First, Right Wing Watch reports that Kevin Swanson of Generations with Vision Ministries used the Sandusky case to take swipes at the LGBTQ community. During the July 2nd edition of Generations Radio with Kevin Swanson entitled "The Shame of Sandusky and the Classical Greek University," Swanson made a convoluted argument about how Greco-Roman pedastery, passed down through humanism, is allegedly undermining society. He insisted that Western civilization is "coming to an end" due to excessive humanist influence passed down from Greek and Roman culture. "A man-centered way of looking at things is not going to survive," he said.
Swanson discussed a USA Today commentary that drew parallels between the Sandusky case and child abuse in the Catholic church. He cited both sex abuse scandals as supposed evidence that major institutions are "rotting" and that society as a whole is plagued by "rottenness of entire social systems." He contrasted the supposed depravity of modern society with the supposed virtue of the early Pilgrims, whom he claimed had extremely small rates of divorce, fornication, homosexuality, and child molestation. Hearing Swanson lump morally neutral acts such as divorce, pre-marital sex, and same-sex intimacy in the same moral category as child abuse disgusted me.
At the 7:19 mark, Swanson made outrageous claims about how ancient Greek influences supposedly contributed to the Sandusky scandal. He conflated homosexuality and pedophilia, claiming that humanism and the "homosexual vision" leads to child abuse.
"The humanist universities and the Greek gymnasium and the Catholic Church have led in raising the child molestation rate and the homosexuality training for underage children ... Sandusky would not have been prosecuted back in 400 B.C. Sandusky would not have been prosecuted in the Greek city-states. And a lot of people, including Jeremy Bentham ... one of the most important philosophers who made the modern world, Jeremy Bentham spoke adoringly concerning what was going on in Greece and Rome in reference to pedophilia. He loved it. He loved homosexuality. Again, this was being pushed hard by the Greek synthesis. Even Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare, to some extent, had some writings that were somewhat favorable of homosexuality.I was infuriated. Using child abuse scandals to take cheap shots at the LGBTQ community is not only homophobic, but profoundly insensitive to sexual abuse victims. In Swanson's strange world, Greco-Roman humanism and gays foment moral decay that culminates in the abuse of children. Rather than explore the true roots of sexual abuse, Swanson promotes a hateful worldview that wrongfully demonizes gays as perpetrators.
Now, homosexuality had not existed for about 1,000 years, between about 300 AD to 1400, 1500 AD where certain mentions of it were extant in some of the classical literature of the day, because classical literature tends to bring back homosexuality as the ‘cool thing’, but it hadn’t existed for about 1,000 years. It was obviously very very important to humanism, it always has been important to humanism, and whenever you get a humanist, classical approach to education, you’re probably going to get the gymnasium. The gymnasiums were all built around the idea of pederasty and pedophilia.
Now, I don’t want to get into a lot of the details on this, because it’s very, very, very gross, but they trained young boys in homosexuality. This is part and parcel of the homosexual vision. Still is, by the way, to this day. This is the goal. This is where they’re headed. If you read the homosexual literature, which I encourage you not to do, but this is the direction that they’re headed. This is the goal of humanism. The goal of humanism is to make it to Sandusky. The problem is Sandusky was prosecuted, and that’s an indication that we’ve got 2,000 years of Christianity, and these guys are not going to get away with it."
Next, Right Wing Watch reports that Janet Mefferd made similar statements during the July 3rd edition of The Janet Mefferd Show. During the third hour of her show, Mefferd spoke of Anderson Cooper's coming-out as a gay man with disgust, then spoke of Jerry Sandusky in the same breath (!). Like Swanson, she conflated homosexuality and pedophilia, claiming that Christianity is the only reason why people felt revulsion toward Sandusky's crimes. At the 5:20 mark, she had this to say.
"If this were pagan ancient Rome, Jerry Sandusky wouldn’t have been in trouble at all because homosexuality and man-boy love was so common and so accepted that outrage would’ve been inconceivable. It is only the vestiges of Christianity in our culture that give people the moral framework by which you can look at a Sandusky and feel revolted. And you know what? The way we are going, Jerry Sandusky thirty years from now may be a normal thing. You already have pedophiles who are trying to be normalized at the American Psychological Association, I think that’s the name of it, they’ve succeeded in having homosexuality removed from the playbook as some sort of disorder and now they’re working on pedophilia and I’m sure they’ll be successful because that’s where it is all headed."Mefferd fails to realize that people of many religious backgrounds condemn child abuse, not just Christians. Like Swanson, she fails to differentiate homosexuality (sexual and romantic attraction to adults of the same sex) from pedophilia (sexual attraction to children). By conflating the two, she ignores the trauma and abuse of trust inherent in child abuse. In her rush to attack the LGBT community, Mefferd showed breathtaking insensitivity to LGBT persons and sexual abuse victims.
Finally, Right Wing Watch reports that Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association made similar claims about gays during a talk about the Boy Scouts. During the June 15th edition of Focal Point, Fischer conflated homosexuals with pedophiles, claiming that it would be disastrous if the Boy Scouts accepted gays such as "homosexual pedophile" Sandusky into their ranks.
"If the Boy Scouts allowed homosexuals to become scout leaders, that would be the end of the Boy Scouts, because we know that pedophilia occurs at excessive rates in the homosexual community ... They have got to make sure that homosexual pedophiles like this Jerry Sandusky, this Penn state Coach -- he was a homosexual pedophile, and again, we've got a parade of victims coming through the courtroom, testifying against him today. Boy Scouts cannot let anybody like that into the scout troops."Such homophobic rhetoric is dangerous. It wrongfully paints all LGBT persons as child abusers, thereby demonizing an entire community. It makes outrageous claims about the LGBT community's goals that bear no resemblance to reality. Furthermore, such rhetoric ignores the actual dynamics of sexual abuse, thereby doing a disservice to sexual abuse victims. Rather than use the Sandusky scandal as a way to have constructive conversations about child abuse, some Religious Right figures have used it as an excuse to make cheap shots at a scapegoat.
For the last time, the Sandusky scandal is not about homosexuality. It is about child sexual abuse. Got it!?
To read additional commentary, visit the following links.
Daily Kos: Homeschooling guru claims gays secretly want to make Jerry Sandusky's behavior legal
The New Civil Rights Movement: Fischer: Gays Responsible For A Third Of All Pedophilia Offenses
Truth Wins Out: Janet Mefferd Warns Listeners They Might Get “Sick to Their Stomachs” Over News Of Anderson Cooper’s Coming Out