Monday, June 9, 2014

Why do LGBT people think the Catholic Church hates them?

Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry writes,
[N]o other group in the church is discussed primarily in terms of sex as gay and lesbian people are. I would imagine that in terms of sheer power of sexual urgency and desire, adolescents and young adults are probably the people most interested in sexual activity out of the entire human population. Yet, church leaders do not always refer to sexual temptation when they discuss or welcome young people to the church, as they do with gay and lesbian people. The focus of youth ministry in dioceses and parishes is not on sexual behavior, as some dioceses and parishes would like gay and lesbian outreach to be. Young people’s concerns are not shunned or ignored because it might seem to give the indication that church leaders are approving of non-marital sexual activity, yet that is routinely done to gay and lesbian people. ... 
In addition to being thought of primarily as sinners, lesbian and gay people resent that they are thought of primarily as sexual, as if no other aspect of their life mattered, and as if that was the primary factor defining their lives.
YES!  this is it.  The people opposed to LGBT equal rights are obsessed with gay sex.  And because they are obsessed with sex, they assume we are too. The language they use for our lives and our loves is degradingly animalistic.  

They treat us as a "them", a remote species, sex-crazed, unable to have real relationships.

Oh, they "love" us.  Sure.  While they fight to prevent our marriages, fire us for getting married when we can, and fire teachers for saying anything positive about civil marriage. 

And of course we take it personally.  Because no one is getting fired for using birth control, or supporting their cousin's marriage (which just might be after a divorce).  

I suspect a lot of this is because the experience the Bishops have with same-sexuality is based on furtive, closeted sex.  After all, given estimates that upwards of half the priesthood is gay, that's the only exposure they have.  And if the only measure you have for sexuality is hidden and illicit, that's what you assume everyone experiences.

Now, let's just unpack this a little more.  Cincinnati, Oakland, and other dioceses have written teacher contracts that require teachers to avoid saying anything positive about marriage equality. Because "endorsing" homosexuality is a deep sin, and what a teacher says in their private lives impacts the church.

So, yeah, LGBT people get that the Bishops of the Catholic Church despise us as uniquely dangerous sexual sinners.  

(Just to be clear, I am NOT speaking here about individual Catholics who remain great supporters and proponents of justice, but the Official Church.)



JCF said...

Just my 2c: we speak of "sexual orientation". But of course, what we mainly mean (even for gay men!) is "fall-in-love-with orientation".

Now, usually, when you fall in love w/ someone, it includes a desire to Make Love with them (aka "Teh Sex").

But sex is only a small SUBSET of "falling in love with"---yet, ONLY for LGBT people "falling in love with" gets DEFINED by (if not limited to) Teh Sex.

Why? Why is not "falling in love" given the same... romance, among same-sex couples, as it is w/ opposite-sex ones? Why do the phobes not go "Awwwww! {happy-cry}" about same-sex LOVE, as *everybody* gives to opposite-sex Love?

The double-standard is excruciating. Jesus, mercy!

Tobias Haller said...

JCF sparked a thought that may offer a bit of an explanation. The RC theology is seriously "disembodied" -- in spite of all the rhapsodic language about coitus humano modo and the holiness of the body. Sex is walled off and put in a little container; in theory distant from the actual experience of the vast bulk of the leadership. Homophobia in the RCC is closely linked with gynophobia and erotophobia. You don't have to go very far back in the Tradition to find strong traces of this world-view. And that Latin tag says it all: sex is only good sex when it is done "in a human fashion" -- which indicates that sex outside that limit is seen as unhuman or inhuman, depraved or animalistic. And the irony is that this focus on "male and female" (presumably in a missionary position and without any bar to conception) in fact cordons off love, romance and all the rest (including family planning) that actually constitute the "human" aspects of the relationship. It is less a double standard than a painting into a corner.

IT said...

Tobias, yes. It is a worldview that fears sexuality and oddly empowers "sex" above relationship.

James Pratt said...

I went to an RC high school (run by the Sisters of Mercy, a predominantly Irish order), and the stereotypical Irish catholic guilt and compartmentalization of sex was certainly present in the curriculum. (and so the class president who got pregnant was stripped of her office and not allowed even to march with us at graduation)

But also, I remember Sr Mary Robertine in my freshman religion class, talking about how sex (at least between husband and wife) could be holy, and dropping hints about the Song of Songs. It was a bit shocking and confusing then, but now I can look back and see a little bit of subversion of the hierarchy and tradition.

Tobias Haller said...

James, among Sisters I've known are some of the most reactionary and some of the most progressive human beings I have had the pain or pleasure to encounter!