Donohue Blames the Victims

Among the religious right leaders, almost no one can be counted on to, as Jon Stewart puts it, bring the crazy as consistently as Catholic League president Bill Donohue. You're gonna love his response to the possibility that Mark Foley was molested by a priest when he was a teenager:

"As for the alleged abuse, it's time to ask some tough questions. First, there is a huge difference between being groped and being raped, so which was it Mr. Foley? Second, why didn't you just smack the clergyman in the face? After all, most 15-year-old teenage boys wouldn't allow themselves to be molested. So why did you?"

Gosh Bill, maybe it's because they've had it drilled into their heads from before they could walk that a priest is a man of God not to be questioned? Or maybe it's because objecting didn't do any good, since the church would just move them on to another parish to molest someone else. Or maybe it's because they knew that if they spoke out they'd be ostracized from the community, and that people would even blame them for what happened, or would trivialize it because it was just a little groping. You know, like you're doing right now. I don't buy Foley's latest excuse either, but it's not because it would be his fault if it did happen.

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That quote reminds me of when Richard Dawkins claimed that "most of the sexual abuse priests are accused of is comparatively mild - a little bit of fondling perhaps", and that the true crime was that the kids had been brought up Catholic to begin with.

I tire of these religious nut jobs and their pathetic, pathetic attempts to shield obvious disgusting behaviour in the name of protecting their 'faith'.

There is nothing noble or honest in what this man said and to blame a child for an act committed against him simply shows the moral vacuity of the man.

"most 15-year-old teenage boys wouldn't allow themselves to be molested."

How, in the name of all thats good and sweet in the world, does that make trying to molest them ok? Or even excusable?

Re: Dawkins, I don't know that I agree with him. I would be hard pressed to decide which is worse, sexual abuse of or religious indoctrination of children. To me, they're both pretty bad.

As a never-been-molested lapsed Catholic, I can defintely say that I'd rather not change my pretty tame upbringing full of Sunday mass and not eating meat on Fridays with being molested.

To me almost the most interesting thing about this is that Donohue appears to ONLY consider Foley interesting because of his claim to have been abused by a priest. From reading this little press release we learn three things about Foley:

1. He's gay

2. He's an alcoholic

3. He says he was molested by a priest

Point number 3 opens Foley up to attack by Donohue. But it appears to be the only thing about Foley it occurs to Donohue to find worthy of condemnation. Is being molested by a priest the only thing Foley did wrong? Do you think that there are maybe any interesting facts about Foley which might be worthy of mentioning, besides the three things above? Because if there are, you wouldn't know it from reading this press release. We could maybe just give Donohue the benefit of the doubt and suppose that Donohue assumes his readers are already familiar with the facts of the Foley case. But if that were it, then why does he take the time to mention the gay and alcoholic things?

This press release is all about Foley as a victim. What about *Foley's* victims? Do they deserve the same "tough questions" that Donohue is hurling at Foley himself? Should they have just smacked Foley in the face? Would Donohue expect us to hold Foley's victims to the same standards Donohue holds Foley to in the context of this story Foley's telling about a priest abusing him-- and if not, why hold Foley to them?

Why doesn't Donohue so much as make a passing reference to the teenagers Foley targeted? Maybe he was trying to keep his press release short. Maybe he has a really short attention span and it just didn't occur to him, or maybe he just doesn't consider Foley's victims important enough even to take the time to blame them. Or maybe he's just trying to ward off the risk of people reading his press release and making the connection between Foley in a position of power taking advantage of pages and Republican leadership trying to downlplay it, and a nameless alleged Catholic priest many years ago taking advantage of Foley and Donohue trying to downplay it...

Or maybe even worse for Donohue's point, people making this connection and remembering that one of the most sinister things about child abuse is that can become a cycle, as abused children grow up damaged and are far more likely to become abusers themselves...

Anyway, does anyone else get the sense that the Foley scandal has reached its peak? At the beginning of this week it seemed like there was a complicated new development in the Foley scandal every day. Now the GOP seems to have gotten over their initial disarray, convinced its public leaders to forgive Hastert, and closed ranks on this "how dare you even continue talking about this, don't you just see the dastardly democrats are trying to take advantage of the situation" angle to the whole thing. What's the next step in all this? Is there a next step in all this, or do we just remain in a holding pattern, the state of things as of today unchanging, until the election comes?

Second, why didn't you just smack the clergyman in the face? After all, most 15-year-old teenage boys wouldn't allow themselves to be molested. So why did you?

Maybe he was just turning the other cheek. You know, like your religion has taught him to do:

You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:38-42)

I don't recall the part in the Sermon on the Mount about smackin' horny clergymen around.

Utah Congressman Chris Cannon is saying more or less the same thing -- that a 15 year old would fight back, unless he wanted it. (Would it also be relevant to point out that Cannon was one of the Impeachment managers?)

And that's all beside the "prank" storyline.