Friday, August 20, 2010

Catholic kids with gay parents

There have been a number of cases where Roman Catholic schools have to figure out how to deal with gay parents who want to send their kids to Catholic school. The RC church disapproves of gay couples, we know that. But then, it also disapproves of remarriage following divorce, and contraceptive use in the marriage bed. As with other things, though, only the gay couples are worth punishing. Remarried or by-choice-childless couples using the pill, not so much. One might ask who are the "cafeteria" Catholics.

Let's review, shall we? There was a case in Costa Mesa, CA in 2005:
An Orange County Catholic school that angered some parents by allowing a gay couple to enroll their two boys last year has drafted a policy that would forbid the men to appear as a couple at school functions, according to a memo distributed to teachers.
Then there was the case in Colorado earlier this year, in which the children of a lesbian couple were dismissed from a Boulder Catholic school despite being enrolled for 3 years.
The archdiocese posted a statement on its Web site that read in part, "Parents living in open discord with Catholic teaching in areas of faith and morals unfortunately choose by their actions to disqualify their children from enrollment."
So, that would mean that any parents using contraception, any divorced/remarried parents, anyone having an affair, right?

Again, earlier this yeast, there was another case in Massachusetts, although in contrast to the Archidiocese in Denver, Cardinal Sean O'Malley had a different response:
After a Hingham Catholic school revoked its acceptance of an 8-year-old because his parents are lesbians, the Catholic Schools Foundation, chaired by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, sent out a gorgeous letter making it clear that that kind of cruelty is not what the church is about.

“We believe a policy that denies admission to students in such a manner . . . is at odds.... ultimately with Gospel teaching,’’ it read. The archdiocese will formalize an inclusive policy in coming weeks.

Alas, some people in The Hub didn't get the message. In a June op/ed in the Boston Archdiocese's own newspaper, author Michael Pakaluk wrote,
The question arises of whether children in the custody of (one cannot say, “children of”) same-sex couples should be admitted to Catholic parochial schools.
(Note that snide "custody" remark). The answer, he says, is a resounding "no", based on his observations of his son's school.
There were three basic reasons. The first involves the inevitability of scandal. It was inevitable that either the teacher, or some parent, would deal with the two men in such a way as implicitly to teach my son, or other children in the class, that there is nothing wrong with same-sex relationships. ....I saw this beginning to happen in my son’s school: not wishing to offend, teacher and parents would refer to the two men as the “parents” of that boy, even though only one was the father.

The second reason is that parents are rightly given access to a child’s classroom, and yet I could not trust the designs of the same-sex couple. A mother or father may volunteer to read to the class or chaperone for a class trip. If the homosexual parent does so, what guarantee would I have that he would not be an advocate for his lifestyle, implicitly if not explicitly? One would expect him to be: he says he takes “pride” in his life; the school, it seems, has implicitly endorsed his role; and so why wouldn’t he speak unabashedly about his lifestyle?....

The third reason is that it seemed a real danger that the boy being raised by the same-sex couple would bring to school something obscene or pornographic, or refer to such things in conversation, as they go along with the same-sex lifestyle, which--as not being related to procreation-- is inherently eroticized and pornographic. He might expose other children to such things, as he might easily have encountered them in his household.
NOt that this ever happened to his son, of course. But it MIGHT, he said, simply because the parents are gay.

Of course, the idea that same sex couples eroticize their children, in a way that straight couples do not, is profoundly profoundly insulting and outrageous. It is one more example of the Right Wing's inability to recognize that we are not driven by, or defined by, a sexual act any more than they are. It is another example of bigotry trying to reduce us to the level of rutting animals (see my discussion of this in my recent essay, Talking about Sex

The pushback against this has been predictable, and Pakulak retracted his third point. But the fact that he made it in the first place tells you what he really thinks.

As for why GLBT couples would WANT to send their children to a Catholic school, an essay here.

Meanwhile, perhaps Mr Pakaluk might want to read those studies about how kids raised by gay parents are doing great--despite the small minded bigotry and fear of people like him. But the real fear here is the old, familiar one: that by learning about Teh Gay, his son, or other people's sons, might actually "become" gay. Better to Mr Pakaluk is that any boy growing up gay should become a self-loathing closet case rather than a healthy out man living a life of faithful same-sex monogamy.

Pathetic little man.

1 comment:

Wormwood's Doxy said...

But the real fear here is the old, familiar one: that by learning about Teh Gay, his son, or other people's sons, might actually "become" gay.

Or that the son might reject his father's religion--and control....