Homosexuality and Hatred
Written by Raymond J. de Souza |
Saturday, February 25, 2023
There was a time when it was fashionable in self-consciously progressive Christian circles to incant the slogan that “the world sets the agenda for the Church.” In relation to homosexuality, for the likes of Martin and McElroy, it is the Court that sets the agenda for the Church—and not only the agenda, but the strategy and tactics as well.
Two prominent American priests recently made important statements that indicate an attempt to shift the Catholic discussion about homosexuality.
Taking their lead from former Justice Anthony Kennedy, the father of constitutional rights for same-sex couples, Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego and Fr. James Martin, S.J., have both spoken recently of “hatred”—even the “demonic”—animating those who uphold traditional Christian teaching on human sexuality and chastity in regard to homosexuality. They chose a fitting model; Kennedy’s technique was massively effective.
Over several years, Kennedy wrote the majority opinions that established the Supreme Court’s same-sex jurisprudence. The first was Romer v. Evans in 1996, in which the majority overturned a Colorado ballot initiative prohibiting antidiscrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation. Kennedy there first played the animus card: “the amendment seems inexplicable by anything but animus toward the class that it affects; it lacks a rational relationship to legitimate state interests.”
Colorado’s voters were, lacking reason, motivated by “animus.” That’s a neat maneuver, discrediting motives before getting around to the legal arguments. That would sustain Kennedy for nearly twenty years. In his final triumph, Kennedy adopted a gracious posture in Obergefell, which created a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. “Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here,” wrote Kennedy.
Yes and no, for Kennedy continued that when “sincere, personal opposition becomes enacted law and public policy, the necessary consequence is to put the imprimatur of the state itself on an exclusion that soon demeans or stigmatizes those whose own liberty is then denied.”
“Animus” returns again, this time rooted in a supposedly “decent and honorable” desire to “exclude,” “demean and stigmatize.” It is clear that Kennedy thinks decent and honorable people really think the way that he does. Those who don’t are motivated by something other than reason.
Fr. Martin writes at Outreach, “An LGBTQ Catholic Resource” run by the Jesuit America magazine, which is more or less an LGBTQ Catholic Resource itself.