Saturday, May 26, 2007


When I got my Yahoo News Alert the other day, one item from the Irish gay site (warning: potential triggers), by its editor Brian Finnegan, had this excerpt as the teaser:
But the Catholic Church believes that gay people, despite the fact that God made them gay, must be denied love and sex.
I don't know why I lost it as I did. But I let loose with a volley of obscenities at my computer screen. How can a human being be so ill-informed (or mendacious) as to write that while being thought smart enough to get it published (and even edit a publication)? As a sentence, separate from any discussion of the morality of homosexual acts, that is descriptively inaccurate on so many fronts, it's hard to keep score, but it's worth unpacking because Finnegan's mistakes and misconceptions are so widespread.

First of all, there is nary a shred of evidence that "God makes people gay" (even assuming we must use that lingo). So to say "the fact that" is simply false. Oh ... there's some evidence that heredity and/or physical-body structures play a partial role in "making people gay." But if there were no element of choice or environment, then every set of identical twins in the world would be all-gay or all-straight, just as they are all both blue-eyed or brown-eyed or whatever. We know that not to be the case, even in the studies the gay activists trumpet, so anybody who says "God makes people gay"¹ is telling a falsehood.

Even apart from that, it is also not true that the Catholic Church teaches that "God makes people gay. And while that's a logically separate claim from whether He does, it's also a point essential for the very stale contradiction Finnegan thinks he has caught the Church in. In the previous graf, before reaching the "God made" conclusion, he writes, clearly thinking it leads to that conclusion:
There is a big contradiction at the heart of the Vatican’s stance on homosexuality. The Catholic Church believes that being homosexual is not a sin, but engaging in homosexual sex is. In saying that homosexuality itself is not a sin, the Church is telling us that homosexuality is in inherent to humanity, not a chosen sexual orientation or a mental disorder, but something some of us are born with.
Some terminological imprecision aside ("being homosexual") that can bear ugly fruit later, the sentence in blue is fine. On a pass-fail test, in itself, that's a "pass."

But with the red clause, you start to see the train going off the tracks. Original sin is also inherent to humanity (in the sense of "normal" and "universal") but is obviously, well, sin. Finnegan also cannot really mean "homosexuality is inherent to humanity," because almost all of humanity is not gay. He must mean something like "homosexuality is a prevalent, recurring feature in human groups." But that has nothing to do with homosexuality's not being a sin (all sins are prevalent at some level). And it's not being a sin doesn't make it morally-neutral or good; there is the whole category of "natural evil," e.g., diseases and disasters, that this leap elides.

Which brings us to the green clause and by now we are well and truly off the rails. Saying that something is not a sin doesn't mean that something is not a mental disorder, or, as I said, a natural evil, like a disease. In fact, "mental disorder" is one of the commonest categories of "things that make a sin in the ordinary case not a sin," in this case because it robs a person of culpability," like, say, a person with Tourette's cursing.² And while nobody says that "sexual orientation" is chosen, that doesn't speak to our behavior, which is.

By the purple clause, we have the peak of a house of cards built upside-down. In quicksand. To start with, again, the Church does not teach that homosexuality is inborn ... neither in the Catechism (2357: "It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained") nor its teaching documents (e.g., as cited here). Also, there is no way that Finnegan can infer that conclusion from the mere fact of a homosexual orientation's non-sinfulness. Even if homosexuality were, in fact, something as inborn as eye-color, the fact that eye-color isn't a sin is neither the reason it's inborn nor evidence that it's inborn. Liking NASCAR or Univision telenovelas aren't sins (though they should be IMHO), but that fact hardly makes either inborn. Whether a condition is inborn or acquired (how) or chosen is a scientific matter (assuming science be properly understood). Period.

Aside ... I also love how gay-activists have such a narrow and presentist (and thus narcissistic) understanding of Providence that gayness is the only place where it's acknowledged. God doesn't confect the Host, God doesn't issue Commandments, God doesn't establish a Church, God doesn't condemn to Hell, God basically does nothing ... except make people gay.

But believe it or not, that's not the worst of the Literary Crimes of Brian Finnegan. No, he thinks he's proven a contradiction based on this choice bit of nonsense.
the Catholic Church believes that gay people ... must be denied love...
Newt Gingrich once said, "if all I knew about me was what the Mainstream Media reported, I'd hate me too." Same here. If all I knew about the Catholic Church is ignorant burbling flatulence like that column (and its ilk can be found in every issue of every gay publication worldwide) -- I'd hate the Catholic Church too.

Where do gay activists pick up that kind of shit (CQ)? Where does the Church say that gay people must be denied love? Where? The Church does say that people shouldn't engage in same-sex sex. But since Finnegan's next two words, which I ellided, are "and sex" (note the disjunctive), he must recognize at some level that love and sex aren't the same thing. Someone who does recognize this fact hasn't even got the feeble excuse of a sex-obsessed culture that conflates love with fucking. At every Courage meeting, we recite the Five Goals, at least two of which (3 and 4) explicitly acknowledge that homosexual persons need love like anyone else -- though the terms are "fellowship" and "friendship." My confessor has chided me for sometimes thinking and acting as if otherwise, like love were a luxury good. Dare I even mention in this context the Sacraments as instruments of love or the Atonement as an image of love ... nah ... too theologic-mysticistical.

Actually, though, that is the problem with Finnegan and most gay activist types -- they think that life without sex is life without love, which is only tenable if sex is the only form of love. I said recently at Mark Shea's combox that the worst thing the modern homosex movement has done (the sin of sodomy itself long predates Stonewall) is to impoverish our culture's understanding of love by always turning any hint of same-sex love (David and Jonathan, Cosmos and Damian, Batman and Robin, etc.) by seeing same-sex sex everywhere there is same-sex love. Comments like "the Church says gay people must live without love" are simple utter drivel that gay activists and the modern gay-lifestyle practitioner so adore because, lie or not, repeating it convinces themselves and feeds their sense of martyrdom. And convinces them that love without fucking is inconceivable.
¹ This is a different question, of course, from "are same-sex attractions chosen" and "are same-sex attractions, however caused, reversible," questions to which the answers are far more dicey. But "God makes people gay"? Not even worth discussing.
² I'm not for now endorsing any of these metaphors or ways of looking at same-sex attraction or definitive homosexuality. Merely pointing out that you cannot intellectually make the leaps this writer does.

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