A charming Roman Catholic priest once said, to a female friend of mine preparing for ordained ministry, “Seeing a woman give a sermon is like seeing a dog walk on its hind legs. You’re so amazed she’s doing it, you don’t really stop to think about whether she’s doing it well.”
Ho-HO, chaps! Amirite? It’s funny because WOMEN AREN’T REALLY PEOPLE AND ALSO THEY’RE KIND OF STUPID, geddit?
Well, in the same vein, I’d like to offer this observation: Seeing a man with an inflated sense of entitlement pronounce authoritatively as though he’s considered all the available evidence that the universe has to offer – when in fact it’s clear that he’s only considered the evidence proffered by other Men Who Pronounce — is like seeing dogs make friends with each other by sniffing butts. It’s so commonplace and unsurprising, you don’t stop to think, “Now, how does THAT convey pertinent information?”
Why do I mention this? No reason, really. Say! On a completely unrelated note: Here’s an essay by Deacon Keith Fournier. He thinks that people with “disordered appetites” shouldn’t get special “civil rights.” Or, well, he grudgingly acknowledges that they have rights because they’re humans with “dignity,: but still, he thinks it’s really important that they be made to know how disordered they are by, um… not having rights. That is to say, they shouldn’t be discriminated against, they just shouldn’t get to do the things that other, presumably more “well-ordered” people can do. Oh, also, he thinks that the Catholic Church will have its definition of marriage that’s essentially independent of what governments say about marriage… and this is why it’s really, really important for Catholics to oppose government-sanctioned marriage equality, even in instances where marriage equality is the majority will of the governed.
Confused yet? Well, your nose may not be as finely honed as Deacon Keith Fournier’s. There are many elements of this essay that offend me as a religious scholar and as a person who likes a good logical argument. I’m resisting the urge to get sidelined into a theological discussion of Natural Law, though, because I want to draw y’all’s attention to a point far more pertinent to the fatosphere: Deacon Keith Fournier knows that being gay is disordered, because being gay is a lot like being fat, and everyone totally knows that fatness is disordered:
Some maintain that same sex attraction is a genetic predisposition. This is disputed. Even if it were the case, that does not give homosexual activity any special status. Should we really give disordered appetites civil rights status under the law? Let’s consider an absurd example. I have struggled most of my life with fighting obesity. I am on the “winning end” lately, but just give me another Holiday! A very good argument can be made that obesity also has a genetic predisposition. However, I will fight it my whole life because it is unhealthy. It is a disordered appetite. Should we as a Nation decide that fat people have a civil right to be fat?
HA HA HA HA! What an absurd example! Fat people having the civil right to be fat! Ahhh… *wipes eye* … Deacon, you’re such a card.
Should those who insist that they resist that “genetic predisposition” to overeat be called Fata-phobic?
Um… with the exception of the adorably clueless capitalization and extra “a” in “Fata-phobic”… I’m going to go with yes?
Here, Deek, let me spot you a few clues:
First, yeah, about those “disordered appetites.” I don’t know how to tell you this. You know what other things have been counted as disordered appetites in the Christian tradition? The relentless pursuit of wealth at all costs. Seeking physical pleasure over spiritual union with God. Putting an exaggerated emphasis upon physical appearance. Now, assuming you think it’s worthile to talk about “orderedness” and “disorderedness” in this kind of detached and context-disregarding way (which I don’t) — come on, you don’t think those things frame a lot of our contemporary constructions of heterosexuality and/or thinness… oops sorry I mean “health”? So who else doesn’t get civil rights now that you, Keith Fournier, speaking for the Roman Catholic Church, find them disordered?
Second… dude, YES, the “Nation” should indeed decide “that fat people have a civil right to be fat[.]” People do indeed have a civil right to simply BE in ways that might make others feel icky-poo or scared or grumpy or oddly titillated or resigned or sad at no longer being in the majority. Even you grudgingly acknowledge that the people who give you that ookie feeling shouldn’t exactly be discriminated against:
Disordered appetites – and the actions engaged in by those who give into them – simply should not be called civil rights. Certainly, those who succumb to them should be treated with the human dignity that they deserve and not be discriminated against.
Great! Yes! You go right along thinking that gays and fatties are disordered, and LGBT folks and obeses will go right on enjoying equal protection under the law. Fine! Wonderful! You won’t get an invitation to Pride Week or the Fatosphere feed, and deathfats and gays won’t get an invitation to your Bible Study. Sounds like a fine plan that will work out well for all concerned.
What? Oh, you’re still not happy?
However, that is because they are human not because of their behavior! Homosexual sexual acts are simply homosexual sexual acts. Our bodies do not lie, they speak the language written within their constitution and confirmed in the Natural Law which binds us all.
Ahhhh, special rights. SPECIAL! Now I see. You’re not worried about gays and fatties having rights, you’re worried about them having special rights! You’re worried that they didn’t bring enough of their special gay and fat rights to share with the whole class!
Specifically, you seem very worried about that “special” right — which I’m sure you have never enjoyed yourself — NOT to have your identity judged legally and bindingly “disordered,” according to one particular religious account of “the language written within [its] constitution and confirmed in the Natural Law which binds us all.”
OKAY DEACON FOURNIER, I ADMIT IT. YOU ARE RIGHT. No “SPECIAL” rights! ALL PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED TO BE FAT AND GAY AND STILL ENJOY EQUAL PROTECTION BEFORE THE LAW! AND NOT ONLY ACTUAL FAT AND GAY PEOPLE!
But then, presumably — since you’re standing so bravely against “special” rights for one class of people — you’re totally cool with sharing your special perks and privileges of maleness with everyone else, right?
Because I have a friend who can preach one hell of a sermon. What Sunday works for you?
(Edited to add: Shapeling Sarah rightly takes issue with my characterizing Fournier as “speaking for the Catholic church.” Let me try to make a distinction that I should have made originally: I do think that in the essay he presents himself as offering what the Catholic Church has always taught. He also is a deacon, which is an officially-sanctioned position of leadership in a congregation. But he is NOT a spokesperson for the Vatican, the US Council of Catholic Bishops, or other official decision-making bodies of Roman Catholicism, and it is overstating it to say that he’s “speaking for the Catholic church.”)