Fight ‘the sin of homophobia,’ they cry, and embrace the new version of the old perversion
One of the more intriguing literary specimens to emerge from the socialist government’s much-awaited plan to change the way we Albertans think, by changing the way our children think, appears in the brochure called PRISM, mentioned in this space a week or so ago. It was produced by the Alberta Teachers Association, and it exhaustively details how teachers must transform our children’s attitude away from what we once called sexual perversions into sexual acclamations. That is, the student must learn to appreciate the hitherto undiscovered grandeur of sodomy. Not only must it become acceptable, but also something we can admire, celebrate, hold parades about.
The brochure sets out measures by which schools must warmly welcome and highly regard fledgling practitioners of these and other proclivities. It sets out how teachers must sternly rebuke any ridicule or abuse of them, and how schools must provide “space” to shelter students often afflicted with frightful inhospitality.
Why the government should have off-loaded all this on the teachers’ union is a question worth asking, but it’s not likely to be rationally or truthfully answered. The teachers’ union doesn’t have to win elections and the government does. So if the reception is unfavourable, let the union take the blame. The union’s reward can come later in salary negotiations. Such no doubt was the bureaucratic rationale.
One chapter in this great gaudy tome, however, was truly astonishing. It instructed teachers in Christian schools, Catholic and Protestant, on how they were to deal with “the sin of homophobia.” It is a very pious chapter. It notes that the God in Trinity calls us “to live in solidarity with each other.” What does it mean by “in solidarity,” one wonders. If, say, I was to “live in solidarity” with my neighbour’s wife, would that be a good thing? Going further, Christian students must learn to “live in community.” Really? Suppose their “community” is experimenting with drugs — not an altogether unlikely possibility. Should they continue to “live in community,” or should they distance themselves from their community?
Students must “examine” some of the “philosophic building blocks for ethics and morality,” says the brochure. What exactly are those building blocks? “Sacred scripture” and “revelation” are favourably mentioned. But since the Old and New Testaments condemn the practice of homosexuality, where do we go from there? And what is meant by “revelation?” Are we talking here about the biblical prophets or the great saints? We will precious little approval of LBGT there. Or by “revelation” do they mean whatever morals are currently fashionable on the CNN, the CBC, from the latest rock star, or perhaps in the seventy-nine LGBT movies and TV shows the brochure recommends for student viewing. Whether these productions represent spiritual revelation or social disintegration, it will be left for history to decide. I’m betting on the latter.
Which leaves us with the “the sin of homophobia.” What does it mean? Taken literally, it must mean an irrational fear of homosexuals — just as hydrophobia means such a fear of water, acrophobia of heights, and claustrophobia of enclosed spaces. By that definition, I can honestly say that to the best of my knowledge I’ve never committed the sin of homophobia. Most of the other sins yes, but not this one. I’ve known many gay people, and I’ve never been in the least afraid of any of them; several I number among my close friends.
In fact, I also have to admit I have never known anybody else with such a fear. Most people, in fact, fear greatly for these people because what they are doing is extremely dangerous, both physically and mentally. But I do know people who could be called homo-nauseous because the thought of the act itself sickens them. But for many men the gays have provided the world with a vast inventory of gay jokes. They find the whole gay phenomenon ludicrous. If that’s what they mean by homophobia, then I plead guilty. I’m a homophobe.
However, the challenge that really lay before the author of this absurd chapter was very plain. Why should a Christian change his attitude towards a practice that has been condemned for the entire two-thousand-year span of Christian history and for the whole length of Jewish history before that? What do we know that all those people did not know? For this, our author offers no reply, because he doesn’t even allow the question to come up. That is, he assumes what it was his responsibility to prove.
Defenders of what we might call the New Social Order are adept at this — i.e. prone to avoid questions for which they have no answer. I recall the same thing several years ago when the Russian culture minister was challenged by the western media to defend her government’s decision to prohibit a gay pride parade at the Olympics. Her answer, in translation, went something like this:
“I know many gay people. I have some on my staff; they are very competent and loyal employees. But as to the practice itself, we recognize three problems with it. For one, it is unbiblical, and that matters to us. Second, it is unnatural; it defeats the biological purpose of sex, which is to produce children. Third, it is extraordinarily unhealthy; many people do not realize this. Given these three factors, what exactly are we celebrating?
To my knowledge, nobody in the West ever answered her. The authors of PRISM certainly didn’t.
Ted Byfield was founder and publisher of Alberta Report news magazine, general editor of Alberta in the Twentieth Century. a 12-volume history of the province, and general editor of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years, a 12-volume history of Christianity. His column on education appears in The Christians.com, a web journal. He has recently authored two little books on modern pedagogy: Why History Matters and The Revolution Nobody Covered. You can order both copies here.