Monday, January 19, 2015

Cyborg Austin Ruse

Austin Ruse is head of the anti-gay hate group C-Fam — Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute which more accurately describes the operation than its secularized pseudonym, “Center for Family & Human Rights.” In 2013 the organization took in about $1.5 million and paid Mr. Ruse $149 thousand. During that year C-Fam had seven employees excluding independent contractors. In spite of its small size, two individuals are give the pretentious title of fellow.

Austin Ruse is a Defender of the Faith. Last week, at a Catholic website, Ruse was excoriating Gary Sinise for backing out of a Legatus event. Jeremy summarizes this matter at Good as You. There is no reason to repeat what he has written. What I found fascinating, however, was the comment thread on Ruse's polemic. One of the faithful posted a comment that homosexuality is a choice and that it is “curable.” My reply:

What I found truly astonishing was Ruse's response:

Who cares?” That perfectly illustrates our problem with fundamentalist Catholics; The teachings of the Church define reality and morality irrespective of widely accepted social and medical science. Every medical and counseling professional organization has concluded that sexual orientation is innate and immutable. Ruse claims that they are all wrong simply because of the teachings of the Church.

In 2003 then Cardinal Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict) wrote that just being gay is “objectively disordered.” He made a number of other ignorant and offensive statements in his treatise including the idea that we are “doing violence” to children when they are raised by gay parents. This is the same guy who, as pope, would eventually claim that condoms cause more people to contract AIDS.

Ratzinger is a theologian and a catechist. His background does not include medical, scientific or sociological training. The lack of applicable erudition did not preclude him from making stunningly stupid statements. More importantly, people like Ruse do not consider the fact that Ratzinger lacks the necessary background to weigh in on certain matters. People blindly and willingly accept Church doctrine as truth no matter how illogical or unsupported.

In 2003 Ratzinger was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. That institution was formerly known as the Inquisition.

In 1252 Pope Innocent IV wrote a papal treatise authorizing the use of torture in inquisitional trials. The was reaffirmed by Pope Clement IV in 1265. 50 years later the Church would authorize the Inquisition to investigate witchcraft and sorcery.

A few years (and scores of worn out thumb screws) later, the Inquisition claimed that its investigation revealed that witches swore allegiance to Satan. Those sorcerers were also quite busy having sex with the devil, kidnapping children and eating people. This was the prevailing scholarly Church wisdom of the day. I am quite certain that faithful Catholics in the 13th and 14th centuries believed every bit of this nonsense.

I could fill a server with the errors and misdeed of religious institutions over the last six thousand years but that is not the point. The more important issue is the lack of critical thinking on the part of adherents. It is why people flew airplanes into buildings in 2001. It is why Mr. Ruse's organization has been designated a hate group. When people attempt to tailor science or reality to comply with religious doctrine they create an intellectually dishonest world for themselves. People believed that witches are real. Some people continue to believe that the constructs of sexual orientation and sexual identity don't really exist. Seriously.

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