Thursday, December 10, 2015

Deacon Jim asks: "Is Homosexuality a Psychological Disorder?"

Deacon Jim Russell
Deacon Jim Russell
At Crisis Magazine Catholic deacon, Jim Russell seems to be questioning something that has been settled science for decades. In conservative Christian circles, the generally accepted mythology is that the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM because of pressure from gay activists and their allies. In fact the APA decision was based upon a mountain of solid peer-reviewed research.

In his piece our misadventurer, Deacon Jim, is debating blogger Melinda Selmys (“Catholic Authenticity”) who took exception to Mark Latkovic’s “Using Modern Science to Treat Homosexuality.” As did I. Selmys called it a lifeless horse with rotten clumps of meat falling off its bones. Selmys was no more enamored with Latkovic's preposterous treatise than I was.

I won't indulge in the full back and forth but Russell's closing paragraphs are instructive:
Selmys will use words like “weakness,” “obstacle,” and “limitation,” in apparent reference to same-sex attraction, but not “disability.” Instead of connecting the dots, she concludes: “Ultimately, the psychopathologization of homosexuality does not follow from traditional Christian anthropology, and it is harmful, not helpful, in terms of ministry to gay people.”

But this is false. Homosexuality is in the mind of the Church a form of “pathology,” spiritually and psychologically. Our authentically Catholic anthropology makes this self-evident. Latkovic’s original essay gets this right.

Selmys urges us to abandon and finally bury this “particular dead horse.” The only problem is that this horse is still very much alive—and it’s the one that we Catholics rode in on.
Poor Jim: The reality – real truth – is not found in the teachings of the Catholic Church. Catholic teachings that are not based on those “ancient texts” are based on the opinions and instructions of theologians and catechists. Social and medical scientists know a great deal more about sexual orientation than those theologians and catechists. That's just common sense. The conclusions of social and medical scientists are also based upon current information and research.

This issue is settled. Homosexuality is neither a psychological disorder nor a disability. Any pathology that is displayed by gay people is the result of people like Mr. Russell who insist that gay people are sick perverts and sinners who are not deserving of equal rights.

Rolling back science so that it conforms to religious dogma is senseless. I wish that I could do a different kind of time shift, moving my life forward ten to twenty years. I would be married to my life partner and I would be a far more effective business leader. I would be less neurotic (if at all).

In the absence of discrimination – which is almost entirely driven by Christianity – gay people can flourish. We form stable unions. We marry. We raise thriving children. We are US Army generals. We even run the world's largest company. There is nothing that gay people cannot do — as long as they do not listen to and believe our Christian detractors. These folks are determined to either change or make gay people celibate. Why? So that others won't judge us as sinners? It's just not worth it. Gay kids deserve to know the real choices that they have.

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