The Vatican and the RNC
A reader writes:
You seem to confuse age of consent with pedophilia. One is a legal standard and the other a psychological one. Age of consent does not determine pedophilia which has a clinical defintion, not a legal one. That definition is a sexual interest in prepubescent children. And Foley object of desire was far past the age of puberty. While referred to in the press as 16 years old (which was correct) he turned 17 and may have been 17 when the messages were written. In one such message he referred to turn 18 in a few months time.
So this is not pedophilia by any clinical definition.
If the Foley incident is not about pedophilia, it is also not, it seems to me, about homosexuality. It's fundamentally about the closet. The closet is so psychologically destructive it often produces pathological behavior. When you compartmentalize your life, you sometimes act out in one compartment in ways that you would never condone in another one. Think Clinton-Lewinsky, in a heterosexual context. But closeted gay men are particularly vulnerable to this kind of thing. Your psyche is so split by decades of lies and deceptions and euphemisms that integrity and mental health suffer. No one should excuse Foley's creepy interactions; they are inexcusable, as is the alleged cover-up (although we shouldn't jump to conclusions yet about who knew what when). But there's a reason gay men in homophobic institutions behave in self-destructive ways.
Or think of it another way: what do the Vatican and the RNC have in common? Here's one potential list: entrenched homophobia, psychologically damaged closet cases, inappropriate behavior toward teens and minors ... and cover-ups designed entirely to retain power. The parallels are looking a little creepy. And the source is the same.