Marriage, Bible Under Assault in 'Gay' Debate
BY JIMMY AKIN
| Posted 6/6/12 at 2:01 PM
Recent events illustrate the strides homosexual activists have made. Several incidents have come to national attention that would have been unthinkable a generation ago — or even a few years ago.
The best known is President Barack Obama’s May 9 endorsement of homosexual “marriage.”
Homosexual activists hailed Obama’s endorsement as “historic,” and it was. At no previous time in U.S. history has a sitting U.S. president, much less one running for re-election, endorsed the idea of treating homosexual unions as marriages.
Another noteworthy incident occurred just days earlier, when, on April 28, homosexual activist Dan Savage addressed a national conference of high-school journalism students, including students from religious schools, and told them, “We can learn to ignore the bull**** in the Bible about gay people.”
Savage is an “anti-bullying” activist and creator of the “It Gets Better” Project, which affirms young people in the homosexual subculture.
At the event, he proceeded to deliver a vulgarity-laced rant against the Bible, citing in particular various Old Testament laws relating to diet, sexuality and slavery.
When some students walked out on him, he characterized their protest as “pansy-*****.”
The two national groups sponsoring the event, the National Scholastic Press Association and the Journalism Education Association, were initially reluctant to repudiate Savage’s remarks.
However, within 24 hours, they issued a statement saying: “NSPA and JEA consider Mr. Savage’s use of harsh language and profanity to be inappropriate and offensive to many in attendance. This is not what our organizations expected. In his attempt to denounce bullying, Mr. Savage belittled the faith of others — an action that we do not support. Ridicule of others’ faith has no place in our programs, any more than ridicule of the LGBT community would.”
The fact that Savage had been invited in the first place, along with the organizations’ resistance to repudiating his remarks, illustrates how entrenched pro-homosexual attitudes have become in the American educational establishment.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved” (2357).
“The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition” (2358).
“Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection” (2359).
Grounded in Natural Law
Dominican Father Brian Mullady, a doctor of moral theology, criticized Obama’s endorsement of same-sex “marriage.” He said it “is contrary to the natural law and is one of the things that will undercut the existence of the family and the state, because the family is the building block of the state.”
He also faulted Savage’s tirade against the Bible, saying, “A person who makes remarks like that obviously hasn’t read the Bible deeply.”
He explained that Old Testament laws such as those criticized by Savage were written during a time of “progressive revelation” and that “the New Testament is the fullness of revelation and so has to be the interpretive device for morals.”
To illustrate, he cited the example of Moses permitting divorce for the Israelites because their hearts were hard, contrasting it with Jesus’ teaching on the permanence of marriage (Mark 10:2-12).
“You can’t reduce a complicated book like the Bible to a one-liner,” he stated.
Outreach to Those With Same-Sex Attraction
The Register also spoke with Dominican Father Vincent Serpa, chaplain and apologist at the San Diego-based apostolate Catholic Answers. During a previous assignment in San Francisco, Father Serpa conducted extensive outreach to those with same-sex attraction.
Asked to suggest an organization to help people struggling with this problem, he recommended Courage International, a Connecticut-based ministry founded by the late Father John Harvey, of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.
“I think very highly of it,” Father Serpa said. “I knew Father Harvey, and we discussed similar challenges” in doing this type of outreach effectively.
Father Paul Check, the current executive director of Courage International, told the Register that Courage provides an alternative to the false choices that many with same-sex attraction feel confront them.
“One is radical isolation, which is worse than loneliness, and the other is the so-called gay lifestyle. Both are false alternatives.”
“At the center of the Courage apostolate is the figure of Jesus Christ, and he is ultimately the answer to all of our human questions and human needs. I cannot know myself fully unless I know Christ,” Father Check said.
Courage has chapters in a dozen countries, including chapters in about half of the dioceses in the U.S. It also operates national and regional conferences, as well as a website.
Father Check highlighted the apostolate’s positive message of chastity, saying that most people think that the Catholic Church simply delivers a message of “No,” but “Courage is a ‘Yes’” to those seeking to live a Christian life despite same-sex attraction.
Jimmy Akin is a Register blogger and senior apologist at Catholic Answers.
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