Let's see: We've had a bishop in Quebec who utterly refuses to support Catholics trying to get out of teaching material that pushes homosexuality and religious relativism. (He thinks we should wait around and see whether any actual harm comes from teaching the curriculum.) We also had the Catholic Church's representatives in Scotland apparently supporting "hate speech" legislation with specific reference to homosexuality and then shocked, shocked to find it being used to criminalize the statement of Christian moral teaching.
Now a show-down is brewing in Ontario concerning totalitarian legislation against Catholic high schools under the aegis of "anti-bullying." We discussed it already a bit back in April in a thread about the dangers of accepting public funding. The Catholic bishops in Ontario gave in on setting up clubs specifically for self-identified homosexual students in their Catholic high schools, gave in on the government rule that such clubs may not be used for purposes of turning allegedly "gay" young people away from homosexuality, and then tried to draw a line in the sand on the name of the clubs, insisting that the Catholic high schools be allowed to call them "Respecting Difference" clubs (oh, yah, there's a name that upholds Christian moral teaching) rather than "Gay-Straight Alliance" clubs. And now the Ontario government is planning to nix that symbolic gesture as well and is insisting that Catholic schools not be allowed to teach that homosexuality is objectively disordered. The bishops are prepared to go to court to fight against calling the clubs "gay-straight alliances." We will assume that they intend to continue teaching that homosexuality is objectively disordered. I have been able to find no word on whether, somewhere along the line in all of this, the schools gave up their right to discipline students for actual fornication, whether hetero- or homosexual.
When will Christian leaders learn? When? We seem to have the "harmless as doves" part down pretty good, but the "wise as serpents" part, not so much. You cannot compromise with the devil. You cannot bargain with him. You cannot give him an inch, stick your head back in the sand, and hope he'll go away and leave you alone. It never, never, never works.
What was needed were leaders who said this: "It is part of our Christian teaching that homosexual desires are objectively disordered and all homosexual acts are gravely immoral. In the tragic event that a young person experiences the disorder of same-sex attraction, this is not a matter for public discussion but should be kept private among that person, his parents, and his spiritual advisers. We refuse to participate in giving the cultural impression that same-sex attraction is to be publicly proclaimed, much less celebrated. We refuse to participate in the cultural movement that encourages people to claim such disordered desires as an essential part of their personal identity. We particularly believe such encouragement to be terribly harmful, indeed, a grave scandal, for young people in their sexually formative years, and we will have no part of it. We also insist on keeping high moral standards in our distinctively Catholic institutions; students can be disciplined for engaging in any non-marital sexual acts. Setting up a club specifically for self-identified homosexual students would send a message inconsistent with our schools' behavioral standards. For all these reasons, we refuse to set up such clubs in our schools, even if that means that we will suffer penalties for our refusal."
But I suppose that's asking too much, right?
To be quite fair, this matter of offering a compromise and hoping that will be the end of the demands is not merely a Catholic problem, not by any means. Those who followed the esoteric APA battle will know that David Hoekema of Calvin College insisted that a couple of decades ago, when the APA added "sexual orientation" to its non-discrimination statement, he believed the matter would stop there, because Christian schools could still discriminate on the basis of actual homosexual acts. Fast-forward twenty years and we were being told that, by blocking ads from schools that did what Hoekema thought they were allowed to do, the APA was "merely enforcing the policy on the books." The act-orientation distinction was ridiculed as homophobic nonsense. So much for compromise.
There are more recent rumblings in the world of evangelical institutions, even those that are trying to hold the line. Biola University has a (doubtless well-intentioned) professor named Matt Jenson who last year lectured in college chapel on the importance of "living as family" to "gay people," whatever that means, exactly. (And yes, I've watched large swathes of the sermon.) Apparently it is supposed to include taking a pretty lengthy hiatus from "so much as saying a word" about Biblical "imperatives" against homosexual acts (see minute 30-31). I plan to write more about Jenson's sermon in a later entry.
Biola is presently being hit with attempted psychological blackmail by a group of anonymous homosexual Biola students who allege that they live in trembling fear in the closet. This group's evident purpose is to undermine the school's position on sexual morality. Group members are made "hopeful" that the school will eventually "come around" by increasing support in America for same-sex "marriage." And their idea of hate mail includes this moderately-worded statement:
“If you embrace the lifestyle, you are at odds with God and scripture, and it is extremely doubtful that you are a Christian.”While, to the credit of school leaders, Biola continues to affirm that homosexual acts are immoral, there is this vaguely ominous footnote to the story:
School officials already are looking ahead to next year, when Biola celebrates its 105th anniversary, and they said plans are in the works to facilitate an “ongoing conversation” with students about homosexuality.
Just don't do it, guys. Don't have an ongoing conversation. Never, never try to bargain with Cthulhu.