“Discrimination” and Gays

Senior Editor’s Note: Be sure to tune in tonight to “The World Over Live” with Raymond Arroyo. Raymond will interview The Catholic Thing’s founder and Editor-in-Chief, Robert Royal, about the legacy of Cardinal George, the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, and other topics of interest to TCT‘s readers. 8:00 PM EDT in most areas, but check your local listings for time and EWTN affiliate station in your area. -ABM

In the Oxford English Dictionary, there are multiple primary meanings of “discrimination,” used since the 17th century to indicate rational discernment and prudential choice. Examples from the last few centuries: the separation of the “sheep” from the “goats” at the Last Judgment; one word having two discriminate meanings; discernment of worthy attempts from useless attempts; discrimination of Good from Bad; separating advantageous from disadvantageous duties on imports; distinguishing generalizations from isolated cases, etc. Way down at the dictionary’s sixth example – of “secondary usage” – we find the meaning most common now in America, favorable or unfavorable treatment of a person or class, based on prejudice.

Numerous recent cases of “discrimination” in that latter sense were alleged for Brendan Eich, CEO of Mozilla for supporting Proposition 8 regarding gay marriage in California; for Barronelle Stutzman, the florist who didn’t want to fashion a floral celebration of gay marriage; for Kelvin Cochran, the African-American Fire Chief of Atlanta for referring to homosexuality and lesbianism as “perversions;” and for the O’Connor family’s Memories Pizza parlor in Indiana for responding in the negative to a reporter’s question about their willingness to cater at a gay wedding.

What if those of us who have been abused by gays as children have involuntary but uncontrollable bouts of nausea even thinking of contributing to life-long gay liaisons? As repressed childhood memories return, the urge to vomit might be hard to control decorating a cake, or photographing homosexuals kissing passionately. (This would probably not be recognized as an authentic “disability” by the government or insurance agencies. In fact, if articulated, it might be categorized as a “hate crime.”)

But such reactions aren’t limited to those who have been abused. God the Father, in St. Catherine of Siena’s Dialogue, indicates that denizens of the spiritual order react similarly: “[Sodomy] displeases not only me. . .but the devils as well. . . .It is not its sinfulness that displeases them, for they like nothing that is good. But because their nature was angelic, that nature still loathes the sight of that horrendous sin actually being committed. . . .When it comes to the sinful act itself they run away.”

Until 1973, when the APA reclassified homosexuality from “pathology” to the new “normality,” it would have been considered commendable to sympathize with those who experience “SSA.” But now, sympathy is out of place, uncalled for; rather, laudatory support for the unique distinctiveness of someone’s “gender orientation” is the correct response.

But common sense must prevail. As I argued in a previous column, SSA is a psychological handicap; and handicaps are typically accompanied with certain inconveniences. Businesses may be hesitant to hire kleptomaniacs. Couples looking for baby sitters may rightfully have second thoughts about someone moving into their neighborhood after imprisonment for sexual molestation of children. Establishments looking to hire a bartender would reject the application of a known alcoholic. Trucking firms and airlines wouldn’t give a second thought to pilot applications from the visually impaired. People with color blindness, hearing loss, learning disabilities, epilepsy, etc. would ordinarily direct their occupational searches to areas in which these deficiencies wouldn’t be an obstacle.

"St. Catherine of Siena" by Carlo Dolci, c. 1650
“St. Catherine of Siena” by Carlo Dolci, c. 1650

So also, Boy Scouts would not reasonably appoint a known homosexual as troop leader to go on camping trips, oversee sleeping arrangements, etc. And conscientious homosexuals would no doubt remove themselves from positions where they might experience inappropriate sexual attraction to minors as teachers or priests or coaches. One would also hope that homosexual judges might recuse themselves from pronouncing sentences on issues concerning gay rights.

But ironically, while victims of sex abuse by gay priests have been receiving generous financial compensation for “pain and suffering” during the last few decades, currently victims of gay-marriage activists are being threatened with loss of their business and/or livelihood for refusing to contribute to the proposed national celebrations of gay marriage.

Obviously your reactions to behavior considered ugly, unnatural, or perverse should not automatically be translated into ethical judgments. If I see someone with Tourette’s syndrome, blurting out filthy language, I don’t categorize this as an ethical issue; nor if I see children spouting out racial or religious hatred inspired by their parents.

Similarly, with regard to homosexuality, unknown causes are at play, especially at puberty, redirecting sexuality into dead-end pathways; and the handicapped individual may be relatively inculpable. Aristotle’s category of “incontinence” (which primarily denotes lack of control of sexual appetites – not the common secondary medical meaning) is highly relevant.

An analogy from abortion: if there were a way for women to carry out a Vacuum Aspiration, tearing a baby’s body into pieces as he or she is being pulled through the hose, or a D&E procedure, tearing legs of their unborn child’s body, or other such common abortion procedures, we can be sure that most women could not bring themselves to do it. They need “professionals” for this stomach-turning procedure. They may avoid thinking of the suffering by fantasizing their unborn child as “fetal tissue,” or focusing on the grand ideal of “women’s liberation,” or even congratulating themselves on doing their part to combat “overpopulation.”

So also, the general public can avoid recognition of our weird institutionalization of contractual sodomy by focusing on the beauty of human passions and the fascinating diversity of ways they can be redirected. They can present gay “marriage” as an extension of civil rights, even though there is not the slightest scientific evidence that sexual orientation, like race, is something you are “born with.” And they can affirm the grandiose ideal of “diversity” and the unquestionable principle of “equality” (with the usual exceptions for religious or moral dissent, or certain political orientations).

On the other hand, the situation may change very quickly. If the news media summon up enough courage to poll Muslim bakers in Dearborn, Michigan about baking cakes for gay weddings, the issue will disappear like magic from our radar screen. Problem solved. Religious freedom reinstated.

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz is emeritus professor of philosophy at Marquette University. His most recent publications include Natural Law: an Introduction and Reexamination (2004), Five Metaphysical Paradoxes (The 2006 Marquette Aquinas Lecture), The Philosophy of Human Nature (2008), and The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct (2010).

  • Edward Dougherty

    For the 315,256,345th time, Dearborn, Michigan has never had and does not currently have Sharia law. I can state this as someone who also lives in another suburb of Detroit (Ferndale) and has friends who live in Dearborn and are able to attend both Christian and Catholic services there and who mix with the Muslim community frequently. Professor Kainz’s use of this false assertion automatically calls into question the validity of the rest of his column. As for you, Dr. Royal, I respectfully submit that such claims should receive better editing from The Catholic Thing before they are actually put into print.

    • CadaveraVeroInnumero

      You may have a point about Dearborn not “officially” enacting Sharia Law. Yes, a claim that needs fact-checking. The lawfulness of instituting or referencing “foreign” law is even now briskly debated in various state legislature – a recognition of the potential harm that “legalizing” Sharia Law will cause.

      The notion of Religious Liberty in Islam is so utterly other than it is in Christianity – even poor battered Christendom. Same goes even for how homosexuality, itself, is viewed (and practiced); which any familiarity with Muslim societies can confirm. Homosexuality is not offensive to Muslim bakers in the same way it is to Christian bakers. Recommend reading the archived articles by Jamie Glazov over at Frontpage Magazine on this matter.

      The thought that the culture war over “gay marriage” will be resolved by an appeal to Islam is shiveringly frightful.

      But the author’s point is an interesting thought experiment, nevertheless.

      Will the left (gay) troops fall silent when a Muslim bakery refuses to service a “gay marriage”. If they fold (out of deference or more likely fear of Muslim agitation) will this be a victory also for Christian bakers? Maybe for a day or two – but it will not, in the end, be a breather for either the Christian or the Constitution. Cuddling up with Sharia Law in the culture wars is just a different kind of submission and defeat. The bloody history of that is now bleeding before our eyes on the Shores and beaches of Tripoli..

      • Howard Kainz

        Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel for
        the Thomas More Law Center, was quoted “Muslims dominate the political
        and law enforcement process in Dearborn. It seems that police were more
        interested in placating the mayor and Muslims than obeying our
        Constitution. Shariah law makes is a crime to preach the Gospel to
        Muslims. This a classic example of stealth Jihad being waged right here
        in America.” But apparently the story about the enactment by the City Council and some of other charges are erroneous.

  • givelifeachance2

    So why are no Catholic lawyers pressing the obvious case that homosex “marriage” discriminates against the opposite sex? This could be the Brown vs Board of Education for the natural family, if only those who March for Marriage spent a bit more time constructively turning the firehoses back against the real bigots.

  • Jim Thunder

    another magnificent piece by Professor Kainz.

  • Rusty

    Unfortunately, the point that the author is trying to make will be lost in conflating pedophilia with homosexuality. While there are many valid points in the article, opponents of traditional sexual morality will dismiss the entire argument on this basis.

  • GayPal

    This is a seriously ignorant article. And seriously offensive as well. It is preposterous to suggest that an homosexual man, by virtue of his homosexuality, should feel inclined to sexually abuse a child. It is like saying that an heterosexual young woman, by virtue of her sexuality, should be disqualified from babysitting a male child lest she abuse him. That she, along with “scout masters” and “homosexual judges” should “recuse” herself.

    This is depraved, unhealthy thinking. It is also a disgrace to the Faith.

    • Big D

      Your comment cites nothing, makes claims that aren’t in the article, and judges (there’s the word) this as a disgrace to the faith. Maybe your comments could be taken seriously in an intelligent conversation if you criticized what the author actually said, not what you interpreted, and could cite facts rather than hurl insults.

      • GayPal

        My comment does not cite anything? Hardly, I cite the writer’s invidious identification of homosexuality with child sexual abuse.

        You see, in this writer’s philosophically inept and “psychologically handicapped” worldview, just as we can reasonably expect a drink to tempt an alcoholic, or a purloin-able item to tempt the kleptomaniac, so too, in the same analogous way, he holds it reasonable to believe that a child will be a temptation to the homosexual to sexually abuse him, and in consequence homosexuals should not occupy roles of authority, or opportunity, with children. The roles the writer specifically refers to in this respect are those of scout masters, teachers, priests, and coaches.

        This is an unspeakably cheap and nasty thing to put out; more befitting the base ideological propagandist than the self-described intelligent Catholic commentator.

        If you want to know the truth about the actual incidence of child sexual abuse, then refer to any of the authoritative studies that have been carried out on the subject. By far the greater sexual abuse of children occurs within the family; and then by fathers and older male siblings. These latter, if statistics are any indication, are generally classified as heterosexual.

        And just as there is no evidence to suggest a greater prevalence of witchcraft among old, unmarried women, so also there is no evidence of a specific correlation between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, and the writer slanders homosexuals, and dishonours our shared Catholic faith, when he suggests otherwise.

  • Jill Dembroff

    Thank you for these frank, straight-up, truth-ful words. So few seem to have the courage to speak them these days.

  • Bro_Ed

    “Establishments looking to hire a bartender would reject the application of a known alcoholic. ”

    And I’d like to say a few words on behalf of Alcoholics. An Alcoholic who has successfully confronted their drinking problem, through AA or some other recognized program, can successfully function as a doctor, lawyer, pastor – or bartender. Once an Alcoholic you’re an Alcoholic for life; but that doesn’t mean you have to be a drunk too.

  • JGradGus

    As Mr. Dougherty notes below, Mr. Kainz is WRONG about the Dearborn, MI City Council enacting sharia law. (Call Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly Jr.’s office if you need to verify this.) Such a grievous error calls the entire essay into question, which is a shame.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Two points in an otherwise good article

    (1) “They can present gay “marriage” as an extension of civil rights, even though there is not the slightest scientific evidence that sexual orientation, like race, is something you are “born with.” – Are civil rights really confined to something one is “born with”? Art 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights prohibits discrimination on the grounds of “language [which is not innate], religion, political or other opinion [all of which can be changed; indeed Art 18 guarantees “freedom to change his religion or belief”]… property [which can be acquired or lost]”

    (2) “One would also hope that homosexual judges might recuse themselves from pronouncing sentences on issues concerning gay rights.” By the same token, ought married judges to recuse themselves in consistorial cases? Women judges in cases under the Married Women’s Property Acts?

  • Butch

    No picture of the homosexual culture can be complete without reference to articles published in the medical literature near the inception of the ongoing AIDS epidemic when the cause of AIDS remained a mystery and medical scientists were honestly documenting details of the homosexual lifestyle. Three of many relevant articles are “National Case-Control Study of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Pneumocystis carinii Pneumonia in Homosexual Men: Part 1, Epidemiologic Results” in Annals of Internal Medicine 99:145-151 (1983), “Persistent diffuse lymphadenopathy in Homosexual Men: Endpoint or Prodrome” in Annals of Internal Medicine, 100: 801-808 (1984) and “Kaposi’s Sarcoma in Homosexual Men” in Annals of Internal Medicine 100: 809-815 (1984). These and similar articles provide unvarnished descriptions of the homosexual lifestyle, studies conducted by physician scientists at top institutions in the country. Just a few of the many dismaying findings: “In a case-control study by the Centers for Disease Control, patients reported 1100 lifetime sexual partners, compared with 500 in control homosexuals.”(Annals, 100:801-808) This by an average age of 35.1, not a full lifetime. “The average age when patients had their first sexual contact with another male was 15.5 years (range, 6-32)….Most of these contacts were one-time encounters.” (Annals, 100: 801-808) Illicit drug use was common, 100% in one study (Annals, 100: 801-808) and nearly, if not actually so, in another (Annals 99:145-151), to quote “The use of various illicit substances was also relatively common for both cases and controls…Almost all cases and controls reported use of nitrite inhalants for sexual stimulation….” These articles and others capture a picture relevant 35 years ago. Given the demographics of the continuing worldwide AIDS epidemic as well as our increasingly permissive social milieu, it seems to me likely that these statistics remain as bad, if not worse. But these statistics have real faces in the millions of AIDS victims worldwide, including countless children. These behaviors pose a tremendous, real human cost, even to many who are or should be sexually innocent. I encourage those interested in this to arm themselves with articles such as those I have referenced, because the hard data in them will open the eyes of many naïfs.

    • Bish Chan

      Are gay females ok?

  • Daniel Alverson

    H. Kainz is certainly talented at destroying straw men. Fortunately a great many of us can discriminate between the opinions of those who understand homosexuality and those who simply fear something they do not wish to understand.

  • Chrismanchester

    The main difficulty in responding to this article is deciding which errors to correct, so I’ll limit myself to three:

    1) Homosexuality (or heterosexuality, for that matter) and paedophilia are DIFFERENT THINGS. Mr Kainz’s erroneous conflation of the two in his scout-master’s example has been rightly noted by others.

    2) Sexual orientation and sexual acts are DIFFERENT THINGS. Many heterosexual couples practice anal intercourse; many homosexual couples do not. Many gay men, for example, find the idea of anal sex as unappealing as (I assume) Mr Kainz does, and do not practice it – ever. Such men are still just ‘as homosexual’ as the others, however! Mr Kainz’s mention of ‘contractual sodomy’, therefore, is risible and completely ignores these facts.

    3) Far from there being ‘not the slightest scientific evidence’ that sexual orientation is something one is born with, the opposite is the case. The vast majority of studies in the area indicate that sexual orientation forms primarily before birth, not only in human beings but in other species too. It is becoming increasingly apparent that same-sex behaviour is a naturally occurring minority variant in behaviour, the evolutionary (or other) purpose for which is still under investigation.

    This article adds nothing of value to the discussions on sexuality within the Catholic Church. There is little evidence, either, that the author has taken on-board the Church’s teaching to treat homosexual people with ‘respect, compassion and sensitivity’ (Catechism # 2358).

    • Howard Kainz

      In answer to your objections: 1) the scout example does not conflate homosexuality with pedophilia. For example, would it make sense to place a non-pedophile heterosexual man in charge of a girl scout troop under the conditions I mentioned? 2) Obviously sexual orientation and sexual acts are different things. My point was that SSA is an unfortunate handicap, and should be treated as such. 3) Which study of genetic determination is universally accepted by scientists? The studies of identical twins, hormonal anomalies, brain structure, the “gay gene,” etc. have all proven inconclusive. Or perhaps there is a more recent study that is definitive?

      • Burger Fan

        Thank you Dr Kainz for weighing in on the issue of homosexuality and attempting to engage with its proponents, who tend to be even more emotionally invested in their sexual beliefs than Christians are. Secular culture has evolved into a master catechist, as can be seen by the many homosexual “believers” who have drunk deeply of the cultural “kool aid” and convinced themselves that there is nothing wrong with homosexual acts whatsoever, and that they are exactly analogous to marital acts. I’ve seen them cling furiously to this belief despite all evidence to the contrary, much of which is very obvious. They say the same about us of course. We can’t both be right. Which side is correct? It’s Romans 1 playing out in real life over and over. Wishing you the best.

    • Burger Fan

      Please cite 3 studies of the “vast majority” which show sexual orientation forms primarily before birth. I can’t wait to read them and see how they ascertained this.

  • Edward Dougherty

    Mr. Verolnnumero,
    To repeat, sharia law has not been adopted in any sense, official or unofficial, in Dearborn. A Muslim baker who would cite it to deny service to a gay wedding would have no more of a leg to stand on than if he were to cite Russian law, Mexican law or the rules of Major League Baseball. And there is no clamor to institute sharia law in Dearborn. And if you were to ever visit Dearborn (make sure you go to Miller’s bar for their famous burgers) you would find a community that has honored both the Detroit area, the state of Michigan and the United States of America with both their assimiliation and their work ethic, which would probably put many native Americans to shame.

    • Howard Kainz

      I mentioned Dearborn, MI, because it has a large number of Muslims. I was just posing the question as to whether any mainstream news organization would be courageous enough to do a similar poll on Muslim bakers, and publish the results.

      • Burger Fan

        Steven Crowder made a video where he pretended to be gay and went to a few Muslim bakeries and they declined to make cakes with two grooms on them. The video is on youtube. Not a peep from the media, and there never will be.

        • Bish Chan

          I saw a new report on it and one of the bakeries demanded an apology for him misrespresenting them on video. They said they had made them before and the gay couple even came back for the anniversary cake.

          Crowder admitted in a western journalism interview that none refused him.

  • Diane

    Since more than 85% of the priest abusers were homosexual, the liberals (including the liberal clergy)
    tried to hide the blatant homosexual priest scandal by proposing it was pedophilia, as if this was somehow better, but it did skew the homosexual involvement. There is no proof that homosexuals were born that way, however, there Is proof that children who are sexually abused by homosexuals have become gay. It is against the laws of God and nature. One cannot compare animal behavior with human behavior, since animals do not have intellect or souls. They react by instinct. St. Catherine of Sienna had a vision that even the devil had to turn away from the sin of sodomy because of its ugliness. There are many, many references in the Bible, both the Old and the New Testament, that refer to the sin of homosexuality. The teachings of Jesus Christ, God, the Holy Bible and the Doctrines of the Catholic Church must be upheld regarding homosexuality for the good of the family. Those who have SSA should seek professional help. Jesus came to fulfil the law and always said to all who sinned, to go and sin no more. It is what it is and this was an excellent article from a man who has courage to speak the truth.

  • Howard Kainz

    Recent development, reported by the Washington Times: “An Oregon commission proposed Friday levying a $135,000 hit against Aaron and Melissa Klein for refusing to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage ceremony based on their Christian beliefs.”

    • cminca

      No–they are fining a bakery for breaking the law.

      • Mark Chance

        If the law makes a business owner the lackey of the state, then the law is unjust and should be broken.

        • cminca

          So anti-discrimination law is unjust?

          Then let’s make it OK to discriminate against religions (the only protected population–BTW–that is a choice, rather than inborn).

          I have two $90K+ a year positions to fill. Mind if I have the advertisement read “Catholics need not apply”?

          • Mark Chance

            Yes, those laws are fundamentally unjust as they apply to most private business owners. You want to own a business and discriminate against people because of their religion, you have my support. Go for it.

          • cminca

            Ah yes, the “private” business which has a civil license and offers goods and services to the general public so is, by definition, not “private”.

          • Mark Chance

            Which just further highlights the problem associated with over-regulation and Big Conscience joining forces with Big Brother.

          • Howard Kainz

            You are presuming homosexuality is “inborn.” I would be interested in hearing your evidence for that presupposition.

  • Steve

    Thank-you , Howard, for writing. There was a time during the sixties and seventies when homosexual activists clamored for toleration. Those of us with loved ones of that orientation and many others obliged if they hadn’t already. However, toleration morphed into something evil in a generation. From toleration to indoctrination to approbation to legislation to subjugation with unmitigated vitriol and hate spewed at those who adhere to the teachings of the Prophets, Apostles and Church. I am reminded of 2 Timothy 4: 3-4 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths”.
    GOD BLESS.

  • Thomas Sharpe

    Thank you Howard, bigotry is certainly unjust discrimination, yet Men’s and Women’s rest rooms are not unjust discrimination, nor are a child’s need for a mother and father..
    (On a lighter note, not sure is anyone has ever told you this but you look remarkably like Stan Lee, look forward to seeing you^2 in your next Cameo.)



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