3/15/2007

More on the Pledge to the Leader

My last post, "The Network, the WB's and the Pledge to the Leader" has generated a bit of attention. A number of comments were made to that post, one of which has caused me to revisit what I wrote yesterday.

Ephraim Radner has commented:

"The Camp Allen bishops signed no such letter as is here being discussed (most were not present in Chantilly). The Camp Allen bishops did not "choose" Bob Duncan as their "leader". They made no "pledges" beyond what has been made public in their statements from their meetings. They have no grand structure of leadership in place, but rather await the clarity of direction to be offered by those councils recommended by the Primates, and worked out in negotiation with the whole church. Speculation about Camp Allen bishops beyond this is utterly without foundation and quite misleading."

Dr. Radner is a person of considerable vision, a fine writer. His book, Hope Among the Fragments,(Brazos Press) is an important read. So I am taking his comment seriously. He is quite right. The "Camp Allen" Bishops have not as a group done anything other than sign off on the various statements that arose from the particular meetings they attended.

Some who have commented on my blog may have concluded or wished so. I did not so conclude or wish.

In my post I noted that the found document, which purports to be a "Response to the Global South Steering Committee," seems to be the same document referred to in Bishop Schofield's deanery talks. I have since recalled and found Bishop Schofield's address to the Diocesan Convention where he first named the bishops at the Virginia meeting: "John Chew, Archbishop of Singapore; Drexel Gomez of the West Indies and the Caribbean; Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone, South America; and three Archbishops from Africa, including Peter Akinola of Nigeria as Chairman."

Bishop Schofield then states,

"These outstanding leaders took it upon themselves to meet with 10 of us dioceses in Virginia last month, and there they asked three things of us:

1) What were we prepared to give up in order to achieve unity among ourselves?

2) A single spokesman to be elected by us to speak for all the orthodox.

3) Submission to their authority and --as a demonstration of that – flexibility to allow them under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to prepare a way for us to live in a separate ecclesiastical structure which would eventually provide a way home for many Anglicans who had left The Episcopal Church for conscience sake, and many individuals and parishes that had been isolated in hostile dioceses to be part of the world-wide family of the Anglican Communion."

According to Bishop Schofield 10 dioceses were represented. Who where they? The Global South report on the meeting states that eight Anglican Communion Network Dioceses were represented. So two were from the Camp Allen (round one) bishops or were otherwise "Windsor-Compliant." Of the bishops attending the first Camp Allen meeting eleven were from Network Dioceses. So half the number attending Camp Allen I were Network. (see my report on who attended HERE.)

The math then looks roughly like this: 8 of 11 Network Dioceses were at the Virginia meeting in November. Two of the 11 other Camp Allen -Windsor Bishops were there. If all the Network Dioceses were to "sign on" to the newly found document, and two more did so, the total signing on would be 13, or more than half the bishops in the Camp Allen group. If only the eight known to be at the Virginia meeting signed, it would be about 1/3 to total.

Dr. Radner is correct to challenge the notion that all the Camp Allen bishops signed on to this document. I did not suggest that. Rather I suggested that if the Network Dioceses did so, "it may be that a majority of the Camp Allen group pledged to acknowledge Bishop Duncan as 'our leader and hereby submit to his leadership without reservation.'"

Because we do not have the other signatures on this document, if any, it is impossible to know just who signed. Bishop Schofield makes it appear that they all did. If so, it would appear that at least 1/3 of the Camp Allen (round 1) bishops – those who were present in Virginia – are pledged to Bishop Duncan. If the other two did so, that's 10 of up to 25. If all the Network Bishops, present or absent, did so, the number is more than half.

Dr. Radner chids me and others who made comments to this blog to be careful in our statement. He says, "Speculation about Camp Allen bishops beyond this is utterly without foundation and quite misleading." OK.

So here is a revised statement: It would appear, from Bishop Schofield's statements and the report from the Global South regarding the Virginia meeting, that a sizable percentage of the Camp Allen attendees – which included 11 Network bishops and 11 otherwise "Windsor Compliant" bishops – have pledged to accept Bishop Duncan, the Moderator of the Network, as "as our leader and hereby submit to his leadership without reservation in building unity among us and as our representative for the present in the councils of the Anglican Communion." It is unclear how large that percentage is, but it may be a majority of Camp Allen bishops attending either or both of the two meetings.

So the conclusion still stands, but with a small correction: "If all those US Bishops present at the meeting in Virginia signed off on the document, and the absent Network Bishops who were at the Camp Allen meeting as well, it may well that a majority of the so called "Windsor Compliant" or "Camp Allen" bishops are already pledged to The Moderator as their "leader."


I thank Dr. Radner for his cautionary note, to which I will add my own. Because I cannot find a report of just who attended the meeting with the Global South Steering Committee (they did not invite press or make a listing themselves) and because the heretofore undisclosed document has been received without any notation as to the number of persons signing, it is impossible to be sure of any of this save the assurance of Bishop Schofield that those present did indeed make a pledge to this effect.


Again, remember, the interest in this document is that it confirms Bishop Schofield's report that assurances were required at the GSSC meeting, and those assurances were forthcoming.

And, to further add to the confusion of it all, who will be included in the "Windsor Compliant" or "Camp Allen" Bishops? Those who attended and signed off on the documents that are now called the "Camp Allen Principles"? or those who the Archbishop of Canterbury considers "bishops who can identify with 'the Camp Allen principles' - essentially those bishops who have publicly committed themselves to affirm the Windsor Report and its recommendations"? And who will be invited to the meeting after Easter that the Moderator has seen fit to announce, and who will do the inviting?

So, who knows. Some gaggle of bishops, probably around 25 in number, are among the elect. The Primates and the Archbishop believe they will "work as a body with the Presiding Bishop to develop a scheme…" The Moderator is leader of some of these folk. The question is, of how many? …O yes, and where is the document with signatures of all present in Virginia that day in November?




75 comments:

  1. Thank you. This is helpful.

    CAWBR

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  2. Richard III15/3/07 12:28 PM

    I wonder why the group of bishops you are speaking of, if they have any intergrity at all and really believe in what they think is correct, have to have secret meetings so they can, I assume, plot amongst themselves the demise of TEC and pledge their loyalty to their "leader" +Bob Pittsburgh, who I guess has visions of being the PB of the real Episcopal Church when the current apostate leadership and their followers are tossed out of the Anglican Communion. I can't imagine why anyone would want serve Christ under spiritual leaders who don't want to be stand up guys who will say what they mean and accept whatever consequences may or may not come their way. They ought to do us all a favor by renouncing their orders in this church and find spiritual homes with people they can feel at peace with. We should get this over with and move on.

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  3. Fr. Mark,

    It seems to me that there is some hair splitting going on. Some number of bishops, either Network affiliated or "Windsor Compliant" signed it. They whomever they are, have somehow chosen to give +Pittsburgh more apparent authority than TEC entire grants ++Katherine.

    It seems clear that there is a cadre that has identified a goal and is proceeding towards it. I wish them well on their journey. They should leave the keys under the mat.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  4. Dr. James+15/3/07 1:45 PM

    All of this is really interesting and shows how well everyone can spin, spin, spin. As Holy Week approaches, I wonder where the "Reconcilliation" is going to come in. If there were more blogs looking for "healing" instead of spinning, maybe we could actually make some progress.

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  5. Richard III muses: "I can't imagine why anyone would want serve Christ under spiritual leaders who don't want to be stand up guys who will say what they mean and accept whatever consequences may or may not come their way." That is precisely what "progressives have failed to do. Do we need a better example than the present PB having pushed the adoption of a resolution at GC 2007 that was intentionally vague and subject to multiple interpretations? How about her signing the Communique in Tanzania and then not standing up and admitting that its language is intended to preclude public blessing rites for SSU's? Who is it that dissects and parses the language of Reports, Communiques, Resolutions and recommendations to find "loopholes" so as to permit them to circumvent their intended effect? You are right Richard - she and they sould reonunce their orders and find a new spiritual home -- perhaps in the Unitarian Church or the Ethical Spritual Society"
    Dan

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  6. I am sad, I am trying to send the text of +Schofield's address to his diocese wherein he makes the ststements tht Fr. Jake alludes to as well as the text of +Duncan's letter to the GS Steering Com of November 6th. I believe that its contents were what were agreed to by the Chantilly group based on dates, but alas, I can't get "comments" to take it. Send e-mail note to HofB/D list and I could send to you by e-mail if you want? EPfizh

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  7. Malcolm French+15/3/07 2:40 PM

    One is struck by the fact that the invading bishops demanded the American bishops present formally agree to submit to their authority.

    I believe this gives a clue as to the real agenda of the so-called Global South. It is about power, not principle at all.

    Finally, I am given to understand that a book has been (or will soon be) published featuring essays from a number of prominent and influential people from the Global South who do not, in fact, agree with the extremism of ++Akinola et al. The book, I gather, is edited by the Rt. Rev'd Terry Brown who is a diocesan bishop in Papua New Guinea.

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  8. Radner's objections are a red herring. Nobody said, least of all Fr. Mark, that it was a document from Camp Allen. He (Radner) is not apparently keeping up with events. All three bishops from Albany attended the GSSC meeting in Va. as shown by a posting for 11/24/06: http://www.albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/news/pdu/061124.html . Whether any signed the document will have to wait for Calvary, Pittsburgh to obtain the real document as opposed to the incomplete one.
    C. Smith

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  9. dr. james - The first step to healing and reconciliation is honesty. Being willing and able to look honestly at what is and has been done. Not denying it, or trying to minimize it, or avoid it.

    The issue at hand is what Duncan and others have done with respect to making a pledge. I am sure you want reconciliation as much as anyone and will be honest in looking at it and dealing with it, so that healing can take place.

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  10. Do you think that all of the Windsor bishops who will be "invited" to participate in the scheme will actually do so? It seems from my reading that only the bishops who choose to participate will propose the PV. If that group is the network bishops plus a handful of others, it makes it even more likely that Duncan will be the choice of the group.

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  11. I continue to simultaneously marvel and give thanks for your willingess to engage the minutia of this discussion.

    I have neither the stomach nor the brains for it.

    Thank God you have both and do this so well.

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  12. Forgive me if I take a broader perspective.
    Before I became a Christian, I understood perfectly well that there was one Biblical standard for human sexuality: that of lifelong, faithful, heterosexual monogamy. No exceptions! As a sexually active gay male, that was one of the best reasons I had for not wanting to be one (a Christian, that is). The Church was honest with me, and I was more than happy to return the favor.

    After my conversion to Christ, my understanding remained fully intact and I knew what was expected of me. In order to be faithful to Our Lord and the demands of the Christian faith, active participation in a gay lifestyle had to go, and so it did. I have been practicing sexual abstinence for fifteen years now and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It may seem strange to many, but I have actually come to find it quite liberating.

    Having said that, let me add that I still don’t have a “straight” bone in my body. Although I have participated, to my tremendous benefit, in so-called “ex gay” ministries and counseling, I never pursued reparative therapy or imagined that becoming a heterosexual was something that God had in mind for my life. To be sure, celibacy isn’t for everyone, and I am very happy for those who have gone on to achieve the necessary healing in their lives which has enabled them to become Christian husbands and fathers (and yes, God be praised, that does happen!), but I do not envy them, or feel particularly deficient because I am unable to follow their example. I have developed a real sense that God is calling upon me to be faithful at all times, but not necessarily “successful,” where heterosexuality in itself is the norm by which such success is measured.

    Perhaps I am one of those people who discovered, upon becoming “a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven,” that this was simply a vocation to which God would have eventually called me in any case, regardless of my sexual orientation. As scripture says, “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” Amen! I may never know the tremendous joy, or bear the awesome responsibility, of being a husband or a father, but I do know what it would mean if I abandoned my commitment to chastity and returned to active involvement in a homosexual lifestyle, “monogamously partnered” or otherwise: the effective renunciation of my faith in Christ and a willing involvement in mortal sin. It would be both spiritually and intellectually dishonest for me to pretend otherwise.

    God loves us all very much, exactly as we are, and the Christian life is one of joy, celebration, and fulfillment. But I think the call to conversion is also an invitation to place ourselves, our very lives, between the hammer and the anvil as God undertakes the serious business of forging us into new creatures in Christ, to the extent that we will allow Him to do so. There is a real sense in which we simply must “count the cost” of discipleship if we are to become Christians at all. (And I have tremendous respect for the honest pagan who says, “No, I simply cannot believe any of this, and I am not prepared to live this way.” Such persons can be safely entrusted to the “Hound of Heaven.” I am confident that He too appreciates their honesty, and manages to catch up with quite a few of them!) We are always free to decide for ourselves that the cost is too great, but we are never free to decide on our own just what that cost is going to be. Ultimately, we must accept it upon God’s terms or not at all. He seems to want all of us, all that we are, and all that we have, and, unless we turn Him away, He simply will not settle for anything less. Our sexuality doesn’t change a thing.

    As I struggle with temptation, and against any residual tendencies towards despair and resignation (and I do again and again), I am always drawn to the words of St. Peter to Our Lord: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” To whom else, indeed? And so for me, the journey of faith, and the challenge of faithfulness, continues.

    Thanks for “listening,” and God bless all here!

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  13. Congratulations, Mark. You and your friends have thwarted the will of the church. 57 standing committees consented, but you have found a way to ignore the will of the people.

    And something tells me that should Mark Lawrence be renominated, he will get more than 57, after it is seen what the alliance at the head of TEC has done.

    Couldn't convince enough people to deny consent? Nope. Get them on a technicality even though the Spirit moved them to consent.

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  14. Anonymous - I read your testimony (under the name episcopalinated) on Stand Firm in support of Mat Kennedy's proposed ban on offering communion to those who wear a rainbow on Easter. I also read the comments there that delighted in your gift of celibacy. Unfortunately, they seem to think that all homosexuals should be so gifted - but alas God has other plans for some of his children. Perhaps if you had not yourself been so gifted, you would not have so readily accepted a narrow reading of Scripture regarding sexuality.

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  15. Richard III16/3/07 12:42 PM

    Yawner,

    The sour grapes over Mark Lawrence+ aren't deserved. He was honest about his feelings regarding the church and his intentions. The fact he sides with the Network and his statements indicated a willingness to remove the DOSC from the church that must have given the Standing Committees pause enough to say no. If their reaction to this was in not letting another +Bob Pittsburgh or +John David Schofield into the HOB, good for them. As Fr. Haller said on his blog, Mark Lawrence is presumably an honest individual who spoke his mind and would probably be an effective bishop but his honesty didn't work in his favor this time. If he runs for the office again and is re-elected I hope the result remains the same. I don't know the man personally but I am concerned enough about TEC to not want to see him in the HOB.

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  16. Anonymous: You've given a pretty powerful and honest testimony. Thank you for that. Obviously, you also are faithful and obedient to what you understand God has called you to be and do. God bless you for that.

    However, as understood in scripture, celibacy is intended to be a *gift* of the Spirit (one which you have received,) not something that is *imposed* upon someone for whom marriage is not an option (scritpure is also clear that not all receive the same gifts.) If it is imposed it is not a gift, and therefore not of the Spirit. Yours is wonderful testimony, but others who have honored their partner with years of adherence to the scriptural principles of faithfulness in relationship, both to God and to one another, also have powerful and wonderful testimonies, theirs just as worth "listening to" as yours.

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  17. Hogwash, Yawner! Given what Mark Lawrence obviously thinks of the church he has sworn an oath to, I am just as leary as anyone about him being confirmed; but since our concerns were all based on conjecture and hypothetical, I thought he should have received the consents. For something as important as this, you need something more real than what *might* happen to have real grounds to deny because it might *not* happen.

    That said, Mark Lawrence brought this upon himself. You can't say the kinds of flaming radical and militant things he said and not expect reasonable people to strongly react. Even if he believed what he said, he could/should have said what he believed with more tact, at the very least. His stated intention to remain in the Episcopal Church is suspect, at the least (given what his mentor, Bro. Duncan, is agitating for as far as who the "real" Episcopal Church is); at the 11 hour, 59th minute, and 59th second, it was a little too little a little too late. 815 even generously extended the consent period, just for him.

    Look what you guys keep doing, with Lambeth 1.10, the Windsor Report, Dromantine, Tanzania, and now Mark Lawrence... You guys demand that everyone else follow the absolute letter of the rules but throw an adolescent hissy fit if anyone dare suggest that you be held to same standard. Time to wake up and grow up.

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  18. I would really like to see an end to the spurious claims that the "will of the people" was somehow thwarted on a "technicality."

    This church, through its General Convention, has long agreed on a clear and simple procedure for determining the validity of consents to an Episcopal election. "Evidence of the consent of each Standing Committee shall be ... signed by a majority of all the members of the Committee" [Canon III.11.4(b), 2006 edition].

    Those signatures are the proof that a valid vote is being submitted. They are the church's protection against ballot-box stuffing.

    It was South Carolina's responsibility to obtain, and submit to the PB, valid documentation that a majority of Standing Committees had voted to consent. Even when given three extra days, however, they could only document 50.

    That's no technicality.

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  19. Let's see those other signatures on the document. Which of the Network bishops have pleged themselves? Which of the Camp Allen bishops?

    We have now a statement by the Standing Committeee of the Diocese of Central Florida declaring their firm intention to split with the Episcopal Church unless the House of Bishops promptly and "unequivocally" submits to the demands in the Primates' Communique: "In the end, a failure on your part to agree to the demands of the Communiqué may well lead to formal division within The Episcopal Church, a situation which would deeply sadden all concerned."

    News reports at the time indicated that Bishop John Howe did not attend the "Pledge to the Leader" meeting, but that does not preclude the appearance of his signature, or the signature of his representative, on the "Pledge." If so, it would go far to explain the extraordinary actions of his Standing Committee.

    For the complete statement, see: http://titusonenine.classicalanglican.net/?p=18321#comments

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  20. Charlotte - The Standing Committee states "We therefore urge you, in the strongest possible terms to honor the Communiqué and accede to its clear call for an unequivocal statement of obedience to its demands."

    At least, it's got the meaning and message of the Communique down. It 's an ultimatum looking for "obedience to it's demands." Kind of makes it easy to resist if you put it that way.

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  21. Hi C.B. -- I don't disagree with you.

    I just want to know: Whose agenda demands that the Primates' Communique be interpreted as a demand for unequivocal submission?

    The Archbishop of Canterbury's? Or the small group of Primates headed by Archbishop Akinola who call themselves the "Global South"? Or is it really the Network's agenda ventriloquized by Archbishop Akinola?

    And why is the Standing Committee of my Diocese so prompt and willing to echo this demand for unequivocal submission? Whose agenda are they following?

    How many more Network bishops and Standing Committees are going to issue this identical demand in the next few days?

    And what, if anything, might that have to do with their unconditional "Pledge to their Leader," Bishop Duncan?

    Yes, this whole schismatic thang has been scripted. No matter what the Episcopal Church or its House of Bishops does or does not do at its next two meetings, the drive for the "replacement province" and the Akinola-headed tyranny of Primates will press on unchecked.

    You're right -- it does make it easy to resist.

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  22. Marc,

    You said we are to honor the testimonies of those who are faithful in relationship. The problem with that is that we are basing the whole Christian approval of homosexuality on the existence of a group of people so small as to be statistically insignificant. For that reason it's a sham.
    JFM

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  23. Thank you, JMF, for your clarity. You have just shown that you have not even *begun* to listen, but have no intention of listening, thus proving my point that you demand adherence to rules (e.g. Lambeth 1.10 and Windsor), but have no intention of holding yourself to the standard you demand of others. Jesus had a word for this.

    Far worse, with that statement you have just utterly dismissed *PEOPLE*; given your penchant for hypocricy and arrogance, these are people who I daresay show infinitely more faithfulness than you are showing. "Statistical significance?!" What is a sham, JMF, is that you reduce human beings to a mathematical equation (otherwise called dehumaninzing)
    and claim the side of our Lord in doing it.

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  24. Marc,

    The point is that support for homosexual practices means support in almost all cases for the emotional pain that comes from the continual change in partners, in addition to the physical risk to bodies not designed for such practices.
    JFM

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  25. Mark! The Buttsex Troll is back!!!

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  26. this is about oral sex too. It's like global warming: If you don't respect nature, eventually the empire strikes back. JFM

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  27. Gee- Lesbians have the safest sex of all. So, surely God would bless them under that rubric. But oh, I forgot, women don't count. They're even more statistically insignificant than the faithful gay men. So, their lives don't matter to God at all.

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  28. Dr. James+17/3/07 8:49 AM

    jfm, don't even try to reason with marc. His self-righteousness and justification and spin of an immoral lifestyle, and the liberal agenda is so entreanched in his brain that he will defend it at all cost, and at the same time call you every name in the book. If he would take the time to see how sick and perverted his lifestyle is, like CDC reports and life expectancies of gays, but I'm sure he would rationalize and spin those also.

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  29. Dr. James,

    Thank you for your wise note. I'm just amazed that there can be so little attention to death and destruction, compared with the attention given to priestly punctilio.
    JFM

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  30. Ah, Doc, thank you so much for a better laugh this morning than I even get at T19.

    Just for the record, I am as heterosexual as they come, married for nearly 14 years, with three of the most incredibly wonderful and beautiful - and faithful - daughters that have ever walked this earth. I'm sure you'd like them very much; at least everyone else does.

    My "agenda" is that I am as committed to proclaiming the good news of God in Jesus Christ as committing my life to it. From the authoritative word of holy scripture, I understand that even the devil can quote holy scripture, but it is only by God's Spirit that any can proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior. That is what I proclaim and apparently God is blessing my ministry because my church is growing, even in what you would consider a liberal diocese. Being in holy orders, I understand better than most what it means to be under authority and what it does *not* mean. Because of that, even though I am obviously as sympathetic as they come, I am so entrenched in my "liberal agenda" that I still am not at a point of performing the blessing of same-sex unions. In what I thought was a response of a pretty generous nature, I've appreciated the honesty of Anonymous's testimony (3-16, 1:47 PM) and said that I think Mark Lawrence should have received consents (3-16, 2:10 PM.) I don't cross my fingers when saying the Creed. I understand Jesus as being both human and divine; the incarnate, crucified and risen Lord and Savior; about as unequivocally orthodox as you can be. Yes, I'm sure you are correct; my lifestyle is an abomination to God!

    Actually, Doc, the only names that have been called are the names you and others have levelled, but are being reflected back upon yourself - in your self-righteous spin! You are right; I cannot reason with unreasonable people.

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  31. Wow Mark, Looks like you were about as wrong about me as I was about you. This medium is not the best for clarification, but it is what is available, and often times not very good. We have a lot more in common than you can imagine..
    I too am in a liberal diocese and have a growing church, even a budget surplus for the first time this year. My comments are not and have not meant to be personal. My comments on health are not random comments but are substantiated by scientific facts, visit the CDC website and look at the life expectancies of alternate lifestyles. Look at the rate of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Consider the dilemna of trying to conquer the AIDS epidemic when AIDS is a federally protected disease. Look up Dr. Rbt Spitzer, the renowned gay-activist who in 1973 managed to get homosexuality removed from the APA list of mental disorders, but has now on new data reversed his position the findings of which are published in Archives of Sexual Behavior. He now believes it is a reversable choice, and has the data to back it up. It's not a matter of God not loving those in that lifestyle, it is a matter of common decency. The biggest problem is, that Gays etal, are not able to separate what they do from who they are. So they see any criticism of their lifestyle as criticism of them as people, which is NOT the case, but seemingly what you are hearing as well. I was not name calling, and any comment relative to that lifestyle that I made can be substantiated with fact and figures, mostly from Gay and Lesbian organizations own figures. Study after study after study has been done, and I will be happy to quote all those to you, but not under this medium. God Bless you in your ministry!

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  32. There was a "gay" bookstore called Lobo's in Austin, Texas, when I was living there as a grad student. The layout was interesting. 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. There were biographies of prominent "gay" icons, some of whom, like Walt Whitman, would probably have accepted the homosexual label, but many of whom, like Whitman's idol, President Lincoln, had been commandeered for the cause on the basis of evidence no stronger than a bad marriage or an intense same-sex friendship. There were impassioned modern "gay" memoirs, and historical accounts of the origins and development of the "gay rights" movement. It all looked so innocuous and disarmingly bourgeois. 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.

    So why waste thousands of dollars on books that no one was going to buy? It was clear from the large "on sale" section that only a pitifully small number of books were ever purchased at their original price. The owners of Lobo's were apparently wasting a lot of money on gay novels and works of gay history, when all the real money was in pornography. But the money spent on books wasn't wasted. It was used to purchase a commodity that is more precious than gold to the gay rights establishment. Respectability. Respectability and the appearance of normalcy. Without that investment, we would not now be engaged in a serious debate about the legalization of same-sex "marriage." By the time I lived in Austin, I had been thinking of myself as a gay man for almost 20 years. Based on the experience acquired during those years, I recognized in Lobo's a metaphor for the strategy used to sell gay rights to the American people, and for the sordid reality that strategy concealed.

    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.

    For those who are tempted to engage in homosexual acts, the view from the street is also consoling. It makes life as a homosexual look safe and unthreatening. Normal, in other words. Sooner or later, many of these people will stop looking in through the window and go inside. Unlike the first sort of window-shopper, they won't be distracted by the books for long. They will soon discover the existence of the porn section. And no matter how distasteful they might find the idea at first (if indeed they do find it distasteful), they will also notice that the porn section is where all the customers are. And they will feel sort of silly standing alone among the books. Eventually, they will find their way back to the porn, with the rest of the customers. And like them, they will start rooting through the videos. And, gentle reader, that is where most of them will spend the rest of their lives, until God or AIDS, drugs or alcohol, suicide or a lonely old age, intervenes.

    Ralph McInerny once offered a brilliant definition of the gay rights movement: self-deception as a group effort. Nevertheless, deception of the general public is also vital to the success of the cause. And nowhere are the forms of deception more egregious, or more startlingly successful, than in the campaign to persuade Christians that, to paraphrase the title of a recent book, Jesus Was Queer, and churches should open their doors to same-sex lovers. The gay Christian movement relies on a stratagem that is as daring as it is dishonest. I know, because I was taken in by it for a long time. Like the owners of Lobo's, success depends on camouflaging the truth, which is hidden in plain view the whole time. It is no wonder The Wizard of Oz is so resonant among homosexuals. "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" could be the motto and the mantra of the whole movement.

    No single book was as influential in my own coming out as the now ex-Father John McNeill's 1976 "classic" The Church and the Homosexual. That book is to Dignity what "The Communist Manifesto" was to Soviet Russia. Most of the book is devoted to offering alternative interpretations of the biblical passages condemning homosexuality, and to putting the anti-homosexual writings of the Church Fathers and scholastics into historical context in a way that renders them irrelevant and even offensive to modern readers. The first impression of a naïve and sexually conflicted young reader such as myself was that McNeill had offered a plausible alternative to traditional teaching. It made me feel justified in deciding to come out of the closet. Were his arguments persuasive? Frankly, I didn't care, and I don't believe most of McNeill's readers do either. They were couched in the language of scholarship, and they sounded plausible. That was all that mattered.

    McNeill, like most of the members of his camp, treated the debate over homosexuality as first and foremost a debate about the proper interpretation of texts, texts such as the Sodom story in the Bible and the relevant articles of the Summa. The implication was that once those were reinterpreted, or rendered irrelevant, the gay rights apologists had prevailed, and the door was open for practicing homosexuals to hold their heads up high in church. And there is a certain sense in which that has proved to be true. To the extent that the debate has focused on interpreting texts, the gay apologists have won for themselves a remarkable degree of legitimacy. But that is because, as anyone familiar with the history of Protestantism should be aware, the interpretation of texts is an interminable process. The efforts of people such as McNeill don't need to be persuasive. They only need to be useful.

    This is how it works. McNeill reinterprets the story of Sodom, claiming that it does not condemn homosexuality, but gang rape. Orthodox theologians respond, in a commendable but naïve attempt to rebut him, naïve because these theologians presume that McNeill believes his own arguments, and is writing as a scholar, not as a propagandist. McNeill ignores the arguments of his critics, dismissing their objections as based on homophobia, and repeats his original position. The orthodox respond again as if they were really dealing with a theologian. And back and forth for a few more rounds. Until finally McNeill or someone like him stands up and announces, "You know, this is getting us nowhere. We have our exegesis and our theology. You have yours. Why can't we just agree to disagree?" That sounds so reasonable, so ecumenical. And if the orthodox buy into it, they have lost, because the gay rights apologists have earned a place at the table from which they will never be dislodged. Getting at the truth about Sodom and Gomorrah, or correctly parsing the sexual ethics of St. Thomas, was never really the issue. Winning admittance to Holy Communion was the issue.

    Even as a naïve young man, one aspect of The Church and the Homosexual struck me as odd. Given that McNeill was suggesting a radical revision of the traditional Catholic sexual ethic, there was almost nothing in it about sexual ethics. The Catholic sexual ethic is quite specific about the ends of human sexuality, and about the forms of behavior that are consistent with those ends. McNeill's criticism of the traditional ethic occupied most of his book, but he left the reader with only the vaguest idea about what he proposed to put in its place. For that matter, there was almost nothing in it about the real lives of real homosexuals. Homosexuality was treated throughout the book as a kind of intellectual abstraction. But I was desperate to get some idea of what was waiting for me on the other side of the closet door. And with no one but Fr. McNeill for a guide, I was reduced to reading between the lines. There was a single passage that I interpreted as a clue. It was almost an aside, really. At one point, he commented that monogamous same-sex unions were consistent with the Church's teaching, or at least consistent with the spirit of the renewed and renovated post-Vatican II Church. With nothing else to go on, I interpreted this in a prescriptive sense. I interpreted McNeill to be arguing that homogenital acts were only moral when performed in the context of a monogamous relationship. And furthermore, I leapt to what seemed like the reasonable conclusion that the author was aware of such relationships, and that I had a reasonable expectation of finding such a relationship myself. Otherwise, for whose benefit was he writing? I was not so naïve (although I was pretty naïve) as not to be aware of the existence of promiscuous homosexual men. But McNeill's aside, which, I repeat, contained virtually his only stab at offering a gay sexual ethic, led me to believe that in addition to the promiscuous, there existed a contingent of gay men who were committed to living in monogamy. Otherwise, Fr. McNeill was implicitly defending promiscuity. And the very idea of a priest defending promiscuity was inconceivable to me. (Yes, that naïve.)

    Several years ago, McNeill published an autobiography. In it, he makes no bones about his experiences as a sexually active Catholic priest -- a promiscuous, sexually active, homosexual Catholic priest. He writes in an almost nostalgic fashion about his time spent hunting for sex in bars. Although he eventually did find a stable partner (while he was still a priest), he never apologizes for his years of promiscuity, or even so much as alludes to the disparity between his own life and the passage in The Church and the Homosexual that meant so much to me. It is possible that he doesn't even remember suggesting that homosexuals were supposed to remain celibate until finding monogamous relationships. It is obvious that he never meant that passage to be taken seriously, except by those who would never do more than look in the window -- in others words, gullible, well-meaning, non-homosexual Catholics, preferably those in positions of authority. Or, equally naïve and gullible young men such as me who werelooking for a reason to act on their sexual desires, preferably one that did not do too much violence to their consciences, at least not at first. The latter, the writer presumed, would eventually find their way back to the porn section, where their complicity in the scam would render them indistinguishable from the rest of the regular customers. Clearly, there was a reason that in the earlier book he wrote so little about the real lives of real homosexuals, such as himself.

    I don't see how the contradiction between The Church and the Homosexual and the autobiography could be accidental. Why would McNeill pretend to believe that homosexuals should restrict themselves to sex within the context of monogamous relationships when his life demonstrates that he did not? I can think of only one reason. Because he knew that if he told the truth, his cause would be dead in the water. Although to this day McNeill, like all gay Christian propagandists, avoids the subject of sexual ethics as if it were some sort of plague, his life makes his real beliefs clear. He believes in unrestricted sexual freedom. He believes that men and women should have the right to couple, with whomever they want, whenever they want, however they want, and as often as they want. He would probably add some sort of meaningless bromide about no one getting hurt and both parties being treated with respect, but anyone familiar with the snake pit of modern sexual culture (both heterosexual and homosexual) willknow how seriously to take that. And he knew perfectly well that if he were honest about his real aims, there would be no Dignity, there would be no gay Christian movement, at least not one with a snowball's chance in Hell of succeeding. That would be like getting rid of the books and letting the casual window-shoppers see the porn. And we can't have that now, can we? In other words, the ex-Fr. McNeill is a bad priest and a con man. And given the often lethal consequences of engaging in homosexual sex, a con man with blood on his hands.

    Let me be clear. I believe that McNeill's real beliefs, as deduced from his actual behavior, and distinguished from the arguments he puts forward for the benefit of the naïve and gullible, represent the real aims and objectives of the homosexual rights movement. They are the porn that the books are meant to conceal. In other words, if you support what is now described in euphemistic terms as "the blessing of same-sex unions," in practice you are supporting the abolition of the entire Christian sexual ethic, and its substitution with an unrestricted, laissez faire, free sexual market. The reason that the homosexual rights movement has managed to pick up such a large contingent of heterosexual fellow-travelers is simple: Because once that taboo is abrogated, no taboos are left. I once heard a heterosexual Episcopalian put it this way: If I don't want the church poking its nose into my bedroom, how can I condone it when it limits the sexual freedom of homosexuals? That might sound outrageous, but if you still believe that the debate is over the religious status of monogamous same-sex relationships, please be prepared to point out one church somewhere in the U.S. that has opened its doors to active homosexuals without also opening them to every other form of sexual coupling imaginable. I am too old to be taken in by "Father" McNeill and his abstractions anymore. Show me.

    A few years ago, I subscribed to the Dignity Yahoo group on the Internet. There were at that time several hundred subscribers. At one point, a confused and troubled young man posted a question to the group: Did any of the subscribers attach any value to monogamy? I immediately wrote back that I did. A couple of days later the young man wrote back to me. He had received dozens of responses, some of them quite hostile and demeaning, and all but one -- mine -- telling him to go out and get laid because that was what being gay was all about. (This was a gay "Catholic" group.) He did not know what to make of it because none of the propaganda to which he was exposed before coming out prepared him for what was really on the other side of the closet door. I had no idea what to tell him, because at the time I was still caught up in the lie myself. Now, the solution seems obvious. What I should have written back to him was, "You have been lied to. Ask God for forgiveness and get back to Kansas as fast as you can. Auntie Em is waiting."

    In light of all the legitimate concern about Internet pornography, it might seem ironic to assert that the Internet helped rescue me from homosexuality. For twenty years, I thought there was something wrong with me. Dozens of well-meaning people assured me that there was a whole, different world of homosexual men out there, a world that for some reason I could never find, a world of God-fearing, straight-acting, monogamy-believing, and fidelity-practicing homosexuals. They assured me that they themselves knew personally (for a fact and for real) that such men existed. They themselves knew such men (or at least had heard tell of them from those who did). And I believed it, although as the years passed it got harder and harder. Then I got a personal computer and a subscription to AOL. "O.K.," I reasoned, "morally conservative homosexuals are obviously shy and skittish and fearful of sudden movements. They don't like bars and bathhouses. Neither do I. They don't attend Dignity meetings or Metropolitan Community Church services because the gay 'churches' are really bathhouses masquerading as houses of worship. But there is no reason a morally conservative homosexual cannot subscribe to AOL and submit a profile. If I can do it, anyone can do it." So I did it. I wrote a profile describing myself as a conservative Catholic (comme ci, comme ça) who loved classical music and theater and good books and scintillating conversation about all of the above. I said I wanted very much to meet other like-minded homosexuals for the purposes of friendship and romance. I tried to be as clear as I knew how. I was not interested in one night stands. And within minutes of placing the profile, I got my first response. It consisted of three words: "How many inches?" My experience of looking for love on AOL went downhill rapidly from there.

    When I first came out in the 1980s, it was common for gay rights apologists to blame the promiscuity among gay men on "internalized homophobia." Gay men, like African Americans, internalized and acted out the lies about themselves learned from mainstream American culture. Furthermore, homosexuals were forced to look for love in dimly lit bars, bathhouses, and public parks for fear of harassment at the hands of a homophobic mainstream. The solution to this problem, we were told, was permitting homosexuals to come out into the open, without fear of retribution. A variant of this argument is still put forward by activists such as Andrew Sullivan, in order to legitimate same-sex marriage. And it seemed reasonable enough twenty years ago. But thirty-five years have passed since the infamous Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York, the Lexington and Concord of the gay liberation movement. During that time, homosexuals have carved out for themselves public spaces in every major American city, and many of the minor ones as well. They have had the chance to create whatever they wanted in those spaces, and what have they created? New spaces for locating sexual partners.

    There is another reason, apart from the propaganda value, that bookstores like Lobo's peddle porn as well as poetry. Because without the porn, they would soon go out of business. And, in fact, most gay bookstores have gone out of business, despite the porn. Following an initial burst of enthusiasm in the 1970s and 80s, gay publishing went into steep decline, and shows no signs of coming out of it. Once the novelty wore off, gay men soon bored of reading about men having sex with one another, preferring to devote their time and disposable income to pursuing the real thing. Gay and lesbian community centers struggle to keep their doors open. Gay churches survive as places where worshippers can go to sleep it off and cleanse their soiled consciences after a Saturday night spent cruising for sex at the bars. And there is no danger of ever hearing a word from the pulpit suggesting that bar-hopping is inconsistent with believing in the Bible. When I lived in the United Kingdom, I was struck by the extent to which gay culture in London replicated gay culture in the U.S. The same was true in Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin. Homosexuality is one of America's most successful cultural exports. And the focus on gay social spaces in Europe is identical to their focus in America: sex. Cyberspace is now the latest conquest of that amazing modern Magellan: the male homosexual in pursuit of new sexual conquests.

    But at this point, how is it possible to blame the promiscuity among homosexual men on homophobia, internalized or otherwise? On the basis of evidence no stronger than wishful thinking, Andrew Sullivan wants us to believe that legalizing same-sex "marriage" will domesticate gay men, that all that energy now devoted to building bars and bathhouses will be dedicated to erecting picket fences and two-car garages. What Sullivan refuses to face is that male homosexuals are not promiscuous because of "internalized homophobia," or laws banning same-sex "marriage." Homosexuals are promiscuous because when given the choice, homosexuals overwhelmingly choose to be promiscuous. And wrecking the fundamental social building block of our civilization, the family, is not going to change that.

    I once read a disarmingly honest essay in which Sullivan as much as admitted his real reason for promoting the cause of same-sex "marriage." He faced up to the sometimes sordid nature of his sexual life, which is more than most gay activists are prepared to do, and he regretted it. He wished he had led a different sort of life, and he apparently believes that if marriage were a legal option, he might have been able to do so. I have a lot more respect for Andrew Sullivan than I do for most gay activists. I believe that he would seriously like to reconcile his sexual desires with the demands of his conscience. But with all due respect, are the rest of us prepared to sacrifice the institution of the family in the unsubstantiated hope that doing so will make it easier for Sullivan to keep his trousers zipped?

    But isn't it theoretically possible that homosexuals could restrict themselves to something resembling the traditional Catholic sexual ethic, except for the part about procreation -- in other words, monogamous lifelong relationships? Of course it is theoretically possible. It was also theoretically possible in 1968 that the use of contraceptives could be restricted to married couples, that the revolting downward slide into moral anarchy we have lived through could have been avoided. It is theoretically possible, but it is practically impossible. It is impossible because the whole notion of stable sexual orientation on which the gay rights movement is founded has no basis in fact.

    René Girard, the French literary critic and sociologist of religion, argues that all human civilization is founded on desire. All civilizations have surrounded the objects of desire (including sexual desire) with an elaborate and unbreachable wall of taboos and restrictions. Until now. What we are seeing in the modern West is not the long overdue legitimization of hitherto despised but honorable forms of human love. What we are witnessing is the reduction of civilization to its lowest common denominator: unbridled and unrestricted desire. To assert that we have opened a Pandora's Box would be a stunning understatement. Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen, it looks to be a bumpy millennium.

    When I was growing up, we were all presumed to be heterosexual. Then homosexuality was introduced as an alternative. That did not at first seem like a major revision because, apart from procreation, homosexuality, at least in theory, left the rest of the traditional sexual ethic in tact. Two people of the same gender could (in theory) fall in love and live a life of monogamous commitment. Then bisexuality was introduced, and the real implications of the sexual revolution became clear. Monogamy was out the window. Moral norms were out the window. Do-it-yourself sexuality became the norm. Anyone who wants to know what that looks like can do no better than go online. The Internet offers front row seats to the circus of a disintegrating civilization.

    Take Yahoo, for example. Yahoo makes it possible for people sharing a common interest to create groups for the purpose of making contacts and sharing information. If that conjures up images of genealogists and stamp collectors, think again. There are now thousands of Yahoo groups catering to every kind of sexual perversion imaginable. Many of them would defy the imagination of the Marquis de Sade himself. People who until a few years ago could do nothing but fantasize now entertain serious hopes of acting out their fantasies. I met a man online whose fondest wish was to be spanked with a leather wallet. It had to be leather. And it had to be a wallet. And he needed to be spanked with it. Old-fashioned genital friction was optional. This man wanted a Gucci label tattooed across his backside. He could imagine no loftier pinnacle of passion. And he insisted that this desire was as fundamental to his sexual nature as the desire to go to bed with a man was for me. Furthermore, he had formed a Yahoo group that had more than three hundred members, all of whom shared the same passion. There is no object in the universe, no human or animal body part, that cannot be eroticized. So, is the desire to be spanked with a leather wallet a "sexual orientation"? If not, how is it different?

    There was a time when I would have snorted, "Of course it is different. You can't share a life with a leather wallet. You can't love a leather wallet. What you are talking about is a fetish, not a sexual orientation. The two are completely different." But the truth is that all the gay men I encountered had a fetish for naked male skin, with all the objectification and depersonalization that implies, that I now consider the distinction sophistical. Leather is skin too, after all. The only real difference between the fellow on the Internet and the average gay man is that he preferred his skin Italian, bovine, and tanned.

    Over the years, I have attended various gay and gay-friendly church services. All of them shared one characteristic in common: a tacit agreement never to say a word from the pulpit -- or from any other location for that matter -- suggesting that there ought to be any restrictions on human sexual behavior. If anyone reading this is familiar with Dignity or Integrity or the Metropolitan Community churches or, for that matter, mainline Protestantism and most of post-Vatican II Catholicism, let me ask you one question: When was the last time you heard a sermon on sexual ethics? Have you ever heard a sermon on sexual ethics? I take it for granted that the answer is negative. Do our priests and pastors honestly believe that Christians in America are not in need of sermons on sexual ethics?


    Here is the terrifying fact: If we as a nation and as a Church allow ourselves to be taken in by the scam of monogamous same-sex couples, we will be welcoming to our Communion rails (presuming that we still have Communion rails) not just the statistically insignificant number of same-sex couples who have lived together for more than a few years (most of whom purchased stability by jettisoning monogamy); we will also be legitimizing every kind of sexual taste, from old-fashioned masturbation and adultery to the most outlandish forms of sexual fetishism. We will, in other words, be giving our blessing to the suicide of Western civilization.

    But what about all those images of loving same-sex couples dying to get hitched with which the media are awash these days? That used to confuse me too. It seems that The New York Times has no trouble finding successful same-sex partners to photograph and interview. But despite my best efforts, I was never able to meet the sorts of couples who show up regularly on Oprah. The media are biased and have no interest in telling the truth about homosexuality.

    I met Wyatt (not his real name) online. For five years he was in a disastrous same-sex relationship. His partner was unfaithful, and an alcoholic with drug problems. The relationship was something that would give Strindberg nightmares. When Vermont legalized same-sex "marriage," Wyatt saw it as one last chance to make their relationship work. He and his partner would fly to Vermont to get "married." This came to the attention of the local newspaper in his area, which did a story with photos of the wedding reception. In it, Wyatt and his partner were depicted as a loving couple who finally had a chance to celebrate their commitment publicly. Nothing was said about the drugs or the alcoholism or the infidelity. But the marriage was a failure and ended in flames a few months later. And the newspaper did not do a follow-up. In other words, the leading daily of one of America's largest cities printed a misleading story about a bad relationship, a story that probably persuaded more than one young man that someday he could be just as happy as Wyatt and his "partner." And that is the sad part.

    But one very seldom reads about people like my friend Harry. Harry (not his real name) was a balding, middle-aged man with a potbelly. He was married, and had a couple of grown daughters. And he was unhappy. Harry persuaded himself that he was unhappy because he was gay. He divorced his wife, who is now married to someone else, his daughters are not speaking to him, and he is discovering that pudgy, bald, middle-aged men are not all that popular in gay bars. Somehow, Oprah forgot to mention that. Now Harry is taking anti-depressants in order to keep from killing himself.

    Then there was another acquaintance, who also happened to have the same name as the previous guy. Harry (not his real name) was about 30 (but could easily pass for 20), and from a Mormon background, with all the naïveté that suggests. Unlike the first Harry, he had no difficulty getting dates. Or relationships for that matter. The problem was that the relationships never lasted more than a couple of weeks. Harry was also rapidly developing a serious drinking problem. (So much for the Mormon words of wisdom.) If you happened to be at the bar around two in the morning, you could probably have Harry for the night if you were interested. He was so drunk he wouldn't remember you the next day, and all he really wanted at that point was for someone to hold him.

    Gay culture is a paradox. Most homosexuals tend to be liberal Democrats, or in the U.K., supporters of the Labour Party. They gravitate toward those Parties on the grounds that their policies are more compassionate and sensitive to the needs of the downtrodden and oppressed. But there is nothing compassionate about a gay bar. It represents a laissez faire free sexual market of the most Darwinian sort. There is no place in it for those who are not prepared to compete, and the rules of the game are ruthless and unforgiving. I remember once being in a gay pub in central London. Most of the men there were buff and toned and in their 20s or early 30s. An older gentleman walked in, who looked to be in his 70s. It was as if the Angel of Death himself had made an entrance. In that crowded bar, a space opened up around him that no one wanted to enter. His shadow transmitted contagion. It was obvious that his presence made the other customers nervous. He stood quietly at the bar and ordered a drink. He spoke to no one and no one spoke to him. When he eventually finished his drink and left, the sigh of relief from all those buff, toned pub crawlers was almost audible. Now all of them could go back to pretending that gay men were all young and beautiful forever. Gentle reader, do you know what a "bug chaser" is? A bug chaser is a young gay man who wants to contract HIV so that he will never grow old. And that is the world that Harry left his wife, and the other Harry his Church, to find happiness in.

    I have known a lot of people like the two Harrys. But I have met precious few who bore more than a superficial resemblance to the idealized images we see in Oscar-winning movies such as Philadelphia, or in the magazine section of The New York Times. What I find suspicious is that the media ignore the existence of people like the two Harrys. The unhappiness so common among homosexuals is swept under the carpet, while fanciful and unrealistic "role models" are offered up for public consumption. There is at the very least grounds for a serious debate about the proposition that "gay is good," but no such debate is taking place, because most of the mainstream media have already made up their (and our) minds.

    But it is hard to hide the porn forever. When I was living in London, I had a wonderful friend named Maggie. Maggie (not her real name) was a liberal. Her big heart bled for the oppressed. Like most liberals, she was proud of her open-mindedness and wore it like a badge of honor. Maggie lived in a house as big as her heart and all of her children were grown up and had moved out. She had a couple of rooms to rent. It just so happened that both the young men who became her tenants were gay. Maggie's first reaction was enthusiastic. She had never known many gay people, and thought the experience of renting to two homosexuals would confirm her in her open-mindedness. She believed it would be a learning experience. It was, but not the sort she had in mind. One day Maggie told me her troubles and confessed her doubts. She talked about what it was like to stumble each morning down to the breakfast table, finding two strangers seated there, the two strangers her tenants brought home the night before. It was seldom the same two strangers two mornings running. One of her tenants was in a long-distance relationship but, in the absence of his partner, felt at liberty to seek consolation elsewhere. She talked about what it was like to have to deal on a daily basis with the emotional turmoil of her tenants' tumultuous lives. She told me what it was like to open the door one afternoon and find a policeman standing there, a policeman who was looking for one of her tenants, who was accused of trying to sell drugs to school children. That same tenant was also involved in prostitution. Maggie didn't know what to make of it all. She desperately wanted to remain open-minded, to keep believing that gay men were no worse than anyone else, just different. But she couldn't reconcile her experience with that "tolerant" assumption. The truth was that when the two finally moved out, an event to which she was looking forward with some enthusiasm, and it was time to place a new ad for rooms to let, she wanted to include the following proviso: Fags need not apply. I didn't know what to tell Maggie because I was just as confused as she was. I wanted to hold on to my illusions too, in spite of all the evidence.

    I am convinced that many, if not most, people who are familiar with the lives of homosexuals know the truth, but refuse to face it. My best friend got involved in the gay rights movement as a graduate student. He and a lesbian colleague sometimes counseled young men who were struggling with their sexuality. Once, the two of them met a young man who was seriously overweight and suffered from terrible acne. The young man waxed eloquent about the happiness he expected to find when he came out of the closet. He was going to find a partner, and the two of them would live happily ever after. The whole time my friend was thinking that if someone looking like this fat, pustulent young man ever walked into a bar, he would be folded, spindled, and mutilated before even taking a seat. Afterwards, the lesbian turned to him and said, "You know, sometimes it is better to stay in the closet." My friend told me that for him this represented a decisive moment. This lesbian claimed to love and admire gay men. She never stopped praising their kindness and compassion and creativity. But with that one comment she in effect told my friend that she really knew what gay life was all about. It was about meat, and unless you were a good cut, don't bother coming to the supermarket.

    On another occasion, I was complaining to a lesbian about my disillusionment. She made a remarkable admission to me. She had a teenage son, who so far had not displayed signs of sexual interest in either gender. She knew as a lesbian she should not care which road he took. But she confessed to me that she did care. Based on the lives of the gay men she knew, she found herself secretly praying that her son would turn out to be straight. As a mother, she did not want to see her son living that life.

    A popular definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing, while expecting a different result. That was me, the whole time I was laboring to become a happy homosexual. I was a lunatic. Several times I turned for advice to gay men who seemed better adjusted to their lot in life than I was. First, I wanted confirmation that my perceptions were accurate, that life as a male homosexual really was as awful as it seemed to be. And then I wanted to know what I was supposed to do about it. When was it going to get better? What could I do to make it better? I got two sorts of reactions to these questions, both of which left me feeling hurt and confused. The first sort of reaction was denial, often bitter denial, of what I was suggesting. I was told that there was something wrong with me, that most gay men were having a wonderful time, that I was generalizing on the basis of my own experience (whose experience was I supposed to generalize from?), and that I should shut up and stop bothering others with my "internalized homophobia."

    I began seeing a counselor when I was a graduate student. Matt (not his real name) was a happily married man with college-age children. All he knew about homosexuality he learned from the other members of his profession, who assured him that homosexuality was not a mental illness and that there were no good reasons that homosexuals could not lead happy, productive lives. When I first unloaded my tale of woe, Matt told me I had never really come out of the closet. (I still have no idea what he meant, but suspect it is like the "once saved, always saved" Baptist who responds to the lapsed by telling him that he was never really saved in the first place.) I needed to go back, he told me, try again, and continue to look for the positive experiences he was sure were available for me, on the basis of no other evidence than the rulings of the American Psychiatric Association. He had almost no personal experience of homosexuals, but his peers assured him that the book section at Lobo's offered a true picture of homosexual life. I knew Matt was clueless, but I still wanted to believe he was right.

    Matt and I developed a therapeutic relationship. During the year we spent together, he learned far more from me than I did from him. I tried to take his advice. I was sharing a house that year with another grad student who was in the process of coming out and experiencing his own disillusionment. Because I had been his only gay friend, and had encouraged him to come out, his bitterness came to be directed at me, and our relationship suffered for it. Meanwhile, I developed a close friendship with a member of the faculty who was openly gay. When I first informed Matt, he was ecstatic. He thought I was finally come out properly. The faculty member was just the sort of friend I needed. But the faculty member, as it turned out, despite his immaculate professional facade, was a deeply disturbed man who put all of his friends through emotional hell, which I of course shared with a shocked and silenced Matt. (I tried to date but, as usual, experienced the same pattern that characterized all my homosexual relationships. The friendship lasted as long as the sexual heat. Once that cooled, my partner's interest in me as a person dissipated with it.) It was not a good year. At the end of it, I remember Matt staring at me, with glazed eyes and a shell-shocked look on his face, and admitting, "You know, being gay is a lot harder than I realized."

    Not everyone I spoke to over the years rejected what I had to say out of hand. I once corresponded with an English ex-Dominican. I was ecstatic to learn that he was gay, and was eventually kicked out of his order for refusing to remain in the closet. He included an e-mail address in one of his books, and I wrote him, wanting to know if his experience of life as a homosexual was significantly different from mine. I presumed it must be, since he had written a couple of books, passionately defending the right of homosexuals to a place in the Church. His response to me was one of the last nails in the coffin of my life as a gay man. To my astonishment, he admitted that his experiences were not unlike mine. All he could suggest was that I keep trying, and eventually everything would work out. In other words, this brilliant man, whose books had meant so much to me, had nothing to suggest except that I keep doing the same thing, while expecting a different result. There was only one reasonable conclusion. I would be nuts if I took his advice. It took me twenty years, but I finally reached the conclusion that I did not want to be insane.

    So where am I now? I am attending a militantly orthodox parish in Houston that is one of God's most spectacular gifts to me. My best friend Mark (not his real name) is, like me, a refugee from the homosexual insane asylum. He is also a devout believer, though a Presbyterian (no one is perfect). From Mark I have learned that two men can love each other profoundly while remaining clothed the entire time.

    We are told that the Church opposes same-sex love. Not true. The Church opposes homogenital sex, which in my experience is not about love, but about obsession, addiction, and compensation for a compromised masculinity.

    I am not proud of the life I have lived. In fact, I am profoundly ashamed of it. But if reading this prevents one naïve, gullible man from making the same mistakes, then perhaps with the assistance of Our Lady of Guadalupe; of St. Joseph, her chaste spouse; of my patron saint, Edmund Campion; of St. Josemaría Escrivá; of the blessed Carmelite martyrs of Compiégne; and, last but not least, of my special supernatural guide and mentor, the Venerable John Henry Newman, I can at least hope for a reprieve from some of the many centuries in Purgatory I have coming to me.

    So, what do we as a Church and a culture need to do? Tear down the respectable façade and expose the pornography beneath. Start pressuring homosexuals to tell the truth about their lives. Stop debating the correct interpretation of Genesis 19. Leave the men of Sodom and Gomorrah buried in the brimstone where they belong. Sodom is hidden in plain view from us, here and now, today. Once, when preparing a lecture on Cardinal Newman, I summarized his classic Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine in this fashion: Truth ripens, error rots. The homosexual rights movement is rotten to the core. It has no future. There is no life in it. Sooner or later, those who are caught up in it are going to wake up from the dream of unbridled desire or else die. It is just a matter of time. The question is: how long? How many children are going to be sacrificed to this Moloch?

    Until several months ago, there was a Lobo's in Houston too. Not accidentally, I'm sure, its layout was identical to the one in Austin. It was just a few blocks from the gas station where I take my car for service. Recently, I was taking a walk through the neighborhood while my tires were being rotated. And I noticed something. There was a padlock on the door at Lobo's. A sign on the door read, "The previous tenant was evicted for nonpayment of rent." The books and the porn, the façade and what it conceals, are gone now. Praise God.
    -- DF

    ReplyDelete
  33. DF - All I can say is the old adage if you treat people like animals, don't be surprised if they act like animals.

    The church abandoned its gay children a long time ago, so don't be surprised when they act like abandoned children. The problem isn't that the fruit (homosexuality) is rotten, but that as with all fruit if it is not tended, nurtured, guided and pruned (as heterosexuals are) it grows wild and withers on the vine.

    We are called to be a community, we need that community to find ourselves and God. It is a sad testimony indeed to abandon people, and then claim that that their behavior in response to being abandoned then justifies abandoning them.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hey, Doc, I feel better now, but it's kind of hard not to take it personally when you specifically refer to "his" (meaning mine, personally) "self-righteousness" and "his" (meaning mine, personally) "sick and perverted lifestyle." But fear not, I learned to be a duck a long time ago (you know, water rolling off the back and all.) And, I do admit, I can be a bit overly testy in this forum as well. I agree with you about the medium. I much prefer face to face contact; it's much easier to understand inflection, body language, etc. Congrats on the growth!

    I do understand what you are saying about separating the behavior from the person, and you are correct in how I am hearing it because who God has called me to be as clergy is who God has called me to be as a person. Homosexuals would balk at the reference to their "lifestyle." They point out that their lifestyle is the same as anyone else's: work, play, dinner, paying bills, vacations, going to church, (and a little kissy-poo here and there, but no more or less than anyone else), on and on. What you are referring to is the danger that typifies any promiscuous behavior, homo- or heterosexual, all of which is condemned in scripture and to which they agree. What they are referring to is the kind of life-affirming, God-honoring, relationships that nowhere are condemned within the proper *contexts* of scripture.

    Of course, one study might present some intriging (sp?) info, but again, taken out of the context of the whole body of sound scientific research in this area, and out of the context of the kind of monogomous relationships we are talking about, focusing only on a study that supports one particular view presents a rather myopic perspective, I think. There are far many more sound studies that challenge what is presented in Spitzer's study. The test of reliability in science, of course, is repeatability; no way to verify that at this point.

    Regardless, I am committed to keeping the doors to my church and to the sacraments open to ALL who come to the Lord's Table, in all their sinfulness, in all their worts, in all their triumphs and joys, because they are we. God's blessings back at you, brother.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Buttsex Troll, you posted that very same long, tedious copy 'n paste job not long ago.

    You might remember that, because it was your all-consuming obsession with men's rectums that caused Mark to have to start moderating comments. Now that moderation is off, you are back, trying to wreck the blog again.

    No one here is interested in what you have to say, no matter how many times you say it, because, frankly, you come across as a nut. There is something really, really creepy about a person who charges into every thread, no matter what the topic, and rants endlessly about people's asses.

    In all honesty, I don't think I have ever known a homosexual who thinks about anal sex as much as you do. It's really weird, and you need to find some other way to occupy yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  36. That same silly nonsense about the bookstore has been spammed into other blogs repeatedly. It is a combinantion of lies and statistices.

    FWIW
    jimB

    ReplyDelete
  37. it's all about waking up to what best for people, both emotionally and physically. Is it time you just wake up and grow up?

    ReplyDelete
  38. DF, and I could tell you selfrighteously about the disgusto sexual escapades (with and without porno) of heterosexuals that have surrounded my homosexual life in mainstream anywhere...sexual obsessions ARE what it's all about and it doesn't matter who the abusers/perps are...surely, you pay attention to what the guys are talking about that rotate your tires in Houston or are you just a selectively tainted muckraker that can't see beyond your very own dirty minded/spirited investigations?

    ReplyDelete
  39. Before I became a Christian, I understood perfectly well that there was one Biblical standard for human sexuality: that of lifelong, faithful, heterosexual monogamy. No exceptions!

    Um, unless you count folks like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Face it, even in the Bible, the notion of human sexuality changed.

    BillyD

    ReplyDelete
  40. THE DEEPER SPRINGS OF JUSTICE

    A Transcript from the Court of Public Opinion



    JUDGE. I would say to the members of the jury that this is a proceeding that has no legal standing. It does not purport to have any implication that anyone be put on trial in a public court for the commission of crimes. This is the court of public opinion. The charge is that a bishop counseled a young man in a way that led to his eventually becoming harmed by homosexual behavior and that the bishop should therefore be held accountable. The charge is one of involuntary manslaughter. The evidence to be considered is only whether the actions of the bishop, based on his views, are harmful. No other consideration should enter into your evaluation of this matter. The prosecution will now call witnesses.

    The prosecution calls Mr. Harris.


    Q. Mr. Harris, tell us a little about yourself.

    A. Fine. My real name isn’t Harris, but I’m reluctant to participate in this using my real name. I’m a director of public health in a municipality in the Midwest, although I’m unwilling to say just where.

    Q. And why are you unwilling?

    A. It’s difficult to speak out publicly about the kinds of things we are here to discuss. It’s classified as hate speech.

    Q. Are you motivated by hate?

    A. I am not.

    Q. We understand that it’s your view that those who are inclined toward homosexuality will shorten their lives if they act on those inclinations. Is that right?

    A. That’s my view. In the general population, the number of people over the age of 65 is about one in six or seven. Among homosexuals, it’s difficult to say with complete accuracy but it’s about one in a hundred.

    Q. Are you motivated in saying this by a desire to denigrate homosexuals to deny them their rights?

    A. I am not, at least if by rights you mean the usual things that pertain to privacy, freedom of assembly, and the like. If by rights you really mean some form of support, such as marital benefits, then I’m not in favor. Those are more than rights. Those are privileges and, by granting them, we are encouraging a way of life that results in early death.

    Q. Do homosexuals dispute what you say?

    A. Most of the ones I’ve encountered do not dispute the realities of early death. But some do and they demand definitive studies. Let me tell you the things that have led me to this conclusion. None of them in itself is absolute proof, but taken together they add up to proof at the level of beyond a reasonable doubt. Before the aids crisis, there were studies among homosexuals coming to clinics in San Francisco showing that only a fraction of one percent were over the age of 65. The aids crisis made the percentage even lower.

    Q. Why would someone dispute that kind of result?

    A. They would dispute something about the methodology or say that people weren’t identifying themselves as homosexuals. But let’s say there were really twice as many as recorded, or ten times as many, it still wouldn’t approach the level of the general population.

    You have to start having common sense about these things and not just think in terms of PhD –type studies in peer-reviewed journals and all that. People have to look around them and see how few there are over the age of 65 that have lived that way of life. It’s the most monumental exercise in denial in human history.

    Q. But you will admit there are some bad studies along these lines.

    A. Yes, bad from the standpoint of academic rigor. There’s one in particular, conducted by a man name Cameron, that comes in for condemnation whenever this subject comes up. He went through the obituaries in some gay publications and noted that one after another said the deceased was age 39 or 42 or 43 years old, compared with general newspapers which obviously show ages that are much older. But just the same, if you went though hundreds of obits like that, and you had common sense, you’d start to think, well, there’s a message here.

    Q. Are you saying they should be pronounced a public health hazard?

    A. Absolutely not. People would start saying that I sound like Hitler if I started talking like that, and they might be right. They are no harm to anyone but themselves. But to use a phrase that has become common in the gay rights movement, silence equals death. The silence about smoking equals death. Now the silence about homosexual behavior equals death. There is no such thing as safe sex among homosexuals. Safer sex, but not safe sex. It’s unhealthy by its very nature.

    Q. Why?

    A. Normal sexual intercourse involves penetration of the vagina, which as been made to withstand that kind of pressure. No other part of the body is made to tolerate invasive sexual activity. Over time, other parts of the body will break down, causing semen and waste to enter the blood stream. This causes infections and weakening of the immune system. At that point the possibilities for life shortening conditions begin to multiply.

    Q. But people can use condoms, right? And they can avoid intercourse with people who haven’t been infected with things like aids.

    A. A condom has no effect on the consequences I’ve just described. As for avoiding aids, that is indeed possible. What you can’t easily avoid are all the other things that are a result of using the body in the wrong way.

    Q. But don’t you know of gays who are into old age? There must be ways of avoiding all of this. Committed relationships, for instance.

    A. There are definitely exceptions to what I’ve said. There are also smokers who last into old age also. I know one who is over 100 years old. I’m just talking about averages, and averages are important. As for committed relationships, well, you can avoid aids that way, but not the other things. As I say, the whole phenomenon is an exercise in denial, denial of common sense and common observation.

    Q. Do you have homosexual friends?

    A. I have acquaintances and a few business associates who are practicing homosexuals. As for friends, I can think of one who has died, of aids actually. I can think of another who is not living that way of life any more.

    Q. Do you think they can change into heterosexuals?

    JUDGE: We have agreed that this is not a subject that will be taken up at this trial. We are trying to determine what kind of attitude toward homosexuals is beneficial to them, an attitude that legitimizes that behavior or one that does not. We are therefore not concerned with whether one is inclined that way or not, only the question of whether the behavior should be approved or seen as normal.

    Q. Well, Mr. Harris, do you think it’s a controllable behavior?

    A. Yes, it certainly is. I’m not experienced in this area, but I refuse to believe that anyone is a mere victim to kinds of behavior that he doesn’t want to practice. I’m sure it’s difficult, just as it was difficult for me to give up smoking, but it can be done, especially if others can help.

    Q. And so we don’t have to get into the matter of whether the behavior can be changed, only whether self-control can be exercised.

    A. Well, sure. If the object is to avoid things that will shorten our lives, and we should all want that, then we don’t have to go farther than that. We can talk endlessly about whether it’s innate or genetic, but that’s beside the point. It all comes down to two questions. Is it life-shortening? And: Can it be controlled? The answers are yes and yes.

    PROSECUTION. Your witness.

    Q. And so what you’re saying is gays are disease-ridden people. Do you really think that kind of a bigoted smear can just keep going without challenge?

    A. If by bigotry you are implying that I haven’t given this any rational consideration and that I harbor feelings of hatred toward some group of people out there, that doesn’t apply to me or to anything I’ve been saying. Although it doesn’t really make any difference what my feelings are toward gays or anyone else.

    Q. It makes no difference? Explain that.

    A. That’s right. There really are some people who go around saying they hate homosexuals or God hates them or whatever. I’ve read statements from others saying that they have a special liking for them. What real difference does all that make with respect to the objective realities? The facts of life and death are the same regardless of what my feelings are or your feelings.

    Q. All that is subjective, in other words.

    A. Right. Let’s talk about what’s objectively real.

    Q. And so you don’t think it’s a slur to call people disease-ridden?

    A. I believe strongly that we should make an important distinction, that is, between a person and a person’s behavior. I believe in the sacredness of human personality, and I want to speak in a way that’s respectful of that.

    Q. But if a person is the way he is, as part of his essential make-up, and you are saying that it’s essentially immoral or abnormal or unhealthy to be that way, even if it’s genetic, then how can you claim to affirm the so-called sacredness of human personality?

    JUDGE He didn’t speak in terms of what is moral or immoral.

    Q. All right, Your Honor. Strike that, but he has clearly implied that the people in and of themselves are abnormal and unhealthy.

    A. I don’t know whether it’s genetic or part of the innate make up of the person. I don’t know, but I don’t care. It’s irrelevant to the question of consequences. I have a relative with Down’s Syndrome. That’s a genetic condition, and it’s innate and unchangeable, and I can affirm her as a person, but I’m sure not going to confirm that aspect of her as something normal and healthy. If you’re going to do that to homosexuality, then you might as well state that white is black and black is white. By the way, that’s the only connection I’m making between Down’s Syndrome and homosexuality – that if there’s any genetic component, it makes no difference in terms of their being normal.

    Q. And so bigotry and hatred of homosexuals is just fine, so far as you’re concerned.

    PROSECUTION. Objection, Your Honor.

    A. Your honor, if the court please, I’d like to just clarify myself on the matter, because it just seems to come up over and over again, both here and among the acquaintances I have with whom I have this disagreement. I’m not claiming I love homosexuals. If they’re flamboyant, I’m uncomfortable with them. I’ve just known a few of them well, and those few I’ve actually liked as people. We all have to take a live-and-let-live attitude about them, because this is a free country. But I’m for free and open acknowledgement of the fact that this is unnatural and disease-producing. In fact, that’s how I define unnatural – disease producing. To the extent we affirm or support it we will be guilty of helping them kill one another. To the extent we affirm or support it, I might add, we will also be paying the price in terms of more expensive health insurance.

    A. But I thought you said you were only interested in this as a matter of the health of those involved and not the general health of the population. But now you’re talking about health insurance. This was Hitler’s approach, wasn’t it, to talk about homosexuals and a threat to the general health of the population?

    PROSECUTION. Your Honor, I object to this comparison to Hitler.

    JUDGE Sustained.

    Q. Okay, but you are talking about the public health now. You’ve contradicted yourself.

    A. Well, I am talking about public finance, you might say. People are going around thinking it doesn’t affect them if the laws and other public systems or organizational health plans give marital benefits to gays. I say wake up, because we all pay into systems like that, and it’s now at the point where a high percentage of middle-class people can’t afford health insurance for themselves or their children. I’m not blaming that whole problem of the gays, but if you support something disease-producing, that’s part of the penalty.

    Q. Next you’ll be blaming them for hurricanes. No further questions.

    JUDGE The last comment will be stricken from the record. Mr. S, do you have further witnesses?

    Q. I do, Your Honor. The prosecution calls Mr. R.

    Q. Mr. R. You are a professor in the social science department of a major university in the Midwest, is that right?

    A. I am.

    Q. And what is your field of research.

    A. My emphasis is on social psychology, with a particular interest in the historical aspects of that field.

    Q. Are you willing to tell us which university?

    A. I am not, because it’s gotten to the point where this subject is taboo unless you have just the correct viewpoints.

    Q. And would you be able to state briefly what your viewpoint is in the matter under discussion.

    A. Yes. My viewpoint is that society is dealing with a grand illusion of the kind that has never been seen to such a wide scale in modern time, with one exception.

    Q. And what would the exception be?

    A. The exception would be in societies where information is controlled. For instance, in Hitler’s Germany, the illusion was propagated about the inferiority of certain races to the point where most people accepted that. In communist Russia, people had certain illusions about economics, about the intentions of the United States, about the conditions in the West, and so on, because people relied on the official word about everything. But my interest is in illusions in a free society.

    Q. And what is the nature of this illusion?

    A. It’s the idea that you can use parts of the human body for things other than the intended purpose without adverse consequences.

    Q. And how does that relate to other illusions in the past?

    A. Only in the sense that people are willing to be persuaded if it’s in accord with their desires. For instance, in the 18th century there were tremendous financial schemes, such as something called the South Sea Bubble, in which large numbers of people invested in something that was a complete illusion. The various forms of propaganda of totalitarian regimes operate on the mass mentality in similar ways.

    Q. You can see how these things would affect those who want to have sex, or are looking for love, but how could this phenomenon affect other people?

    A. The average person wants to avoid looking narrow-minded and mean, and so if the alternative to giving support to gays is exposure to that accusation, then we tend to avoid it. That’s the very reason why I won’t reveal my name in this proceeding, for instance. Secondly, if something looks like it’s based on the Bible, without any grounding in secular ethics, then people don’t want to interfere with freedom of religion. Thirdly, many people just don’t want one more argument in their lives and so are in favor of giving people want they want to avoid trouble.

    Q. And so do you see this as the result of the evil intentions of the gays?

    A. Not necessarily. Some of them might be evil, just as there are evil people in every category, but it’s not my intention to demonize them or any other group. I’m more interested actually in the nongay sector, you might call it, that is, the 98 percent of people who don’t fall into that category. Oh, and I forgot another point about the previous question, I mean about why people go along with this.

    Q. Go ahead. What that?

    A. Okay, I think I made three points about that, and so here’s a fourth one. Many people want to pursue their own personal agenda, including in the sexual area, and they don’t want to appear to be hypocrites.

    Q. Explain what you mean there.

    A. Well, I know someone at the university who is apparently having an affair with one of the students. This is a male professor, and he’s married. Now, I’ve known him for quite some time, and I know that his views on the gay issues have changed drastically over a period of a few months. This is about the length of time that he’s been having this affair.

    Q. And this is a heterosexual affair, is that right.

    A. That’s right, but my impression is that he would rather compromise himself by having the affair than be a hypocrite and criticize gays or others who are doing things that are questionable. This is a principle that can be applied to the wider society. The concept of stigma has disappeared, except about people who make moral judgments. They are stigmatized. Each person now has his own concept of truth, and you’re supposed to regard the truth of someone else as equal and legitimate, even if it’s totally contradictory to your own. We are trending toward a nonjudgmental society, period. Homosexuality simply gets placed into that intellectual framework and it silences all opposition.

    Q. Do you mean that this is a deliberate tactic, that is, to silence opposition?

    A. It’s always difficult, and sometime treacherous, to assess motives. At the same time, you have to have empathy in order to see things from the other person’s viewpoint. If I were a gay activist, I would notice that people are generally reluctant to appear mean-spirited, and this would be the best weapon in my arsenal. I would appear to be the well-intentioned victim of mean-spirited people. That works very well in this particular mode of propagandA. The word “hate” is used at every opportunity. That’s why the identity of the people in this proceeding must remain anonymous.

    Q. What motivates you to appear at this trial? Are you a religious fundamentalist?

    A. No. I grew up in the Episcopal Church, but I’m a lapsed Episcopalian. I’m not a fundamentalist, although I do believe in God, a God who loves humanity and doesn’t want to see people harm themselves or others. That’s about as far as my religion goes. As for motivation, I tend toward the academic view that things should be debated openly. The gays are harming themselves and their partners for lack of open debate. The truth isn’t coming out. Illusion is king.

    Q. You think people would change their behavior based on what you’re saying is the truth?

    A. The evidence of societies throughout history makes it clear that many people adjust their behavior based on social pressure. Men who are inclined toward adultery, for example, may always have those desires in a society where that is stigmatized, but only a small minority will act on them.

    DEFENSE. Your witness.

    Q. How would you describe your political leanings? Are they as right-wing in all respects as they are in this one?

    A. I’m conservative on this matter but liberal in certain other respects, such as foreign policy, compared with the present administration. I’m not doctrinaire on politics. Actually I question whether my views on this matter are conservative, strictly speaking.

    Q. Oh, please, don’t tell me you’re a liberal about this.

    PROSECUTION. Objection. Counsel is being argumentative.

    JUDGE. Sustained.

    Q. I’ll rephrase that. Are you saying you’re a liberal on this matter?

    A. What I’m saying is that I’m not motivated by the idea of maintaining some status quo for its own sake. I think homosexuals have to get to the point where they really are respected as people. It’s appalling that they would be ridiculed and denigrated for something that they didn’t choose for themselves. I’d say it’s in the best tradition of liberalism to favor what’s the best for the people who have been oppressed. But that doesn’t mean validating a behavior that’s harmful to themselves and to their partners. You know this is represented as being a private matter, but it is harmful to others.

    Q. Harmful to whom.

    A. The partners, as I’ve said.

    Q. You think there’s coercion involved?

    A. I’m not saying that. I’m just talking about consenting adults here. But still, if you consider the consequences, it means that each is acting in a harmful way toward the other. It’s not an ethical consideration that is ever brought up by anybody.

    Q. This is then most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard. It would be funny if it weren’t pathetic.

    JUDGE. Now that you’ve had the satisfaction of making that statement, will you continue to cross-examine the witness?

    DEFENSE. I will, Your Honor.

    Q. Let me understand. You take two people who love each other and demonstrate every kindness toward each other and accuse them of mutual harm, is that what you’re saying?

    A. That is exactly what I’m saying. It isn’t intentional. But there are about two dozen kinds of sickness that commonly result. That doesn’t count the sicknesses that come just from weakening the immune system. They’re in denial about this, or they think they’re going to be the exceptions, but if they wake up and see all this clearly, then you have to say they’re acting unethically.

    Q. This is part of your theory about the grand illusion, I take it.

    A. Well, it’s part of the illusion. The previous witness talked about the physical effects of smoking, the effect of using the lungs for something other to take in air. It’s a good point. If you use other body parts for things other than their obvious purpose, the result will eventually be harmful. Now, the illusion lies mostly in the fact that there are exceptions to this.

    Q. And so you admit that what you’re saying isn’t a fixed rule. It’s just what happens occasionally.

    A. Not occasionally, but in the great majority of cases. In the average case. People went on for decades thinking that they might be the exception about smoking. Everyone saw elderly people who were smokers. That was the beauty of the surgeon general’s report. It laid out the statistics showing that the exceptions don’t really matter. Smoking is intrinsically unsafe, regardless of the exceptions.

    Q. And so it makes no difference to you that there are faithful same-sex couples that live long, healthy lives.

    A. Look, you can find exceptions about anything harmful you can name. I’ve studied the history of slavery as a social institution. You can find many examples where slaveholders treated their slaves with kindness and respect. It was a consideration that sustained the legitimacy of slavery for a very long time. That doesn’t alter the fact that slavery is intrinsically harmful to people.

    Q. The Bible supported slavery too, didn’t it?

    A. That’s subject to dispute, but I’m not here to discuss the Bible or defend the Bible. In fact, so long as the public discussion revolves around the Bible, then it’s going to move in favor of legitimizing homosexuality, because everyone has the right as a citizen to reject the authority of the Bible.

    Q. But you affirm the authority of the Bible, is that right?

    A. I accept it as a compendium of wisdom on the basis of human experience.

    Q. And is this wisdom infallible?

    A. Well, there are some things in the Old Testament that are just ceremonial. Those things aren’t to be taken as universal wisdom. Otherwise, I don’t know. I haven’t considered the question enough to have a settled opinion. I’m not here as a theologian. I’m a social scientist.

    DEFENSE. No further questions.

    JUDGE. Does the Prosecution have any questions on redirect? Or do you have further witnesses.

    PROSECUTION. No, Your Honor. The prosecution rests.

    JUDGE. The defense will call witnesses.

    DEFENSE. The Reverend Price to the stand. (Priest)

    Q. You are a priest in the Episcopal Church, am I correct.

    A. I am.

    Q. Can you speak on behalf of the accused?

    A. I am not authorized to speak on his behalf. However, I am acquainted with him and, so far as I am aware, agree with him on this issue and on theological matters generally.

    Q. The charge is involuntary manslaughter on the basis that he influenced at least one man to form a homosexual relationship, leading to the sickness that killed him. What is your reaction to this charge?

    A. It’s the most preposterous thing I’ve ever heard of. The whole premise of this trial is absolutely absurd. I was not present at the time of this counseling, and so I am only assuming that he did so counsel this young man, but the idea of manslaughter is nonsense. I am certain that he had the best interest of the young man at heart and based his counseling on his long experience.

    JUDGE. The witness will note that the defendant isn’t being charged with intent to kill.
    We are referring to involuntary manslaughter, not voluntary.

    Q. Please continue.

    A. You have to understand the situations that we sometimes have to deal with in the area of counseling. A young person will come in who has homosexual tendencies, and he might be deeply distressed about this. I’ve been in this situation, and I just can’t describe how terrified a young man can be that his friends will make fun of him and that it’s time that we affirm these people and not make second-class human beings out of them.

    Q. And so, are you saying that you would recommend forming that kind of same-sex relationship?

    A. Not necessarily. The rules should be the same whether it’s same-sex or opposite sex. Just having physical desire and a liking for another isn’t enough. There has to be respect and commitment.

    Q. And what about the possibility that physical harm will result.

    A. I’m a priest and a theologian. I’m not a doctor. I will just say as a priest and as a theologian that these are often acceptable and life-affirming relationships and that those who are in them are following Christ.

    Q. As a theologian, what is the Bible’s position about this? Doesn’t Scripture oppose these relationships?

    A. I have written extensively about this subject. There are some prohibitions in the Old Testament, but these have been superseded along with the dietary prohibitions. In the New Testament, there are a couple of apparent references, but these were to cultic practices and also to practices that went against the inclinations given to certain people by God, which are reflected in many of the same-sex relationships we’re affirming today. And of course, even slavery was taken for granted in those days, so we don’t have to take things in the Bible so strictly.

    DEFENSE. Your witness.

    Q. Wouldn’t you say that slavery finally was prohibited because certain Christians such as William Wilberforce and Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Brown felt it was a barbaric practice, based on New Testament ideas of compassion.

    A. I’d say that sounds like a reasonable statement, but they weren’t basing their compassion on some fundamentalist or literal reading of the Bible.

    Q. But based on the Bible, in any case.

    DEFENSE. Objection, Your Honor, we’re not here to debate slavery. That issue was settled long ago.

    JUDGE. Sustained. Move on.

    Q. Wouldn’t you say that if were shown that people who engage in homosexual practices shorten their lives that it would be a matter of Christian compassion to counsel them against such practices.

    A. I’m not a doctor and am not qualified to speak on medical issues.

    Q. Let me rephrase the question. If the medical evidence were such that it were clear even to the layman that such behavior is harmful, just as doing cocaine is harmful, then wouldn’t it be your duty to counsel people against that behavior?

    A. The people who come out with that kind of data are right wingers with a political agendA. You have to be skeptical of it. But to answer your question, I would counsel that all precautions be needed. Safe sex.

    Q. And if it were demonstrated to you that there is no such thing as safe sex among homosexuals, that the characteristic practices of homosexuals lead to infection regardless of precautions, and that homosexuals in general die on the average younger than other people for this reason, would you then change the way you counsel people?

    A. Listen, you’re talking about the way people are, by nature.

    Q. And aren’t pedophiles the way they are, by nature?

    A. Now, if you’re connecting homosexuality with pedophilia, that’s an old canard that I won’t put up with here.

    Q. The question is what people are by nature. What difference do you think that makes?

    A. What difference it makes? Is that your question? Isn’t it obvious? If someone has the innate and probably genetic predisposition toward homosexual relationships, it’s time we recognized that, and not just out of compassion but out of respect for something that’s life-affirming.

    Q. How young does a person have to die as a result of some practice before you stop calling it life-affirming?

    DEFENSE. Objection, Your Honor. Counsel is badgering the witness.

    JUDGE. I’ll allow this question. Repeat it, please.

    Q. How many years does a certain behavior have to take off of a man’s life before you will stop referring to that behavior as life-affirming?

    A. I mean life affirming in the sense that each partner affirms the life of the other. I mean loving and self-sacrificing. That aspect of these relationships cannot be denied.

    Q. But if it shortens the life of each partner, isn’t that death-affirming?

    DEFENSE. Objection, Your Honor.

    JUDGE. Sustained. You’ve made your point.

    PROSECUTION. No further questions.

    JUDGE. You may step down. Does the defense have further witnesses?

    DEFENSE. I do, Your Honor. I call Mr. Prescott to the stand.

    Q. Mr. Prescott, this is not your real name, is that right.

    A. Well, that’s right, even though I am willing to use my real name, but for purposes of this proceeding, I’ll use that name. I’d like to state for the record that I don’t much care for the premise of this proceeding. I think there’s a political agenda behind all of this and it’s not one that respects the rights of gays and lesbians.

    Q. Tell the jury what you do.

    A. I’m an executive in one of the gay and lesbian rights organizations.

    Q. Hence we can assume that you affirm the normality and general legitimacy of homosexuality.

    A. Of course. It’s something that people with an open mind are just coming to realize, much as they slowly came to realize that African-Americans are people with rights and that women are people with rights. As for this notion that it’s intrinsically unhealthy, that’s bigoted claptrap. I’m gay myself, and I’m healthier than most people I know.

    Q. You don’t deny, however, that the incidence of AIDS is higher among gays than among the general population.

    A. That’s true, and it’s also true that some gays are engaging in unsafe practices, and it’s one of the objectives of our organization to heighten awareness of the dangers of those practices.

    Q. What about the contention that gays die younger, even when the practices are safe and there is fidelity.

    A. Well, you have to consider the fact that there’s a great deal of social isolation among gays. Gays are just beginning to gain the kind of acceptance they deserve and to be integrated into the mainstream. If you take other groups who are socially isolated, such as unmarried heterosexuals, you’re going to find that the life expectancy is shorter.

    Q. And so what is it that people on the other side of this issue are failing to understand, in your view.

    A. Well, the most common thing that bigoted people…

    PROSECUTION. Objection. Your Honor. This reference to bigoted people and to bigotry sound like a lot of name-calling. That’s the sort of thing that this type of proceeding is designed to avoid.

    JUDGE. Sustained. The term bigot implies that the witnesses for the prosecution hold a view that assumes lack of thought or due consideration of the issues involved, a kind of blindness. Please use another term.

    A. Well, the most common attitude of people who don’t like gays…

    JUDGE. Objection, Your Honor. The other witnesses never said they didn’t like gays. What they said was…

    JUDGE. Overruled. I heard what they said. The jury will sort this out. The witness will continue.

    A. People who don’t like gays don’t realize that gays have the same need for love that anyone has. Secondly, they don’t understand that they have rights before the law in a free country, the same rights that anyone has. Gays need to be safe from bigots, safe from people who are telling them they’re disease ridden and that sort of thing. This is a new era, an era of respect.

    Q. You’ll concede that there are health issues that pertain specifically to gays.

    A. Yes, and there are sex-related health issues that pertain specifically to straights. The fundamentalists keep hammering us with this kind of thing, but they seem to leave that point out.

    PROSECUTOR. Objection. Your Honor. We don’t have fundamentalists testifying here.

    JUDGE. The jury is instructed to take that fact into account.

    DEFENSE. No further questions. Your witness.

    Q. Are you aware of the evidence that in the general population, about 15 percent are over the age of 65, compared to less than one percent in the gay population?

    A. Well I hadn’t heard that statistic before today. But I doubt the accuracy of it, because people don’t self-identify as gay as much as they should, especially older people. Also I notice that it’s right wing groups that propagate that kind of statistic. And the methodology of the guy who got his stats by reading obituaries is obviously ridiculous.

    Q. But a journal published by Oxford University called the International Journal of Epidemiology found that gays in a Canadian city had a life expectancy equal to people in the year 1871. Are you in favor of driving gays from the 21st century back into the 19th?

    DEFENSE. Objection. Your Honor.

    JUDGE. Sustained.

    Q. I’ll rephrase that. Do you find that to be an interesting study?

    A. I’ve read it. I’ve also read the statement made by that publication that the study should never be used as an excuse to threaten the civil liberties of gays and lesbians.

    Q. This isn’t a case about civil liberties but one of whether or not those who want to legitimize homosexuality are helping gays or whether those who oppose legitimizing homosexuality are helping gays.

    A. Don’t give me this garbage about how you’re helping gays. This whole point is just another ruse to legitimize hate speech. That’s the kind of legitimacy you want.

    Q. Do you think it’s impossible that those who oppose what your organization is doing might have the best interest of gays and lesbians at heart?

    A. Not impossible, but they’re seriously deluded. You’ve got to start getting it, mister. Start getting the fact that we’re proud of who we are. And those who aren’t proud about being gay and lesbian, those who are still into self-pity or inferiority about it, have the opportunity to learn the reasons why they should be proud.

    Q. Do you think the gay health crisis is confined to the question of AIDS?

    A. There is no more crisis, even though an organization with that name got started when AIDS couldn’t be controlled and hasn’t changed its name. The real crisis is one of bigotry, one of hate, one of continuing backlash against a group that is gradually proving itself to be worthy of pride, their own pride in themselves and America’s pride in them as fellow citizens and fellow employees.

    Q. I’d like to ask a question regarding your comment about social isolation being the cause of gays dying young.

    A. Go right ahead.

    Q. If you walked into a hospital room where some 44-year-old gay man was dying of multiple infections, would you turn to the doctor and say, “Well, this is one of the worst cases of social isolation I’ve ever seen.”

    DEFENSE. Objection. Objection. Your Honor, this is exactly the sort of ridicule and badgering that the witness has been complaining about. It has no place in this proceeding.

    A. Never mind. Your Honor, I’d like to respond.

    JUDGE. Go ahead.

    A. We can all feel the hostility of this kind of bigot. We will fight against your type. We will eventually win. And American business and other organizations and American society will be the winner too. Diversity will be seen as a strength.

    Q. Regardless of whether gays and lesbians reach the age of 55, right?

    A. Regardless of what people like you say here or in the newspapers or anywhere else. Time is on our side, and your antiquarian views are becoming history.

    PROSECUTION. No further questions.

    DEFENSE. Your Honor, the defense rests its case.

    JUDGE. There will now be summations. First, the Defense.

    DEFENSE. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury. You have heard testimony in one of the most extraordinary cases imaginable. A man who is now a bishop had counseled another man to follow his natural inclination to enter into a relationship with a gay man. This was many years ago, when the bishop was a priest, and it was his honest conviction that he was acting in a way that was respectful of the young man’s God-given identity. Later, there were consequences, certain infections, that were attributed to his homosexual behavior, and the defense has stipulated as to the accuracy of this characterization of the facts.

    The core of the matter, however, remains unproved. The core of the matter is the speculative question as to whether or not homosexual behavior leads to the untimely death of those who participate in it. Clearly there are some forms of homosexual behavior that have this result. However, to suggest that it’s the intrinsic nature of naturally gay people to be disease-ridden is not only untrue but it is so deeply offensive that many question quite reasonably whether it should be permitted in the realm of public discourse. My own view is that it should be legal but that it should be shunned by all people who affirm a society of compassion and mutual respect. That is the kind of society that you can affirm by a verdict of not guilty. By rendering this verdict, you will also be affirming the integrity of all compassionate counselors who seek the highest well-being of those who come to them for help. Thank you for your attention.

    JUDGE. Finally, the summation by the Prosecution.

    PROSECUTION. Ladies and Gentlemen, we face an astounding situation in society today. Those who are inclined toward homosexuality, many of whom would have avoided acting on that inclination in a previous era, are now being encouraged to affirm and to take pride in it. For centuries, it has been observed that homosexuals are hard to find beyond a certain age. This just is not, on the whole, a survivable activity. In previous centuries in Europe, they were put into prisons, and the prison wardens would observe that there was hardly anyone in the older age categoes in that situation. Even if AIDS weren’t in the picture, the infections that are created when the body is used in ways other than the things for which nature created it, the result is life shortening. The bishop removed the last hindrance from this young man who might otherwise have avoided a way of life that would eventually kill him. He was a close relation of mine and I know that it was the bishop’s counsel, back when he was still a priest, that made the critical difference. It’s true, of course, that the young man in question bore some responsibility himself. I knew this young man. I am the one who began taking action to create this trial. What this bishop did amounts to clerical malpractice so severe that it should be regarded ethically as involuntary manslaughter. I ask for no criminal indictment. But for the sake of those who might still avoid acting on this lethal inclination, I ask you to render a verdict of guilty. Thank you.

    JUDGE The jury will now retire to consider the evidence and render a verdict.


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    -- J

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  41. THE DEEPER SPRINGS OF JUSTICE

    A Transcript from the Court of Public Opinion



    JUDGE. I would say to the members of the jury that this is a proceeding that has no legal standing. It does not purport to have any implication that anyone be put on trial in a public court for the commission of crimes. This is the court of public opinion. The charge is that a bishop counseled a young man in a way that led to his eventually becoming harmed by homosexual behavior and that the bishop should therefore be held accountable. The charge is one of involuntary manslaughter. The evidence to be considered is only whether the actions of the bishop, based on his views, are harmful. No other consideration should enter into your evaluation of this matter. The prosecution will now call witnesses.

    The prosecution calls Mr. Harris.


    Q. Mr. Harris, tell us a little about yourself.

    A. Fine. My real name isn’t Harris, but I’m reluctant to participate in this using my real name. I’m a director of public health in a municipality in the Midwest, although I’m unwilling to say just where.

    Q. And why are you unwilling?

    A. It’s difficult to speak out publicly about the kinds of things we are here to discuss. It’s classified as hate speech.

    Q. Are you motivated by hate?

    A. I am not.

    Q. We understand that it’s your view that those who are inclined toward homosexuality will shorten their lives if they act on those inclinations. Is that right?

    A. That’s my view. In the general population, the number of people over the age of 65 is about one in six or seven. Among homosexuals, it’s difficult to say with complete accuracy but it’s about one in a hundred.

    Q. Are you motivated in saying this by a desire to denigrate homosexuals to deny them their rights?

    A. I am not, at least if by rights you mean the usual things that pertain to privacy, freedom of assembly, and the like. If by rights you really mean some form of support, such as marital benefits, then I’m not in favor. Those are more than rights. Those are privileges and, by granting them, we are encouraging a way of life that results in early death.

    Q. Do homosexuals dispute what you say?

    A. Most of the ones I’ve encountered do not dispute the realities of early death. But some do and they demand definitive studies. Let me tell you the things that have led me to this conclusion. None of them in itself is absolute proof, but taken together they add up to proof at the level of beyond a reasonable doubt. Before the aids crisis, there were studies among homosexuals coming to clinics in San Francisco showing that only a fraction of one percent were over the age of 65. The aids crisis made the percentage even lower.

    Q. Why would someone dispute that kind of result?

    A. They would dispute something about the methodology or say that people weren’t identifying themselves as homosexuals. But let’s say there were really twice as many as recorded, or ten times as many, it still wouldn’t approach the level of the general population.

    You have to start having common sense about these things and not just think in terms of PhD –type studies in peer-reviewed journals and all that. People have to look around them and see how few there are over the age of 65 that have lived that way of life. It’s the most monumental exercise in denial in human history.

    Q. But you will admit there are some bad studies along these lines.

    A. Yes, bad from the standpoint of academic rigor. There’s one in particular, conducted by a man name Cameron, that comes in for condemnation whenever this subject comes up. He went through the obituaries in some gay publications and noted that one after another said the deceased was age 39 or 42 or 43 years old, compared with general newspapers which obviously show ages that are much older. But just the same, if you went though hundreds of obits like that, and you had common sense, you’d start to think, well, there’s a message here.

    Q. Are you saying they should be pronounced a public health hazard?

    A. Absolutely not. People would start saying that I sound like Hitler if I started talking like that, and they might be right. They are no harm to anyone but themselves. But to use a phrase that has become common in the gay rights movement, silence equals death. The silence about smoking equals death. Now the silence about homosexual behavior equals death. There is no such thing as safe sex among homosexuals. Safer sex, but not safe sex. It’s unhealthy by its very nature.

    Q. Why?

    A. Normal sexual intercourse involves penetration of the vagina, which as been made to withstand that kind of pressure. No other part of the body is made to tolerate invasive sexual activity. Over time, other parts of the body will break down, causing semen and waste to enter the blood stream. This causes infections and weakening of the immune system. At that point the possibilities for life shortening conditions begin to multiply.

    Q. But people can use condoms, right? And they can avoid intercourse with people who haven’t been infected with things like aids.

    A. A condom has no effect on the consequences I’ve just described. As for avoiding aids, that is indeed possible. What you can’t easily avoid are all the other things that are a result of using the body in the wrong way.

    Q. But don’t you know of gays who are into old age? There must be ways of avoiding all of this. Committed relationships, for instance.

    A. There are definitely exceptions to what I’ve said. There are also smokers who last into old age also. I know one who is over 100 years old. I’m just talking about averages, and averages are important. As for committed relationships, well, you can avoid aids that way, but not the other things. As I say, the whole phenomenon is an exercise in denial, denial of common sense and common observation.

    Q. Do you have homosexual friends?

    A. I have acquaintances and a few business associates who are practicing homosexuals. As for friends, I can think of one who has died, of aids actually. I can think of another who is not living that way of life any more.

    Q. Do you think they can change into heterosexuals?

    JUDGE: We have agreed that this is not a subject that will be taken up at this trial. We are trying to determine what kind of attitude toward homosexuals is beneficial to them, an attitude that legitimizes that behavior or one that does not. We are therefore not concerned with whether one is inclined that way or not, only the question of whether the behavior should be approved or seen as normal.

    Q. Well, Mr. Harris, do you think it’s a controllable behavior?

    A. Yes, it certainly is. I’m not experienced in this area, but I refuse to believe that anyone is a mere victim to kinds of behavior that he doesn’t want to practice. I’m sure it’s difficult, just as it was difficult for me to give up smoking, but it can be done, especially if others can help.

    Q. And so we don’t have to get into the matter of whether the behavior can be changed, only whether self-control can be exercised.

    A. Well, sure. If the object is to avoid things that will shorten our lives, and we should all want that, then we don’t have to go farther than that. We can talk endlessly about whether it’s innate or genetic, but that’s beside the point. It all comes down to two questions. Is it life-shortening? And: Can it be controlled? The answers are yes and yes.

    PROSECUTION. Your witness.

    Q. And so what you’re saying is gays are disease-ridden people. Do you really think that kind of a bigoted smear can just keep going without challenge?

    A. If by bigotry you are implying that I haven’t given this any rational consideration and that I harbor feelings of hatred toward some group of people out there, that doesn’t apply to me or to anything I’ve been saying. Although it doesn’t really make any difference what my feelings are toward gays or anyone else.

    Q. It makes no difference? Explain that.

    A. That’s right. There really are some people who go around saying they hate homosexuals or God hates them or whatever. I’ve read statements from others saying that they have a special liking for them. What real difference does all that make with respect to the objective realities? The facts of life and death are the same regardless of what my feelings are or your feelings.

    Q. All that is subjective, in other words.

    A. Right. Let’s talk about what’s objectively real.

    Q. And so you don’t think it’s a slur to call people disease-ridden?

    A. I believe strongly that we should make an important distinction, that is, between a person and a person’s behavior. I believe in the sacredness of human personality, and I want to speak in a way that’s respectful of that.

    Q. But if a person is the way he is, as part of his essential make-up, and you are saying that it’s essentially immoral or abnormal or unhealthy to be that way, even if it’s genetic, then how can you claim to affirm the so-called sacredness of human personality?

    JUDGE He didn’t speak in terms of what is moral or immoral.

    Q. All right, Your Honor. Strike that, but he has clearly implied that the people in and of themselves are abnormal and unhealthy.

    A. I don’t know whether it’s genetic or part of the innate make up of the person. I don’t know, but I don’t care. It’s irrelevant to the question of consequences. I have a relative with Down’s Syndrome. That’s a genetic condition, and it’s innate and unchangeable, and I can affirm her as a person, but I’m sure not going to confirm that aspect of her as something normal and healthy. If you’re going to do that to homosexuality, then you might as well state that white is black and black is white. By the way, that’s the only connection I’m making between Down’s Syndrome and homosexuality – that if there’s any genetic component, it makes no difference in terms of their being normal.

    Q. And so bigotry and hatred of homosexuals is just fine, so far as you’re concerned.

    PROSECUTION. Objection, Your Honor.

    A. Your honor, if the court please, I’d like to just clarify myself on the matter, because it just seems to come up over and over again, both here and among the acquaintances I have with whom I have this disagreement. I’m not claiming I love homosexuals. If they’re flamboyant, I’m uncomfortable with them. I’ve just known a few of them well, and those few I’ve actually liked as people. We all have to take a live-and-let-live attitude about them, because this is a free country. But I’m for free and open acknowledgement of the fact that this is unnatural and disease-producing. In fact, that’s how I define unnatural – disease producing. To the extent we affirm or support it we will be guilty of helping them kill one another. To the extent we affirm or support it, I might add, we will also be paying the price in terms of more expensive health insurance.

    A. But I thought you said you were only interested in this as a matter of the health of those involved and not the general health of the population. But now you’re talking about health insurance. This was Hitler’s approach, wasn’t it, to talk about homosexuals and a threat to the general health of the population?

    PROSECUTION. Your Honor, I object to this comparison to Hitler.

    JUDGE Sustained.

    Q. Okay, but you are talking about the public health now. You’ve contradicted yourself.

    A. Well, I am talking about public finance, you might say. People are going around thinking it doesn’t affect them if the laws and other public systems or organizational health plans give marital benefits to gays. I say wake up, because we all pay into systems like that, and it’s now at the point where a high percentage of middle-class people can’t afford health insurance for themselves or their children. I’m not blaming that whole problem of the gays, but if you support something disease-producing, that’s part of the penalty.

    Q. Next you’ll be blaming them for hurricanes. No further questions.

    JUDGE The last comment will be stricken from the record. Mr. S, do you have further witnesses?

    Q. I do, Your Honor. The prosecution calls Mr. R.

    Q. Mr. R. You are a professor in the social science department of a major university in the Midwest, is that right?

    A. I am.

    Q. And what is your field of research.

    A. My emphasis is on social psychology, with a particular interest in the historical aspects of that field.

    Q. Are you willing to tell us which university?

    A. I am not, because it’s gotten to the point where this subject is taboo unless you have just the correct viewpoints.

    Q. And would you be able to state briefly what your viewpoint is in the matter under discussion.

    A. Yes. My viewpoint is that society is dealing with a grand illusion of the kind that has never been seen to such a wide scale in modern time, with one exception.

    Q. And what would the exception be?

    A. The exception would be in societies where information is controlled. For instance, in Hitler’s Germany, the illusion was propagated about the inferiority of certain races to the point where most people accepted that. In communist Russia, people had certain illusions about economics, about the intentions of the United States, about the conditions in the West, and so on, because people relied on the official word about everything. But my interest is in illusions in a free society.

    Q. And what is the nature of this illusion?

    A. It’s the idea that you can use parts of the human body for things other than the intended purpose without adverse consequences.

    Q. And how does that relate to other illusions in the past?

    A. Only in the sense that people are willing to be persuaded if it’s in accord with their desires. For instance, in the 18th century there were tremendous financial schemes, such as something called the South Sea Bubble, in which large numbers of people invested in something that was a complete illusion. The various forms of propaganda of totalitarian regimes operate on the mass mentality in similar ways.

    Q. You can see how these things would affect those who want to have sex, or are looking for love, but how could this phenomenon affect other people?

    A. The average person wants to avoid looking narrow-minded and mean, and so if the alternative to giving support to gays is exposure to that accusation, then we tend to avoid it. That’s the very reason why I won’t reveal my name in this proceeding, for instance. Secondly, if something looks like it’s based on the Bible, without any grounding in secular ethics, then people don’t want to interfere with freedom of religion. Thirdly, many people just don’t want one more argument in their lives and so are in favor of giving people want they want to avoid trouble.

    Q. And so do you see this as the result of the evil intentions of the gays?

    A. Not necessarily. Some of them might be evil, just as there are evil people in every category, but it’s not my intention to demonize them or any other group. I’m more interested actually in the nongay sector, you might call it, that is, the 98 percent of people who don’t fall into that category. Oh, and I forgot another point about the previous question, I mean about why people go along with this.

    Q. Go ahead. What that?

    A. Okay, I think I made three points about that, and so here’s a fourth one. Many people want to pursue their own personal agenda, including in the sexual area, and they don’t want to appear to be hypocrites.

    Q. Explain what you mean there.

    A. Well, I know someone at the university who is apparently having an affair with one of the students. This is a male professor, and he’s married. Now, I’ve known him for quite some time, and I know that his views on the gay issues have changed drastically over a period of a few months. This is about the length of time that he’s been having this affair.

    Q. And this is a heterosexual affair, is that right.

    A. That’s right, but my impression is that he would rather compromise himself by having the affair than be a hypocrite and criticize gays or others who are doing things that are questionable. This is a principle that can be applied to the wider society. The concept of stigma has disappeared, except about people who make moral judgments. They are stigmatized. Each person now has his own concept of truth, and you’re supposed to regard the truth of someone else as equal and legitimate, even if it’s totally contradictory to your own. We are trending toward a nonjudgmental society, period. Homosexuality simply gets placed into that intellectual framework and it silences all opposition.

    Q. Do you mean that this is a deliberate tactic, that is, to silence opposition?

    A. It’s always difficult, and sometime treacherous, to assess motives. At the same time, you have to have empathy in order to see things from the other person’s viewpoint. If I were a gay activist, I would notice that people are generally reluctant to appear mean-spirited, and this would be the best weapon in my arsenal. I would appear to be the well-intentioned victim of mean-spirited people. That works very well in this particular mode of propagandA. The word “hate” is used at every opportunity. That’s why the identity of the people in this proceeding must remain anonymous.

    Q. What motivates you to appear at this trial? Are you a religious fundamentalist?

    A. No. I grew up in the Episcopal Church, but I’m a lapsed Episcopalian. I’m not a fundamentalist, although I do believe in God, a God who loves humanity and doesn’t want to see people harm themselves or others. That’s about as far as my religion goes. As for motivation, I tend toward the academic view that things should be debated openly. The gays are harming themselves and their partners for lack of open debate. The truth isn’t coming out. Illusion is king.

    Q. You think people would change their behavior based on what you’re saying is the truth?

    A. The evidence of societies throughout history makes it clear that many people adjust their behavior based on social pressure. Men who are inclined toward adultery, for example, may always have those desires in a society where that is stigmatized, but only a small minority will act on them.

    DEFENSE. Your witness.

    Q. How would you describe your political leanings? Are they as right-wing in all respects as they are in this one?

    A. I’m conservative on this matter but liberal in certain other respects, such as foreign policy, compared with the present administration. I’m not doctrinaire on politics. Actually I question whether my views on this matter are conservative, strictly speaking.

    Q. Oh, please, don’t tell me you’re a liberal about this.

    PROSECUTION. Objection. Counsel is being argumentative.

    JUDGE. Sustained.

    Q. I’ll rephrase that. Are you saying you’re a liberal on this matter?

    A. What I’m saying is that I’m not motivated by the idea of maintaining some status quo for its own sake. I think homosexuals have to get to the point where they really are respected as people. It’s appalling that they would be ridiculed and denigrated for something that they didn’t choose for themselves. I’d say it’s in the best tradition of liberalism to favor what’s the best for the people who have been oppressed. But that doesn’t mean validating a behavior that’s harmful to themselves and to their partners. You know this is represented as being a private matter, but it is harmful to others.

    Q. Harmful to whom.

    A. The partners, as I’ve said.

    Q. You think there’s coercion involved?

    A. I’m not saying that. I’m just talking about consenting adults here. But still, if you consider the consequences, it means that each is acting in a harmful way toward the other. It’s not an ethical consideration that is ever brought up by anybody.

    Q. This is then most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard. It would be funny if it weren’t pathetic.

    JUDGE. Now that you’ve had the satisfaction of making that statement, will you continue to cross-examine the witness?

    DEFENSE. I will, Your Honor.

    Q. Let me understand. You take two people who love each other and demonstrate every kindness toward each other and accuse them of mutual harm, is that what you’re saying?

    A. That is exactly what I’m saying. It isn’t intentional. But there are about two dozen kinds of sickness that commonly result. That doesn’t count the sicknesses that come just from weakening the immune system. They’re in denial about this, or they think they’re going to be the exceptions, but if they wake up and see all this clearly, then you have to say they’re acting unethically.

    Q. This is part of your theory about the grand illusion, I take it.

    A. Well, it’s part of the illusion. The previous witness talked about the physical effects of smoking, the effect of using the lungs for something other to take in air. It’s a good point. If you use other body parts for things other than their obvious purpose, the result will eventually be harmful. Now, the illusion lies mostly in the fact that there are exceptions to this.

    Q. And so you admit that what you’re saying isn’t a fixed rule. It’s just what happens occasionally.

    A. Not occasionally, but in the great majority of cases. In the average case. People went on for decades thinking that they might be the exception about smoking. Everyone saw elderly people who were smokers. That was the beauty of the surgeon general’s report. It laid out the statistics showing that the exceptions don’t really matter. Smoking is intrinsically unsafe, regardless of the exceptions.

    Q. And so it makes no difference to you that there are faithful same-sex couples that live long, healthy lives.

    A. Look, you can find exceptions about anything harmful you can name. I’ve studied the history of slavery as a social institution. You can find many examples where slaveholders treated their slaves with kindness and respect. It was a consideration that sustained the legitimacy of slavery for a very long time. That doesn’t alter the fact that slavery is intrinsically harmful to people.

    Q. The Bible supported slavery too, didn’t it?

    A. That’s subject to dispute, but I’m not here to discuss the Bible or defend the Bible. In fact, so long as the public discussion revolves around the Bible, then it’s going to move in favor of legitimizing homosexuality, because everyone has the right as a citizen to reject the authority of the Bible.

    Q. But you affirm the authority of the Bible, is that right?

    A. I accept it as a compendium of wisdom on the basis of human experience.

    Q. And is this wisdom infallible?

    A. Well, there are some things in the Old Testament that are just ceremonial. Those things aren’t to be taken as universal wisdom. Otherwise, I don’t know. I haven’t considered the question enough to have a settled opinion. I’m not here as a theologian. I’m a social scientist.

    DEFENSE. No further questions.

    JUDGE. Does the Prosecution have any questions on redirect? Or do you have further witnesses.

    PROSECUTION. No, Your Honor. The prosecution rests.

    JUDGE. The defense will call witnesses.

    DEFENSE. The Reverend Price to the stand. (Priest)

    Q. You are a priest in the Episcopal Church, am I correct.

    A. I am.

    Q. Can you speak on behalf of the accused?

    A. I am not authorized to speak on his behalf. However, I am acquainted with him and, so far as I am aware, agree with him on this issue and on theological matters generally.

    Q. The charge is involuntary manslaughter on the basis that he influenced at least one man to form a homosexual relationship, leading to the sickness that killed him. What is your reaction to this charge?

    A. It’s the most preposterous thing I’ve ever heard of. The whole premise of this trial is absolutely absurd. I was not present at the time of this counseling, and so I am only assuming that he did so counsel this young man, but the idea of manslaughter is nonsense. I am certain that he had the best interest of the young man at heart and based his counseling on his long experience.

    JUDGE. The witness will note that the defendant isn’t being charged with intent to kill.
    We are referring to involuntary manslaughter, not voluntary.

    Q. Please continue.

    A. You have to understand the situations that we sometimes have to deal with in the area of counseling. A young person will come in who has homosexual tendencies, and he might be deeply distressed about this. I’ve been in this situation, and I just can’t describe how terrified a young man can be that his friends will make fun of him and that it’s time that we affirm these people and not make second-class human beings out of them.

    Q. And so, are you saying that you would recommend forming that kind of same-sex relationship?

    A. Not necessarily. The rules should be the same whether it’s same-sex or opposite sex. Just having physical desire and a liking for another isn’t enough. There has to be respect and commitment.

    Q. And what about the possibility that physical harm will result.

    A. I’m a priest and a theologian. I’m not a doctor. I will just say as a priest and as a theologian that these are often acceptable and life-affirming relationships and that those who are in them are following Christ.

    Q. As a theologian, what is the Bible’s position about this? Doesn’t Scripture oppose these relationships?

    A. I have written extensively about this subject. There are some prohibitions in the Old Testament, but these have been superseded along with the dietary prohibitions. In the New Testament, there are a couple of apparent references, but these were to cultic practices and also to practices that went against the inclinations given to certain people by God, which are reflected in many of the same-sex relationships we’re affirming today. And of course, even slavery was taken for granted in those days, so we don’t have to take things in the Bible so strictly.

    DEFENSE. Your witness.

    Q. Wouldn’t you say that slavery finally was prohibited because certain Christians such as William Wilberforce and Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Brown felt it was a barbaric practice, based on New Testament ideas of compassion.

    A. I’d say that sounds like a reasonable statement, but they weren’t basing their compassion on some fundamentalist or literal reading of the Bible.

    Q. But based on the Bible, in any case.

    DEFENSE. Objection, Your Honor, we’re not here to debate slavery. That issue was settled long ago.

    JUDGE. Sustained. Move on.

    Q. Wouldn’t you say that if were shown that people who engage in homosexual practices shorten their lives that it would be a matter of Christian compassion to counsel them against such practices.

    A. I’m not a doctor and am not qualified to speak on medical issues.

    Q. Let me rephrase the question. If the medical evidence were such that it were clear even to the layman that such behavior is harmful, just as doing cocaine is harmful, then wouldn’t it be your duty to counsel people against that behavior?

    A. The people who come out with that kind of data are right wingers with a political agendA. You have to be skeptical of it. But to answer your question, I would counsel that all precautions be needed. Safe sex.

    Q. And if it were demonstrated to you that there is no such thing as safe sex among homosexuals, that the characteristic practices of homosexuals lead to infection regardless of precautions, and that homosexuals in general die on the average younger than other people for this reason, would you then change the way you counsel people?

    A. Listen, you’re talking about the way people are, by nature.

    Q. And aren’t pedophiles the way they are, by nature?

    A. Now, if you’re connecting homosexuality with pedophilia, that’s an old canard that I won’t put up with here.

    Q. The question is what people are by nature. What difference do you think that makes?

    A. What difference it makes? Is that your question? Isn’t it obvious? If someone has the innate and probably genetic predisposition toward homosexual relationships, it’s time we recognized that, and not just out of compassion but out of respect for something that’s life-affirming.

    Q. How young does a person have to die as a result of some practice before you stop calling it life-affirming?

    DEFENSE. Objection, Your Honor. Counsel is badgering the witness.

    JUDGE. I’ll allow this question. Repeat it, please.

    Q. How many years does a certain behavior have to take off of a man’s life before you will stop referring to that behavior as life-affirming?

    A. I mean life affirming in the sense that each partner affirms the life of the other. I mean loving and self-sacrificing. That aspect of these relationships cannot be denied.

    Q. But if it shortens the life of each partner, isn’t that death-affirming?

    DEFENSE. Objection, Your Honor.

    JUDGE. Sustained. You’ve made your point.

    PROSECUTION. No further questions.

    JUDGE. You may step down. Does the defense have further witnesses?

    DEFENSE. I do, Your Honor. I call Mr. Prescott to the stand.

    Q. Mr. Prescott, this is not your real name, is that right.

    A. Well, that’s right, even though I am willing to use my real name, but for purposes of this proceeding, I’ll use that name. I’d like to state for the record that I don’t much care for the premise of this proceeding. I think there’s a political agenda behind all of this and it’s not one that respects the rights of gays and lesbians.

    Q. Tell the jury what you do.

    A. I’m an executive in one of the gay and lesbian rights organizations.

    Q. Hence we can assume that you affirm the normality and general legitimacy of homosexuality.

    A. Of course. It’s something that people with an open mind are just coming to realize, much as they slowly came to realize that African-Americans are people with rights and that women are people with rights. As for this notion that it’s intrinsically unhealthy, that’s bigoted claptrap. I’m gay myself, and I’m healthier than most people I know.

    Q. You don’t deny, however, that the incidence of AIDS is higher among gays than among the general population.

    A. That’s true, and it’s also true that some gays are engaging in unsafe practices, and it’s one of the objectives of our organization to heighten awareness of the dangers of those practices.

    Q. What about the contention that gays die younger, even when the practices are safe and there is fidelity.

    A. Well, you have to consider the fact that there’s a great deal of social isolation among gays. Gays are just beginning to gain the kind of acceptance they deserve and to be integrated into the mainstream. If you take other groups who are socially isolated, such as unmarried heterosexuals, you’re going to find that the life expectancy is shorter.

    Q. And so what is it that people on the other side of this issue are failing to understand, in your view.

    A. Well, the most common thing that bigoted people…

    PROSECUTION. Objection. Your Honor. This reference to bigoted people and to bigotry sound like a lot of name-calling. That’s the sort of thing that this type of proceeding is designed to avoid.

    JUDGE. Sustained. The term bigot implies that the witnesses for the prosecution hold a view that assumes lack of thought or due consideration of the issues involved, a kind of blindness. Please use another term.

    A. Well, the most common attitude of people who don’t like gays…

    JUDGE. Objection, Your Honor. The other witnesses never said they didn’t like gays. What they said was…

    JUDGE. Overruled. I heard what they said. The jury will sort this out. The witness will continue.

    A. People who don’t like gays don’t realize that gays have the same need for love that anyone has. Secondly, they don’t understand that they have rights before the law in a free country, the same rights that anyone has. Gays need to be safe from bigots, safe from people who are telling them they’re disease ridden and that sort of thing. This is a new era, an era of respect.

    Q. You’ll concede that there are health issues that pertain specifically to gays.

    A. Yes, and there are sex-related health issues that pertain specifically to straights. The fundamentalists keep hammering us with this kind of thing, but they seem to leave that point out.

    PROSECUTOR. Objection. Your Honor. We don’t have fundamentalists testifying here.

    JUDGE. The jury is instructed to take that fact into account.

    DEFENSE. No further questions. Your witness.

    Q. Are you aware of the evidence that in the general population, about 15 percent are over the age of 65, compared to less than one percent in the gay population?

    A. Well I hadn’t heard that statistic before today. But I doubt the accuracy of it, because people don’t self-identify as gay as much as they should, especially older people. Also I notice that it’s right wing groups that propagate that kind of statistic. And the methodology of the guy who got his stats by reading obituaries is obviously ridiculous.

    Q. But a journal published by Oxford University called the International Journal of Epidemiology found that gays in a Canadian city had a life expectancy equal to people in the year 1871. Are you in favor of driving gays from the 21st century back into the 19th?

    DEFENSE. Objection. Your Honor.

    JUDGE. Sustained.

    Q. I’ll rephrase that. Do you find that to be an interesting study?

    A. I’ve read it. I’ve also read the statement made by that publication that the study should never be used as an excuse to threaten the civil liberties of gays and lesbians.

    Q. This isn’t a case about civil liberties but one of whether or not those who want to legitimize homosexuality are helping gays or whether those who oppose legitimizing homosexuality are helping gays.

    A. Don’t give me this garbage about how you’re helping gays. This whole point is just another ruse to legitimize hate speech. That’s the kind of legitimacy you want.

    Q. Do you think it’s impossible that those who oppose what your organization is doing might have the best interest of gays and lesbians at heart?

    A. Not impossible, but they’re seriously deluded. You’ve got to start getting it, mister. Start getting the fact that we’re proud of who we are. And those who aren’t proud about being gay and lesbian, those who are still into self-pity or inferiority about it, have the opportunity to learn the reasons why they should be proud.

    Q. Do you think the gay health crisis is confined to the question of AIDS?

    A. There is no more crisis, even though an organization with that name got started when AIDS couldn’t be controlled and hasn’t changed its name. The real crisis is one of bigotry, one of hate, one of continuing backlash against a group that is gradually proving itself to be worthy of pride, their own pride in themselves and America’s pride in them as fellow citizens and fellow employees.

    Q. I’d like to ask a question regarding your comment about social isolation being the cause of gays dying young.

    A. Go right ahead.

    Q. If you walked into a hospital room where some 44-year-old gay man was dying of multiple infections, would you turn to the doctor and say, “Well, this is one of the worst cases of social isolation I’ve ever seen.”

    DEFENSE. Objection. Objection. Your Honor, this is exactly the sort of ridicule and badgering that the witness has been complaining about. It has no place in this proceeding.

    A. Never mind. Your Honor, I’d like to respond.

    JUDGE. Go ahead.

    A. We can all feel the hostility of this kind of bigot. We will fight against your type. We will eventually win. And American business and other organizations and American society will be the winner too. Diversity will be seen as a strength.

    Q. Regardless of whether gays and lesbians reach the age of 55, right?

    A. Regardless of what people like you say here or in the newspapers or anywhere else. Time is on our side, and your antiquarian views are becoming history.

    PROSECUTION. No further questions.

    DEFENSE. Your Honor, the defense rests its case.

    JUDGE. There will now be summations. First, the Defense.

    DEFENSE. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury. You have heard testimony in one of the most extraordinary cases imaginable. A man who is now a bishop had counseled another man to follow his natural inclination to enter into a relationship with a gay man. This was many years ago, when the bishop was a priest, and it was his honest conviction that he was acting in a way that was respectful of the young man’s God-given identity. Later, there were consequences, certain infections, that were attributed to his homosexual behavior, and the defense has stipulated as to the accuracy of this characterization of the facts.

    The core of the matter, however, remains unproved. The core of the matter is the speculative question as to whether or not homosexual behavior leads to the untimely death of those who participate in it. Clearly there are some forms of homosexual behavior that have this result. However, to suggest that it’s the intrinsic nature of naturally gay people to be disease-ridden is not only untrue but it is so deeply offensive that many question quite reasonably whether it should be permitted in the realm of public discourse. My own view is that it should be legal but that it should be shunned by all people who affirm a society of compassion and mutual respect. That is the kind of society that you can affirm by a verdict of not guilty. By rendering this verdict, you will also be affirming the integrity of all compassionate counselors who seek the highest well-being of those who come to them for help. Thank you for your attention.

    JUDGE. Finally, the summation by the Prosecution.

    PROSECUTION. Ladies and Gentlemen, we face an astounding situation in society today. Those who are inclined toward homosexuality, many of whom would have avoided acting on that inclination in a previous era, are now being encouraged to affirm and to take pride in it. For centuries, it has been observed that homosexuals are hard to find beyond a certain age. This just is not, on the whole, a survivable activity. In previous centuries in Europe, they were put into prisons, and the prison wardens would observe that there was hardly anyone in the older age categoes in that situation. Even if AIDS weren’t in the picture, the infections that are created when the body is used in ways other than the things for which nature created it, the result is life shortening. The bishop removed the last hindrance from this young man who might otherwise have avoided a way of life that would eventually kill him. He was a close relation of mine and I know that it was the bishop’s counsel, back when he was still a priest, that made the critical difference. It’s true, of course, that the young man in question bore some responsibility himself. I knew this young man. I am the one who began taking action to create this trial. What this bishop did amounts to clerical malpractice so severe that it should be regarded ethically as involuntary manslaughter. I ask for no criminal indictment. But for the sake of those who might still avoid acting on this lethal inclination, I ask you to render a verdict of guilty. Thank you.

    JUDGE The jury will now retire to consider the evidence and render a verdict.


    ======================================================================



    -- J

    ReplyDelete
  42. What a wonderful job our trolls are doing here of distracting us from the important news Mark Harris had to offer. Smart puppies, those Network types -- know just how to bomb and destroy a site that was beginning to expose their machinations. I could wish from time to time that some among us had half their Internet savvy.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Fr. Mark,

    You are getting spam bombed. The "Bookstore" piece has been around the net repeatedly, as has the "court" lunacy.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  44. Dear Mark,

    What do you make of the fact that Ephraim Radner is now on the board of the Institute of Religion and Democracy?

    ReplyDelete
  45. C.B. said...
    "Gee- Lesbians have the safest sex of all..."

    specifically, estimated rates of HIV transmission for both active and receptive oral sex on women are lower than for anal or vaginal intercourse, or oral sex on men.

    JMF, I assume by your comments that you believe our bodies are only designed for vaginal intercourse between men and women. you imply that the body parts aren't designed for anything else. well, perhaps you should experiment a bit more - even if you're not gay or bisexual, sex does not have to consist only of intercourse.

    additionally, you state that (I'm paraphrasing) the experiences of the gay population are statistically insignificant. I'm not sure if you've ever actually studied statistics. but with a large enough sample, if even 2% of the sample is gay, that's a significant absolute number. and if it's a survey you can perform statistical tests on that subgroup and get meaningful results.

    2%, btw, is a low estimate for the actual proportion of people who are gay or lesbian. I've seen 5% and 10% - I think 10% is high but possible.

    Mark, I have no idea which side J is on or what s/he is saying, and I don't care. ask J to get her/his own blog. it's very easy.

    ReplyDelete
  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Mark just needs to contact Buttsex Troll's ISP and let them know that he is mounting a DoS attack against a message board. That will get his account killed quickly enough.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I admit to being the troll. There is no need to call me an obscene name or take revenge. This is an effort to keep a balance of focus between what Kaeton calls the minutiae and what's really important at the core of this entire debate, as the Tanzania conference confirmed.
    --Troll

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  49. Fr. Mark,

    A couple things. I think you should follow up with the troll's provider. If nothing else, the conservatives tell us bad conduct must be dealt with appropriately.

    Beyond that, however, I notice with some amusement that the immoderator and the other rightwing types tell us, when it is convieniant, all about how this current issue is not about homosexuality. +Schofield made that point, repeatedly, in a recent interview. Um, yeah and what is our troll focused on?

    FWIW
    jimB

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  50. weiwen,

    No, the estimates that 5-10% of the population is LGBT are wrong. It is indeed in the 2-3% range by all credible sources. One link is here:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20011230090803/http://www.allaboutsex.org/KidsSpeakOut_Display.cfm?INDEX=5098

    You can easily find others if you so choose.

    ReplyDelete
  51. OK, I don't know how to post links. But you can go to snopes for one link:

    www.snopes.com/science/stats/populate.htm

    ReplyDelete
  52. vBigots unlimited...wow, it's amazing to still see their dirty little minds/tricks in action... as far as I'm concerned they should receive prompt "treatment" for their ugly infirmities against mankind or be prosecuted and thrown in jail (preferably in Nigeria or Uganda) for mongering crimes of HATE and demeaning/outcasting fellow Christians/Muslims/others with their fear/hate and emotionally twisted and dangerous abusurdities!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Then why not follow up with the ISP of the one using obscenely absusive characterizations?

    The specific reference of the obscenity is a reference to the abundantly documented fact that when the human body is used sexually in ways the Lord didn't design it for, then enormous and multifarious forms of suffering result. This fact is too serious to be reduced to an obscene insult.
    -- the Troll.

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  54. This fact is too serious to be reduced to an obscene insult.

    Then it is also too serious to be reduced to some pathetic netkook's bizarre obsession.

    ReplyDelete
  55. yawner,

    there's the issue of a) underreporting because of stigma, and b) underreporting because people don't know they're gay. these days, the issue of stigma is gradually being reduced, and people are coming out earlier. however, it's not going to be possible to get a true value for sometime.

    that said, I do perceive a politically-based incentive to inflate the proportion of gay people. which in the end is not necessary - discrimination is discrimination no matter what the percentage.

    ReplyDelete
  56. For crying out loud, Troll, if you want to write items this long, get your own blog or contact a vanity publishing company. I started to read your posting, but soon lost interest. If you'll note, the instructions say "Leave your comment."

    BillyD

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  57. If being concerned about the immense suffering of a very large number of people amounts to an obsession, I plead guilty. It shouldn't be termed "bizarre" however.

    Incidentally, I only posted the trial transcript once. Someone else must have cut and pasted it to make it repeat.

    Also, if there is something wrong with that piece that starts off talking about the bookstore, would someone please inform me what that is?

    -- The Troll

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  58. Troll, posting something that long once was once too many times. Leave a comment, not a novel.

    Asking your opponents to read something that long in a comments section is a presumption on their time and patience. Posting it simply to preach to the choir of those who agree with you is just tacky.

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  59. On the subject of what is "statistically insignificant":

    Among gay people, only a small percentage have partners. Out of that group, only a small percentage have long-term partners. Out of that group, only a really small percentage practice fidelity. (And among them, there is no reason to think that their bahavior is safe just because only one partner is involved.)

    -- The Troll

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  60. (And among them, there is no reason to think that their bahavior is safe just because only one partner is involved.) The Whatever

    You know nothing about LGBT people as evidenced by your twisted "behavior" evidence, general hatemongering campaign, dirty minded sensationalism and outright blanket ignorant projecting.

    You are a tiresome/boring extremist and you harm other human beings with your silly self-importance and base/baseless claptrap chatter.

    You are irresponsible and childish.

    ReplyDelete
  61. What an utterly depressing day in blogland.

    I'll pray for you Troll.

    I'll pray for you too Mark. I'll pray this nonsense ends.

    ReplyDelete
  62. All right, dr j, I looked up Dr. Spitzer. Turns out that while he is the author of a controversial study regarding sexual orientation, he specifically does not think that homosexuality is a choice, nor does he think changing one's orientation is at all common. He says that the Christian right (that would be you, by the way) have twisted his study for their own ends. For that matter, I couldn't come up with anything characterizing him as a "gay activist." You wouldn't be trying to mislead us, would you?

    BillyD

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  63. What I'm doing is playing to the reader who is trying to be open-minded and objective. This has been a victory for truth, because it's obvious that the best its opponents can do is engage in namecalling.

    -- the Troll

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  64. Hey Mark,

    I've had to ban this guy a few times...he usually gives up after a few days.

    And folks wonder why I'm so quick to use delete and ban...sheesh!

    I think I'll bookmark this thread as an example of what happens when you don't!

    ReplyDelete
  65. Mark - Katherine Grieb's presentation to the HBs on the covenant is available at T19. An absolute must read.

    Says we are being steamrolled. The Covenant is in effect already. We can tell how it will be interpreted by the Communique. A crisis is being created by the Primates who are angry and want control over TEC.

    She called for a Special Convention in order to have a 5 year fast from the AC, so that we can determine ourselves in our time what to do.

    She says - "But we might remember that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters have long lived in exile and it will be a great privilege to go into exile in their company."

    It is clear, savy, eloquent and quite moving.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Jake is going to use this as an example of what happens when you don't delete and ban. I wish everyone would do that. People like Jake are like Dracula, who couldn't stand to have a crucifix flashed at him. Truth has this way of repelling certain people so strongly that they must "delete" those very people. This whole thread is the perfect example. Hardly any replies about substance -- only namecalling, threats of harm and deletion, etc. Long live Truth! The truth that can and WILL save those who are urgently needing to be rescued from a way of death.
    -- The Troll

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  67. Actually, folks, I'm worried, because Mark has always interceded in cases like this latest troll, including the ban Jake recommends. I hope Mark is not ill.
    Lois Keen

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  68. Just a suspicion, Mark may have attended the anti-war rally in D.C.

    Hope he's not in jail somewhere.

    ...and I hope he is not ill.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I forgot the rally - I'm stuck at home recovering from surgery. Thanks, Frank. Mark, you're our hero. Come home soon.
    Lois

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  70. Hear what Roberts Spitzer has to say in his own words.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwE6_dLweYo

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  71. Another study came out around the same time as the Spitzer study. If you've watch the video linked above, you'll see how this study supports what Robert Sptizer actually said, and not the gross misrepresentations of Spitzer's work by the religious ocnservatives.

    The other study is the work of Michael Schroeder and Ariel Shidlo, Out of a sample of 202 people who met the criteria laid down (that they were initially primarily gay), the following facts emerged:

    1) Many of the therapists were behaving unethically. For example 1/4 of those who had been through the treatments had been pressured into joining, almost none of those who felt it wasn't working were given advice on alternative counseling, and most were misled about the position of the APAs and about the supposed success rates of 'ex-gay' treatments.

    2) Most patients go through an initial 'honeymoon' with the 'ex-gay' movement, followed later by disillusion.

    3) Because of the hostility and lack of support by most 'ex-gay' therapists to 'failures', most patients continued to lie to their therapists about their progress. This is almost certainly the reason why Exodus and Narth therapists continue to claim 30-50% success rates, when outsiders find much less.

    4) Based on self-reporting by the patients to Schroeder and Shidlo, 14% did manage long-term to either greatly reduce or completely stop homosexual practices. Of these, 5% were 'struggling'. Another 5% reported being reasonably happy (almost all of this group were celibate).

    5) Only 4% (i.e. 8 patients) reported a shift in sexual orientation from 5 or more to 3 or less on a 1-7 scale of hetero/homosexual balance. Of these - the only ones who could perhaps be classified as 'ex-gays' - 7 out of 8 put down as occupation that they were 'ex-gay' counselors. The eighth person refused a follow-up interview. Obviously there is a serious conflict of interest/secondary gain issue among this group.

    References:

    A.Shidlo and M.Schroeder (2002): 'Changing Sexual Orientation: A Consumers' Report'. Professional Psychology, Records and Practice 2002 vol 33 248-259

    M.Schroeder and A.Shidlo (2001): 'Ethical Issues in Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapies: An Empirical Study for Consumers'. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy 5(3/4), 2001. Haworth Press

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  72. About the ex-gays:
    You might have noticed about the two longer testimonies on this thread that neither claimed to have moved into a heterosexual orientation. It's basically beside the point. The real point is that both have moved beyond behavior that is harmful to themselves and potential partners.
    -- The Troll

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  73. Anon, I can't imagine what compels people like you to obsess over what people do in bed.

    But since that seems to be your thing, please do share with everyone what my partner of 36 years and I are doing to harm one another.

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  74. It's time some people really started obsessing about this kind of thing; the indifference is staggering. We're talking about God's precious sons and daughters There are exceptions but the general result of gay sex is as follows (with sources noted):

    Seven types of venereal disease, nine types of liver ailments (e.g., hepatitis), and 10 types of trauma (e.g., fecal incontinence). That adds up to 26 non-AIDS diseases. JOURNAL OF ADOLESCENT MEDICINE

    Reviews of the medical literature, including one that covered the findings of 20 different medical journals, concluding that “homosexual men are at particularly high risk of acquiring hepatitis B” and then it listed 10 other diseases. One doctor, in his discussion of the non-AIDS diseases, cites scholarly articles from 27 medical journals. E.G., THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE AND THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION.

    The exclusivity of the relationship did not diminish the incidence of unhealthy sexual acts, which are commonplace among homosexuals. An English study published in the journal AIDS concurred, finding that most "unsafe" sex acts among homosexuals occur in steady relationships. AIDS (A JOURNAL)

    Human Papillomavirus (HPV).( More than twenty types of HPV are incurable STDs that can infect the genital tract of both men and women.) A San Francisco study of Gay and bisexual men revealed that HPV infection was almost universal among HIV-positive men, and that 60 percent of HIV-negative men carried HPV. THE HOMOSEXUAL NEWSPAPER THE WASHINGTON BLADE

    Hepatitis A:: "Outbreaks of hepatitis A among men who have sex with men are a recurring problem in many large cities in the industrialized world."Hepatitis B: The CDC reports that MSM are at increased risk for hepatitis B. Hepatitis C Although less so than with hepatitis A and B, MSM who engage in unsafe sexual practices remain at increased risk for contracting hepatitis C. THE MORTALITY AND MORBIDITY WEEKLY REPORT PUBLISHED BY THE CDC

    Proctitis and Proctocolitis are inflammations of the rectum and colon that cause pain, bloody rectal discharge and rectal spasms. Proctitis is associated with STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and syphilis widespread among homosexuals. HEALTH IMPLICATIONS + THE SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE INFORMATION CENTER OF THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

    While the incidence of anal cancer in the United States is only 0.9/100,000, that number soars to 35/100,000 for homosexuals. That rate doubles again for those who are HIV positive. DR. JOEL PALEFSKY, A LEADING EXPERT IN THE FIELD OF ANAL CANCER

    A study of the medical records of 1,408 lesbians found that women who have sexual relations with women are at significantly higher risk for certain sexually transmitted diseases: "We demonstrated a higher prevalence of BV (bacterial vaginosis), hepatitis C, and HIV risk behaviors in WSW as compared with controls.” SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS

    -- The supposedly terrible Troll

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  75. Dear troll, I asked you a question. All you did was cut and paste a bunch of right wing rhetoric from somewhere else.

    Why didn't you address my question?

    Could it be that you have absolutely no idea what my partner of 36 years and I are doing to harm each other?

    And could it be, as the old saying goes, that fools rush in where angels fear to tread?

    Perhaps you should just go back to drooling in private.

    ReplyDelete

OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
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