A New York Priest publicly suggested on Monday that child victims of sexual abuse seduced their abusers, using the remarks as a launching pad to defend convicted child predator and Penn State football Coach Jerry Sandusky.
Father Benedict Groeschel, the director of the Office for Spiritual Development for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, wrote an opinion piece for the National Catholic Register (which has since been taken down and replaced with several apologies) calling Sandusky a “poor guy” and blaming the victims of sexual abuse. Andrew Sullivan has the remarks:
People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer … It’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.
It’s an understandable thing …
Here’s this poor guy — [Penn State football coach Jerry] Sandusky — it went on for years. Interesting: Why didn’t anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn’t break the ice.
It has been reported that Groeschel was in a debilitating car accident and that “in recent months his health, memory and cognitive ability have been failing.” On the web page for his apology, colleagues said, “We hope that these unfortunate statements will not overshadow the great good Fr. Benedict has done.”
There is no explanation yet for why the Register would print such comments, except for their explanation that it was “an editorial mistake, for which we sincerely apologize.” The conservative Catholic League rushed to Groeschel’s defense, but other progressive Catholics have called out the sentiment, saying they “cannot stand unchallenged.”
Minnesota Archbishop John Nienstedt has penned a verbose letter calling on Catholics to support the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, which many priests read to their parishes last week. Nienstedt claims that he opposes discrimination against “brothers and sisters living with same-sex attraction,” yet admits that the entire reason to support the amendment is to keep gays and lesbians from marrying:
First, some ask, “Why is a constitutional amendment necessary?” Well, the fact of the matter is that politicians and activists are working right now in Minnesota to redefine the institution of marriage from one that bonds a man and a woman to any children born from their sexual union into another that licenses the romantic preferences of same-sex adults. [...]
We know that some who are seeking to redefine marriage experience same-sex attractions. Our brothers and sisters living with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God who must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.
Every sign of unjust discrimination in this regard must be avoided. People with same-sex attractions, like others in society, are productive citizens, community servants, good friends and our beloved family members.
At the same time, however, it is important to know that the effort to ensure that the definition of marriage remains as between one man and one woman does not take away anyone’s existing rights or legal protections. As Catholics, we believe that all people should be able to visit loved ones in the hospital, pass on their property to whomever they choose, and have access to employment, housing and the basic necessities of life. Saying “yes” to God’s plan for marriage will not change any of this.
Nienstedt’s letter is an exemplar of cultural abuse, simultaneously feigning compassion while advocating discrimination. It may, in fact, have had the opposite effect, as Catholics for Equality reported an uptick in lawn sign requests, with many reporting they walked out of their churches during the letter’s reading. According to the Facebook group, “I am Catholic. I am voting NO!”, many churches did not even read the letter. Nevertheless, the Minnesota Catholic Conference remains one of the largest donors to the amendment campaign, an alliance between the conference, Minnesota Family Council, and National Organization for Marriage.
Washington Bishop Blase Cupich similarly wrote to parishioners earlier this month, urging them to oppose marriage equality so that opposite-sex couples continue to get “special support and recognition.”
A day after taunting his opponent with the endorsement he was scheduled to receive from a Massachusetts boxing legend, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) had to KO the event.
Micky Ward, the subject of the 2010 biopic The Fighter, was all set to endorse Brown until he learned that that the freshman Republican opposes LGBT rights and labor unions. Mark Wahlberg played Ward in the multiple-Academy-Award-winning film.
The Lowell Sun reported Friday that Ward initially told the paper day that he was set to endorse Scott Brown’s re-election, but changed his mind shortly after:
Roughly a half-hour after Ward confirmed he was backing Brown, ‘The Fighter’ called back. He said he had given his endorsement a little more thought. “I can’t support Scott Brown,” Ward said. “I just can’t do it.”
Within 30 minutes, Ward either did some Googling or someone close to him reminded him about where Brown stood on some hot-button political topics. “I found out Scott (Brown) is anti-union and I’m a Teamster guy,” said Ward. “I found out he’s also against gay marriage and I say if you love someone you should have the same rights no matter who you are.”
Prison Bureau Adds LGBT Representatives To All Its Facilities |
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has added LGBT representatives to all 125 of its prisons and administrative offices nationwide. The representatives won’t do LGBT work full-time, but will be on hand to serve on workforce-diversity committees and coordinate with staffers to create an equitable work environment, just as representatives for different racial groups do. In May, the Department of Justice implemented guidelines for the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which included training all staff about how communicate with LGBT inmates in effective and professional ways.
Former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) (Credit: Steve Helber/AP)
After losing his 2006 re-election after his infamous bullying of an Indian-American campaign tracker who he called “macaca,” former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) is seeking to return to the Senate. In June, he won the Republican nomination to run against former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) for the open seat of retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D). Unlike Kaine, who has a solid record of supporting equality, Allen has amassed a consistently anti-LGBT record.
Over his time as Governor of Virginia, in the U.S Senate, and as a candidate:
1. Allen said homosexuality was not “acceptable” and should be “illegal.” In a 1994 radio broadcast, then-Gov. Allen told listeners that he didn’t want his children “even seeing the news of some of these things here, thinking that, this is acceptable behavior.” He added: “I don’t think this is acceptable behavior… and as a matter of government policy I don’t think we should condone that sort of behavior.” In the same broadcast, he praised Virginia’s unconstitutional Crimes Against Nature law –which made private consensual sex between same-sex adults a felony — saying “It’s against the criminal law in Virginia, that homosexual acts are illegal, and I think should stay illegal.”
3. Allen opposed Hate Crimes protections for LGBT Americans — and still does. Though he promised in his 2000 Senate campaign that he would support adding sexual orientation to the federal hate crimes law, in 2005 he changed his mind. “I wouldn’t define it as a flip-flop,” his Virginia state director told reporters. Allen’s reasoning? He feared “some courts that would use that as a building block toward civil rights status, which he is opposed to.” In other words, he worries that treating terrorism against LGBT Americans in the same way as the law treats terrorism against other minority groups would be okay if it weren’t for the risk of a slippery slope that might mean LGBT Americans would have other civil rights. Perhaps unaware that President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law in 2009, on Allen’s current campaign website he bizarrely promises to “vote against adding sexual orientation to federal hate crimes statutes, as he did in 2005.”
4. Allen opposed adding employment protections for LGBT people. Fearing anything that would raise sexual orientation to civil rights “status,” he has never supported the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or other efforts to end anti-LGBT discrimination. In 2004, the Human Rights Campaign listed him as refusing to adopt a voluntary office policy not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Allen’s civil rights record is not much better for other minority groups–he opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and even voted against making Martin Luther King Day a holiday in Virginia.
5. Allen opposed allowing same-sex couples to raise kids. In his 1994 anti-gay radio tirade, he said he opposes same-sex couples raising kids because it is “not in the best interests of a child to be raised in that environment.” His view has not evolved — last year, an Allen spokesman told Politico that the former Senator has never been a supporter of same-sex couples adopting and that he “agrees with Governor [Bob] McDonnell’s [R] recent decision to keep current adoption regulations in place.” Allen also backed efforts to allow adoption agencies to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. His campaign website notes that he “does not support same-sex couples adopting children.”
6. Allen fought against same-sex couples being eligible for low-interest home loans. As Governor, he backed a restriction preventing the Virginia Housing Development Authority from making low-interest home loans to LGBT families. “Governor Allen doesn’t agree with these relationships and is not going to be advocating these relationships in his administration. This could establish a precedent that could lead to a redefinition of what family is,” an Allen spokesman noted at the time, adding that homosexuality was “basically viewed by the governor as an unnatural relationship.”
7. Allen opposed allowing LGBT servicemembers to serve openly and opposes chaplains conducting same-sex ceremonies. In 2000, he criticized his Senate race opponent’s support for allowing gay and lesbian Americans to serve in the military as “Vermont values.” Allen told the Veterans of Foreign Wars in the same campaign that he opposed using the military for “social experimentations.”
Watch Allen explain why he still supports the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act:
While some anti-LGBT politicians quietly oppose equality, Allen puts his opposition front-and-center in a special section on his campaign website. Allen’s return to the U.S. Senate would be a huge threat to LGBT people and families.
People Can Change is an ex-gay program that targets men with “unwanted same-sex attractions” and takes them on bizarre weekend retreats for a “Journey Into Manhood.” Its founder, Rich Wyler, was profiled by NPR last year for being ex-gay, but NPR failed to mention the fact that he profits off of this junk therapy to the tune of $200,000 a year, $50,000 of which goes directly into his pocket. To promote their next weekend retreat, the group has released a survey it did of “people who have experienced or are seeking sexual-orientation change, as well as therapists and leaders of ministries that support such change efforts,” and the results are laughable:
53 percent of respondents said their unwanted homosexual behaviors were reduced or eliminated.
38 percent said heterosexual attractions emerged or increased.
58 percent said any remaining homosexual attractions became less troubling.
69 percent said their self-esteem improved.
69 percent said their shame diminished.
71 percent became more self-accepting.
66 percent felt more at peace.
The sample of this study is people who profit off of bogus junk science and their brainwashed victims. These numbers have absolutely no validity and are part of Wyler’s scheme to reinforce society’s heterosexism while lining his pockets. Every major medical organization has said that sexual orientation cannot be changed and that the most helpful way to counsel people struggling with their identity is to affirm it and help them to do the same. If attractions are unwanted, only the “unwanted” can actually change.
Ted Cox once went undercover to Journey Into Manhood, and opened his tell-all by describing the erection he felt from the man sitting behind him in “The Motorcyle” hold. The entire weekend is dedicated to exploring (hypothetically non-sexual) male-male intimacy, which may very well create the illusion of help by actually just providing a fix for the men in attendance. How shameful that the very experience that seemingly allows them to feel comfortable with who they are is used to reinforce just how wrong they should feel about who they are. The psychological manipulation is obvious, and reprehensible.
Watch the new “Journey Into Manhood” promotional video:
An unofficial group of LGBT alumni and their allies from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio was recently threatened by the school after exposing condemnations of homosexuality in its course curriculum. The group, now known as “Franciscan Gay Alumni & Allies,” sent a press release this week exposing the class:
Franciscan University continues to class gay people with murderers and rapists.Outdated prejudices appear to be given more weight than scientific truth at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. A recent survey of Franciscan University’s course offerings found this active course description on their website:
DEVIANT BEHAVIOR focuses on the sociological theories of deviant behavior such as strain theory, differential association theory, labeling theory, and phenomenological theory. The behaviors that are primarily examined are murder, rape, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, mental illness, and drug use. The course focuses on structural conditions in society that potentially play a role in influencing deviant behavior.
3 credit hours (Bold font added for emphasis)
As the press release goes on to point out, homosexuality was declassified as a mental disorder decades ago, so its inclusion under “deviant behavior” is a direct attack on the lives of gays and lesbians. Franciscan University actually responded to the press release — with a cease and desist order:
I am advising you that you have no right to use the Name of Franciscan University, its logo or any other reference to the University in any of your activities. This statement by me is as General Counsel to the University. Should you not comply with my demand that you cease and desist, I will take all measures available to the University to interdict your activities as they relate to the University.
Thus, the group removed the word “University” from its name, but not its press release.
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT’s daily round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here’s what we’re reading this morning, but please let us know what stories you’re following as well. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- When Ann Romney said Modern Family was her favorite show, not only did show co-creator Steve Levitan offer to let her guest star as the officiant for Cam and Mitch’s wedding, but Ellen Degeneres offered to play her “roommate.”
- Today’s editorial cartoon in the Dallas Voice pokes fun at the extreme views of the GOP platform: