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NOM: LGBT People Need "Purification," Not "Celebration And Affirmation"

October 18, 2013 4:28 pm ET by Luke Brinker

No longer pretending that it's focused solely on the debate over marriage equality, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) assailed National Coming Out Day (NCOD), celebrated every year on October 11, reprinting a column that condemned NCOD as "morally problematic and pastorally catastrophic."

On October 18, NOM's Ruth Institute reprinted a column by University of Notre Dame senior Michael Bradley, who decried his university's participation in NCOD celebrations this month. In choosing to embrace its LGBT students, Bradley wrote, Notre Dame officials "sow confusion and embroil themselves in contradiction." What LGBT students need, Bradley argued, is to "acknowledge their problem" and "strive to overcome it" (emphasis added):

The problem with Notre Dame and similarly committed institutions participating in NCOD is that in doing so they sow confusion and embroil themselves in contradiction. In publicly celebrating and affirming these acts of self-identification, such institutions are committing themselves to celebrating and affirming the constitutive attractions or understandings that comprise those identifications.


Notre Dame cannot host events the purpose of which is to tell its students who identify as LGBT that their identification as LGBT is worthy of celebration, while simultaneously aiming to form those students in the Christian sexual ethic. This would be akin to my former coach celebrating, and telling me that I should celebrate, my being a member of Notre Dame's track team while simultaneously informing me that I should never race (or even lace up my spikes) and must constantly combat my desire to do so.

Notre Dame has no reason to celebrate patterns of same-sex attractions or bisexual attraction, or confused understandings of one's sexual identity as male or female, as "beautiful." These conditions are particular trials, more difficult than some but not as challenging as others, with which some people are burdened. To celebrate these attractions or understandings as unique and beautiful is morally problematic and pastorally catastrophic.


NOCD is not like Alcoholics Anonymous: a support group to which people turn in order to seek support and guidance as they first, acknowledge their problem, and second, strive to overcome it. In fact NCOD, in its celebratory nature, does exactly the opposite: it teaches individuals to accept as entirely unproblematic attractions and understandings that stand in need of continual moral purification.

Bradley also inveighed against the notion that being LGBT constitutes an identity at all. Notre Dame, he asserted, would be misguided in affirming LGBT identities as "realities" of people's lives. Instead, the university should focus on bringing students with same-sex attractions "closure":

Rather than celebrating NCOD, Notre Dame should labor to teach its students that "gay," "bisexual," or any other sexual descriptor should be used as an adjective and not as a noun, as patterns of attraction one experiences, rather than realities that comprise the concrete foundation of one's very existence.

Notre Dame should refuse to sensationalize, politicize, or aggrandize the disclosures—the decision to reveal one's sexual attractions—through which students with same-sex attractions may achieve closure.

Fending off charges of homophobia, NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher in 2010 declared that the organization's "battle is not with an orientation," but with the push for marriage equality. But when NOM reprints literature condemning LGBT people as confused individuals "in need of continual moral purification," it's clear what really lies behind NOM's work is nothing more - and nothing less - than unabashed animus toward LGBT people.


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NOM's Jennifer Roback Morse: Gays "Wounded ... Because Of Their Sexual Sins"

NOM Rapidly Becoming An All-Purpose Anti-LGBT Organization

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