In the world in which we live today, in the culture in which we find ourselves now, a culture with an increasing acceptance of LGBT human beings, where can you continue to count on a discussion of a Saint Patrick's day, for Christ's sake!, devolving immediately into crude slurs about gay men and anal sex? Answer to question:
You can count on this immediate devolution at the premier Catholic blog sites in the U.S., at places like Commonweal, arguably the intellectual standard-bearer of the American Catholic conversation, where the best and brightest of the American Catholic academy and media hash out Catholic ideas and their connection to the public square. At Commonweal, when a blog posting discusses the involvement of openly gay marchers in a St. Patrick's day parade in New York, you can count on someone — on several someones, as a matter of fact — to log in and remind us that it's all about hypersexed gays marching and flaunting their perverse "acts," when all is said and done.
It's all about anal sex that fulfills no biological purpose.
From St. Patrick's day parades to Catholic values to gay men and anal sex: a snapshot of where a certain segment of the American Catholic "mind" (for want of a better term) finds itself today. Fixated with laserlike intensity on gay men and their non-procreative sexual "acts," while 90%+ of heterosexual married Catholic couples use contraceptives . . . .
So that they can engage in non-procreative sexual acts.
Though those heterosexual Catholics, the large majority of Catholics in comparison to the small percentage who are gay, receive no attention at all from the hypervigilant self-appointed guardians of eucharistic purity and of the boundaries of Catholic tribal processions flowing with green beer. Though those heterosexual Catholics using contraceptives have long been permitted to march in St. Patrick's day parades with nary an eyebrow raised about how they're flaunting their hypersexed selves in said parades. Just as they've been permitted to receive the Eucharist with no questions asked, to take their job security in Catholic institutions for granted, to sing in Catholic choirs, to be perfectly safe from expensive political initiatives mounted by their church's pastors to snatch rights from them or prevent them from enjoying rights enjoyed by other citizens.
In today's world of increasing acceptance of gay people, a world in which most of us now know family members, friends, and co-workers who are openly gay, where can you count on blog sites representing religious viewpoints to permit their discussion threads to be used as "commentary porn site(s) for the righteous right" when the topic being discussed is the excommunication of two elderly men who have been together for 30 years and sing in their parish choir? Answer to question:
You can still count on Catholic blog sites to permit people to log in and make comments that contrast the "natural" and "procreative" sexual lives of heterosexual Catholic couples (90%+ of whom are contracepting) with the "unnatural, aberrant, sickening, and deadly" lives of people like Paul Huff and Tom Wojtowick. At Catholic blog sites, you can count on young gay teens who happen to have the misfortune of logging into these "religious" discussion threads to be informed by some Catholics that these teens' lives as gay adults will be "horrors" that will result in early death.
You can count on some good Catholics to respond to such stories at Catholic blog sites with simpering, entirely mendacious claims that in snatching the eucharistic bread from the mouths of Paul Huff and Tom Wojtowick, they're only seeking, after all, to save "these poor men's souls." We're loving them by whipping them, for God's sake! Though we wouldn't in a million years dream of loving our fellow Catholics who are heterosexual and contracepting to death in the same way . . . .
In short, where can you count on open, ugly homophobes to continue to feel entirely safe to vent their open, ugly, entirely destructive and religiously girded homophobia these days? While people submitting comments seeking to counter these open expressions of prejudice and outright hatred are often driven from the conversation . . . . In the world in which we live today, where can we count on open homophobes to continue to feel safe, while openly gay people continue not to enjoy much safety at all, as they're fired right and left, removed from their positions of ministry, denied communion, targeted by multi-million-dollar political initiatives designed to strip them of rights?
The blog sites maintained by U.S. Catholic publications have a great deal to answer for, in this regard. They have much to answer for, as they permit the open expression of toxic homophobia claiming God as its warrant in their discussion threads, while they frequently erase comments challenging this toxic homophobia and make commenters challenging homophobia unwelcome. And while they do not bring openly gay voices to their own journalistic tables as they discuss gay issues and gay lives . . . .
These U.S. Catholic publications have much to answer for, especially when one considers that a majority of U.S. Catholics support marriage equality, a finding just substantiated again by a new Pew Forum survey. So that the protection of toxic homophobia expressed in the name of Catholic teaching and Catholic values at these blog sites runs increasingly against the grain of American Catholicism itself . . . .
The graphic is from the Flickr photostream of the Kurt Löwenstein Education Center and has been made available for sharing at Wikimedia Commons.