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.

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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.”

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Mark Davenport
6 years 11 months ago
Mr. Stangle, you commented, "So what if he fathered one or more children.  Is that such a grave sin?  Maybe it wasn't even a sin at all."  Well, how could it not be a sin, Mr. Stangle, if Father Maciel had taken a vow of celibacy and was not married? 
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. 
Claire Mathieu
7 years ago
Save me, O God,
       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.
J STANGLE
7 years ago
Isn't there a lot of confusion surrounding this whole issue? The idea of drawing a straight line from, "religious intolerance" to blame religion for a tragic situation could just as well be turned around to show where the plea by an openly "gay" mayor to "gay" youths is exactly what continues to confuse and drive to despair the youth as they develop their bodies, minds, spirits and selves in the context of much sexual impacting upon these same youths. 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.
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.
7 years ago
Respect for the souls of others: scandal
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
Vince Killoran
7 years ago
"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!"

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.
jane prouty
7 years ago
Why bring John McEnroe into this. I love Johnny McEnroe. Read years ago about someone trying to bully him on a playground : it wasn't tried again.
Joseph O'Leary
7 years ago
"the plea by an openly "gay" mayor to "gay" youths is exactly what continues to confuse and drive to despair the youth as they develop their bodies, minds, spirits and selves in the context of much sexual impacting upon these same youths"

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!
J STANGLE
7 years ago
 "Gay youth", "gay teenagers" are a figment of bad psychology. Just like the idea that sissyish equates with homosexuality. Bullies may target the sissyish, and it may arise from, "homophobia", but isn't it true that bullies simply target those they can bully. Funny that this confusion still comes up.   "Gay youth" are a creation of gender erasure presented as an idea. And, who would push this idea? I don't have to say, it is everywhere pushed upon the teenagers who confused to choose against the morals of their church and parents versus the enlightened who offer freedom and pleasure. The Church offers sexuality as a precious gift in marriage and of a holy way of life for those who can accept this. The world offers pleasure and power and rebellion -very big temptations for youth -who find this hard to reject when presented by those lifted up by society.
William Lindsey
7 years ago
John Stangle, on an America thread on September 3, 2009, you cast doubt on the proof that Marcial Maciel had fathered children while he headed the Legionaries of Christ.

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?
J STANGLE
7 years ago
I haven't seen any proof Fr. Maciel fathered any children. Have you? That would, by the way, be a dna test, at least. Even this would be a statistical,"proof". I have seen published allegations by supposed family members who also tried to extort millions of dollars in return for silence. 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. Now, there may be many other imprudent things or sinful things Fr. Maciel did. I don't know what they were. Allegations and speculations abound. This is not the same as a proof of anything in particular. Think of St. Francis. Even before he was dead the order was reorganized in a way that rejected his views on poverty, buildings, education, and more. It didn't take long for some views of St. Ignatius to quickly succumb to necessity or pressure. He would have had a heart attack if he had heard of a Jesuit Bishop or Cardinal. A leader and founder doesn't need to be a great sinner to be outvoted and cast aside, so to say. 
William Lindsey
7 years ago
I'm puzzled by your insistence that there's no proof that Maciel fathered a child or children while he headed the Legionaries, John.

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.

J STANGLE
7 years ago
William said, "And I don't think we ultimately do the church any service when we distort facts in order to serve our own ideological agendas." I certainly agree with this statement by William. And what is the ideology behind the idea the sexual orientation is established at birth? It certainly is not a, "scientific fact". Sexual orientation is influenced by many factors not least of which is pressure to experience, "gay space". And, that is where the, "notorious" argument about,"recruitment" comes in. Quite obvious to anyone watching tv, the news, movies, music, and, "scientific facts about homosexuality". There is a,"party" out there pushing a view, an ideology. We should all have compassion towards all human beings and whether someone is LGBT or otherwise, they should not be bullied. 
Vince Killoran
7 years ago
Everything I read about sexual identity formation is that is forms in a clear way around age 15 or so.  Can John point to any research that says otherwise?
William Lindsey
7 years ago
John, you say, "And what is the ideology behind the idea the sexual orientation is established at birth? It certainly is not a, 'scientific fact'."

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.
J STANGLE
7 years ago
There is lots of evidence that sexual preference identity clearly does not form in everyone at age 15 or even in the immediate years after. At least three bishops have given public evidence that they realized -or thought-they had homosexual tendencies only after they were made bishops. Like in their forties and fifties. OF course this could be possibly attributed to repression and lack of self knowledge by those who took vows of chastity at a young age and thus rejected all sexual feelings as, "bad" or maybe rather, "undesirable". I wrote, "thought" because even feelings of desire and love and need for one of the same sex doesn't make one, "gay" or, "homosexual". The need for love  and appreciation are strong and at times overwhelming.
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.
Vince Killoran
7 years ago
By "studies" I meant scholarly studies etc., not a few bishops realizing their sexuality later in life.  An individual may not arrive at an acceptance of their sexuality identity until later but my sense is that the discussion among experts is that this occurs in early adulthood (and, as William note, maybe earlier). I want to be careful about my comments since I have no expertise in this area-but, then again, it seems that John doesn't either!

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"?
William Lindsey
7 years ago
Michael, I share your bafflement about Mr. Stangle's comments re: Fr. Maciel.

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.
J STANGLE
7 years ago
I will defend the right of Fr. Maciel to not be thought to have committed every allegation that has been directed towards him. I noticed that Wickipedia has an article on him that starts off with something like, "He founded a religious order and raped underaged males". The fact that the Vatican statement said something like that he, " showed no scruples and no religious sentiment.", of course leaves one to think what one wants, but is hardly proof of any specifics and reading between the lines is equally futile in this aura of the times.
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.
William Lindsey
7 years ago
It's fascinating to me that you want to defend Fr. Maciel, particularly vis-a-vis the now widely accepted and well-documented charge that he fathered children while he was head of the Legionaries, John, and at the same time, you want to attack your brothers and sisters who are gay and lesbian.

What values are at stake here, and what values does your choice here serve and proclaim, I wonder?

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