More Reaction to Bullying
A couple interesting posts on the recent rash of gay suicide victims across the nation (see In All Things reactions here and here).
First, openly gay Fort Worth, TX, city councilor Joel Burns made a tearful plea for gay youth to avoid the temptation of despair that comes along with bullying and hatred. Watch the gut-wrenching, and thought-provoking video below.
Also, the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, published a piece on the Huffington Post entitled “How Religion Is Killing Our Most Vulnerable Youth.” He writes, “These bullying behaviors would not exist without the undergirding and the patina of respect provided by religious fervor against LGBT people. It's time for "tolerant" religious people to acknowledge the straight line between the official anti-gay theologies of their denominations and the deaths of these young people. Nothing short of changing our theology of human sexuality will save these young and precious lives.”
I am really shaking my head here. You certainly have loyalty to this man but to say that he wasn't sinning by having two mistresses and fathering illegitimate children is really pushing it.
for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths,
where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
looking for my God.
Those who hate me without reason
outnumber the hairs of my head;
many are my enemies without cause,
those who seek to destroy me.
I am a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my own mother's sons.
But I pray to you, O LORD,
in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God,
answer me with your sure salvation.
Rescue me from the mire,
do not let me sink;
deliver me from those who hate me,
from the deep waters.
Do not let the floodwaters engulf me
or the depths swallow me up
or the pit close its mouth over me.
Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love;
in your great mercy turn to me.
Do not hide your face from your servant;
answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.
Come near and rescue me;
redeem me because of my foes.
You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed;
all my enemies are before you.
Scorn has broken my heart
and has left me helpless;
I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
for comforters, but I found none.
They put gall in my food
and gave me vinegar for my thirst.
May their place be deserted;
let there be no one to dwell in their tents.
For they persecute those you wound
and talk about the pain of those you hurt.
Charge them with crime upon crime;
do not let them share in your salvation.
May they be blotted out of the book of life
and not be listed with the righteous.
I am in pain and distress;
may your salvation, O God, protect me.
I will praise God's name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
The LORD hears the needy
and does not despise his captive people.
Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and all that move in them.
My understanding is that sexuality develops slowly and in many persons fluctuating thoughts and feelings and desires and experimental actions lead to a natural sort of confusion. Isn't it also true that most young people learn about sexual matters and experience sexual things with the same sex. Young boys with young boys. Young girls with young girls. Cub Scouts with Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts with Girl Scouts. Think about this in regards to your own youth; what you saw, were told, experienced - where and when.
The problem is, to then promote the idea that to have done/seen/felt/heard so makes one a, "gay", or a, "gay" youth, promotes this same confusion in the youth; for a mayor to address, "gay" youth, perpetuates this confusion that exactly does lead to despair. The fact that maybe not, "gayness", but confused/developing/immature sexual identity led to a tragic situation was pointed out earlier in this blog chain in a particular case where a youth had access to pornography which promoted a homosexual style and which in itself led to the tragic effect.
And, so regarding concern for youth, most of whom have not established their sexual identities but are under pressure to do so, there is a sort of bullying by those who pick up the phrase, "gay bullying" and try to cast blame upon others for what they themselves have perpetrated! Perhaps they truly have concern and compassion for youth, but their actions and words can lead to the effects they deplore.
2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.
2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."85 Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing.86
2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.
Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to "social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible."87 This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger,88 or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.
2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. "Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!"89
To quote John McEnroe, "You can't be serious!" Let me get this straight (no pun intended): there are well-documented cases of severe bullying of gay h.s. students ( John S. claims they're aren't really gay, they're just experimenting); some of the students have committed suicide because of the bullying-but the people who have documented the bullying and advocated an end to it are the ones actually "bullying"?! This reasoning lies somewhere between "balming the vicitm" and the "media made me do it." Actually, it's difficult to figure out what it is but it is not based on facts or any reasonable sense of the how bullying operates.
There are documented cases of homophobic bullies driving vulnerable kids to their death. Are you seriously claiming that youths are also driven to suicide by gay mayors who encourage them paternally to feel good about their sexual identity?
"Look at some of the tv shows aimed at the youth and you will see blatant grooming and recruiting towards a homosexual life style; done, of course, in the guise of, "teaching" tolerance towards others. Not that tolerance of others isn't needed, but it is obvious that society and the, "gay party", if you will, has reached way beyond demanding tolerance."
Is this some variant of the notorious "recruiting" argument?
"My understanding is that sexuality develops slowly and in many persons fluctuating thoughts and feelings and desires and experimental actions lead to a natural sort of confusion."
Not in most people. And homophobic bullies don't have any respect for fluctuations. If a boy acts sissyish, even unconsciously, it's open season.
"Isn't it also true that most young people learn about sexual matters and experience sexual things with the same sex. Young boys with young boys. Young girls with young girls. Cub Scouts with Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts with Girl Scouts. Think about this in regards to your own youth; what you saw, were told, experienced - where and when. The problem is, to then promote the idea that to have done/seen/felt/heard so makes one a, "gay", or a, "gay" youth, promotes this same confusion in the youth"
This is a false problem. American men live in dread of being perceived as gay, and this dread is inculcated at an early age.
"The fact that maybe not, "gayness", but confused/developing/immature sexual identity led to a tragic situation"
Oh, so the victim is to be blamed? It is homophobia that kills, not gayness or perceived gayness.
"a youth had access to pornography which promoted a homosexual style and which in itself led to the tragic effect."
First I've heard of a kid being pushed to suicide by reading porn. Sounds like an old wives' tale. Next you'll be telling us that kids are suiciding as a result of masturbation fantasies.
"And, so regarding concern for youth, most of whom have not established their sexual identities but are under pressure to do so, there is a sort of bullying by those who pick up the phrase, "gay bullying""
The predominant bullying pressure is on youths to have a stable, waterproof heterosexual identity. If the situation you evoke, of straight boys being bullied into acting gay and pushed to suicide when they don't, were a real one, it would of course be deplorable. But it is just your fake fantasia.
"their actions and words can lead to the effects they deplore."
Really, they encourage the bullies who push their victims to suicide??? What a perverted line of reasoning that is!
Your posting is here: http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?blog_id=2&entry_id=2380
Each time I read your bafflingly obtuse and counter-intuitive arguments about sexual orientation, I think back to your attempt to deny what seems to have been amply demonstrated in the case of Maciel.
And I wonder if you have now changed your mind about Maciel, following the Vatican investigation of the Legionaries and the Legionaries' own recognition of the true legacy left by their founder?
Here's one among many statements citing the Legionaries themselves and leading spokespersons of the conservative wing of the church accepting this as established fact: http://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2009/02/marcial-maciel-a-devil-in-prie.html.
But I'm equally perplexed by your seeming equal obstinancy about accepting well-established facts which indicate that sexual orientation is established at birth, and that even adolescents can have a strong awareness of their innate orientation.
And that some adolescents are bullied when they seek to come to terms with being gay, and die claiming an identiy that you seem intent on denying-thus voiding their own statements about themselves and the meaning of their lives of significance.
That seems cruel to me.
And I don't think we ultimately do the church any service when we distort facts in order to serve our own ideological agendas.
When the large majority of professional societies in the fields of medicine and psychiatry do, in fact, strongly conclude that sexual orientation is established at birth, the ideological position is the position that rejects widely held, empirically established scientific findings.
Does such an ideological refusal to accept widely held and empirically established scientific findings serve the best interests of the church?
I would argue it doesn't - not, that is, if we intend to continue our long-held tradition of seeking to place faith and reason in dialogue.
I find your position about these scientific findings as perplexing as I find your insistence that it's not also equally well-established that Marcial Maciel did not father children while he was head of the Legionaries of Christ.
As far as Fr. Maciel, show me the evidence that he fathered children. Sure, there are rumors of every dastardly act possible attributed to Fr. Maciel. Maybe he committed all of them. However, the Vatican statement nor any other believable statement I have seen give the specifics. There are worse sins than sexual sins that one can commit against people, groups, and civilizations. Sins that show no scruples and no religious sentiment.
I am completely baffled by his comments on Fr. Maciel's actions and sin. It kind of remains me of a couple of old defenders of Stalin I used to know. Did F. M. show "scruples" and "religious sentiments"?
Mr. Stangle writes above,
"If there is proof, or if someone can attest to this proof, then I will accept it. Then, I would ask, so what? So what that he fathered one or more children. Is that such a grave sin? Maybe it wasn't even a sin at all! Even for a priest, a famous priest and founder of an order."
So a founder of a religious community vowed to celibacy has a child or children by a woman or women he does not acknowledge as his spouse. He does not acknowledge the children, either.
But, in secret, he diverts funds from his religious community to the support of this woman or women and their children. And he deceives his community and the public about all this while permitting himself to be represented to his community and the public as an icon of unambiguous holiness. And as all this goes on, the man engaged in this behavior is also abusing seminarians on a regular basis, for years.
But Mr. Stangle asks if the fathering of the children is such a sin, and proposes that it may not even be a sin at all.
The implication I take from this defense of Fr. Maciel and what Mr. Stangle writes about sexuality is that, if an act or lifestyle is heterosexual, it is inherently morally superior to any homosexual action or lifestyle.
I might characterize this argument as a preferential option for heterosexuality, and for heterosexual males, in particular. And it is certainly the case that this is where church teaching about human sexuality seems to point today.
But that signpost increasingly points to moral absurdity, since the kinds of men who now claim the spotlight as exemplars of Catholic moral teaching about sexuality are, it seems, frequently not very noteworthy exemplars of any other aspect of our moral teaching.
While some gay and lesbian persons, who are judged to be objectively disordered due to their sexual orientation, seems to me and increasing numbers of people of good will, to be living exemplary moral lives.
The church seems to be paying a very high price for its defense of the innate and automatic moral superiority of heterosexual males. Mr. Stangle's defense of Fr. Maciel illustrates how high the prices is, in my view.
Of course all this Fr. Maciel stuff hardly makes for a good argument that would justify homosexual acts and life styles and the promotion of such. This article started off about bullying and its effects. Isn't it bullying of the Church, of Christians, to accuse it/them of causing the tragedies that befall, "gay" youth? Maybe those that promote such lifestyles for youth need to look at the fruits of what they have promoted.
What values are at stake here, and what values does your choice here serve and proclaim, I wonder?