Catholic Group Refuses to Take Part in Panel Discussion on LGBT Issues April 14, 2011

Catholic Group Refuses to Take Part in Panel Discussion on LGBT Issues

I recently got an email from a student at the University of Illinois who’s helping put together a panel discussion called “Religion and the LGBT Community.” The plan is to have representatives from different faiths answer questions about homosexuality in front of LGBT students (and allies).

His committee invited all the faith communities on campus to be a part of this. Sounds like a relevant, important issue that anyone would want to be a part of… but one group rejected the offer:

… the Catholic affiliated church near campus declined and also sent our office a five page declaration of all the arguments they have against homosexuality… I found it very unsettling that the church has a “ready to go” sheet of rebuttals for the topic of homosexuality…

Here’s a glimpse from that document:

Homosexual activists often justify homosexuality by claiming that ten percent of the population is homosexual, meaning that it is a common and thus acceptable behavior.

But not all common behaviors are acceptable, and even if ten percent of the population were born homosexual, this would prove nothing. One hundred percent of the population is born with original sin and the desires flowing from it. If those desires manifest themselves in a homosexual fashion in ten percent of the population, all that does is give us information about the demographics of original sin.

But the fact is that the ten percent figure is false. It stems from the 1948 report by Alfred Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. The study was profoundly flawed, as later psychologists studying sexual behavior have agreed. Kinsey’s subjects were drawn heavily from convicted criminals; 1,400 of his 5,300 final subjects (twenty-six percent) were convicted sex offenders—a group that by definition is not representative of normal sexual practices.

Furthermore, the ten percent figure includes people who are not exclusively homosexual but who only engaged in some homosexual behavior for a period of time and then stopped—people who had gone through a fully or partially homosexual “phase” but who were not long-term homosexuals. (For a critique of Kinsey’s research methods, see Kinsey, Sex, and Fraud, by Dr. Judith Reisman and Edward Eichel [Lafayette, Louisiana: Lochinvar & Huntington House, 1990].)

Recent and more scientifically accurate studies have shown that only around one to two percent of the population is homosexual.

Feel free to respond to that drivel…

Meanwhile, I’m disappointed the Catholic group has no desire to explain or defend their stance to the students’ faces. It’s a cowardly move. Instead, they’ll stand at a distance, parading their ignorance, handing out sheets with arguments that would be laughable if they weren’t so damn infuriating.

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  • I don’t believe in original sin. I find the concept immoral and somewhat cult like. Every cult starts with “we can fix what’s wrong with you” and I don’t think anyone can fix not being happy with themselves with out knowing yourself and accepting who you are. This is where religion fails. Religion is simply Spackle that helps you cover up your own self image issues by replacing self image with an invisible being who loves everyone in exchange for worship and adoration. Somehow I don’t think that is healthy.

  • In their defense, it is hard to be on a panel for an event where you know that everybody is going to hate you for your opinions. Aside from the fact that I think the LGBT groups are right, it would be fairly equivalent to having a gay couple speak at mass about why it’s ok. It would be pretty nerve-wracking either way, and I’m not sure I can really blame any group for wanting to avoid that anger. Maybe that is still necessary to get over that for any real discussion, but that doesn’t make it easy to do it.

    As for the ten percent thing, I haven’t looked into it at all so I don’t really know. If it was only based on that one study, and it was a flawed study, then of course we should stop quoting it as fact. I really have no idea if that’s true, though, without any research on it. And in any case, from the perspective opposing homosexual activity and the perspective encouraging it, either way it doesn’t really matter whether it’s 2% or 10%. The point for either side stands: it’s natural, even if less natural than 10%, but if you also assume other sins are natural, then whether it’s natural or not isn’t the point anyway. I don’t think anything there is new to the debate.

  • Steve

    “I found it very unsettling that the church has a “ready to go” sheet of rebuttals for the topic of homosexuality”

    Is anyone honestly surprised at this? I’m not at all upset or anything that they declined. It’s not like they needed to be invited in the first place. Precisely because anyone should know what they say. Better that the audience is spared to hear their bigotry in person. And that doesn’t just go for the Catholic Church, but any other mainstream sect (I know there are some accepting ones, but they aren’t “mainstream”)

  • Steve

    As for the Kinsey study. Yes, it’s flawed considering what we’ve learned since then about sexuality in general. But where the CC completely fails is in not acknowledging that the Kinsey scale is a continuum. A lot more people are bisexual than strictly gay. Of course those morons would rather have them ignore those feelings and pretend to be entirely straight.

  • Bulletproofheeb

    It’s always depressing to see how “humanity is disgusting” is such a fundamental concept in Catholicism. Never surprising but always disheartening.

  • Oli

    replace the word homosexuality with catholic or priest in that paragraph and it makes more sense

  • Anna N.

    right, they are using the “two Angels in Sodom” story as counter argument. Did anyone read the next paragraph? Lot offers HIS DAUGHTER instead!. you call that moral? WTH?

    (TL:DR: gaah. I hate those kind of christians)

  • MammaG

    “Our imaginary god says it’s bad.” Why would we expect logical thought from delusional people? When one chooses to be ignorant, I believe that’s called stupid. Being arrogant about it makes them a douchebag.

  • Ron in Houston

    Well, not liking their arguments and saying that their not defending their stance are incompatible. They are defending their stance you’re just not buying it.

  • Joe

    Discounting the appeal to divine law, which has no place in a discussion with a group that doesn’t share your religion, we’re left with a natural law argument which presumes that homosexuality is a sin without any supporting arguments (and indeed ignores the fact that some groups of people are genetically alcoholic), and a few straw men. Not only is it logically juvenile, it doesn’t really touch on the meat of the Catholic Church’s stance that homosexual acts are not and can never be procreative, making them a misuse of human sexuality and therefore immoral. If this is what they are working with, it’s probably for the best that this particular Catholic group isn’t participating. Regardless of the arguments for the immorality of homosexuality, there’s nothing in Catholic theology with would make it any worse then missing Mass on Sunday (A mortal sin, but not generally a major issue for public discussion). It becomes more complex when you bring same sex marriage into the equation, but really, the theology of sacramental verses legal marriage should be applied to homosexual marriages, just like it’s applied to any other non-sacramental marriage (i.e. non-baptized couples aren’t married in the eyes of the church, but it doesn’t really matter because they aren’t Catholic anyways, and fall under the civil laws, not the moral law of the Church), unless someone seriously wants to argue that anyone not Catholic shouldn’t get married.
    Once again, the human tendency towards abandon all logic when dealing with religion almost makes me ashamed to be religious myself. Is it really that hard to say ” I think this action is wrong, but I do a bunch of stuff I think is wrong, plus I can’t prove any of what I believe, so I’m just going to shut up and worry about myself.”?

  • Dr. Cuddles

    “1,400 of his 5,300 final subjects (twenty-six percent) were convicted sex offenders—a group that by definition is not representative of normal sexual practices.

    I had to laugh when I saw this. I wonder what percentage of Catholic Priests SHOULD be convicted Sex Offenders.

  • MaryD

    Ron in Houston is right. It would be strange indeed if a doctrinal organisation such as the catholic church didn’t have a ‘position paper’.

    The doctrine of original sin is fundamental to the catholic faith; the 10% quota appears to be fundamental to the LGBT faith. Both faiths have got it wrong.

  • Ashley Moltzan

    I grew up Catholic and remember as a teen I got the book Did Adam and Eve have Belly Buttons which answered many questions about homosexuality in multiple demeaning ways, mostly like the above explaining how it is sinful. I also remember my dad saying when i was younger as a teen “I don’t hate the sinner, I hate the sin.” As I am older, I really hate that statement especially since my best friend is gay.

  • Ash

    There have been a large number of surveys since Kinsey giving a range of numbers. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_demographics_in_the_United_States Based on those data, I’d guess anywhere between 2% and 8% of people are gay, depending on how you define it and ask the question.

  • Tim

    The work is done on our end…we extended the invitation to open discussion, and they refused it and threw 5 pages of overly-verbose junk statistics and their usual bigotry back at the invitation. Did we really expect anything more from them? The more times they do things like this, hopefully the more people will see them for who they are.
    That aside, who really needs their ilk at what’s supposed to be an open discussion?

  • It doesn’t matter how many people are gay. Whether it’s 10%, or 1%, or even just one person in the whole country.

    The number is irrelevant.

    Why? Because this is a free f-ing country and people can be gay if they want to. Or if, as seems much more likely, that’s how they’re born.

    Catholics can either stamp their feet and pout and whine and fume and bluster about this reality — which they cannot change, barring amending the Constitution — or they can accept it, like mature adults, and move on with their lives.

    The choice is theirs. That they’ve chosen the juvenile path of taking their ball and going home ’cause they’re afraid they’ll lose the game, shows what sort of character they have.

    Which is to say, they haven’t any. Not a speck.

  • Illinois University

    I was one of the organizers of the event and we just finished the forum tonight, and it went really well. While the catholic group technically said they had other commitments, it was odd they didn’t send anyone.

    @Ryan – it was an event designed for LGBT community members to ask faith organizations exactly what they believed in, not be a firing squad, but it is hard to combat that perspective because so many have a negative view of religion in the LGBT community.

    If you want to know any more details of the event, just say it in the comments and I’ll be glad to oblige.

  • Jordan

    Do we remember when they attempted deflecting the accusations of child rape by saying that the problem wasn’t pedophilia but, rather, homosexuality? I think they even quoted the overrepresentation of priest/young boy among incidents as some sort of evidence.

  • Lion IRC

    Hemmant Mehta wrote :

    … I found it very unsettling that the church has a “ready to go” sheet of rebuttals for the topic of homosexuality…

    Unsettling? Why?

    The church has been “ready to go” on this issue for thousands of years.

    It’s not like they are going to be caught off-guard.

    It’s not as if someone is going to turn church theology or scriptural doctines upside down with a surprise question they have never heard before.

    Amazing as some here might find this, some of us church goers actually LIKE having a set of values which dont change like the wind.

    This sort of poll-driven, focus group theology is lame.

    Its for shepherds who dont know their sheep & for sheep who dont know their (capital “S”) ….Shepherd.

  • ACN

    The church has been “ready to go” on this issue for thousands of years.

    The church has been ready to go on this for, at most, 2000 years. I get that 2 meets the strict definition of “plural of thousand” but come on.

  • Erp

    And some of us question since what everyone knows is sometimes wrong (e.g., that slavery is acceptable).

    It might have been interesting to have invited someone from Dignity to come. Dignity is an organization of Catholics who support respect and justice for gays and lesbians (the hierarchy officially doesn’t like it). http://www.dignityusa.org/

  • First, good for you for adding your voice to the dangerous distortions the rightwing pumps out about sex.

    Now onward to their endlessly cited “10%” figure. I’ve read an enormous number of articles where the anti-Kinsey yahoos first claim Kinsey said it and then attack him for dishonesty; I can’t recall, however, reading a single citation they ever gave in Kinsey for their claim.

    So, based on our recent studies, herewith Kinsey’s real figures, taken from page 651 of “Sexual Behavior In the Human Male:”

    10% of all white males had at least one three-year period between the ages of 16 and 55 where they were “more or less exclusively homosexual” which Kinsey defined as either a 5 or 6 on his scale.

    8% of the group, under the above conditions, were exclusively homosexual (Kinsey 6) for a three-year period.

    4% of the group were “exclusively homosexual throughout their lives.”

    So be armed with the facts: the next time somebody claims Kinsey faked the 10% figure you can point out that on page 651 Kinsey provided the figure of 4% and the only people with fake 10% figures are the people who attack Kinsey.

  • Stephen P

    @Lion IRC: so you’re fine with slavery and think that anyone who translates the bible into English should be tortured to death?

  • Lion IRC

    Hi Stephen P,
    NO and NO.
    Cheers – Lion (IRC)
    PS. See how easy it is to overcome a straw argument method! This blog has quite a good discussion forum if you want to “verbal” me some more and debate the bible/slavery/LGBT
    Think of Hemmants blog as the courtyard.
    Come on in.

  • @MaryD

    The doctrine of original sin is fundamental to the catholic faith; the 10% quota appears to be fundamental to the LGBT faith. Both faiths have got it wrong.

    Oh come on, anyone who’s bothered looking it up knows the 10% figure is an overestimate, and it’s silly to think that equal rights hinge on such a thing.

  • Christophe Thill

    One hundred percent of the population is born with original sin

    [citation needed]

  • Brian

    If there’s only one homosexual person in the whole wide world, it’s still wrong to discriminate against him/her, as wrong as discriminating against the sole person in the world who was born with a flipper where his navel should be.

  • Nick Andrew

    If their views on homosexuality were so reasonable, they should be able to stand up on the stage and justify them. The fact that they chose not to, speaks volumes about their inability to defend said beliefs.

    Perhaps these views can only be aired in Kent Hovind-style lectures where dissent is not allowed and all questions are asked and answered by the speaker.

  • Lisa

    Is that really so surprising? The Catholic Church is all about making people into sexual deviants.

  • David

    I went to U of I. The Newmann Center is ultra conservative and put the final nails in the coffin of my then wavering Catholic faith.

  • TheRealVeon

    The 10% figure comes from people misreading Kinsey’s analysis. Out of the general population he found that roughly 40% of people had had some kind of homosexual contact in their lives. Out of that 40%, 10% had had exclusively homosexual contact. That’s where the 10% number comes from.

  • Jeebus

    “original sin”

    LOL. Yes, being born is a sin. Living your life is a sin. Jerking off is a sin. Eating too much is a sin. Working on Sunday is a sin. Being gay is a sin. Not worshipping the same imaginary friend is a sin. Educating one’s self or questioning the word of “gawd” is a sin. Every little fucking thing we do is a sin according to resident witch doctors and cult leaders.

    The only things that aren’t sins are molesting children, controlling people through fear, passing judgement on people with different beliefs, condemning people to hell, beating your wife/daughter/woman, mutilating infants genitals, raping the Earth and abusing animals, slavery, genocide, etc., etc..

    These fucktards don’t deserve an invitation or respect or tax exempt status for their house of superstition. They deserve ridicule, shunning and maybe some water boarding. Gah.

    Have a great weekend everyone. I’m done. Oh, and don’t work too hard this Sunday, you’ll just end up in hell. Bwaaahahaaha.

  • Maria

    I’m surprised about the debate on numbers here. There can be no debate, as the homophobia of the culture compromises the results. Here and elsewhere, if you can hide or bury the gay in favor of straight, you will, Kinsey or no.

  • Was this downstate or Chicago? I know the Chaplain at Chicago (he actually married my husband and I, before I realized I was atheist), and would be surprised if he would be that dismissive.

  • CJ :)

    1 – 2 % of the population has bipolar disorder and we have all the rights of any other person as long as we don’t hurt someone/something else in our madness. This is how it should be. If what you are or what you do is not hurting anyone else there is no reason to restrict your life.

    I can even reproduce and pass my defective genes on. One would think that this would be a bigger threat to society than a gay marriage. 🙂

  • Nordog

    The bigotry here never ceases to astound me.

  • e-man

    If I were lesbian or gay and invited by catholics to attend a panel discussion with an audience of catholics (and allies) – I would wonder if I could shed any light on anything… do they want information etc or is this just an agenda driven biased group who wants to use group force to empower themselves – both groups are quite set in their ideologies – I think having or writing out my position and sending that is a reasonable response. I would be more interested in a panel seeking help in living peacefully together despite conflicting ideologies.

  • Noodly1

    I was watching Richard Dawkins on youtube earlier today explain why he wouldn’t debate a Creationist. (Answer: Because even acknowledging them legitimizes their argument.) The catholic church is simply using the same logic. And it’s working.

    I Richard Dawkins, but I feel in this regard he is wrong. It’s the Creationists he *needs* to debate. Otherwise, he’s just preaching to the choir. Same goes for the catholic church: If your argument can’t stand up to scrutiny and questioning, then it’s not much of an argument.

  • If you want to talk about sexuality, don’t go to a man who is supposed to be celibate.

  • abb3w

    GSS data for variables SEXSEX18 and SEX suggest about 1% gay, and another 1-2% some degree of bisexual. Incidentally, there’s also interesting jinks in the age curves – it looks like females are (slightly) more likely to “experiment” these days, while gay males seem to hold off until later in life. Sample size is too small for confidence; however, the effects seem plausible normative shifts given internet porn and AIDS.

    Contrariwise, the Church’s argument can be turned back on them: merely because the behavior is rare does not necessarily mean it is unacceptable.

  • e-man

    It would help if we stopped interacting as if it were a debate or argument and proceeded with the mutual respect and eye towards gaining understanding and clarity around positions, apparent contradictions etc with real curiosity not just an agenda to disparage those we disagree with.

  • Liz

    Actually, according to the Psychology of Women class I’m currently taking, the actual percentages for homosexuality are between 5%-10%, with 5% being approximated for women and 10% being approximated for men. Bisexuality, transgenderism, genderqueer, and intersexuality percentages were not given.

  • Proudcatholic

    Such an intellectual reply.  Obviously the CAtholic parish felt that it would be wasting time to try and have a discussion with some one like yourself.  If you actually read what the church teaches being gay is not the sin, the action is the sin.