If you have a problem with sin, go to confession. Believe me, I know what it's like to be lost. But Jesus can heal you. If the Church did you wrong, I apologize. But we're all sinners. And finally, Jesus loves you. Just imagine, Dan, you could become another St. Paul if you really let Christ change you. Wow! Happiness will overwhelm you. Try it. Thanks and God Bless.
Bill Donohue, president of the arch-conservative, rape-apologist Catholic League, issued a press release today slamming me for calling the pope a "motherfucking power-hungry, self-aggrandized bigot In the stupid fucking hat" in a headline here at Slog. Twice! After calling me the worst possible thing one pious Catholic man can call another—he called me a woman—Donohue urged his followers to email me. I've received 79 emails from outraged Catholic Leaguers so far. (Is it possible that I have more flying monkeys than Bill does?) I've written back to a few and V.S. was by far the nicest.
My response to V.S.—and her response to mine, and mine to hers, and hers to mine to hers, etc.—after the jump.
Thank you for the kind note, V.S. You remind me of my mother, who was very Catholic. Here's a link to a piece I wrote and performed about her for This American Life. I honestly think you'll enjoy it.—Dan
What a beautiful person you are and what a beautiful tribute to your Mom! By the way, I returned to confession after fourteen years and, believe me, what a relief! It was so healing for me. As for the controversial issues such as contraception, abortion and homosexuality, I believe the Church prohibits those for our own good. Maybe you could check into "Courage", a Catholic gay group? God Bless.—V.S.
You have to live a "chaste life" to be a member of Courage, V.S., and that's a problem. My husband would divorce me if I tried to live a chaste life—he would divorce me if I attempted to honor the Church's prohibition on homosexual behavior—and since the Church also prohibits divorce, V.S., I think it best that I err on the side of continuing to engage in homosexual behavior with my husband.—Dan
Come on! Your husband? You can't really believe in your heart and soul that you are legally married in the eyes of God? Dan, please, God can change you! I told you, he did me!—V.S.
Well, V.S., in my heart and soul I don't believe there's God. So whether I'm "legally married" in the eyes of God is irrelevant to me. I imagine that you aren't particularly concerned about whether you're legally married in the eyes of Thor. Same feeling. And while I may not be married in the eyes of the Catholic Church, my husband and I were legally married in British Columbia in 2006, our legal marriage is now recognized in Washington state, and it's inevitable that our marriage will one day—and it could be one day soon—be legally married in the eyes of the federal government. (And it could be a majority-Catholic Supreme Court that gets us there.)
Marriage has both a civil and a religious component—at least it does now. You should read Marriage, A History by Stephanie Coontz and What Is Marriage For? by E.J. Graff. The church once viewed marriage as a purely civil matter and for centuries the church did not involve itself in the institution of marriage. Indeed, the early church was hostile to marriage. St. Paul urged early Christians not to marry: "Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion."
I cannot be chaste. I cannot control myself, V.S., and according to Paul...
Also: the head of Exodus International—the largest and oldest ex-gay therapy organization in the country (and the program is faith-based)—recently admitted that no one can be changed from gay to straight and "renounced" ex-gay therapy. The group says it can help gay people be chaste and/or celibate. But that wouldn't change who you are or what I am. And, again, it could result in my husband divorcing me, and divorce is a sin. It's a predicament.—Dan
Are you serious? I personally know two people who are "former" gays. One is happily married to a woman and has two children. As for the other, he chose to live a chaste life. Just recently I watched a show on EWTN about a group of chaste men and woman. And, yes, they struggle and fall, but they have come to believe that God is the answer. Thanks again.—V.S.
I don't believe in God, I cannot be chaste, and I don't want my husband to divorce me—now we're just going in circles, V.S.
As for the "former" gays you know: it's possible for a gay man to have sex with a woman and have kids by her. That doesn't make him straight. And there are far too many examples of "former" gays falling off the ex-gay wagon—and tons who've become ex-ex-gays—to take the claims of ex-gays seriously. John Paulk used to be an "ex-gay rockstar." And where is Paulk now? Christian writer Matt Moore claimed that Jesus saved him from homosexuality. And where has Matt been lately?
Yes, some gay men can be chaste. Yes, some can close their eyes and sex their wives while they fantasize about Chord Overstreet. But not all gay men are willing to do that. And not all gay men who believe in God—not even all gay Catholic men who believe in God—think they should have to do that. You should check out "Dignity," a Catholic group that's bigger, older, and far more courageous than "Courage."
I'm happy Catholicism works for you, V.S., and I'm happy you found peace in the sacraments—honestly. But it didn't and doesn't not for me. And my life shouldn't be limited and my rights shouldn't be violated because the pope disapproves.—Dan