Some people seem to think so.
Unfortunately for 'them' they may be right. On Christmas I watched The Sound of Music on television - again. One of the characters in the film, a local man from Salzburg (Herr Zeller, the Gauleiter) who obviously sided with the Nazis and intended to force Captain Von Trapp to do so as well, interrupted a conversation during the party scene just before intermission. He was rude and very brusque, spewing Nazi propaganda in an effort to refute, rebuke and silence the pro-Austrian conversation. (The character acted like that throughout the film.)
I must admit his behavior reminded me of how some 'gay activists' can respond to those who oppose legalizing same sex marriage and other hot button politicized issues wherein homosexuals demand not simply tolerance and acceptance, but societal approval. More than one Catholic blogger refers to such activists as 'brownshirts' - inferring Nazi-like tactics - hence the title of my post. Very often, the coercive comments I read from gay protesters on such blogs certainly lend credence to the theory.
Naturally that label is troubling to gay activists who sincerely believe they are fighting a civil rights war for equality, something liberal politicians and their minions seem to agree with. Thus the Roman Catholic Church is more and more regarded as the enemy and real menace to society. Especially since Cardinal George recently suggested the tactics employed by gay activists may be heading in a similar direction towards how the KKK tyrannized the Church in the early part of the 20th century. "You don't want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism," he said. As usual, his words were taken out of context and sound more sinister than he intended - but that is how it goes in media when soundbites become the main story.
The Cardinal further defends his statement:
That dispute was resolved last week, but the cardinal’s KKK comparison – and his new explanation of those comments – have kept the controversy boiling.
“Organizers (of the pride parade) invited an obvious comparison to other groups who have historically attempted to stifle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church,” the cardinal said in a statement issued Tuesday. “One such organization is the Ku Klux Klan which, well into the 1940s, paraded through American cities not only to interfere with Catholic worship but also to demonstrate that Catholics stand outside of the American consensus. It is not a precedent anyone should want to emulate.” - Chicago Tribune
I definitely do agree with the Cardinal.
The fight for gay rights is going to become more heated in 2012 - especially in Minnesota as we approach election time and the marriage amendment comes up for a vote. I think I read someplace that in New Hampshire efforts are underway to repeal the law permitting same sex marriage. These issues volley back and forth - as we've seen in California especially. Likewise Republican presidential candidates have pledged to overturn the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. There are big issues and not so big issues. I'm against same sex marriage and homosexual acts, but who serves in the military doesn't happen to be an issue for me.
The problem for Catholics, as I see it, is the lack of clear, consistent teaching on the issue of homosexuality. To be sure, the teaching is there and it is spelled out in no uncertain terms. There are documents to prove it. Nevertheless, in practical terms there is a lot of leeway given when it comes to observance.
For instance, homosexual acts are sinful, but the orientation itself - though disordered (disorders are normal for fallen man) is not sinful. "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder." CDF Letter, no.3
It's getting to be like a witch hunt.
Therefore men with homosexual inclination who have renounced homosexual acts and have accepted Church teaching continue to identify as gay - hence they refer to themselves as "gay Catholics". Likewise, so do their actively "gay Catholic" counterparts who do not accept Church teaching on sexuality and marriage, yet attempt to live as faithful Catholics, frequent the sacraments, maybe attend Dignity and adopt kids and send them to Catholic school. Straight people are especially confused about this situation. What to do? I don't know - it seems to me ridiculous to have to go around constantly repeating, "I live a chaste life and accept Church teaching and I'm against gay marriage."
I found an interesting comment on a Fr. Z post about an openly gay ex-priest EMHC at a parish:
Speculae says:It is a rather good comment, making needed distinctions - however, how does one know which type of 'openly gay' person is acting? Why do we have to know? Within that post and comments, people brought up the fact they have gay organists at church. (My parish does too - how do I know? I don't really, except he looks/dresses, walks/talks, like a girl. Do I care? No. And I have no idea if he is active or not.) In the recent past there have been news stories concerning openly gay organists and other church workers being fired from their positions. I don't understand that. Frequently in large city parishes, organists are hired help - just like a janitor - only with status.
"Labeling limits and disrespects people. "
But I digress. I for one, as I've made clear numerous times, whole heartedly accept and embrace* what the Church teaches regarding identity:
"Today, the Church... refuses to consider the person as a "heterosexual "or a "homosexual," and insists that every person has a fundamental identity: the creature of God, and by grace, His child and heir to eternal life." CDF, no.16Nevertheless, there are other sources of confusion which can compromise acceptance of Church teaching, or at least call it into question. This is seen most clearly in the prohibition of homosexuals from Holy Orders and/or the religious life. It is technically forbidden, although if a candidate lives a chaste life for 3 years or so they seem to be able to be received. I'm not saying that it is wrong or right, it is up to the competent authorities to make such decisions. I hate to bring this aspect up, but it seems the most convenient one to point out what appears to be a double standard at least in principle.
The Church won't put a label on anyone. To say someone is "gay" or "lesbian" or a "homosexual" is to define a whole person by just one aspect. It can lock up a person's identity and block further emotional growth. That's just the sort of labeling which gives rise to prejudice and discrimination. The Church stands against any behavior it calls immoral, but always teaches support and respect for the person. Labeling limits and disrespects people. - Source
For instance, without naming names, I know there are prominent priests who are active in the Church who happen to have very gay pasts - and there are those who continue to identify as gay - at least semi-privately, and some - in this archdiocese - are pastors. That is something I don't get. They seem to 'cling' to that identity when in fact it is objectively disordered, although it seems to me it would be better to "strive to lay aside every encumbrance of sin that clings to us." [Hebrews 12: 1] To be sure, I annoy many ssa people when I say such things. I can't control what they think of me any more than I can control how they live.
That said - I'm not going to knock myself out campaigning for the marriage amendment. I'll pray and let people know I'm not a believer in same sex marriage, and I'll vote to pass the amendment, but that is about it. I'm not afraid to 'stand outside the American consensus' - that is where Christ is, as St. Paul tells us: "Let us go to him outside the camp, bearing the insult he bore. For here we have no lasting city; we are seeking one which is to come." [Hebrews 13: 13-14]
Works for me.
*embrace: It is one thing to accept Church teaching, to actually embrace it can take awhile for some people. Everything is possible with God. For those who can't accept Church teaching, I wish you well, I'm not your judge.