Archbishop Charles Chaput

On Tuesday we learn about research which concludes that dogs understand what we are saying to them. Dog brains care about both what we say and how we say it. That research was published to a peer reviewed scholarly journal.

Apparently Archbishop Charles Chaput’s cognition works a bit differently. Chaput only seems to understand what he wants to hear. He most certainly does not comprehend the importance of peer review. The Philadelphia archbishop will soon replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone as the Church’s point man on suppressing gay rights with regard to marriage. Chaput writes:

The goal of my column this week is simple: pointing readers to The New Atlantis, one of the nation’s best journals about science, technology and their intersection with ethics. Earlier this week (August 22), The New Atlantis released an important new overview of nearly 200 peer-reviewed studies from the 1950s to the present on issues of sexuality and gender identity, with findings from the biological, psychological and social sciences.

Exactly how Chaput would characterize a pretentious quarterly blog, without peer review as “one of the best” is relegated to that conservative catch-all: God works in mysterious ways. It will remain a mystery because Chaput lives in a protective bubble. No one will challenge him directly and he does not respond to critics. His concern is theology and the catechism. He doesn’t care how many kids get fucked up in the process as long as the Church’s teachings are defended.

The overview, entitled “Sexuality and Gender,” can be found on line here. While the body of the overview may be data-dense for the average reader, the report’s executive summary, conclusion and prefatory notes to each section are clear, well-written and accessible to any interested adult. And we should be interested, because sexuality and gender identity are now sharply disputed topics with big implications for the health of individuals and our wider culture.

Chaput seems to have taken some pointers from a Baptist creationist. Argue and teach the controversy. In point of fact the science on sexual orientation and gender identity is most certainly not “sharply disputed.” The overwhelming consensus on both is that they are innate with some fluidity. Repackaging good science to contend otherwise does not establish a scientific dispute. But there is a controversy. It is between science and religious dogma. Science is based on research that third parties review, primarily for methodology. Religious dogma, for the most part, is superstition based on ancient texts of dubious origin and provenance. “Studies” that torture science to draw conclusions that conform to religious dogma are just more superstition. There should be no controversy that children are best served by real science. Sadly that is not always the case.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.