Jennifer Roback Morse
Jennifer Roback Morse is using Catholic priest scandals to smear gay men

We need not wonder why Ruth Institute is deemed a hate group. Its leader, Jennifer Roback Morse, substantiates that designation on a regular basis. Morse is not reluctant to regularly provide evidence of her bigotry and animus. The title of her latest polemic is Why I don’t call anyone “gay”. It serves as “Exhibit QE” (having run out of single letter evidence).

Gay men as pedophiles:

The clergy sex abuse and cover-up stories have created a linguistic challenge for faithful Catholics. Over 80 percent of these clergy abuse cases involve predatory sexual activity between adult men and younger men in less powerful positions. Some Catholic commentators refer to these cases as “gay” to distinguish them from “pedophilia.” Their intention is sound: the “pedophilia” label has frequently been a way to deflect attention away from abusive homosexual conduct. I, however, maintain that we should avoid the word “gay,” and even the word “homosexual.” Former Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s bombshell revelations about sexual abuse and the network of cover-ups raises the stakes. We really must get the terminology right.

Correct. We really must get the terminology right. The notion that priests were having sex with “younger men” is false. Priests had sex with little boys and little girls. Gay men do not have sex with little boys any more than straight men have sex with little girls. Pederast and pedophiles have sex with children.

When a priest has sex with a little boy that is not a homosexual act. It deserves the same nomenclature as a priest having sex with a little girl. It is either pedophilia or pederasty depending upon the age of the victim. No one uses the word pedophilia “to deflect attention away from abusive homosexual conduct” as Morse claims, When a man forces himself on a little girl we do not call it “heterosexual sex.” It is pedophilia.

Pedophiles and pederasts are sexually attracted to children.

No evidence exists that suggest sexual orientation, in and of itself, makes someone at risk to commit sex crimes against children or others. Sexual orientation is not a risk factor for crime.

Gay men are diseased and Morse indulges in a call to stereotype:

At this moment in history, the word “gay” is loaded with positive associations. The word “gay” means young, fashionable, intelligent, and witty. “Gay” might also mean a weak, victimized, innocent waif, so psychologically vulnerable he might commit suicide. This perception is so prevalent that health care professionals are not supposed to even mention the health risks of “gay sex.”

In polite society we address people as they choose to be addressed. We choose the word “gay” and it is our choice to make. Personally, I choose no adjective. There exist very few circumstances where it is appropriate to refer to me as a gay man. It would shock Ms. Morse but I am not defined by my sexual orientation. How frequently do we describe someone as a straight or heterosexual man or woman?

As for the perils of gay sex, how does Morse come to the conclusion that physicians are not supposed to discuss that with their patients? Young people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be encouraged to use condoms.

Morse presupposes to be an expert regarding gay sex:

Speaking of “gay sex,” what exactly do gay men do together? The images we have been presented suggest that all they do is hold hands, cuddle, and kiss. We never imagine “gay sex” to include rectal bleeding or intense pain or rectal incontinence or adult diapers.

Morse is trying to conjure up images of messy — even repellent — sex that is dangerous. It is an expression of bigotry. According to research about 37% of adult women have at least tried anal intercourse. That is almost ten times the prevalence of anal sex among men. Anal sex might elevate the potential for fecal incontinence. “The results don’t prove anal sex causes incontinence, the authors note. They also lacked data on the frequency of anal sex, which might influence the results.”

If gay sex causes intense pain then they are probably not doing it right and they are unlikely to continue doing it. Same for rectal bleeding.

Morse really doesn’t care. Anal sex is simply a vehicle to denigrate gay men.

Gay people and straight people have oral sex. Nevertheless, none of this has even the remotest connection to pedophile priests. Actually they are more correctly described, for the most part, as pederast priests because about 80% of victims are post-pubescent. Regardless of how it is described, these men abused their clerical authority and they molested children.

Apparently we are engaged in a marketing conspiracy:

When today’s mainstream journalists hear the word “gay,” they might picture a confused but basically innocent teenager. They might picture this teenager being bullied by classmates or scolded by adults. These benign associations with the word “gay” have been carefully crafted over decades. In fact, this is one place where the word “gay” properly applies. We can accurately describe the people who created these images, as the Gay Marketing Men.

They might also think of the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook. I really do not know. Unlike Jennifer Roback Morse I am not a mind reader. Morse is correct in part. As a community we have worked hard to correct the record. Countless religious zealots like Anita Bryant, Tony Perkins (and Morse) have intentionally spread the mythology that gay men pose a danger to children. This is factually incorrect and depicts religious disapproval based on those ancient chronicles that seem to cause so many problems. The important thing is that people like Morse lie about gay people. They create the need to correct misconceptions in order for LGBT people to be treated with respect and dignity. Respect and dignity are an entitlement.

As I said, Morse can read minds:

I believe this explains the reluctance of many in the media to address the clergy sex abuse story as forcefully as a story about men preying on women victims. The terms “predator” or “domination” or “exploitation” do not register in connection with “gay.” In the average journalists’ minds, these words are associated with “toxic masculinity,” or “conservative Christian.”

Pederast and pedophile priests are child molesters. For whatever reasons, these men are attracted to children. Gay men are not attracted to children any more (and probably less) than straight men are attracted to children.

Some Catholic commentators use the word “homosexual” in an effort to sidestep the term “gay.” I don’t think this strategy avoids the problem. Historically, the term “homosexual” was invented in the nineteenth century to “medicalize” what had previously been considered a moral or behavioral issue. Medicalizing behavior doesn’t help our cause. Besides, the word “homosexual” without qualifiers doesn’t buy us much help with the general public. It just makes us look out of date, like people who still use the word “Negro.”

According to current convention, the word homosexual is used in clinical or research materials. We now know that sexual orientation has little to do with behavior. We have known that for a very long time. The teachings of the Catholic Church are not based on science. Those edicts have been authored by theologians and catechists, not qualified scientists. Their conclusions are part of a belief system based on faith (in contrast to evidentiary science).

Morse solves her dilemma:

Instead of the word “gay,” use the most descriptively accurate phrase possible in the context of what you are trying to say. Instead of “gay sex scandal,” try this: “male on male sexual predation.” Sometimes, the most appropriate strategy is to use a long, clunky, but highly descriptive phrase like, “a powerful man with deep-seated attractions to males used his position of power to exploit younger men under his authority.” No one could conceivably confuse this word-picture with the teenaged boy who may have feelings he doesn’t understand.

None of the above is scientifically accurate. These men are attracted to children. The sex of the victim is less important than two things: the age of the victim and the power disparity. Priests have more opportunities to molest boys than girls.

The bottom line to all of this is that these are horny men who are not even supposed to masturbate. They are unable to form healthy relationships and children provide a target of opportunity. Some of these abusive men are gay; most are not. A kid entering the seminary right out of high school has entirely undeveloped sexuality and social skills. They require a victim that they can effectively overpower.

As for that teen Morse describes in convenient terms, he knows who he is attracted to. Any misunderstandings that he might have usually relate to religious disapproval of gay people.

The term “same-sex attraction” proposed by members of Courage, is a particular instance of the general policy I am suggesting. Dan Mattson and David Prosen and others argue that the gay identity is an inaccurate, self-limiting description. These men reject the term “gay” to eliminate a ton of philosophical and theological baggage.

“Same-sex attraction” is the way that religious people avoid sexual orientation (regardless of medical science). It is also a means of likening being gay to a bad habit. It’s religious BS. Mattson and Prosen, by the way, are gay conservative Catholics who have decided to be celibate in order to conform to religious dogma. They remain gay men. The last sentence is rather bizarre. The reality is that Mattson and Prosen live in accordance with “a ton of philosophical and theological baggage.” The idea that they have dispensed with their baggage is ridiculous.

Eventually this homophobic diatribe comes to a conclusion:

When we use the word “gay,” we are doing battle on the field chosen by our opponents. By contrast, when we use other terms, we give our listeners a chance to think about what we are saying, without all the noise associated with the terms “gay” or “homosexual.”

“Gay” is a political word, a marketing word, a propaganda word. We don’t have to use it. So let’s quit using it.

And there you have it. Gay people are her “opponents” with whom Morse is engaged in a “battle.” Attempting to change the language is a form of cognitive dissonance. Morse is doing (or attempting to do) precisely what she accuses her opponents of doing. She is attempting to market homophobia using pederast priest scandals

In the final analysis Jennifer Roback Morse is demonstrating her bigotry and the reason that Ruth Institute is designated a hate group. My thanks to Ms. Morse for clearing that up.

Noticeably missing from Morse’s tirade is any concern for the lives that have been ruined by child molesting priests. That is less important than the opportunity to besmirch gay people.

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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.