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A Label that Sticks [Father Paul Scalia on the Gay-Straight Alliance]
First Things ^ | June/July 2005 | Father Paul Scalia

Posted on 08/04/2005 10:13:38 AM PDT by Diago

When I was in high school, the students fell into many different groups: preps, jocks, cheerleaders, punks, deadheads, druggies, geeks, and all the rest. Just about everyone received an unofficial but virtually unchangeable assignment to a particular group. When I work in high schools today, I discover little difference. The groups still exist (with just a few changes in terminology), and the teachers and administrators still counsel against the labels. As they wisely explain, labels reinforce stereotypes and prejudices; they prevent us from accepting individuals and getting to know the real person.

There is one difference, however. While still warning children against stereotypes and labels, high-school administrations increasingly encourage one group of students to label themselves: those who experience same-sex attractions. With the assistance (and sometimes pressure) of such groups as the Gay-Straight Alliance and the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, high schools across the country now routinely have student organizations dedicated to promoting the tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality. Indeed, New York City has an entire school—Harvey Milk High School—devoted to “gay, lesbian, transgendered and questioning youth.”

Is it worth pointing out, even at this late date, that the teachers and administrators were right about the dangers of labeling—and wrong when they allowed and encouraged homosexual students to be labeled? As with most errors, this one proceeds from a certain truth and often from good intentions. The truth is that adolescents with same-sex attractions have a higher suicide rate and are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs. Attributing these problems to persecution and harassment, the new groups pledge to create a safe atmosphere so that students will not be tempted to self-destructive behavior.

But in practice this agenda means more than just an end to the name-calling. It means the approval of homosexuality and, in a new form of name-calling, an insistence that adolescents who experience same-sex attractions “come out” as homosexual.

This is, to begin with, a failure of common sense. Such categorizations feed into the adolescent penchant for labels. High-school students want to belong to a group. They want an identity. Getting to know other people, figuring them out, sorting out who you are in light of who they are—that can be difficult work. Labels make it much easier. Many adolescents latch on to an identity for a time and then think better of it later. For this reason parents and teachers traditionally guard against pigeonholing students in certain categories.

The new approach, however, does just the opposite. It encourages labeling. Rather than struggle through the difficulties of adolescence, a high-school freshman or sophomore can now, with official support, profess to be gay—and he instantly has an identity and a group. Now he belongs. He knows who he is. Gone is the possibility that adolescents might be confused, perhaps even wrong. Adults typically display a wise reserve about the self-discoveries of high-school students: they know adolescents are still figuring things out, and they recognize their responsibility to help sort through the confusion. So why is all this natural wisdom somehow abandoned these days—in the most confused and confusing area of adolescent sexuality?

Of course, the phrases are tempting because of their convenience and efficiency. They are common, close at hand, and make quick work of a difficult issue. But they also identify an individual person with his homosexual inclinations. They presume that a person is his inclinations or attractions; he is a “gay” or is a “homosexual.” At some point adults have to admit that a fifteen-year-old who claims to be “a questioning transgendered bisexual” is really just confused.

Meanwhile, the schools’ endorsement of all this quickly undermines parents’ authority in an extraordinarily sensitive area. While the parents try to teach one thing at home, the school presents the opposite view, now not only in the classroom but also socially (which in high school might have a greater effect). And those parents who have a better way to handle their child’s difficulties will find their efforts thwarted. At home they strive to love their children, help them in their struggles, and teach a coherent truth about human sexuality. Meanwhile at school, children receive the propaganda and encouragement to argue precisely against what their parents say.

Much of this social engineering rests on the view that homosexuality is a fixed, inborn orientation. The school groups hold this as a dogma not open for discussion. In one of the presidential debates last year, when asked if he thought homosexuality was inherited or chosen, President Bush wisely and modestly answered that he did not know. With that he showed himself to be fairly well aligned with the scientific community, which itself cannot produce a uniform answer to the question. The supposed “gay gene” has never been proven or discovered. The most we can say is that certain people may have genetic predispositions towards homosexuality—which is a far cry from saying they inherit it.

The high-school organizations, however, have no qualms about pronouncing the matter settled. Insisting that homosexuality is inborn, they immediately conclude that an adolescent with homosexual inclinations must necessarily be homosexual, or gay, or lesbian, or transgendered—whichever label fits.

And once the label is assigned, it is awfully hard to remove. It lasts past high school and leaves the adolescent at the mercy of our culture’s extremes. What man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? Increasingly, our high schools distribute stones and serpents to hungry children. Adolescents legitimately confused or anxious about their sexuality receive the advice to assume the homosexual label, truncating their identities perhaps for their entire lives.

Given the obvious errors of this new approach, the question still remains, especially for parents: How should one respond to adolescents with same-sex attractions? Love must be the leading edge of the response. The school organizations attract adolescents precisely because they pledge unconditional acceptance and affirmation of the person, no matter what “orientation” he has. Never mind that receiving this acceptance and affirmation in effect requires signing up for the gay agenda, adolescents still perceive it as acceptance and affirmation. Parents need to understand how effective this is. The first point to make known, then, is not what is wrong but what is right: The child is lovable, and is loved. That love, more than anything else, instills in adolescents the trust and confidence they need to struggle with whatever painful and saddening realities they face.

Difficulties arise when the child insists on being accepted and loved not as a person but as a “gay,” “homosexual,” or “other”—when he wants to be loved according to the label. And our culture willingly indulges these labels for the same reason we used them in high school: we find it easier to deal with labels than with actual persons. Clearly this situation demands tremendous patience and perseverance; it requires parents to insist continually that, no, their child is not just the sum of his sexual attractions, that they can love their child while rejecting some of his actions.

Adolescents need to hear precisely this: People’s sexual inclinations do not determine their identity. Nor does every so-called “homosexual” feel attractions of the same character or to the same degree. Some have strong and lasting homosexual desires; for others, such desires are slight and passing. Lumping everyone together as having the same orientation or identity is a grotesque reduction of a complicated reality, and it massively damages the very people it claims to help.

Resisting the labeling temptation demands that we reject the culture’s vocabulary and adopt more precise terms. In popular usage, the words “gay” and “lesbian” imply a fixed orientation and the living out of a lifestyle. Even the term “homosexual person,”which is used in some Vatican documents, suggests that homosexual inclinations somehow determine, which is to say confine, a person’s identity.

Granted, the more accurate phrases do not trip easily off the tongue. But what is lost in efficiency is gained in precision. Terms such as “same-sex attractions” and “homosexual inclinations” express what a person experiences without identifying the person with those attractions. They both acknowledge the attractions and preserve the freedom and dignity of the person. With that essential distinction made, parents can better oppose the attractions without rejecting the child. And as the child matures, he will not find his identity confined to his sexuality.

Further, opposition to homosexual attractions and actions makes sense only when it is rooted in the full truth of human sexuality. Gay school groups gain approval and support partly because heterosexual unchastity (contraception, masturbation, premarital sex, adultery, and all the rest) has compromised so many. Our culture’s deliberate separation of sex from procreation has destroyed our ability to articulate a coherent explanation of sexual ethics. Parents and educators have damaged the tools that would allow them to explain why homosexual activity is wrong.

Understanding the full truth of human sexuality produces an appreciation for purity. Of course, all young people need to strive for this virtue. But purity takes on a greater significance for those with same-sex attractions. Nothing will confirm a supposed “gay” identity more quickly and solidly than homosexual actions. After a homosexual encounter, the adolescent must either admit the error of his actions and repent—or more boldly identify himself with his actions and look for a way to justify them.

As sexual license increases in our culture, we will encounter more adolescents confused about their sexuality and perhaps experiencing same-sex attractions. The easy option is to dissolve the tension by approving homosexuality and even encouraging it. But the most charitable thing we can do for such youth is to love them as God’s own images, to teach them the full truth about human sexuality, and to enable them to live it. Anything less is giving our children stones when they ask for bread.

Paul Scalia is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, and chaplain for the Arlington chapter of Courage.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: frpaulscalia; gayagenda; glsen; gsa; hmhs; homosexual; homosexualagenda; nea; paulscalia; pspl; scalia; teens

1 posted on 08/04/2005 10:13:39 AM PDT by Diago
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To: Coleus; Salvation; NYer; Pyro7480; nickcarraway; murphE; Siobhan; EdReform

A very important article by the son of Justice Scalia. Let's hope this is read by many.


2 posted on 08/04/2005 10:18:54 AM PDT by Diago (http://www.freekatie.net/)
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To: Diago
This is an important article.

I have one issue with his description: ...and all the rest.

It was my observation from my children that the biggest "all the rest" was race. Black, white, several browns and several asians, were the first determiner of class in schools above Jr. High. Sad, but true; from feedback from all three of my children.

3 posted on 08/04/2005 10:59:51 AM PDT by Ace's Dad ("There are more important things: Friendship, Bravery...")
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To: Diago; All

The basic intellectual and legal error in the new approach coming from the "sexuality" fascists in the leadership of the gay and lebian movement is that the agenda is now a push for acceptance and not simply tolerance.

Tolerance does not require a change in your beliefs or a change in your values; it only requires a change in behavior towards others in public and on the job - simple respectful tolerance.

But tolerance is not and does not require acceptance and acceptance can truly only occur in your own beliefs, in what you think, in your own personally held values - in your mind.

So, in the framework of a proper understanding of our constitutional rights, how can, within those rights, any governmental entity demand "acceptance", except in an Orwellian "1984" sense. It cannot.

It could require tolerance - behavior - but it cannot rightfully impose that you accept what your own strong personal values tell you that you cannot accept. That is thought control.

And, this is the direction that the gay and lesbian activists have been taking their demands - in schools and in business. You could replace "gay and lesbian" with any race or ethnicity or religion or religious point of view and see that the objective lesson is the same - the government trying to dictate that people accept beliefs that they do not accept.

They are not seeking tolerance, they seek to make all of society conform to their opinion and they seek to outlaw all contrary opinion. That is not an approach that either seeks or accepts either tolerance or diversity. It seeks to establish and impose its own orthodoxy on everyone else.


4 posted on 08/04/2005 11:23:00 AM PDT by Wuli
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To: Diago; little jeremiah; scripter; Clint N. Suhks; SweetCaroline
Thanks for the ping!

Homosexual Agenda: Categorical Index of Links (Version 1.1)


What We Can Do To Help Defeat the "Gay" Agenda


Myth and Reality about Homosexuality--Sexual Orientation Section, Guide to Family Issues


Deciphering 'Gay' Word-Speak and Language of Confusion

5 posted on 08/04/2005 1:57:40 PM PDT by EdReform (Free Republic - helping to keep our country a free republic. Thank you for your financial support!)
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To: Born Conservative; longtermmemmory

Ping


6 posted on 08/04/2005 1:58:38 PM PDT by EdReform (Free Republic - helping to keep our country a free republic. Thank you for your financial support!)
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To: Diago

Thank you for the ping!


7 posted on 08/04/2005 3:50:04 PM PDT by Siobhan ("Whenever you come to save Rome, make all the noise you want." -- Pius XII)
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To: NYer

Important and worthy of your ping list IMHO.


8 posted on 08/04/2005 3:50:29 PM PDT by Siobhan ("Whenever you come to save Rome, make all the noise you want." -- Pius XII)
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To: Maeve; patent; Pyro7480; Desdemona; sandyeggo; Romulus; eastsider; Dajjal

A must read!


9 posted on 08/04/2005 3:51:56 PM PDT by Siobhan ("Whenever you come to save Rome, make all the noise you want." -- Pius XII)
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To: EdReform
With the assistance (and sometimes pressure) of such groups as the Gay-Straight Alliance and the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, high schools across the country now routinely have student organizations dedicated to promoting the tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality

....Let's not forget, the NEA spends MILLIONS OF DOLLARS to advance this agenda

10 posted on 08/04/2005 4:30:18 PM PDT by SweetCaroline (Thank You GOD for watching over me.)
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To: EdReform

HELLO BUMP!


11 posted on 08/04/2005 4:33:04 PM PDT by SweetCaroline (Worry does not empty tomorrow of it's troubles, it empties today of it's strength!)
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To: Siobhan

Bumpus ad summum


12 posted on 08/04/2005 5:29:10 PM PDT by Dajjal
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To: SweetCaroline
Hello! :o)
13 posted on 08/05/2005 8:01:53 AM PDT by EdReform (Free Republic - helping to keep our country a free republic. Thank you for your financial support!)
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To: Diago

It's OK to label except when it isn't.


14 posted on 08/05/2005 8:03:28 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: Diago

A voice of reason.


15 posted on 08/05/2005 8:13:53 AM PDT by kalee
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To: SweetCaroline; little jeremiah; scripter; Born Conservative; Lindykim; Clint N. Suhks; ...
And let's not forget that those millions of dollars come out of teachers' salaries, which are paid for by taxpayers.

The homosexual activists infiltrated and infested the 'professional' medical associations to further their agenda, and now they have infiltrated and control the NEA in order to indoctrinate children as young as 5 years old.

Why do you think the NEA presented Kevin Jennings, the executive director and founder of the homosexual activist organization GLSEN, their 2004 Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights? Who coordinates the Gay-Straight Alliances in public schools? GLSEN. How are many GSA's funded? Taxpayer money.

See also:

Educators' Honoree Challenged on Alleged Sex Abuse Cover-Up

An excerpt from "Changing minds"

An excerpt from "Gay advocates in education ponder a George Bush future"

An excerpt from "Former Leader of Nation’s Largest Teachers Union Called Contender for Top ‘Gay’ Activist Job"

An excerpt from "Who is Diane Lenning and Why Did She Almost Lose Her Job?"

16 posted on 08/05/2005 9:05:14 AM PDT by EdReform (Free Republic - helping to keep our country a free republic. Thank you for your financial support!)
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To: Diago

BTTT


17 posted on 08/05/2005 9:07:46 AM PDT by EdReform (Free Republic - helping to keep our country a free republic. Thank you for your financial support!)
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To: gidget7; CatQuilt; mother22wife21; OXENinFLA

Ping


18 posted on 08/05/2005 9:18:00 AM PDT by EdReform (Free Republic - helping to keep our country a free republic. Thank you for your financial support!)
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To: kenth; CatoRenasci; Marie; PureSolace; Congressman Billybob; P.O.E.; cupcakes; Amelia; Dianna; ...

19 posted on 08/05/2005 9:23:30 AM PDT by Born Conservative ("If not us, who? And if not now, when? - Ronald Reagan)
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To: EdReform; backhoe; Yehuda; Clint N. Suhks; saradippity; stage left; Yakboy; I_Love_My_Husband; ...

Homosexual Agenda Ping.

EdReform REALLY wants me to ping this one out! I am crawling around today, not up to my usual self... I shamefully admit I haven't read it yet.

But it must be good, and I promise to read it later today.

There is a lot of good info about schools and how they have become - to a large degree - the creatures of liberals and leftists in general, and the "gay" agenda folks in particular.

Freepmail me if you want on/off this pinglist.


20 posted on 08/05/2005 9:23:41 AM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: little jeremiah

Hope you feel better soon!


21 posted on 08/05/2005 9:27:54 AM PDT by EdReform (Free Republic - helping to keep our country a free republic. Thank you for your financial support!)
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To: Diago
There really wasn't all that much labeling in my highschool, though I understand that is NOT true of all schools.

Father makes an excellent point. Obviously it's important to the left, in their quest for a bold new world, to reinforce homosexuality.

22 posted on 08/05/2005 9:46:39 AM PDT by TAdams8591
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: Diago
Excellent article. Thanks for posting it.

Bump!
24 posted on 08/05/2005 10:33:28 AM PDT by Antoninus (Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini, Hosanna in excelsis!)
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To: seamole; All

The truth is that adolescents with same-sex attractions have a higher suicide rate

That correlation, frequently alleged, is not backed by any data.


Documented here: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1026551/posts?page=206#206

25 posted on 08/05/2005 11:10:39 AM PDT by EdReform (Free Republic - helping to keep our country a free republic. Thank you for your financial support!)
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: seamole

You're welcome! Please pass it on to others.


27 posted on 08/05/2005 7:32:30 PM PDT by EdReform (Free Republic - helping to keep our country a free republic. Thank you for your financial support!)
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To: 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ...


28 posted on 12/16/2006 4:55:05 PM PST by Coleus (Christmas is part of our Western Civilization and is a US Holiday for all Americans)
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To: Diago

For later.


29 posted on 12/16/2006 6:21:45 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation; Coleus

This really is an important article. I hope it gets more attention. Folks should print it out and send it to people they trust at the local Catholic high school.


30 posted on 12/17/2006 2:31:17 PM PST by Diago ("Upon hearing about such things, I confess that I'm tempted to look for my shotgun and baseball bat")
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To: Coleus; DaveLoneRanger; 2Jedismom; Aggie Mama; agrace; Antoninus; arbooz; bboop; blu; cgk; ...
ANOTHER REASON TO HOMESCHOOL PING!

Here's an old thread, but the subject is timely. It's a good read.

This ping list is for the "other" articles of interest to homeschoolers about education and public school. If you want on/off this list, please freepmail me. The main Homeschool Ping List by DaveLoneRanger handles the homeschool-specific articles.

31 posted on 12/17/2006 9:03:21 PM PST by Tired of Taxes (That's taxes, not Texas. I have no beef with TX. NJ has the highest property taxes in the nation.)
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To: Diago
Spot-on article. Just because an adolescent might have deviant sexual fantasies, does not mandate that that adolescent MUST succumb to a life of depravity thereafter. But such is what they teach kids today.

Truly pathetic.
32 posted on 12/18/2006 9:38:26 PM PST by Antoninus ( Rudy McRomney as the GOP nominee = President Hillary. Why else do you think the media loves them?)
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