Blaming gays for sex abuse by priests.

How you look at things.
April 24 2002 5:01 PM

Get It Straight

The hypocrisy of blaming gays for sexual abuse by priests.

(Continued from Page 1)

The result is precisely the kind of moral confusion conservatives claim to oppose. To project coherence, they attribute abuse by priests to "sexual anarchy" and "moral chaos." At the same time, to make the blame-gays theory look scientific, they draw convenient distinctions. According to Traditional Values Coalition Chairman Lou Sheldon, "To describe these priests as 'pedophiles' is clearly inaccurate—unless their victims are under the age of 13. The truth is that these are homosexuals who are engaging in pederasty or so-called consensual 'boy-love.' " Similarly, Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit said this week that "the behavioral scientists are telling us, the sociologists, it's not truly a pedophilia-type problem but a homosexual problem."

Maida, Sheldon, and other clerics and activists think they're safeguarding morality. But by describing a sexual relationship with a child between the ages of 13 and 17, unlike sex with a younger child, as a matter of hetero- or homosexual orientation, they are, in a strange way, normalizing such relationships. They're framing sex with teen-agers more like sex with adults and less like sex with children. They still believe it's wrong, but they're undermining the basis of that belief. And by insisting that the church has a gay problem, not a pedophile problem, they're letting pedophiles off the hook.


They're also letting men who have sex with teen-age girls off the hook. Last Sunday, National Review editor Rich Lowry said of priestly abuse, "A lot of these cases don't involve the molestation of little boys, pedophilia. [They] involve having sex with teen-age boys, which is more sort of homosexual behavior. … I'm not justifying it. It's just not something heterosexual men do." Yesterday, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago added that the church should allow "wiggle room" in punishing abusive priests. "There is a difference between a moral monster like [homosexual molester Father John] Geoghan, who preys upon little children, and does so in a serial fashion, and someone who perhaps under the influence of alcohol engages in an action with a 17- or 16-year-old young woman who returns his affection," said George.

"Not something heterosexual men do"? "Wiggle room" for sex with a 16-year-old "young woman"? Look who's liberal now.



Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
Oct. 21 2014 4:33 PM Walmart Is Killing the Rest of Corporate America in Solar Power Adoption
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.