"Born this way"?

"Born this way"? June 14, 2011

Given a post that’s generated a lot of interest the last day or so, I think some readers might want to take a gander at what Elizabeth Scalia has to say on the subject of homosexuality over at First Things:

Perhaps homosexuals are in fact “special and exceptional others,” whose distinctions are meant to be noted. Perhaps they are a “necessary other” created and called to play a specific role in our shared humanity.

If so, what might that be?

This plunges us into deep waters that are not easily or safely navigated, beginning with the fundamental “nature/nurture” riptide. A few years ago there was talk of science perhaps isolating a “gay gene” and some expressed concern that babies so-identified would suffer the shredding in utero that has become so shamefully common for babies diagnosed with a genetic defect like Down syndrome, or who are of undesirable gender. Given the culture’s mania for perfection (and for having just what we want) such concerns seem valid. Similarly, if particular forms of “nurturing” were deemed to affect sexuality, legislative thought would likely fall along lines of fostering gender-exploration in one’s child, whether a parent wished to or not, and perhaps taking entirely natural phases (I was such a tomboy!) much too seriously.

Assuming homosexuals are—as per Lady Gaga (and perhaps Matthew 19:12)—“born this way,” the question of purpose arises. Those who believe in a God who said, “I know the plans I have for you; plans of fullness, not of harm . . .” and who creates nothing by accident, must ask why God would love into being this “other,” which the church—objectively considering form and function—defines as “disordered?” Such created creatures must be recognized as loved into being, and they cannot be denied their God-given human dignity, with their “otherness” recognized as part of a plan.

Read the rest.

And for another take on the topic, check out Mark Shea over at Crisis Magazine, who looks at “disordered appetites” through his own experience as a guy who likes to eat:

Not being homosexual myself, I don’t presume to say how homosexuals should cooperate with grace in order to confront this disordered appetite. For that, I would talk to a same-sex-attracted person who is a devout and holy Catholic. They do exist, after all. Personally, I suspect there is no one-size-fits-all way to cooperate with grace in redeeming our disordered sexual appetites (and everyone, not just homosexuals, has disordered sexual appetites). That’s because, being a glutton, I know there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for disordered appetites of the stomach. One thing I do know is that disordered appetites are not intended by God to define us, nor are they a license for me to demand that everybody in the room celebrate gluttony as a gift of God (except in satire).

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6 responses to “"Born this way"?”

  1. I think the more in a bubble you are and looking at people, in this case gay men and women from afar, (or from flamboyant parades that don’t represent most) the harder it is to see the pain and quandry most are in. It’s easier to say “they choose it” which is not the case because it puts it all on them and easier for you to point fingers.

    My chidlren are Catholic and went to Catholic school, but hate that Catholics are thought of as times like some evangelicals and say that Catholic views shouldn’t dictate what non-Catholics do.
    We live in a multi-cultural neighborhood and even their Catholic school had many races and backgrounds which was wonderful. They met just naturally, neighbors that were gay and living here for 15+ years with the same partner. They never questioned it, just figured out one day, they were different and liked the same sex. I work with 2 couples that are gay (although they don’t talk about it) know great doctors, nurses, other professionals,that are gay, met many friends working in a hospital that later I found out were gay, none of them were “preachy” just lived their lives with dignity and you realized when at functions, they brought a partner or (wife/husband) of the same sex.
    I realized though, many people never met anyone that was gay and almost feared being close if they did.

    When I was young, living in a small, very Italian city, I had many racist, hateful messages sent my way. I ended up ,which shocked many, marrying someone of a different race (not faith) and through God’s grace, met so many people different than my neighbors and will always be grateful for the humbling and sometimes embarrassing way I learned that there isn’t always a black and white view, sometimes there is gray.

  2. I think the question with the two writers is who do we want to believe – someone who has had deep intimate family relations and friendships with people who are gay – and who has known their struggle, or someone judging them from the “outside” through the lens of homophobia… and comparing apples to oranges.

  3. The problem with Elizabeth Scalia’s question, “Those who believe in a God who said, ‘I know the plans I have for you; plans of fullness, not of harm . . .’ and who creates nothing by accident, must ask why God would love into being this ‘other,’ which the church—objectively considering form and function—defines as ‘disordered?’” and the response that many give, to the effect that the this orientation is good, not disordered —— the problem is that it ignores the point that Ms. Scalia, perhaps inadvertently, made earlier when she wrote of “a genetic defect like Down syndrome.” The fact is, we do not live in a perfect world. There is a problem of evil, including physical evil. So it makes no sense to suggest that everything in how we are born is good. Yes, one can come up with positives in Down syndrome, or cancer, or tornadoes — mostly in the way they inspire people to do good things in response — but it is nonsense to suggest that they are not inherently disorders that are part of a world that is not heaven.

    We must truly love homosexuals, as we love everybody. And spare me the bit about loving them by clobbering them at every opportunity with the Church’s moral teachings. We must let them see in us the face of our loving savior. We must not hinder the work of the Holy Spirit leading them and us, however slowly, to conversion of heart.

  4. I see this debated a lot, so I’ll try to not restate the same arguments I’ve seen so many times. I just want to caution against meshing the “born this way” debate with the morality debate regarding homosexuality.

    Too often, people such as Lady Ga Ga (and most celebrities these days) essentially make the argument that homosexuals are born that way, and that proves homosexual behavior is moral. People are born lots of ways, and the one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. One is a science discussion, and the other is a morality discussion. We need to be careful to always keep these two areas clearly defined. They are both important, and knowledge in these two complement each other. But they should never be looked at as one in the same.

  5. 1. Catholics are those who believe the Church’s magisterium is guided by the Holy Spirit. That Spirit guided magisterium has always taught that homosexual activity, in fact, any sexual activity outside the matrimonial bond of man and wife is disordered.
    2. Some who claim to be Catholic do not “like” this constant teaching and want it to be changed. Often the appeal is to mushy sentimental arguments of “the nice” people they know.
    They need to learn that their limited personal experience does not establish doctrine. [In the same way there are “nice” people who commit adulteries, have abortion, or euthanize their elderly loved ones. That does not make those actions good.] Sinners (and we all are sinners in some way) are lovable, but not the sin.

  6. 3. Homoseksual activity is objectively evil, but subjectively we should not judge the person. We must be clear that the activity is not to be condoned. But, the sin should be opposed in the same way we oppose other sexual sins.
    4. Vociferous reactions against homoseksual activity is often a reaction to the homoseksual agenda which is trying to redefine reality in a very public way. Homoseksuality is portrayed as normal on sit-coms and in the news. Legislators have taken up the cause. And even school children are forced to endure seks-ed classes and gay silent days.
    5. It seems to be only the pro-homoseksual lobby that wants the Church to not be clear in its teaching. But, to say nothing when the homoseksual agenda gets pushed is to tacitly approve.
    6. If you don’t want to accept the Church’s teaching, you ultimately have a problem in ecclesial faith. Your cause is not hopeless, but you need to pray for the grace of conversion and humility.
    (NB B/c of spam filters, ks+x)

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