Why Gays Have So Much Influence on Our Culture
We've had the Gaymmys; we've had Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson suspended for expressing unfavorable comments about anal intercourse; HBO has a new series, Looking about three gay men looking for love. It seems as though just about every television show, whether comedy or drama now has a gay character as a regular.
It's not surprising that homosexuality has become mainstream in our culture because nearly everyone has a relative or friend who is gay and we have been deeply influenced by those words of Harvey Fierstein who said, "I just want to be loved. Is that so wrong?" What we have failed to realize, however, is that there has never been anything morally wrong about loving anyone, same sex or not.
But love is not what is behind the gay rights movement; it is a powerful marketing tool, though, much better than using words related to the specific sexual acts that trouble many observers.
One of the most intriguing and illuminating articles I have ever read about this polarizing issue was written by a gay Catholic man, Ronald G. Lee, originally published in the New Oxford Review. Lee formerly lived in Austin, Texas, and regularly visited Lobo's, a gay book store:
Looking inside from the street all you saw were books. It looked like any other bookstore. There was a section devoted to classic "gay" fiction by writers such as Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, and W.H. Auden.... But if you went inside to browse, before long you noticed another section, behind the books, a section not visible from the street. The pornography section. Hundreds and hundreds of pornographic videos, all involving men, but otherwise catering to every conceivable sexual taste or fantasy. And you would notice something else too. There were no customers in the front. All the customers were in the back, rooting through the videos. As far as I know, I am the only person who ever actually purchased a book at Lobo's. The books were, in every sense of the word, a front for the porn. (snip)
This is how I "deconstruct" Lobo's. There are two kinds of people who are going to be looking in through the window: those who are tempted to engage in homosexual acts, and those who aren't. To those who aren't, the shelves of books transmit the message that gay people are no different from anyone else, that homosexuality is not wrong, just different. Since most of them will never know more about homosexuality than what they learned looking in the window, that impression is of the greatest political and cultural importance, because on that basis they will react without alarm, or even with active support, to the progress of gay rights. There are millions of well-meaning Americans who support gay rights because they believe that what they see looking in at Lobo's is what is really there. It does not occur to them that they are seeing a carefully stage-managed effort to manipulate them, to distract them from a truth they would never condone.
The rest of the long but worthy article describes his struggle between his faith and his homosexual urges. The Catholic Church does not condone homosexual activity but it also does not condone any sexual activity outside marriage which it defines as a sacramental union between a man and a woman. The virtue of chastity is extremely difficult for anyone to practice in this hedonistic society but not an impossible goal if one considers the consequences of one's actions.
Those consequences are hidden in the campaign to mainstream the homosexual lifestyles. We do not talk with our neighbors or relatives about their sexual activity, be they homosexual or heterosexual. It is not polite and we have been programmed to ignore our anxiety about their welfare. What is abominable is that our youth are being seduced by this campaign and remain totally ignorant of any downside to their choices confusing love and lust. Sex, which has the potential to be a unique spiritual union, has been defined down to a recreational activity, suitable for anyone by him- or herself or in concert with any partner who happens to appeal at the moment. This harms all people of all sexual orientations, denying them one of life's peak experiences in favor of frequent and mundane coupling and merely physiological orgasms.
But it is those who struggle with same-sex urges who are the greatest victims. Those lovable characters in the sitcoms are robustly healthy and affluent, cuddly folks who never even hint at any of the negative consequences that follow on a lifetime of practicing anal intercourse. Nobody wears Depends, nobody deals with feces-borne diseases, and the devastation of AIDS is left for a few feature films that generate sympathy for the victims without addressing the behavioral component of the disease vector. With few exceptions, such as the ignorance of partners or innocent children born to the infected, the AIDS virus is preventable with proper behavior.
The Catholic Church has recognized struggles with one's sexuality in the communities and within the clergy, but some within its ranks support dubious movements such as Dignity which ignores the church's support of chastity. There is only one sanctioned organization that supports the homosexual's union with Mother Church and that is Courage. Its members remain chaste and are fully practicing Catholics. Courage should not be confused with other evangelical Christian groups that claim to convert the homosexual to a heterosexual lifestyle. Rather its mission is to foster a reunion with the church and through fellowship with other members conquer the drives that have caused the separation.
One member of my church is writing a history of Courage that may enlighten others and be helpful to Catholic gays as Bill W's book was for alcoholics.
The brilliant poet, playwright and novelist, Oscar Wilde, asked to be baptized into the Church on his deathbed. I hope that many others will not wait till their dying days to feel the warmth of that all embracing love that is completely pure and cleanses one's soul.