Blaming The Victims Of Anti-Gay Violence

Andrew Sullivan quotes Joseph Cardinal Ratzinberger’s 1986 “Letter On The Pastoral Care Of Homosexual Persons”:

The proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, andirrational and violent reactions increase.

Sullivan unpacks what this essentially means:

the current Pope is clearly saying that the gay rights movement is responsible for violence against homosexuals and that if gay rights advance, we should not be surprised when “irrational and violent reactions increase”. This shifts the moral responsibility for violence from the thug to the victim. And when that message is sent from the very top of the church, those far less scrupulous can find moral justification for torture, beating and murder.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Mike AKA MonolithTMA

    It all comes down to his belief that homosexuality is a choice.

  • Daniel Fincke

    He doesn’t believe that. The Catholics think it’s natural but still a disorder.

  • stevarious

    So the catholic church believes that “no one has any conceivable right” to be exactly the way that god supposedly created them to be? How is that not a contradiction?

  • Daniel Fincke

    They’re allowed to be that way, just not behave that way. That’s the allegedly logical solution.

    Roman Catholic philosophy and theology claims to be explicating Natural Law and just observing the functional order of things and yet the Church infers that the function of a god-given homosexual desire is not to lead to homosexual love and sex but instead to lead to celibacy. Makes perfect sense that a God who created each thing with a specific purpose would make the purpose of one thing he made to be that it is never used.

    Perfect sense.

  • Anfractuous

    I agree with the above commenters. Of course the victim is not the cause of violence; remove the violent thug and you remove his violence. Logical, right? Nope. In fact, we women are all too familiar with the she-was-asking-for-it illogical argument. Neither the victims of homophobic violence nor the victims of misogynistic violence are responsible for the actions of others against them.

    However, I am quite pessimistic about ever convincing either kind of “phobe” as logic seems to bounce right off their holier-than-thou little consciousnesses. Fundamentalism, which begets both kinds of hatred, is explicitly designed to make believers immune to logic. Fundamental thugs believe in their divine right to exert power over those demonized “others,” and as long as their holy books and the voices from their pulpits echo the voices in their fevered brains, this fallacy will reign supreme and will cry out to be acted upon. One can only hope the influence of the fundies will soon be recognized as being as malicious as it surely is.

    Shall I count while we hold our collective breath for it? Sigh.

  • Buffy

    Yeah. LGBT people are audacious enough to ask for rights straight people have and take for granted. It’s only natural that straight people would respond like barbarians. Gotta keep the rabble in place, after all.