Dear Catholic Church: I Beg To Differ


Picture Recently, the United Nations has been moving to give homosexual persons special status under international human rights legislation – but not if the church has anything to say about it. The church, you see, has a longstanding history of not exactly supporting homosexuality or the rights of homosexual persons. And on the heels of the UN trying to make this legislative move, the Church is playing a dishonest semantic game, in efforts to maintain the status-quo.

Tonight I came across an article on titled Holy See’s UN representative says people should not suffer violence... by Deacon Nick. In the article he quotes Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, who states:

The Holy See takes this opportunity to affirm the inherent dignity and worth of all human beings, and to condemn all violence that is targeted against people because of their sexual feelings and thoughts, or sexual behaviors. …for the purposes of human rights law, there is a critical difference between feelings and thoughts, on the one hand, and behavior, on the other. A state should never punish a person, or deprive a person of the enjoyment of any human right, based just on the person’s feelings and thoughts, including sexual thoughts and feelings.

The church is making a big step here, and it warrants being explored; it is creating a duality in the human person, between their sexual thoughts and feelings and their sexual behaviour. According to the church, the act of sex is independent of one’s thoughts and feelings about and towards it. Homosexuality is nothing but the sum of a one’s desires, preferences, attitudes and feelings towards members of the same sex, for heterosexuals it is for members of the opposite sex, and so on respectively. But sex, so says the church, has nothing to do with this.

This is the church attempting to make the invalid assertion that the source of one’s motivations for sexual behaviour actually has nothing to do with sexual behaviour! By this logic, no one is homosexual or straight or bisexual or anything else, because this all belongs to the realm of sexual feelings and thoughts, or sexual orientation,  not to sexual behaviour. By this logic we are all essentially wired by god to have sex – and sex is only approved sex if it is between a man and woman within the sacred bonds of marriage open to whatever god may will for them. Homosexuals and other deviant sexual beings are merely confused with respect to sex; they just think they want something else.

Keep this in mind, because the next excerpt is where we move from an unhealthy aggregation of ignorance and arrogance to incredibly dangerous ground.

Having said this, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi stated the obvious fact that states do have the right to have laws about sexual behaviour:

‘But states can, and must, regulate behaviors, including various sexual behaviors. Throughout the world, there is a consensus between societies that certain kinds of sexual behaviors must be forbidden by law. Pedophilia and incest are two examples.’

The audacity! The Vatican, arguing that states cannot regulate a person’s sexual orientation, what they would claim is all those things which confirms that that they are gay, or their ‘thoughts and feelings’, and are protected by law and should remain protected by law. However, states can interfere, according to the Vatican, with issues of sexual behaviour (the expression of one’s sexual orientation, others would say) the state must forbid certain types of sexual behaviour. Tomasi refers to pedophilia and incest as two sexual behaviours states tend to have laws forbidding. (Never mind that in the case of pedophilia, the church does not exactly stand on high moral ground.)

I am not going to argue that the church is trying to equivocate pedophilia and incest with homosexuality, as Nick accuses others of doing. The author of the article, Nick, qualifies this further down in the blog post by referring to the sexual behaviours forbidden by states are those deemed to be deviant by the various states. So the reasoning goes, if a state deems homosexuality to be a deviant sexual practice then it is within its rights to make that sexual act illegal. And this does not violate anyone’s sexual orientation because that is exists entirely in a cerebral manner, and is not infringed upon by denying the sexual behaviour associated with it.

As I mentioned earlier, the Vatican is just trying to play semantic games to make legal justification for banning sexual behaviours or practices that it does not agree with. The sexual act involves an intimately relationship between one’s thoughts and desires, and one’s body and physical relationship with the other. Any person who has ever been sexually aroused by sexual thoughts is evidence of this relationship – there is a causal relationship between the two. You can no more divorce a person’s thoughts and feelings towards sex from the act of sex itself than you can remove all fuel from your car and expecting it to still get you to work. There is no actual disconnect between sexual orientation and sexual behaviour.

Nick then writes:

Protect the Pope comment: All the archbishop has done is set out why it’s wrong for states to intervene in the area of sexual orientation, while at the same time upholding the state’s right to regulate sexual behaviour, including criminalizing deviant sexual acts like incest, and pedophilia.  Every culture throughout human history has regulated sexual behaviour, this is one of the things that makes us different from animals.

So Nick reaffirms the nonsensical, hypocritical and invalid assertion that sexual orientation and sexual behaviour are not one and the same and that, accordingly, it is ethical for a state to prohibit deviant sexual behaviours without violating anyone’s right to their own sexual orientation. Furthermore, he argues that every human culture has regulated sexual behaviour and it is what makes us different than the animals.

First, provide valid reasoning for your (you, Deacon Nick, and you, Vatican, and you anyone else who supports this dribble) belief that there is a duality between sexual behaviour and sexual orientation. Next, you have to provide valid reasoning for why homosexuality is deviant sexual behaviour. Third, yes, when certain sexual acts pose a danger to others, such as pedophilia or incest, they are made illegal. But then you would have to validly demonstrate how homosexuality poses harm to anyone else. And fourth, humans are animals.

The real ethical shame here is that this sham of a moral institution, the church, that believes it can dictate what is and is not the case, based on moral reasoning that is based on nothing more than the text from a book, parts of which were written more than two thousand years ago, and is full of the vehement, intolerant social and political practices, and both an uneducated worldview and set of ethical principles.

Violence can be expressed in more than one way. And when you try to pass-off your bankrupt moral reasoning as an educated argument to support the suppression of equal participation in public life of homosexuals, you are committing a form of violence.

 I invite you to challenge this argument, sincerely. However, a single response telling me that the bible is evidence supporting these backward and unethical beliefs, I will not respond to you. This is not valid and does not deserve being addressed further.

Picture source:,29307,1886579_1859793,00.html

Views: 24

Comment by Brian Bridson on April 3, 2011 at 1:41pm
It is splitting hairs. Trying to place a cleft between personality and behaviour, as though the two are separated. It is nonsense, and it is hateful, not to mention absolutely absurd.
Comment by Galen on April 3, 2011 at 5:21pm
I understood him to be saying more along the lines of "We don't care what you THINK and won't judge you for it, but we care what you DO and it's a sin!"  I actually do see that as at least a step in the right direction.
Comment by Brian Bridson on April 3, 2011 at 5:57pm

It is not a step in the right direction. If this distinction is legally accepted, it would allow states to prohibit homosexual behaviours because doing so would not violate any rights to freedom of thought, preference or feelings. But if permitted, people would be prohibited from expressing themselves sexually as they feel or compelled (between consenting adults).


Forget that they have no evidence for this distinction, they also have no evidence to support their claims that homosexuality is wrong or sexually deviant. This alone means they have no business/authority telling people how to be when it comes to their sex lives (or moral lives), much less trying to have their hatred enacted into law.


There is nothing positive about this whatsoever.

Comment by Galen on April 3, 2011 at 9:02pm
I'm looking at it from purely a theological standpoint, not from if it will become legally acceptable, because it won't.  The Vatican doesn't decide law outside of its own borders and just because they declare this to be teh case doesn't mean that anybody's going to start re-writing our laws based on it.  This is a theological statement made by a senior church official, not some binding legal precedent.
Comment by Brian Bridson on April 4, 2011 at 6:43am

What about this is positive? The catholic church is justifying the discrimination of homosexuals. It is also doing so while in attendance in the UN while it is trying to provide homosexuals with the special status under international human rights legislation. Over and above their despicable treatment of and attitude towards homosexuals, it is actively involved in UN processes that could influence its decision.


This was not a statement made in isolation of was made to affect the status of homosexuals under law. This is unacceptable.

Comment by Galen on April 4, 2011 at 5:01pm

Brian, I still don't understand why you think this has anything to do with the law.  The Church says LOTS of crazy things, they don't become our laws just because the Church says it, lol.  I know that sometimes it may SEEM like the Church says something and our elected officials jump to see how fast they can kiss the Pope's ass and do what he wants, but that really isn't the way it works.


As for how this is a positive thing.  Well, I didn't call it positive, nor would I.  I said it's a step in the right direction.  The Church started out from a position that homosexuals were inherently evil, through and through.  Now they seem to take a position of gays not being inherently evil and it's ok for them to be the way they are, just not to act on it.  That IS a step forward from thinking they're just plain evil, heart and soul.


See, Brian, you have to understand the long-term working of Christians churches operating in a secular world.  They start out completely condemned something new and "sinful."  As secular society accepts something more and more, the churches begin to realize that their ass-backwards thinking is unacceptable by society at large, so they move very very slowly toward acceptance of this thing.  That's what they're doing right now.  They're giving a little ground while still holding onto their fundamental statement of "this is wrong."


Just like with the abolition of slavery, the rights of women to vote, the civil rights movement, and a hundred other things the Church has opposed throughout history, they will very slowly come around.  Fifty to a hundred years from now, they'll have no problem with gays and will act like they never did!


It's a process can be shown in a study of the history of controversial things the church has dealt with.  Perhaps I see it as a step forward because I'm looking at the WHOLE process and I see this as just another step in their standard journey toward acceptance.  It's how they always do it.  Nothing new here, bro.


You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

© 2018   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service