I could use some help here. I know that the Catholic Church teaches us to love and respect all. I also know it teaches that homosexual acts and gay marriage are sinful. My problem is explaining this to colleagues who continually throw the “you’re homo-phobic” charge back in my face.
How do we explain the Churches teaching and stance on this aspect of moral theology and properly respond to the “homo-phobic” charge that seems to be all so common these days. Typically I try to explain that it is not the person but the act that the Church is against but I often find I am at a loss of words to properly explain this. Can someone please give me a few suggestions as to responding to such people regarding the Churches stance on gay marriage and homsexuality and that we are not homo-phobic".
You could try pointing out that once upon a time there was a more specific use of the term “homophobia.” Now I don’t recall if it ever was a technical psychiatric diagnosis, but there was a time when it meant having an obsessional fear that one was gay or would suddenly become gay. Sort of a form of OCD - like “How do I know for sure I’m not gay?”
It usually manifested itself to young people who were “finding themselves” and unsure of their identities (not just sexual, personality as a whole). And it could be set off by having several people (friends or media figures) “come out” as gay within a short period of time. Then the young person would wonder “might I be next?” and if they had a worrying type of mind it could become an obsession and a source of great anxiety.
Now it has been taking by the pro-gay movement and expanded as an umbrella political term to use against anyone who objects to the gay movement’s agenda, has a belief that homosexual activity (as opposed to being SSA but chaste) is wrong, opposes redefinition of marriage, etc.
I tell them from the perspective of the Catholic church that we consider it a sin. That I am also a sinner, therefore I am not judging you. The Catholic Church holds the family unit in high regard because God told us to be fruitful and multiply. Homosexual unions cannot procreate thus they are going against what Jesus instructed us to do. This sin like all sin is forgivable through the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. I leave it at that. I keep it simple.
I do not go into all the “technical” church teachings because they will stop listening.
When some one accuses me of being Homo-phobic, I say, “Oh I thought we could have an intelligent discussion, where ideas could be expressed in a respectful manner. I’m sorry you feel the need to resort to name calling.” People usually resort to name calling when they are loosing an argument! They are trying to hurt you on purpose to shut you up!
Here’s another response, “So I’m supposed to listen to your position with respect, but you won’t give any to me?” or turn it back on them, and the truth about their behavior “Why do you have to be such a hater?” They will start back peddling, then you can point out how intolerant they are of any view but militant gay rights. Another response, which works with Christians is, “So I’m supposed to listen to them, above listening to God?” Then I teach how God always calls us to what is best for us, not what is easy, like following our sinful inclinations. I teach that it is false compassion to support the gay life style, because it encourages them to continue in a way of life that harms them, and others. If you love some one you want what is best for them!
It would seem some Shrinks are still divided on the issue over Homophobia being a mental issue and treating patients for it with psychotropic drugs. Not surprising if it makes them money. It also keeps big pharmaceutical companies happy. :rolleyes:
Hurling out derogatory labels is just an attempt to short circuit discussion. If they are truly tolerant of all beliefs, that necessitates them being tolerant of the viewpoint that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.
You might ask if they think being an alcoholic is an acceptable lifestyle choice. If they say no, then ask them if it would be accurate to call them alcohol-phobic.
When you say “colleagues,” I assume that you are referring to the workplace. You need to be very careful discussing homosexuality in work situations due to the current political climate. Of course, people in the workplace who ridicule you for being Christian may be committing illegal discrimination themselves. However, the current climate is open season on Christians.
Homophobia also exhibits itself in violent acts and words committed against persons of homosexual orientation.
A person who, say, refuses to sell food in his shop to a customer because that person is homosexual is guilty of homophobia.
The Church teaches us that we are to avoid undue and unjust discrimination against people with homosexual tendencies. To that extent it recognises that ‘homophobia’ exists and is wrong.
To the OP, if you are trying to fend off claims of institutional ‘homophobia’ as regards the Church, you would do best to illustrate that the Church teaches explicitly that the simple presence of a homosexual desire or orientation in a person is morally neutral and that it’s only the sexual function where used outside marriage that is to be avoided - and that it’s condemned avoided for heterosexuals just as much. The Church treats gay and straight people completely equally in that regard since the sexual act is meant for the purpose of procreation (which is an observable objective truth whether or not you’re a religious person).
Homophobic is a contrived term used to silence those that oppose homosexual acts. It is a terrible charge and one that misleads. It would be like wrongly calling someone a bigot or a hater. It is mostly used as a weapon.
You may want to start by asking them why they are so closed-minded? Why must they call you names if their position is sound?
The Church never uses the term homophobia. There is no such thing. If someone refuses to sell something to a homosexual person, that is only the choice of the shop owner - nobody else. To label a group, like Catholics, as homophobic is irrational.
Discrimination exists, but it would be wrong to call it “an irrational fear.” People bully other people because of their skin color, their weight and even political views.
I understand “violent acts.” What are “violent words”?
Ask them if being in favor of same sex marriage means they are gay?
Also, I suggest not trying to explain it, but finding a tract online that does and sending them a link to it. People don’t really want the information, usually, they just want to argue. So don’t. Witness through the way you live, instead.