September 28, 2010
Human Rights Campaign gets nasty
Human Rights Campaign has launched a new website called "NOM Exposed" dedicated to uncovering the "truth, lies, and connections about the so-called National Organization for Marriage." I'm all in favor of providing the public with information about important political issues, but one look at this website makes clear that the primary motivation is not to provide information, but to paint opponents of same-sex marriage in the most sinister light possible, a sort of public shaming targeting anyone with the gall to stake out a position in support of traditional marriage. Consider the "Rogues' Gallery" of various people involved with NOM, complete with unflattering photos. Or the scarlet and black color scheme for the entire site. Or the ominous revelation that "NOM's deep pocket" is filled by "Mormon Church, Catholic Church, Opus Dei," and . . . [insert blood-curdling scream here] Evangelical Christians!" Or the news that NOM associates with groups like the Knights of Columbus and people like Carrie Prejean!
As someone who is sympathetic with some of the concerns aired by the LGBT rights movement, I consider this website to be a huge step in the wrong direction. Reasonable people can disagree in good faith about the wisdom of same-sex marriage. One argument against SSM has been the fear that, once SSM becomes the law of the land, opponents of SSM will be driven from the public square and relegated to the margins of society currently reserved for unabashed racists. Those fears find fertile ground in this website. The push for SSM has seen some remarkable successes in recent months. It is especially troubling that, in the wake of this success, one of the largest and most influential pro-SSM organizations decides to ratchet up the nastiness of their advocacy. It does not bode well for the climate that HRC intends to foster once their victory is complete.
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This is revolting.
They identify a whole family and their children.
Are they insane?
Posted by: Rob | Sep 29, 2010 8:08:42 AM
Yes, this is crazy. Magnificently stupid. Every movement has it's lunatics.
Posted by: sean samis | Sep 29, 2010 9:06:21 AM
"Reasonable people can disagree in good faith about the wisdom of same-sex marriage."
I am not happy about the web site, but in a struggle for human rights, I can't agree with the premise that "reasonable people can disagree in good faith." I don't think it is the position of the Catholic Church that "reasonable people can disagree in good faith" about its teaching against homosexuality. The Catholic Church, by its pronouncements in official documents, has chosen to be an enemy of gay people. Take the following, for example: "[W]hen civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase." In a very real sense, the Catholic Church does not even grant gay people the right to exist. (My statement is based on distinguishing between celibate "homosexual persons" who hide and struggle against their orientation versus "gay people," who embrace their orientation and engage in [or claim the right to engage in] homosexual behavior.)
The Catholic argument is not at all limited to supporting "traditional marriage" (whatever that may be). It is to deny same-sex couples any legal recognition whatsoever. Many people (thankfully) believe that gay men and lesbians should have, for example, a legal right to visit a partner in the hospital. However, the Vatican says, "Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil."
The CDF says,
"Homosexual persons, as human persons, have the same rights as all persons including the right of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity (cf. no. 10). Among other rights, all persons have the right to work, to housing, etc. Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute. They can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct. This is sometimes not only licit but obligatory. This would obtain moreover not only in the case of culpable behavior but even in the case of actions of the physically or mentally ill. Thus it is accepted that the state may restrict the exercise of rights, for example, in the case of contagious or mentally ill persons, in order to protect the common good. . . .
. . . An individual's sexual orientation is generally not known to others unless he publicly identifies himself as having this orientation or unless some overt behavior manifests it. As a rule, the majority of homosexually oriented persons who seek to lead chaste lives do not publicize their sexual orientation. Hence the problem of discrimination in terms of employment, housing, etc., does not usually arise."
It is clear that the only "homosexual persons" with rights are celibate homosexuals who hide their orientation. Those who engage in "objectively disordered external conduct" may (in fact sometimes should) be treated like dangerous mentally ill people.
The Catholic Church does not recognize the concept of gay rights at all. Indeed, for them it is an oxymoron. They do not recognize a right for reasonable people to disagree, or perhaps it might be said that they simply don't classify people who disagree with the Church's position as reasonable.
The struggle for gay rights cannot be fought by saying, "Here's what we think, but of course you have a right to believe the opposite." Human rights are not manufactured by persuading the majority to grant them. Rights are something you already have, and the struggle must be to make those who do not acknowledge that the rights really exist concede that they do. Of course, what the most effective strategies and tactics may be is open to debate. But when it comes to asserting one's rights, I don't see how you can assert a right, on the one hand, and then say reasonable people of good faith can disagree, on the other.
Posted by: David Nickol | Sep 29, 2010 9:48:03 AM
David, you might be right as applied to the right to exist, but there are many rights about which reasonable people can disagree in good faith. Should I have the right to burn the American flag? I think so, but I know reasonable people who disagree. The content and scope of the right to marry (e.g., not applicable to ten year-olds, nor to sisters, etc.) is a right about which reasonable disagreement is possible.
Posted by: rob vischer | Sep 29, 2010 9:58:23 AM
TO HRC: [via the feedback page on their website]
My own personal opinions about NOM and many of the people associated with it are decidedly negative, and I believe NOM should be fought. But the NOM Exposed website is overly sensational and bound to be counterproductive. It is very much in the nature of a political attack ad. Take for example, "Who Fills NOM's Deep Pocket? Mormon Church / Catholic Church / Opus Dei / Evangelical Christians." Many gay people not only know and respect Mormons, Catholics, and Evangelicals. May gay people ARE Mormons, Catholics, and Evangelicals. I would be the last to deny that the "official" Catholic Church is hostile to gay rights, but the Catholic laity by a small majority (51 percent) supports gay marriage, according to a recent poll. It is not helpful, in my opinion, to demonize the Catholic Church and the same is true for the Mormon Church and Evangelicals.
NOM definitely doesn't speak for me, but neither does NOM Exposed or (in this matter) HRC. Whether NOM speaks for "reasonable Americans" is an interesting question. Are those we disagree with -- even when they are flat out wrong -- necessarily unreasonable? In any case, you have put up a lurid and unhelpful web site, and I urge you to either modify it drastically or take it down.
Posted by: David Nickol | Sep 29, 2010 10:22:34 AM
David. Well said.
Posted by: sean samis | Sep 29, 2010 10:28:45 AM
Rob, I am of two minds about the "reasonable people" question, as you can see from my message to HRC. I suppose if it is agreed that reasonable people can be dead wrong, then reasonable people can disagree about anything. If by "reasonable people can disagree" is meant that there's really no right answer, and there is really no such thing as a right to same-sex marriage, and that there will be something *akin* to a right if the majority agrees, then my current position is that reasonable people can't disagree. I think a reasonable (or at least reasoned) case can be made against interracial marriage, but I certainly would not find it persuasive. Can reasonable people of good faith disagree about interracial marriage? Or abortion?
I admit it is a difficult question. But my core point is that when claiming a right, you *assert* it, and you don't concede that people who deny that right may be correct.
Posted by: David Nickol | Sep 29, 2010 10:49:17 AM
".... when claiming a right, you 'assert' it, and you don't concede that people who deny that right may be correct."
One thing I loved about Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush (whose politics I disagreed with a lot) were that they knew where they stood, and made their cases.
One of the most off-putting things I find about President Obama is that he seems to know where he stands, and he knows what he's going to do at the end of the day, but he often dresses it up as conceding that others who disagree may be correct, although it's pretty clear he doesn't *really* believe in the concession he just gave voice to. Why I found his second book unreadable.
Posted by: DFoley | Sep 29, 2010 10:58:29 AM
When I say that reasonable people may disagree, I am not suggesting that there is not a right answer, nor do I mean that advocates need to admit that the other side may be correct. I simply mean that those on the other side may be reasonable (which is not equivalent to "correct" or "persuasive"), and that the fact of their disagreement does not warrant demonization.
Posted by: rob vischer | Sep 29, 2010 11:34:51 AM
Demonization -- probably not a good idea. Agreed, generally, those on the other side of any given issue may be reasonable (often/usually are). Would there ever be a situation where those on the other side of an issue -- what they are saying, what they are doing -- is so objectively bad (in your opinion) that they should be held up to scorn, to ridicule, or at least to not-so-good-natured skewering, in order to highlight the ridiculousness of their position, and perhaps to bring that ridiculousness to light?
Posted by: DFoley | Sep 29, 2010 11:45:19 AM
I agree about demonization, but I don't think the social disapproval of, say, anti-Semitism, misogyny, or anti-black racism is demonization. A number of people here have expressed concern that they are, or will be, subject to social disapproval as a result of successes in the gay-rights movement. It is difficult for me to say that is or would be a bad thing.
Posted by: David Nickol | Sep 29, 2010 11:51:02 AM
I don't think demonization is ever a good idea, and I think public scorn can be an effective tool for challenging a position, but probably not for criticizing the person holding the position (though I'd be tempted to employ it myself against a whole bunch of people, ranging from Peter Singer to Katy Perry to Knicks fans). I would not support a website that took this same NOM Exposed approach to a group with which I have a fundamental disagreement, e.g., NARAL.
Posted by: rob vischer | Sep 29, 2010 12:02:55 PM
David, if ever they find a gay gene or a gene that correlates with homosexuality, and women start aborting their gay fetuses, I think you will come to see that the Catholic Church does believe that gay people have a right to exist. In fact, the members of HRC, including those who put up that website, may then come to see that the Church and that old celibate german man are actually fighting to protect their lives as well.
Posted by: BMoney | Sep 29, 2010 2:00:10 PM
Rob, with respect to public scorn of positions being effective, that brings to mind your point a few months ago about the use of too much sarcasm in discourse. Seems Rush Limbaugh and Rachel Maddow can both effectively use ridicule -- can get their point across, can highlight what they believe are the flaws of the opposition -- and yet it seems to me they do it too much (which then lessens effectiveness). Also, it can be difficult to distinguish scorn for the position and scorn for the person.
Posted by: DFoley | Sep 29, 2010 2:39:01 PM
BMoney: You say, "David, if ever they find a gay gene or a gene that correlates with homosexuality, and women start aborting their gay fetuses, I think you will come to see that the Catholic Church does believe that gay people have a right to exist."
Please note that above I said, "My statement is based on distinguishing between celibate "homosexual persons" who hide and struggle against their orientation versus "gay people," who embrace their orientation and engage in (or claim the right to engage in) homosexual behavior." I have no doubt that if a "homosexual gene" is discovered, the Church would forbid aborting the unborn who were found to be carrying that gene. However, a homosexual gene would presumably determine only orientation, not behavior. A gene that did actually determine homosexual behavior -- that it, made it inevitable that a person engaged in homosexual behavior rather than remaining celibate -- would be a gene that robbed its bearer of free will.
Being gay is a matter of self-identification and behavior, not a matter of what genes one is born with. The Church prohibits that self-identification and that behavior. Hence, it holds, in effect, that gay people do not have a right to exists. This is not to say that the Church wants to exterminate gay people. It simply wants them to stop being gay.
One might also say the Church holds that the divorced and remarried do not have a right to exist, since if Church teachings were followed, there could be no divorced and remarried. Both gay people and the divorced and remarried are in a state that the Church regards as morally disordered. But do take a look at what Pope John Paul II said about pastoral care of the divorced and remarried (link below). I have never seen anything from the Church about gay people that matches this in tone.
Speaking of free will, I am astounded that there has been almost no reaction to Pope Benedict XVI recently absolving priests who have sexually abused minors of responsibility for their behavior. He said in his press conference on the plane to the UK, "Second, the problem of the guilty persons [i.e., pedophile priests]. The just punishment is exclusion from all possibilities of access to young people because we know that this is a disease and free will does not work where there is disease. So we have to protect these people against themselves and find ways to help them, protect them against themselves and exclude them from any access to young people."
The just *punishment* for pedophiles is to exclude them from all possibility of access to young people? First, if no free will was involved, there is no need of punishment. Second, if the just punishment for pedophiles is to exclude them from all possibility of access to young people, why do we send them to prison? Why not house arrest or confinement to places like retirement communities where there are no children? Or mental hospitals? Do you really send people who have no free will to prison? And what does it say to pedophiles who haven't been caught yet to claim that they have no free will? Finally, what about the bishops who moved pedophile priests from place to place rather than guaranteeing that they had no access to young people. Were these bishops also acting without free will?
Posted by: David Nickol | Sep 29, 2010 3:55:14 PM
Humans know only a little about genetics, but we do know that homosexuality likely is not the result of “a gene for homosexuality”; our genome does not appear to operate so simply. Very few traits are the exclusive result of the expression of only one (or a small number of) genes. Something as complex as sexual orientation is very unlikely to be.
Regarding the comment, “Being gay is a matter of self-identification and behavior, not a matter of what genes one is born with” I have do dispute this; is being “straight” merely a matter of self-identification and behavior? How about left-handed? Color-blindness? Dyslexia? Having perfect pitch? Eidetic memory? Being gay might not be genetic, but that does not make it a choice. If being gay is biologically determined (whether genetically or developmentally) then there is no moral or legal basis for discrimination. If some assert that it is merely a choice, on whom is the burden of proof, and why?
With regard to whether “reasonable people can disagree”, I think too much is hidden in that expression. Are “reasonable” people “reasonable” most of the time? (No one is reasonable all the time.) Does “reasonable” refer to reasoned (logical, coherent) thought, or merely to behavior: “not overcome by emotion”? If “reasonable people” are merely well behaved (a low bar), then reasonable people can certainly disagree. Given the venom often seen in public discourse these days, this low bar is probably the most we can hope for.
Demonization is never a good idea. Of course, given the aforementioned venomous nature of discourse, these days one need merely disagree to be accused of “demonizing” someone. Actual demonization and sarcasm are indicators that the speaker/writer has run out of good ideas. Or been overcome by emotion? We are none of us perfect. Present company included.
The Pope's comments on free will, as reported here, are incoherent. If being “gay” were a disease (as some insist) then it could not be a choice, free will being "overcome by disease". Pedophiles would need isolation to prevent them from victimizing others, but gays would not need any restrictions, they do not victimize others anymore that heterosexuals do.
Posted by: sean samis | Sep 29, 2010 4:50:04 PM
"Being gay might not be genetic, but that does not make it a choice."
I would say that being a "homosexual person" is not a matter of choice. Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice. Sexual behavior and self-acceptance is. A person who has a homosexual orientation but who is appalled by it and would never act on it, or if he (or she) acts on it is ashamed, is not "gay" in my book. Gay is a name self-accepting "homosexual persons" use to describe themselves. This is why I think it is correct for Vatican documents to say "homosexual person" instead of "gay person." Sexual orientation goes back to the dawn of human existence (and before), but being gay is a relatively recent cultural phenomenon. It is rather silly to ask if historical figures like Alexander the Great or Michaelangelo were gay. The concept didn't exist then. Likewise it is silly to ask whether an ancient Greek who had a wife and a boy lover was straight or gay or bisexual. The concepts don't really apply.
Handedness, color blindness, and dyslexia are not behaviors. A homosexual orientation isn't a behavior either. But accepting a homosexual orientation as something good (or neutral) rather than a "moral disorder" is a choice. Also, I think identifying enough with other gay people to the extent that one describes oneself as gay is also a choice.
So I am 100% in agreement that sexual orientation is not chosen. I often wonder how people who claim it *is* chosen experience their own sexuality. But I think a person who declines to call himself gay is not gay, no matter what his (or her) sexual orientation. Should married men with children who get caught having furtive sex with men in public places be described as gay when they insist they are straight? I don't think so. I am not sure I would call them straight, but I certainly wouldn't call them gay.
Posted by: David Nickol | Sep 29, 2010 5:48:56 PM
David - In my view the Church doesn't "prohibit" people from self-identifying as gay or engaging in gay sex. It teaches - it proposes - that certain actions, including gay sex for example, are not pleasing to God. The Church cannot (and should not) force a person to accept its proposals.
As I understand it, the Church teaches that we are all sinners, and so we are all in need of a savior. The savior is Jesus Christ - this is the good news. But the Church also teaches that Jesus calls us to become perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect, and that such perfection requires a change in our "self identification and behavior." In fact, the Church invites us to give up the freedom to self-identify and behave as we wish and to lose our lives for His sake. In that sense, the Church does invite each person to put on a new self and to die to his old self. The Church's challenge and invitation is made to all men, straight or gay, to repent and believe in the gospel. The Church's invitation to repentance and a new life in Christ is not a denial of anyone's right to exist, it is an affirmation that God has given us a way to be saved.
Posted by: BMoney | Sep 29, 2010 6:42:06 PM
BMoney: You say, "It teaches - it proposes - that certain actions, including gay sex for example, are not pleasing to God."
The Catholic Church doesn't merely teach and propose. It actively involves itself in political battles over matters like anti-discrimination laws to protect gay people and referendums on same-sex marriage. It also gives its blessing to discrimination against gay teachers, coaches, and soldiers. It bars celibate homosexual men from the priesthood. It shuts down adoption services rather than comply with laws that prohibit discrimination against same-sex couples. It withdraws benefits from all married couples so it will not have to give benefits to same-sex married couples. The Church does much more than teach and propose. It discriminates and wages political battles to deny gay people legal rights.
Posted by: David Nickol | Sep 30, 2010 7:35:26 AM
I think I understand what you say “gay” means to you; it strikes me as odd, and I admit I’m still thinking about it. I can’t say that I see any merit in the distinction, but your definition (if I may call it that) is not something I’ve encountered before. I will admit my first impression is to say “uh … No.”
If I understand you correctly, the distinctive features of a “gay person” are 1. homosexual orientation; 2. homosexual behavior without shame; and 3. self-acceptance of their orientation and behaviors.
If I am right, #1 is biologically determined so it is not blameworthy. #3 is blameworthy only if #2 is, so what this all comes down to lack of shame for being gay and acting on that fact. Here of course is where we run into the next hurdles: why should a “gay person” be appalled by their sexual orientation, and why should they never act on it?
Regarding “being gay is a relatively recent cultural phenomenon.” This is true only if one accepts your construction of “gayness”. However, Alexander the Great (and many in his Army) probably fit your definition of “gay person”. That the concepts you propose didn’t exist at the time is not relevant to our understanding of what “gay” means since your proposals are not widely accepted even now. I believe most persons would agree that #1 above is sufficient to establish that one is “gay”. You might not agree, but that is, I think, the community consensus. I would love to see you explain the merits of your view; I don’t see any. But good try.
You allude to something that others have commented on: that “Gay” is a self-identification as well as a sexual orientation. This objection (when it is raised as an objection) is incoherent. How can homosexuals defend their rights without establishing that they are affected by injustice? Alexander the Great might not have made much of his homosexuality; he didn’t need to, no one cared. Now many “moral” people do care a great deal about it, and homosexuals avoid oppression only by hiding or demanding justice. Unfortunately, they cannot demand justice without having someone to point to as the victim of the injustice. So Gay HAS TO BE an “identity” just to have standing to oppose injustice. Someday, when this injustice is long in the past, being gay will no longer be an identity; it will serve little purpose. Unfortunately, the terms of the debate currently make it mandatory. Once again, they have no choice.
I share David’s concerns about your characterization of the Church’s “invitation”; if that’s all it was, I doubt we’d be having this conversation. Unfortunately, in the name of the Church many persons propose actions which are more coercive or punitive than “inviting”. I agree that not every Catholic, and not even every clergy-member agrees with these less-than-inviting proposals, but AS AN INSTITUTION, the Church’s invitations seem uncharitable and insensitive.
Posted by: sean samis | Sep 30, 2010 9:50:55 AM
I will try to write something further on the distinction I make between "gay" and "homosexual," but it may not be for a while, and it may not be in this thread. I promise, however, that it will be both brilliant and persuasive. :P
Posted by: David Nickol | Sep 30, 2010 4:59:44 PM
Truthfully, I look forward to your inevitably brilliant and persuasive explication.
Posted by: sean samis | Sep 30, 2010 8:08:08 PM
the thread should be submitted on any forum rather than using a blog, you will get instant replies on forum. I guess this one is a brilliant topic to work on. As a writer I will consider this issue in my upcoming posts on my blog.
Posted by: Cathy Williams | Oct 1, 2010 7:58:26 AM
The essence of our Dignity as Human Beings is found within our inherent, complementary nature as male and female which has been endowed to us from God, for, from The Beginning,("Let Us Make Man In Our Image.") we have been created in His Image, to live in a communion of Love while being called to the ordered, complementary, Communion Of Perfect Love that is the Blessed Trinity. For this reason, we are not called by God to live in relationship as "heterosexual" and "homosexual", which demeans the inherent Dignity of the Human Person and is in direct conflict with God's Commandment regarding the sin of adultery and lust, rather we are called to live our lives in relationship as male and female, for we are men and women, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters...called to be oriented to The Word Of God Who Is Perfect Love.
Posted by: N.D. | Oct 2, 2010 5:09:33 PM
There is no question that the Church thinks its teachings have political implications and speaks publicly on them (like any other organization is entitled to do in a free society), and there is no question the Church has standard expectations for its members, employees and leaders, but the Church is not doing what you claim: prohibiting people from self-identifying as gay. The Church is a voluntary membership organization and those who disagree with it can leave, send their kids to public school, speak against it in the public square, etc.
No one likes it when someone - or an institution - tells them that their chosen behavior is sinful, but to accept the invitation to repentence we must be convicted about sin. The Church would be doing the world a disservice if it treated objectively disordered behavior of any kind as something good, or just ignored it and pretended we are all okay. The truth is that none of us are okay on our own, and that we are all engaged in sin, and that we all need a way out - we need a savior. Making people aware of their sinful choices is not a denial of their right to exist or to self-identify as gay or something else, it is an act of love and a way of leading others to the truth. No doubt, the Church and its members often express their teachings poorly and without due regard for their listeners, but the fact that those listening to the Church are frequently offended by its teachings should not be a surprise, especially in light of how the world responded to Christ. In fact, the Church, if it is doing its job, should offend all of us - hopefully enough to see our sin and turn to the one who can heal us.
Posted by: BMoney | Oct 3, 2010 9:06:37 AM
It is not evident that humans even have an “essence”; much less what this/those essence(s) might be. This does not mean that you are wrong, but that there is more than ample doubt about the soundness of your reasoning to conclude that legal prohibitions on third parties predicated on these tenuous opinions are improper in a free society. It is the right of persons to believe that their homosexuality is in accord with God’s commandments. They may be wrong but – absent harm to others – it is their right to live their lives according to their beliefs. This is not an imposition on you or others who agree with you. That is the essence of Freedom of Religion.
Homosexuality is not an “objectively disordered behavior”; it’s Not Even A Behavior; it is an attribute inclining one toward a behavior. Homosexual behavior is not “objectively disordered”, whether it’s disordered is entirely SUBjective. Homosexuality appears to arise naturally, and not only in humans; so it is unlikely to be “contrary” to nature. Since behavior that arises only from this natural impulse does not harm third parties nor undermine social order, it is reasonably considered “ordered behavior” barring evidence to the contrary. Such evidence is currently lacking.
Regarding “Making people aware of their sinful choices is not a denial of their rights …” Since the “sinfulness” of homosexual behavior is only an opinion based on unsubstantiated beliefs, one cannot Make Anyone Aware of its “sinfulness”; one can only make people aware of the disapproval of others. That task was completed long ago.
If all the Church were trying to do was “make people aware” and “lead them to the truth”: the truth that the Church believes it to be, then this issue would not be in play. In reality, the Church as an institution supports efforts to compel compliance or penalize non-compliance. This is far beyond mere “teaching” and far beyond “the Church doing its job”.
Posted by: sean samis | Oct 4, 2010 12:32:01 PM
Sean - you will notice that I didn't say that homosexuality was an objectively disordered "behavior", I said the following: "The Church would be doing the world a disservice if it treated objectively disordered behavior of any kind as something good, or just ignored it and pretended we are all okay." I was talking about behavior, not homosexuality generally.
Your response to my post proves my point. The Church is not coercing you to believe that gay sex is a sin, nor is it preventing you from speaking against the Church's position in the public square, nor is it prohibiting you from self-identifying as gay. You are free to believe and do what you like. The fact that the Church speaks publicly on all sorts of topics, including matters like marriage, does not mean that it is punishing or coercing anyone into accepting what it proposes. Any organization in a free society has the right to express its views in the public square. Voters and lawmakers gets to decide whether those views deserve to be translated into law.
Posted by: BMoney | Oct 5, 2010 10:36:53 AM
What you were writing about seemed muddled to me (homosexuality or homosexual behavior); these are commonly confused. Thanks for clarifying your comment. However, you have yet to clarify why anyone would believe homosexual behavior is “disordered”, much less “OBJECTIVELY disordered”.
Regarding “The fact that the Church speaks publicly on all sorts of topics, including matters like marriage, does not mean that it is punishing or coercing anyone into accepting what it proposes.” If the Church only spoke regarding their opinion on the virtues or vices of some quality or behavior, then your point would be valid. However, the fact that the Church advocates legal prohibitions and opposes legal equalities is behavior that enters the realm of coercion.
Hypothetical: If an influential Protestant denomination spoke “publicly on all sorts of topics, including matters like” limiting the rights of Catholics (“papists”) and then claimed they were not “coercing” or oppressive because “voters and lawmakers gets to decide whether those views deserve to be translated into law” it’s likely you would sing a different tune. Our rights are not subject to the whim of voters and lawmakers: neither our freedom of religion nor our right to equal protection; both of which protect homosexuals as much as Catholics, not to mention homosexual Catholics.
The fact that the Church needs voters and lawmakers to go-along does not mean that the advocacy of oppressive regimes is morally justified or undeserving of criticism. Advocating oppression or coercion is not an innocent act. All immoral regimes began with advocacy.
Posted by: sean samis | Oct 5, 2010 11:46:00 AM
When I mention that homosexuals ultimately desire to persecute religious believers I am told it is nonsense. But I am right on target. Actually I, and folks like me, are the target.
Posted by: Fr. J | Oct 6, 2010 1:38:10 PM
If "persecution" means denying you the right to impose your beliefs on others, then you are right. Otherwise, not so much. You forget: many homosexuals are believers too. I don't think anyone can speak for all homosexuals; but the ones I know just want to be treated as equals and otherwise left alone. That's not too much to demand.
Posted by: sean samis | Oct 6, 2010 2:50:01 PM
Sean, but they don't want to be left alone. They want schools to teach our children that their lifestyle is fine. They want society to recognize their "unions." They want to silence those who disagree with them. They want to curtail freedom of speech and religion. They want to impose their beliefs on me and other Catholics. That is too much to demand. We will refuse to go along with it and will fight back. We have already seen the discrimination that happens when we assert our rights.
Posted by: Fr. J | Oct 6, 2010 6:33:49 PM
No, Fr. J;
They want our schools to stop teaching children that they are evil. They want their marriages treated the same as others. They don't care if you disagree, just leave them alone. They want their rights recognized, not to take away others. They don't care what other Catholics believe (for some of them ARE Catholics) they just want to be left alone. These are all reasonable demands. You may refuse to leave them alone; you may fight to limit their rights; you may assert your right to discriminate against them; but the same laws that protect them protect you.
It's going to be OK Fr. We will all get through this and wonder what the fuss was about.
Posted by: sean samis | Oct 7, 2010 9:07:55 AM
Sean, you prove my point. They label any opposition as "hate" or "evil" and attempt to silence it. They believe they have the "right" to teach children that homosexuality is good regardless of what a child's parents or faith might say. They want the "right" to limit free speech and expression of religion. If we go through this then one day the children of Christian parents will be taken away from them and those who proclaim the Catholic faith will be imprisoned for hate speech. It will be a bit late then to wonder about the "fuss."
Posted by: Fr. J | Oct 7, 2010 11:22:43 AM
No, Fr. J;
Homosexuals object to BEING labeled "evil"; they don’t label others especially more than other people do. They don’t believe it’s their right to teach children anything, only to not be LABELED as "evil" in schools. They don’t want to limit free speech or expressions of religion, they just want to be treated fairly and left alone. Say what you want, just don’t take away their rights either.
It's going to be OK Fr. They won’t be sending anyone to prison, nor taking anyone’s children away. We will all get through this and we WILL wonder what the fuss was about.
Posted by: sean samis | Oct 7, 2010 4:20:25 PM
Sean, they may not like the label but we teach homosexual acts are evil. It is they who label Christian children as "evil" in schools. They label the Church as "evil" because it opposes gay "marriage." Already we have seen where they DO try to take our rights away. I have given examples. Here is another, in the UK and some US States Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to close because they won't allow homosexual couples to adopt. These are private agencies acting out of religious belief. In Canada clergy and faithful have been brought before kangaroo Human Rights courts. A KofC council was forced to rent their hall to a homosexual couple. Another teacher in BC was almost denied her license because of her faith. In Georgia a Social Worker student was denied a degree because she would not accept homosexuality. There is a fuss and it is the Christians who are suffering. I haven't even gone into the Prop 8 arson and assaults against Christians. I probably won't go to prison, but in less then 50 years I am betting some of us will.
Posted by: Fr. J | Oct 7, 2010 6:18:21 PM
Every movement and group has fringe lunatics; whether we talk about homosexuals or the Church or whatever group, every group has it’s fringe lunatics. If the sins of the few are imputed to the whole, then manifest evils can be imputed to all Catholics because of the sins of a few. Do you really need me to go into the sordid details of recent history of the Church? Shall we punish all Catholics for the sins of a few? No; that would be unjust. It is just as unjust to punish all homosexuals for the sins of a few. Catholics and Christians have no greater claim to justice than does any other group of people.
Homosexuals in general do not label Christians as evil; many homosexuals ARE Christians. Many homosexuals ARE Catholics.
I have no doubt that some Christians, including Catholics, have suffered injustices because of their beliefs; but we all know that many homosexuals have suffered as greatly or more so. Everything bad you mention has happened to homosexuals too. The victimization of Catholics is NOT a greater sin than victimization BY Catholics.
No one is going to prison just for disapproving of homosexuals, at least not in the US. Let the Canadians take care of their own. If it happens here, we have much bigger problems, and if anyone goes to prison in some dystopian future on account of their opinion about homosexuality, it’s likely to be homosexuals, not Christians. There is a fuss; some Christians are suffering; very often it is Christians causing suffering.
Posted by: sean samis | Oct 7, 2010 8:30:57 PM
Sean s, and what shall you call this "new religion", that claims we have not been made in The Image of God but that we can make god in our own image?
Posted by: N.D. | Oct 8, 2010 9:56:49 AM
Sean, persecution is already happening against Christians for their beliefs on sexuality. Why do I consider your reassurances and yet feel like it is 1933, I live in Germany, and my name is Goldstein? Our faith does not victimize homosexuals. Our faith is not a sin. Homosexuality causes the suffering of homosexuals.
Posted by: Fr. J | Oct 8, 2010 7:31:44 PM
Your posts are helpful and informative as always. Thanks very much. And keep posting such stuff in the future too.
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