Catholic School Censors Newspaper Article by Gay Teenager

High school senior Sean Simonson wrote an article about the difficulty of life as a gay teen for the student newspaper at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in Minnesota.

The piece was also published on the paper’s website… but after people started to comment on it, the administration couldn’t deal with it and removed the piece from the site:

After Simonson’s essay ran in the Knight Errant, 93 comments poured into its website. Many of them praised Simonson for what they said was his courage. A distinct minority didn’t. Some quoted theology. Some attacked Simonson. Some were anonymous.

… the principal wanted the newspaper to stop taking comments on the piece. Simonson disagreed.

“The piece was sort of to create this dialogue,” said Simonson. “And if we just stopped accepting comments, we destroyed the meaning of the story and so it wasn’t really worth doing.”

Knight Errant staff, together with their faculty advisor, agreed instead to remove the two op-eds and the comments from the website, and post this explanation from the principal.

“While lively debate and discussion clearly has its place in a Catholic school, this particular discussion is not appropriate because the level of intensity has created an unsafe environment for students. As importantly, the articles and ensuing online postings have created confusion about Church teaching,” the statement read in part.

Here’s the full statement.

I don’t see why it’s so hard for the school to monitor the website for any hateful or threatening comments and delete them, while allowing for civil debate on the issue. But to get rid of the piece and comments because some of them challenged the church’s teachings? What weak faith they must have there.

“I think it’s always regrettable when a school administrator decides that the appropriate way to handle controversy is to suppress it,” said Jane Kirtley, a professor of law and media ethics at the University of Minnesota.

And what was it about the piece that caused such an uproar? Read it for yourself:

… Try going through a day in the life of a gay teen.

You fear looking the wrong way in the locker room and offending someone. Politicians are allowed to debate your right to marry the person you love or your right to be protected from hate crimes under the law. Your faith preaches your exclusion — or damnation. And no one does anything to stop it.

Recently, the Archbishop used money donated by an anonymous source to denounce same-sex marriage. That’s right: a major religious leader used non-Church money from a questionable source to publicly condemn your right to express your love in a public and binding manner.

And all of you who don’t have to undergo this horror daily, it’s up to you to help. Don’t stand by and let hatred go on. Don’t sit back and watch your friends be discriminated against. Reach out and help those who might need it.

Together, maybe we can make the world an easier place to live for gay and straight teens alike. Because no one else is going to do it for us.

And the school’s response to those beautiful, important words was to censor the piece so others couldn’t discuss it on the website. If it wasn’t for the reposting of the article on other websites, I’m not sure how anyone outside the school could’ve read it.

Maybe it’s all for the best, though, because now Sean’s words are going to be read by far more people than they would have otherwise.

Sean says they did get to talk about the issue at school in a different setting:

Their religion classes discussed the issues raised in the editorials and clarified the Catholic Church’s position on gays and lesbians.

Benilde’s president Bob Tift said in a statement that the Catholic Church teaches that “men and women with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

The Catholic Church’s position is no better than that of evangelical Christians: Gay people shouldn’t be physically harassed and deserve respect… but they’ll fight back as much as possible to ensure that gay people don’t get the same rights as straight people.

I hope this sort of thing sparks more debate from the students. It would be fantastic if the graduating class included many students fed up with the Church’s intolerance, causing them to leave it for good as adults.

  • http://www.yangandcampion.com margaret y.

    What shocks me is not that the school’s website took the article down, but that they let it be published in the first place.

  • J9

    Margaret Y., that also shocked me. I don’t think an article about homosexuality would ever be published in my good ‘ol Christian community; it would give too many people heart attacks.
    Unfortunately, LGBTs are expected to put up with this in silence, but I’m glad this young man’s words are being heard despite the attempt to shut him up and to quiet any grumblings on the church’s intolerance.

  • Elijah Baley

    Clearly, the issue is that there was confusion about Church teaching, which should not occur in the setting of a Catholic school. The improper protests which resulted from the publication of this article should be silenced, as they would be presented very falsely as proper Catholic protests, especially given that the Church teaches “men and women with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” When hatred arises in opposition to this teaching, a school has every right, if not an obligation, to silence it.

    Isn’t it possible that there are serious theological errors in the article which misrepresent teaching? That to monitor such hateful comments was initially the plan of the school authorities? That the onerous task of moderating away hateful comments would be damaging to the moderator? That to intend to post hateful comments is damaging to the poster, whether or not it the comment is seen?

    If any of the above is true, then the school in question is surely acting in the best interests of all involved. Civil debate is wonderful, but when it ceases to be civil it loses its value, much like the effect of unthinking, reflexive snark.

  • Joe Baron

    I think we should be aware that this is a private Christian school. Yes, we don’t want to censure someone’s right to free speech, but we also want to keep in mind to the over all goal of the school. If you don’t like that goal, than that’s tough. You can always take the student out of the PRIVATE CHRISTIAN school and put them into a public school or a different private school.
    We should also keep in mind that the school has a goal for Christian education. The Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality as a sin is clear. It does not endorse it. They want to promote Christian values. Why is that so hard for us to grasp? If the shoe was on the other foot, let’s say a young Christian student wanted to write an article in local newspaper explaining how difficult it was to be a Christian in a PRIVATE MUSLIM school, do you think they would have to endure the same “suffering”. Of course! And what about the Science Professor who wants to teach Intellegent Design in our Evolutionary endorsed and saturated universities. Do you think that they get tenure? Do they get fired today? YES!

    I would also like to add that instead of saying “gay teen” in the beginning part of the letter, we should replace it with “teacher”. Who is looking out for them? Our poor teachers and school administrators are bombarded at a ridiculous level with catering to political agendas, and trying to fill the role of Mom and Dad. There is very little support from administration due to the lack of real consequences (we all know that they will just be promoted up anyway).

    I would also like to see what this student describes as “horror” at his school. I do not doubt that students do go through tremendous bullying today and that teenagers are cruel. However, I wonder if this student has smelled the reality of what is going on in Africa, or India, or Pakistan, or Haiti with someone that is his age right now.

  • Silent Service

    There’s still progress there. Had I come out at that age in my small rural Midwestern town they wouldn’t have found my body for weeks. Now, I’d probably get a public response similar to Sean’s. I’m very glad Sean can actually post a public article with some support from his community. It gives me hope for humanity.

  • Rich Wilson

    Shocked I tell you, shocked and stunned. The very idea that a Catholic institution would bury its head in the sand.

  • Elijah Baley

    How is this school burying its head in the sand? If anything, it is removing its head from the sand of free expression, recognizing that the effect of hate is as profound on the man who does the hating as on the man being hated. In a school especially but also anywhere else, free expression is reasonably limited when is explicitly hateful.

    Insofar as this article provided an outlet for hate it should not have existed within the bounds of a school; it would be irresponsible to allow students to become inflamed against other students for the sake of both the students becoming hateful and the student being hated.

  • http://eruditehypocrite.blogspot.com Jesus

    In my opinion, the parents should not be forcing this kid to go to a private Catholic school in the first place. As an atheist parent, I would never let my kids step foot in a place like that. I don’t know if this kid’s parents know he is gay, but if they do then putting him into a school that preaches that homosexuality is a sin isn’t doing him any favors. I would would not at all be surprised if his parents know he is gay and put him in that school to try to “make him normal”.

    I am shocked that the school even posted that article in the first place, so I’m not surprised that they took it down. Do you think the school would leave up an article written by an atheist stating his or her views on mono-theism? Frankly, this kid needs to get out of that school and into a learning environment where he is not automatically condemned.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com miller

    It sounds like the decision was not intended to silence Simonson, but to maintain a safe campus. What if the flame war spilled offline and manifested as anti-gay bullying? We may question their means, but keep in mind that their goal is to support queer students, not hurt them.

  • Harold

    No control over their own site, they can’t disable comments on an article? Actually, considering this is a school, that wouldn’t be terribly surprising.

  • http://www.control-z.com Craig D, Seattle WA

    Typical of church leadership. Deny\reject\hide those things that are clearly visible and apparent while advocating things that are invisible\unapparent\hidden.

  • Claudia

    but we also want to keep in mind to the over all goal of the school. If you don’t like that goal, than that’s tough. You can always take the student out of the PRIVATE CHRISTIAN school and put them into a public school or a different private school.

    We can recognize the right of a private school to make decisions about their functioning WHILE we condemn them as wrong-headed. They are not mutually exclusive. Also in the particular case of schools the problem is that the student doesn’t actually have a choice, because his or her life is under the control of parents that may or may not give the slightest shit about their childs opinions of the school.

    I was going to make the point that no school would be so stupid as to pull an article condemning active racism, but then I realized that of course, we do prohibit racial discrimination even in private schools, so we aren’t all about freedom of private enterprise to discriminate against someone’s immutable characteristics after all.

    I find it particularly telling that they consider “confusing Church teachings” to be just as important as “creating an unsafe environment for students”. Wow.

  • Jagyr

    Claudia: I agree with everything you just said.

    Joe Baron:

    I would also like to see what this student describes as “horror” at his school. I do not doubt that students do go through tremendous bullying today and that teenagers are cruel. However, I wonder if this student has smelled the reality of what is going on in Africa, or India, or Pakistan, or Haiti with someone that is his age right now.

    So just because there are folks who have it worse, this kid should quit his bitchin’? Is there some kind of scale of mistreatment, and you’re only allowed to call it horrible once it reaches a certain threshold? What’s the cut off point?

    Or do you literally have to have been a victim of all the atrocities of the countries you listed before you’re allowed to complain about being oppressed?

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    the sad thing is, as an admissions (college) professional, i tend to recommend religious schools over public ones. the scale goes like this: secular private schools that only the very wealthy can afford > parochial schools of any sect that cost less > public schools in rich suburbs > urban schools > rural schools.

    if you know or care about education, that’s the scale people like me perceive. catholic schools are actually pretty good when it comes to prepping kids on science, math, even evolution. it’s the fundie “schools” you have to watch out for: they will charge the same $10K/yr for “schooling,” but the only place your kid will get into? Patrick Henry. which is to say: nowhere anyone respects. no one with a brain and freedom, that is. but if you want your kid to be a cog in the fundamentalist republican machine? by all means! send them to a school that censors free thought. who knows? i could be wrong. that may be the only path to success in the future, given how ignorant this country is choosing to be, just now. if proclaiming your love for jeebus keeps you out of the concentration camp, who am i to tell you not to do it.

  • http://ryangrayson.com RG

    Since when is the verb “poured” an appropriate way to describe a measly 93 comments?

  • Tim

    I emailed the President and cced the Principals of the school. Here’s their e-mails:

    President Tift: btift@bsm-online.org

    Principal McNamara: cmcnamara@bsm-online.org
    Principal Skinner: sskinner@bsm-online.org

    Everyone e-mail them, let them know that their censorship will not be tolerated!

  • Heidi

    Your faith preaches your exclusion — or damnation. And no one does anything to stop it.

    You stop it by leaving the church. That’s what they believe, but you don’t have to participate. (Or you won’t, once you’re an adult.)

  • Richard Wade

    In justifying the blanket censoring of the entire article and comments, rather than simply monitoring it, the school principal said,

    While lively debate and discussion clearly has its place in a Catholic school, this particular discussion is not appropriate because the level of intensity has created an unsafe environment for students.

    I have to wonder if the school administrators were more alarmed by the supportive and sympathetic comments than by the condemning and hateful ones.

    The principal went on to say,

    As importantly, the articles and ensuing online postings have created confusion about Church teaching,

    I have to wonder if the principal was more concerned that the articles and postings were actually clarifying the Church’s teaching, namely that it is retrograde, obsolete and inhumane.

    The Church consistently fears light being shined on its policies and practices, not “confusion.”

  • Elijah Baley

    I have to wonder if the principal was more concerned that the articles and postings were actually clarifying the Church’s teaching, namely that it is retrograde, obsolete and inhumane.

    Let’s check out what Church teaching is.

    “Today, the Church… refuses to consider the person as a “heterosexual “or a “homosexual,” and insists that every person has a fundamental identity: the creature of God, and by grace, His child and heir to eternal life.” CDF, no.16

    “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs.” CDF Letter, no.10

    “The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action, and in law.” CDF Letter, no.10

    Is this obscene? Is this inhumane? Certainly not. If by retrograde you mean it is opposite to the usual order, the you are certainly wrong on that count also.

    I find it particularly telling that they consider “confusing Church teachings” to be just as important as “creating an unsafe environment for students”. Wow.

    If, as the school administration does, you believe that:

    1. The Church is correct in Her teaching.
    2. Incorrect teachings, especially in the name of the Church, are inherently damaging.
    3. Young minds are especially susceptible to molding and the greatest care must be taken to mold them correctly.
    4. It is a duty of the school to correctly mold young minds in Catholic teachings.

    Then:

    It is prudent to take down an article whose discussion seemed to lead to and confirm hatreds, especially because this is in direct conflict with Church teaching. This action is fully permissible by any standard not founded in dogmatic anti-Catholic hatred.

    If the school hates homosexuals, why was the article published in the first place? Is it not possible that the school hoped for healthy, civil debate?

    —-

    It is with genuine — easily derided? — sadness that I read little but hostility here at Friendly Atheists, and no attempt to engage with a reasonable, opposing viewpoint.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com miller

    I have to wonder if the principal was more concerned that the articles and postings were actually clarifying the Church’s teaching, namely that it is retrograde, obsolete and inhumane.

    The Church consistently fears light being shined on its policies and practices, not “confusion.”

    Richard Wade, that’s what I was thinking too.

    I didn’t realize just how anti-gay the Catholic church is until years after I left it. They believe people with same-sex attraction must be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity”, but they also think homosexual acts are wrong. They would have all gay people be completely celibate. With that kind of stance, how can they have any power to discourage anti-gay attitudes among their adherents?

    I recently found out that one of my friends from my Catholic high school was gay, and that’s why he always seemed so unhappy and cynical. His Catholic parents are still in denial of his orientation after years. Boy, am I lucky that I didn’t know I was gay until years after I deconverted.

  • Richard Wade

    Elijah Baley,
    I am attempting to engage your opposing viewpoint in a reasonable manner, and I welcome your participation here. Please do not mistake my frustration, hurt and anger for hatred, and then dismiss it all away. Christian-based homophobia, and the Catholic Church specifically have deeply hurt four of my immediate family members for their entire lives, so I’m passionate about this.

    Please educate me on what a CDF letter is. Apparently these documents, which have very lofty and humane sounding statements about homosexuals, are as unfamiliar to most Catholics, both clerics and laypeople, as they are to me, judging by their behavior.

    Instead of these letters, my impression of the Catholic Church’s attitude toward gay people is based on two other things: 1, Scripture, and the oh so often quoted verses condemning gays, and 2, what I have repeatedly seen Catholics, both clerics and laypeople ACTUALLY DO.

    You are what you do, not what you say you are. If you spout sweet words of inclusion and acceptance, but you treat people as if they are morally inferior, if say you love them, but you constantly remind them that they are doing evil just by how they feel and who they love, if you tell them that they are people too, but they must never, ever express their sexual nature, if you welcome them in to witness a marriage, but you donate millions of dollars to successfully take away their right to marry and to be full citizens of society, then you are not what you say you are.

    You are what you do, not what you say. Just as an individual, the Church is what its people do, not what its letters and memos blather about, and what the deep and widespread, overriding behavior of the people who make up the body of the Church is, is the consistently hateful, horrid and hypocritical treatment of gay people.

    You said,

    It is prudent to take down an article whose discussion seemed to lead to and confirm hatreds, especially because this is in direct conflict with Church teaching.

    You seem to be saying that the article and the comments were causing hatred and bigotry. No, they were exposing the hatred and bigotry that have always been there, and have been fomented by the duplicitous attitudes of the Church hierarchy, and the schizophrenic divide between scripture that says “abomination,” and organizational letters that say “intrinsic dignity.” Make up your mind! Again and again and again, Catholic organizations deal with systemic problems in their midst by hushing and hiding them rather than by publicly and openly rooting them out in a long, thorough and honest process.

    This hatred and ignorance should not be censured but discussed, and discussed and discussed. It needs to have sunlight shown on it so that the mold and mildew of tacitly accepted bigotry and willful ignorance dries up and blows away. The student bigots and their faculty and clerical enablers need to be heard, to be confronted and to be shamed, vilified and re-educated.

    I said that the Church’s teaching, and by that I mean the actual effect that they have on the minds of their members rather than their written-but-ignored policy is retrograde and obsolete. That is because they still cling to the ridiculous idea that sexual orientation is a consciously made choice. The vast majority of psychologists and counselors around the world understand this to be a baseless lie. Christianity in general has adopted this lie because it is stuck with a god who makes people the way they are, and then condemns them for being the way he made them. Any four-year-old can see that’s unfair, and so Christians invented the myth of a sinful lifestyle choice to get them out of that embarrassing predicament.

    “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs.” CDF Letter, no.10

    Great idea. Start with the Bible and take a razor to it. It has plenty of violent malice against gay people. All the apologists and theologians can’t talk that loathing into sounding like love. Get rid of those parts, or you’re not following the recommendations of your letter.

    Talk is cheap. When the majority of the members and leaders of the Church actually live what is expressed in CDF numbers 10 and 16, then I’ll be impressed.

  • Stephen P

    Joe Baron:

    The Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality as a sin is clear.

    Elijah Baley:

    Let’s check out what Church teaching is: …
    The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action, and in law.

    So how about you guys getting your story straight on what the church’s teaching is?

    I was going to parade this as a perfect example of how the church’s teaching is confused. But on thinking about it further, I’m pretty sure it isn’t. The church tosses out remarks like the “intrinsic dignity” passage as a bone to those suckers in the pews who aren’t actually malevolent, while in the meantime continuing to vilify homosexuals. Take as a single example the pope saying that saving mankind from homosexuality is as important as saving the rainforest.

    The church’s teaching is not confused: it is cynical, hypocritical and vile.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    Um, why are you expecting fairness from a Catholic school?

    I’m sorry but this is to be expected. I feel sorry for the kid and all because it’s probably he’s parents’ choice and not his to be there but it is a Catholic school and it’s utterly ridiculous to expect them to act against Catholicism. That they published it at all was progressive for them.

  • Elijah Baley

    The best argument against belief are the self-righteous, self-described believers, and there’s no disputing that people do not practice what they preach. We have this same evidence, but, as a believer, I’ve found the opposite conclusion: If people are in this way sinful, belief is necessary. This assumes all goals in life are the same, but whose goal is not to have a fruitful and therefore happy life?

    I’m sorry that your family has been hurt by Catholics. Please do not conflate evil Catholics into Catholicism, however. That would be like leaving Friendly Atheists because most of the atheists weren’t very friendly.

    A CDF letter is a document prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, an organization whose sole duty is to clarify teachings and remove confusion. I chose the document because it turned up easily in a Google search — here’s what the Catechism says, and every faithful Catholic should know about the Catechism. The full text:

    2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,140 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”141 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

    You charge that the Church does the following:

    1. Catholic organizations deal with systemic problems in their midst by hushing and hiding them rather than by publicly and openly rooting them out in a long, thorough and honest process.

    Who is to say there is not a long, thorough, honest process, and it is not merely private? What benefit would there be for a victim to be put through a long, arduous public process? What benefit is there for anyone except someone who desires revenge? Even then, why should there be a long and thorough process — do you really accuse Catholics of dishonesty? — when this only drags out the pain of the incident with no end in sight?

    Concern for the pain of all involved, and recognizing that long and thorough and public is no more effective, is at the very heart of this policy of privacy, if one even exists.

    2. This hatred and ignorance should not be censured but discussed, and discussed and discussed. It needs to have sunlight shown on it so that the mold and mildew of tacitly accepted bigotry and willful ignorance dries up and blows away. The student bigots and their faculty and clerical enablers need to be heard, to be confronted and to be shamed, vilified and re-educated.

    Should it be discussed, or should it be shamed and vilified? It was certainly discussed — and then when discussion stopped, replaced by bickering and hateful words, we can only imagine, the bickering and hateful words were removed utterly, along with the Op-Ed which inspired it.

    Where is the tacit approval? I thought the school took down the article with discussion once it became full of hatred, bigoty, etc.

    Student bigotry is undoubtable. Where is the evidence for the teacher’s bigotry? Or that the clergy enabled it? As far as I can tell, the clergy and teachers hoped to enable just one thing — honest, open, fair and true discussion about homosexuality and clarification of Church teaching through the dialectic, every word loving and none hateful.

    3. I said that the Church’s teaching, and by that I mean the actual effect that they have on the minds of their members rather than their written-but-ignored policy is retrograde and obsolete.

    If the article was posted, how can the policy have been ignored?

    What benefit is there to the mind of a bigoted student if he reads the article and posts a hasty, thoughtless, hateful reply? Or if he tries, and is blocked by comment moderation? Or if he reads it at all and finds he isn’t able to comment on the article? Whatever issues you have with particular Church teachings, this school act is clearly in the right as regards to the minds of the students.

    4. That is because they still cling to the ridiculous idea that sexual orientation is a consciously made choice.

    On the contrary, on the subject of homosexuality the Catechism says truthfully that: “Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained.” Anyone who says otherwise is a liar or woefully misinformed, or I am. This includes Christians, if you are indeed only calling out the white bread Christians out on it.

    Anecdotally, half of the lesbians I’ve ever known were married once, or in a very long-term serious relationship with a very abusive man. Conscious choice cannot be reasonably be ruled out as one of many causes of certain types of homosexuality.

    5. It has plenty of violent malice against gay people.

    By whom? Towards whom?

    6. Talk is cheap. When the majority of the members and leaders of the Church actually live what is expressed in CDF numbers 10 and 16, then I’ll be impressed.

    So would I. Is there anyone more disappointed with the failure of Catholic schools to continue providing a first-rate theological and moral education than faithful Catholics?

    —————

    The church’s teaching is not confused: it is cynical, hypocritical and vile.

    Refer above to the excerpt from the Catechism. Is that cynical? Vile as you mean it is largely a matter of taste, I suppose. As for hypocrisy:

    Hypocrisy is not the failure to practice what you preach but the failure to believe it. Hypocrisy is propaganda. — Peter Kreeft

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    @Richard Wade:

    You seem to be saying that the article and the comments were causing hatred and bigotry. No, they were exposing the hatred and bigotry that have always been there, and have been fomented by the duplicitous attitudes of the Church hierarchy, and the schizophrenic divide between scripture that says “abomination,” and organizational letters that say “intrinsic dignity.” Make up your mind! Again and again and again, Catholic organizations deal with systemic problems in their midst by hushing and hiding them rather than by publicly and openly rooting them out in a long, thorough and honest process.

    Thank you so much for writing this. I didn’t think I could put my thoughts into words to clearly and yet politely. Thank you.

    @Elijah Baley:

    The Church claims that it teaches love and human dignity but then favors discrimination. Its definition of what is fair and right in the treatment of people who are LGBT is absolutely wrong. Unless the Church actually favors equal rights and realizes that there is nothing wrong with being LGBT, it’s claims of teaching love and dignity are lies.

  • Elijah Baley

    Thanks — I think I see the point I earlier missed. Responding, I’ll write two points and a conclusion:

    First: Hatred and bigotry is not a creation of the Church, and is discouraged by the Church.
    Second: Exposing hatred and bigotry gives strength to hatred and bigotry.
    Conclusion: Therefore, a school endorsed by the Church is better off shutting down anything which exposes — gives strength to — hatred and bigotry as this is a means to discourage it.

    Unless the Church actually favors equal rights and realizes that there is nothing wrong with being LGBT, it’s claims of teaching love and dignity are lies.

    I assume you mean untruthful, as nothing is a lie if the speaker believes every word.

    The Church holds that those who have same-sex attractions have dignity. The Church holds that homosexual acts are sinful. These two positions are not at loggerheads. There is a fundamental discrimination, but not against classes of people — the Church refuses to identify anyone with their sexuality, remember. Rather, it’s between that people and the acts of people. The Church has, and always has as far as I know, regarded these separately.

    I believe your understanding of love is quite different than the Church’s understanding of love. If a parent let their child play in a busy street if the child wanted to, would that be loving? Just so, certain things are forbidden by the Church because they are dangerous spiritually.

    I’ll agree again with Peter Kreeft, the Catholic philosopher I quoted earlier. He said once that homosexual sins are probably are not a greater sin in the eyes of God than other sins, to my mind the more common sexual sin of those without same-sex attraction: fornication plus condom. He also says that there should be no special stigma which applies to the first and not to the second and opposes any hypothetical effort to re-institute sodomy laws.

    Really, it is the Church which treats all people equally, as She does not afford them any special status based on what they may or may not control. It is only deliberate acts which can be definitively be called sinful.

  • Steve

    Anecdotally, half of the lesbians I’ve ever known were married once, or in a very long-term serious relationship with a very abusive man. Conscious choice cannot be reasonably be ruled out as one of many causes of certain types of homosexuality.

    That doesn’t mean they chose to be gay because they had bad experiences with men.

    In most cases it means:
    1.) They didn’t realize they were gay until later in life. Also happens with men.
    2.) They married because society or their family expected it from them. That’s exacerbated for people who grow up in religious environments.
    3.) They had same-sex feelings earlier, but didn’t know what to make of them or denied them.

    It’s also possible for gay people to love or genuinely care for someone of the opposite sex. It’s just not really the stereotypical romantical love. They may love their partners the way you love your best friend or a sibling. For someone who was never truly in love that can be enough to marry them. I’ve read several stories to that effect.

    Your description of Catholic teachings is true, but it’s simply revolting. It’s a combination of the “love the sinner, hate the sin” BS and “you can be gay, but not act gay”. It talks a lot about dignity and respect, but it shows neither. And it doesn’t change the fact that the church actively fights against equality wherever it can.

  • Richard Wade

    Deliberately obtuse. Waste of breath. Don’t have that much to spare. Bye.

  • Elijah Baley

    Steve: Fair enough. All that may very well be true. The largest point I meant to express is that we do not know what makes people have same-sex attraction. I did not mean my examples to bear any greater weight than anecdotal evidence usually does, and I personally doubt that anyone chooses to have same-sex attraction.

    The Church promotes a real equality of dignity, more than the equality you mean and a greater equality than society imposes. The Church recognizes, like society, that everyone bears his own cross, his own particular set of temptations. For society to define a man and treat him differently because of what he cannot control — in this case temptation, in other cases race or sex — is the very essence of discrimination.

    The secular world by even classifying “gays” and “straights” promotes a division between people, confusing act and person, a vital and fundamentally valid position.

    On the largest level, surely you realize that opposition to gay marriage is merely a subset of and wholly consistent with the larger opposition to sexual activity not open to responsible procreation.

    In any case, the Church unlike the wrongly judgmental secular world does not define real, particular individuals by their temptations, and Catholics should not treat those with homosexual attraction differently. Those who do have either chosen to violate Church teaching or act in ignorance of it. Either is harmful to both hater and hated.

    Richard Wade: If it’s too wordy, it is not because I am deliberately obtuse but because I am deliberately deliberate. I blame reading too much Chesterton.

    In summation: Essentially, it seems everyone here began by hating that the school censored free speech. This is disingenuous. Then individuals began to characterize the Church as hating homosexuals. This is also disingenuous. Then it began to digress into points attacking Catholic belief. This may be valid, but has absolutely no bearing on the issue at hand, and it’s so far gone from the original post that it might as well be a separate discussion.

    We may responsibly conclude, based on our knowledge of Church teaching, that if some Catholic bullies gays:
    1. They are not in communion with the Church.
    2. They are either ignorant of or acting despite Church teaching.
    3. They are in serious moral peril.
    4. They and should not be allowed any further outlet to exercise their aberrant sin.

    What little information we have:
    1. The school fulfilled Catholic teaching to the letter.
    2. The school allowed an out gay teen to write an Op-Ed.
    3. When this grew nasty, the school ended debate.

    Therefore, the school acted flawlessly for a Catholic institution on this particular matter.

    We cannot responsibly conclude that:
    1. The school, teachers or priests at it hate gays.
    2. The student is bullied at the school, other than by what was written online.
    3. Catholics in communion with the Church hate gays.

    This is exhausting, as I’m sure you can appreciate. Since we’ve exhausted points of discussion, I think I’m ready to unsubscribe from this thread. For any reason, please feel free to e-mail me at webmaster.noreply (YOU-KNOW-WHAT-GOES-HERE) gmail.com.

  • Steve

    “Responsible procreation”. Hahahaha. The Prop 8 trial showed how utterly absurd that idea is. The fact of the matter is that it’s merely an official position. A few words to fool the public, pretend to have changed, while carrying on as usual. The Mormons pulled the same stunt recently. No one actually believes, let alone acts on it.

    I gotta go with Richard Wade here. Just pointless, meaningless drivel. Pretty phrases that amount to absolutely nothing. Ignorance and/or hatred disguised as love. Bye.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    @Elijah Baley:

    I believe your understanding of love is quite different than the Church’s understanding of love. If a parent let their child play in a busy street if the child wanted to, would that be loving? Just so, certain things are forbidden by the Church because they are dangerous spiritually.

    The problem with this statement is that there’s an actual reason why letting a child play in a busy street is dangerous: People can get hit by cars and die. Therefore, the loving thing to do is to stop the child from playing in the street. On the other hand, different religious groups can just make up what is “spiritually dangerous” since no one actually knows God’s opinion. There’s no actual evidence that being LGBT is dangerous.


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