Friday, December 2, 2011

OneAngryCultist: Love Thy Neighbor

In a recent article on the Catholic Lane, retired schoolteacher and fellow, Seattle OCCUPY activist and writer Robert “Bob” Struble, Jr. writes about the ongoing problem of institutional child abuse. In his recent articles, Paterno, Pedophiles, Homosexuals, and Cowards; and Homosexuality/Pedophilia Correlation? Struble explores the recent Penn State sex abuse scandal in which assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had been found guilty of sexually assaulting or having inappropriate contact with at least eight underage boys as indicative of the moral decline of society due to the growing acceptance of homosexuality.

In the first article, Struble writes:
“Cultural commissars in the West urge citizens to worship at the altar of a much-touted triune ethic – tolerance, diversity and choice. This secular trinity militates against the influence of righteous indignation. It demands that people who express disgust at sexual sins be reprogrammed. Teach them to reconsider their negative attitudes. Show them that a tendency to look down on homosexual sex is wrong in itself. Brow beat them with the notion that such a critical attitude is condescending and judgmental.”
Putting aside any snarky reference I could make by invoking Matthew 7:1-5, there is a tendency in our culture to censor language that is perceived to be intolerant or that doesn’t respect the current values of diversity and choice and with good reason –this kind of language kills people!

 In a free society we do have the right to speak our minds, however the point at which this language and dialogue infringes upon the lives and liberty of others, I take serious concern.

In specific regards to Catholic social teaching, of which Mr. Struble should be well aware, sexual minorities, “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” Quoting the controversial archbishop of the airwaves, Fulton Sheen, Mr. Struble writes in agreement:
“Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil…, a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment…. Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory. Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles.”
Immediately following, in his own words, Bob additionally calls for an end to, “the prevailing idolatry about inclusiveness. We need, rather, to exhibit the militancy and intolerance that Jesus modeled when he cleansed the temple.”

So, Bob, tell us what you really think about the teachings of Jesus who enjoins all Christians to, “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk. 12:31). Thousands of Catholics struggle on a daily basis with deep-seated problems related to being faced with having to choose between being true to themselves or their faith – I for one think they are owed at least a modicum of tolerance.

In his second article, Bob attempts to make the case that the child abuse case at Penn state is not only a moral problem, with which I fully agree, but correlates homosexuality to pedophilia – clearly something I cannot endorse. Pedophilia cannot in any way be related to homosexuality.

Pedophilia, as defined by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems is “a sexual preference for children, boys or girls or both, usually of prepubertal or early pubertal age” and has nothing to do whatsoever with homosexuality even in cases where the abused are of the same gender of the abused.

In essence, pedophilia is a profound psychological and emotional disorder that cannot be correlated in any way to homosexuality in which relationships formed between same-sex partners are most often consensual in nature, as with heterosexual relationships, and based on positive regard for partners and are not typified by power-dynamic disparity as in the case of pedophilia.

Continuing, Bob predicts:
“That if social mores continue their downward trajectory, and society reaches such a level that NAMBLA’s agenda gets mainlined into the culture (as was its equivalent in ancient Greece and Rome); then the social climate will be about as libertine as we read about in pagan antiquity, when there was not much about pedophilia that scandalized people… 
At that point, homosexuals and homosexualists (their heterosexual backers) will not be compelled to conjure up so much anger or indignation whenever someone associates them with pedophilia. To the extent that all sex is considered good sex, no stigmatizing of deviant sexuality will exert enough social suasion to make people feel guilty about sexual relations with children.”
With all due respect, Bob, NAMBLA represents a socially deviant organization that I can guarantee the majority of the LGBTQI community along with the rest of society views with equal disdain as you yourself hold. Also, as something of a lay-historian myself, I’m profoundly disappointed in Bob’s anachronistic reading into the fall of ancient Rome which most historians now assess as being due to extreme economic pressures brought about by territorial expansionism and not about sexual excess and moral denigration. 

Historically speaking, same-sex attraction as understood in the ancient world was understood differently than it is today. While the cultural practice of pederastry as practiced to a small extant in Ancient Greece and Rome may be to some extant equitable with hebephilia – a related but different disorder from pedophilia and something against which Paul rails in Romans – there are cultural contexts which separate making such a drastic comparison to NAMBLA.

These two articles fail to pass biblical and intellectual standards of editorial excellence and are indicative of a small-mindedness that should not be confused with the great academic and loving religious values present in Catholicism, instead they appear to regurgitate the same old “gays are bad because the pope says so” arguments that contribute to a strong social stigmatization of the Church.

I humbly, yet frankly, ask the author to look deeper into the issues at stake as well as inform himself better on the Spirit of the Gospel as opposed to the letter of the law and enjoin him to make a sincere and loving inventory based on love of his sisters and brothers and cease depriving what he likely would not appreciate having deprived himself – the right to love their partners as themselves.

In Dedication to Ss. Sergius and Bacchus
(Aren't they cute?!)

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