Can we talk about this?

What happens when a University professor, teaching an introductory course about Roman Catholicism, explains to his class the logic and arguments behind Catholicism's condemnation of homosexual acts (while also pointing out alternative views)? He gets fired because a student who was not even in the class complains to the administration about his "hate speech."

Check out this First Things article for the details and for what happened next; read it carefully and thoroughly because this is an extremely important and complex subject, and the article handles it well. Plus, the following comments are to be understood in light of the story told in this article.

In some circles of our culture (certainly not all), we who support the Bible's prohibitions against homosexual behaviors (and who may even have research on our side suggesting that such acts are inherently unhealthy for the participants) are being labeled and dismissed without even gaining a hearing from the surrounding culture. While we who hold this conviction may turn out to be wrong, let's at least have a reasoned and thought out discussion before making that determination, shall we?

One of the easiest ways to avoid actually engaging with an argument or point someone is trying to make is to put a derisive label upon it, such as "hate speech," "racism," etc. and then ignore it. But to do so can become a form of tyranny, of shutting up the voices we don't want to hear by a kind of coercion, rather than engaging in rational and probing conversation and debate of any kind. It is a new taboo.

In my more pessimistic moments, I do sometimes worry that the Church in the West could find itself on the receiving end of precisely this sort of 'labeling and dismissal' more and more in the coming decades over issues of human sexuality. We can only hope that God will teach us to be patient, loving, thoughtful, and winsome ambassadors for the goodness and rightness of his revealed message. There is always hope that cooler heads will prevail, that most discussions will be much more open than that described in the article, and that people may be open to actual conversation and dialogue on contentious issues.

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8:47 AM, October 22, 2010  

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