I’m gay and under 40. Theoretically, I should be firmly planted on the left. After all, LGBT Americans have been some of the biggest supporters of progressive causes. Yet, contrary to popular belief in the “gay community,” my faith and values have done more to shape my character and political ideology than my orientation ever could.
I would be remiss to not acknowledge that 2018 is unequivocally the best time in human history to live as an openly gay person. I can be myself and be broadly accepted by much of the American public, even by many of my fellow Catholics. Many religious people truly were once hostile to homosexual individuals, often violently. 2018 is an extremely different time.
In our time, many Christian denominations are accepting of their LGBT members, and a healthy majority of Christians are respectful— even when they disagree.
Does respect for Catholic doctrine on homosexuality make me a “hater” and homophobe? Absolutely not.
I accept that same-sex marriage is not sanctioned by my church. Even if I didn’t, it would not be my place to force new doctrine upon them. Not every policy must be inherently inclusive and supportive in order to not be hateful. And yet much of the left and “gay community” will accuse me of self-loathing.
The danger comes when differing views on homosexuality, held by private institutions, are considered unacceptable. Ironically, some at my own Catholic university believe that the Government must correct and punish supposed “discrimination.” They say that the Government should force the Church to marry same-sex couples and thereby violate its 2000 year tradition. There is absolutely nothing liberal about this idea.
Assembly Bill 2943, which passed the California legislature with resounding support, shows that this accusation is not just conspiracy laden fear. It classifies any “service” or “writing” that encourages a person to change their sexual orientation as unlawful.
I’m fully opposed to conversion therapy and support this side of the law. I know firsthand that sexual orientation is immutable and The American Psychological Association maintains that conversion therapy is harmful.
However, the scope of the law is too far reaching and unconstitutional with regard to the First Amendment. Specifically, the law states that any attempt to “change behaviors” is illegal. There needs to be a differentiation between behavior influence and a change of orientation, and it’s unfortunate that California legislators can’t separate the two.
My predisposition for same-sex attraction is not the same as the expression of that attraction. Many faith services call for abstinence, which is a behavioral change. Under this law, I will be unable to seek religious counsel from my Catholic priest, even though this counseling doesn’t seek to change my sexual orientation. In fact, it recognizes my innate orientation and pushes me to not act on my inclination.
This is vastly different from conversion therapy, but somehow, it is still illegal under a law that targets conversion therapy. My freedom to accept spiritual counsel should not be limited under the false guise of “gay rights.”
This brings me to a difficult admission. I take no pleasure in saying it, but the gay rights and LGBT rights movements have been some of the most damaging forces to religious freedom in recent history. Their fight started as a fight for greater acceptance in the public eye, a fight that has made my life much easier. In the 2015 Supreme Court decision, the gay rights movement achieved landmark equality on the federal level, and spurred American culture to be more empathetic as a whole. For that, I’m deeply grateful.
Unfortunately, the movement has metastasized from a fight for rights into a fight against private parties. Many of the churches and religious schools that shaped my Catholic identity now face the might of government overreach. They are not winning when they use the government as their personal war club. They are only hurting the laissez-faire attitude and religious freedom that once defined this country.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.