No, Tony Esolen, you can’t cure gay with football

I think he’s fallen prey to a dangerous fantasy, almost a fetish, of what the world once was: A world where fathers are always good, kind, and wise, where women are gentle and nurturing but not awfully bright, where the sun was always golden, sheets were always clean, and most of all, no one was ever, ever gay. (And if they were, it was because they accidentally talked to a gay man, who probably got that way by … not thinking about showering coal miners often enough … hmm.)

So here’s my advice to you, teenagers . . .

Read the rest of my latest for The Catholic Weekly.

Image: Renee Olmstead via Pixabay (Creative Commons)

Will the Catholic Church be hurt by the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage?

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Hats off to everyone who was surprised by today’s Supreme Court ruling that states cannot constitutionally ban gay marriage. Hats off for your optimism and your faith in the judicial branch!

Those of us with a more jaded view knew that this ruling was inevitable, and that the seeds for this decision were sown decades ago, when contraception and no fault divorce became the norm.  If marriage is just a financial and emotional arrangement to make adults happy, why not gay marriage? If marriage is just an official pronouncement that some people love each other, then why not? Gay people can love each other.

 

Of course, Catholics don’t believe that marriage is just an official pronouncement that some people love each other. And of course our job remains what it has always been: to faithfully, doggedly, charitably continue to explain that a sacramental marriage is between one man and one woman for the benefit of their children, for the benefit of society, and for the benefit of each other. It’s not that we will not accept gay  marriage, it’s that we cannot.

If we Catholics are clear on what marriage is, how much will it affect us when the rest of the country is all mixed up? I don’t believe that priests and ministers will be prosecuted – jailed, fined, or strung up in the public square – for refusing to officiate at gay marriages. But I do believe that churches are in immediate danger of losing their tax exempt status if they are found to discriminate against people in gay (and other non monogamous, non hetero) unions.

If you read the bottom of Huffington Post or any typical American combox, you’ll get the impression that churches are exempt from paying taxes because, in the bad old days, religion was in control and the poor taxpayers didn’t know any better than to fork over their hard earned dollars to a bunch of corrupt prelates who spent it on fancy robes, wine, and cages in which to imprison women and the occasional altar boy (and if we’re talking about Los Angeles, this was more or less true. It’s getting better!).

But now we know better, says the bottom of the internet, So tax ‘em, but good! Seem fair, especially if you’ve been taught that religion is mainly a giant oppression machine.

But the truth is, churches are tax exempt because they are good for the community. They serve the people, and the revenue they take in shouldn’t be taxed by the government because it’s used to do the work that government isn’t able to do on its own. Even if you think there is no God, you have to admit that churches do good for the community even while teaching and believing things that the community isn’t always happy to hear. This has always been the case.

In my state of New Hampshire, nearly every charitable organization is run by Catholic Charities. Food, shelter, counselling, services for homeless people, abused women, and immigrants — Catholic Charities does it all. They run under names like “NH Food Bank,” but it’s all Catholic Charities; and Catholic Charities is, of course, inseparable from the Catholic Church.

So what would happen if churches lost their tax exemption? Poof goes Catholic Charities (and all the fine organizations manned and funded by non-Catholic churches, as well! The Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization in the world, but it is by no means the only one). Poof goes their ability to serve the poor, the widow, the orphan, the homeless, the nuts, etc. etc. Poof go the vulnerable.

Goodness knows we’ve already seen how this works. When Catholic organizations declined to place children with gay couples for adoption and foster care, they lost their contract with many states. They were unable to comply with a law that violated their faith, and so they were forced to shut down. This secular media portrayed this as “evil Catholics would rather abandon helpless children than make a loving couple’s dream come true” rather than “society would rather see children go without parents if it means that gay couples won’t be able to work with every agency in the state.” So we know that the Tolerance Inc. has no qualms about sacrificing the helpless if they think they can make Christians hurt; and we know that these injuries will be portrayed as self-inflicted.

What to do about it? I have no idea. It makes some sense to get churches altogether out of the business of offering civil marriages. If the state wants to define marriage, let the state performs all those marriages, and let people pursue sacramental marriages in the churches as a separate thing. I suspect that even then, if sacramental and civil marriage are decoupled, churches will face discrimination lawsuits, just like bakers and inn owners faced lawsuits for refusing to facilitate gay couple’s weddings. They’ll win some and lose some. There is no legal coherence in this country anymore.

People have no idea how much our nation depends on the Church. Well, they’re about to find out.

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Yes, Agenda-Driven Infiltrators Are Hijacking the World Meeting of Families

wolfies

Stahp.

Folks like the one-man band at the Lepanto Institute are introducing a gay agenda into the World Meeting of Families. They’re the infiltrators, the hijackers. They’re the wolf at the gate, eager to lay waste to something wholesome and good.

Enough. Enough with the self-inflicted bite wounds. I understand that it really hurts when those teeth sink into your flesh, but the best way to avoid this pain is to stop biting yourself.

Read the rest at the Register.

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At the Register: Don’t Shoot Those Helicopters Down

Why can’t gay people (or depressed people, or anxious people, or people with temptations that are not my temptations) just shut up and go to confession?

PIC helicopter rescue

At the Register: Gay Man Refused Last Rites?

Or something else entirely?  His story stinks to high heaven, and if the priest has another one, I doubt he’s free to tell it.

Link doesn’t seem to be working for everyone.  If you can’t access the story through the link above, you can cut and paste this:

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/simcha-fisher/gay-man-refused-last-rites

Is there a story in Sochi’s gay bar? Up to a point, Lord Copper . . .

Sochi’s only gay bar is overrun by reporters, who won’t let Russians just sit down and have a damn drink while gay.

Deadspin quotes eight different major news outlets who’ve dispatched reporters to Mayak, where the town’s LGBT community goes to drink and dance. From a reporter at The New Republic:

On Saturday night, I decided to check it out, along with friends who work for The Guardian, TIME, and The Independent. A flock of AP reporters was already there, enjoying mojitos. In the hallway, a TV reporter was interviewing two girls in leopardware on camera. Nearby, a Danish TV reporter named Matilda told me she was interested in doing a story “that isn’t victimized.” It was an important story because “gay rights are a big issue in Europe.” The bar owner, she said, was busy giving interviews in a private room. “We called last week to schedule an interview and we got 15 minutes between the Finns and the Swiss.” Her local fixer tapped me on the shoulder. “There are three more journalists sitting next to her,” he said. But, he explained, they were Russian correspondents. “They’re confused,” he said. “They don’t know what to do, professionally.”

“We’ve given over 200 interviews in the last month,” says Mayak owner Andrey Tanichev. Every country has sent its correspondents, he says, “except the Spanish, God bless them.” The Americans have sent the most reporters, but the BBC has set a record: they came by four times.

Where have I head this before?  Oh, yes . . . in Ishmaelia:

 The bunch now overflowed the hotel.  There were close on fifty of them.  All over the lounge and dining-room they sat and stood and leaned; some whispered to one another in what they took to be secrecy; others exchanged chaff and gin …

“What are you all here for?” asked Corker petulantly of a newcomer. “What’s come over them at home? What’s supposed to be going on, anyway?”

“It’s ideological. And we’re only half of it. There’s twenty more at the coast who couldn’t get on the train.  Weren’t they sick at seeing us go?  It’s lousy on the coast.”

“It’s lousy here.”

“Yes, I see what you mean . . . “

From Evelyn Waugh’s monstrously hilarious, not-entirely-brutal satirical novel Scoop, wherein the wrong John Boot accidentally gets sent to the front lines of what may or may not be an important war, depending on where the all the reporters end up.

Unproceed Sochiward, folks. And take your cleft sticks with you.