Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Campus Ministry, Gay Group Trash Bible, Church Teachings on Homosexuality

An event last week, as announced on the Marquette web site:
Exploring the Bible, Faith, and Homosexuality

Campus Ministry and the Gay/Straight Alliance are co-sponsoring two screenings of the film, “For the Bible Tells Me So,” along with a panel discussion. “For the Bible Tells Me So” explores how scriptural interpretation has informed Christian beliefs on and responses to homosexuality. The movie also chronicles real life stories of Christian families and their responses to family members who identify as being gay or lesbian. Screenings will take place on Monday, April 19th and Tuesday, April 20th. Both will take place at 7 p.m. in Marquette Hall, room 200.
The video in question basically trashes Christian teaching on homosexuality. The review of the movie in the New York Times outlines the arguments it makes.
The movie’s ensemble portrait of parents (many of them ministers) with adult gay or lesbian children strives to demonstrate that homosexuality is a genetic predisposition, not a lifestyle choice, and that those who quote Leviticus to justify their animosity are guilty not just of intolerance but also of selective piety, an inability to understand historical context and poor reading comprehension. (Abomination, for example, does not mean against God, but against a civilization’s cultural norms.)
There are all sorts of problems with arguments like this.

The statement that “abomination” doesn’t mean an abomination in the eyes of God ignores the fact that the text of Leviticus at this point is plainly speaking for God. The text says:
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

“You shall also say to the sons of Israel . . . .
It then goes on to give several injunctions to the sons of Israel, including a prohibition on having sex with close relatives, against sacrificing infants to Molech and against consulting mediums and spiritists. And also “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act.” (NASB)

Nothing here about “homosexuality is against cultural norms, but God doesn’t mind it.”

Of course, those who reject this teaching could say “the Bible is just a bunch of stuff written by ignorant homophobes, and I don’t believe it.” That, at least, would be honest on their part. But instead they lie about what the text says and means.

The claim of “selective piety” is only a little better. It’s true that Christians don’t observe the dietary restrictions laid out in the Old Testament. But unfortunately the condemnation of homosexuality is reiterated in the New Testament (which explicitly abrogates the dietary restrictions), and in Catholic social teaching (which for loyal Catholics is authoritative). So no amount of “historical context” can do away with the teaching.

The claim that homosexuality is “a genetic predisposition, not a lifestyle choice” doesn’t help much either. People have all sorts of genetic predispositions. Straight people have a “a genetic predisposition” to engage in sexual promiscuity and adultery. Tendencies toward schizophrenia, alcoholism and compulsive gambling all have strong genetic components. People both gay and straight may have “a genetic predisposition” to molest young children.

There are all sorts of “genetic predispositions” that people are supposed to overcome.

And this leaves aside the fact that people who want to, say, own a gun or dive an SUV are roundly condemned by the same politically correct people who would never condemn anybody for homosexual acts.

Some of the video is a play to cheap sentimentality.
Mary Lou Wallner, one of the staunchest advocates of gay rights in the movie, became a political activist after her daughter, Anna, committed suicide — the result, Ms. Wallner believes, of the letter she wrote to Anna rejecting her after she came out.
Of course, all sons and daughters may do things that parents refuse to accept. Mrs. Wallner might have had a straight daughter who took up with a guy who was a complete bum. Some sons might engage in drug dealing or join a neo-Nazi cult.

How to handle such situations can be a tough call indeed, and Mrs. Wallner may have been much too harsh on her daughter. But just because a kid does something doesn’t make it ok.

Panel Discussion

Again, from the University website:
Thursday, April 22nd, university community members are invited to attend a panel discussion on the movie at 7 p.m. in Marquette Hall, room 200. Join panelists Dr. Ed de St. Aubin, Associate Professor of Psychology, Fr. Bryan Massingale, Associate Professor of Theology, Dr. John Schmitt, Associate Professor of Theology, and Rev. Jessica Short, Pastor of Lutheran Campus Ministry, in an engaging conversation on faith, scripture, and homosexuality. For more information, please contact Steve Blaha.
What stands out about this panel? The simple fact that all of the presenters are liberals, and none could be expected to present the Catholic view of homosexuality in any sort of sympathetic way.

And that’s typical of Marquette.

The issue is not whether, at a Catholic university people are allowed to present views at odds with Catholic teaching. Here, it’s whether anybody is allowed to support Catholic teaching.

The Campus Ministry clearly has a “thing” about homosexuality, and it seems to go beyond merely being liberal and politically correct. If asked, they doubtless would say that they just want to protect gays from harassment and discrimination. But their actions clearly suggest that they simply don’t accept Church teaching on homosexuality, and are doing all they can to undermine it at Marquette.

Some final comments from the New York Times show the corruption associated with this project. The Times reviewer pans the video on the basis of aesthetics, and labels it “condescending,” explaining that this word is:
. . . embodied by this movie’s most unfortunate sequence, a smart-alecky animated short in which a gay man, a lesbian and a booming Voice of God (Don LaFontaine) disabuse a homophobe of his ignorance. The dummy’s name? Christian.
When conservative Protestant ministers claim to speak for God, they get roundly condemned. But apparently the gay lobby gets to speak for God.

The Times reviewer claims that “the movie is mainly intended as a feature-length primer that can be deployed in arguments with homophobes.” And further:
The inevitable DVD should be packaged in a plain cardboard sleeve, so that viewers can carry it in their pockets and, if confronted by a homophobe, hand it over and say, “Watch this, then get back to me.”
Calling people “homophobes” and “bigots” because they disagree about homosexuality shows who the real bigots are. Intolerant of dissent and disagreement, the politically correct lash out, projecting their hostility upon those who disagree with them. Thus those who hate most are most likely to call other people “haters.”

No university should be implicated in nasty invective directed against people who disagree with the prevailing orthodoxy. And any Catholic university should have at least some voices who side with the Church against the prevailing orthodoxy.

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