John M. Becker

Catholic Diocese Defends 'Masturbation Makes You Gay' Nun

Filed By John M. Becker | April 04, 2014 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Catholic attacks on LGBT rights, Catholic Church, Catholic school, Charlotte, divorce, Jane Dominic Laurel, masturbation, myths, North Carolina, nuns, pornography

sister-jane-dominic-laurel.pngRemember Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, the nun from Tennessee who outraged Catholic school students and parents in Charlotte, North Carolina for delivering a (mandatory) presentation filled with malicious lies about gay people? The one who claimed that masturbation, pornography, and having divorced parents make you gay, that gays are bad and abusive parents, and that gays have between 500-1,000 sexual partners during their lifetime?

Students, parents, and alumni at Charlotte Catholic High School were so furious about Sr. Laurel's lecture that they initiated an email- and letter-writing campaign, started a Change.org petition, and spoke out in the media. The diocese held a forum Wednesday night for parents to vent their concerns, to "basically kind of air this whole thing out," a spokesman said.

Nearly 1,000 parents attended the forum, all who wished to speak had a chance to, and the clear majority were opposed to the nun's speech and its anti-gay, inaccurate content.

But Sr. Laurel had a few defenders at the meeting as well, including Father Matthew Kauth, the school chaplain who invited her to speak, and Father Roger Arnsparger, the vicar of education of the Diocese of Charlotte.

While Kauth said he didn't think the assembly was the best place for Sr. Laurel to quote her (bogus) social science data, the Catholic News Herald -- the official diocesan newspaper -- reports that he "defended [her] presentation... as it related to Church teaching." When several parents questioned why he failed to stop her once she began spiritually abusing the school's LGBT students, Fr. Kauth responded:

"I wasn't sure where (Sister Jane) was going. I assumed her goodwill. She didn't say anything that was contradicting to our faith."

In his statement to the assembled crowd, Fr. Arnsparger attempted to paint the part of Sr. Laurel's presentation that dealt with homosexuality as merely expressing a credible alternative point of view, as opposed to total bullshit disguised as science and wrapped up in the mantle of Jesus:

Father Arnsparger explained that... "There was unfortunately a misunderstanding about the content of the last part of the presentation. In that part, I understand that Sister used data from the Linacre Quarterly, a reputable journal, and from other sources. That data can be debated and, in fact, is debated back and forth by scholars who are researching the areas of human sexuality. Because of the ongoing debate, it would have been better if these studies and data were omitted from the presentation to the students."

While it's cute that the Linacre Quarterly -- a conservative Catholic medical journal that "focuses on the relationship between medicine and spirituality" -- thinks there's a debate going on about whether or not masturbation, pornography, and having divorced parents can turn a person gay, out here in the real, fact-based world, no such debate exists. None. And speaking of facts, the fact is that Sr. Laurel lied to these kids about homosexuality and spiritually abused the LGBT students of Charlotte Catholic High School, only some of whom are out.

Half-hearted apologies and "clear-the-air" venting sessions aren't enough. Church and school officials must stop using junk science and upholding false equivalencies to justify religion-based anti-LGBT bigotry.

Watch a WCNC-TV report on the meeting, after the jump.

h/t: David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement.

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