Thursday, March 3, 2016

Deacon Jim Russell explains it all for you

Deacon Jim Russell
At Crisis Magazine Deacon Jim Russell writes: “Why Attractions and Emotions Become ‘Identities.’” I don't know what Russell does when he is not deaconing but it is safe to say that he is not producing peer reviewed social science research. Perhaps he is more successful as an orthodox Catholic apologist. We begin:
For years to come, a range of experts and armchair analysts will likely argue about the origins of same-sex attraction and “gender” confusion and to what extent either counts as a psychological disorder. But there is one aspect of the LGBTQ(etc.) phenomenon that, seems to me, is beyond dispute: basing identity on attractions and feelings has become the dominant social disorder of our time.

Russell cannot write a scientifically coherent sentence. “Same-sex attraction” is a conservative Christian construct to suggest that sexual orientation is similar to a bad habit. We cannot know why the word gender is in defense quotes but the term “gender confusion” is the conservative Christian phrasing of gender identity. Sexual orientation and gender identity both exist in social and medical science. And that science is settled science.

More importantly, LGBT citizens do not base their lives on their sexuality. That, too, is a Christian construct; a foundation for discrimination. It is the genesis of “those people.” It's also a way of reminding the faithful that Anderson Cooper is no better than where he sticks his dick. It is also projection. Russell is defined by his religious orthodoxy. Therefore, gay people are defined by their sexual orientation.

Russell is an easy target for ridicule. The problem is that he is in a position of authority as the Family Life Coordinator for the Office of Laity and Family Life in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, Missouri (these titles never quite fit on a business card). Russell is in a position to inflict his profound ignorance on parents and children. Russell explains the agenda:
1) Public self-identification (coming out) as gay or lesbian (or other “out” labels) leads to entry into and acceptance from a community. 2) Participation in the community leads to group identification as a minority. 3) Identification as a minority leads to shaping the conversation regarding rights and discrimination issues. 4) Shaping that conversation then leads to dramatic social change that favors the perspective and agenda of the minority.
No. No. No. When people come out it means that they have stopped lying about who they are. The anticipatory anxiety of what will happen if people know that he or she is gay are usually far greater than the realized consequences of coming out. They were already a member of a minority group.  Some members of the LGBT community choose to participate in obtaining the goal of Equal Protection; Most do not.  The “conversation” is largely shaped for the minority by the majority. Conservative Christians shape the conversation by their hyperbole aimed at preventing Equal Protection in order to make public policy conform to ancient texts written by people with little understanding of LGBT people. Mr. Russell wants to shape the conversation.

Later on regarding gay Christians Russell seems to think that they weren't gay until they came out. He goes on to write:
As part of the gay Christian subculture, you’ll be affirmed in your dual identity, but then you will have to give some thought as to which “sub-subculture” you’ll want to accept—for example, Side A or Side B? Gay Christians who think God is okay with homosexual behavior and even same-sex “marriage” are “Side A.” Gay Christians who think it’s okay to be gay as long as one doesn’t sexually act out are “Side B.” … Perhaps this is why it has struck me that many who say they are gay and Christian seem even more deeply allied with the gay subcultures than they are with the broader Christian community to which they belong.
Russell makes it sound like people ask themselves which club they should join. Much like Rachel Maddow is a television host who happens to be gay or Tim Cook is a CEO who happens to be gay most of the people Russell tries to label probably “identify” (and I hate that word) as Christians who happen to be gay. We are all, to some extent, cafeteria religious consumers. Even Russell has to make some decisions about what he believes and how he will believe it. I think that it's all rather silly but I'm a Jew who loves lobster — I have made some decisions and they are mine to make.

Russell overlooks the part that he and other fundamentalists play in contouring how people feel about religion. They are intent on shaming gay people essentially asserting that “it's just a bad habit that you do not have to indulge.” They are driving people away from the Church.

Skipping over some repetitive nonsense:
What does the celibate gay Catholic’s minority report look like? While there is no push for changing Church teaching on homosexual acts, there is an implicit (and sometimes explicit) push against the Church’s anthropology. By continuing to embrace an identity based on attraction, the celibate gay Catholic contradicts the Church’s understanding that our sexual identity is either man or woman. Nothing else. …
It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that being gay is “objectively disordered.” That disorder has been diagnosed by theologians, not scientists. The Church unintentionally provides a way to discriminate between faith and superstition. Russell's objective (which is demonstrable in my next cite) is to prevent people from saying that they are gay as if that makes them any less gay. Moreover, we now know that gender is a continuum. Even anatomically we know that people aren't always either male or female at birth. Uncritical acceptance of this doctrine is willful ignorance.

The whole point of this verbose polemic is kind of like those DirectTV commercials — because the cable company keeps you on hold too long, you wake up in a roadside ditch:

Russell's version is say you are gay and you become a member of the gay community. Become a member of the gay community and you will advocate. Advocate and you will become a radical homosexual activist. Become a radical homosexual activist and your dog will eat you. Don't say you are gay. Or, as Russell writes:
Opting Out Instead of Coming Out

What if I have same-sex attraction and simply decide not to reveal this experience to the general public? What if I just don’t come out? It’s clear that the gay community doesn’t think too highly of anyone who prefers not to take full advantage of the “identity” passport that is freely offered. Rejecting this club membership is viewed as self-oppressive, shame-based, and damaging.
Opprobrium is reserved for closeted gays who work to deprive LGBT citizens of equality. Ryan T. Anderson come to mind.
Not “coming out” does not equal “hiding the truth” about one’s self. Rather, it’s a means of proclaiming the greatest truth of all: “I know who I am and who I am not in God’s eyes.”
Out or closeted they are still gay which means that, according to their Church, they are “objectively disordered.” I lack the skills and training to diagnose Russell's personality disorder but it is a disorder. What would he say to a teen who comes out to his or her parents? I call it honesty. He calls it perverse. It took a couple of centuries for the Church to get over geocentrism. Eventually it will figure this out. Meanwhile the Church and people like Deacon Jim Russell will do violence to LGBT people and their families.

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