Jumping Through Hoops

14 May

Jason CollinsLast week journeyman NBA player Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete to play on a major men’s U.S. sports team. His “coming out” became the lead story on ESPN and other sports media, and it was generally celebrated as a historic event for the advancement of our culture, much like Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color barrier in baseball over a half-century ago.

One expects diverse, uninformed opinions on talk radio and in the blogosphere. Still, it seems that even much of the more dignified commentary is off the mark. For that reason, I thought I would offer a “top ten” list of my initial reactions to Collins’ announcement, realizing that all these points barely scratch the surface of this momentous societal issue.

(1) Play Ball Let’s start by saying that nobody, including the Catholic Church, is claiming that Jason Collins or other publicly “gay” athletes should not be allowed to compete on professional sports teams. Public acceptance of homosexual liaisons does have negative repercussions, but surely those with same-sex attractions must be treated with love and compassion. It would be unjust discrimination to bar them from pursuing their livelihood (cf. Catechism, no. 2358).

So let’s be clear—Collins’ announcement has nothing to do with his ability to earn his living, but everything to do with the advancement of a social agenda that is at loggerheads with Christianity.

(2) Is He a Hero? There are well over 60 million Catholics in this country whose professed faith–rooted both in Scripture and the natural law (cf. Catechism, nos. 1954-60, 2036, 2357)—teaches that homosexual acts are serious sins. This view of homosexuality is shared by tens of millions of other Christians, as well as many who have arrived at their conclusion based on their perception of reality (cf. Rom. 1:18-32).

One can appreciate a certain level of honesty and even courage in Collins’ announcement, but Christians justifiably recoil at the suggestion that Collins is now some sort of hero or pioneer in a positive sense.  The true heroes are those who quietly struggle perhaps a lifetime to control their disordered passions.

(3) National Conversation? Many news outlets talk a good game about the “national conversation” that Jason Collins’ announcement has produced, as if now we can finally have a free exchange of ideas and viewpoints on this subject. So, in the midst of such a discussion on ESPN, pro basketball commentator Chris Broussard said, “I’m a Christian. I don’t agree with homosexuality. I think it’s a sin, as I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is.”

A Catholic would do well to express his or her position so succinctly and articulately. Yet Broussard’s comments were unwanted (Google “Chris Broussard Jason Collins” for a sampling of the reaction). ESPN offered its regrets that his personal viewpoint was a “distraction,” and reiterated that “ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins’ announcement.”

In other words, ESPN is fully on board with the gay agenda, and does not welcome other points of view. Beyond the chilling effect of ESPN’s reaction to one of its own, we see the network’s duplicity in purporting to be open to an exchange of ideas on the subject.

(4) Is It Right? The larger problem here is that our culture has relegated the moral law to the level of private opinion. (And especially in the area of sexuality, please keep your opinions to yourself.)

Therefore, anything that isn’t a crime in the government’s eyes must be tolerated in the name of “diversity” or a distorted understanding of “liberty.”  And in the name of tolerance the media will not tolerate any discussion as to whether it’s “good” to act upon one’s same-sex attraction, whether it’s “good” to identify oneself by one’s sexual preference, and whether it’s “good” to seek (and give!) public approval to behavior that the vast majority of peoples and cultures throughout human history has considered unacceptable.

(5) We’re Compromised The Collins announcement is just one more case-in-point that our sex-obsessed culture is compromised when it comes to sexual morality. If we as a people are willing to turn a blind eye to our nation’s pornography addiction, not to mention our society’s acceptance of the widest range of “heterosexual sins,” then it’s not surprising that many people do not feel as though they can do anything but go along with the gay agenda.

After all, if we were to acknowledge moral standards, we’d be obliged to do our best with God’s grace to live by them. I suspect many people are not ready to do that.

(6) What About Tebow? Ironically perhaps, about the same time Jason Collins made his announcement the New York Jets cut quarterback Tim Tebow. Neither Collins nor Tebow are elite players in their sport (though Tebow was elite during his collegiate career), but both find themselves immersed in media attention. Yet the coverage of Tebow, by all accounts a virtuous, openly Christian man, is mostly negative—and not just in terms of his deficiencies as an NFL quarterback. There is frequent mention of teams not wanting him because of the “media circus” caused in large part by his commitment to Jesus Christ.  Players and teams are free in their comments about not wanting someone like him in the locker room.

When it comes to Collins, however, the focus is simply on his being a good teammate. Players are not allowed to express any discomfort with having Collins on their team. We saw the same phenomenon at work before the Super Bowl, when 49er Chris Culliver was raked over the coals for saying that he would rather not have a “gay” teammate.

(7)  Private Lives We frequently hear that the Church and the State should stay out of the bedroom and not meddle in the “private lives” of consenting adults. Yet, Collins’ “private” sexual preference was all we heard about on the news last week. Those of us who like to watch sports with our children should be able to enjoy scores and highlights without the R-rated social commentary.

And yet, with due regard for the innocence of our children, marriage and sexuality indeed is a public matter, as marriages create families, which are the building blocks of a healthy society. That is why marriages are a matter of public and ecclesial record, with witnesses and lavish celebrations. And that is why the State and especially the Church exercise appropriate authority in this area.

(8) Not Born That Way The popular assumption, not corroborated by science or the leaders of the gay rights movement itself, is that homosexual men and women are irremediably “born that way.”

Same-sex attractions, like all disordered sexual attractions, can be strong and deep-seated. However, like all strong sexual desires, there’s an element of choice when it comes to working against or even healing this inclination versus embracing the “gay lifestyle.”

It’s interesting that when it comes to homosexuality at least, the secularists do not uphold the ability to “choose.” Yet following one’s sexual feelings no matter where they lead is a recipe for personal misery. Conversely, there are many Christians who have overcome same-sex attractions and have gone on to live joyful, chaste lives.

Further, as Archbishop Naumann masterfully described in a recent column in The Leaven, many young people in their formative years experience some confusion regarding their sexual identity and orientation. The public support and approval of homosexuality witnessed in Collins’ announcement could surely encourage young people at a pivotal time in their lives to enter a homosexual lifestyle that would threaten their physical, spiritual, and moral health.

(9) Uncivil Rights The Collins story vividly demonstrates that the media will portray those of us who stand up for sexual morality and the good of families and children in a negative light. We simply are on the wrong side of a civil rights issue. By (erroneously) presenting sexual preference as something that is genetically established at birth and unchangeable, gay activists have effectively duped much of the public into thinking that full acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle is an “equality” issue.

Deep down we know, as a matter of faith but also of reason and common sense, that God created us as “male and female,” not “gay and straight” (leaving aside, for a moment, the bisexual and transsexual communities). The biological complementarity of man and woman is unmistakably stamped on our bodies, but we’ve been guzzling the Kool-Aid for so long that we’re simply blinded to this reality.

(10) Absence of Moral Leadership Rather than offer any sort of moral leadership, our President and First Lady were among the first to applaud Jason Collins’ announcement and tell him “We’ve got your back.”

Now we see that Jason Collins and Michelle Obama will headline a May 29 Democratic fundraiser at the party’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Leadership Council gala event. Sadly, our government leaders are part of the problem, not part of the solution here.

Much more can and should be said about this, but those are some of the thoughts I’ve had recently. What was your reaction to Jason Collins’ announcement?

40 Responses to “Jumping Through Hoops”

  1. John May 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    I was deeply disturbed by this announcement. More so, the president supporting this gentleman with a phone call is even more disturbing. I am saddened at the lack of integrity in the white house. Jason Collins held a press conference to announce to the world that he is too weak to tame his sinful passions. This is in stark contrast to making an act of contrition and then going quietly to the confessional. In my opinion the sports world is far, far, far off track and the real heroes are the ones extending the Kingdom of God. Viva Cristo Rey

  2. TXCatholic May 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    Shared! Great piece Leon. I was totally disappointed by the hype surrounding this announcement. What happened to praising athletes based on athletic ability? Our country is certainly on a downward slide. Jesus I trust in You.

  3. Brad May 14, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    Thank you Leon!!!!

    Your points are well stated and hit the mark ‘dead center’. I agree that the Christian voice is one that has been squelched by greater and greater degree especially in recent years. It is interesting that we as Christians immediately get labeled as bigots when we disagree with something like this. In this relativistic society, I would think that our Christian opinion would be welcomed as adding to the diversity of our culture! After all, isn’t that what the liberal voices cry out for, a more diverse society? It seems diversity is only valued when it is part of the overall opinion of the percieved majority played out through the media. But then that would make something “non-diverse” wouldn’t it? It is a wonderful thing to know the diversity of the Church and its compassionate love for everyone. Kyrie Eleison

  4. Joseph Klein May 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    Please do not assume that all Christians, or Catholics, are opposed to homosexuality. Many of us followers of Jesus actually believe it is our moral and spiritual duty to secure equal respect and dignity for same sex partnerships.

    This issue will go the same way as slavery, suffrage, and interracial marriage. A minority of Christians will lead, but the Church will eventually be in the uncomfortable position of having to follow the world to the moral higher ground.

    • Veronika Bowen May 15, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

      Well written article. Thank you.
      Joseph writes “please do not assume that all Christians, or Catholics, are opposed to homosexuality.” Odd statement.
      Should we also assume Catholics are not opposed to abortion?
      Funny how we can call ourselves Catholic, yet some of us pick and choose Church teaching like we would food at a lunch buffet.
      This works for me, that doesn’t fit me.
      Doesn’t work that way, this ol’ thing called doctrine.
      Please don’t call yourself a Catholic, and certainly don’t take Holy Communion, if you think homosexual relations and abortion are acceptable.
      Commenter John makes a very excellent point: “making an act of contrition and then going quietly to the confessional,” seems the more brave route.
      But that involves humility, and recognizing we are sinners, and we live in a world with little humility and the need to justify and affirm every sin we think is really a-ok!
      I did it, ergo it must be correct!
      Last I checked, abortion and homosexual unions were philosophically unassailable positions, that transcend politics and current societal trends. Putting slavery and interracial marriage in the same category as the aberration of homosexuality is an insult to those who survived slavery and bigotry.

    • Michael F. May 15, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

      Joseph, same sex marriage is not of the same essence as slavery, suffrage or interracial marriage. One need need even make a religious argument to oppose it.

      Saying that marriage is the committed sexual relationship of two people of the opposite sex is no more a matter of prejudice and bigotry than if you refuse to legally recognize me as a “woman” or a “mother” were I to insist on being called either one because I can do much of what a woman or a mother does. The fact is, even if you did decide to legally recognize me as a “woman’ or a “mother,” that could never alter the underlying reality that an important, fundamental, biological difference would still remain between me and a woman/mother.

      There’s also a fundamental difference between heterosexual sexual relationships and homosexual sexual relationships and that difference centers on the propagation of the human race. Homosexual sex is inherently sterile. Regardless of how many times it is tried, it can never produce a child. Conversely, heterosexual sex is normatively fertile – ensuring the continuation of the human race. This is no meaningless distinction.

      Society legitimately has a unique and particular interest in heterosexuals having sex because when they do, it tends to create new members of society (children). These new members of society also naturally have an impact on society itself – positively or negatively – largely depending upon how they are raised by their parents. Well-raised children improve society and contribute to its success and well-being. Poorly raised children are a drain on society and create discord. Conversely, when homosexuals have sex, there is no such impact on society. It’s fundamentally a sterile, private act. Although, I think one could reasonably argue that homosexual sex (particularly between men) does have one significant negative impact on society at large – and that’s epidemiological in nature – the spread of disease. There are a whole host of diseases that are very disproportionately borne and spread by those who engage in common homosexual acts.

I’m also deeply concerned that same sex marriage would codify into law that a child doesn’t need a father and a mother (by definition, same sex unions lack either a father or a mother). It’s one thing for this to happen unintentionally as through divorce or the death of a spouse. It’s another to essentially say that the right of a person to have a child trumps a child’s right to a father and a mother. I readily acknowledge that there may be many cases where the kids turn out well and parents may do a heroic job compensating for the lack of a mother or father. But normatively speaking, I think it’s clear that it’s best for children to have a mom and a dad and it makes sense for society to encourage that.

      There’s nothing hateful about admitting basic biology and sociology. And it’s perfectly reasonable to expect our language to reflect those distinctions. In fact, that’s what we normally do with language. We use words to draw distinctions between things and concepts that differ from one another in order to allow us to communicate more precisely and effectively. As such, it seems to me that this debate about changing the meaning of the word “marriage” is essentially a very misguided (and futile) attempt to change reality.

      Regardless of how personally fulfilling homosexuals may find their committed relationships to be, normatively speaking, they will always remain biologically and sociologically different than committed heterosexual relationships. These are incontrovertible facts, not matters of arbitrary, hateful exclusion.

      I also agree with much of what homosexual writing Doug Mainwaring writes here: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/03/9432/

      • Michael F. May 15, 2013 at 6:13 pm #


        “One need need even make a religious argument”

        should be

        “One need not even make a religious argument”

    • Proteios1 May 15, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

      Joseph, I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.

    • Mr. Martin Savage May 15, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

      Our Lord refers to the Devil as “the Prince of this World”. Are you suggesting then that our Lord, in the form of His Mystical Body, i.e. His Church, shall follow where the Devil leads?

    • Liz May 16, 2013 at 12:58 am #

      If you oppose Catholic teaching, you can’t really call yourself Catholic, can you? I mean, the Teachings are kind of the point.

  5. Leon Suprenant May 15, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    I don’t assume that, Joseph. However, your position on homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. I think you would have a hard time convincing St. Paul that institutionalizing homosexual liaisons so that they’re on a par with marriage is taking the moral high ground (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9-10).

    • Veronika Bowen May 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

      Amen Leon.

  6. Howard May 15, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    “It would be unjust discrimination to bar them from pursuing their livelihood (cf. Catechism, no. 2358).” Sorry, but the Catechism does not say ANYTHING about the NBA, which, by the way, is only about entertainment. The Catechism does not say that we are required to find advocates for homosexual behavior entertaining; it does not say we are required to buy tickets to their games or merchandise for their teams; it does not say we must watch them and the revenue-generating commercials on TV. It does say that there should not be unjust discrimination, which BY DEFINITION applies to EVERYONE and EVERYTHING. That leaves unanswered the question of what discrimination is just and what is unjust. Is it just to exclude someone from employment if he advocates white supremacy? How about someone who championed Communism during the Cold War? Is this statement by the Congregation for Catholic Education also unjust: “In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture'”?

    • Howard May 15, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

      One more example: What about Dan Brown? He makes his living by writing novels that promote ideas that flatly contradict Christianity. Do we have an obligation to support him in this? Would it be an example of “unjust discrimination” if there were so little interest in his novels that he could not find a publisher?

      If not, what is the difference?

      It would certainly be different if you were talking about Collins during the time he kept his sexuality to himself. At that point he was just one of the many people with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies”, and the only question would be whether these tendencies were incompatible with the expectations for an NBA player. Since he does not seem to have disturbed his teammates, the answer is apparently “no”. His situation changed, though, when he decided to embrace the position of homosexual advocate. That is NOT what the Catechism was talking about.

    • Proteios1 May 15, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

      That is why you ‘vote with your dollar’. For example, this whole gay “marriage” issue has brought out supporters from all corners. I’ve had to stop buying coffee at Starbucks, products from amazon, Oreos and clothes at jcpenneys. All because these companies (that I know of) all came it supporting gay marriage. What can I do but say I, then, don’t support YOU. I won’t have amazon giving 5% of my purchase to support gay activists that are calling me bigoted simply because I define marriage as one man, one woman, for life. I can’t pay for my demise (outside of income tax). So…it’s minor, but its all I have. And yes, if I am denying someone a living in this fashion, so be it. But I also vote with my dollar.

      • Veronika May 16, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

        Very well said. Only wish more of us would follow such a fine example.

  7. Dee May 15, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

    Well said, Leon. I shared it with my teenaged grandchildren who appreciated you comments very much. They feel better able to have conversations on the subject, as they have an aunt who is a lesbian, and a good friend of their father is gay, and both of my grandchildren have classmates who profess to be gay and lesbian. Thank you.

  8. Carson Weber May 15, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    Joseph, I find it hard to see how normalizing a disorder is “moral higher ground.” Men are definitely not ordered towards other men sexually (homosexuality) in the same way that the human body is not ordered towards consuming disproportionate amounts of alochol (alcoholism). No one is inherently gay any more than another is inherently an alcoholic. Both are disordered attractions that can be treated. Both subjects require of us profound love and respect for the person suffering the disorder.

  9. Donal Manoney May 15, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    I am in complete agreement with the Church’s teaching on homosexual behavior. But I thought Jason Collins announced that he was gay. I didn’t realize that his announcement of his orientation equaled an endorsement of gay sexual behavior. Maybe I missed something. I did not find the story to be that important. I don’t know that it helps the Church to have a representative get worked up over orientation rather than behavior. If jason Collins somewhere recently endorsed homosexual behavior, then I retract what I have said here. The bottom line for me is that the man is looking for an NBA contract after 12 years of unexceptional performance. He may not get that contract. Maybe he will then sue the NBA for discrimination. Or, thanks to the acceptance by the press and the Obamas, he may get some kind of job as a spokesperson for a gay organization or maybe as an instructor in physical health within the administration. Does Sebellius need any help?

  10. Mr. Martin Savage May 15, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    God bless you for your perceptive and lucid article.

    I think you are spot on with equality (or Egalitarianism). it is to Christian culture what the Trojan Horse was to Troy, the facade behind which a multitude of enemy ideologies are entering into our culture with the objective of annihilating it.

  11. Judy Ajluni May 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    This discussion is so esoteric if I might use that word! You can go on and on about the rules of the catholic Church and the Bible and religious beliefs!! The problem is in real life, people who are Gay are creating unions, not necessarily “marriage” but call them what you may, getting together, creating families and living and going forward. It is a fact of life, not just in other faiths but in the progeny of Catholics!! My sister’s daughter is Gay, whether she chose it or it is just “in” her! She and her partner, thru artificial insemination have “mothered”three beautiful, intelligent, adoreable children.
    There was a huge family rift as I was supporting the Church’s teaching on Gay marriage and the usual bigotry toward gay people!! It not only alienated me from my sister and her family, it alienated me from my own children who saw me as anti- Christian! We were all thoroughly miserable ! Then, I saw she was still my sweet loving niece, my sister’s daughter, not depraved or immoral, and I said, she is made in Gods image as we all are.
    Can we castigate her from our family? At one point, she was suicidal as was my sister!!
    Shouldn’t this lifestyle be on her conscience and let me the loving aunt continue to love her and her children and her partner, who is the sweetest?? Who am I to condemn them?? Look at all the crimes by priests who were hidden!! The Church supported them for years!! It created a nightmare!! At least these people have the guts to say, this is who I am! God made me!! Why should they be denied happiness if they are following their life goals and contributing in a positive way to society?? Yes, their children will have crosses to bear, but, believe me, my father beat us when we were young and verbally abused us and we survived!! No one even blinked an eye because my parents were in a good Catholic marriage !! I just think the Church is wrong!! We can call it a homosexual union, not a marriage, though my niece did get “married ” in Ireland by a priest?? I’m not positive!!
    Should I have broken our whole family and extended family apart because of our niece?? Should I avoid the sacraments because I accepted her?? I do not and will not! What she does is on her conscience, and I love her for who she is, not her sex choice!!

    • Liz May 16, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

      My own daughter is gay, so I understand all sides of the issue. However, what I tell her and say to all people with same sex attraction is is: if God, in His infinite wisdom, did not call you to be parents, then He has called you to be celibate. Imagine what great things a single person could accomplish if that singlehood were dedicated to God! Just as Priests are enabled by their singlehood to serve at hours, and to extents that a married person with children simply can’t. Celebacy isn’t a curse. To be called to be a spouse and parent is a wonderful gift. To be called to serve the world as a single person is in many ways even more noble. Do I always feel greatful for my calling. Umm, no. But do I have to live it through anyway. Yes. Even when it hurts.

  12. Leon Suprenant May 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Hi Judy, Thanks for this heartfelt sharing. It is incredibly difficult in practice to love family members who have embraced a homosexual lifestyle without either enabling sinful, disordered conduct on the one hand or coming off as harsh or judgmental on the other.

    We don’t want to relegate as “esoteric” crucially important moral principles that aren’t merely man-made “rules” but truths based on divine Revelation as well as what we can know about human nature from reason and the sciences.

    My post was not so much to give the Catholic teaching as it was to demonstrate how the sports media is advancing the “gay agenda,” which fosters more of the real-life struggles you describe.

    We do need to be very careful about establishing moral principles based on practice. By that logic, the Church should approve fornication, serial divorce, and pornography, which are all far more prevalent than homosexual liaisons. But are they good actions? Isn’t the broader acceptance of sexual sins a sign of the corrosive effect of such sins on our cultural sensibilities?

    Similarly, your mistreatment as a child and instances of clerical sex abuse are horrific things. Yet, it does not logically follow that since these bad things happened, then we should allow other bad things. Your point does demonstrate that we are indeed morally compromised as a people of faith. The best way to be part of the solution is to grow in Christian holiness–aim high with Christ rather than lower the bar.

    Your niece was not married in the Church. I understand what you say about conscience, but conscience doesn’t mean doing whatever one feels like and no one can say boo about it. Rather our conscience should lead us to act uprightly. I can’t speak further, because I don’t know your specific situation, whether you were in fact bigoted or condemning or judgmental, which of course are not good things. (Most of the bigotry and intolerance these days goes the other way, btw.)

    At the same time, you can’t say that your niece’s lifestyle is not “immoral” (I’m not judging her personal culpability, but just the actions themselves). Also any “depravity” or “disorder” applies to her tendency to commit sins. We are all depraved and disordered in that sense, as we’re all inclined to commit an array of sins. We’re more than our brokenness, thanks to Christ, but when those with same sex attractions self-identify as “gay,” they are essentially identifying themselves with their sinful tendencies and calling it “good.” I want more for your niece than that.

    That’s all I have time for now, Judy. Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.

  13. Mark Tepen May 16, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Someone please explain to me how this isn’t an equality issue. This type of rhetoric makes people want to die rather than be who they are. What a world we live in.

    • Liz May 16, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

      Remember this isn’t about “rights”, it’s about morality. It’s hard to separate the issues because of all the hateful people who aren’t motivated by Godliness chiming in with the words and attitudes that make a person prefer to die. Good, kind, children of God are sometimes gay. This is not a sin. Having sex outside of marriage is a sin. And when speaking of marriage, it’s not the civil union at issue, it’s the holy, founded by God kind of marriage. Since we use the same word to describe two very different things, it compounds the confusion. All people have the God given right to be respected, loved, and treated equally. In the spirit of equality, any person, regardless of their own personal feelings and longings, is forbidden to have sex outside of this God founded type of marriage. To prove the truth of this, heterosexual ME, married for 5 years, am forbidden to have sex with my husband until he has his previous marriage annulled. Let me tell you, that’s a hard pill to swallow, and we are finding ourselves in a pretty precarious position because of it. But that doesn’t change the requirement for us and for anyone, gay or straight, that sex can not occur outside of marriage without incurring serious sin. Being Catholic ain’t easy, let me tell you. But it’s RIGHT. God bless

      • Mark Tepen May 16, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

        Liz, thank you. That is one of the more coherent responses I have heard on this issue, but I still have questions. In the above article, the writer states that if you believe this is an “equality issue” you have been “guzzling the Kool-Aid.” Jason Collins’ announcement that he was gay made a lot of people feel better about themselves now that someone of Collins’ stature had the bravery to come out. To classify this as forcing people to guzzle kool-aid is flat out wrong in my opinion. I find it hard to believe that there are people who decided, “you know what, I’m not going to be attracted to girls anymore,” as a result of the media’s coverage of Collins’ announcement. Also, the only reason that there was this level of coverage is because of the suffering that Collins’ and other homosexuals have gone through. Someday, our society will be accepting enough to where announcements of sexual orientation don’t have to be made. However, Collins’ announcement has no doubt given people courage to be who they are.

        Also, if God wanted Collins to be celibate, why is that he is sexually attracted to men?

      • Liz May 16, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

        Let me start with the last question first. It’s my thinking that Collins is attracted to men because of he has for whatever reason a glitch in his sexual makeup. Not a bit different in my mind than a person with a glitch in their genes that might cause them to be addicted to drugs or alcohol. Either way, it’s not what would be found in a perfectly working body, but it’s also not a sinful condition since we can’t be held accountable for our physical troubles – unless and until we act on them.
        As for the kool-aid comment, I think it could have been better worded because it leaves a person thinking that the kool-aid they are referring to is that people are being too accepting of gay people. It’s not actually possible to love and respect a person too much. The actual kool aid is this world’s gradual acceptance of any of us living in a way that is contrary to God’s will. The reason it’s not an equality issue is because this very high standard regarding sexual activity is equally applied no matter your sexual orientation. Most of us can live out our sinfulness in the dark where no one can see, and while I”m fairly glad for that, I know it also demotivates me from being as good as I could be. Collins was indeed brave to come out. But the bad part is that he essentially came out to say, “I’m gay and I’m going to live as I want” as opposed to “I’m gay and I’m going to live as God wants.”. This is the type of acceptance that worries the Church. The Church has really only one single mission, one job put on them. And that job is to get souls to heaven. So they have absolutely no choice but to stand firm on issues revealed as critical. I’d sure like to see people respond to this issue, as well as the abortion issue, not with self righteous nonsense, but with the attitude of ‘look, this is a really hard place you’re in…let me love you through it.’. Then people could be who they are. A bunch of wretched sinners walking through the world together with the goal of one day getting to heaven.

  14. Mark Tepen May 16, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    This is where we’ll have to agree to disagree. I find it condescending, disrespectful and hateful to tell someone that they can’t love who they want to love because they are a defect from God.

    • Veronika May 16, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

      A question for Mark. What if the person one loved was a cousin? A blood relative? A minor? A person already married? Many women, ie a polygamous arrangement?
      (In 2007 a man in India married his dog. Which is obviously the most extreme example).
      There are many people who do not see disorders or faults in the relations I just listed. These people could also argue “let me love who I want to love.” The flood gates are open for ALL of the above.
      I like the earlier comment about setting the bar higher as we are all called to follow Christ, not lower the bar and accept

      • Mark Tepen May 16, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

        Veronika, I think sane people can understand the difference between two adult males or females loving each other compared to an adult male committing adultery, having sexual relations with a minor, or loving his pet dog, Sparky.

    • Liz May 16, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

      I appologize for wording that in a way to give the impression that I found gay people defective. My daughter is not, not not defective nor is any other gay person defective. An attraction to the same sex however is not intentionally ordered, as established by the very form of our bodies and the simple fact that God saw fit to make two genders rather than one. I encourage all people to love whomever they love. I encourage all people to abstain from sexual relations unless they are in the state of holy matrimony. I acknowledge that this needs to be the condition for myself even though at this point I am not in a recognized marriage, only a civil one. My desire for sex is not a defect, but it is a state that must be managed. I gather from our brief encounters that you are a very good, intelligent and respectful person and I admire that. I really appreciate that we have been able to have a worthwhile discussion even though we may in fact end up in disagreement. Thank you!

      • Leon Suprenant May 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

        Thanks, Liz, for your comments and witness.

  15. Leon Suprenant May 16, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    Thank you, Liz and Mark, for your edifying exchange. I thought I would just offer a couple additional comments;

    (1) Sorry about the Kool-Aid line. That was referring to the public consensus (without scientific basis and in fact with full-blown persecution of those dissent from the consensus) that homosexuality is a genetic condition and thereby one’s sexual orientation is necessarily fixed at birth.

    (2) If marriage were merely the creation of the state to allow two consenting adults to live together in a sexually intimate way, then I can see how one can claim foul that it has to be one man and one woman, especially when one is strongly attracted to members of his/her own sex. But marriage is reflective of a natural (and supernatural) order established by God and is ordered not only to the good of the two adults but also to the procreation and education of children.

    (3) As Liz said, we all experience brokenness, and we all experience desires that aren’t good for us. If sin did not seem desirable or pleasurable, we wouldn’t be inclined to choose it. God loves us through our brokenness and dysfunction.

    (4) We need to be loving and compassionate to everyone. That’s non-negotiable. Vatican II says that Catholics who do not persevere in charity cannot be saved. When confronted with a significant sin–in this case, homosexual activity, but it could be anything–it is a decisive moment, and without people to love us and minister to us, we could easily despair like Judas and just give up. That absolutely is not the point of challenging people regarding the sinfulness of homosexual acts. Rather, this should and hopefully will be a moment of conversion and new direction, as we hear the words of Jesus to the woman caught in adultery: “Go and sin no more.”

  16. Leon Suprenant May 16, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Mark, your last comment came in while I was typing. NOBODY is a defect from God. I think that gets back to the dreaded Kool-Aid: The gay movement is encouraging people to define themselves by their sexual preferences/attractions. That sells people short. Every human person has God-give dignity and value as a person. We are not defined by our sins, frailties, inclinations, etc. whatever they may be. If my identity/self worth is tied to my commitment to a sinful lifestyle, then I would find any reference to the sinfulness of my lifestyle as a personal, hateful attack, when that is not necessarily the case.

    • Mark Tepen May 16, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

      I disagree. The “gay movement” is fighting for rights that were stolen from people the moment they were born.

      • Leon Suprenant May 16, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

        Mark: That assumes that their homosexuality is genetically determined, which lacks scientific corroboration. But you raise an interesting point: What is the source of the “rights” that you claim were stolen at birth?

      • Veronika May 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

        Mark you write:
        “Veronika, I think sane people can understand the difference between two adult males or females loving each other compared to an adult male committing adultery, having sexual relations with a minor, or loving his pet dog, Sparky.”

        There are movements that condone relations between minors and adult me.

        Furthermore, you failed to ‘answer’ the other examples I gave re. loving a blood relation or polygamy. Are these types of relations acceptable?

  17. Pluto May 17, 2013 at 6:02 am #

    What if there is no scientific study that can prove what does or does not make a person gay? Is there a scientific way to know for sure why some people like certain foods and some don’t? Our technology is good but we don’t know everything. Other species display gay behavior. With the way gay people tend to get treated, although its getting better each day, I am not sure many people would want to choose that lifestyle. Are you sure that marriage originated with religion?

    Bottom line is others have their ideas on this topic, I have mine, and no one can prove either side is wrong or wright. I don’t pretend to know 100% what God thinks of everything. If someone is engaged in a loving and caring relationship, is happy and not hurting anyone I believe that would make God smile not disappointed or angry.

    I know many of us wouldn’t like it if some other group tried to say to us that you can’t do this or that because their god or beliefs are different. Yes there has to be some logic and law applied. Obviously people can’t hurt others. But who gets to say they get their way and enforce it? I don’t even like I how I used the word “us”.

  18. Leon Suprenant May 17, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    Hi Pluto. Thanks for your comments. I’m okay with science not being able to discover the cause of homosexuality, which assuredly is a complex matter. The reason it comes up is because some in the gay rights movement assert that homosexuality is genetic and fixed at birth, which does not seem to be the case scientifically. None of this affects the morality of homosexual activity. Some gay rights activists do play the genetic card to attack efforts to correct the disordered attractions (which nonetheless have worked in some cases).

    Marriage is written into human nature. It is not the creation of the state. The Church’s teaching on marriage is based on Scripture and Tradition, but also on the natural law written on the human heart. Similarly, when the Church teaches “thou shall not kill” and “thou shall not steal” she is drawing not only on Scripture (e.g., the Ten Commandments) but our primordial sense that these acts run counter to the natural law.

    Sure we should act so as not to physically hurt others (a precept of the natural law that you do acknowledge!). But we were made for so much more than simply staying out of each other’s way as we do what we please. (And upon further examination, homosexual unions cause not only spiritual but also physical, emotional, and societal hurts.)

    My point, though, is that God made us for a much greater purpose. He desires a more complete and lasting happiness for each of us. We can come to some understanding of this through reason, but a firmer, grander understanding of our through God’s revelation to us through Christ.


  1. » A National Monologue Practical Catholic Junto - May 18, 2013

    […] past week, Leon Suprenant of the Archdiocese of Kansas City shared a blog post earlier this week addressing the story of NBA player Jason Collins coming out publicly as homosexual. Most striking […]

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