Tuesday, October 03, 2006

In the wake of the Mark Foley scandal the cable news networks are losing their minds trying to find every possible angle. So I’m watching MSNBC and Pat Buchanan is one of those talking head shows, Hardball. Anyway Pat is on there and he spouts of about three to four percent of the population are homosexual and about forty percent of child sexual abuse cases are committed by homosexuals. Immediately my nonsense radar goes on high alert and I start to examine the big steaming shovel load of crap he has just dished out. Of course the host, Chris Matthews, just sits there and doesn’t really try and correct his numbers or challenge his facts because God knows these shows are about politics not the facts.

So as I ponder what nonsense Pat Buchanan has wrought I go off to Google and see what I can find out. Lo and behold there is information a plenty about how gay men are nothing but child molesting machines. Of course it’s all on right wing propaganda pages that think bashing gays gets them a lot closer to Jesus. So I roll my eyes, curse under my breath and continue the search. I finally find some fascinating and, Heaven forbid, logical writing on the subject. The fine Website Religious Tolerance.org has a good piece on this very subject. It also cites an equally wonderful piece of work by Gregory M. Herek. They both offer quite a provoking statement, that while homosexual, bisexual and heterosexual people do sexually abuse children. They do so fairly rarely. In fact the vast majority of child sexual abuse is committed by pedophiles. Pedophiles are adults that are sexually attracted to children. Now according to Herek, not all pedophiles are sexually abusive. Some pedophiles have the attraction but never act on it. Herek also states that we shouldn’t define molestation cases as heterosexual or homosexual but rather male-male, a man sexually abusing a boy, or male-female, when a man sexually abuses a female. This sort of thinking is both intriguing and very logical which is to say it will never make it on a talking head show on a cable network.

Now there are some causes for pedophilia, such as fixated and regressed. Since I am not a psychologist I shall not go into there, please read Herek’s work. I think thought it extremely important that we understand pedophiles and recognize them as separate from the usual distinctions we make about a person’s sexual orientation. Pedophiles should be a distinction all to themselves. We should also stop throwing around the term homosexual to describe child sexual abuse. Of course there is a reason a certain element of population doesn’t want this to stop. They want to demonize homosexuals. They want to blame every instance to male-male child sexual abuse on homosexuals in general and use it as an excuse to oppress them. Of course notice that my relatively meager amount of effort offered intriguing evidence contrary to that.

As for what Mark Foley is I have no idea. I do not know the man or have knowledge of his sexual history. I know that it was no secret that he is gay. I do not know if he was a pedophile or maybe, and if anything more likely, a hebephile, a person attracted to post-pubescent children under the age of 18. The facts will tell us the answers here. But is important that because a male public figure was sexually suggestive and salacious with teenage boys that we do not demonize gays. Homosexuals in this country and on this world in general have suffered enough. We must not make them suffer further indignity by accusing them of things that are false.


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