Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sins of the Mother

A Catholic school is refusing to enroll a student because her parents are lesbians.

It's not that there is zero rationale for this within a Catholic framework that views homosexuality as immoral. And I admit I have a hard time putting myself in the shoes of those who view homosexuality as contrary to God's law. But it still strikes me as deeply wrong, what the school is doing. To effectively banish the child from your community, because one disapproves of her parents, seems like a corruption of Christianity to me. I could be wrong, and I'm not Christian or Catholic, so it's not ultimately up to me how they interpret their doctrines. But this does offend me even a step further than "normal" anti-gay prejudice does. The corruption of blood angle seems to push it that extra mile.

UPDATE: The Daily Camera has more, including a rather stunning statement by Rev. William Breslin arguing that the community has "ample love" but "a scarcity of discipleship" (hence his decision to, in his words, "be on the side of what was lacking"). I should note that I don't really buy the argument that because the parents are becoming part of the community of the school, the decision is really one against the parents. Obviously, the child is the one experiencing the deprivation, hence, I think it is perfectly fair to characterize the act as being against the child.


chingona said...

The argument from the Church is that it is not that the child is corrupted or sinful somehow, but that the parents - by virtue of their "lifestyle" - are living in a manner not in accord with church teaching. And that when parents enroll their children in Catholic school, they are entering into a partnership to raise their children in accordance with church teaching. Too much cognitive dissonance, they say.

What they haven't accounted for is why they have declined to allow the enrollment of children with divorced parents, parents who used assisted reproductive technology to conceive and bear them (though, in the consistency camp, I should note that apparently a Catholic school teacher was fired for using IVF), or all the parents who use contraception. For that matter, they enroll children whose parents aren't even Catholic!

So the justification, unsatisfying though it is to those of us on the other side of this, is not a blood taint kind of argument.

What it does do, though, is elevate homosexual behavior above other sins in excluding this family from the community, and I've known more than one Christian who argued that was a theologically suspect approach - that is, there is not much justification for considering homosexuality a worse sin than, say, pride or lying.

chingona said...

Ack! Beginning of the second graf should be "why they haven't declined to enroll ..."

joe said...

chingona, one pragmatic reason (from the Church's pov, that is; obviously not pragmatic in the sense it's an irrational bias in the first place) is that most of those other categories account for a wider swathe of the population than same-sex parents, so they're not turning as many people away for standing on principle.

chingona said...

@ joe

Well, obviously. If 90 percent of the parents were gay, they'd somehow find a way to get over themselves.

So sure, it's more pragmatic, but it makes the argument that they MUST stand on principle pretty unpersuasive for anyone who thinks about it for very long.

joe said...

That's one way of looking at it, but I find many people have "firm principles" they are nonetheless willing to compromise.

Noell_ said...

Such a fascinating story. I agree with @chingona. BTW - I'm a newbie to your blog but I've enjoyed myself so far. Kudos!