Michael Hamar

Satan Makes Gay Babies Says US Catholic Bishops Spokesman

Filed By Michael Hamar | November 01, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: anti-gay churches, batshittery, ignorant by choice, morality, Roman Catholic Church, Satan, the Devil

As students of history will know, the Roman Catholic Church has a long history of being horribly wrong on many, many issues. Remember Galileo? Or worse yet, St. Paul advising slaves to be obedient to their masters? Every time that science and knowledge has advanced, the Church has led up the rear guard that has tried to hang on to ignorance if not out right idiocy.

Now, medical science and mental health knowledge more or less have concluded that homosexuality is a natural and normal phenomenon contrary to the Church's 13th century teachings on "natural law." So what does the Church do?

Rather than admit that calling gays "inherently disordered" and worse is simply wrong, a spokesman for the Church are trotting out a new and less-than-brilliant explanation as to why condemning gays is still morally acceptable. What is it?

He claims that the Devil causes a supposed malfunction in fetal development in the womb and, so, a gay child is born.

I'm serious. That's the new standard of batshitery that passes as intelligence among the U. S. Catholic bishops. Right Wing Watch looks at the lunacy published in The Pilot, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Boston. Here are highlights:

Daniel Avila is the self-described "marriage guy" for the Catholic bishops. More formally, he is the policy advisor for marriage and family to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. He thinks people are gay because Satan was messing around with them while they were in their mothers' wombs. God, he says, has nothing to do with it.

Writing in The Pilot, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, Avila cites one scientist's theory that homosexual orientation is the result of fluctuations in maternal hormones. To that thesis, he adds a gigantic leap: the devil must be doing it.

Avila gave no hint of his satanic origin theory of homosexuality when he spoke at the Values Voter Summit in October, though it (and the reference to natural disasters) does sound like the kind of thing one would hear from anti-gay conservative evangelicals.

For a sampling of Avila's bullshit and batshitery, here are some highlights from his piece in The Pilot:

More than once I have heard from or about Catholics upset with the Church for its insistence that sexual relations be limited to marriage between husband and wife. Does not this moral rule force people with same-sex attraction into lives of loneliness? If they are born that way, then why should they be punished by a restriction that does not account for their pre-existing condition?

God does not cause same-sex attraction. . . . So what causes the inclination to same-sex attraction if it appears early and involuntarily and "who," if anyone, is responsible? In determining the answer to the "what" question, the most widely accepted scientific hypothesis points to random imbalances in maternal hormone levels and identifies their disruptive prenatal effects on fetal development as the likely and major cause.

In other words, the scientific evidence of how same-sex attraction most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a spiritual explanation that indicts the devil. . . . Therefore, whenever natural causes disturb otherwise typical biological development, leading to the personally unchosen beginnings of same-sex attraction, the ultimate responsibility, on a theological level, is and should be imputed to the evil one, not God. Applying this aspect of Catholic belief to interpret the scientific data makes more sense because it does not place God in the awkward position of blessing two mutually incompatible realities -- sexual difference and same-sex attraction.

Being born with an inclination which originates in a manner outside of one's control is not sufficient proof that the condition is caused by God or that its satisfaction meets God's purpose.

I assume Avila blames Satan for making people stupid too. Amazingly, some still ask me why I left the Roman Catholic church. "Batshitery" and "the deliberate embrace of ignorance" ought to more than enough answer to this question. Increasingly, in my view, to remain a Catholic one must first have had a lobotomy or be an unvarnished, ignorant bigot.

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Makes sense. Well, only God would be so useless and injust as to let the Devil harm an unborn baby and do nothing, right?

Several observations...

1. The Church has stated that being gay is not a choice.

2. The Devil has been asleep for a long time as far as the Church is concerned. His awakening is an unsettling development.

3. The whole hormone theory means that maybe the G, L and B are more closely connected to the T than either group of separatists want to admit.

4. This fits well with the Pope's "remove non-pure-binary people from the human ecology" Christmas breakfast speech from a few years back.

5. If God is not responsible for this "birth defect" (ie God doesn't make mistakes, the Devil does), then all other differences that vary from Godlike perfection must also be due to the Devil.

6. This is getting dangerously close to a modern witch hunt, complete with burnings. Especially for the extremists who see the Devil as someone to be fought and who see the Bible as being above the Laws of Man.

7. This is an odd position to take considering the number of priests revealed to be gay and the revelation of such things as the gay prostitution ring run out of the Vatican itself last year. It would indicate that the entire organization has been infiltrated by the Devil.

Brad Bailey | November 1, 2011 8:07 PM

Reminds me of an article I read on a religious website attributing homosexuality to the consumption of soy products. The reasoning was that tofu and soy sauce have small amounts of estrogen in them that will make your sons gay.

How can they be anti-abortion then? I'm so confused.

a quick and minor correction: StPaul as not "catholic".

How can so ignorant rise to such an important position as to be the spokesperson for an entire religious group? Mind boggling.

I haven't had nearly enough coffee for this level of looneyf'ingtoons. Not only is this "theory" ... OK, I give up. I can't think of a single, coherent, non-profane word to embody the idiocy ... but then the papist fraud nails his own coffin shut: "...the most widely accepted scientific hypothesis points to random imbalances in maternal hormone levels and identifies their disruptive prenatal effects on fetal development as the likely and major cause." One scientist comes out with YET ANOTHER "theory" about how teh gay happens, and all of a sudden it's "the most widely accepted scientific hypothesis..."?!

OK, that's it. I'm going back to bed. Somebody wake me when they come up with a cure for assholery, and they can fix stupid.

The more time I spend with the crime scene photo unit in Los Angeles, or with law enforcement uniform officers and going out on incidents, these assertions about gays and the transgendered have to be the dumbest and most worthless political activism I've EVER seen by religious communities.

Can't get heterosexuals to commit legally and financially to the children they have and the spouses they marry, support discrimination against gay couples who DO.

Can't get heteros to be more responsible and self restrict about children they can't afford so they don't burden the public, criticize gay people for not 'spontaneously procreating'.

Can't support or care for the millions and millions of children born into poverty, disease, domestic violence, abuse and neglect: criticize and refuse birth control and the use of condoms and access to reproductive health and welfare agencies.

Can't refrain from the Vatican looking and operating like the most opulent monarchy that ever existed or building huge and ornate monuments to your faith, while at the same time forcing or expecting others to give charitably to the poor?

Can't have one honest and effective discussion on the destruction of families caused by poverty, addiction, domestic violence, divorce and adultery...yet gay people getting married supercedes all of these as threatening to civilization as we know it.

And now this. Sociopaths are 1 in 25 people. Their pattern of behavior is one of having no empathy or feeling for others. They will do many stealthy and cruel things to another person to survive or just to manipulate terrible consequences to others for their own pleasure and aggrandizement.
Their behavior vexes and is mysterious and dangerous, but no one builds an entire political agenda around stopping them, or genetically altering their behavior.
There are no 'ex sociopath' industries, nor are they denied the freedom to marry. Even if they are in jail for the worst crime committed against another human being.

Nor can it be said that the gay people of the world and throughout history have been responsible for the cruelest campaigns of human right abuses like the Catholic Church can be.

The war on gay people is seriously misplaced. And someone like me, in law enforcement, is hard pressed to get anyone to believe who the real menaces to society are.
Indeed, when a cardinal or other Church leader was told by or about an abusive priest, The Church didn't go to the police, they hid the evidence FROM the police.
Leaving others open to abuse, and the victims without justice.
I rest my case on the evidence that the CC cares about anything but the CC.

Michael, you might be interested in knowing Avila's column has been pulled from The Pilot's site. Instead you can now read a mea culpa from the editor, and a retraction/apology from Avila.

Erica Keppler | November 3, 2011 1:38 AM

Below is the text of a recent blog I posted to Huffington Post which I think is highly relevant:

In another assault on LGBT rights, Minnesota's Roman Catholic bishops are urging parish priests across the state to form committees to help get a proposed marriage amendment passed by voters in 2012. Archbishop John Nienstedt wrote in a letter to his priests:

It is imperative that we marshal our resources to educate the faithful about the church's teachings on these matters, and to vigorously organize and support a grass-roots effort to get out the vote to support the passage of this amendment.

I've thought quite a lot about the severity of opposition from the Catholic Church toward same-sex marriage and equal rights for gay people in general. This is bigger than a few passages in the Bible. This is a zealous commitment of time and resources to reach out beyond their congregations to force their beliefs on non-Catholics. If they were generally of this practice across the breadth of their doctrine, then it would be just another example of a church pushing its faith on others. It's not. They don't commit all resources to ending legal divorce, enacting Sunday closing laws, or getting Ash Wednesday made a national holiday. No, gay issues are different.

I've come to only one reasonable explanation. Most Roman Catholic priests must be gay (or if not most, enough to be a major force in the church hierarchy). I'm hardly the first person to have thought or observed this (also here, here, here, and here). This speculation isn't insulting of the Church or the priesthood. There's nothing wrong with being gay or being a gay priest. There is something wrong with fighting against the equal rights of gay people.

In my estimation this is a result of two things: the extreme stigmatization of homosexuality in Catholic faith communities, and the celibacy of priests. Consider the situation of the young, gay male, growing up in a Catholic family, church, and community, especially in decades or even centuries past. He knows with absolute certainty that his family and community will never tolerate him living as a gay man, to the point of excommunication or even death. He has been told and believes that what he feels inside is a sin. His family, especially his mother, have high expectations of him to marry and have children. His mother is always trying to set him up with nice girls. And they are nice girls. He is running out of excuses to avoid these relationships. What are his options? Enter a sham marriage? Face his family's disappointment from living alone or leaving his home and community?

What about the priesthood? By becoming a priest, he will be required to be celibate, which he has resigned himself to anyway, so he doesn't have to marry a woman. He will be honoring God, gain a position of high status in his church and community, have employment for life that does not require hard labor, and bring honor to his family. How can he lose?

I submit that the clergy has been a refuge from marriage for young, gay, Catholic men for centuries, so much so, in fact, that most members of the Catholic clergy today are gay, and this has been true for a very long time. The celibacy of priests has been an extreme disincentive for young strait men to enter the priesthood, while being an attraction to young gay men.

It would be naïve to think that this persistent assault on the gay community is in no way affected by the fact that these are mostly gay men driving it. Other religions speak against homosexuality, but few rally their entire church to fight against the rights of gay people outside their church. One simple theory is that it's just basic gay bashing by closeted gay men trying to stay closeted. Another is basic self-loathing. Their faith gives them a deep shame of what they are, so they attack other gays as a vicarious form of self-flagellation.

I'm inclined to think that their motivations are more practical in nature. Today, the entire hierarchy of the Catholic Church is rooted in the stigmatization of homosexuality coupled with the celibacy of priests driving young, gay men to enter and operate their organization. It's probably an accident that celibacy had this consequence, but after centuries, it's a basic part of the structure of the Church and is the primary motivator they have for recruiting new priests. As one Jesuit Priest put it, "As a Catholic priest, I know there would be no church without gay people. ... I assume priests are gay until proven otherwise."

But the world is changing. There are far more options available to young, gay men today. It's becoming easier all the time to live out. Families are becoming accepting of their own gay children. They can enter relationships and find happiness. The result: fewer and fewer young men are entering the priesthood. The Catholic Church can't get enough priests to meet the needs of their congregations. The number of U.S. priests has plummeted from 59,000 in 1975 to 40,600 in 2009, while, the country's Catholic population has grown to 65 million, leaving thousands of parishes without a resident priest. They're in deep trouble.

Their options? One would be to lift the celibacy of priests. There is nothing in scripture that demands it. The problem is that most priests now are gay, and if they did this, priests would go from an expectation of celibacy to an expectation of marriage overnight. Any parish priest would be seen as the supreme catch for nearly every single woman in his congregation. These men would be fending off female advances left and right, putting them right back in the situation they entered the priesthood to escape in the first place. Few in church leadership will foist this on themselves, and most of the priests they have now would probably leave the clergy. In the short run, it would decimate the Church before they could recruit enough new priests to recover.

Their other option? Try to maintain the status quo, dig in their heals and stop the progress of history. Try to thwart any attempts to raise the social acceptability of homosexuality and give young gay men other options. Fight like hell to maximize the social stigma that drives gay men into the priesthood to keep their church alive. This appears to be the choice they have made.

The last option would be to both end celibacy for priests and officially embrace gay people. Their priests could come out, stay in the church, and they could begin to attract more strait men to enter the priesthood. Throw in the ordination of women and they just might make it. Somehow, I can't see millennia-old social inertia changing that quickly.

The Catholic Church is fading. To save it, the church leadership either has to give up the lives they've built for themselves, or they have to hold down and demonize gay people. They are not fighting to stop sin or protect marriage. They are fighting to save their church, and they are desperate.

Erica, you might find the history of priest celibacy fascinating. I learned a fair amount of it from some amazing Jesuit scholars and priests, most of whom were actively gay.

Eunuchs and the followers of Cybele were common and accepted in the polytheistic Roman Empire, and welcome in the early Church. They were in demand as both playthings, guardians and holders of such positions as finance minister and the like due to not having heirs. Also, the early Church took to heart the Old Testament passages about them having a "special place in His Kingdom of Heaven". Btw, a significant number of them lived as and with women and were accepted as women and were known historical figures. Castration (and the penectomy of the Cybele priestesses) was the SRS of the day.

Between 400-500 CE, Nicene and a few other things happened. The polytheism of the Roman Empire was replaced by the monotheistic Church across the realm. A vast patriarchal hierarchy was built. And pertinent to this discussion, the Church ideal of an actual eunuch was replaced. Men who were rather attached to male genitals came up with the vow of celibacy as a virtual eunuch to replace the real ones. Along with it they imparted a fascinating strict internal hierarchy to the Church whereupon each level was instructed to submit to the level above, in a quite explicit sexual connotation. The final step to this transformation of the Church from a group of diverse equals with little structure to a male dominated, strictly structured political power was to "help" these men maintain their vows of chastity (to women) by sequestering them away in the new "monasteries" with groups of similar men, secure in their structure of complete dominance and submission. Reading translations of the early writings it is not hard to make the leap that the post-500 C.E. Church was a gay man's organization. No women, no eunuchs and the men had to submit themselves "as a bride to her groom" to those above them in the local structure.

In that light, I'd agree that they've painted themselves into a corner. By demonizing gays they can never come out without losing, well, everything. This seems like a crisis right now, but it's actually a set of conditions that they have weathered for 1500 years. I'm confident they aren't too worried about a few scandals here and there or a few easily hushed inconsistencies.