Bill Donohue

Thursday, Blowhard Bill Donohue of the Catholic League is defending the amicus briefs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops filed in in two of the three cases before the Supreme Court. In two of those cases, gay men were terminated from their employment when employers learned that they were gay. In the third case, a transgender woman was terminated from her job when she transitioned.

As you would expect, the bishops are supporters of discrimination. They have weighed in, opposing workplace equality, in the transgender discrimination case and one of the gay discrimination cases.

Donohue is a transphobic bigot who pretends that transgender people do not really exist. Donohue excuses his hate and ignorance by claiming to be a person of deep faith (yet, he is a divorced man). His is an argumentum ad verecundiam which translates to an argument from respect. It is an appeal to authority; in this case a god.

Discrimination and bigotry are wrong. Period. These behaviors cannot be excused with religious doctrine or beliefs about a god.

Describing the transgender case, Blowhard Bill writes:

In the Harris Funeral Homes brief, the USCCB says, quite rightly, that “Sex cannot be changed even by surgical alteration of the genitals.” That is correct. Bruce Jenner may call himself Caitlyn Jenner, have his genitals changed, and dress like a woman, but he cannot change his chromosomal makeup: he still carries a Y chromosome (as well as an X). In other words, he is a man. No amount of self-identification, which is a psychological variable, can undo what nature has ordained.

The argument of both Bill Donohue and the bishops is a logical fallacy comprising an argument of equivocation. In this case they have merged gender and sex into sex which is scientifically untrue. They are dishonestly claiming that gender is not a separate (and independent) construct from natal sex. This falsehood is based on Catholic dogma.

It is the equivalent of a Scientologist’s argument prefaced with the belief — stated as fact — that thetans (humans) have had an infinite number of past lives. Before their arrival on Earth thetans’ lives were experienced in extraterrestrial societies. Therefore, ᠁

Consider the above example from Scientology with Bill Donohue’s opinions — stated as fact — about gay people:

Sex is immutable; sexual orientation is not. Despite efforts to criminalize those who work in professions that help homosexuals to transition to a heterosexual status, the fact remains that some homosexuals have been able to change their orientation. Ergo, sexual orientation is not an immutable characteristic analogous to sex.

The first sentence is simply untrue. The overwhelming consensus of science is that sexual orientation is immutable. The second sentence begins with a red herring logical fallacy. The existence of bans on juvenile conversion therapy is related to the issue but not really relevant.

More importantly, there is no research published to a respected, peer-reviewed academic journal which substantiates the safety and effectiveness of conversion therapy. Donohue cannot support his belief with reliable evidence.

When the American Psychological Association studied sexual orientation change efforts it reported in 2009 that conversion therapy was ineffective and possibly harmful. It also determined that efforts to change sexual orientation taught people how to pretend to be straight. Since then the major professional organizations have emphasized that conversion therapy is harmful.

Williams Institute has estimated that there are about nine million gay people in the United States. A relative handful claim to have become straight. It is possible that a few did change. A few were bisexual to begin with and the remainder are simply pretending to he straight or have become celibate.

“Ergo,” Donohue’s argument is comparable to the claim that there is a pill to turn gay people straight. Most of the people who have taken the pill have suffered from having their left leg fall off. However, there is an infinitesimal chance that the individual will become straight. Therefore, sexual orientation is not immutable. That is in spite of the fact that the vast majority of those who took the pill are still gay and now require a prosthetic limb.

A similarly stupid argument would be to claim that skin color is not immutable. After all, a few hours in the sun and ᠁

Donohue doesn’t help his cause:

[F]our [protected classes in the Civil Rights Act of 1964] are immutable characteristics, not subject to change: race, color, sex, and national origin. Religion, being a constellation of beliefs and practices, is clearly amenable to change. Most important, it is simply wrong, on many levels, to conflate sex with sexual orientation.

Donohue’s primary argument involves immutability. He concedes that religion is not immutable but never explains why it should be a protected class. He does not explain his hypocrisy because he cannot.

I hate to say that Blowhard Bill Donohue is full of crap. However, in his presence people have experienced a fetid odor.

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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.