day of Silence and the Day of Truth. Many conservative groups were calling for Christian students to stay home. This did not strike me as an effective faith-centered response. The Golden Rule Pledge generated some controversy as well as approval by a small group of evangelicals (e.g., Bob Stith) and gay leaders (e.g., Eliza Byard). Some students taking part in the various events were positively impacted by their experience.
4. Exodus considers new direction for ministry – At a leadership training workshop early in 2008, Wendy Gritter proposed a new paradigm for sexual identity ministry. Her presentation was provocative in the sense that it generated much discussion and consideration, especially among readers here. It remains to be seen if Exodus will continue to move away from a change/reparative therapy focus to a fidelity/congruence ministry focus.
5. New research clarifies sexual orienatation causal factors – A twin study and a study of brain symmetry, both from Sweden and a large U.S. study shed some light on causal factors in sexual orientation.
6. Letter to the American Counseling Association requesting clarification of its policies concerning counseling same-sex attracted evangelicals. Co-signed by over 600 counselors (many of whom were referred by the American Association of Christian Counselors), I wrote a letter to the ACA requesting clarification regarding how counselors should work with evangelicals who do not wish to affirm homosexual behavior. The current policy is confusing and gives no guidance in such cases. Then President Brian Canfield replied affirming the clients self-determination in such cases. He referred the matter back to the ACA ethics committee. To date, that committee has not responded.
7. Paul Cameron’s work resurfaces and then is refuted – Insure.com resurrected Paul Cameron’s work in an article on their website about gay lifespans. The article was later altered to reflect more on HIV/AIDS than on homosexual orientation. Later this year, Morten Frisch produced a study which directly addressed Cameron’s methods.
8. Mankind Project unravels – This year I posted often regarding the Mankind Project and New Warriors Training Adventure. Recently, I reported that MKP is in some financial and organizational disarray.
9. Debunking of false claims about Sarah Palin’s record on support for social programs – I had lots of fun tracking down several false claims made about Sarah Palin during the election. Her opponents willfully distorted her real record to paint her as a hypocrite. I learned much more about Alaska’s state budget than I ever wanted to know but found that most claims of program cuts were actually raises in funding which not quite as much as the agencies requested. However, overall funding for such programs increased.
10. During the stretch run of the election, I became quite interested in various aspects of the race. As noted above, I spent some time examining claims surround Sarah Palin’s record. I also did a series on President-elect Obama’s record on housing, including an interview with one of Barack Obama’s former constituents.
I know, I know, number 10 is an understatement. (Exhibit A)
Happy New Year!

Top ten posts by number of comments and page views – 2008

Time to wrap up 2008 with a review of the stories told and topics covered. I also will give the top ten posts based on page views.
By far the election was the broad topic which generated the most page views. Aside from the Berg vs. Obama thread, readers prefer to comment on the sexual identity related posts. As in past years, I will pick out my top ten themes in a later post.
Top ten by number of comments (fluctuation should be minimal since most of these threads are quiet now)
1. Berg vs Obama: Response to Supreme Court due December 1 (796)
2. New study casts doubt on older brother hypothesis and reparative drive theory (460)
3. Gay City News prints letter clarifying sexual identity therapy (282)
4. New Direction for Exodus? (277)
5. Day of the Golden Rule? (264)
6. Sally Kern: What should she do? (248)
7. Study examines brain differences related to sexual orientation (239)
8. Multiple factors involved in sexual orientation, part 2 (221)
9. Sexual orientation theorizing: Is change possible? (219)
10. 60 Minutes Science of Sexual Orientation: An update from the mother of twins (217)
Top ten by page views are:
1. Berg vs Obama: Response to Supreme Court due December 1
2. Hey Florida, is this ok with you?
3. Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher talks about his dialogue with Obama and spreading the wealth
4. Berg vs. Obama: Update and current status
5. Michelle Obama likes upscale clothes too
6. Donofrio vs. Wells: NJ Obama citizenship case slated for SCOTUS conference
7. What Might Have Been – The Man Who Could Have Reversed Roe v. Wade, Part two
8. Some light on Sarah Palin’s church affiliation
9. Did Barack Obama vote to withhold treatment to infants surviving abortion?
10. Day of Silence and Golden Rule Pledge on Appalachian State University
The top post has been viewed over 15,000 times with the other posts gradually decreasing from there. These numbers are constantly changing.

Few Obama voters knew potential negatives

In the 2008 election, voters knew lots of negatives regarding McCain-Palin but very few about Obama-Biden – so says a poll conducted by Zogby International. Conducted for documentarian, John Ziegler, the poll seems to indicate most voters consumed media which placed McCain-Palin in a more negative light than Obama-Biden.

“After I interviewed Obama voters on Election Day for my documentary, I had a pretty low opinion of what most of them had picked up from the media coverage of the campaign, but this poll really proves beyond any doubt the stunning level of malpractice on the part of the media in not educating the Obama portion of the voting populace,” said Ziegler.
Ninety-four percent of Obama voters correctly identified Palin as the candidate with a pregnant teenage daughter, 86% correctly identified Palin as the candidate associated with a $150,000 wardrobe purchased by her political party, and 81% chose McCain as the candidate who was unable to identify the number of houses he owned. When asked which candidate said they could “see Russia from their house,” 87% chose Palin, although the quote actually is attributed to Saturday Night Live’s Tina Fey during her portrayal of Palin during the campaign. An answer of “none” or “Palin” was counted as a correct answer on the test, given that the statement was associated with a characterization of Palin.
Obama voters did not fare nearly as well overall when asked to answer questions about statements or stories associated with Obama or Biden — 83% failed to correctly answer that Obama had won his first election by getting all of his opponents removed from the ballot, and 88% did not correctly associate Obama with his statement that his energy policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry. Most (56%) were also not able to correctly answer that Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground.
Nearly three quarters (72%) of Obama voters did not correctly identify Biden as the candidate who had to quit a previous campaign for President because he was found to have plagiarized a speech, and nearly half (47%) did not know that Biden was the one who predicted Obama would be tested by a generated international crisis during his first six months as President.

During the campaign, I pointed out a Rasmussen poll which suggested the media leaned Obama’s way. Another way of interpreting this outcome is that voters cared more about the issues correctly identified than the others. I think I am biased, but the MSM certainly seemed to overlook relevant issues. I felt like Obama’s record as a State Senator was largely untouched, whereas Sarah Palin’s record as Governor was mined in detail.

Religion and the 2008 election

I am compiling some data regarding special interest voting, religion and the 2008 election. This post serves as an open forum for readers who see polls or data regarding various interest groups (e.g., pro-life, those not favoring gay rights, Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical, etc.). Just add them to the comments section. I will be adding to the post throughout the day and evening.
First up is Christianity Today’s Evangelical vote map. There you can find a compilation by Ted Olson of how the Evangelical vote went from state to state. Looks like the percentage of Evangelical vote is more like the Kerry election than the Clinton years.
Looking at this, I do not see much benefit for McCain to have run on an even more socially conservative platform than he did. He seemed to keep that aspect of the coalition together. And clearly Sarah Palin helped energize that base.
Here is an analysis from Richard Baehr at American Thinker. He looks at the data and says white voters stayed home and minorities voted in record numbers. I have to add that his observation that California, New York and Illinois accounted for the lion’s share of the vote difference between Obama and McCain might say something about how blue those states have become.
And the youth vote…
This article from LifeNews indicates that the Catholic vote went for Obama.
Weekly churchgoers went for Obama a bit more than for Kerry:

Despite heavy religious outreach by Obama, exit poll results suggested white evangelicals voted for John McCain 74 to 25 percent, roughly similar to 2004 results. The gap among weekly churchgoers, however, closed a bit: McCain beat Obama by a 54-44 percent margin, compared to George W. Bush’s 61-39 percent win with the group in 2004.

The New York Times reports gains for Obama over Kerry among younger evangelicals and in important swing states (e.g., CO). My impression is that Obama will have a relatively short window of opportunity to solidify these gains. If he doesn’t deliver on the concerns of the younger set, we may see quite a backlash next time around.

Nov. 5 New York Times Front Page Leaked

Well, I can’t actually verify this but it might look something like this.
NYT
Here is a little better view of it.
I might be done for the night; I am not sure I can watch this. FOX just called VA at 10:41pm for Obama. Virginia.
Jedi mind tricks.
Some GOP people I talk to hope for buyer’s remorse and a resurgence in the mid-term elections in 2010. As a historical parallel, Bill Clinton, in 1992, met immediate problems with his health care initiatives; one wonders if Obama’s pledge to make the Freedom of Choice Act his first legislative priority could be a parallel. There are any number of liberal proposals that Obama would do well to wait to move on if he wants to avoid what happened during the first Clinton term. The Contract with America came along in 1994 and helped revitalize the GOP.

More Evangelicals for Obama chatter

I have talked about Kirbyjohn Caldwell here before. He endorsed Obama and then it was learned he has an ex-gay ministry in his church. He promptly threw them under the bus. He is now launching a website called, Jamesdobsondoesntspeakforme.com to rebut yesterday’s statements from Dr. Dobson.
Obama supporters may believe Dobson is taking on Obama to help McCain but that is the confusing part of this for me. Dobson has said he will not vote for McCain. So a pox on both your houses?
Problem, one house will win and there will be consequences.
One thing is for sure, Obama’s Evangelical supporters are not coy about their support.