R. Sungenis: The above URL contains an article written by Joshua Gonnerman for First Things. Gonnerman says he is “gay” but claims that he does not engage in homosexual sex. For the sake of argument, we will accept his claim.
Gonnerman is a doctoral student in historical theology at the Catholic University of America. This should not surprise us since CUA has been a bastion for the homosexual Catholic clergy and students for quite some time. If you are not aware of this fact please read my article on the rampant homosexual Catholic priesthood in “Sex, Lies and Video Tape” (http://www.catholicintl.com/index.php/catholic/scandals/582-test). Please also read Ms. Randy Engle’s three books and Paul Likoudis’ on the topic of the homosexual Catholic priesthood. They are real eye-openers. These priests and their students who are promoting homosexuality are disgusting perverts who are trying their best to find some position of acceptance under the Catholic moral radar screen. If I have to steal a word from Michael Savage, it isn’t the Bible that is “bullshit” but much of the moral theology coming from CUA, Notre Dame and most other Catholic icons of academia is, and Gonnerman is a typical example of it.
Gonnerman: Dan Savage Was Right, May 17, 2012
Dan Savage spoke, and the Internet exploded.
He rejected the Bible as “bullshit” in a keynote address to high-school journalists, and then described students who chose to walk away as “pansy-assed.” Since being uploaded to YouTube on April 27, the video of his speech has received over 600,000 views. In describing those who had the courage to take a stand as pansies, Savage flouted his prominent “It Gets Better” anti-bullying campaign (started in the wake of the suicides of Tyler Clementi and other gay or gay-seeming youth), as well as his less well-known stance against effeminophobia within the gay community. His hypocrisy is painfully evident.
And yet, in the rush to (rightly) condemn, conservative responses have often overlooked the fact that Savage was on to something. In the past year, commentators including Elizabeth Scalia, Melinda Selmys, and Mark Shea have written articles to present the gay community as something other than simply an enemy. Each made clear their adherence to orthodox sexual ethics, but each nonetheless received a venomous response from many of their Christian readers.
R. Sungenis: None of them “made clear their adherence to orthodox sexual ethics.” They only made it appear that way. Those that gave the “venomous response” saw right through the smoke screen the gay community was creating. When Shea concludes in a recent post: “Indeed, I have talked to priests who tell me that there are people they counsel in gay relationships for whom it best to allow the relationship to continue for the time being since, for reasons specific to that relationship, it would result in something more destructive to end it. I can completely believe this (which will no doubt shock some of my more conservative Catholic readers for whom scorched earth is always better then accomodating human weakness),” we can see exactly where all this is headed. Any excuse will now be good enough to continue in homosexual sex since, God forbid, something more terrible might happen if they were to stop. What a bunch of “bullshit.” That’s like a husband concealing from his wife his continued acts of adultery because, God forbid, if he should tell her then the marriage would dissolve and the kids would have a broken home. That Shea and Gonnerman condone this perverted logic means that they themselves are perverts and under God’s judgment.
Gonnerman: Before we can say that Savage was right, we must point out that he also was grossly wrong. Savage is of course wrong to refer to the Bible as bullshit. It is the prime document of the Christian faith, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and treasured by the churches throughout the ages. Only in Scripture can we encounter Christ and through him reach towards divinization, and the Scripture in which I was raised continues to provide the backbone to my own life of faith.
He is no less wrong to dismiss traditional sexual morality. On this point, Scripture and tradition always have spoken with one voice, and the churches cannot, in good conscience, reject that voice. The traditional sexual ethic is the only possible antidote to the rampant commodification of human persons in contemporary culture. As a Christian who is committed to chastity and who is also gay, I acknowledge and I accept the high claims that ethic makes on my life.
R. Sungenis: Except, of course, when the Bible and the Church tell Mr. Gonnerman that the tendency he finds in himself toward the gay lifestyle is not something that should be promoted as normal but is, in fact, a radical perversion of thinking that needs to be eradicated from his mind. If not eradicated, then he needs to keep it between himself, God and his confessor until he conquers it, rather than advertising it to the whole world as something socially and theologically acceptable. Through their theological sleight of hand, Gonnerman and Shea are trying to create a new social tier: those who are simultaneously Christian and gay, and make it acceptable by claiming that they are always “chaste.” This itself is a perversion. It’s similar to a husband telling his wife, “I love you dear, and though I’m an adulterer in my heart because I continually entertain a desire for other women, I don’t actually go to bed with them. You just have to accept me as I am.” What woman in her right mind would condone that type of thinking? Jesus certainly didn’t. He said in Matthew 5:28: “but I say unto you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” The solution is to get the desire for other woman out of one’s heart, not create a new social tier for the “heart-adulterating but physically chaste Christian.” As Jesus also said, some of those demons don’t go out except through prayer and fasting, and this is especially true with sins of the flesh. They are stubbornly persistent because they make physiological changes in the body that take time to reverse. But all indications are that Gonnerman hasn’t reached that level of disgust for his perverted tendencies and has no intentions of striving for that goal. He seems rather to enjoy being “gay” and trying to convince other Catholics to accept him as such.
Gonnerman: But recall Savage’s original point. It was not “the Bible is wrong;” his incendiary remarks were meant to build up the over-arching concern of Christian non-response to the gay community. He recounts a hypothetical Christian who claims, “I’m sorry, we can’t do anything about bullying, because it says right there in Leviticus, in Timothy, in Romans that being gay is wrong.” Christians have appealed far too quickly to their traditional moral views to avoid offering support to gay people. Here, if nowhere else, Dan Savage has a point.
R. Sungenis: Gonnerman makes it sound as if bullying only started when gays came out of the closet, but bullying has been around since the dawn of time, and for things much more innocuous than being gay. That gays become victims of bullying should come as no surprise, especially when gays start advertising either their gay label or their gay lifestyle as normal human activity. What in the world do they expect? The problem is that people like Gonnerman have a secret wish to make you accept their gayness. If you don’t, they pretend it’s your problem, not theirs. People aren’t stupid. They see what happens to gay people when they watch the parades in San Francisco and see these perverts dying of AIDS and teaching their children in grade schools that same-sex marriage is just as good as heterosexual marriage. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you begin by accepting “gay” as normal, even “chaste gay,” then it is inevitable that all kinds of gay perversions will find some excuse to become a normal part of society, similar to Mark Shea’s claims that even gay sex would be permissible if something worse would happen if the gay sex were terminated.
Gonnerman: In my own Roman Catholic Church, the teaching is clear that homosexual acts are immoral, but the presence of homosexual inclinations is not. Most (though not all) Christians of other traditions would agree. But if we make the distinction in theory, its practical application is far too rare. The all-encompassing rhetorical tool of the “lifestyle” is used to reduce the entire identity of gay people to sexual activity, and thus our response to all concerns of gay people becomes an automatic “no.”
R. Sungenis: No, the Church doesn’t teach that a “homosexual inclination” is not, in all cases, without sin. If someone has a thought of having homosexual sex but does his best to eradicate both the thought and certainly acting upon it, then there is no sin involved. But a person who identifies himself as “gay,” as is the case with Gonnerman, has no sanction in the Catholic Church. Gonnerman would only increase his guilt if he were ever to act upon his assumed “gay” identity. The first mistake is Gonnerman’s overt act of teaching that being “gay and chaste” is socially acceptable and not a near occasion of sin that is to be consistently avoided. Gonnerman should be working very hard to divest himself of being gay by whatever mortification it takes. St. Francis used to throw himself in the snow to fight off sexual desire. He didn’t resign himself to defeat and say “I’m a fornicator and would like to fornicate, but I do my best to remain chaste.” That kind of oxymoron has no place in the Catholic religion. But all indications show that Gonnerman has no intentions of throwing himself in the snow. Like Perry Lorenzo, he’ll throw himself into the arms of another man who lives at the same address (which was the case with Lorenzo and his gay lover) and then convince everyone that it’s ok as long as no coitus takes place. We went through this perverted logic with Bill Clinton – the man who believed that watching Monica Lewinsky use a cigar as a dildo wasn’t adultery because adultery only consists of penile penetration. Wrong. Adultery, like homosexuality, begins in the heart and then manifests itself in multitudinous ways.
Gonnerman: Thus, the first line of response conservative Christians offer to the pastoral problem of homosexuality is to try to get rid of the problem through ex-gay ministries or reparative therapy; thus, Christian protest to the Uganda bill was half-hearted at best; thus, the concern for Christians over gay bullying has been minimal, and some Christians have even organized opposition to the opposition of gay bullying. The guiding principle is not the distinction between sexual activity and orientation, but their conflation into lifestyle or identity, and so those who are targeted for being or seeming to be gay are given only the most abstract support for their profoundly concrete humiliation.
R. Sungenis: Solution? Get rid of the “orientation.” If you can’t, stop advertising that you have a gay orientation so that you don’t lead other people to the same perverted rationalization. Sin and its tendencies are not pacified by making them public. Confess it to God and deal with it in the privacy of your own thoughts. If you are truly seeking God (and He knows whether you are just giving lip service) then the gay orientation might leave you as quick as the demons left the Gaderene demoniac. Stop trying to justify your lack of motivation to eradicate your gay orientation as if its society’s problem. It is your problem and you need to deal with it. God has given you the power.
Gonnerman: “Being or seeming to be gay.” This phrase itself demonstrates that our approach to these questions cannot be conditioned by assumptions of sexual immorality, since some of the youth who are bullied are not even gay. Growing up, my brother experienced nearly as much “gay-bullying” as I did, even though he is straight. The fundamental category of this issue is not one of sexual ethics, but of encountering difference. Surely, the Christian (embraced by a God who is so radically different that he must become one of us to enable relationship) should approve? Surely, the Christian should view the encounter of the Other-as-Other to be deeply significant, and one of our basic ethical dilemmas? Why, then, do we fail to live out that call?
Last year, Biola professor Matt Jenson addressed students in chapel (like Savage’s address, also available on YouTube). After calling Christians to accountability for failing to make a real space for single people, he turns to the question of homosexuality. “The church is right to tell gay people the good news and call them to a life of discipleship, if and only if it is willing to live as their family.” If Christians have any interest in reaching out to the gay community, if we have any hope to speak a message which can touch their hearts as well, we absolutely must be willing to live as their family. Behind his blundering obscenity, behind his facile attempts to explain Scripture away, behind the blatant hypocrisy of his behavior toward those who disagree with him, what Dan Savage means to tell us is, “The church has far too often, and for the most wrong-headed reasons, failed to be family to gay people.”
And he’s right.
R. Sungenis: Like most homosexuals, Gonnerman has great difficulty in being objective about this issue. Savage was an out-and-out homosexual and therefore anything he says is tainted by his perverted mind. That perversion, as Gonnerman has aptly shown us, seeks to make bridges between morally acceptable vocations and those not acceptable. The ploy is to target a group of outcasts (like single people) and then use it to tug at the public’s heart strings by making it appear that the real issue is that homosexuals are treated as outcasts. The attention is then shifted away from gay sex and orientation. As it stands now, Gonnerman doesn’t think he has to do any hard work, except to get the public to stop treating him as an “outcast.” How convenient. In the Old Testament God commanded that homosexuals, adulterers and murderers were to be executed. Why? The constant refrain in the Old Testament was “lest you pollute the land and it vomit you out” (Lev 18:25; 20:22; Num 35:33). In New Testament societies the punishment varied between death, imprisonment or banishment. It was not, as archbishop Dolan would have it, that the gay community is to be welcomed to a Catholic mass. All this guilt-generating talk about being a “family to gay people” is a just another subtle way of advancing the gay agenda. If Gonnerman wants to be part of the Catholic family then he needs to drop all the talk about “being gay,” and he needs to get down on his knees and ask God to help him remove that perverted label from his life. Gonnerman needs to realize that God does not want him to be gay in any way, shape or form. Calling oneself “gay” is perverse and leads others to the same perversity. Repentance, sacrifice, mortification, humility and prayer is the only path for those struggling with such sin, not “family acceptance.” Those who accept it will one day pay the ultimate price when the land vomits them out.