Monday, January 12, 2009

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus on "homophobia" as "fear"

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It turns out that Fr. Richard John Neuhaus addressed the slurs of Andrew Sullivan and Co. nearly nineteen years ago, in a May 1990 review of Homosexuality in the Priesthood and the Religious Life (edited by Jeannine Gramic, Crossroad) [Ignatius Insight Scoop]:

  • In addition to being insensitive and unfeeling toward non-homosexuals who are coping with sexuality and its discontents, the activist literature is typically cruel and slanderous in its explanation of why most people have negative views of homosexuality. Anything other than the “correct” view of homosexuality is attributed to “homophobia,” which is consistently described as the result of bigotry, ignorance, and the fear of one’s own sexuality. If it is an instance of homophobia that parents earnestly hope that their children will not turn out to be homosexual, then almost every parent in the world is homophobic. Books such as Homosexuality, which incessantly talk about the fears, frustrations, angers, and depressions involved in being homosexual, inadvertently reinforce the reasons why parents hope their children will not be homosexual. The dramatically higher incidence among homosexuals of suicide, psychological disorder, and sexually related disease (frequently lethal) suggests that homosexuality is anything but gay. Of course the activists blame these pathologies on society’s intolerance, but it is not intolerance that produces another and very basic reason why people hope their children will not be homosexual. Whatever its alleged merits, homosexuality is sterile. Few things are more fundamental to societal interest and parental desire than the hope for children and grandchildren, for successor generations that will carry on our communal stories. The society’s “failure” to put homosexuality on a moral par with heterosexuality is not a result of homophobia, as that term is now recklessly used, but of a human refusal to accept the end of history.
See also George Weigel's column on Father Neuhaus in Newsweek magazine.
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