Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Glad To Be Your Effigy

Well, today I showed up as a controversial blip on the gay-rights radar. It's a strange experience, to be hailed as a new and emerging threat, one of those sinister "ex-gay" speakers that the LGBT folks like to get hysterical about. Strictly speaking, I have had a sort of analogous experience in the past: I once had the opportunity to be portrayed as a loopy post-electric shock conversion therapy victim in a made for TV movie after I spoke at a local school-board during one of those "can a gay kid bring his gay date to that Catholic prom" scandals that periodically crop up. Anyways, apparently I am sounding the death knell of Notre Dame's academic credibility by going to speak at the St. Edith Stein Conference coming up Feburary 12th. It's nice to know that I have that kind of power... Mwa ha ha.
On a more serious note, it highlights another element of the culture wars that I think is particularly seductive and therefore, in many ways, particularly dangerous. It's nice to be hated. That's a very counter-intuitive statement, but there is a sense in which it is true; it's somehow exciting to feel that one is part of an epic conflict of some sort, that I really am the kind of person who could reasonably be vilified in a gay-rights hit piece. The feeling that now I'm making waves, that the enemy feels threatened, and all of that nonsense. Of course it's nonsense, but it's attractive, and I think that it's a lot of what keeps the culture-war home-fires burning. It adds a nice soupcon of adversity and confrontation to the day, provides a bit of an edge, but in a way that is ultimately safe. Or rather, in a way that is ultimately destructive because it undermines genuine dialogue and prevents healthy communication on the cultural level, while being perfectly safe for the front-line combatants.


  1. What is the goal of dialogue? I think either to convince the other of your point or to reach a middle ground, to compromise. But there are certain things that can't be compromised without losing their reason, most of all in Christian doctrine. Of course here in the U.S. the air is so poisoned that left and right are not talking anymore but shouting at each other from entrenched lines. But outside the political sphere and in the doctrines of the Church dialogue can be useless. I don't know; Christ said that the world would hate his followers and that they should rejoice in that. Of course, he also said not to repay evil with evil and to love our enemies. That is the knack of the thing, how to love those who hate you so much and yet not give in to their way by either hating them back or compromising your beliefs.

  2. Rudy, I don't get it. (I'm not very intellectually sophisticated.) You say that "the air is so poisoned that left and right are not talking to one another" and "in the doctrines of the Church dialog can be useless". I was at the West Coast Walk for Life three years ago. A man was protesting against us on the supposition that we were Bush supporters. We had quite a dialogue when I brought up that I didn't support the war in Iraq, which the Church found not to conform with Just War Theory. For all I know, that was just what he needed to allow that we weren't walking-cartoons, dangerous but irrelevent fanatics, "bug-eyed zealots".

  3. Melinda -

    So, how was the conference?



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