That trend is telling lies.
What do I mean by this? Here's what I mean: Some allegedly Christian organization, church, or individual (and I have both Protestant and Catholic examples) will do something that obviously functionally communicates endorsement of homosexual activity and that conveys a scandalous presentation of homosexual relationships as normal. But a pretense, an explicit pretense, will be maintained that this isn't what's going on. To wit:
A Jesuit boys' high school has recently allowed two boys to go to its prom (Junior Ball) together as a couple. Let that sink in for a minute. Here is the disgusting letter by the principal (whose official title is "president"), Fr. Edward F. Salmon, S.J., defending the decision. In it he expressly maintains that by allowing a homosexual couple as a couple to come to a school ball together he is not endorsing homosexual behavior. I'll wait here while you get control of your incredulous laughter. Yes, seriously, that's what he says.
He also has such a warped mind that he makes an express analogy to the heterosexual couples coming to the ball and says that, by allowing the homosexual couple ("our brothers," he keeps calling them) to come as a couple he isn't endorsing homosexual activity any more than he is endorsing heterosexual activity by letting heterosexual couples come to the dance.
That is incredibly twisted. I respond: Of course a prom is endorsing heterosexual activity. And a good thing, too. No, no, I don't mean that it's endorsing premarital sex right at this moment between those particular couples. They aren't married yet. But they might get married later. A dance to which one brings a date tacitly endorses the concept of the complementarity of the sexes, of heterosexual romance, leading ultimately (we hope) to loving, permanent, physically consummated, fruitful marriages. In other words, to heterosexual activity. Some young man might bring his future wife to such a dance, and that would be a charming and a natural thing.
Equally, for two young homosexual men to go to the prom together as an identified couple, and for the school to allow it, endorses the notion of homosexual romance. Which, tacitly, normalizes the idea of homosexual activity. This is blatantly obvious.
So Fr. Edward F. Salmon, S.J., is lying. I'm not going to try to force myself to believe that somehow he's suffering from invincible ignorance, because I can't make myself believe that. He isn't. He knows exactly the victory for the homosexual agenda that this decision constitutes, he knows how his decision and the events of the dance itself will contribute to the normalization of homosexual "love," and he's lying about it.
Example #2: Wheaton College has just started Refuge (isn't that a sweet name?), an LGBTQRSTUVWX...etc., etc., student club. (Yes, I just started typing in random letters and keys at a certain point there.) Here is the smarmy article about it. Please note that the definition of the target group is worded in a carefully value-neutral fashion: "students who experience a sexual orientation and/or gender identity that varies from the majority." Uh, yeah, it just varies from the majority. It's not, you know, intrinsically disordered or anything.
The article, on behalf of the college, claims that this "conversation" about homosexuality (it's always a conversation, isn't it?) does not contravene the school's explicit student covenant which disallows homosexual acts, because having such a club doesn't involve endorsing homosexual acts. The group is just there to provide support, love, etc., etc., to LGBTQRTSTPVX!#$!$...students.
This is a lie.
Many people at Wheaton must know that this is a lie. One of the homosexual (or something-or-other) students pretty much lets ol' Felix out of the bag by saying:
“I saw my future as something that was really bleak because, identifying as gay, I felt like I had been told that I was allowed to be a Christian as long as I fulfilled a certain set of requirements and as long as I stayed miserable and de-legitimized this very real aspect of my life,” a Refuge member said.So in other words, this student's perverse sexuality is, so he believes, part of his very identity, and the existence of this student group makes things better for him than they were before, he thinks, because now he doesn't feel like he needs to "de-legitimize" that "very real aspect of his life." Well, yes, in terms of Christian teaching, he does need to de-legitimize it, because it isn't legitimate. That aspect of his life is a temptation to extremely serious sin. So it definitely should be thought of in negative terms. It isn't something to legitimize, and it shouldn't be the core of his identity. And setting up this student group is endorsing the idea that it's a legitimate identity and needn't be stigmatized.
Here are a couple of other smoking gun paragraphs. First,
A Refuge member also expressed hope that the Wheaton community will change its approach to this topic.
“There is no reason to fear talking about such topics, and I hope that our campus can approach conversations about the LGBTQ experience in a humble and loving way,” a Refuge member said. “We should be eager to talk honestly about it and not be afraid of perspectives that may be different from our own. I don’t think we should shy away from any conversation no matter how difficult it may seem to us.”What are these "perspectives that may be different from our own"? Why, what could those differences of opinion be, I wonder? A nanosecond's thought yields the answer: This group (I'll just go out on a limb and hypothesize) includes students who deny the school's position that homosexual acts are wrong. But not only are they not being kicked out for rejecting the school's statement of faith and morals on this point, they are instead being encouraged to promulgate their false ideas more widely and not to have those ideas condemned, to have a "conversation" about them instead. In fact (next smoking gun), members of Refuge want Wheaton's entire atmosphere to be less, shall we say, oriented towards heterosexuality in its "all-encompassing assumptions":
Another source of frustration for Refuge members is the lack of sensitivity in language due to the assumptions about the gender identities and sexual orientations of Wheaton students.
“Whether because of the homophobic comments and jokes in the dorms … or the all-encompassing assumptions made in public … there are many ways that LGBTQ students can be made to feel marginalized or isolated,” a Refuge member said.Heaven forbid that people talking casually at Wheaton, or speaking in public, should assume that most people are heterosexual. Instead, they should be guarding their tongues at every moment to avoid manifesting heterosexist assumptions about normalcy and about the heterosexual orientation of their audience. Such assumptions could make any homosexual students who might be listening feel "marginalized or isolated."
And I haven't yet pointed out that the T in that alphabet soup refers to gender-confused individuals who are choosing by their behavior to present themselves as members of the opposite sex. Cross-dressing and insisting on being called "Diana" and using the women's bathroom when you were born a biological male aren't just some kind of private temptation. They are in-your-face behavior. Who knows whether there are any male-female transgenders (or vice versa) living in the Wheaton dorms. One hopes not. But the very existence of Refuge tells them that they're welcome if they want to come. We're just here to help and support you, etc., etc.
Obviously, the formation of Refuge at Wheaton means that Wheaton is not remaining true to its principles on these matters. The formation of this group does amount to an endorsement of homosexual activity and other gender-bending activity.
So the school is lying. Probably several specific, concrete people at the school are lying, and have lied, to get this organization approved, about what they must know are the implications and will be the effects of this club.
Now, here is my most controversial example. (Controversial only because, given the circles I hang out with in the blogosphere, this post is more likely to be read by people who will feel uncomfortable or even be offended because of the blogger I'm about to mention than by people who hold a brief for McQuaid Jesuit high school or Wheaton College). Example #3, which is a bit older but has been bothering me for a while.
Catholic blogger Mark Shea, whom some people still think of as some kind of conservative, wrote this incredibly smarmy post in which he idolizes a "gay man" as a "saint." This "gay man" was a professional opera expert in Seattle and a music teacher in a volunteer position at Shea's church. Based on his obituary (see following quotation) it appears that he lived with a homosexual "companion" of many years, whom, the obit. tells us, he is "survived by," just as he is "survived by" his father. Gay partners are family, y'know. This is what the obituary says about the relationship:
Paul Hearn of Seattle, Mr. Lorenzo's longtime companion, said they met when Mr. Lorenzo gave a lecture at the University of Washington 13 years ago. Though Hearn was not Catholic, their first date was to St. James, he said.
Hearn said Mr. Lorenzo brought him to the Catholic Church and broadened his appreciation of opera. The two would pray together and do morning liturgies. "We were monks in love," he said.The priest of Lorenzo's parish is full of praise in the obituary as well.
"He was a born teacher and a perpetual student who never stopped learning," he said. "He was the quintessential renaissance man. He had a passion for beauty and a passion about his Catholic faith. As much as he loved opera, it was his faith where all this came together and made sense."Mark Shea castigates anyone who thinks that this was a scandalous relationship or who even asks whether the couple was celibate. Now, if we accept that the couple was actually celibate (which, according to an update Shea added later, Hearn, the "in love" partner, did claim in private communication to Shea, some time well after Shea had first written the post), they were nonetheless living in such a way that the world at large would be led to believe that they were not celibate. Unless Hearn is lying, they conceived of and were presenting their relationship as romantic (they were "in love"). It is utterly, utterly perverse and scandalous for a supposed Christian to endorse and to embody to the world in his own person the idea of homosexual romance, even if it should happen to be the case that the romance is not consummated. But Shea insisted, over and over again, even before receiving any definite communication on the question, that it was no one's business whether they were actually celibate. So, in Shea-world, it was fine for this pair to be together as an openly homosexual couple, qua couple, saying that they were "in love," going on "dates," the first of which was to church. It was fine for a person living in such a way to be admired greatly and vocally as a Christian by everyone, including his priest, in his Catholic church. In Shea-world, who is to blame if someone says, "Gee, this certainly looks like a sexual relationship. Isn't that a problem? Isn't that a cause of scandal? Should this man hold even a volunteer position of leadership of any kind in a Catholic church? Should we be holding him up to our children and to the world at large as an example? Should we be praising him to the skies?" Shea blames the person who asks those questions! Such a person is nosy. He's wondering about something that is "none of his business." Instead he should join Mark Shea in gushing about a "gay man who was a saint."
I will say it right here: The claim that a homosexual "partnership" does not functionally endorse and normalize homosexual behavior is a lie. It's such an obvious, grave, foolish, pernicious falsehood that anyone who puts it forward for serious consideration is to be blamed. Someone, somewhere, is lying. Perhaps it isn't actually Shea. There are always different levels of this sort of thing. There are those who promulgate propaganda knowing it to be utter baloney. There are those who are complete dupes. Though, when the issue concerns the intersection of morals and cultural meaning in ways that are readily accessible to any mature and aware American Christian, it's harder to accept that anyone who says such a thing is really a complete dupe. And there's the large grey area in between, where people say edgy things because they think it sounds profound to do so while strangling their own common sense in the cradle and lecturing other people for allegedly being nosy and judgmental.
Perhaps someone lied persuasively to Mark Shea, aided and abetted by something in the water in Seattle that makes Catholic bloggers susceptible to such nonsense. Maybe it was his priest who taught him this bizarre version of, "Don't ask, don't tell." Which really is, "Hey, they can go ahead and tell people that they are a romantically connected homosexual couple, 'long-time companions,' but no one should ask if they are actually having sex. Then we can assume that they aren't and can venerate and practically suggest the canonization of one member of the couple when he dies, as a shining example of Christian life and devotion." Someone, somewhere, is telling a falsehood that, at some level, he must know to be a falsehood--namely, the falsehood that such a relationship does not functionally promote and endorse homosexual behavior as legitimate.
Shea is so mixed up by the "priests he has talked to" that he thinks it could be legitimate for a priest to counsel a homosexual person to continue in a sexually active homosexual relationship--this is clearly what Shea means to be referring to in the context--because, for various "special reasons" peculiar to that relationship, it would be "more destructive" to end it. See for yourself. It's right in the post. So Shea is so confused about these matters by the people he's listening to that it would be difficult to know how to un-confuse him.
This is the level that we have fallen to in various Christian communities: Openly touted homosexual romance is fine. Live-in homosexual couplehood is fine. Homosexual couples "in love" are fine. Homosexual couples going to dances together are fine (at McQuaid Jesuit High School). Self-styled homosexuals who don't want to "de-legitimize this area of their lives" are also fine (at Wheaton). As long as they don't come right out and say that they are presently having sex with each other, they're fine. We'll just go on loudly pretending that nothing in any of this endorses homosexual behavior. The next step is apparently to say that, you know, even if a pair of known homosexual "partners" are having sex, the rest of us sometimes fail to control the sin of gluttony.
Perhaps Wheaton would balk at that point, though. Or would feign to balk. For right now, my guess is that students in Refuge can hold pretty much any moral opinion, but the school claims (truly or falsely) that students can't admit to being presently sexually active, because that would be hard to square with the student covenant. But give them time; they'll probably start openly using the gluttony line next year. Maybe the year after that they'll tell us that it would in some cases be "more destructive" for homosexuals to get out of their sexual relationships. Where precisely on the whole continuum the Jesuit high school falls in its day-to-day workings, we probably don't want to know.
Lies are bad for Christians. They are at least as bad for Christians working in groups as they are for Christians as individuals. In groups, human beings toss lies back and forth like hacky-sacks until they can't remember what's true and what's false anymore.
Start by thinking clearly. Go on doing it. Neither listen to lies nor be confused by them nor promulgate them, even if they sound conveniently non-judgmental. If you don't maintain this kind of mental clarity, you will harm more people than just yourself.