Archive for the ‘Civil Rights Movements’ Category

From intrinsically disordered to intrinsically odious

by Doughlas Remy

After more than a week of testy exchanges with friends and other respondents on The Cornerstone Forum’s Facebook page, Gil Bailie expresses his exasperation in an untitled post on 6/28/13. I believe his post clarifies his position very ably, and I will respond to it in detail. First, however, a little background:

Mr. Bailie believes we are in the midst of a cultural crisis. So do I. The one that he sees and the one that I see are same, but our perspectives on it are very different.

Though hardly a utopian, I see our cultural stresses in a mostly positive light, for I believe they are signs of a creative unfolding of the better parts of our human nature. I am hopeful, but not always optimistic, that this unfolding will continue, because time is running out and the worsening condition of our planet is creating environmental stresses that could warp or reverse these positive tendencies.

Mr. Bailie’s view, on the other hand, is apocalyptic: the worst impulses of our fallen natures are in the ascendency, and only those who are faithful to the teachings of the Church will resist being swept away by the currents of cultural change.

The “crisis” results from the opposing movements of two great tectonic plates: modernism and religion. Modernism is associated with the European Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and, more recently, the scientific and communications revolutions. It is fundamentally consequentialist and pragmatic, secular and naturalistic, progressive, democratic, and egalitarian. Religion (including the political religions of Communism and Nazism) is associated with resistance to all of the above. It is supernaturalist, conservative/regressive, authoritarian, and anti-scientific when contradicted by science. It tends to distrust and even abhor the expansion of knowledge and the free exchange of information and ideas.

The Cornerstone Forum’s Facebook page is a microcosm of the cultural clashes that I have just described. This accounts for my longstanding interest in it. One can’t do a longitudinal study of a cultural petrie dish without somehow staying in the lab and collecting data.

So, I found Mr. Bailie’s post very enlightening and will respond to it here as best I can. He begins:

A few critics seem to think that opinions expressed on this Facebook page are so alien to common decency as to be intrinsically odious.

Notes from the UndergroundThe term “intrinsically odious” cannot fail to remind us of the Catechism’s description of homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered.” Is this just a coincidence, or is it a reverberation? Several of Mr. Bailie’s critics and one of his supporters have already commented on the mimetic doubling effects that have become apparent, both in Mr. Bailie’s responses and my own project of “mirroring” TCF on this site. I believe there is considerable truth in these observations, and I am willing to own that truth for my part. Resentment has indeed driven many of my responses to Mr. Bailie’s incessant disparagement of homosexuals over the years. Why do I continue reading his homophobic comments? It’s not because I enjoy being demeaned. Rather, it is because Mr. Bailie’s treatment of me and other LGBTs makes me angry, and I believe I can both own that anger and put it to good use in the service of others. (I realize this holds the promise of a fruitful discussion about the merits of righteous anger from a Girardian perspective: How can one be certain that one’s anger is righteous, and what if it is not?)

An additional reason for my returning again and again to track Mr. Bailie’s shabby treatment of homosexuals is that I am witnessing the fascinating spectacle of a mimetic reversal in progress. In recent years, those who were once so virulent in their denunciations of all things gay have begun to worry that the tables are being turned on them and that they will become as marginalized for their bigotry as LGBTs have been for their sexual orientation. We have heard this from Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown of NOM, and from virtually every other media opponent of same-sex marriage. In fact, it has become one of the major talking-points of the opposition. Just last week we heard it in Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion on the DOMA case, where, unaware of the irony of his remarks, he made the very same complaints that we have heard from homosexuals for years, i.e., we are being condemned, demeaned, and humiliated; we do not wish to be adjudged “hostes humani generis” (enemies of the human race). This is the language of the victim and of the powerless, and I do not believe Justice Scalia was shamming for the sake of effect. There was emotion in his words, and that emotion was fear mixed with anger and resentment.

I sensed that same trepidation in Mr. Bailie’s opening sentence for the post in question: “A few critics seem to think that opinions expressed on this Facebook page are so alien to common decency as to be intrinsically odious.”

US-JUSTICE-GAY-MARRIAGEThe DOMA and Prop 8 decisions, added to the state legislative victories of recent months and years and the same-sex marriage legalizations happening in Europe and Latin America, have rattled the political right. There can be no mistaking that. Cultural crises are always about paradigm shifts and usually entail redistributions of power. But the long arc of equality and justice in our consitutional democracies should ensure that no one has anything to fear when these changes occur.

There’s much more in Mr. Bailie’s post to chew on, and I will continue doing so tomorrow.


Gil Bailie: Same-Sex Marriage is NOT a Civil Rights Issue.

Bernice King, My Father Did not...

[Note: The following article was posted on The Cornerstone Forum site on 3/13/13 and then removed two days later following responses from Tim Brock and Jim Swenson, below.]

Gil Bailie of The Cornerstone Forum writes:

The attempt on the part of those insisting on the redefinition of marriage to wrap their cause in the mantle of civil rights—claiming to represent “the civil rights issue of our time”—is ludicrous on many levels. (Today the civil rights of those wanting to express their sexuality in novel ways is [sic] perfectly protected already.) The real analogy is with the Supreme Court’s invention of the “right” to abortion—which really IS the civil rights issue of our time. Regardless of how many get swept up into the hazy logic of the sexual revolutionaries, over time people will begin to clear their heads—as has happened with the abortion question. Thirty years ago, and even ten years ago, pro-abortion advocates really believed that they were achieving what the Supreme Court claimed to be doing in Roe v. Wade: that is, settling the issue and ending the controversy. Regardless of how much damage is done in the meantime, the reality of marriage—just as the reality of racial justice and the reality of human life in the womb—will prevail. To steal from Francis Scott Key’s “Star Spangled Banner,” someday the morning will break, the smoke and haze of obfuscation will clear, and we or those who come after us will see that Western civilization is still there. Or we won’t, and it won’t be. For that is what is at stake in all three of these debates: racial justice, the life of the unborn child, and the cultural uniqueness and indispensability [of] marriage as it has been understood until the day before yesterday. (Again: go read Snyder’s book “Bloodlands,” and see what happens when the fundamental structures of cultural life are compromised or—in our case—cavalierly dismantled. “Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…”)

Same-sex marriage is NOT a civil rights issue.

Tim Brock responds:

Gil, what you say about the civil rights of LGBTs being already protected is far from the truth. Forty-one states still do not allow gays to marry the person of their choice. In the nine states that do allow same-sex marriage, the couples are denied 1134 federal benefits that opposite-sex couples enjoy. Twenty-nine states allow discrimination based on sexual orientation. This means bias in hiring, promotion, job assignment, housing, conjugal visits, immigration, and access to medical services. Adoption by same-sex couples is banned in many states. This information is available all over the Internet.

I agree that the reality of marriage will prevail, and I think we’ve heard more than enough doom-saying. In those jurisdictions where same-sex marriage has been legalized, straight marriages have not been adversely affected. Western civilization is still there, and anarchy is not loosed upon the world.

I believe marriage is good for people, and I want my gay son to marry the person he loves. I want him to have loving companionship and the stability that marriage provides. And I want him to be able to talk about his “marriage,” not his “relationship.”

Jim Swenson responds:

Bernice King made the quoted statement in 2004. Since that time, she has joined her mother and her sister in supporting LGBT rights. She gave a very gay-inclusive speech not long ago.

[end of thread]

Dean Hansen writes:

Martin Luther King took his first bullet from rival black leader and congressman Adam Clayton Powell, who threatened to expose Bayard Rustin as a homosexual in a blackmail threat to derail the civil rights movement. Powell was prepared to lie and say that Rustin and King were having a sexual affair.   Rustin was King’s right-hand man, and the one who would later be responsible for organizing the March on Washington in 1963. Without him, it most likely wouldn’t have happened, and much of the civil rights legislation that followed would have been delayed. Before Stonewall, one “exposed” homosexuality; one didn’t deal with it or acknowledge it, and one certainly didn’t accept it publicly. King was worried that the movement would be derailed by such a controversy, and when Rustin volunteered to resign from the organization early on, King let him go temporarily. Rustin was devastated by King’s decision, because he fully expected him to call Powell’s bluff.

Post hoc generalizations and assessments about King’s stand on political and moral issues that were not yet even active in the public imagination are unfair to his memory and accomplishments, especially when they come from his own offspring, who are equally divided on the issue. King never said anything about homosexuality pro or con, public or private. It might be fitting to remind ourselves that he bears that in common with the founder of his faith.
The March on Washington demanded that the government put an end to officially sanctioned forms of racism. It doesn’t seem that difficult to imagine that Martin Luther King, whose movement for civil justice based on non-violence was largely implemented and sustained by the organizational skills of a homosexual black man, would be any less passionate about ending officially sanctioned forms of sexual bigotry that seek to keep one group of citizens at arm’s length over issues of marital equality.

Asking 3% of the population to live in perpetual sexual limbo in order to be pleasing to an imaginary conception of God is not that much different from asking Blacks in Mississippi to drink from a separate water fountain, when they are both drinking the exact same water. If “living water” is more divisive than its liquid version, who would want it, much less endure it?