"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

I did not know that.

Imitation Game


When the UK decriminalized homosexuality...

One might think a blanket approval was given to homosexuality when legislation was first passed decriminalizing homosexual acts between consenting adults - but it wasn't so simple.  The manner in which it was discussed would be intolerable today.  I came across the following in the combox of an online magazine - the quotes I found are in italics, otherwise the following entry is lifted from Wikipedia to provide context.
In the 1960s, one MP, Leo Abse, and a peer, Lord Arran, put forward proposals to change the way in which criminal law treated homosexual men by means of the Sexual Offences Bill. This attempt to liberalise the law relating to male homosexuality can be placed in a context of the rising number of prosecutions of homosexual men.
In his 1965 Sexual Offences Bill, Lord Arran drew heavily upon the findings of the Wolfenden Report (1957) which recommended the decriminalisation of certain homosexual offences. 
The Wolfenden committee had been set up to investigate homosexuality and prostitution in the mid 1950s, and included on its panel a judge, a psychiatrist, an academic and various theologians. They came to the conclusion (with one dissenter) that criminal law could not credibly intervene in the private sexual affairs of consenting adults in the privacy of their homes. The position was summarised by the committee as follows: “unless a deliberate attempt be made by society through the agency of the law to equate the sphere of crime with that of sin, there must remain a realm of private that is in brief, not the law's business” (Wolfenden Report, 1957). 
There was no political impetus after the publication of the Wolfenden report to legislate on this matter, but by 1967 the Labour Government of the time showed support for Lord Arran's mode of liberal thought. It was considered that criminal law should not penalise homosexual men, already the object of ridicule and derision. The comments of Roy Jenkins, Home Secretary at the time, captured the government's attitude: "those who suffer from this disability carry a great weight of shame all their lives" (quoted during parliamentary debate by The Times on 4 July 1967). 
The Bill received royal assent on 27 July 1967 after an intense late night debate in the House of Commons.
Lord Arran, in an attempt to minimise criticisms that the legislation would lead to further public debate and visibility of issues relating to homosexual civil rights made the following qualification to this "historic" milestone: "I ask those [homosexuals] to show their thanks by comporting themselves quietly and with dignity… any form of ostentatious behaviour now or in the future or any form of public flaunting would be utterly distasteful… [And] make the sponsors of this bill regret that they had done what they had done" (quoted during Royal Assent of the bill by The Times newspaper on 28 July 1967).

These are interesting points:
  •  "those who suffer from this disability carry a great weight of shame all their lives"  - Roy Jenkins
  • "I ask those [homosexuals] to show their thanks by comporting themselves quietly and with dignity… any form of ostentatious behaviour now or in the future or any form of public flaunting would be utterly distasteful… [And] make the sponsors of this bill regret that they had done what they had done" - Lord Arran
At the time, civil authority recognized, as the Church continues to do today, that one often 'suffers' from same sex attraction/homosexuality.  More or less.  It was subsequently debated by lawmakers, and therefore decriminalized, in part, because it was viewed as a 'disability'.  I believe the Church is more charitable, and more sensitive to the condition addressing it as an 'objective disorder', while identifying the condition as a 'cross' a person bears. I think that's fair, especially for those who desire to live according to Catholic teaching regarding chastity and marriage.

However, most interesting to me is the request made by Lord Arran to homosexuals - that is, to avoid ostentatious behavior or distasteful public flaunting - which would cause the sponsors of the bill regret for having decriminalized homosexuality.  The legislators must be writhing with regret in their graves every time a gay pride event takes place.

Distasteful public protests and ostentatious demonstrations, albeit not unusual in LGBTQ celebrations, would certainly erupt today if such language dare be used in the public square.  As one critic once noted:

Inevitably, if the dominant group concedes anything of substance, it will eventually take the place of the subaltern group. A little over fifty years ago, homos in England could be arrested just for being homos. Now people are arrested there simply for offending them. All in a single lifetime. - Dr. Andro

5 comments:

  1. "those who suffer from this disability carry a great weight of shame all their lives" - Roy Jenkins

    War Roy Jenkins the shrink?

    I dispute his analysis - unless homosexual numbers have gone up very much so that what he found the main stay among them has dwindled to a small minority among the new recruts. Homosexuality is not a disability as much as a choice or a self frustration.

    Josh Weed was able enough to marry:

    The Weed : Thank You Club Unicorn
    http://www.joshweed.com/2012/06/thank-you-club-unicorn.html


    And he was spending his early teens falling in love with boy after boy.

    I even think whoever was the shrink (Roy Jenkins?) may have contributed to the legislation by calling homosexuality basically incurable.

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    1. Thanks Hans - I know so little about the development of all that in the UK. I've always disputed the 'disability' aspect as well - I also dislike the emphasis upon 'suffering' as it leads to a 'victim' mentality - 'poor me' type of thing. I also agree with you on the effect calling 'incurable' had on legislators - to day 'unchangeable' would be the acceptable term.

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    2. this is exactly what is happening now in 'education' with all this pathologies for every thing...it is terrible

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  2. I hope my comment does not offend anybody, specially the ones rooted in UK/british culture, ..UK is the country where I have been living for more than 15 years- it is a brilliant nation with lots of achievements in terms of social and political freedom.....
    Now, there is still something I find hard to digest in the way their culture works..which is alien to me and I am not sure it is like this in the USA. It has to be with the notion of 'disability' as dictated by some short of political authority but which is later allocated to biological/organic factors in individuals, this-in my view- creates huge barriers (because for some reason believing that there are 'biological differences' seem to lead to less empathy, that's my theory) ..labels happen and the public is educated about how to 'deal' with 'the disability' -including surprisingly, those who are considered to have it'!!! (Can official authorities re educate people about themselves, about who they are and how to deal with yourself in a non empathic way? I mean just 'ruling' ?...I don't think so- I find this alienates rather than help
    In the fifties and sixties,f.i: teenage pregnancies where considered a case of madness in this country (UK) with young girls been locked up in mental institutions- not catholic ones * ...at the same time the culture of the sixties was pushing them to behave like this. (
    * there were catholic convent schools, but many other mental houses. Now the media is happy to say that those cases were a Catholics thing.....So unfair! -
    ..
    I

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mrs. Wells - your comments are well taken and insightful.

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