I don't understand how Catholics can ignore what is going with the introduction of legislation involving the very problematic phrase "sexual orientation", which does not exist in an innate final sense as militant homosexual advocates would have us believe. There is much evidence in support of this fact from reputable organizations like The National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, NARTH as opposed to the American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations who tell us that sadism, masochism, pedophilia, and homosexuality are perfectly OK unless the agents suffer anxiety attacks (please reference the diagnostic and statistical manual DSM-IV of the American Psychiatric Association), and that child abuse is nothing more than "intergenerational intimacy" , per a recently condemned article in the American Psychological Association's most prestigious bulletin.
As a concerned Catholic layman, I dialogued for a week with a respected cleric who I feel was sorely misled into believing that such laws were "needed", and that their effect would be harmless, which could not be further from the truth.
This is where Catholics are blowing it BIG TIME. The Baltimore Archdiocese needs to realize this that the only purpose for such laws are the furthering of the homosexual agenda. It is that simple. There are no such things as special hate crimes. All crimes involve hate of some sort. To create a protected class under such an umbrella makes a mockery of equal justice under the law.
If a member of your family was murdered, would the killer face a lesser penalty because your family member wasn't one of these privileged protected few? This is nonsense, and this country needs to wake up to the fact of what's really happening here, the bastardization of our laws to suit the special interests of a radical fringe who will stop at nothing to MAKE society accept their vices as virtues.
I cannot say this any simpler.
The tragedy of Matthew Shepard does not demand "hate crime" legislation.
The real tragedy of the discussion of Matthew Shepard's death is the absence of human reason illumined by faith and consciously motivated by the desire to do the will of God.
An example of this is the report that Katie Couric of NBC blamed Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council as the reason for the Shepard murder.
This is patently ridiculous and, as a Roman Catholic, I strongly protest the inference by a representative of NBC news that those who genuinely love homosexuals by telling them the truth are the reason for their problems.
Matthew Shepard's death was horrible, not for the lifestyle that he lived but rather because he was a human being indistinguishable from other human beings whose life was snuffed out because a Commandment of God was violated. He joins a group of individuals who have met brutal death as a prelude to meeting their Maker. At least his death is recognized as punishable by law. Infants at the moment of birth in this country currently have no such protection. Their lives are brutally terminated by the puncturing of the back of their skulls by scissors while they hang kicking almost totally out of the womb and the subsequent sucking out of their brains while their lifeless little bodies go limp. And that's the law in the United States of America. The real tragedy of Matthew Shepard's death is that it is somehow elevated to a higher plane whereby the lifestyle of the individual carries a higher precedence than the intrinsic worth of the individual himself as a creation of the Almighty. We do not need to search for the reasons for this crusade. They are well known and the modus-operandi of a group of people who will use anything, any individual, to suit their agenda which is the forced acceptance of sexual deviancy as normal upon society as a whole.
I would ask this group to please explain to me how Matthew Shepard's death differs from that of any number of similar brutal deaths occurring in the world to include partial birth infanticide? I would ask this group how Matthew Shepard's death differs from that of a Wisconsin priest whose throat was slashed from ear to ear - the priest having the courage to speak out against the hedonism engulfing the world in a new dark age to include, in particular, sexual deviancy. I would ask this group why equal treatment under the law is being perverted by raising the gravity of Shepard's death to insinuate that somehow his is "especially tragic" because of the lifestyle that he lived. How is it that his death is singled out, or for that matter, any death singled out as being a greater cause for concern than someone else's? Hate of some sort has to be involved in practically every murder. There is nothing unique about Shepard's case in that regard. What is unique is the call for greater penalties in his case.
Should a person who kills an alcoholic be seen as deserving of a greater sentence because of the lifestyle his victim led? No. Not in a rational world that values life from conception to natural death. Aha, but that's the rub, isn't it?
People of Faith must never lose sight of the fact that the truth cannot be compromised. If an alcoholic was brutally murdered, the act would be condemned. There would not be a cry for the promotion of alcoholism, however, because it is recognized that such behavior is destructive. There is absolutely no difference between this and the Wyoming situation. Except, that is, in the minds of those who would have us believe that normality is abnormal and vice-versa, e.g., the demonization of something called heterosexism which is a threat to the acceptance of homosexuality.
Many are saying that they don't want Mr. Shepard to have died in vain. He will have if the homosexual lobby has their way and makes his death a cause for blanket acceptance of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle.
I don't believe the family and friends of Matthew Shepard have any different feelings than those of serial killing victims. We are created equal in the eyes of God, the soul being the great "equalizer", that which distinguishes man from the animals.
What is different, sadly, is the exploitation of Shepard's death by those who would trash the Constitution of this country and coerce a populace into accepting activities which are anathema to their Faith. Many "clergy", and I use that term loosely, blame the Church for creating an atmosphere of hostility which led to Shepard's death. They forget the very reason for their existence and that of the Church - to caution mankind that there is a greater death to be feared than natural. The supernatural is totally ignored. What they fail to see is that the people who love homosexuals the most are those who are telling them the truth about their lifestyle, about a death far more final than anything of this world. They intentionally confuses hate for the sin with the sinner, an absolute prerequisite for those seeking to further the gay agenda.
Authentic pastoral care identifies the causes of confusion regarding Church teachings. One is a new exegesis of Sacred Scripture which claims that Jesus has nothing to say on the subject of homosexuality, or that he somehow approves of it, or that all of Scripture's moral injunctions are so culture-bound that they are no longer applicable to contemporary life. These views are gravely erroneous. They ignore the fact that the world in which the New Testament was written was already quite diverse from the situation in which the Sacred Scriptures of the Hebrew People had been written or compiled.
For Christians, Jesus is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, another concept not directly mentioned in Sacred Scripture but still fully taught if one examines the underlying evidence. If Jesus is God, if Christians believe in a Triune God of Creation, Redemption, and Sanctification, three Persons in ONE God, than how can it be said that "Jesus never said anything about homosexuality" given that Sacred Scripture is the "inspired Word of God"? Moreover, the Bible itself records that much of what Jesus said was never written down. Jesus Himself wrote nothing. What we find in the Bible is the direction to hold fast to the teaching and Sacred Tradition of the Church which He founded upon the Rock that is Peter, "the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth". Above all, Jesus came to fulfill the old law, in particular, the moral force of same, not to abolish it. In doing so He would have obeyed the Fourth Commandment "Honor thy Father and thy Mother." One honors their parents by first and foremost obeying them.
What should be noticed is that there is a clear consistency within the Scriptures themselves on the moral issue of homosexual behavior. The Church's doctrine regarding this issue is thus based, not on isolated phrases for specious theological argument, but on the solid foundation of a constant Biblical testimony. The Church today in unbroken continuity with the Jewish and Christian communities within which the ancient Scriptures were written, continues to be nourished by those same Scriptures and by the Spirit of Truth whose Word they are.
Providing a basic plan for understanding this entire discussion of homosexuality is the theology of creation we find in Genesis. God, in his infinite wisdom and love, brings into existence all of reality as a reflection of his goodness. He fashions mankind, male and female, in his own image and likeness. Human beings, therefore, are nothing less than the work of God himself; and in the complementarity of the sexes, they are called to reflect the inner unity of the Creator. They do this in a striking way in their cooperation with him in the transmission of life by a mutual donation of the self to the other. This is the key to understanding how ludicrous it is to elevate one individual's death above another's.
Scripture is very clear on the teaching against homosexuality. An eschatological perspective is developed by St. Paul when, in 1 Cor 6:9, he proposes the same doctrine and lists those who behave in a homosexual fashion among those who shall not enter the Kingdom of God. Saint Paul is distinguishing the importance of supernatural death over natural death, the former having eternal consequences as opposed to the latter.
In Romans 1:18-32, still building on the moral traditions of his forebears, but in the new context of the confrontation between Christianity and the pagan society of his day, Paul uses homosexual behavior as an example of the blindness which has overcome mankind. Instead of the original harmony between Creator and creatures, the acute distortion of idolatry has led to all kinds of moral excess. Paul is at a loss to find a clearer example of this disharmony than homosexual relations. Finally, 1 Tim. 1, in full continuity with the Biblical position, singles out those who spread wrong doctrine and in v. 10 explicitly names as sinners those who engage in homosexual acts. The Church, obedient to the Lord who founded her and gave to her the sacramental life, celebrates the divine plan of the loving and live-giving union of men and women in the sacrament of marriage. It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behavior therefore acts immorally.
Nevertheless, increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity. Those within the Church who argue in this fashion often have close ties with those with similar views outside it. These latter groups are guided by a vision opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person as well as the supernatural vocation of every individual. This is the root of the exploitation of Matthew Shepard's death on the part of militant homosexual activists.
It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.
But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.
Human beings made in the image and likeness of God can't be described by references to his or her sexual orientation - the concept being very problematic given research to date. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a "heterosexual" or a "homosexual" and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life. This is the reason why one cannot talk about one death being more tragic than another. What can be discussed, however, is the tragedy of a more final eternal death because of the inability to see the truth from right reason or Divine revelation.
That is the real tragedy of Wyoming's Matthew Shepard. It is the hypocrisy of those who lament his early brutal death but forget the equally unnecessary brutal deaths of a generation of young people from a disease, AIDS, which has had a known cure for some time - obedience to the natural law of God rooted in the Decalogue knowable through reason not just revelation. A cure which is ignored by the disciples of diversity, an umbrella which covers any and all forms of freedom for the totally autonomous unencumbered self, i.e., a freedom which is confused with license. Thus, the evil that homosexuals are doing to themselves goes unquestioned. Why is that?
Your Eminence, I am respectfully asking you to: 1) forcefully publicly oppose the aforementioned legislative bills that treat "sexual orientation" as fact, rather than the fiction that it is per the context of its typical use, and 2) convey to your colleagues in the hierarchy in the Delaware and DC dioceses that the only result of such misguided legislation will be the persecution of those who attempt to get the Truth, that is a Somebody, not a something, to a group of pitiful individuals who are being encouraged to live lifestyles that can only lead to physical and spiritual ruin.