I don’t know why I keep reading the religion page of HuffPo. Maybe because I’m a masochist. Maybe because it gives me such good fodder to write about.
Phyllis Zagano is a researcher at Hofstra who wrote a HuffPo article about a book called The Sexual Person by two Catholics, Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler. Apparently the book is pro-gay and all the bishops in their dresses have already denounced it.
I usually don’t get too agitated about intra-Catholic doctrinal dust-ups. I’m happy there are some Catholic thinkers who are not homophobes, but I don’t expect some kind of revolution. What got me going was Zagano’s idiocy:
Gay marriage proponents want to redefine a word, marriage, and grab ahold of the hundreds of legal protections and financial incentives that are granted with a marriage license.
Why yes, Phyllis, gay people do want the protections of marriage. As for redefining the word, you could probably open up the bible that I’m sure you carry around with you at all times and quite easily discover all the varying definitions for marriage in that book alone.
Here’s some more of her cogent analysis:
Some thinkers, including several members of the Supreme Court, seem to reason that homosexuality is an inborn status.
Catholicism–and, indeed most religions–teach that while homosexuality exists, homosexual activity is a “disordered” choice against the laws of nature.
If homosexuality is indeed a status rooted in biology or genetics, then homosexuals, like left-handed people, act according to their nature. But if homosexuality is a choice rooted in behavior, then homosexuals act against nature.
Indeed most religions are homophobic. They worship a god that has an overwhelming obsession with what consenting adults do while naked. It’s these obsessions that constantly remind me that their god is fiction.
Most reasonable people are beginning to accept that homosexuality is not a choice or a “disorder.” It is natural because it occurs in nature. We may never know its exact origins and it doesn’t matter.
The fact is that it would not make a difference to Zagano and her Church. They don’t care about actual morality. They have no need to consider the suffering they cause as a result of their teachings. If something contradicts their god’s will, then it’s immoral and should be imposed upon the rest of us.
Morality, unhinged from religious mythological literature, is about treating others with dignity. When I speak out about the dangers inherent in religion, it is precisely because they are behaving cruelly and, thus, immorally.
I leave you with last year’s Intelligence Squared Debate from the BBC on the question: “Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world?” featuring Archbishop John Onaiyekan and Ann Widdencombe on one side and Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry on the other. The audience got to vote. If you watch all five parts, there’s a surprise ending: