Do not celebrate sinful tendencies
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Julie Fahey's recent letter to The Observer Oct. 28 bringing "clarification" to Mary Crawford on the Church's position on homosexuality succeeded in muddying the waters still further. Apparently Fahey needs as much "clarification" as Crawford does.
Fahey is absolutely right in saying that having a homosexual tendency is not immoral in itself. I missed the logic, however, when she jumps to the conclusion that "encouraging those who are homosexual to be "loud and proud" cannot be considered immoral."
Hold on just a minute. All of us are born with a general tendency toward sin. And in addition, that tendency may express itself in particular ways in particular people: some of us may be weak toward alcohol, others toward theft, others toward lying, some toward heterosexual lust, others toward homosexual desires. The fact that we have these weaknesses may be due to factors beyond our control like genetics or our childhood environment. It doesn't follow, however, that since these weaknesses aren't our fault, that we should be proud of them.
Should all Christian kleptomaniacs band together and proclaim their pride in having a disordered desire to steal? Should all Christians of alcoholic parents be "loud and proud" that they have an inherited tendency toward the abuse of alcohol? Why should homosexuality be singled out as the one tendency toward sinful acts which we should celebrate?
We don't celebrate our tendencies toward sin. Instead, we struggle against them, and by growing in our relationship with God, receiving the grace of the Word and Sacraments, seeking support and fellowship, and sometimes getting the help of trained professionals, we hope to attain healing and wholeness to reach a state where our desires are for the right things. And even if we don't reach that state in this life, we don't stop struggling for it.
Personally, I'm far from reaching that state, and am in the need of the prayers of all who read this for the healing of my own disordered soul. The Church's teaching walks a tightrope between condemning homosexuals for having a tendency they may not have chosen, and simply saying that there is nothing disordered about homosexuality. The debate on campus, I think, is about how to walk this tightrope, and neither degrade homosexuals nor "normalize" homosexuality into nothing more than a legitimate alternative lifestyle.
John S. Bergsma
Graduate Student, Theology
October 31, 1999
All Viewpoint Stories for Wednesday, November 3, 1999