Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bill Donohue: Lying, homophobic child molestation apologist

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Bill Donohue (President, Catholic League)
Bill Donohue

Of all the wanking Papists who try their very best to defend the Catholic Church’s utterly inexcusable record of covering up its little “decades (and possibly centuries) of priests molesting children” problem, by far the most prominent attack dog to go after anyone who remotely suggests the Vatican may have some guilt to bear over it all is Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League and likely one of the top reasons why more and more people are leaving the Church in droves.

In addition to his generalized intolerance and pugilistic mindset, his most endearing feature has to be his staunch denial of both the Church’s institutionalized mishandling of clerical child abuse cases – even famously declaring that no religious or secular institution in the U.S. today has a better record than the Catholic Church – and the fact that it has everything to do with repressed lust in a forced-chastity setting, a pool of easy victims for predators, and a general lack of accountability – and nothing to do with homosexuality.

Donohue’s long, wretched history of blaming child molestation on same-sex attraction has already been covered at length by a plethora of sources, least of all by me. And now, here’s the latest reiteration of his child-abuse denialism, where he actually engages in some spectacular cognitive acrobatics in trying to distort actual definitions of pedophilia and variants thereof in order to then blame it all on homosexuality (as per usual). Writing in response to a new report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice on the “Causes and Context” of priestly child abuse:

The report says that fewer than 5 percent of abusive priests were pedophiles. The New York Times takes issue with the report for defining prepubescent children as those age 10 or younger, mentioning that the American Psychiatric Association uses the age of 13. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics says puberty begins at the age of 10. This is important because the lower the age when puberty begins, the more it implies that heterosexuality or homosexuality was at work, and neither the authors of the report, nor the Times, want to squarely address the obvious.

And thus, the contortions begin. The report is only stating the obvious when it declares that not all, or even a majority, of those who molest children are actually sexually attracted to them. Abusive priests target children for the same reason that “regular” rapists (for lack of a better term) target their own adult victims: The vast majority of sexual assaults are all about power and domination, and only rarely about actual sex. This doesn’t change regardless of their prey’s age group; it’s establishing some sick form of control over a helpless victim that gives them the thrill they seek.

But, to Donohue, this is a mere distraction from his narrative; it has to be about sexual orientation (specifically, same-sex attraction). He is just reaching when he talks about how lower victim ages could indicate an abuser’s sexual orientation, seeing as – say it with me, everyone – it has nothing to do with child sexual abuse. Homosexuality has zero links to predatory behavior towards children, despite the garbage the religious-Right loves to spread about it. What’s more, the majority of actual child molesters are usually indifferent to their young victims’ gender.* Every reputable doctor and psychiatric, pediatric and law enforcement agency accepts this. It really is absolutely no matter for debate at this point; those who reject this fundamental fact about criminal psychology are the ones who actually don’t want to squarely address the obvious.

But, here’s where the real load of horsecrap begins. First, Donohue explains the abuse report’s explanation of why homosexuality is not to blame for clerical child abuse:

The report says homosexuality was not a factor because a) not all homosexuals define themselves as such b) sexual relations with adolescents is ephebophilia c) the degree of abuse declined after gays entered the priesthood in large numbers in the late 1970s and 1980s, and d) they did not have access to altar girls when the abuse peaked.

All true and independently verified by countless actual experts. So, what are Donohue’s complaints, here?

A homosexual is defined by his actions, not his identity.[1] Ephebophilia has no clinical definition[2] and is nothing more than a description of adult men who have sex with adolescent males.[3] The surge of gays in the seminaries began in the 1960s—not in the late 1970s—and as the report says, "Men ordained in the 1960s and the early 1970s engaged in abusive behavior much more quickly after their entrance into ministry."[4] Finally, there are so few incidents of abuse these days (an average of 8.3 per year since 2005), that it makes no sense to compare the percentage of male victims at the peak of the scandal to what has happened since altar girls were allowed.[5] The latest study on abuse notes that 83 percent of the allegations made in 2010 were by males, and the bulk of incidents took place in the early 1970s. Besides, priests had nothing but access to male altar servers before the 1960s, and the report notes that sexual abuse was not a problem then. That’s because there were fewer gay priests then.[6]

Finally, the report says that 81 percent of the victims were male and 78 percent were postpubescent. Since 100 percent of the abusers were male, that's called homosexuality, not pedophilia or heterosexuality.[7]

Sweet bouncin’ Jesus.

Okay, that’s too much of aforementioned horseshit to fit into a standard paragraph. I need a point-by-point fisking, here.

  • 1) Um … both. That’s kinda what “defining” someone means. And same applies to everyone. Not really sure why Donohue even brought this up.

  • 2) Bullshit!

  • 3) More bullshit!

  • 4) Except that the report doesn’t specify whether or not this sudden onset of heightened abusive behavior was due to an influx of gay priests. Actually, the report specifically and explicitly denies that. What’s more, Donohue is confusing correlation with causation, here; the fact that we now know of more sexual abuse from those years actually has much less bearing on the actual rates of child abuse from that period, or prior to it and afterwards, than we might think. There could be any number of causes behind this phenomenon, most likely societal with the advent of the sexual revolution, among other things. In the end, we only know of child sexual abuse once priests have actually been accused and found guilty, which, as we’ve seen, usually takes a certain number of years, if not decades. All in all, we truly have no idea how much abuse was actually occurring them – or before, or since.

  • 5) So, because there are fewer (reported) cases presently, we should just stop investigating possible causes and context of past abuses? (Oh, wait – Donohue makes it his primary schtick to dismiss older abuse cases because they happened “decades ago”, so, really, who cares, right? Ni vu, ni connu.)

  • 6) Again, Donohue has no way of knowing that. No-one does.

  • 7) This is where Donohue’s prejudice, ignorance and overall cognitive stuntedness really shows. Most of the victims were male – because boys were more readily available to crooked priests than girls. Most were teens and not young children – which is utterly irrelevant to the nature or gravity of the crimes committed against them. All the abusers were male – because the Church doesn’t hire female priests. But, to Donohue, the only logical conclusion to this particular riddle is “blame teh gheys!”.

I can’t stress enough how modern Catholics really need to disassociate themselves from both the Church and thugs like this vile little man, as quickly as humanly possible.

*[T]he important point is that many child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals, heterosexuals, or bisexuals (in the usual sense of those terms) because they are not really capable of a relationship with an adult man or woman. Instead of gender, their sexual attractions are based primarily on age. These individuals – who are often characterized as fixated – are attracted to children, not to men or women.” (Dr. Gregory Herek, Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation, retrieved 05/18/11)