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Tell me again? How does my gay marriage affect you?

 

Jeremiah Michelangelo_Buonarroti

Jeremiah (detail), 1508-1512, Michelangelo Buonarotti, fresco, Sistine Chapel, Vatican City.

Heard these slogans?

Tell me again? How does my gay marriage affect  you?
OR
Don’t like my gay marriage? Don’t get one.

The activists who dream up these slogans are relying on people being either ignorant or credulous.  Fortunately the Australian public are cleverer than that, and there are plenty of examples showing how a redefinition of marriage might affect Australians.  In this post, I want to provide examples of the curtailments to freedom of speech and freedom of association that have arisen, either already in this country, or following the redefinition of marriage, in other countries.  There is still time for Australians to petition their members of parliament about the likely outcomes, whichever way the vote goes in the (so-called) plebiscite.

Despite all the claims, almost all discrimination in respect of same-sex couples has already been removed – in fact the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby themselves admit this in their Invited Submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs on the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 and the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012. 

where they say,

In 2008, the Federal Government made a commitment to ending same-sex relationship discrimination and amended 85 federal laws to recognise same-sex de facto couples [my bold]…

At a state and territory level, in the space of seven years (1999-2006), de facto recognition has expanded comprehensively to guarantee the rights of same-sex couples in state laws.  At the end of 2008, the Federal Government passed a series of reforms to largely mirror the recognition offered by states and territories. Same-sex couples were recognised in taxation, parenting, superannuation, veteran’s affairs, social security and immigration laws.  The effect of the reforms was to give same-sex couples the same rights, entitlements and responsibilities as heterosexual de facto couples.

(Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby All Love is Equal Submission 2012) 

We now need to look at what will happen to the rights of everyone who disagrees with changing the definition of marriage – particularly those who are committed to religious beliefs regarding the nature of marriage.  These particular areas are most likely to be affected if comprehensive religious freedoms are not protected by law – to all citizens, not just clergy:  Christians may be slapped with a court order or fined for refusing material cooperation with the new laws.  They may also be compelled to pay damages to individuals who feel offended, including their court costs.  They may be refused employment positions or lose accreditation because of their religious beliefs.  In the examples below, I will list some cases of infringements to religious liberty that have already occurred both overseas and in Australia, and I divide these into five subject headings: compelled association, compelled provision of benefits, speech punishment, de-accreditation and loss of employment, and removal of tax concessions.

  1.  COMPELLED ASSOCIATION

This includes situations such as government compulsion of religious bodies to retain as employees (or members), staff who – in direct conflict with ethics code of the organisation – take part in a same-sex ‘wedding’;   the compulsory provision of services to same-sex ‘couples’ by businesses involved in the provision of wedding-related or spousal-related goods and services, or the enforcement by the State of children attending classes in highly contentious gender ideology.

  • 2008.  Christian doctors, Dr Douglas Fenton and Dr Christine Brody, were found by the California State Supreme Court to have violated California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, when they refused to provide intrauterine insemination to a lesbian woman.
  • 2016.  The Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled, in E.T. v. Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, that Steve Tourloukis could not remove his children from the radical sex education programs being conducted at their school.
  • 2013.  MP Alex Greenwich introduced a bill (which was ultimately unsuccessful) to remove the exemption in the Anti Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) which allows religious schools to engage staff with beliefs consistent with the values of the school.
  • 2014.  Donald and Evelyn Knapp, of The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, fell foul of the antidiscrimination ordinance of the City of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho which stated that its purpose was ‘to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation based upon sexual orientation and gender identity/expression and providing that a violation of this ordinance is a misdemeanour punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or by imprisonment not to exceed 180 days or both.’  – and this fine was for each day they continued in their non-cooperation.  Their crime was to decline to perform same-sex weddings.
  • 2012.  A same-sex couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission against Jack Phillips, of the Masterpiece Cake Shop, when he declined to make them a wedding cake.

An administrative law judge ruled against Jack in December 2013, saying that designing and creating cakes for same-sex wedding ceremonies are not speech protected by the First Amendment. The commission also ordered Jack and his staff to design cakes for same-sex wedding celebrations, go through a “re-education” program, implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years to show that Jack has completely eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.  (Alliance Defending Freedom)

  • 2013.  Aaron and Melissa Klein, of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, declined to create a wedding cake for a lesbian couple and were ordered to pay restitution of $135,000 by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.  Their company went out of business.
  • 2016.  Lorie Smith, of 303 Creative Graphic and Web Design, is a graphic designer who wants to be able to create work consistent with her core beliefs.  A ‘Colorado law would force her to create websites celebrating marriages that violate her deeply held religious beliefs if she creates websites celebrating one-man, one-woman marriages. The law even bars her from expressing her religious views about marriage on her website. ADF is filing a lawsuit on Lorie’s behalf asking a Colorado court to prevent government officials from enforcing the law against Lorie so she can run her business consistently with her faith without fear of government punishment.’  The Alliance Defending Freedom is proceeding with a pre-enforcement challenge to help Lorie obtain a ruling about whether she would be liable for the penalty of $500 per violation, including investigations and court costs, and mandated re-education programs, which the current law requires.
  • 2006.  Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin, of Elane Photography, were asked by Vanessa Willock to film her same-sex wedding.  They declined.  Ms Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. The Supreme Court ruled against the Huguenins.  They were fined nearly $7,000.
  • 2017.  72-year old Baronnelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, Richland, Washington, is being sued by Washington State and the ACLU because she refused to make a wedding cake for the same-sex wedding of a long time customer, Rob Ingersoll.  In February 2017, the Washington Supreme Court ruled against her. She stands to lose in the region of a million dollars in her battle with the ACLU.
  • 2005.  Dr Neil Clark Warren’s online dating service, eHarmony, was sued by Eric McKinley of New Jersey, for failing to provide dating services to same-sex attracted men.  eHarmony agreed to pay restitution to McKinley of $5,000 plus a year’s free membership.  They were also required to restructure their business to include opportunities for same-sex dating and include pictures of same-sex couples on their website.  Further to this, eHarmony was sued in California by a lesbian woman, Linda Carlson, in 2007, for a similar reason.
  • 2006.  Catholic Charities of Boston MA, Catholic Charities of Rockford IL, closed down their adoption services due to the conflict between faithfulness to Church teaching and the requirements of State law.
  • 2005.  David and Tanya Parker of Lexington, MA, requested from their son’s school that they be notified when their 6-year old son was going to be exposed during class to homosexual curriculum materials.  David was arrested for trespass during a meeting with the principal and Director of Education.  He was held overnight in jail, and not given permission to call his lawyer.  The episode was followed by court appearances, vilification by LGBT activists and the non-resolution of his complaint.  In 2006, David’s son, Jacob, was surrounded at recess, and beaten and punched in a mass-assault by a group of children from the school.
  1. COMPELLED PROVISION OF BENEFITS

In this scenario, the government compels religious institutions to include same-sex ‘marriage’ partners in any schemes involving benefits to traditionally married couples.

  • Yeshiva University limits its married housing facilities to students who are married. In 2001, prior to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in New York State, the university was fined in Levin v. Yeshiva University for declining to provide Sara Levin and her partner accommodation in the housing reserved for married couples.
  1. PUNISHMENT FOR SPEECH

Merely expressing opposition to same-sex ‘marriage’, becomes punishable by law.  Public and private preaching, political activism or even conversation might be construed as ‘hate speech’, ‘harassment’ or ‘discrimination’.

  • 2014.  The Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, subpoenaed sermons which mentioned gender identity or homosexuality.
  • 2015.  Transgender advocate and Greens candidate, Martine Delaney, lodged a complaint with the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, in respect of Archbishop Julian Porteous and the Australian Catholic Bishops’ pastoral letter, Don’t Mess With Marriage.  She claimed that the material in the pamphlet contravened the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (Tas).  Ms Delaney subsequently withdrew her complaint, but not before a large amount of money and time had been spent preparing a defence.
  • 2016.  Four Spanish Bishops, Juan Antonio Reig Pla, Joaquín María López, José Rico Pavés and Demetrio Fernández are being threatened with prosecution by LGBT activists for criticising Madrid’s new law with the cumbersome name, Law of Integral Protection against LGRBIphobia and Discrimination for Reasons of Orientation and Sexual Identity.  The law attempts to prohibit speech concerning homosexuals and transsexuals which might be regarded as discriminatory or offensive.
  • 2016.  Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, Archbishop of Valencia, was charged under article 510 of the Penal Code for publicly fomenting hostility towards the LGBT movement, when he said, “We have legislation contrary to the family, the acts of political and social forces, to which are added movements and acts by the gay empire, by ideologies such as radical feminism, or the most insidious of all, gender ideology.”  The charges were later dismissed by the Superior Tribunal of Justice.
  1. DE-ACCREDITATION AND REMOVAL OF LICENSES; LOSS OF EMPLOYMENT OR BOARD POSITIONS

Members of professional associations and Businesses which do not acknowledge same-sex ‘marriage’ may have their accreditation revoked, or people who support traditional marriage and oppose same-sex marriage may lose their jobs or be subjected to vitriolic social media campaigns.

  • 2017.  IBM Managing Partner, Mark Allaby, was targeted because of his association with the Lachlan Macquarie Institute, which provides internships to high achieving Christians pursuing careers in politics, law, journalism, research and the public service. A social media campaign involving a barrage of LGBT-lobby organised twitter messages, forced Mr Allaby off the board of the Australian Christian Lobby.  Mr Allaby was also forced to resign his position from the board of PwC (Price Waterhouse Coopers), following a social media campaign.
  • 2017.  The private Jewish Orthodox  Vishnitz Girls’ School, in Hackney, North London, is facing closure because of its refusal to teach radical gender theory, gender reassignment surgery and homosexual content to the young ladies who are aged between three and eight years old.  It has failed its Ofsted Inspection three times in the past two years – an inspection which compels compliance with the Equality Act 2010.  In England, schools which do not meet Ofsted Standards will be de-accredited as independent schools.
  • 2014.  Brendon Eich, the creator of the JavaScript programming language, and CEO of Mozilla Corporation, made a donation in support of the Californian anti-same-sex marriage law, Proposition 8.  Following a media firestorm, he resigned from his position with Mozilla in April 2014.
  • 2015.  Atlanta Fire Chief, Kelvin Cochrane, was suspended without pay and ultimately fired, because of a book on Biblical morality that he had written for his men’s Bible Study group in his Baptist Church.
  • 2017.  Tim and Melanie Cooper, Directors of Coopers Brewery, following the release of the Bible Society’s ‘Keep it Light’ video in which their Beer was being drunk by two members of Parliament engaged in a friendly chat about the two sides of the same-sex marriage debate, eventually bowed to the over-the-top social media campaign to destroy their brand, and released a statement in support of ‘diversity and equality’.
  • According to Miranda Devine of The Daily Telegraph, ‘Christian employees of organisations which have signed up to the same sex marriage campaign, now feel frightened and intimidated at work. Some have anonymously contacted the ACL and Marriage Alliance and the few journalists they feel might take their concerns seriously. One Telstra employee says: “Even though I declined to attend the “Wear It Purple” Day meeting, I have since been re-sent the meeting invite by an Executive Director 6 times. The meeting invite says staff are “required” (not “optional”) attendees.”  One former Qantas pilot says: “What caused me to resign is the company’s… active campaigning for the redefinition of marriage. [There] was a cultural pressure to conform, from the internal media and company culture.  “We’d be sitting in our cockpit, and receive an email expecting something operational, only to find it was another email about the [LGBTIQ] agenda. We were bombarded with this stuff.  “We got at times 4 emails a week about it. I knew I had to go, because I didn’t belong there… People are so afraid of being shouted down as a bigot.”’
  • Twelve Catholic Adoption Agencies in England (including Catholic Care) have been forced to close down in England since the introduction of the Adoption of Children (Scotland) Act 2007, due to the commitment of Catholic Adoption Agencies to place children with heterosexual couples only.
  • 2012.  The group Christian Concern arranged to hold a conference titled, One Man, One Woman: Making the case for marriage for the good of society at a venue owned by The Law Society, the representative body for solicitors in the UK.  The Law Society subsequently cancelled the booking, citing ‘diversity policies’ as a reason.  A rescheduled booking with the QEII Conference Centre was also cancelled the day before the conference, for the same reason.  Christian Concern sued both parties for breach of contract, and an agreement was subsequently reached
  • 2012.  The Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam, Aryeh Ralbag, was temporarily suspended from his position after signing a document that restated the orthodox Jewish position on homosexuality, calling on leaders to ‘guide same-sex strugglers towards a path of healing and overcoming their sexual inclinations’.
  • 2012.  Kuruvilla George, the Deputy Chief Psychiatrist was pressured to resign from his position on the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission, following his signing of a petition against same-sex marriage drafted by Doctors for the Family and signed by 170 doctors.  The petition stated that natural families were the most conducive to happiness for children and, citing numerous academic peer-reviewed research papers, suggested that families with same-sex parents were not ideal for raising children.
  • 2015.  A Catholic psychologist, Philip Pocock, was barred from practising in the ACT, even though no patients had complained against him.  Pocock had stated that sodomy and masturbation were acts that were distortions of sexuality.
  • 2015.  The Law Society of Upper Canada has refused the accreditation of Trinity Western University’s Law School, because the University insists that sexual intimacy should occur only within the bounds of heterosexual marriage.
  • 2017. The Catholic non-profit organisation tackling the effects of family breakdown, The Ruth Institute, has been targeted by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a ‘hate group’, because of its teaching of Catholic Doctrine.  The inclusion of The Ruth Institute on the SPLC’s ‘hate map’, has prompted The Ruth Institute’s online payment provider, Vanco Payment Solutions, to withdraw their provision of services.
  • 2017.  Sydney doctor, Pansy Lai, was subjected to vicious social media attacks when she participated in an advertisement for the Marriage Coalition presenting the case for the no vote in the Australian plebiscite on the redefinition of marriage.  A petition facilitated by the leftist activist group, GetUp!,  to have Dr Lai deregistered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority gathered around 5,000 votes before it was pulled by GetUp!, after they realised they were damaging their own brand.
  1. EXCLUSION FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDING AND TAX CONCESSIONS

Tax-free status and government funding or grants might be withdrawn from organisations which uphold the traditional definition of marriage.

  • The Evangelical Child and Family Agency in Illinois was at risk of closure due to the removal of State funding several years ago for agencies which refused to allocate adoptees to same sex couples; however, it seems they have had an alternate source of funds and still specify on their website that potential applicants must be male and female.
  • 2007.  The Methodist-run Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, lost its eligibility for a real estate tax exemption because it had declined permission for two lesbian couples to celebrate their civil unions at the Boardwalk Pavilion on their New Jersey property.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I hope it gives a sufficient tour of the post-marriage-redefinition landscape to give legislators pause.

May the Holy Spirit in his mercy bless Australia with wisdom and a love of truth.  And may I not have to say with Jeremiah in today’s first reading,

I am a daily laughing-stock,
everybody’s butt.
Each time I speak the word, I have to howl
and proclaim: ‘Violence and ruin!’
The word of the Lord has meant for me
insult, derision, all day long.
I used to say, ‘I will not think about him,
I will not speak in his name anymore.’
Then there seemed to be a fire burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones.
(Jeremiah 20:7-9)

 

 

 

 


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A reader asks about homosexuality and the Bible

Last Judgement Sistine Chapel

The Last Judgement (detail), Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, Vatican City.

Today I’ll cover part three of the series which answers a question from a reader of my Facebook posts.  This is the question:

Why don’t Christians condemn the parts of their Bible that instruct non-believers must be killed.  While they are at it they could do the same about the bits that condone rape and the bits that say gays must die.

Part One (non-believers) is here.  Part Two (rape) is here.

Part Three will attempt to discuss the final part, which is referring to the sexual prohibitions mentioned in Leviticus 18.  To provide some context, this chapter in Leviticus is part of a larger section describing the Law of Holiness (Lv 17-26), which is a guide for the moral formation of the Israelites, as a people distinct from the surrounding nations who were known for various types of degenerate behaviour such as incest and child sacrifice.  The list of sexual prohibitions in Chapter 18 spans a few categories which I have itemised in the table below.  To modern ears and in a society that has been deeply wounded by the adultery and divorce culture, these lists sound harsh and judgmental; words like ‘sin’ and ‘degenerate’ trigger emotional responses in people who have been affected by the negative consequences of the rampant sexual license characteristic of the post-WW2 era.  And then the Biblical descriptions of menstrual impurity sound completely alien to our ears if we don’t read them with any comprehension of the concept of ritual purity in ancient Judaism.

Prohibitions in Leviticus 18 Number of rules Verse
Incest (various classifications) 11 6-17
Polygamy 1 18
Sex during menstrual periods 1 19
Adultery 1 20
Child sacrifice 1 21
Homosexual acts 1 22
Bestiality 1 23

There is a constant refrain running through Leviticus, wherein God reminds the Israelites, “Be consecrated to me, for I, the LORD, am holy, and I shall set you apart from all these peoples, for you to be mine” (Lv 20:26).  The idea of holiness is intended to convey the ‘separateness, inaccessibility and awe-inspiring transcendence’ [i] of God, and the lists of ‘sins’ are there to help the Israelites identify the particular practices that God regards as being problematic if one wants to grow in one’s covenant relationship with him.

I’m going to take a leap here and suggest that, at bottom, the reader was really asking what right Christians have to include homosexual practices in any list of sins.  Is he really worried that Christians are going to start executing homosexual people because of Leviticus 20:13 or putting to death the man who has an affair with another man’s wife because of Leviticus 20:10?  To be sure, some countries have current legislation demanding severe punishments for homosexual acts, but they are Islamic, not Christian.  For example, Iran’s New Islamic Penal Code lists this penalty:

Article 234– The hadd punishment for livat shall be the death penalty for the insertive/active party if he has committed livat by using force, coercion, or in cases where he meets the conditions for ihsan; otherwise, he shall be sentenced to one hundred lashes. The hadd punishment for the receptive/passive party, in any case (whether or not he meets the conditions for ihsan) shall be the death penalty.[ii]

 – however, it is principally in countries which have sprung from the Christian intellectual tradition that so-called LGBT rights have even been able to emerge.  Why the difference?

This is because Christians read the Old Testament books of the Bible in the light of the New Testament – and vice versa.   St Augustine tells us:

The New Testament is hidden in the Old and the Old is made manifest in the New[iii]
(quamquam et in Vetere Novum lateat, et in Novo Vetus pateat)

and again,

This grace hid itself under a veil in the Old Testament, but it has been revealed in the New Testament according to the most perfectly ordered dispensation of the ages, forasmuch as God knew how to dispose all things.[iv]

Jesus as the Word of God is the God the Father’s perfect expression of Himself, and if we want to interpret Old Testament texts correctly, we have to look to Jesus’ own word and example.  You can find this specific instruction in The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2053):

Following Jesus Christ involves keeping the Commandments.  The Law has not been abolished, but rather man is invited to rediscover it in the person of his Master who is its perfect fulfilment.[v]

Again, Verbum Domini, Pope Benedict XVI’s  Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, has emphasised the person of Christ as the hermeneutical key to the interpretation of Scripture.

  1. … God’s plan is manifested progressively and it is accomplished slowly, in successive stages and despite human resistance. God chose a people and patiently worked to guide and educate them. Revelation is suited to the cultural and moral level of distant times and thus describes facts and customs, such as cheating and trickery, and acts of violence and massacre, without explicitly denouncing the immorality of such things. This can be explained by the historical context, yet it can cause the modern reader to be taken aback, especially if he or she fails to take account of the many “dark” deeds carried out down the centuries, and also in our own day. In the Old Testament, the preaching of the prophets vigorously challenged every kind of injustice and violence, whether collective or individual, and thus became God’s way of training his people in preparation for the Gospel. So it would be a mistake to neglect those passages of Scripture that strike us as problematic. Rather, we should be aware that the correct interpretation of these passages requires a degree of expertise, acquired through a training that interprets the texts in their historical-literary context and within the Christian perspective which has as its ultimate hermeneutical key “the Gospel and the new commandment of Jesus Christ brought about in the paschal mystery”.  I encourage scholars and pastors to help all the faithful to approach these passages through an interpretation which enables their meaning to emerge in the light of the mystery of Christ.[vi]

So, to answer the reader’s question, the Church doesn’t condemn those parts of the Old Testament that seem difficult; the Old Testament is a crucial part of the story of Salvation.  But we must then make our next question, “So how would Jesus behave towards a person with same-sex attraction?”

The answer: “Always with love.”

Now, what we mean by ‘love’ is complicated, because in the Christian understanding it means ‘willing the good of the other’, which is not the same as approving every action of ‘the other’ or agreeing with ‘the other’ on what they believe.  The Christian understanding of the human person distinguishes a person from his/her acts.  It is this understanding of love that enables the gay Rubin Report presenter, Dave Rubin, to sit down with Bishop Robert Barron and have a mature and respectful discussion about same sex marriage.  It is this understanding of love that enables the SSA Tim Wilson to sit down with Andrew Hastie and have a charitable conversation on the same topic.

St Augustine (he is so very useful) has a famous epithet for this ability to distinguish between a person’s inherent dignity and their acts (or beliefs): Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum , which can be translated aswith due love for the persons and hatred of the sin”[vii].  We can see this in Jesus’ actions when he says to the woman caught in adultery (John 8:11) in the same sentence:  “Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on sin no more.”  He doesn’t crush her (literally and figuratively) by condemning her to being stoned to death, but at the same time he doesn’t deny that her actions have been sinful, and he calls her gently to a renunciation of sin.

Now when we come to people who are same-sex-attracted (SSA), explaining this gets tricky, because in our current culture, as never before in the history of mankind, sexual orientation is regarded as an inherent characteristic of the SSA person – as if it is part of one’s genetic makeup.  And so, any criticism of same-sex activity becomes per se a criticism of the person’s identity or orientation.  But is sexual orientation really genetically determined?

Speaking as a former Human Biology teacher and as someone who has studied molecular genetics at post-graduate level, I can say that the evidence for sexual orientation being genetically determined is not conclusive by any means, and the science as it currently stands sees it as being the result of a complex interaction of genetic, hormonal, environmental and social influences.  For example, an Australian study of 4,901 sets of twins by Bailey, Dunne and Martin[viii] found only 20% concordance in sexual orientation in male monozygotic (identical) twins and 24% concordance in female monozygotic twins.  If the condition were purely genetic, the concordance should be 100%.  In fact, the gay community are divided among themselves about sexual orientation: many who want to leverage a political and ideological agenda want to claim the ‘born this way’ status, so that the group as a whole can be treated as a victimised minority group, while at the same time, others want to promote the idea of gender fluidity so that children can be indoctrinated at an early age with the ideology that gender is a malleable social construct of our own self-creation and not something objective and biologically determined.

On a personal level and as someone who has a few SSA friends and acquaintances, I am leaning towards a strong correlation with social factors and have made the following informal observations about cases I am familiar with, as they have been self-reported to me.

  • Friend #1 is female SSA, was sexually and physically abused by her father in her early years, and reportedly without emotional support from a passive mother. This friend is now coping with the additional burden of paranoid schizophrenia.
  • Friend #2 is female SSA, was abandoned by her mother in her early years. Her mother was a drug abuser and is currently living as a homeless person.
  • Friend #3 is female SSA. Her case involves significant childhood trauma, but because of her status as a friend of mine, I can’t even begin to discuss her case publicly.
  • Friend #4 is male SSA, was sexually abused by ‘multiple teachers and an older boy’.[ix] You can read his story here.

Even Milo Yiannopoulos agrees with me on this.

I have to concede, though, that others do not fit into this paradigm – I’m thinking of people like Mindy Selmys and Eve Tushnet.

What this means for the Christian, is that for many SSA people, the experience of rejection by a significant other is a large part of what feeds into their self-perception.  And it seems to me that because the theme of rejection looms so large in their psychological landscape, they are particularly sensitive to the suggestion that same-sex attraction is regarded as sinful in the Abrahamic religions.  To them it seems just another instantiation of the rejection meme (in the Dawkins sense).  Hence the constant accusations of ‘homophobia’.

I get this a lot.  In spite of my having spent a significant part of last summer visiting an SSA friend in psychiatric hospital and taking her on outings while she recovered, I still get called ‘homophobic’ by certain members of my family, just because I happen to disagree with them about the purpose of sexuality in our lives.

And my Facebook news feed reveals a sort of passive aggression about the Christian understanding of homosexuality.  There is so much misunderstanding and superficiality in the meme below, that I will need another whole post to explain the logical fallacies in the statement, and give some clarity about what classical Natural Law theory is for Christians.  So I will leave that for next week.

Homosexuality-Meme

Things my friends post on Facebook.

The Christian understanding is that while the existence of a same-sex orientation itself is not sinful, homosexual acts are.  Christians are not picking on homosexuality in particular – we also regard masturbation, adultery, sex before marriage, polygamy and contraception as intrinsically dis-ordered, with the word ‘disordered’ being used in a technical, natural law sense and not in a medical sense.

The most important thing for me as a Christian, is to be, as much as is humanly possible in my flawed sort of way, Christ’s representative to my SSA friends.  For they won’t be able to understand the Christian position on homosexuality without first encountering the person of Christ.

Next week, I will give an overview of Christian teaching on sexuality, and explain some aspects of Natural Law as it pertains to this discussion.

In the meantime, for some extra background on Homosexuality from a Catholic perspective, I can recommend these two interviews with psychologist, Dr Joseph Nicolosi:

Understanding Same Sex Attraction, Part 1 
Understanding Same Sex Attraction, Part 2

[i] The New Jerusalem Bible (1985), Doubleday, notes to Leviticus 17.
[ii] The new Islamic Penal Code, accessed at http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/iranian-codes/1000000455-english-translation-of-books-1-and-2-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code.html#45
[iii] Quaestiones in Heptateuchum, 2, 73: PL 34, 623, accessed at http://www.augustinus.it/latino/questioni_ettateuco/index2.htm
[iv] St Augustine, Anti Pelagian Writings, 27 [XV] accessed at https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf105.xi.xxx.html
[vii] Letter 211, Augustine, §11, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1102211.htm.
[viii] Genetic and environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample, (2000) Bailey, J.M., Dunne M.P. and Martin, N.G.,  J. Pers. Soc. Psychol, accessed at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10743878
[ix] http://catholicoutlook.org/james-parker-from-gay-activist-to-husband-and-father/