Attention pointed in wrong directions
Posted by pozlife on October 23, 2006
Republicans need to take responsibility for the Mark Foley scandal.
The latest revelation that a priest may have victimized the former U.S. representative when he was a child does not let Foley off the hook for his own despicable behavior. Nor does it exonerate Republican House officials.
Party leaders have exploited the “family values” mantra, while all along vilifying the most vulnerable among us – gays, minorities and women.
Yet the minute one of their own behaves abhorrently, they try to cover it up, then try to deflect blame and finally turn on each other.
Foley blamed alcohol before predatory priests.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert blamed the media.
And Christian fundamentalists blamed the entire gay community.
The Family Research Council and other far-right voices have used this current scandal to make the farfetched claim that tolerance of gay people allowed Foley secretly to hit on male congressional pages.
But this issue has nothing to do with sexual orientation or tolerance. The scandal has to do with abuse of power and those who may cover it up to save face. Plus, congressmen have engaged in predatory behavior toward female pages, and the Family Research Council didn’t use that as an occasion to denounce heterosexuality.
If organizations such as the Family Research Council have their way, Americans will learn nothing from these scandals. What’s worse, many people may begin to believe the lies about gay people being a threat to children. The saddest part is that this smokescreen will only continue to hurt children because parents and law-enforcement leaders will look for the bogeyman in the wrong places.
An article from 1998 in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows, as other studies have, that
98 percent of male pedophiles are heterosexual.
Researchers and advocates for children agree that it is not gays who are the problem – but people with disorders who may be the ones you least expect.
The smokescreen of anti-gay profiling has clouded the dialogue about how to protect children and has needlessly fostered a climate of discrimination.
We shouldn’t be misled by all the distortions surrounding the Foley scandal.