Opinions Expressed in "Rants," while informed by Catholic doctrine, are merely the opinions of the author.
Do We Discriminate Against Gays and Lesbians?
I definitely want to include this under the RANTS category rather than the FAQ's, as I anticipate some healthy debate on this issue. And I'm not going to pretend to have it all figured out either.
Does the Catholic Church discriminate against gays and lesbians? There are certainly a number of people that would say "yes," particularly, gays and lesbians.
What is Discrimination?
So what kind of behavior do we consider discrimination? We can probably all agree that if, on the basis of sexual orientation, individuals are persecuted in various ways, then they are indeed being discriminated against, and in a way that is unjust and immoral. Here are examples:
-If they are the victims of violence because they are gay or lesbian
-If they are excluded or marginalized
-If they are not permitted the same freedom in dress and self expression THAT OTHERS ARE ENTITLED TO (this is an important point)
-If they are not free to express their feelings of attraction in the same way THAT OTHERS ARE ENTITLED TO
-If they are the victims of verbal abuse, bullying, cyber-bullying
-If they are targetted with hatred because of their orientation
-And I'm sure there are others that I haven't thought of.
These are always wrong, whether they are directed towards different races, different religions, or different sexual orientations. AND, one would expect that punishment would be enforced if these are perpetrated, and severely.
The Church is in harmony with this view. Its document, the "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons," it is made clear that violence, persecution, and hatred are TOTALLY unacceptable - in fact SINFUL.
That means that, all those guys at protests holding up signs saying "God Hates Fags," really should be ashamed of themselves.
BUT - what about gay marriage? Aren't we discriminating against gays and lesbians by saying that they can't get married? Others have the right to be married. Haven't I violated my definition of discrimination listed above, if I deny them the same right that straight people have.
And this is the underlying problem. The Catholic Church doesn't consider marriage A RIGHT, for anyone, straight or gay.
The fact that it is considered a RIGHT by society, that any consenting man and woman can get married, is a HUGE cultural problem, leading to rampant divorce, and all kinds of pain for the kids that are involved.
In the Catholic Church, marriage is a calling, from God, to love another person in a special way, that includes profound intimacy AND the potential for procreation.
Some people will not like this answer - many will argue, if it isn't hurting anyone, why not let gay and lesbian individuals get married. But is it hurting NO ONE? Isn't it just ANOTHER compromise (of which there are already WAY TO MANY) on the rights of the children who are raised, not only to be LOVED, but to be mentored in an intimate way by both a male caregiver and a female caregiver - AT LEAST one of each.
Nonetheless, the other forms of real discrimination do still happen against gays and lesbians - they have to be stopped, and we have to do whatever we can to stop them.
As for permitting gay and lesbian public displays of affection - well, one has to be very careful in making regulations in this regard, because of cultural differences. In some cultures, having two STRAIGHT men hold hands, or even kiss each other, is not unusual. It is here, but... It seems to me that if, for example, a school permits boys and girls to mack on each other in the hallways, then this policy should be revised in any case - that way consistancy might still be possible.
And we might have a gay young man want to bring his boyfriend to the prom or something, as has happened in some places. Well, one approach to this issue is to not make an issue of it. Or maybe NO ONE has dates and they all go in a group - that's funner that way anyway.
Bear in mind here that THE SIN here, according to the Catholic Church, is HOMOSEXUAL INTERCOURSE, not being just BEING A HOMOSEXUAL. I think we need to remember this.
SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUE, OR NO?
THE PROBLEM HERE - is that right now, all these issues, hatred against gays, violence against gays, AND gay marriage, are all being lumped together into one issue - calling it GAY RIGHTS. While the former are SOCIAL JUSTICE issues, the latter, gay marriage, is NOT a social justice issue.
As a result we're seeing news pundits, liberal advocates, and LOTS of celebrities, equating the gay marriage issue with the Civil Rights movement of African American in the 1960's, or with Women's Sufferage. Its viewed as that one last piece of injustice to be overcome. But they aren't the same. Any more than it is a civil rights violation to prevent a blind man from getting a driver's license.
For a more detailed discussion on the subject, and the Church's teaching on gays and lesbians, go to:
And you can check out a sneak peak of next week's Rant: