This essay is not about what love is. It is about what self-ascriptions of love do. People typically self-ascribe romantic love when a nexus of feelings, beliefs, attitudes, values, commitments, experiences, and personal histories matches their conception of romantic love. But what shapes this conception? And (how) can we adjudicate amongst conflicting conceptions? -/- Self-ascriptions of love do not merely describe the underlying nexus of attitudes and beliefs. They also change it. This essay describes how conceptions of love affect romantic (...) experience. I limn distinctions between love and obsessive infatuation and explore ways language can cultivate queer romantic preferences. Since conceptions of love are shaped, often implicitly, by terms available in one’s linguistic community, the resulting nexus of concepts and conceptions manifests linguistic luck. I suggest ways we might sculpt the language of love to better understand—and change—ourselves. Love can help us flourish and so can our “love” language. (shrink)
Foucault bildet eine zentrale Grundlage der queeren und schwulen Theorie, die sich seit den späten 1980er Jahren insbesondere in den USA entwickelt hat. Seine Macht- und Subjekttheorie ist die Basis für eine nicht- essentialistische Analyse von Sexualität und für die Kritik ihrer normierenden Wirkung, die Foucault selbst in Der Wille zum Wissen (1983, frz. 1976) begonnen hat und die das Kerngeschäft der Queertheorie ist. Während Foucault als Grundlage der Queertheorie insgesamt rezipiert wird, gibt es eine spezifisch schwule Rezeption von Foucault, (...) die an seine vielfältigen Äußerungen zur schwulen Politik anschließt und dessen Machtanalyse und seine späteren Arbeiten zur Ästhetik der Existenz mobilisiert, um damit das schwule Leben vor, während und nach der AIDS-Krise zu analysieren. (shrink)
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a relatively new drug-based HIV prevention technique and an important means to lower the HIV risk of gay men who are especially vulnerable to HIV. From the perspective of biopolitics, PrEP inscribes itself in a larger trend of medicalization and the rise of pharmapower. This article reconstructs and evaluates contemporary literature on biopolitical theory as it applies to PrEP, by bringing it in a dialogue with a mapping of the political debate on PrEP. As PrEP changes (...) sexual norms and subjectification, for example condom use and its meaning for gay subjectivity, it is highly contested. The article shows that the debate on PrEP can be best described with the concepts ‘sexual-somatic ethics’ and ‘democratic biopolitics’, which I develop based on the biopolitical approach of Nikolas Rose and Paul Rabinow. In contrast, interpretations of PrEP which are following governmentality studies or Italian Theory amount to either farfetched or trivial positions on PrEP, when seen in light of the political debate. Furthermore, the article is a contribution to the scholarship on gay subjectivity, highlighting how homophobia and homonormativity haunts gay sex even in liberal environments, and how PrEP can serve as an entry point for the destigmatization of gay sexuality and transformation of gay subjectivity. ‘Biopolitical democratization’ entails making explicit how medical technology and health care relates to sexual subjectification and ethics, to strengthen the voice of (potential) PrEP users in health politics, and to renegotiate the profit and power of Big Pharma. (shrink)
Wir - als Queers - sollten uns schämen. Denn Scham ist, so verspricht „Gay Shame“, ein Weg zu einer neuen Radikalisierung von queerer Kritik. Gay Shame ist der wörtliche Gegensatz zu Gay Pride und kritisiert, dass der stolze Mainstream der LGBT-Community in den letzten Jahren immer angepasster, bürgerlicher, kapitalistischer und homonormativer geworden ist. Stolz ist man vor allem darauf, endlich dazuzugehören und mitheiraten oder mitkämpfen zu dürfen. Was Scham ist und welche queerpolitische Bedeutung sie hat wird in dem Sammelband von (...) Akademiker_innen, Aktivist_innen und Künstler_innen diskutiert. Sie öffnen den Blick für „beschämende“ Aspekte des queeren Lebens, die in der LSBT-Forschung weitgehend verdrängt wurden, um bestehende homophobe Ideen und Klischees nicht noch zu bestärken. Im Mittelpunkt steht der Versuch, neue und auf Scham basierende queere Gruppenidentitäten zu denken, die nicht-normalisierend wirken, also nicht Menschen bestimmte moralische Konzepte und Ideen aufdrängen und diejenigen ausschließen, die davon abweichen. (shrink)
The central thesis of Foucault's Critical Ethics is that Foucault's account of power does not foreclose the possibility of ethics; on the contrary, it provides a framework within which ethics becomes possible. Tracing the evolution of Foucault's analysis of power from his early articulations of disciplinary power to his theorizations of biopower and governmentality, Richard A. Lynch shows how Foucault's ethical project emerged through two interwoven trajectories: analysis of classical practices of the care of the self, and engaged practice in (...) and reflection upon the limits of sexuality and the development of friendship in gay communities. These strands of experience and inquiry allowed Foucault to develop contrasting yet interwoven aspects of his ethics; they also underscored how ethic practice emerges within and from contexts of power relations. The gay community's response to AIDS and its parallels with the feminist ethics of care serve to illustrate the resources of a Foucauldian ethics—a fundamentally critical attitude, with substantive (but revisable) values and norms grounded in a practice of freedom. (shrink)
There has been the recurrent suspicion that community, harmony, cohesion, and similar relational goods as understood in the African ethical tradition threaten to occlude difference. Often, it has been Western defenders of liberty who have raised the concern that these characteristically sub-Saharan values fail to account adequately for individuality, although some contemporary African thinkers have expressed the same concern. In this chapter, I provide a certain understanding of the sub-Saharan value of communal relationship and demonstrate that it entails a substantial (...) allowance for difference. I aim to show that African thinkers need not appeal to, say, characteristically Euro-American values of authenticity or autonomy to make sense of why individuals should not be pressured to conform to a group’s norms regarding sex and gender. A key illustration involves homosexuality. (shrink)
Clark Carlton brings a much-needed theological sensitivity to the issues surrounding current debates about homosexuality and the ethics of sexual reorientation therapy. Yet, Carlton’s portrayal seems to mischaracterize and unnecessarily dismiss reorientation therapy on etiological and other theoretical grounds. It is suggested that for most therapists engaged in sexual reorientation therapy the role of developmental factors in homosexual attraction is neither overstated nor minimized.
Allies are extremely important to LGBT rights. Though we don’t often enumerate what tasks we expect allies to do, a fairly common conception is that allies “support the LGBT community.” In the first section I introduce three difficulties for this position that collectively suggest it is conceptually insufficient. I then develop a positive account by starting with whom allies are allied to instead of what allies are supposed to do. We might obviously say here that allies are allied to the (...) LGBT community, but I will argue that this community is better thought of as a loose coalition because there are often intersectional issues and conflicting interests that challenge any unified sense of community. I argue that people typically become allies because a friend or family member is experiencing some kind of specific harm; if that harm or discrimination is what causally explains why people become allies, then allies are required to do more than we commonly think. Although allies have a prima facie obligation to honor what members of a subcommunity identify as a harm, this obligation is defeasible if an ally believes fulfilling the obligation would be harmful. I conclude by looking at how we can understand what an ally is in terms of a larger discussion about moral obligations. If people already have these obligations, whatever they are, because morality requires it, then the status “ally” is redundant. I conclude by showing that certain social statuses can not only transform or reprioritize prior moral commitments, but can also introduce new kinds of responsibility that an agent did not have before. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the criminalization and medicalization of homosexuality during the early twentieth century in Canada. Through court records and medical texts the discourse of homosexuality as a threat to the family unit and to the nation is contextualized within Cold War rhetoric. A Foucaultian conceptualization of power and discipline helps frame questions regarding homosexuality as a criminal offense and as a mental illness. It is argued that both state control and societal pressures constructed the homosexual as criminal, the homosexual (...) as mental patient and, as a result, the homosexual as Communist threat. (shrink)
Hart argues persuasively that majority disapproval cannot justify the government in prohibiting a form of sexual conduct, but he does not address the possibility that the intrinsic badness of a sex act might justify the government in prohibiting it. This article explains within a contractualist framework why the intrinsic badness of a sex act cannot justify the restriction of any important sexual freedom.
The central premise is that a significant amount of sex offending stems from unusual or inappropriate sexual preferences that appear in early adolescence, are relatively stable, and immutable. In those ways, they are like more ordinary sexual preferences, generating sexual impulses that are insistent. Individuals are strongly tempted to act on them, alternatives to satisfying them are unfulfilling, and complete long-term control of such impulses is unlikely. Yet, since individuals with sexual preferences for inappropriate objects or activities are neither morally (...) nor legally permitted to act on them, they find themselves in a terrific bind. The public is, to some extent, correct to not trust the individuals with such preferences and to attempt to monitor or control them. However, most such efforts appear ineffective and counterproductive. Recidivist sex offenders are particularly worrisome. The possibility of voluntary castration for such offenders, in lieu of preventive detention or other more restrictive measures, is explored. (shrink)
There are certain traits that make us good human beings by enabling us to realize our natural ends. From the perspective of such a naturalized virtue ethics, there is nothing obviously unethical or imprudent about the capacity for same-sex love. Moreover, given the resources of this theory, such questions are empirical ones. If the capacity for same-sex love is a trait the possession of which makes one a good human being, then the just state will promote and encourage it, or (...) at least not stand in its way. It can do so by allowing same-sex marriage. (shrink)
I examine the new analysis of gay community and liberation offered by Dennis Altman in The Homosexualization of America. Three distinctive theoretical constructs are analyzed and criticized: (1) a new view of psychosocial development; (2) a new concept of gay identity; and (3) A set of causal hypotheses designed to explain the new direction of the gay subculture.
This paper examines the argument that moral approval of homosexuality is analogous to the early church's inclusion of gentiles. The analogy has a long but often overlooked history, dating back to the start of the modern gay-rights movement. It has recently gained greater prominence because of its importance to the Episcopal Church's debate with the wider Anglican Communion. Beginning with the Episcopal Church argument, we see that there are five specific areas most in need of further clarification. In this essay (...) I examine significant uses of the analogy from the prior 25 years to see how effectively they address these five areas. I conclude that the conversation surrounding the Gentile Analogy is the current, best hope for mutual understanding among Christians about homosexuality. However, if the analogy is to advance the Christian conversation, much greater care and precision is needed in its application from traditionalists and revisionists alike. (shrink)
: In this essay, Cornell first invokes the concept of 'imaginary domain' to challenge the legal legitimacy of heterosexism in any form. She then claims that the imposition of heterosexism on the imaginary is a trauma whose severity can be grasped only with the help of psychoanalysis. Second, she argues that we cannot understand or undermine the power of heterosexist ideas without an alternative ethic of love. In beginning to think about a love that would necessarily pit itself against heterosexism, (...) Cornell draws on Jacques Derrida's metaphor of the lovance. (shrink)
Abstract: This essay explores recent trends and major issues related to gay and lesbian philosophy in ethics (including issues concerning the morality of homosexuality, the natural function of sex, and outing and coming out); religion (covering past and present debates about the status of homosexuality and how biblical and qur'anic passages have been interpreted by both sides of the debate); the law (especially a discussion of the debates surrounding sodomy laws, same-sex marriage and its impact on transsexuals, and whether the (...) law should be used to enforce morality); scientific research into the origins of homosexuality (including discussion of arguments against such research); and metaphysics (especially the question of whether homosexuality is socially constructed during particular times and in particular cultures, or whether sexual orientation is an essential trait cutting across times and cultures). (shrink)
This essay argues that "the family" should be understood in functional terms:whatever functions as a family should have the legal status of a family. Theauthor's argument thus avoids two extreme positions. The first is the position ofthe hard-line "platonic" essentialists who, on grounds of nature, supernature, orcultural history, argue that a family unit must comprise heterosexual partners.The second is the position of the radical relativist, who argues that there are noessences whatsoever or that essences are purely arbitrary. Treating the family (...) infunctionalist terms, the author argues, would have positive consequences thatwould strengthen the social fabric. (shrink)
This article investigates changing parameters of 'privacy' in Britain and their relevance for the redrawing of boundaries between 'acceptable' and 'unacceptable' sexualities. Drawing on Berlant's distinction between 'live' sex acts and 'dead identities', the article suggests that some hitherto 'live' sex act may 'die', leaving others to be rejected and policed, perhaps even with renewed vigour. This may not, however, mean that the normative status of conjugal (hetero)sexuality is moribund: it may merely be reinvented. The article focuses primarily on the (...) heated and often sensationalized public debate on the homosexuality of Members of Parliament which gripped the UK during October and November 1998. Tony Blair's Labour government was elected to power in 1997 under the campaign slogan 'New Labour, New Britain', and the public reaction to the homosexuality of MPs in 1998 led many commentators to conclude that British sexual values were undergoing a profound liberalization. It is questionable, however, whether these 'new' sexual values were actually as new, or as liberal, as they appeared. (shrink)
n his Problemata, Aristotle provided medieval thinkers with the occasion to inquire into the natural causes of the sexual desires of men to act upon or be acted upon by other men, thus bringing human sexuality into the purview of natural philosophers, whose aim it was to explain the causes of objects and events in nature. With this philosophical justification, some late medieval intellectuals asked whether such dispositions might arise from anatomy or from the psychological processes of habit formation. As (...) the fourteenth-century philosopher Walter Burley observed, "Nothing natural is shameful." The authors, scribes, and readers willing to "contemplate base things" never argued that they were not vile, but most did share the conviction that they could be explained. From the evidence that has survived in manuscripts of and related to the Problemata, two narratives emerge: a chronicle of the earnest attempts of medieval medical theorists and natural philosophers to understand the cause of homosexual desires and pleasures in terms of natural processes, and an ongoing debate as to whether the sciences were equipped or permitted to deal with such subjects at all. Mining hundreds of texts and deciphering commentaries, indices, abbreviations, and marginalia, Joan Cadden shows how European scholars deployed a standard set of philosophical tools and a variety of rhetorical strategies to produce scientific approaches to sodomy. (shrink)
The Heythrop Journal, EarlyView. -/- For the longest time, it has been generally held and widely acknowledged that Thomas Aquinas thought homosexual activity to be morally wrong. In recent years, this common interpretation has come under challenge by none other than the President of the Leonine Commission, the Dominican Adriano Oliva. In a recent book, Loves: The Church, the Remarried Divorced, and Homosexual Couples (in French Amours: L’Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels), Oliva argues that Thomas Aquinas would have (...) supported homosexual practices for homosexual persons, or at least that an accurate application of Thomistic principles entails that homosexual acts are morally good. Is this just wishful thinking on Oliva’s part or does his argument have some merit? In order to answer that question, I will proceed in three parts: first, I will reveal numerous texts Oliva failed to take into account; second, I will explicate Oliva’s hermeneutic and the principal textual support he gives for his position; third, I will examine whether Aquinas would have changed his views on the morality of homosexual activity in light of modern advances in our understanding of the etiology and unchangeability of homosexuality. It is concluded that Oliva's view is a gross misinterpretation of the texts. (shrink)
Just fifteen years ago, the common non-religious consensus was that homosexual acts were immoral. Within one decade, however, this consensus waned. The secular majority no longer held, as they previously did, that such actions are morally bad. What explains this sudden change? One explanation is that many conservatives lacked adequate philosophical tools to explain the foundations of the earlier historical consensus. Another is that modern research has shown that there never existed any solid philosophical grounds for calling such actions immoral (...) in the first place. This book questions the latter narrative; for prior to this book no exhaustive historical treatment of philosophical thought on the moral question of homosexual acts existed. Both liberals and conservatives failed to research adequately the long history of thought on this issue. The current author not only argues that the earlier non-religious philosophical consensus has largely been ignored, but that the proliferation of arguments in favor of acting on homosexual inclinations reveal a strong desire to justify what isn't possible to justify morally. The non-religious arguments of the great philosopher Thomas Aquinas are then examined; they reveal that his reasoning can soundly show that acting on homosexual inclinations is morally wrong, and also that the same argument rightly entails that every untruthful assertive speech act is morally problematic. If conservatives wish to be consistent, they ought to reject lying too. And if liberals expect conservatives to believe that what they preach is true, then they ought to stand with Aquinas and reject all lying as intrinsically evil. (shrink)
This article evaluates the phenomenon of sexual reorientation therapy from the standpoint of Orthodox Christian theology. It is argued that homosexual desire is the product of the fall of mankind and cannot be considered “normal.” At the same time, however, reorientation therapies, whether secular or Christian, are inherently reductionistic and fail to address the underlying spiritual pathologies involved in homosexual desire. The purpose of therapeia in the Orthodox Church is the psycho-somatic transfiguration of the whole person into the image of (...) Christ, not merely the cessation of homosexual activity or the “reidentification” of one’s “lifestyle.”. (shrink)
The author discusses natural law reasoning, from the 1960s in the context of Pope Paul VI’s Humanae vitae, to recent cultural and intellectual currents and their influence on the tradition. The challenges that have skewed acceptance of a common human nature and the existence of natural law are addressed. The author shows how the debate on contraception initiated this challenge against natural law reasoning and led to a more evolutive concept of human nature. Attention is drawn to a need for (...) natural law theorists trained in both modern science and Thomistic philosophy to engage the different scientific fields to clarify, adapt, rethink, and even modify the natural law language in accord with the latest discoveries compatitible with evolutionary findings. (shrink)
Responding to an article in a previous issue from Matthew B. O’Brien on the impermissibility of same-sex marriage, this reply corrects a misinterpretation of Rawls’s understanding of political liberalism and a misdirected complaint against the jurisprudence of the U.S. federal courts on civil marriage and other matters. In correcting these interpretations, I seek to demonstrate that a publicly reasonable case for same-sex civil marriage is conceivable in line with political liberalism. I conclude the article by arguing that, although the same-sex (...) civil marriage issue is likely to be a matter of controversy for some time in western societies, a proper understanding of the theoretical issues at stake may contribute to a partial de-escalation of the ‘culture wars’ currently surrounding the issue. (shrink)
Critics of homosexual activity often appeal to some form of natural law theory as a basis for their arguments. According to one version of natural law theory, actions that “pervert” or misuse a bodily faculty are immoral. In this paper, I argue that this “perverted faculty argument” provides a successful account of good and evil action. Several objections are assessed and found inadequate.
In this paper I argue that anyone who accepts a Rawlsian account of justice should favor granting family-based immigration benefit to same-sex couples. I first provide a brief over-view of the most relevant aspects of Rawls's position, Justice as Fairness. I then explain why family-based immigration benefits are an important topic and one that everyone interested in immigration and justice must consider. I then show how same-sex couples are currently systematically excluded from the benefits that flow from family-based immigration rights. (...) Next I argue that people in the constitutional and legislative stages of Rawls's original position would act to protect family-based immigration rights for themselves and show how these rights are rights of the current citizens of a state to bring in certain outsiders and not rights of outsiders seeking to enter. Importantly, this argument takes place entirely within the bounds of Rawls's domestic theory of justice and does not make reference to his more controversial views found in his account of international justice. I then show that there is no acceptable reason to restrict these rights to opposite-sex couples and good reason to extend them to same-sex couples. Finally I consider two objections to my account and show why they do not threaten my conclusion. (shrink)
This study explores the core teachings of Buddhism and Confucianism, especially about homosexuality, and compares the two. This study argues that the attitude of Buddhism and Confucianism towards homosexuality is highly dependent on the cultural context in which these religions exist and are practiced. In other words, certain Buddhist/Confucian societies are sometimes more tolerant of homosexual practices than other Buddhist/Confucian societies. That is, the core teachings of religions cannot be merely a measure; culture participates in shaping religious responses to homosexuals. (...) However, it also does not mean that these two religions do not have a unique view on homosexuality. Using the literature study method, this study will focus on exploring the attitudes of these two religions, Buddhism and Confucianism, towards the practice of homosexuality, especially to queering the core teachings of both. The results of this study indicate that in both Buddhism and Confucianism, acceptance and rejection of homosexual practices exist, and almost all use their respective core teachings as arguments. In short, this study contributes to providing an overview of how homosexuality is accepted and rejected in Buddhism and Confucianism. (shrink)
My analysis on the category of signs of times (SoT) shows how it can help to explain a few aspects of synodality. I will explain how synodality and SoT support each other and why Synods should teach a correct judgment of SoT. It is a way to educate God's people to their theology. We may also wonder if in the anti-gender campaign the church was unable to implenaent the theological vision implied in the SoT. This campaign has highlighted the Church (...) weakness in accepting the world-church relations implied in SoT theology. This weakness due to a lack in education must be corrected re-launching the Synods' tasks and processes. (shrink)
Le titre de cette étude suggère de traiter trois termes, à premier vue, sans aucun lien. En effet, quel peut être le lien entre l’homosexualité et la Bible? Ou celui entre l’homosexualité et les sciences cognitives? Et finalement, quel lien peut-il y avoir entre ces trois termes à première vue juxtaposés? Il y a une réponse à chacune de ces trois questions et nous proposons d’explorer ces réponses dans le cadre de cette étude. Notre thèse consiste à défendre que les (...) sciences et plus précisément les sciences cognitives peuvent contribuer à la discussion sur l’homosexualité dans un cadre théologique (et/ou ecclésial). (shrink)
Indice del capitolo: 1. introduzione; 2. primo sguardo alla bibliografia e punti fermi; 3. la "negazione simbolica" al fondo della strategia anti-gender; 4. il gender come sfida antropologica per la teologia cattolica; 5. teologia del maschile e del femminile, mistero nuziale; 6. unità duale; 7. complementarietà e reciprocità asimmetrica; 8. una caro, fenomenologia dei gesti, integrazione; 9. una teologia inclusiva per un'antropologia adeguata; 10. matrimonio, verginità, relazione pura; 11. note sulla teologia trinitaria della famiglia; 12. antropologia trinitaria; 13. conclusione.
Il testo vuole incarnare una possibile mediazione tra universi culturali lontani ed essere una lettura propedeutica per chi intenda addentrarsi nella tematica, lasciando che la fede cristiana s’interroghi liberamente sul ‘gender’. Un approccio sereno e critico sia alla cultura laica di genere – della quale si esaminano i nodi principali – sia a quella cattolica, con l’intento di superare le reciproche diffidenze e cercare insieme una verità umanizzante per tutti. L’obiettivo è gettare delle basi condivisibili su cui costruire una sintesi (...) teologica più ampia. Un testo che, nell’esaminare i nodi teoretici, volge lo sguardo alla recente campagna ‘anti-gender’, cercando di fornire le coordinate utili a svelenire il clima e muoversi al suo interno con padronanza di lessico e concettualità. In questo senso, l’opera vuole essere uno strumento per formatori, pastori e attivisti che vogliano introdursi nella complessità senza scorciatoie, per cogliere la ricchezza del ‘pensiero di genere’: nell’orizzonte della promozione di un benessere comunitario e individuale. (shrink)
Homosexual activist groups have targeted the Catholic Church and the American military as institutions especially in need of transformation. Associations of healthcare professionals are also under assault from homosexual activists. It is, nevertheless, appropriate for the Church and the military to defend themselves against this assault, to affirm that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian ethics and military service, and to help homosexuals free themselves from the vice of homosexuality. Arguments that homosexual reorientation therapy is unethical are unsound. Such therapy is (...) consistent with the Christian virtue of charity. (shrink)
Professor Mark A. Yarhouse proposes an ‘identity synthesis’ model of sexual modification therapy for homosexuals. This model is meant primarily to target the process by which one’s sexual identity is synthesized, rather than the changing of sexual orientation itself. I highlight some of the advantages of Yarhouse’s model along with some of its potential pitfalls. My primary point of departure with Yarhouse concerns how one ought to direct those self-identified homosexual clients who fall within our clinical sphere of influence and (...) who, in the end, contrary to our better judgment, decide that they would like to pursue a course of “homosexualization.” Based on the “autonomy”-emphasizing aspects of the identity synthesis model, it appears that Yarhouse is willing to sanction the referral of certain clients to “therapists” who are willing to facilitate these clients’ homosexualization. I do not believe that Christians involved in the care of homosexuals can licitly participate in such referrals. (shrink)
In his paper “The Catholic Church, the American Military, and Homosexual Reorientation Therapy,” David W. Lutz ultimately concludes that it is “appropriate, and highly ethical” for the American military to offer reorientation therapy to help homosexuals overcome “the vice of sodomy.” The major thrust of his paper, however, is to call for abandonment of the “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” policy currently in place in the military. Lutz’s paper covers much ground, and this review begins by examining whether such a wide view (...) is necessary for the ultimate conclusions. It goes on to ask whether Lutz has omitted to mention important considerations bearing on this issue, and whether Lutz’s call for the introduction of reorientation therapy is a serious call or a symbolic response to homosexual activities. Lutz fails to address essential issues such as the actual experiences of other nations having homosexuals in the military, and issues regarding what constitutes “reorientation therapy,” the latter leading to questions about how such a therapy would actually be implemented. (shrink)
Australians responded enthusiastically to the calling of the Synod, though there appears to be a tension between expectations of doctrinal reform and pastoral reform. The Bishops Conference allowed each diocese to consult as it saw fit and submit its findings, in light of which a committee of four bishops drafted the official submission to the Synod. Other materials were also sent to the Synod office, including some directly by dioceses and other Catholic organisations. The dioceses surveyed made the preparatory document (...) and questionnaire available online and in print. There was a high level of frustration expressed with the complexity of many of the questions. The Conference and most dioceses did not publish the findings of the consultation or their submission to the Synod. Nonetheless, these are likely to reveal trends with regard to co-habitation, pre-marital sex, contraception, the treatment of divorced Catholics and same-sex marriage similar to those of other western countries based on an analysis of existing quantitative data from the National Church Life Survey, diocesan reports to which the researchers were given access, and the Catholic media. There is an apparent disconnect between the lived experience of many Catholics and Church teaching in these areas. Moreover, there is a tension between issues of doctrinal confusion, doctrinal rejection, and pastoral care which could have consequences for whether the Synod should consider doctrinal reform or need only focus on pastoral care. Most importantly, the responses demonstrate that Catholics in Australia want to be better informed about Church teaching, want to be consulted about these matters, and want to have a say in the formulation of Church teaching. Not taking these wishes seriously risks further alienating many Catholics from the Church who express a disjuncture between Church teaching and their own life experience in these matters. (shrink)
In response to powerful criticisms of older arguments, contemporary defenders of the Church’s traditional stance on homosexuality have fashioned a new kind of argument based upon the special relationship God created between the sexes. In this paper we examine two recent incarnations of this kind of argument and show that both fail to demonstrate the inherent immorality of homosexual relationships, and at most demonstrate that homosexual relationships are inferior to heterosexual relationships in certain respects. At the end of the paper (...) we argue that a good God would have reason to make a certain proportion of humanity homosexual in order to unmask sexist myths. In this way homosexuality could itself strengthen, rather than weaken, the special relationship God created between the sexes. (shrink)
The argument presented here explores homosexuality within the context of applied Christian ethics. The argument works by asking students to grapple with and define the common characteristics of all eros relationships. Once the students analytically break down eros relationships, and wrestle with defining concepts such as “love,” “sex,” and “desires,” basic biblical moral precepts are applied. After this biblical application it can be shown that there is latitude enough in Christian morality to openly permit homosexuality that iscompatible with biblically stated (...) ethical dictums. The argument is pedagogical in nature, and is a challenging, engaging, and accessible argument that avoids the educational pitfalls that entangle other arguments of this nature. (shrink)
This article, forthcoming in the international legal philosophy journal Ratio Juris, responds to an article by Francis J. Beckwith arguing that the consistent application of liberal principles requires that same-sex marriage not be recognised in civil law. This response demonstrates that Beckwith’s article contains a series of interpretative and substantive flaws that render his argument unsuccessful. These relate to a misinterpretation of core liberal principles and a sidestepping of the matter of undue bias against same-sex partners. In correcting these flaws (...) I tentatively propose a ‘Voltarian argument’ in favour of same-sex civil marriage for those citizens with moral qualms about same-sex relationships derived from their reasonable comprehensive doctrine. (shrink)
This essay aims to clarify the debate over same-sex unions by comparing it to the fourth-century conflict concerning the nature of Jesus Christ. Although some suppose that the council of Nicaea reiterated what Christians had always believed, the Nicene theology championed by Athanasius was a dramatic innovation that only won out through protracted struggle. Similarly, despite the widespread assumption that Christian tradition univocally condemns homosexuality, the concept of sexuality is a nineteenth-century invention with no exact analogue in the ancient world. (...) Neither heterosexuality nor homosexuality is addressed directly in Christian tradition; for this reason, the significance of older authorities for the modern debate is necessarily indirect. The dichotomy between progressive and conservative positions is therefore misguided: it is necessary neither to abandon tradition for the sake of progress nor to oppose innovation for the sake of fidelity. (shrink)