BLOOMINGDALE, Ind. — When a zoologist-turned-sex-expert released Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, the 1948 study and its findings met with widespread controversy.

Now, more than a half-century later, Fox Searchlight Pictures' new motion picture, Kinsey: Let's Talk About Sex, is meeting with similar controversy. At the heart of it are multiple claims regarding Alfred Kinsey's fraudulent methodology and scientific inaccuracy — and the film's failure to tell Kinsey's full story.

“The film is glamorizing and lion-izing Kinsey,” said Tara Williams, outreach coordinator for Catholic Outreach, a Carlsbad, Calif., evangelization apostolate. “We feel it'simportant to tell people the truth about the man and his research.”

Williams was one of six people who attempted to distribute Ascension Press' book The Kinsey Corruption: An Exposé on the Most Influential ‘Scientist’ of Our Time at the Kinsey Institute's benefit screening on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomingdale, Ind., Nov. 13. The 96-page book is based on journalist Susan Brinkmann's six-part series that ran in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Catholic Standard and Times.

“Someone from security told me to get off the sidewalk,” Williams said. When Williams moved onto the street to distribute the book, a policeman told her that if she didn't have a permit, she needed to leave or risk being arrested. She complied.

In addition to the Indiana premier, Catholic Outreach attempted to distribute books outside of New York City's Rockefeller Center prior to the “Saturday Night Live” taping with Liam Neeson, the actor who portrays the man widely credited for ushering in the sexual revolution. The group's efforts were thwarted when security would not allow Millie Hau and fellow protestors into the center.

Rocco Caluccio had greater success at the Lincoln Center Theater in Manhattan.

Although he admits to being nervous, Caluccio, a physical therapist from Brooklyn, handed out approximately 80 copies of the book to theater patrons.

“We need to educate the country that they are being lied to about free sex,” Caluccio said. “It's not the way to happiness. We're buying into the counterfeit.”

One on One

While he's not sure who might be touched by his efforts, Caluccio said a conversation with four teen-agers made the evening worthwhile.

“I handed the book to one of four teens,” Caluccio said. “After a while, they came back, and one of them started asking questions. I got the book in their hands. Hopefully the Lord will take it from there.”

Catholic Outreach has similar book distributions scheduled in Cincinnati, Dallas, Miami, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. The film opened on only five screens — two in New York City and three in Los Angeles — the weekend of Nov. 12.

“The weekend of November 19, it will open on 35 screens, mostly in ‘blue’ states,” said Lisa Wheeler, media coordinator for Catholic Outreach. “Then, as Christmas approaches, it is estimated to be on 500 screens.”

Catholic Outreach is not alone in trying to get the message out about Kinsey and his research. A broad coalition of organizations has publicly condemned the film's efforts to paint Kinsey as a tragic hero.

They include the American Family Association, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Concerned Women for America, the Eagle Forum, Morality in Media, the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, and Rock for Life.

Generation Life, a chastity and pro-life education apostolate based in Boise, Idaho, is planning protests during the film's opening in Philadelphia and Boise. They plan to hold signs and pass out literature discussing Kinsey and his work. In addition, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the Archdiocese of Atlanta's Youth and Young Adult Offices are also planning to distribute The Kinsey Corruption to theater-goers.

Flawed Science

At issue, critics say, is the film's failure to address Kinsey's flawed data.

“The mainstream media cannot ignore the controversy, so they concentrate on the controversies surrounding Kinsey's personal life, while ignoring the scientific accuracy of his research,” said Michael Craven, vice president for religious and cultural affairs at the Cincinnati-based National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families. “The film addresses his personal sexual deviancy, but presents his research as being of the highest scientific integrity. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Most criticism centers around the men and women Kinsey questioned for his study.

“Kinsey presented as normal, data from incarcerated sex offenders, criminals and prostitutes,” said Brinkmann, author of The Kinsey Corruption. “He also engaged in criminal sexual experimentation on children and used ‘data’ that he collected from some of the world's most notorious pedophiles to arrive at his conclusions.”

Brinkmann based much of her work on research done by Judith Reisman, author of Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences.

The Kinsey Institute denies that Kinsey carried out experiments on children.

“He did not hire, collaborate or persuade people to carry out experiments on children,” its website claims. “Kinsey did talk to thousands of people about their sex lives, and some of the behaviors that they disclosed, including abuse of children, were illegal.”

Reisman's research pointing out Kinsey's flawed methodology has been corroborated by others. In April 2004, the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization of 2,400 state legislators, issued a report titled: “Restoring Legal Protections for Women and Children: A Historical Analysis of the States' Criminal Codes.” Its focus was what Reisman termed Kinsey's “junk science” and its impact upon the 1955 American Law Institute's “Model Penal Code,” which resulted in greatly diminished penalties for sex crimes.

No Boycott Called

Reaction by film critics has been mixed. While Christianity Today, Focus on the Family and Ted Baehr's Movie Guide have criticized the film as amoral and unbalanced, others have lauded the film, mentioning it as a potential Oscar contender.

Rolling Stone movie reviewer Peter Travers described the film as “fun and informative.” “By the time Kinsey dies… he's gone from pioneer to martyr at the hands of the FBI and the religious right,” Travers wrote.

A Focus on the Family review began with a warning about not only the film, but the review itself: “This film features graphic sexual content. This review references that content and is not appropriate for children.”

Catholic News Service film reviewer David DiCerto not only didn't give the film the news service's worst rating — “O” for morally offensive — but he actually praised it.

“While not meriting an unconditional endorsement, the film has a lot going for it cinematically, including a handsome period look and a solid cast, anchored by Neeson's nuanced performance,” DiCerto wrote.

Adrienne Verrilli, spokeswoman for the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, told the Register that her organization did not have a public statement on the film. However, Verrilli told CNN that the sexual revolution of the 1960s would have happened even without Kinsey.

Kim Marshall, director of Generation Life Philadelphia, disagreed.

“Kinsey gave license to the erosion of morality, the loss of reverence for our bodies, the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of marriage,” Marshall said. “The way he presented his findings to society gave birth to comprehensive sexual education and the widespread use of contraception and abortion. What people perceive as liberating has turned out to be a form of enslavement for our culture.”

Bill Condon, a professed homosexual who wrote and directed the film, told CNN that Kinsey's research was open to legitimate criticism, but said those denouncing the movie were “confusing discussion with endorsement.”

Several of the groups protesting the film, however, are not advocating a boycott.

“Our goal is not a boycott, but education,” said Wheeler of Catholic Outreach. “The only way to reveal the truth is to expose the lies.”

“The great benefit of this movie is that it invites public scrutiny of Kinsey's research,” Craven said. “It offers Christians an opportunity to scrutinize the origins of the sexual revolution as it was presented under the guise of science.

“All Kinsey had to convince them was that sexual deviancy was commonplace in America and that there were no consequences,” Craven said. “But it wasn't commonplace until he convinced them of that, and now look at the consequences.”

According to Generation Life Philadelphia director Kim Marshall, those consequences include abortion and rampant divorce.

“We have more than 4,000 abortions per day, one in four college coeds are infected with a sexually transmitted disease, and a new marriage has a 45% chance of ending in divorce,” said Marshall, quoting statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. “The film doesn't expose Kinsey for who he really was, and for the damage he's really done.”

Tim Drake writes from Saint Cloud, Minnesota.