Homophobic? Yes or no

Good afternoon friends. I guess this is another of my quarterly guilty, beat-yourself-up inspired posts that I occasionally start.

From the title, you can see that I am beating myself up because I fear that my position on SSM is causing me to be (falsely) labeled as a homophobe. I think some background would help.

My husband’s sibling is SSA. I knew this before I got married but after our engagement. My husband did not receive anywhere near the Catechism schooling that I did. As a result, he did not understand the concept of scandal, which is something I fully understood. Early in our marriage, I caved into some thoughts and actions that I knew were wrong (and led to scandal) in order to “keep the peace” with my husband and in-laws. I am a pleaser and rather passive, so I did not stand up for myself (and our faith) and, quite frankly, was too afraid to in some cases. Now, many years later, my husband and I fully understand the teachings of the Church and the sin of scandal.

This is where I get accused of being a homophobe by I now bear witness to the Church’s teaching on SSA where at one time I was wishy-washy. I am not obnoxious about it, as that is not my personality, but I stand my ground. So, does that make me a homophobe? I don’t think so, but enough people accuse me of that (and of not being compassionate) that I am really starting to wonder if stating the Catholic position equates me being a homophobe. Should I just keep my mouth shut?

Thank you for your consideration.

You are not a homophobe. You are being attacked and called names for not conforming to how others think you should. If anybody is a ___phobe it is your family and friends that label you in this way. They are the ones exhibiting the phobic behavior not you. “Conform or be ridiculed and marginalized.”

Are you constantly bringing the issue up? Are you constantly getting in their faces about it? Or are they the ones pressing the issue? If the former, then perhaps you should think about why you feel it necessary to bring the subject up when they’re aware of your stance. If the latter, perhaps you should simply figure out a way to affirm your own beliefs, acknowledge your love for your in-law and move out.

It depends what you’re saying and how you are saying it.

The Church teaches us that we are to avoid all unjust discrimination and disrespect towards people who are homosexual.

I can’t tell you if you are being ‘homophobic’ (i.e. unreasonably discriminatory) because you haven’t described what has happened that makes you believe you are being labeled as homophobic.

Provided you are acting out of charity and love, and seen to be doing so; provided you aren’t being hurtful, judgemental or rude; and provided you’re not forcing your beliefs down people’s throats then you’re unlikely to be acting in a discriminatory fashion.

Remember, the Church is often accused of being more interested in what people do in the bedroom than the way in which they live their lives and help and support their fellow man… don’t bolster that prejudice against the Church by your actions and instead show charity and humility, and you’ll be far more likely to win people round to your way of thinking.

No, I am not brining this up. I know better than to do that (I sooner have my teeth pulled without pain killer). Where this has come into play is when my in-laws talk in front of my son using language as So-and-So and his husband or when they want us to stay with them for holidays under the same roof where 2 men share the same bed. Yes, I do speak up and gently affirm that we cannot expose our young son to such things because of scandal (and because we want to ground him in the faith and not be confused).

I am not sure what you mean by move out, but I think I am affirming my love by wanting them to get to Heaven and not encouraging sinful behavior. Obviously, that is not seen as love.

No, you are not a homophobe. You have every right to not expose your children to something with which you morally disagree. “Homophobe” is nothing but a cudgel with which to bully others into submission.

Yes, I am a flaming homophobe. It’s not something I should have to feel ashamed of. I was born that way.

This comes up with my parents-in-law and not the SSA son. The situation where it has come up is when husband and I insist that we cannot allow our son to be exposed yet to certain behaviors or language. My MIL has done her best to normalize this son’s lifestyle. She will refer to them as married, she allows them to sleep in the same bed, she refers to the partner as a spouse…these are two of the most recent examples. She will offer a lot of pushback, saying that I am overreacting (note, hubby does not get this because she knows I am the easier target). She belongs to a dissenting organization that is a part of New Ways Ministry, which we think is where she gets a lot of her talking points.

However, the kicker for me was when she said, “You wait and see. If your son is gay, you will change your mind.” It is very hard for me to remain charitable when I get bombarded with junk comments like that (with that one being the worst). Am I not allowed to get angry over those attacks without being called a homophobe? :shrug:

Touché! :clapping::clapping: And your daughter is beautiful!

:thumbsup: :twocents: I agree with this. You aren’t the one with the problem, so stick to your guns here.

Haha, thanks… I deleted that when I found out this wasn’t a question that was actually being asked upon of other posters… Whoops.

…but thank you for your kind words. :slight_smile:

And I need to clarify that I do start off charitable. MIL (FIL is now deceased) knows how we feel about this but will still try to normalize the behavior when in conversation with us unless we speak up and ask her to refrain. That’s when she tries to convince us to see things her way and, when we stand our ground, she starts to get nasty. At that point, I start to lose my cool and very clearly state my beliefs, the definition of scandal, and my desire to be no part of her normalization tactics.

My husband told me the same thing, but it is hard to be called this by your in-laws (and it is my MIL and FIL who are the worst offenders). The SSA son barely bothers with either of his brothers. My in-laws feel some strong need to justify this son’s path, even though they give all appearances of being devout Catholics.

I doubt you are a homophobe, but not knowing you and not having first hand info about the conversations I can’t say for sure. One of my cousins is “married” to his husband and they have an adopted daughter. We have told them exactly how we see this, and left it at that. His husband does not attend family gatherings, but usually his daughter does (thankfully! We all love and accept her. She has no fault in her situation.) His husband does attend Mass with them and they did baptize their daughter. There is no point in continuously stating a position that he is not receptive to, and to do so will only create distance. Where there is distance, there is no hope for conversion. If we can foster a loving environment, maybe one day he will see the love we share for him and possibly return “Home.”

Agreed. Would you be cynophobic if you didn’t want people to marry dogs?

I’d sit down with your MIL for a civil conversation about this, and settle it once and for all. Honestly, if your son were gay you would have a different perspective. Not that you would ever be okay with gay activities, but when it’s your child… You know what I mean. This is her baby. He’s an adult now, but he’s precious to her. She is protective of him. You need to hammer out what can and cannot be discussed in front of your child, but you don’t need to debate her about the morality of homosexuality. You’re not discussing a nebulous political or religious topic with her - you are talking about her beloved child. So stop it. Let her “protect” her son, and you protect yours. Make an agreement about what you are willing to let her say in front of your boy, and what your boy can witness, and leave it at that.

Homophobic is a made-up word with nonsense etymology. It is used as a whip to beat people into submission to an ideology. Are you actually afraid of homosexuals? (Well, that’s what the word is supposed to mean, although it doesn’t really.) No, of course you aren’t afraid of them. And I doubt anyone who uses that word against someone these days really thinks that anyone is afraid of homosexuals except maybe backwoods ultra-masculine types.

What they mean is that you hate homosexuals. Do you? Only you know this, but it doesn’t sound like it. Of course as a Catholic you aren’t supposed to hate anyone, and you already know that, but it won’t do any good to explain that to someone who calls you a homophobe, probably, or to tell them that you are against homosexuals being threatened, beaten, losing their jobs, etc.

What they really mean is, “Do you support our agenda?” The answer, obviously, is that you don’t. So in their eyes, you’re a homophobe. Well, they made the ridiculous word up, so I guess they’re the ones who get to define the terms.

I would respond to your MIL with as much compassion as I could muster and tell her that I understand how difficult her position is as the mother of a homosexual son whom she loves. And then I would stick to my guns and refuse to discuss it, and tell her that if she continues, she will need to leave. She is bullying you, and despite the difficulty of her situation, she has no right to do that.

She is wrong, by the way. Plenty of parents who have homosexual children continue to both oppose homosexual behavior and love their children. You’ll see more of your MIL’s attitude as the millenia marches on, but it didn’t used to be as common.

The SSA brother is either atheist or agnostic and barely speaks to either or us (or his other brother & SIL). My issue is with the parents, who claim to be steadfastly Catholic but push their dissident Catholic organization’s material in our faces and tell us that “if we don’t accept the complete SSA package, we don’t accept this brother at all.”

The brother hates me for not inviting his partner to our wedding nearly 19 years ago. Still never got over that grudge.

We did just that. She didn’t like us not accepting “the whole package” as I call it. And the point is, she will not respect our boundaries, period. I am not debating any morality issues with her. Where did you get that from?

And no, if my son were gay, I would most certainly not have a different perspective. I don’t affirm anyone in his/her sin, son included.

Sadly, MIL is not very mature and is terribly difficult to communicate with, mostly because she will try to twist something I say or only remember part of a story if it benefits her (this shows up in all areas, not just SSA topics).

This is another example of what in-laws do. I (not my husband, because he went to a secular college) get an e-mail out of the blue from them saying that I attended a bigoted university (Notre Dame) because they would not sanction some specific homosexual student group. I had nothing to do with the decision. I only graduated from there. The e-mail goes on to say how can Notre Dame call themselves Catholic when they act like this. When I tried to defend ND, I was called a bigot. I can’t win.

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