A lot of this has been coming over my transom, today. I’m not going to go into any detail about the child molestation scandal at Penn State that has resulted in the firing of previously revered football coach Joe Paterno and student riots—in outrage at the firing of the coach, whose failing is not to have pursued punishment of his former assistant, Sandusky, rather than at the alleged molestation of children. The reason is, because we’ll all be hearing the beyond-tawdry-into-horrifying details of that story for the next few months. Instead, I’d like to consider the comparisons with the Catholic Church:
The liberal media is very eager to underline the parallels between the Penn State sex-abuse scandal and the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal. There are some. But the media elite betrays their enthusiasm to drag the church through the P.R. mud again by dwelling overwhelmingly on anti-Catholic activists to offer a rerun of everything that went wrong, and very little about what has gone right since newspapers blew the lid off the American church scandal in 2002.
No one should be shocked that CNN’s so-called “Belief Blog” — which of late has made an enormous deal out of promoting liberal “reforms” in the Catholic Church like throwing out all the biblical injunctions against homosexuality — jumped eagerly in line. Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor, awarded 12 church-bashing paragraphs to not one, not two, but three “advocates for abuse victims.” Faithful Catholics just got a space for an official no-comment:
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which represents the American Roman Catholic hierarchy, declined to respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
Many abuse victims applauded Penn State for firing top officials and criticized the Roman Catholic Church for not taking similarly dramatic action.
I can understand why the Church’s scandal comes to mind, but is it really the same thing?
Over at League of Ordinary Gentlemen, Tod Kelly entitles his piece on our tribalisms “Crushing Our Better Angels: How Tribalism & Self-Identity Force Us to Support Penn State, Herman Cain and Rick Perry.” He begins by talking about his childhood admiration for Steve Garvey, and how deeply in denial he was about the facts that later emerged about “Mr. Clean.” Then, he’s off to the races.
Oh, yeah, he mentions Clinton before getting to Perry and Cain, and throwing a good deal of dirt on the Catholic Church, but . . . hey, what about Eric Holder and all those dead Mexicans?
Oh, never mind. The point is that football programs, and Penn State’s in particular, are male dominated institutions and they’re bad, just like the Catholic Church. The problem is, Penn State is much more reflective of secular educational institutions than it is the Catholic Church, football or no football, and despite the paternalistic Catholic undercurrents of the Italian (!) name, Paterno.
And here’s where liberals are in deep, deep denial: this is a failure of secular institutions. I don’t care whether or not Mr. Kelly thinks that the response is always to blame the media when the media deserves some of the blame. How often or systematically has the MSM reported the widespread sexual abuse of children within public schools? Since Penn State isn’t a religious-affiliated institution, doesn’t it make sense to use this moment to contemplate, not the sins of the Catholic Church, but those of secular institutions? If not, why not? Am I the one who is changing the subject, or are they?
For some time, now, I’ve been writing about how the Obama administration means to drive the Catholic Church in particular (and other churches that resist their values, generally) out of medicine, out of adoption, out of charity. For much of this time, I’ve been told that I’m paranoid, reactionary, and so forth, but we now see unmistakable evidence that that is this administration’s design. We will be lectured about how all of our conventional forms of self-organization are merely tribalisms, whereas secularism is true diversity.
Really, when it comes right down to it, isn’t the TEA Party just as bad as the Occupy movement, even though the Occupy movement really has performed the feats of violence that innumerable liberal pundits tried tendentiously to pin on the TEA Party? It must be . . . because it’s, you know, tribal, just like they are.
Baloney. And Herman Cain isn’t Bill Clinton, and hasn’t perjured himself in front of a grand jury. And whoever in the DOJ and Homeland Security are behind Fast and Furious are worse than Sandusky. And all you people who claimed in comments to earlier posts that Fast and Furious was a continuation of Wide Receiver, I’d like you to view Holder’s testimony from Tuesday, and rethink that.
Because not all situations are analogous, even if you group them under a rubric like “male dominated” or “paternalistic.”
REUPDATE: And many thanks to Eric Scheie from Classical Values, who has some important reflections on the Sandusky scandal and Tod’s piece.