GLAAD joined with Call To Action and the Interfaith Alliance today in urging media to ignore desperate attempts by anti-gay activist Bill Donohue to distract attention from the latest revelations in the deepening abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.
Donohue, who has a long history of outrageous and defamatory attacks on gay people in his capacity as head of the New York-based Catholic League, recently renewed those attacks following media coverage of developments in the U.S. and Europe — coverage that turned a spotlight on new revelations about the reassignment of abusive priests.
“As the media attempt to look at the root causes of the abuse crisis, Bill Donohue’s attacks against gay people and the media only serve to take away focus from the real victims here: the thousands of children who have been abused by Catholic clergy and nuns,” said Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director of Call To Action, a Catholic movement working for equality and justice in the Church and society.
“Even the Pope during his 2008 visit to the United States said that this crisis is not about gays and lesbians,” FitzGerald said. “U.S. Catholics are tired of hearing about the false causes of this crisis from people like Bill Donohue and, instead, are ready for the Church to address the real causes of the crisis: lack of accountability and cover-ups.”
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of the Interfaith Alliance, also expressed criticism of Donohue’s anti-gay attacks, which were featured in an advertisement Donohue placed in The New York Times earlier this week.
“I do not question Mr. Donohue's desire to speak out on issues concerning his church and the Pope,” Dr. Gaddy said in a statement. “But I find his reasoning repugnant. To claim this is a ‘homosexual crisis’ rather than a ‘pedophilia crisis’ is a misguided insult to the millions of gay men and women who find this scandal as devastating as their heterosexual counterparts.”
The full text of Dr. Gaddy’s statement is available online at http://interfaithalliance.org/news/361
GLAAD urged any outlets that are considering whether to elevate Donohue’s rhetoric to dig below the surface of his latest attack.
“It’s telling that when media start taking a closer look at the recent revelations in the abuse crisis, Donohue instantly tries to change the subject by blaming the media and casting gay people as sexual predators,” said Rashad Robinson, Senior Director of Media Programs at GLAAD. “But Americans are getting sick of this ugly, vicious scapegoating. Donohue is feeding a hostile climate that gay people continue to face in this country. It’s wrong, it’s unacceptable, and no credible media outlet should be providing a platform for these kinds of attacks.”
Prior examples of Donohue’s anti-gay rhetoric can be accessed at
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Call To Action (CTA) is a Catholic movement working for equality and justice in the Church and society. An independent national organization of over 25,000 people and 53 local chapters, CTA believes that the Spirit of God is at work in the whole church, not just its appointed leaders. Visit our website at www.cta-usa.org.
The Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, the Interfaith Alliance has 185,000 members across the country from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Visit www.glaad.org to learn more.