Church controversy
The increasing number of allegations and cases of sexual abuse of children and minors by Catholic priests has engulfed the Church in controversy and is being discussed in newspapers, magazines and on talk radio programs and cable news outlets daily.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) have received numerous reports from throughout the country about commentators and spokespeople linking homosexuality to pedophilia and sexual abuse of minors. In some cases increasingly inflammatory rhetoric is being used to characterize this crisis as a “homosexual problem.”

As this controversy continues to grow, HRC and GLAAD want to make sure that their members and GLBT community leaders have some research and action steps readily available that can be used in responding to anti-gay rhetoric and commentary where necessary and appropriate.

GLAAD’s web site (www.glaad.org) includes “Resources for Covering the Catholic Church Sex-Abuse Crisis,” which includes suggestions for fair, accurate and inclusive reporting; a list of contact information for media spokespeople and resources; and an archive of recent news and opinion coverage of the story.

HRC (hrc.grassroots.com) has developed a fact sheet of bullet points, research citations and expert opinions that clearly debunk the myth that gay men and lesbians are more likely to engage in sexual abuse of children and minors.

Dignity/USA (www.dignityusa.org), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics also has useful information on its website.

If you hear a news outlet or talk program or spokesperson try to make a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia or charge that gay men are inclined toward sexual abuse of minors, please consider doing the following:

1. Please express your opinions to the outlet directly.

2. Inform the reporter, editor or host of the distinction between healthy adult sexual orientations – gay, straight or bisexual – and any tendency to sexually abuse minors. Since it began reaching out to journalists on this issue earlier in the year, GLAAD has found that reporters who may not be conscious of this distinction are receptive to information that debunks this long-perpetuated myth.

3. Include in your response that any and all sexual contact between adults and children of any age is wrong and should be punished.

4. Use the resources from GLAAD and HRC to refute charges that sexual abuse of minors is in any way reflective of gay life, identity or sexual orientation.

5. E-mail or call GLAAD with the name of the news program or person that you spoke to so that we may track the stories. When possible, please copy GLAAD and HRC on your correspondence at glaad@glaad.org and field@hrc.org.

Gary DottermanBoston MA

Hearings in order
I sent the following to my Sentaors:

I am embarrassed that the United States government apparently gave aid and comfort to the authors of the coup against the democratically elected government of Venezuela.

The role of the Bush administration in this coup deserves thorough scrutiny, and congressional hearings are in order.

We cannot allow the present administration to use the extraordinary times in which we are living as a cover for anti-democratic actions at home or abroad.

Will you call for hearings on the situation in Venezuela?

Marc AuerbachSeattle WA

Union struggles
In the March 30 edition, an article headlined “Economics of Injustice” leaves the impression that there is no use for unions under capitalism, because they can never win gains.

We agree that capitalism can’t solve the problems of the people. However, we disagree that it is not possible to win gains under capitalism.

The Communist Party is committed to taking on every struggle of working people to make our lives better. The struggle to make life better under capitalism goes hand in hand with the struggle for socialism. They have to go together.

Union struggles are key to making gains, including higher wages, better working conditions, and security. In the course of union struggles, workers learn more about the limitations of capitalism.

The People’s Weekly World is a vital tool to help workers draw conclusions and raise their sights about the possibilities of a more fair and just society in which workers control the resources.

The People’s Weekly World should emphasize building unions and labor-community coalitions, and should reject the idea that unions are not doing any good.

Winchester Club, Conn. CPUSAvia e-mail

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