Bill Donohue has been vigorously defending the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI as the child sexual abuse scandal continues to reach into the highest levels of the Vatican. One of his main methods has been to describe the scandal not as a pedophilia crisis but as a homosexual crisis, suggesting that the true problem at the heart of the church is homosexuality and not the criminal sexual abuse of young children.
He elaborated further on this point on CNN yesterday, when he directly stated that "there's a connection between homosexuality and the sexual abuse of minors."
Let me give you a quick example. I'm Irish. Everybody who has half a brain knows that the Irish have a bigger problem with alcoholism than the Italians or the Chinese, for example. Does that mean because you're an Irishman, therefore, you are driven to become an alcoholic? Of course, not.
What it means, though, if your group is overrepresented in a particular problem area, you ought to explore it. Yes, there's a connection between Irish and alcoholism, and, yes, there's a connection between homosexuality and sexual abuse of minors.
Donohue provided some evidence for his theory, but was challenged about the context of his statistics during the program. He didn't cite any studies on alcoholism.
UPDATE: The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has harshly criticized Donohue for his statements, accusing him of cynically using gay people to deflect attention from the church's growing scandal.
"It's telling that when media start taking a closer look at the recent revelations in the abuse crisis, Donohue instantly tries to change the subject by blaming the media and casting gay people as sexual predators," said Rashad Robinson, Senior Director of Media Programs at GLAAD. "But Americans are getting sick of this ugly, vicious scapegoating. Donohue is feeding a hostile climate that gay people continue to face in this country. It's wrong, it's unacceptable, and no credible media outlet should be providing a platform for these kinds of attacks."
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