The real story behind [fill in the blank] is trademark Katherine Kersten. Whether it's a bridge falling down, Muslims thrown off of airplanes, or Muslim cab drivers balking at carrying passengers with alcohol, Katie is there to follow up actual news reports with what really happened. She provides the kind of analysis that's well, hard to find anywhere else.
Spot always knows that if he misses an important story, especially if it is about gays, Muslims, blots on Christianity's escutcheon, or public schools, he can read Katie a few days later for, er, context. She did it again today.
The real story behind the gay pride issue at St. Joan is Katie's effort to contextualize Archbishop John Nienstedt's forbidding St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church from holding a gay pride prayer service as part of the Twin Cities Gay Pride Festival, as the church has for many years. Katie tells us what happened next:
In response, organizers moved the celebration outside the church. One gay activist attended in what must have struck him as a clown's outfit, given the occasion -- the robes of an archbishop, miter and all. David McCaffrey of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM) condemned what he called Nienstedt's "reign of homophobic hatred." In an e-mail to the group's members, he characterized the archbishop's decision as "yet another volley of dehumanizing spiritual violence directed at GLBT persons and their families."
Clearly, there is hatred here. But it is not coming from the Catholic Church. Rather, it's a tool of those who are trying to compel the church to conform to their personal demands with caricatures and public mockery.
Caricatures and public mockery? Gee, Spot is going to have to try that sometime!
Katie continues, revealing the theological advocacy that she undoubtedly picked up during Catholic school recess arguments in Fort Dodge lo these many years ago:
But the truth is different: The church welcomes everyone. Far from rejecting gays as sinners, Christianity teaches that all human beings are sinners. In fact, it maintains, it is precisely because we are sinners that we need the Christian message.
Of course, Katie! That puts an entirely different spin on it. Thank you for that. Katie would not want you to know, however, boys and girls, that even expressing support for gays and lesbians, much less being one, could get you denied the sacrament of communion in the Catholic church. (Thanks to MNO for the link.)
But the absolute best point that Katie makes is to say that the problem is not the "gay," it's the "pride."
The theologian C.S. Lewis called pride "the great sin" -- the root of almost every other transgression. Pride, he wrote, "has been the chief cause of misery ... since the world began."
So "gay pride" is out of place in church. But so is straight pride, black pride, white pride -- or any kind of pride.
So the gays are claiming superiority over everybody else? Um, Spot doesn't think Katie quite has it, do you think boys and girls?
This has gone on quite long enough, but there is one more thing that Spot has to say. Katie laments that gays at first just wanted a little tolerance, but now they want more. They want acceptance:
The controversy at St. Joan of Arc is part of a larger picture. When the gay rights movement emerged several decades ago, its leaders asked only for tolerance -- a live-and-let-live attitude on the part of the larger society. Today, the movement increasingly demands both approval of and conformity to its creed. More and more, it labels all dissent -- even that based on religious conviction -- as "hateful."
Secular institutions have largely acquiesced. The church alone perseveres in the conviction that human sexuality has a larger purpose. That is why it is now a central battlefront in this crusade.
No matter what you wrap bigotry in, Katie, it is still bigotry. And live and let live? Maybe you could talk to Matthew Shepard's parents about that.
But Katie is right; it's just like the blacks. First they just wanted to own themselves. Then they wanted jobs and an education. And then they wanted to vote. Can you believe that?
Update: For an interesting read about C.S. Lewis, see what Phoenix Woman has to say.