Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Male and Yale

Focus on the Family has long said that homosexuality is abnormal and undesireable, and the Springs-based organization has been a leading crusader against its normalization. Just today, Focus' online newsletter CitizenLink released a Q&A article with its psychologist-in-residence Bill Maier, which examined a proposed California bill that would mandate positive portrayals of gays and lesbians in textbooks.

"It really seems to be a very obvious ploy to change the hearts and minds of our children," Maier says in the article. When Maier says "change," he is suggesting that such lessons could influence a child's sexual preference later on.

The article came out on the same day I received a publication from the Yale Divinity School -- a publication that explores how issues of sexuality and the church intersect. It included an article that examined (in the school's erudite, fairly liberal way) how Focus presents homosexuality to its constituents.

In essence, the story suggests that Focus sees homosexuality as something that happens to males, either because their natural aggressiveness makes them more apt to experiment sexually, or because they've been "wimpified" by the culture and identify more with women.

"Homosexual males are therefore construed as the Scylla and Charybdis between which the normative male Christian traveler has to find his way," writes author Ludger Viefhues-Bailey.

Though the Yale article never really comes right out and says this, Viefhues-Bailey, who is gay, believes Focus is full of it. Focus wants men to push boundaries and be assertive, Viefhues-Bailey says -- which actually runs counter to the Christian ideal of submissiveness to a greater power and good.

Focus would surely say its teachings are being twisted: Dobson's written books suggesting that boys' assertiveness needs to be curtailed, and that people need to submit to authority, including divine authority.


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