Saturday, November 20, 2010

From Truth Wins Out

This is the full article and a few of the comments from Truth Wins Out at

Here’s the Student Editorial a Minnesota Catholic High School Felt the Need to Censor
Posted November 16th, 2010 by Evan Hurst
The student paper at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, a Catholic high school in Minnesota, published an editorial speaking out against the Catholic archdiocese’s opposition to same sex marriage and their subsequent mailing of thousands of anti-gay DVDs to Catholic families in the state. Then they pulled the piece, because if there’s one thing that’s like Kryptonite to a religious institution like the Roman Catholic Church, it’s reasoned dissent. Hamilton Nolan at Gawker explains:

Yes, the Catholic school’s administration played their role perfectly by pulling the students’ editorial (and an accompanying piece titled “Life as a Gay Teenager”) and replacing it with a statement explaining that “The online comments regarding the editorial and the opinion piece in question were creating a disrespectful environment as well as confusion about the teachings of the Catholic Church; therefore, the administration exercised its prerogative to have the material removed from the website.”

The DVD in question manipulated Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words to make it appear as if anti-gay bigots are somehow continuing King’s legacy, and the student editorial in question laid that out for the BS it was. Hamilton continues:

Using Martin Luther King, Jr’s words to support an assertion that same-sex marriage leaves men “fundamentally dehumanized”: fine. Pointing out that that is bullshit, in a remarkably eloquent and fair editorial: unfair. Even more brilliant: use the fact that assholes were leaving disrespectful comments on a story as an excuse to pull the entire story! Good work, zealous Catholics! This’ll teach those gay-accepters to speak out of turn, or ever!

Since we on the side of fairness, justice, love and equality are no fans of censorship, here’s the student editorial in its entirety, via a commenter at the above Gawker link:

“Staff finds DVD unsubstantiated
November 11, 2010

The Catholic Church has been a long-standing opponent of gay marriage both in civil law and the Church itself. In keeping with this teaching, Archbishop Nienstedt produced and mailed a DVD in which he explicitly endorses an amendment to our state constitution that would bar homosexuals from the right to marry under civil law.

We as a staff believe the Church has both the right to have a teaching on this issue and to deny homosexuals the right to get married within the Church itself. However, we also feel that the DVD many of our families received is inappropriate due to the civil nature of the issue, and the content is nothing more than simple, emotional propaganda.

Archbishop Nienstedt states in the DVD that gay marriage poses a threat not only to the children taken out of the foster care system and adopted by married gay couples, but to children everywhere. He warns us that if we were to legalize gay marriage, the government would start teaching children in public schools that gay marriage is okay––something that is not consistent with Catholic teachings. The DVD further equates the effects of growing up in a household with two moms or two dads to growing up in a polygamous household, or an impoverished, financially struggling, single parent home.

The DVD tells us that the legalization of same-sex marriage will result in a world that no longer cares about a one-man one-woman vision of marriage, which will in turn result in a society that is, “callous and indifferent to the suffering it imposes on its own children, and on women who are left to carry the burden of parenting, and on men who are fundamentally dehumanized.”

How gay marriage results in heterosexual divorce and poverty, the DVD fails to address. How gay marriage leads to the acceptance of polygamy, the DVD makes no mention of either.

In the end, the DVD simply tries to equate gay marriage (an institution that would actually bring families together through the adoption of children) to broken homes and polygamy, without providing any facts to back it up. And, while the struggles of raising a child without a mother or father as support are certainly real, this stems from the fact that single parents are doing the job of two people and is not a reason to deny homosexuals the right to marry under civil law.

The DVD also aimed to reject the notion that the issue of gay marriage is an issue of civil rights. They did this in the most subtle way imaginable: by having a black man quote Martin Luther King Jr. The quote in question was from “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and stated that for a law to be just it must be in line with natural law.

What the speaker fails to address is the very next line of the letter that states, “Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statues are unjust because segregation distorts the soul.” Clearly this omitted line proves that MLK would not have supported discriminatory policies against any group, including homosexuals. The fact that the Church would go as far as to evoke MLK in an issue which he clearly wouldn’t have supported speaks volumes to the argument which the DVD presents.

To close its argument, the DVD states that the civil recognition of same-sex marriage would be an attack on our religious liberties as Catholics; however, no law that would be passed for gay marriage would have any impact on the Church’s ability to control its own definition of marriage. The legislature is discussing granting civil liberties to homosexuals in a legal way, not a religious one.

We have been told through this DVD to defend the historical definition of marriage through our votes. Well, up until 1967 it was a historical precedent not to let two people of different races get married in 17 states. In previous centuries, married women were considered their husband’s properties. But these things have changed, and it’s time for the civil definition of marriage to change again to account for our gay brothers and sisters, not in the Church, but at least in the civil arena.”

Smart kids.

Tags: Benilde-St. Margaret's, Catholic Church, equality, John Nienstedt, marriage equality, Martin Luther King Jr., Minnesota, Roman Catholic Church, teens

Related posts
•Minnesota Catholics Getting Special DVD About Hating Gays From Bishops (10)
•It’s Really Gross when Anti-Gay Bigots Use MLK, Jr.’s Image to Support Discrimination (3)
Comments (6)
1.No wonder they pulled it. reason in the face of religious bigotry. can’t have that!!!!

Comment by Ben in Oakland — November 16, 2010 @ 5:15 pm

2.Thanks for sharing this. And you’re right, empires, of any kind, cannot stand dissent.

Comment by Tom — November 16, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

3.Sent today:

November 16, 2010

Senator Jim DeMint
340 Russell Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Senator DeMint:

This regards your repeated remarks that gay people should not be allowed to teach school. I object to them because that kind of discrimination against a minority violates the Pledge of Allegiance’s promise of liberty and justice for all.

I hereby challenge you to face me on national television and explain why I shouldn’t be allowed to teach. I studied at Master’s level at Harvard University and speak German, French, Spanish and Italian. I have published two novels. The phrase “By Scott Rose” has appeared in over 1,000 venues including Strings, (a publication for *students* of string instruments), The World Scholar (a publication for *students*), Bon Appétit, The Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism, ShowBoats International, Decanter, Opera News, the New York Blade, Girlfriends, Caviar Affair, the Advocate, Relish’s The American Table and Mia/Enas, a magazine for Greek Americans. I have taught with conspicuously positive results. I have for example guest lectured on the arts in journalism at Brooklyn College. The students loved me. I gave them pointers on how to break into journalism and subsequently learned that some of them have done so.

When you demonize minority members of American society, saying they should not be allowed to teach school, you contribute to the terroristic atmosphere of hatred that results in gay students and teachers living in angst and in some cases even committing suicide. It is therefore most ironic that you of all people have served on a U.S. Senate Subcommittee for human rights. Recently in Tennessee, a lesbian couple found their house burned to the ground and the word “Queer” spray-painted on a remaining adjacent structure. Your demonizing of gay Americans contributes to the ongoing occurrence of such hate crimes. Do you intend to behave responsibly to stop the hate?

In addition to facing you on national television, I intend to organize a group of GLBT teachers from around the country to meet with you in Washington. I will not rest in my campaign to reverse your bigotry until you 1) retract your statement; 2) apologize for it and 3) commit to fostering atmospheres of diversity and acceptance in U.S. schools nationwide.


Scott Rose

CC: Barack Obama, Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper, Charlie Rose, Keith Olbermann, Kenneth B. Mehlman. R. Clarke Cooper, Tony Ortega, Steven Thrasher, Matt Taibbi, other community members

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