County commissioners' chair Jennifer Roberts shouldn't be surprised her Republican colleagues didn't approve of a letter commending congressional representatives who voted to end the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
But commissioner Bill James' response was beyond egregious. Once more, he showcased his inability to recognize the boundaries between conservative political beliefs and blatant bigotry.
In an e-mailed response Monday to Roberts, James wrote, "Homosexuals are sexual predators." He also sent around a copy of a 1988 article about child molesters from the Archives of Sexual Behavior, and he highlighted one out-of-context sentence: "Eighty-six percent of offenders against males described themselves as homosexual or bisexual."
Clearly James has some misconceptions. Had he bothered to thoroughly read the article he sent, he'd have read nothing saying homosexuals are more apt to be sexual predators than heterosexuals, or equating child molesters with homosexuals. In fact, girls who are preyed upon by men are far more likely to report being victims than boys.
If James had looked at more current sources he might have found this from the American Psychological Association: "There is no evidence that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to molest children. The perpetrators of child sexual abuse or assault are overwhelmingly adult heterosexual males."
And James' would-be concern that members of the armed forces will be sexual prey if homosexuals can serve openly is misplaced. In reality, in today's armed forces women are the victims of the overwhelming majority of sexual assaults - from heterosexual men.
Yes, some homosexuals are predatory, as are some heterosexuals. And some are child molesters, just as are some heterosexuals. We don't condone either sexual predators or child molesters. The problem comes with the assumption that all gay people are predators or molesters.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.charlotteobserver.com.