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10/17/2014

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That was one of the few things about the Synod that I've seen on Facebook that I was tempted to read, but I didn't read it. I'm trying to be really strict with myself about this.

But, I think you are right about celibate partnership being unlikely for men. I can't remember if we have discussed this, but I don't think lumping gay male relationships and lesbian relationships together as the same thing is a mistake. They seem almost the opposite to me. I think that gay male relationships may tend to be too dangerous, while lesbian relationships are too safe.

AMDG

Despite the abundant evidence, most women don't really understand just how commanding and obsessive the male sex drive is. They may understand it as an observed datum, but since they don't experience it, they still tend to underestimate its power.

Movies and TV series that have featured male gay relationships have usually built on that misunderstanding, and have portrayed them as domesticated in a female sort of way. Modern Family is a good example, and also Will & Grace. I'm pretty sure this has played a very large part in the rapid acceptance of the idea of gay marriage.

You're probably right. I've never seen either of those shows, but I recognize the pattern. One of the things that annoyed me about...oh heck, what was the name of that movie?...roses, Kevin Spacey's wife kills him...anyway, there was a gay couple in that one, not very prominent, but they appeared nice and normal and domestic, while everybody else was psycho.

"gay male relationships may tend to be too dangerous, while lesbian relationships are too safe"

Now that's an interesting way of looking at it. Never would have thought of it that way, but I think you're right.

I watched part of some documentary (PBS, probably) a while back about the early days of the gay rights movement. They described the lengths to which men were "forced" to go for sex. One of them involved an unused semi trailer that dozens of them would cram into and do whatever. I can't see lesbians going in for that sort of thing to anything like the same degree.

No, there's been some research done that says lesbian couples have sex less than any other kind of couple, and that committed couples frequently quit having sex altogether. Of course, there are lesbian groups that protest that study. I don't know but I have second-hand knowledge of that in a few cases. That doesn't make me exactly an expert. ;-)

AMDG

Good. There is a phrase coined by some researcher: "lesbian bed death"

Yes. I was avoiding using that. Not sure why.

AMDG

I deliberately used it because I think it's funny.

The first and only time I ever heard that term was during a discussion of that Joseph Bottum article about how we ought to stop fighting against gay marriage because that battle was lost, or something like that. A friend was saying that her lesbian friends said that bed death was frequent, and then she said, "You know that term, don't you." No. The lesbians I know have never discussed their sexual activity or lack thereof with me. Nor, come to think about it, have any of my other friends, for which I am profoundly grateful.

AMDG

I don't know if I've been warped by the study of history or of grammar, but I can only think of "bed death" as something blessedly distinct from "roadside death". Do these people even know how noun clusters are formed in English? (Or do they walk into shop windows when they need a window shop?)

It's obviously a misuse of the word "death", but it also shows a profound ignorance (or one-track-mindedness) concerning beds, which are places of birth and death and care of the sick, and sleep and dreams and reveries and fretting, and prayer and breakfasting and the opening of presents, and who knows how many non-sexual activities. Do the people who coin such usages have no lives but sex-lives?

"One thought the question provokes, though, is that her vision of some sort of place for "celibate partnership" (there's a link to further discussion of that idea in her piece) is something that I can see more easily workable for lesbians than for gay men. Despite the abundant evidence, most women don't really understand just how commanding and obsessive the male sex drive is."

Right. I like Eve Tushnet, but I do think she needs to accept that her sexuality itself is in need of healing. That doesn't mean it will be, necessarily, although it could be. Everybody has a cross to carry and some crosses are at least as heavy, if not heavier than a disordered sexuality.

"The lesbians I know have never discussed their sexual activity or lack thereof with me. Nor, come to think about it, have any of my other friends, for which I am profoundly grateful."

Quite! Such a horrid thing when people want to tell you about their sex lives.

"It's obviously a misuse of the word "death", but it also shows a profound ignorance (or one-track-mindedness) concerning beds, which are places of birth and death and care of the sick, and sleep and dreams and reveries and fretting, and prayer and breakfasting and the opening of presents, and who knows how many non-sexual activities. Do the people who coin such usages have no lives but sex-lives?"

Excellent!!

Apologies for the unfortunate typo! I really should preview my comments. Sloth strikes again!

Hah! I had to re-read your comment to even see it. I'll change it if you like.

"Do the people who coin such usages have no lives but sex-lives?"

Well, that's the thing, the huge thing about what the whole progressive mind-set has become: the right to sexual pleasure has become their only real absolute. Maybe I should say "almost their only", but I'm really not sure that the qualification is required.

"I like Eve Tushnet, but I do think she needs to accept that her sexuality itself is in need of healing."

Yeah, that's the hard fact that I would like to avoid saying, but I don't think I can in honesty. A couple of people in the comments on that NPR story about the synod that I remarked on in a previous discussion mentioned how offensive the term "intrinsically disordered" was to them. And Eve objects to it, too. But it just seems inescapably accurate to me. It's not by far the only kind of sexual disorder we experience, and pretty much every man is chock-full of disordered desires, so there's no place for self-righteousness. But it is disordered, and though having it, especially to the point of having little or no interest in the other sex, is a really tough situation to be in, it can't be made into something it's not.

"Yeah, that's the hard fact that I would like to avoid saying, but I don't think I can in honesty."

Sometimes the truth just is hard either to hear or say, but it's for the best if we can say it as kindly as possible. And it's no insult to Eve or anyone else to say that she needs healing. We all need healing, as you've basically pointed out.

Yes, please do change the typo, if you don't mind. Sorry for the bother!

Done. No problem.

Thanks :)

Before Eve Tushnet, there was a guy on the internet called David Morrison. He wrote a book called Beyond Gay. He was kind of like a male Eve, so to speak. He was a celibate male gay Catholic living with his gay partner. He had a 'Beyond Gay' blog and in the end he had to take it down, I think because the gays kept criticizing him for being celibate and the Catholics kept criticizing him for living with his partner and said how dangerous it was and how intrinsically disordered people like him are in need of healing and should change

I remember seeing his name around, but I don't think I ever read anything by him. That's a shame that people were harsh with him. I wouldn't criticize any specific person's attempt to live celibately with someone to whom he or she was sexually attracted, but it just seems like common sense to observe that in general the idea is a risky one--"risky" in that it would be difficult to stay celibate. If Eve, or David Morrison can do it, God bless them, but I had the impression Eve was proposing it as a wider practice, and I'm skeptical. I certainly could not, at any time between the ages of, say, fifteen and sixty, have done it. (The fires are burning rather lower now, but even so....)

Here is something by Morrison that looks interesting, though I haven't read it yet. I don't see a date on it.

In that article Eve says "I’m pretty sure my own love of the Church as the Bride of Christ is more than a little queer."

What does that mean? People on the radical social left are always saying that sort of thing, often in a sly kind of way, but what on earth are we supposed to take that to mean coming from someone who proclaims herself to be an orthodox Catholic who accepts the Church's teachings on sexuality?

I didn't know what to make of that, either. I mean, it apparently means that as a woman she loves the Church in its guise as a woman. But that isn't the relationship that we have to the Church. And we can't have the relationship to the Church that the Bridegroom has.

I mean, I'm a straight man, and my relationship to the Church is not the not-queer version of what she seems to be saying.

Yeah I am baffled how she could think that statement is benign or even humorous. It just seems really misguided and nonsensical at best and--sorry to say--indicative of a kind of intrinsically disordered perspective. It reminds me of how some kids of 14 go through a phase where they can't look at anything longer than it is wide without snickering. They see the phallus everywhere because they are immature and obsessive, ruled by hormones and feelings that run out of control, lacking the advanced cognitive skills to channel the obsession into more socially acceptable outlets.

Tushnet and the other writers in her sort of loosely affiliated school of thought (Wes Hill, etc) throw me for a loop frequently because of their asides and comments like that. They make a big deal out of being orthodox and yet there's this up the sleeve snickering and affection for the baser aspects of "gay culture"...I can see why some see their group as deceptive or at least self-deceiving to some degree.

I took her to be using the word "queer" in its primary meaning. Or do people not do that any more in the US?

No, I'm sorry to say, we don't. "Homosexual" is the primary meaning of the word now. Anyone attempting to use its original meaning would probably feel obliged to note the fact, and there would be smiles and chuckles.

As for that "school", I really wasn't aware that there is one--E.T. is the only one of these writers I've read, and I haven't noticed a lot of that sort of thing with her. But the general 14-year-old-snickering syndrome was something I noticed immediately when I was first around openly (more or less) gay men in college. They were constantly turning innocent turns of phrase into sex-related jokes. That's a male tendency in general, but it seemed a lot more pronounced with them, and I found it kind of annoying.

My recollection is that David Morrison quit blogging for the same reason most do (he'd run out of things to say) and because he was in the midst of financial and vocational problems.

You never know, though. The embarrassing thing about this hobby is it records the vicissitudes of life. The fellow who ran the blog The Cafeteria is Closed later slid into some wretched revisionist Catholicism; I'm not sure he hasn't left the Church. The fellow who offered Diary of a Suburban Priest works as an interpreter for the deaf and is in civvies; I gather he's either suspended, laicised, or over the wall.

I do not generally approve of making a public point of one's esoteric problems, but Morrison always struck me as on the level and fairly level-headed. Some of these other characters seem a mess ("Courage Man") or a mix (in varying proportions) of gassy, shifty, and exhibitionistic (Joshua Gonnerman, Melinda Selmys). It leaves you wishing to God they'd write about something other than themselves. It seemed for a while that someone on the editorial staff of First Things was taking an indordinate interest in this coterie and commissioning a mess of contributions from them (before R.R. Reno elected to make First Things more truly and thoroughly soporific.

The school of thinkers I am thinking of hangs out on and around the spiritual friendship dot org blog. And yeah, they have been heavily featured on First Things recently. They have a few tropes they like to revisit frequently. One is this idea that if only normal families in churches would "open their homes" to homosexuals pursuing a celibate life, everything would be right and just. That somehow having your own nuclear family and not going out of your way to show "hospitality" specifically to unmarried homosexuals is why celibacy doesn't work for people, the problem is all these "closed off" selfish moms and dads wanting to have a family life and not thinking about the good that could come from a Gay Uncle So and So...something like that. Honestly I have always had trouble making sense of what exactly the thesis is. It comes off like a whine.

Another one they like is the idea that while gay sex is morally wrong, there's something inherent about being gay, other than wanting sex with someone of the same sex, that is special, maybe magical, and is a gift of some sort. How this could be defined beyond stereotype (sensitive artistic males...female with leadership potential?) is never really nailed down. It's just a certain gay je ne sais quoi that they proudly claim.

Of all of them I admit Melinda Selmys puzzles and confounds me a great deal. She is married and has, as I recall, 6 children. But she seems to still totally define her identity around her same sex attraction, her history as a formerly active and apparently militant lesbian, and her "gender nonconformity." Which...how gender nonconformist can a mother of 6 in a chapel veil actually be? It seems like a lot of unhealthy navelgazing, but is applauded in some "thoughtful young Catholic" circles as being very cutting edge, real, raw, and insightful. I'm technically on the younger side myself but it all just escapes me. I feel like (based partially on reason and discernment, partly on personal experience with growing up and getting over difficult crap) these folks are willfully holding themselves back by harping in this way. But when I have dared to butt into conversation in those forums, I am told I just don't know what pain is, etc.

like a lot of unhealthy navelgazing,

Yep.

For your amusement, click on the comments and search for "Sundaram".

http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2012/05/dan-savage-was-right

I am told I just don't know what pain is, etc.

Well, you aren't Special.

I'm not very familiar with this scene y'all are describing, and don't even recognize most of the names, so will refrain from comment on that. But this is something I've noticed, and been bothered by: "...the idea that while gay sex is morally wrong, there's something inherent about being gay, other than wanting sex with someone of the same sex, that is special, maybe magical, and is a gift of some sort."

This is the note that was sounded in the interim document from the Synod, and that to me was a signal that something seriously off was involved. To say that homosexual men and women have gifts that can be of service to the Church is fine, and true. But to say that homosexuality is *itself* a gift is a different matter. In some more or less mystical sense it is true, in that even our defects are a part of what we are, and can cause us to see some aspect of God that no one else does. One sometimes hears people with serious physical handicaps say things like that, for instance. But no one tries to make a blanket statement that having a serious physical handicap is an intrinsically good thing.

I only skimmed the FT piece, and the long long long long comment from Sundaram. On the basis of that, the piece seemed ok. Asking for extra reassurance, yes, but I can understand why someone in that circumstance might want it. There are plenty of Christians who will be harsh and decidedly unwelcoming.

"...the idea that while gay sex is morally wrong, there's something inherent about being gay, other than wanting sex with someone of the same sex, that is special, maybe magical, and is a gift of some sort."

I did have a laugh when I saw someone's facetious comment recently, "Have they discovered yet that gay sex is miraculous?"

BTW, I Am Special, just in case y'all were wondering. :)

But to be a little more serious, "But no one tries to make a blanket statement that having a serious physical handicap is an intrinsically good thing." Right. I know that God has brought about some good things in my life out of bad things which happened, but I would never think of those bad things as being in themselves good.

"This is the note that was sounded in the interim document from the Synod, and that to me was a signal that something seriously off was involved."

Right.

Yeah and it bothers me that no one can describe or explain what this gift of essential gayness (separate from illicit sexual attraction) might be and how it is distinct from the more general category of "insights gained from outsider status" or "overcoming a hardship with spiritual integrity." It reminds me of how once we all thought of bullying as something that kids do to anyone who "sticks out" but now "bullying" has become a dogwhistle among the social justice types for "homophobia." Sure, the fat guy and the nerd girl get picked on too, but it's somehow lacking both the spiritual profundity and the political emergency of the gay kid's suffering at the hands of bullies.

Don't worry, Louise, we knew. :-)

I'm willing to overlook this notion of gayness as a gift in what I hope is the correct spirit of "gradualism." For anyone of homosexual orientation to embrace the Church and accept the teaching that homosexual acts are wrong is a *huge* step, especially in a cultural climate that teaches homosexual acts are wonderful and to be encouraged, and that any suggestion otherwise is "homophobia". I have my doubts as to whether it's a stable or sustainable position over the long haul (I mean the gayness-as-gift notion), but I'm willing to let it go.

The present use of "bullying" by the gay rights movement, though, is another story. It's being used as another tool in the effort to get any disapproval of homosexuality stigmatized. It's become its own form of bullying.

Another one they like is the idea that while gay sex is morally wrong, there's something inherent about being gay, other than wanting sex with someone of the same sex, that is special, maybe magical, and is a gift of some sort.

I can't remember where but Eve Tushnet responded to basically this exact charge by asserting that prisoners can have insights we need to hear but that doesn't mean we should all want to be prisoners. ("Former criminals getting religion" has been a pretty big thing in Christianity since St. Dismas in 33 A.D.) I would say that a point of view being different and something we need to hear doesn't mean it's necessarily "magical", which seems a bit scornful in this context, just... distinctive and different, and in this case easy to overlook due to gays & lesbians being a (frequently despised) minority.

Whether the homosexual POV is anything more special than "insights gained from outsider status" depends on definitions - homosexuality could be seen as an outsider status, but it's one that runs pretty deep, and one that necessarily gives people a very different perspective on sex, gender and friendship (orthodox gay Christians universally seem to consider friendship an important issue worth pondering at length, at least when they run a blog). (I read Eve Tushnet quite regularly in part due to this different perspective - I don't know to what degree her perspective is due to being queer, and to what degree it's just her personally - and in part due to her interest in mining the Catholic tradition for ways of understanding these things.)

"They were constantly turning innocent turns of phrase into sex-related jokes. That's a male tendency in general, but it seemed a lot more pronounced with them, and I found it kind of annoying."

I get the impression North Americans do this less than the British, maybe the gays were more what I'd consider "normal". I found North Americans disturbingly casual in talking about sex, but they could be bizarrely easy to entertain or freak out by making sex-related jokes. I think this is because British culture has tended to talk about sex by way of hints and nudges and double-entendres so much, initially to avoid offending people by openly discussing the matter and now by inertia. Not sure what the reasons would be for gays.

In my next comment I will attempt to defend the "Gay Uncle So-and-So" thing against Cailleachbhan but I am going to stop for tea and possibly for food, sleep, and an abortive attempt to tidy my room somewhere along the line first.

...ok, for "defend against" read "mount a qualified partial defence in answer to (and hope we're talking about the same version of the argument)".

I'll look forward to reading that. Gay as outsider, and thus having a point of view that's at least potentially worth hearing for that reason, is an approach to the "specialness" question I can accept. In spite of the current climate, gays and lesbians certainly are still outsiders, and I think are, so to speak, ontologically outsiders. Which I think has something to do with the extreme venom of many gay rights advocates--on some level they know that their quarrel is with nature itself.

I used to read Eve Tushnet regularly, but I just can't stand Patheos.com. As often as not when I go there--usually because I haven't noticed that it's a Patheos link--I get some auto-play video, and in general a lot of busyness that seriously bogs down my computer.

Did something in the document say that being gay is a gift as opposed to just saying that gay people have gifts to offer? I didn't see that, but you know I've been avoiding that middle thingy.

One thing that I've been thinking about wrt gay people offering something, and this might sound more controversial than it is when you think about it, is that many of these same-sex marriages seem to --hold us accountable maybe?--by their vision of married life. What I mean is, in the first place, many of them really WANT to be married and to have good stable marriages. I'm talking about people I know, not just what I've read somewhere. They don't seem to be thinking, "If this doesn't work out, we'll just get a divorce." They are in it for the long haul. These are women that I know and maybe it's more this way for women than men. And then, they see children as a good. They want children. One of the women has had in vitro fertilization twice, and she was very insistent that they only fertilize one egg, because she was not going to have any part in conceiving throw-away embryos. That's the first I ever heard of that.

So, I'm not in any way endorsing same-sex marriage or in vitro fertilization or any of that. I'm just saying that there is a sort of vision of marriage that is slipping away in the secular heterosexual world that is coming to roost in (a segment of) the homosexual community.

AMDG

Maybe I want to say they hold up a mirror-the image is backwards, but would be good if it weren't.

AMDG

I'm just saying that there is a sort of vision of marriage that is slipping away in the secular heterosexual world that is coming to roost in (a segment of) the homosexual community.

Not buying it.

"In spite of the current climate, gays and lesbians certainly are still outsiders, and I think are, so to speak, ontologically outsiders. Which I think has something to do with the extreme venom of many gay rights advocates--on some level they know that their quarrel is with nature itself."

I pretty much agree.

Sorry to be absent from the conversation--just busy.

"Did something in the document say that being gay is a gift as opposed to just saying that gay people have gifts to offer?"

It was ambiguous, I thought. I could have been wrong (don't want to take the time to track it down now), but a lot of the reaction on both sides seemed to take it the same way.

I expect there is a whole lot of variation among them in their views of marriage. I would have thought women more likely to have the kinds of attitudes you describe, but I read something a while back saying that lesbian couples were actually more likely to break up (can't remember whether this was re marriage or just any pairing) than gay male couples, because--this sticks in my mind--"women are picky, and with two women you get twice the picky." Pretty sure it was a woman speaking.

Twice the crazy. :)

With two men it's no better. You just get twice the delusional. :)

"It was ambiguous, I thought. I could have been wrong (don't want to take the time to track it down now), but a lot of the reaction on both sides seemed to take it the same way."

I'm trying not to remember it at all, but I thought it sounded very clear that homosexuality as such should be valued. I could be wrong.

"It was ambiguous, I thought. I could have been wrong (don't want to take the time to track it down now), but a lot of the reaction on both sides seemed to take it the same way."

Well, I think it's an important enough point that we ought to know before we discuss it-because it's a BIG thing and if others are just distorting what was said, I don't want to follow them down that path. That may be my favorite thing about this blog--you don't do that.

I know you don't have time to look it up. I don't either. So, I'm just not talking about it. ;-)

AMDG

"I expect there is a whole lot of variation among them in their views of marriage."

Yes, and I think I said a segment. I'm not talking about the results (They break up.), I'm just saying that they see something as good that the world no longer sees as good. I don't think they can accomplish it by same-sex marriage.

AMDG

Art:

Not buying it

Well, if nothing else, I elicited from you the shortest response you've ever given to anything. ;-) Maybe that's kind of telling. I don't know. What, exactly, aren't you buying?

AMDG

Yes, "whole lot of variation" was meant to acknowledge that it's a segment. I don't think that this is something "the world", speaking broadly, no longer sees as good, though. I think the majority of people still see marriage as a great thing, although there are plenty who don't.

I was just agreeing with you about the variation, Maclin, or saying that I had already agreed with you before I said it. I'm apparently completely unable to communicate anything, so I'm giving up.

Before I go, has anyone seen this?

http://everlastinghills.org/

It has a link to Courage, so I suspect it might be good.

AMDG

heh. This is kind of classic--I was just agreeing with you, too, about the variation. (Where is that Gmail crazy-eyes emoticon?)

This is the text on homosexual persons in the interim relatio:

Providing for homosexual persons

50. Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of providing for these people, guaranteeing [...] them [...] a place of fellowship in our communities? Oftentimes, they want to encounter a Church which offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of this, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?

51. The question of homosexuality requires serious reflection on how to devise realistic approaches to affective growth, human development and maturation in the Gospel, while integrating the sexual aspect, all of which constitute an important educative challenge. Moreover, the Church affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same level as marriage between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that the pastor’s outlook be pressured or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations based on gender ideology.

52. Without denying the moral problems associated with homosexual unions, there are instances where mutual assistance to the point of sacrifice is a valuable support in the life of these persons. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to [...] children who live with same-sex couples and stresses that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.

Unless I'm reading it wrong, it doesn't say homosexuality itself is a gift.

I agree with you, Maclin. And in the end, there are plenty of people who simply give in to the temptation of divorce or adultery when the going gets harder than they ever thought it would, but many of those same people initially had the bright ideal of a marriage as a life long commitment.

What I'm not buying is that ordinary couples are going to benefit from observing homosexual couples or that what's up is some sort of hankering after conventionality on the part of the homosexual population. Perhaps you could rummage up an example of that in a collection of 6 or 7 million adults, but to suggest anything more than an odd example here or there is to illustrate an unfamiliarity with the thrust of discourse among vociferous homosexuals on this subject. Equal respect is the abolition of respect. These feints at a simulacrum of marriage are not meant to honor marriage but to destroy it, because it is a field in which a small minority of damaged individuals cannot function.

it doesn't say homosexuality itself is a gift.

The opening statement is poorly phrased if they did not wish to suggest that.

On second thought re the interim relatio, maybe it's the “valuing” in that “accepting and valuing their sexual orientation" that's caused the ambiguity about rather homosexuality itself is a gift or not.

Precisely. I knew it was something like that, something that wasn't just conservative paranoia.

I thought "everlasting hills" rang a bell, and when I clicked on the link realized I'd seen that trailer before. It looks excellent. And the visual message it gives is just what I'm trying to say precedes all the discussion of moral theology and pastoral practice: the need to meet a person as a person. That sounds platitudinous but I can't think of anything better right now.

Okay, I was going to try and step back and approach this from a different angle, and what Maclin just said is a great jumping off place.

I'm not interested in "vociferous homosexuals." I am, of course, familiar with their discourse, but I don't think the represent most homosexuals any better than NOW represents me. I'm interested in the homosexuals and other people who support same-sex marriage that I know or came across in my daily life: people I meet at work, or people in my family, people at church, people I meet online.

The reason that I'm interested in them is that they were created in the image and likeness of God, and they were created for eternal communion with Him. I'm interested in them because He longs for them to be awakened or changed or healed or whatever the heck it is that they need to repair the breach between them and Him. Jesus bled and died for this and I don't want Him to have bled and died in vain.

So, I just want to find anything, any little way to relate to these people that will help them to hear me, because if all I have to say to them is that they are wrong--they are broken--they are lost--they are not going to hear anything I say. I say anything, but, of course, I mean anything true, anything that does not go against what the Church teaches.

And so, I was just giving a small example of what I'm thinking about. And also, we have discussed here, I know we must have, the fact that people are choosing not to get married anymore, and the people that do are waiting until later, and many who do have this theory of serial monogamy. And if we haven't discussed it here, I know that you know this is true. And I'm rather fascinated by the fact that it is within this culture of SOME, okay some, people--more than before--rejecting the Christian view of marriage that SOME homosexuals are embracing the outward signs of it. I mean, I'm always thinking, "Why do you want to get married? Why now, when other people are rejecting it?" I know that some of the people who are insisting on same-sex marriage are vociferous rabble-rousers who are using it for their own purposes. Those are not the people I care about. I don't let them figure into my calculations. I don't believe that all, or even most of the homosexuals who want to get married are like that.

So, like Maclin, said, I want to meet them as people and give them what I have been given and I don't give a damn about the politics of any of it.

AMDG

I'm sure there are lots of misspelled words and bad grammar. I'm in a hurry to go print the bulletin before the Hispanic ladies finish the Spanish bulletin and want the copier.

ADMG

Bravo!

On second thought re the interim relatio, maybe it's the “valuing” in that “accepting and valuing their sexual orientation" that's caused the ambiguity about rather homosexuality itself is a gift or not.

Yes, I meant to say earlier, but the office blew up at that moment, that that is the kicker right there. But then, we always knew that those people were out there, right? And they didn't get their way.

AMDG

Thanks, Maclin.

AMDG

but I don't think the represent most homosexuals any better than NOW represents me.

Let me suggest that 'activists' represent a purified and intensified vector of what is present in the populations from which they are drawn.

Now, what is the boundary you are drawing around the supposed constituency? Keep in mind, the 'gender gap' is composed of the distinction in viewpoints between unmarried men and unmarried women. The distribution of opinion among the married is not differentiated by sex. (While we're at it, differences in opinion amongst the whole population of adult men and adult women were pretty unimportant prior to 1980).

I'll suggest this: NOW does not 'represent' women who do not have a particular self-concept, which is to say it does not represent women who do not think of themselves in the civic sphere as bearing interests in their capacity as women (as opposed to any other capacity). NOW is the purified and intensified representation of such women, not women in general.

The question at hand is the degree to which the Human Rights Campaign 'represents' the homosexual population. Ask yourself this: is there a counternarrative among vociferous homosexuals? And the answer is: not much of one. There are some lone wolves like Camille Paglia (who is bisexual and something of a vocational maverick). There is Deroy Murdoch. These are exceptions which provide evidence for the rule: neither one is an established public figure as a consequence of their homosexuality (and Murdoch hardly touches on the subject). Why not look at Republicans (Richard Tafel, Scott Evertz, Steven Gunderson, and Bruce Bawer) and try to summarize and delineate their critical dissent from the political norms of gay politics? You might find some distinctions of sensibility or tone, but I do not think brass tacks these characters have too many bones to pick with the Human Rights Campaign on substantive matters.

So, I'll offer this hypothesis: the pool in question is not the homosexual population in general. The pool excludes bisexuals who have certain episodic recreations but who do not nestle much in the larger homosexual population or identify it. I will wager it excludes certain working class types who are divorced from civic life or do not conceive of themselves as part of a whole larger than their immediate circle of friends (the writer Chuck Pahlaniuk might conceivably be such a person).

So, I will offer you the hypothesis that the gay lobby draws on and reflects an intensified version of the tendencies to be found among the bulk of the homosexual population, and, in particular, manifests the common vices therein with a bright pallette.

"Why do you want to get married? Why now, when other people are rejecting it?"

I think you've overestimated the degree to which people are 'rejecting' it. The median age at first marriage did not (taking into account the changes in life expectancy for those who've reached their young adult years) reach values you could not have located in Census data from 1890. I've seen figures put together by social historians drawn from church registers in Puritan Massachusetts which found median ages for grooms which exceed by a whisker those you see today. Even in our time, north of 80% of the population has by age 40 been married at least once.

You've forgotten also the prominence of homosexual men in the theatre. You're looking at a population which thrives on applause much more than the ordinary run of men. Much gay discourse you see consists of expressions of anger that their Special qualities (which may mean their Special injuries) are not recognized and applauded.

" did not (taking into account the changes in life expectancy for those who've reached their young adult years) reach values you could not have located in Census data from 1890 until about 20-odd years ago."

I expect the visible gay rights movement represents a larger percentage of homosexuals than NOW represents of women. I've heard, anecdotally, of homosexuals who are somewhat hostile or disapproving toward the movement, and I'm sure they exist, but I can only speculate about their numbers, and my speculation is that they are a minority. When I think of the gay people with whom I'm personally acquainted (not that many these days), I don't see any evidence of the sort of militancy that the movement exhibits. But I don't know them well enough to know what they really think. Speculating, again, I suspect there could be a good number who don't like the more flamboyant and belligerent face of the movement but support its aims.

But be all that as it may--I don't attach the same significance to the devaluing of marriage by straight people and the valuing of it by homosexuals that Janet does, regardless of the numbers. It's good that at least some of them are valuing marriage for at least some of the right reasons. I don't deny that that's true, and it does provide an avenue of sympathy. Andrew Sullivan, from what I know of him, might be one of these. But I think he's also on record as saying that "marriage" between two men would be a pretty different thing from normal marriage. At any rate, I can't help feeling that the demand for marriage is often not so much a demand for marriage itself as for approval, the kind of total approval that some of them demand. Or maybe, as Art says, applause.

None of that affects what I keep saying about accepting gay people as people, of course.

Having spent my 20s as a lefty ssm "activist" before having some major reality checks and a change of heart and conversion that lead me into the Church, I have a different perspective on some of this. You'd think I'd be more sympathetic, but in fact I can only cringe as I see well-meaning moderate types trying to be fair, because I know that the people who I used to call comrades have no respect for such well-meaning people, and that there is a lot of scorn and deception behind the media-friendly emotionally appealing exterior. A lot of eye-rolling about how square and naive those nicey nice "breeders" are, etc.

The minute it looked like SSM was going to win in the SCOTUS, the media PR campaign for "polyamory" started up. That is not a coincidence. I participated in discussions about strategy in 2001 where it was framed as the "next step" that should be hushed up until we "got there." The idea is, the public isn't ready for this yet, but we will get them there. The minute it looked like the public was irreversibly in support of SSM, the articles started coming out about how straight folk are doing marriage "wrong" what with the monogamy stuff and lifelong committment and whatever, and that gays would "revolutionize" it for the "better." This was also not an accident. Please trust me on this, it was planned this way all along. The idea was not to be "included" but to destroy something that many very deeply disturbed and damaged people knew in their guts they could never be a part of. It was not about hospital visiting rights so much as anger and bitterness. The earnest couples who truly love one another and are not angry or bitter were used like so many Norma McCorveys, paraded before the courts and cameras.

I was a nice, naive young lady who meant well. I sat by and swallowed a lot of discomfort through my years on the left, earnestly thinking I was doing the right thing and saving truly helpless victims, the martyr figures sold to us by the propaganda engine. But after a while I could not help but notice a moral downward spiral. I could not help but notice a lot of blatant lying and manipulation, and obvious signs of unaddressed mental health issues that ran rampant through the ranks. And broken promises. "Oh don't be silly, just because we're pushing for ssm in your church doesn't mean there will be moral anarchy" but the next step after "gay married" clergy was saying why should clergy even have to be married to have sex? And then why should they have to be monogamous? And why should they have to be stable in a singular gender identity? And why shouldn't kids have sex in high school? Or middle school? and so on and so forth.

As a result of my waving the rainbow flag with great vigor in my youth I have a much darker and pessimistic view of the movement than many moderate Catholics do, I am afraid. I would go on in greater detail but am already aware that this might not be taken well...

That's pretty fascinating. Before I say anything else, I have to get this out of the way: don't take it personally, but I don't have any way of knowing whether you're telling the truth or not. I think you are, but being of a somewhat scientific temperament, I'm conscious of that reservation.

In passing, by the way, the most surprising thing in your comment is your identification of yourself as female. For some reason I had assumed you to be male. And by the way, how is your name pronounced?

So, to the subject: I can't say I'm very surprised to hear this. I didn't like to assume it to be the case, and as is obviously pretty clear from the discussion, a lot of us are trying to put the best construction on the ssm movement, or at least a less bad construction.

In my youth, in the late '60s when campus radicalism was all over the place, I was, by half-accident, acquainted with the sort of inner circle of radicals on my campus, and what you're saying rings all too perfectly true with what I experienced. This was a pretty small set of people, and there were many who followed them who would have been shocked by the way they talked--ok, the way we talked among ourselves.

This in particular struck me: "The idea was not to be "included" but to destroy something..." That was pretty clearly the driver of many radicals I knew. Sure, they talked about justice and freedom and all that, but they had no more idea than my dog of how to actually bring that about. They just had, at best, a feeling that if they could destroy the existing order something better would arise.

Oh, I always assumed the last paragraph there about those in the forefront. I don't think I'm naive.

I'm just watching out for theNora McCoveys. Somebody did, and thank goodness.

I wish I had time to talk a bit about a conversation outside PP today, but I'm too tired and on the kindle. Maybe tomorrow.

AMDG

Andrew Sullivan, from what I know of him, might be one of these.

RawMuscleGlutes has more than one aspect to him (and has also grown progessively obnoxious and peculiar over the years, rather like James Baldwin).

"RawMuscleGlutes"?! Maybe I shouldn't even ask.

I understand completely about the scientific temperament. If it helps at all, I can try to recall some specific examples you can check out for yourself. One is the figure and writings of Dan Savage. He started out very fringe, in an alternative paper aimed mostly at LGBTs. He now, of course, is the very much mainstream posterboy. But if you look deeply into his writing (which most moderates do not do, quite understandably) you can see that he is not and never has been mostly about the "love makes a family" cant. There's a lot of very radical, very grotesque stuff in there. Outrageous practices, nonmonogamy as the default (with much scorn for any expectation of monogamy), objectification, normalizing of socially dangerous things like permanent master/slave relationships and worse, and a growing expectation that anyone who wants a relationship should essentially have no sexual taboos they are unwilling to violate to keep that partner pleased. And as you look through the archives over the years--I don't per se recommend it, as it takes a strong stomach, but I experienced this unfolding over years in real time--you see the center keeps shifting and what was once marginal even to the fringe is now something you will be scorned for finding problematic among mainstream suit-and-tie liberals. And simultaneously, Savage himself moves from the margin to the center as he is perceived as a public figure, dragging the fringe in with him. With the general public he uses the sappy face, the dad with a deep concern for the mental health of lonely teens. But that was just an in. The real agenda is the normalization of sexual and social anarchy, the sappy sentimentality using child victims as bait for the well-meaning only the gimmick to get a grab at the mic. Think back over the last 15 years in particular and you can probably think of examples of the effects this has had too.

In the mainline Protestant GLBT activist groups, too, you can look at their newsletters from the past 20 years. It's openly admitted that whatever the agenda of the day may be, it's only the "first step" and that more radical deconstruction is to follow after it succeeds. Back in 2003 you'll find emotionally manipulative narratives about the "plight" of a bisexual man who can only legally marry one of his two partners, for instance, and the usual tripe about how monogamy is an oppressive construct, and the idea that children should be indoctrinated about "alternative sexualities" in preschool. It stayed in the members only newsletter until the coast was clear, now it's dribbling into the mainstream. It can be measured in the number of years since a resolution was passed in each church's assembly--witness the progress of the UCC then TEC and then the ELCA. The average lesbian from Iowa may not be a wild nonmonogamist with a BDSM relationship, but she knows better than to express disapproval of such, morally, since it's all tied into one big package, through and through, now. If she speaks up with any kind of limit like that, she'll be thrown to the wolves as a traitor.

On a personal level, I found more personality disorders among GLBT confreres than you'll find in the average mental ward. Hysterical meltdowns and wild accusations were so common, people acted like this was something normal adults do when they are stressed out and anyone taking exception was mean and naive. Even in a hyperliberal environment in a hyperliberal metropolis, most of them were "forever alone" or bouncing from one screwed up relationship to another, with drama galore. Homophobia is the explanation officially, of course, but studies from places like Sweden and Holland simply do not bear that assertion out. Among the lesbians, there is a very aggressive, snotty attitude of superiority or that they will eventually get you to "see the light" and realize that being a straight woman is ridiculous. It's not "recruiting" because recruiters try to win you over with flattery and niceness, it's more of a bullying rudeness, with lots of vile comments you're supposed to take in stride because you are "the oppressor." Many, MANY young women magically become "bi" to gain social acceptance after not too long in such circles. Now of course the next thing being deconstructed is gender, and there is a growing, aggressive push to get any kid who expresses a wobble in terms of gender conformity in to the shrink and onto the transgenderification assembly line. I saw that one start at the margins and in my neighborhood, at least, it is now getting established in the center. Giving cancer drugs to 10 year olds so they can "transition." I saw it coming like a slow tsunami and there's nothing I can do but keep talking and let people think I am a lunatic.

The name is Scots for "snow owl" (literally "white hag" since they look like old women wearing babushka scarves) and it's pronounced cahlyach vahn.

The thing is, it would just be another gross bit of business in public life if the legal profession had not been suborned. The pathological position the legal profession occupies in our public life is the main problem here.

Norma McCorvey, mercy, I hate typing on the Kindle.

Anyway, the first time I heard of Dan Savage was once when I was listening to NPR and they were airing a speech he had given somewhere or other. It was all about faith, well The Faith. He talked about going into the church where he had grown up, St. Jude I think, and the lure of the faith. How sometimes he thought about returning. And he talked about his mother's faith and her death. In the end, he turned away again, but there was still a note of regret. It was very poignant. Then when I looked him up on line, I was pretty amazed. Then later when I looked online to try and find the text of that speech, I couldn't find anything about it, even that he had been on the air. That's pretty unusual for NPR.

Anyway, I pray for him when I think about it. I ought to do it more.

AMDG

I'm not at liberty to reply at any length right now, but will say a bit in a couple of hours. Meanwhile, as I repeat here periodically, even if I don't reply to comments, I do always read them attentively (well, except occasionally when there are a lot and I overlook one) and consider what they say.

Two quick things, though. From Cailleachbhan: "Many, MANY young women magically become "bi" to gain social acceptance after not too long in such circles." I saw that starting to happen in the early 1970s, not necessarily for exactly that reason, but it was definitely fashionable in some circles. And in some cases it clearly had to do with a flight from men resulting from the exploitation which the sexual revolution had normalized.

And from Art: "The pathological position the legal profession occupies in our public life is the main problem here."

I would say rather that it's the pathological impulse of progressives to enforce the rules of their vision on the whole society. The legal profession does play an essential role in that effort, obviously.

Mac, I have enjoyed and valued your blog for years. But This Thread Is Getting Bookmarked.

"So, I just want to find anything, any little way to relate to these people that will help them to hear me, because if all I have to say to them is that they are wrong--they are broken--they are lost--they are not going to hear anything I say."

I agree with this. I think Janet is talking about one type of problem and the gay activism is another type of problem, although they are somewhat related.

I have a male relative who is homosexual. We love him dearly and he is very fond of our children and vice versa. It's always good for us to spend time with him, although it doesn't happen often. But I think it's even better for him to spend time with us, because frankly, I'm certain that his daily life is a lot more crazy and abnormal than ours. He has never shown any signs of wanting to talk about immoral or inappropriate things, while in our company, but if he ever did, I would not hesitate to kick him out of the house. It's not an impossibility, but it's unlikely to ever happen. So of course, he is part of our extended family and we treat him as such. None of which overlooks the high probability that he agrees with most or all of the things the gay activists are on about. And they are a very vicious set of people indeed. I hate to think of what his life is really like, but I can imagine, having also spent a lot of time among gay men in my young adulthood. They were, frankly, deranged. But I loved them.

"What I'm not buying is that ordinary couples are going to benefit from observing homosexual couples or that what's up is some sort of hankering after conventionality on the part of the homosexual population."

I think I would agree with the second part and I definitely agree with the first. I do wonder if the hankering for marriage is simply a hankering for marriage, but the distortion of their sexuality prevents them from hankering for it with the opposite sex. Perhaps their vices (more in the case of the men) prevent them from hankering after actual monogamy. I have no doubt that all their sexual relationships are twisted, whereas only some marriages are twisted.

"You'd think I'd be more sympathetic, but in fact I can only cringe as I see well-meaning moderate types trying to be fair, because I know that the people who I used to call comrades have no respect for such well-meaning people, and that there is a lot of scorn and deception behind the media-friendly emotionally appealing exterior. A lot of eye-rolling about how square and naive those nicey nice "breeders" are, etc."

Yep.

"This was also not an accident. Please trust me on this, it was planned this way all along. The idea was not to be "included" but to destroy something that many very deeply disturbed and damaged people knew in their guts they could never be a part of."

Yep.

"Many, MANY young women magically become "bi" to gain social acceptance after not too long in such circles."

I have no doubt. I only saw it once, that I'm aware of. But I come from a small city and this was a small circle.

"I would say rather that it's the pathological impulse of progressives to enforce the rules of their vision on the whole society. The legal profession does play an essential role in that effort, obviously."

I agree.

Consider that The Great Heresy we are currently up against is an all out attack on the whole of Faith and Morals.

The question we all have to deal with is "how on earth do I love and evangelise the people in my life when they think that my disagreement with them on various moral issues = hate?"

The Great Heresy is entirely irrational and will not obey the Laws of Rational Thought. What on earth do you do with people with whom it is therefore impossible to have a rational discussion? In my own worst experience, I could not discuss anything with my beloved Prodigal and so I never did. If he ranted at me, I simply said how I felt about that. If he ranted about the Faith or Morals I said nothing. He was, in fact, mentally ill and probably spiritually oppressed by demons. I held my beliefs about all the essentials of doctrine firmly, but I was willing to be convinced about other topics and was not dogmatic about any of my other opinions. I tried to keep in mind all his good points (he still had some) and I was usually kind and welcoming. But there was no serious discussion about Religion etc b/c after a while I had realised that he would only bring up those topics to lash out at me. He was in pain and really only God could help him. I had to protect myself from his craziness and not get sucked in. And it worked. Eventually he got help and is now pretty sane. And he doesn't hate God or me. What we are dealing with is a whole lot of people just like this.

The problem we get caught up in is thinking that these people are rational. They are not.

Your question, Louise, is about the only question that I have time to deal with. I mean, there is all this mess out there, irrationality on so many fronts, and I have this very limited amount of time and energy and thinking ability, so I ask myself,"Where can I best spend these resources?" And the best I can figure out is that I have to love the people around me the best I can, or at least, try to let the Holy Spirit work through me without getting in His way.

I mean, I have seen everything that Cailleachbahn talks about in spades, and I imagine that most of us know that's going on, but what can we do about it on a large scale? I think that the answer for me would be nothing.

It's that lack of rationality that smacks you on every side. The reasonable way to settle a disagreement is to reason and listen, but many people not only won't do either, but are unable to do either. At the seminary, I was confronted with this constantly. I used to let it drive me nuts, but that's pretty useless. I think, though, well, I know that talking and worrying about it a lot feeds a sort of darkness in our own minds that oppresses us so much that we lose hope, and more important, we lose the ability to trust the Lord. This is so important.

What you describe above with the people(? Person?) I can't tell if you are talking about one person or two, is pretty much what I have done.

AMDG

"I mean, I have seen everything that Cailleachbahn talks about in spades, and I imagine that most of us know that's going on, but what can we do about it on a large scale? I think that the answer for me would be nothing."

It's a funny thing. For me, the important thing is to be aware of it. I don't think there is anything I even have to do about it.

"At the seminary, I was confronted with this constantly. I used to let it drive me nuts, but that's pretty useless."

Yes. That's b/c we are actually pretty rational and expect others to be rational. (Or we're rational enough!) My life became a lot easier when I just realised that most people are not rational.

I was describing how I related to one close family member during a particularly bad patch. And then I was pointing out that this was pretty much what I'm up against (and I think most of us are) with most people. And that the same way of relating may produce some good in the long run.

A more holy version of this:

http://archive.today/1h7Cz (get out your tissues!)

Still don't have much time. But re this from Janet: "I know that talking and worrying about it a lot feeds a sort of darkness in our own minds that oppresses us...."

Yes, that's a real danger, and I try to keep it in mind. You can certainly see how the culture wars have tended to deform American Christianity. At the same time, I think it's very important that we understand what's really going on. It's the wise as serpents, harmless as doves thing. If you meet Dan Savage, you need to know about the side that still misses the faith, but you also need to know about the sick side. Even more, if the gay rights movement is being dishonest about their motives and intentions, you need to know that, because you've got to face that public challenge. (And by the way, although I don't think I've ever actually read or listened to him, but I have seen some pretty nasty things he's said quoted by other people.)

This is definitely an interesting one, Jeff M.

Is there something here that you didn't know before? I'm really asking, not making some kind of statement.

AMDG

I mean more than just some details.

I've never heard anything this specific from inside the movement before. No doubt it's out there, but as is clear from my part in this discussion I'm not very knowledgeable on the subject. (I didn't know Deroy Murdock was gay, for instance.) That's probably why the little voice said "Remember, you only have this person's word for it." Not that I really doubt it--it sounds all too convincing.

Like I said, it's that streak in me that I call "scientific" for lack of a better word.

No, no. That's not what I meant at all. I mean, you said that it's important that we really understand what's going on, and I was asking if you didn't know this was going on already--aside from the specifics--if you pretty much knew this in general--because I did and I'm pretty much out of the loop on things in general. Of course, I listen to NPR all the time and I can hear the subtext behind the commentary.

AMDG

As for how to talk to people who are consumed by this stuff, that's a good question Louise. I am at a loss myself. I lost most of my friends from that world when I stopped "identifying." Even remaining initially extremely supportive of their aims was not enough; once I made the choice to stop calling myself "queer," to stop engaging in the objectifying banter, to align my own private life with something very traditional and draw a hard moral line about what was ok for me personally--that was it. Even though I was still very much, "this is just what's right for me, I don't judge you if you do something different that's right for you" yada yada. My name was "Mudd." And it wasn't just a simple shunning, either, but really vicious stuff. Death threats, even, people sending anonymous messages hoping I get raped, saying I deserved to die in childbirth because that would be reaping what I had sown by walking away from the "truth" which was queerness. Years later and I still have some devoted haters who keep tabs on me on their blogs. I am nothing like a public figure, just one boring little citizen, but they spared no extravagance trying to shut me up.

FTR I never participated in any "ex gay" type ministry, I just had a personal epiphany and a personal rock bottom moment and a personal road to Damascus and I was very shaken up by it and kept it very private at first and my public transformation was very slow. But still, obviously, it was seen as a mortal threat. And as I tried to hold onto the friends I could, I saw how frightened they were, and I realized that a lot of the glue holding that community together comes from that fear. A few people wanted to open up to me in private about their doubts and concerns, but were deathly afraid of being found out. And these doubts and concerns weren't just about activism but about the whole idea of "born this way" and even the morality of same sex relations, or whether they really were what they "identified" as or if it was really that important to them or if maybe they had blown it out of proportion to fit in.

I just try to listen and be supportive, but there's something really fearsome holding most of these folks in place. I don't know what to do about that. After a while I started putting more distance because it was just too emotionally hard to deal with. Especially the young, virginal men who would write to me, teenage men who felt terrified of the gay male world and didn't really want it, but were afraid they couldn't hack it as a husband and father. If I said too firmly "walk away! you will grow up and get stronger, just walk away!" they would turn on me. So all I could do was listen and ask the occasional leading question and encourage them to pray.

It's a similar thing with many of the women. Their confidence is undermined in adolescence and the activists swoop in to get them with the "program" and then, no matter how much they yearn for something else, that's "who they are."

Without giving away too much personal detail, I was myself hurt very, very badly by that whole crowd, when I was young and vulnerable. It really messed up my life. So I am not really the best person to be rational and objective about this. I've tried to be a good friend to people but my hands are really tied, like you said, Louise, when it comes to speaking about anything with specificity with them•

Okay, well that is more than I've heard anyone say before although a young friend of mine was actively, determinedly recruited when she was in college. She didn't have any doubts about herself, though, so she didn't get sucked in. I think she moved out of that dorm the next semester.

And then, I've seen it elsewhere, too, but don't think I could talk about it here.

I think that the bi-sexual idea is a real trap. People who would not admit to being homosexual could get convinced of that.

AMDG

AMDG

The sway of the "born this way" argument has been powerful, making it seem simply unfair to exclude gays and lesbians from things like marriage. And heaven help anyone who strays from it -- from this past March:

On Tuesday, former Washington Post pundit (and Prospect alum) Ezra Klein sent a shock wave through the gay community by announcing he had hired gay anti-gay apologist Brandon Ambrosino to join him at Vox Media, the much-hyped digital venture that's aiming to remake journalism for the Internet age.
And just what makes Ambrosino a "gay anti-gay apologist"? Stuff like this:
He most recently stirred up a storm by proclaiming, at The New Republic, that homosexuality is a choice and that he has chosen to be gay.

The full article is here.

It just doesn't matter, you know. I'm sure that there are people who have some sort of gene that makes it extremely likely that they will be alcoholics and no one says, "Oh well, you were born that way. Go ahead and drink as much as you want."

AMDG

"I think that the bi-sexual idea is a real trap. People who would not admit to being homosexual could get convinced of that."

Yes. I think it's particularly tricky for women, since we grow up surrounded by media images where women's bodies are displayed as a cultural shorthand for sex, literally everywhere, even commercials for lawn mowers or socks. You learn to look with the camera, evaluate a woman's physique, learn what is considered attractive. Simultaneously, there's a roughness encouraged now among young men, sexual harassment and objectification in school, an expectation of sexual availability making things very difficult for a conservative or reserved young woman. Socially, women stick together, are emotionally intimate with each other. It's a short hop indeed from that spot to someone convincing you that you fancy women. One of the things I have seen pushed very aggressively to this end is the sexualizing of friendship. The idea that any emotional intimacy between same sex parties is covert "gayness" and not just good friendship, that various historical personages were "in the closet" because they had a same sex best friend, and so forth. It is now pushed even on children in elementary school--well, even when I was that age, it was to some extent. I was 8 years old when some kids decided I must be a lesbian because I held hands with my friend at lunch. Some school administrators agreed and enveloped me with warm, smug "concern." The idea is that if you're gay, you may well be the last one to know, so people are within their rights to start pushing you to "come out" as soon as they notice any "tendencies." But it's immeasurably destructive to do this to friendship, and to the friendships of children in particular.

Yes, that friendship thing is particularly horrid. I think it's been especially damaging to male friendship.

It was interesting to me to see that in homeschool groups where most of the kids haven't been to school, the girls do tend to hold hands and hang on each other.

It also seems to be especially easy to manipulate girls because they tend to get crushes on older girls.

AMDG

Yes I have noticed that too. The girls in the very sheltered, conservative parishes where I like to go still make fast friendships, hug and cuddle with complete innocence. It is precious, both psychologically and spiritually it is so much more healthy than the sexualization that has become so terribly mainstream.

And yes, crushes! Completely innocent crushes. You see this acknowledged in classic literature, think Anne of Green Gables and the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Of course the arrogance of the modern day claims that those people were suppressed lesbians who just didn't know any better or something like that. But I grieve for what has been lost. My grandmother had a friendship with a woman she met in her early 30s that lasted until she died in her late 90s. They shared everything, even a domicile at times after both were widows, and supported each other through thick and thin. That kind of thing has been blasted to smithereens now. True sisterhood replaced by females objectifying females...awful.

I know three homosexual men relatively well. Each of them has some degree of doubt and distaste towards the stances and strategies of "LGBT activism", and one of them (a devout member of a mainstream Protestant denomination) resents it deeply for systematically misrepresenting what he takes himself to be. The sample is small, but in a sense encouraging.

I'm pretty much out of the loop on things in general. Of course, I listen to NPR all the time and I can hear the subtext behind the commentary.

The clarity of your insight might not be as common as you assume, Janet.

I really wish I were free to participate in this more. For now, I'll just say "God help us."

Now I have a bit of time, and there's so much here I'd like to talk about that I can't hope to cover it all. Here's one--this is Louise quoting Janet, then responding:

------
"I mean, I have seen everything that Cailleachbahn talks about in spades, and I imagine that most of us know that's going on, but what can we do about it on a large scale? I think that the answer for me would be nothing."

It's a funny thing. For me, the important thing is to be aware of it. I don't think there is anything I even have to do about it.
------

Yes, that's true for me, too. I can't give any practical reason for it, and maybe not any spiritually practical reason, but it's very important to me to try to understand it. This describes my interest in all sorts of social-cultural-political questions. I'm not any sort of political activist, I just want to understand what's happening. And to whatever extent is possible, resist the evil trends.

Regarding the "born this way" argument: on the personal and practical level, I agree with Janet that it doesn't matter. However, in the political debate it matters enormously. It's the whole basis for declaring any negative view of homosexuality to be bigotry. It's the ground on which rests the extremely popular and apparently persuasive argument that opposition to same-sex marriage is the same as opposition to interracial marriage. That's an emotion-based and question-begging argument, because the issue is whether or not homosexual acts are good or not, not whether one has a natural inclination toward them (as in Janet's example of a predilection toward alcoholism). I suspect that on some level they know or at least fear that it's a bad argument, because their reaction to a challenge is to start screaming or sneering.

Maclin, You mean resist it personally?

And it's about knowing stuff? I'm serious, I mean I've been struggling to figure out what the discussion is in aid of.

It's funny, somehow I missed Louise's response to what I said. Of course, there are a lot of comments and I was at work.

And then, Louise, I know you are doing something about it because I'm sure you are preparing your children to go out into it.

AMDG

I'm not sure I understand what you're asking, Janet.

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