UNIV. OF TEXAS CATHOLIC PROF ASSAILED

Catalyst September Issue 2012

In the July issue of Social Science Research, a University of Texas at Austin professor, sociologist Mark Regnerus, published his findings on how well children fare in households where gay parents reside; they do not do as well as children raised in homes where both a father and a mother live. Now anyone is free to disagree with Regnerus’ methodology or interpretation of the data, but to do so one should be in a position to critique a peer-reviewed journal. What happened instead was outrageous.

Scott Rose (his real name is Scott Rosenweig) is a gay activist, novelist and freelancer. He lodged a complaint against Regnerus with University of Texas president William Powers, Jr.; an inquiry was immediately made, the purpose of which was to see if an investigation was warranted.

Bill Donohue weighed in on this issue, but not on the content of Regnerus’ article: his concern was wholly related to the anti-Catholic animus displayed by Rose. Below is an excerpt of Donohue’s July 23 letter to President Powers:

In his letter to you, Rose “summed” up his case by saying, “Regnerus converted from evangelical Protestantism to Catholicism; his Church is very aggressively involved worldwide in fighting against gay rights, including in the United States, where in June-July 2012, while making use of Regnerus’s study, NOM [National Organization for Marriage] and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops are joined in running the ‘Fortnight for Freedom’ event.”

Rose’s comment is invidious as well as ignorant. If a non-academic ideologue were to register a complaint with you about a faculty member’s research, summing up his case by noting the professor’s   conversion to Islam, would that not alone be cause for concern? Since when did a researcher’s religion become grounds for indictment?

For the record, the Catholic Church’s defense of traditional marriage is  wholly unexceptional: no world religion disagrees with the position that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. More to the point, the “Fortnight for Freedom” events that were organized by the bishops had absolutely nothing to do with same-sex marriage: they were a series of events, uncoordinated with other organizations, that were held to garner Catholic support for religious liberty.

Rose’s Catholic-bashing is hardly limited to Regnerus. He notes with alarm that “All of NOM’s leaders—in other words—all of Regnerus’s funders—are Catholic, and not just Catholic, but strong political enablers of the Catholic Church in the U.S. It is perhaps necessary to remind readers that the Catholic Church fights dirty in its politics.” [His italic.]

Though this was not part of the letter that Rose wrote to you, I must ask the following: How would you respond if someone were to write to you complaining that all of those involved in a research study were Jews? Or that they were strong political enablers of Israel? Or that such persons were known to fight dirty?

Rose’s hatred of Catholicism is well documented. Consider his piece of January 21, 2012, “What’s the Real Reason The Catholic Church Wants to Keep Gays Oppressed?” In it he wrote the following:

• “The Catholic Church is the world’s single largest anti-gay hate group.”

• “By socially stigmatizing gay human beings and driving young gay people to despair about their chances for satisfying adult domestic lives, the Church as good as tortures young gay people into signing up to be priests and nuns. The fall-off in the number of young people signing up for lifetimes slaving for the Church corresponds almost precisely to the gradually increasing social acceptance of gay human beings.”

• “The greedy gay-bashing monsters of the Catholic Church are mounting a war against gay people; gay people and those that support their rights—must fight back against this evil cult.” (My emphasis.)

On May 11, 2012, Rose wrote the following in his article, “Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Gay Bashing, And Children”:

• “The Catholic Church’s worldwide economic plan is to keep stigmatizing and discriminating against gays and lesbians, in order to get them to despair of successful adult domestic lives, so they will sign up for lifetimes of near-slave labor of the Church, keeping Dolan and others of his level in the Church hierarchy living off the fat of the land.”

Rose’s animus against Cardinal Dolan is particularly sick; he has called the New York Archbishop a “gay basher and child rapist enabler.” He has also accused Dolan of writing a “threatening letter to President Obama.” To demonstrate just how Rose’s pathological hatred of Catholicism has impaired his judgment, I am enclosing a copy of the “threatening letter.” As you will see, there is not a single threatening sentence in the entire letter.

Given Rose’s mindset, it is hardly surprising to learn that he has contacted the IRS asking them to strip the Catholic Church of its tax-exempt status.

It is not the business of the Catholic League to sit in judgment of the way the University of Texas handles complaints against its faculty. But when it comes to bashing a professor because of his Catholicism, and when the Catholic Church is treated with vitriol in such a public manner, it takes on a dimension that transcends ordinary campus issues. That is why I felt obliged to enter this discussion.


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Written by Bill