Thursday, March 29, 2007

"Godwin's Law" for Sex Scandal Revisited

(Hat tip: Thanks, Victor!)

Last week, I wrote about a version of "Godwin's Law" that could apply to the Church's sex abuse scandal. Rich Leonardi of Ten Reasons linked to my post, but beyond that, it didn't receive much attention in St. Blog's - not that I really expected it to.

Now, a week later, the following item appears in John McCaslin's "Inside the Beltway" column in Thursday's edition of The Washington Times:
A Catholic priest who regularly prays outside an abortion clinic wrote of his positions in a newspaper column, to which two letter-writers responded.They dismissed the church's teaching against abortion on the grounds of the recent sex scandals -- in which church officials covered up accusations of sexual abuse, mostly by homosexual priests against teenage boys.

Catholic blogger Jay Anderson reacted by proposing a Catholic equivalent to the Internet rule known as Godwin's Law "for invocations of 'the Scandal' as a rhetorical device."

"It would go something like this: 'As a debate involving the Catholic Church (either a discussion about the Church specifically, or a discussion in which the Church is taking a position) grows longer, the probability of someone mentioning the sex scandal approaches one.'

"And then there's its corollary: 'Once such reference to the Scandal is made, whoever mentioned the Scandal has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress,' " writes Mr. Anderson, a former mayor of Columbia, Va.

"Perhaps the Scandal is still too recent," he concludes. "But surely, at some point in time, such ad hominem argumentation against the Church and its teachings needs to be consigned to similar status as inappropriate Nazi comparisons."
First, the National Catholic Register. And now, The Washington Times. I'm liable to get a big head if all the media attention continues. Sarah won't be able to live with me.


Thanks to Rich Leonardi, Dale Price, Amy Welborn, Dom Bettinelli, Julie D., Publius, Leticia, KaleJ, and The Curt Jester for their links.

UPDATE # 2 (2 April)
Dave Hartline also covered the Washington Times mention yesterday at Catholic Report. Thanks, Dave!

UPDATE # 3 (4 April)
Mark Shea has given the story new life by covering it at his blog. Thanks, Mark!

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At 3/29/2007 6:13 AM, Blogger Sir Galen of Bristol said...

Wow! The Times! Way to go!

At 3/29/2007 8:48 AM, Blogger Matt Hurley said...

Indeed! Well done!

At 3/29/2007 9:55 AM, Blogger mrsdarwin said...

You go with your bad self. When you're all famous, can we say that we knew you when?

At 3/29/2007 11:41 AM, Blogger Jeff Miller said...

So can we officially call it Anderson's Law now?

At 3/29/2007 11:41 AM, Blogger BillyHW said...

Nice to see your blog getting noticed.

You have quite a good blog here.

At 3/29/2007 11:55 AM, Blogger Julie D. said...

Well done! And well deserved! :-)

At 3/29/2007 12:07 PM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

Thanks everyone.

"So can we officially call it Anderson's Law now?"

LOL! I don't know, Jeff. This post's shameless self-promotion notwithstanding, I have to keep some semblance of humility.

Victor Morton suggested "Hannity's Law" based on the infamous Hannity/Fr. Euteneur exchange.

At 3/29/2007 2:10 PM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

Nah... Anderson's Law makes more sense because you defined it. Hannity can be the poster-child or something...

At 3/29/2007 2:39 PM, Blogger John Jansen said...


It's too bad, though, that the WT didn't link to your post. (Or do they generally not include external links?)

At 3/29/2007 4:04 PM, Blogger PB said...

Wow, nice to be noticed like that! Let's not get a big head now though.

At 3/30/2007 12:26 AM, Blogger EC Gefroh said...

Wow! Job well done!

At 3/30/2007 12:51 AM, Blogger Leticia said...

Nice work, Jay! I must say I'm not surprised that your talent was noticed. . .I'm so happy for you!

At 3/30/2007 1:15 AM, Blogger Leticia said...

I posted on this triumph of yours!

At 3/30/2007 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's too bad, though, that the WT didn't link to your post. (Or do they generally not include external links?)

Links don't do too well in print, and the linked WT article is just the online version of something in their print edition (the Inside the Beltway column).

At 3/30/2007 9:01 PM, Blogger KaleJ said...

What about if a mere comment by a Catholic warrants the Catholic "Goodwin effect"? I was commenting on a mothers working out of the home issue on a local blog and one nut took the bait on both the Goodwin and the "time better spent" line.

At least they know I am Catholic.

At 9/14/2008 10:21 PM, Blogger mikemathew said...

There are deer there, and possibly some roots and tubers. So instead of driving to the grocery store, we can forage. We have the internet, TV and each other for entertainment. If I can talk the office into letting me telecommute, we could just about ride this out.To obtain such a license, individuals had to either attend school for two years, apprentice for two years, or a combination of both. During that time, they would have to help embalm 25 bodies and master vast amounts of utterly irrelevant information.


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