Friday, September 9, 2016

It's Not Getting Better Under Pope Francis: Report from My Own Back Yard, Where Catholic Schools Are Ordered Never to Say Gay

You know how I keep saying it's not getting better under Pope Francis — not for gay* Catholics? This is from my own diocese. This is the story we returned home to Arkansas yesterday to read when we clicked on the news this morning.

As Bob Shine reports at Bondings today, the diocese of Little Rock (whose territory covers the entire state of Arkansas) has just issued an updated version of its Catholic Schools Policy Manual, which states, 

Students may not advocate, celebrate, or express same-sex attraction in such a way as to cause confusion or distraction in the context of Catholic school classes, activities, or events. When discussing homosexuality or homosexual inclinations, the use of the term "same-sex attraction" is preferred, as it is a more appropriate description in accordance with the truths of Catholic faith and morals.

Translation: we Catholics don't say gay*. Not even when a large number of gay* people are murdered in an act of mass murder in a gay* nightclub.

We say "same-sex attraction." This allows us to give a pseudo-clinical new gloss to the long-since-exploded idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder. Speaking of "SSA" and refusing to use the language that a marginalized group of human beings uses to describe itself allows us to continue pretending, long after all bona fide medical associations have discarded the idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder, that we're dealing with some clinical syndrome that can be cured.

We do not respect your humanity, gay* human beings, enough even to admit that you exist. We do not respect your humanity enough even to use your own terminology to identify you. We do not respect your humanity enough to talk to you about how you perceive yourself and what you experience from our "welcoming" and "affirming" Catholic community. 

And when we beat you up, exclude you, demean you, refuse to admit you are even there and have a name, we've devised a nifty way to justify doing so: you deserve this treatment. Because we have rule books and they're clear, and if you violate them — merely by existing and having a name — you will deserve what comes your way.

Now stop bothering us with your talk about Jesus and the gospels and "Who am I to judge?" We have real human beings to welcome and include in our Catholic community.

P.S. It's not getting better under Pope Francis.

(Please see this follow-up posting.)

* Gay = LGBTQI.

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