Monday, October 27, 2008
Human and Civil Rights of the "Homosexual"
The statement of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, "To live in Christ Jesus," says that "homosexuals" have a right to respect, friendship, and justice, and "an active role in the Christian community" (19). This is another way of saying that the condition of homosexuality does not prevent a person from enjoying truly human rights, but it does not mean that society must approve either a homosexual lifestyle or homosexual actions. To be sure, one must draw a sharp distinction between a moral judgment concerning homosexual acts and the application of legal sanctions to prevent them. It is simply good jurisprudence not to formulate laws which cannot be enforced except by methods which really violate the right of privacy, and for this reason the civil law should not attempt to control private acts between consenting adults (adultery, homosexual acts, etc). Contemporary civil law allows civil suits by the minor who has been seduced. This happened very frequently in the recent priest sex-abuse scandals. The civil law also forbids any form of forced sexual relationships, and public indecency, all of which involve violations of the right of minors, the right of individual freedom, and the right of society to be free of public indecencies. Such laws are justified restrictions of sexual activity.
A careful distinction should be made in regard to the teaching profession. Should teachers with SSA who advocate a homosexual lifestyle be allowed to teach in grade or high schools? The answer should be "no." Parents have a right not to have their children come under the influence of such teachers, not because of the danger of seduction (which is relatively remote), but rather because parents have a right to have teachers for their children who are adequate role models for the vast majority of the population. The rights of the majority of parents not to have homosexuality advocated as a lifestyle takes priority over the rights of a group of "homosexuals" to use the classroom as a form of propaganda for their way of life. What is being advocated here does not have to be pedagogical but simply the public living of a lifestyle. On the other hand, a man or woman who has been involved in homosexual practices secretly should not be forced out of a teaching position as the result of private investigations. Such witch hunting, which oftentimes involves blackmail, should not be allowed to destroy a person's reputation, a right protected in the moral law and the Code of Canon Law.
The subject of "gay marriage" is not discussed here but we refer you to the statement of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith: "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons" (June 3, 2003). This statement makes it clear that the Church opposes all gay rights legislation; however, where laws exist which already give all kinds of privileges to homosexual couples and the so-called married, the Congregation advises Catholic legislators to do everything they can to modify the existing laws, because they are a direct attack on the sacrament of marriage.