N PSYCHOLOGY, ''projection" occurs when someone attributes to others his own unpleasant beliefs or motivations. It is projection, for instance, when a liar assumes that everyone he deals with is dishonest, or when a man tempted by adultery accuses his spouse of planning to deceive him. Projection occurs in the public arena as well, as when supporters of racial preferences label ''racist" those who believe the law should be strictly colorblind.
A fresh example of projection arrived the other day by way of a news release from the Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation’s largest gay and lesbian political organizations.
On March 10, Catholic Charities of Boston had announced that it was being forced to shut down its highly regarded adoption services, since it could not in good conscience comply with the government’s demand that it place children for adoption with homosexual couples. Caught between the rock of Catholic teaching, which regards such adoptions as ''gravely immoral," and Massachusetts regulations, which bar adoption agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, the Boston Archdiocese had hoped to obtain a waiver on religious-freedom grounds. But when legislative leaders refused to consider the request, the archdiocese was left with no option but to end a ministry it had been performing for a century.