30 January 2007

I promised myself I wouldn't make this post

...but my head will explode if I don't, so it'll just have to be made. It's a long one, I'm afraid.

If I hear the phrases 'gay adoption' and 'Catholic Church' put together in the same sentence once more, I will not be responsible for my actions. Really, I won't. I've reached the end of my tether.

I don't see myself adopting - mainly as there is a very real possibility of me leaving little James Alexander or Rachael Pristina (yes, I have named hypothetical children) at the supermarket door when I realise that I've left the Oven Chips at the checkout, then heading straight to the bus stop without realising what I've just left behind in order to retrieve part of my dinner - but who knows? I might in the future should I meet a partner who, unlike me, has a fully functioning short-term memory. But even if I do, it probably wouldn't even occur to me to visit a Catholic adoption agency. Why should it? There are many Catholics in my family (mostly on my mother's side) but I'm not one of them and never have been, so the Catholic Church only really appears on my radar for distant cousins' weddings and elderly relatives' funerals.

Aside from the purely selfish motive for not caring about the RC Church's position on adoption by gay couples, though, there's a principle at work for me. Namely, I am confident and comfortable enough about my sexual orientation not to care what a handful of clergymen think about people like me. Why have so many other people - gay or straight, but the most vocal and prominent critics have been heterosexual - got so worked up about them?

The Catholic Church appears to think that homosexual relationships are sinful, and so they assume I'm going to Hell. I think that the Catholic Church's image of the family unit is outdated, that it's obsession with the 'sanctity' of marriage has been fundamentally pointless ever since weddings could take place outwith churches with not a clergyman in sight, that its opposition to contraception (and so potentially condemning its own followers to STIs and unwanted pregnancies) is dangerous. We agree to disagree. If they want to cite religious reasons for not letting me seek to adopt a child with a hypothetical future partner, then fine, I'll go somewhere else. I still adopt a child, they still have to find homes for the children on their books, so they lose out, not me. As long as they also turn away all single people, for seeking a child while out of wedlock, then I won't protest as I'm not really losing anything.

I like Social Liberalism. It means that I can be who I am, without fear of repercussion. It means that I can live the life I wish to lead, and to declare that openly. I'm glad that Social Liberalism is the way of this country. What I detest is extremism, which is why I'm terrified of a new phenomenon which I call Extremist Liberalism. So that I can go to lengths to which I'd never really bother to go to express who I am, devout members of various faiths (and the gay adoption issue is just one example of this, which is why I've pluralised that sentence) are no longer free to express their deeply-held religious principles. In short, in our quest to be ever more liberal, we have become illiberal. We are on a dangerous course: we must stop now.

The consequences? They could be felt as early as May, when some Christian parties produce a distorted view of their own faith, and campaign on a manifesto which opposes the supposed (and non-existant) domination by the LGBT Community of the political establishment. They will spread hate in order to advance an equally extremist view of their faith, one which was meant to be founded on tolerance. Every vote for these parties will be a hammer-blow to the LGBT Community. And by forcing the Catholic Church to comply to rules when in reality it represents very little skin off our noses if they are exempt, we are playing into the homophobes' hands. They might not win seats, but they will gain votes, and it will be our fault.

And what of the LGBT Community, what's the big issue for us? It's not this. We are fortunate to live in a place where this is the big question in terms of equality, and where the Establishment (or part of it, at least) looks upon the Catholic Church as backward in this regard. We are fortunate that we live in a place where the Catholic Church are the bad guys for not wanting to be one provider of a service that we could seek elsewhere. Yuri Luzhkov, the Mayor of Moscow, has criminalised Pride Parades in his city. He has described the last one as 'satanic'. In one of the most important cities in the world, we are not allowed to express who we are, and take pride in that. Have we noticed this disgrace? No, we're too busy screaming from the rooftops about how the Parish of St. Ignatius won't let us look after a baby for them. Now, again, what Luzhkov thinks of me isn't important, but then, I don't live in Moscow: this man has his hands on levers of power, so for the Muscovite LGBT Community, his thoughts are real worries.

All I'm saying is that if we're going to express so much outrage about LGBT issues, maybe we're wasting it on Mario Conti. Perhaps we should be looking East, and aiming our rage squarely at Yuri Luzhkov.

Just a thought.


Angry Steve said...

On the one hand... As soon as the Catholic church stops buggering choirboys, I'll listen to their views on adoption...

And on the other... The Catholic church does not have a monopoly on adoptions - take your adoption business elsewhere and stop whining.

Clairwil said...

And on that very subject. I think Councillor Kelly has just lost his temper with you!

I am slack-jawed at his ill mannered, bullying and aggressive response to your reasonable comment.

Looks like he didn't learn much during his six week suspension.

Will said...

Well, Steve, I agree that it's a bit rich for the Catholic church to condemn homosexuality when they've been letting their clergy get away with molesting boys in their care for years, but you're right, their views are their affair and mine are my affair. Members of the LGBT community need not cry into their pillow because Mario Conti doesn't like them: there are other people who will let a gay couple adopt a child.

And Clairwil, Kelly can try to bully me all he wants. When the need arises, I can be a supermegabitch, and you know what? The need has just arisen. He is going down!