Thursday, May 2, 2013

Shock and Awe Does Not Promote Dialogue

So, the other day I came across a story. This group called FEMEN stripped off their tops and drenched an Archbishop as he quietly sat there and took it. The group does not agree with Church teaching in regards to homosexuality or abortion. In this "protest," they were particularly addressing his recent comments saying that gays are called to be celibate.

I am all for protests. People's voices need to be heard. I'm all for intelligent, rational people disagreeing. The only way the world will become a better place is if people of different views come to the table to talk things out and compromise.

But, seriously, what were these women hoping to accomplish. The drenched archbishop deciding that gay sex is okay after all? Some devout Catholic watching this deciding that their church is wrong?

Really, all you might have accomplished is riling up your base and giving yourself the smug feeling of, "man, I really showed that homophobe bigot, didn't I?" Yeah, you might catch some headlines, but that's just because most of the world is laughing at you for being the textbook "psycho feminazi." You're not being taken seriously, you're not converting anyone to your cause, and you're not promoting any meaningful dialogue.

I've been there. I've been a protester trying to get attention. I've thrown raw meat all over my school's quad. I've engaged in street theatre. I've organized walk-outs. Except for maybe the meat thing, I've never done anything as stupid as this. My street theatre was at least educational. I invited media to my walk-outs in order to get the word out as to what we were protesting about. Nobody ever got naked. While we stretched the rules, we never damaged anyone's person or property.

You should all be embarrassed, but you're probably on too much of a self-righteous high to care.

PS: The Archbishop comes out of this looking better than you do. And I'm not just saying that because I'm Catholic.


  1. For what it's worth, I'm a radical feminist (and pro-choice, and gay, and religious)...and I agree that FEMEN is pretty much nuts. In fact, everyone I know in the mainstream feminist movement thinks so. They are to the majority of feminism what the Westboro Baptist 'Church' is to most of Christianity, or what the Animal Liberation Front is to most animal rights activists.
    I'm interested to know (not trying to be sarcastic or snide at all--I'm genuinely curious) how you would suggest the LGBT community engage the Catholic Church in dialogue? Or specifically in this instance how comments like "gays are called to a life of celibacy" are dangerous and damaging to LGBT Catholics on a social, emotional and spiritual level?

    1. I wanted to let you know I have seen your comment. I'm still mulling over your questions. Genuinely, thank you for making me think. Being a stay-at-home mom, it is far too easy for me to be on auto-pilot most of the time.

    2. Hello, again. First of all, I have to admit that I have trouble directly addressing your question about "gays are called to celibacy." I don't have much of a libido and I was seriously considering a life of celibacy for myself before I met my husband. I have a lot of trouble relating to people for whom forced celibacy is dangerous and damaging.

      Although I guess the key word there is "forced." Again, I still can't put myself in those shoes because it would not have been forced in my case.

      In general, I don't have a lot to say about the LGBT side of the argument. I think that the dialogue with transgender, specifically transsexual, would change overnight if the Catholic Church would just separate T from the LGB. There have been statements made about T that could, for instance, support the idea that SRS is okay. (There has also been statements that were crazy and incredibly insensitive, but we'll ignore those right now.)

      Name-calling really needs to stop on both sides. Also, everyone pays too much attention to the crazies on both sides and not enough attention to the sane people who actually can have a civil conversation. We are so sound-bite centered as a society, it's hard to get anyone to really listen to one another.

      The Catholic Church believes that marriage is not a right, but basic human dignity is. That is where Pope Francis was coming from when he suggested that Civil Unions be supported in Argentina. His fellow bishops at the time shot him down. His idea was that while the Church cannot support Gay Marriage, they should be against people being discriminated against in some very fundamental ways financially and otherwise.

      While the Catholic Church cannot be an ally in regards to Gay Marriage, I think that the Church could be a better ally in combating violence and other forms of discrimination. The Church does say that everyone has God-given dignity and all life is sacred regardless of color, sex, sexual orientation, sin, religion, anything.

      I hope that this answer has been helpful even though I didn't really address your question directly. I guess I was writing more from my Catholic perspective than anything else. God bless!


What do you think? I want to know.