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Is Sexuality Blackmail Justified?

As the Washington D.C. City Council prepares to pass legislation guaranteeing marriage equality for all couples in the district, regardless of sexual orientation, the Catholic Church is coming down hard on the effort, using its tax-exempt organizational power to launch a multipronged effort to block the legislation.

silent sinIn response to the Catholic anti-equality campaign, a new web site, ChurchOuting, has been created to intimidate Catholic priests in the D.C. area. The site promises to identify priests who are homosexual, or who are having heterosexual affairs, unless the priests sign a Declaration of Religious Support for Marriage Equality. The declaration has already been signed by 194 D.C. clergy.

The ChurchOuting web site characterizes priests hide their homosexual identity as leading “a life of fear”. Yet, the ChurchOuting campaign is using this fear in order to pressure priests to promote its pro-equality agenda.

Is this approach ethical?

17 comments to Is Sexuality Blackmail Justified?

  • Jacob

    I believe it is not ethical

    • Can you explain WHY you don’t believe it’s ethical?

      • Jacob

        Using fear in order to accomplish a goal is one thing. Using the fear of X if someone doesnt do Y is another. If they had a list of hypocritical clergy and they published it I would aplaud them and work to remove these people from the church. buy saying, we will teill if you dont sign this petition, thats the unethical part

        • I agree that allowing secret hypocrisy, given someone’s political surrender, but blasting it if there is no surrender, isn’t ethically consistent. The part that unnerves me is that this group is willing to use anti-gay social pressure to coerce people into complying with its political agenda.

          It’s a stupid tactic to take, anyway, given that none of these priests are going to rebel against the Pope just in order to placate a web site that will be making accusations based on hearsay. If the group has information, they’d do better just to share it, pointing out the hypocrisy, without making ultimatums.

  • Ralph

    It is an interesting ethical dilemma. One way to approach the question is to ask: What methods of fighting back is it appropriate to ask victims to refrain from?

    The Catholic Church has demonstrated its willingness to fight dirty, threatening to withhold sacraments from particular politicians who promote particular policies, covering for child molesters, etc.

    The Catholic Church deserves this.

    The downside to this kind of tactic is the relinquishing of the high ground. Opponents of the Catholic Church’s policies are better Americans than the supporters. They support civil rights, justice, family, love, and equality. Resorting to sexual blackmail may undermine some of that ethical superiority.

  • le pelerin

    Again, tolerence is not enough. You.MUST.Approve. Or we’ll attach you.

    • Jim

      Oh, noes! Not an attachment! Never, never open an attachment. ;)

      Le Pelerin, consider for a moment that these gay Catholic priests aren’t being “attacked” for not approving of same-sex conduct. They’re being “attacked” for ENGAGING in same-sex conduct while they tell everyone else it’s a sin that government should act against. Whatever the ethics of outing, you’ve got to admit these Catholic priests are hideous hypocrites. But then again, isn’t that the pattern we’ve seen again and again? The people who are screaming the loudest about how awful and sinful the HoMoSexxxuals are seem to inevitably have a few skeleton boners in their closet.

      And how about that word? Is public identification of someone’s sexuality an attack? No. But it is extortion, and that’s really low. Consider the source of the information about these hypocritical Catholic priests. Do you think these priests strolled into a gay bar and shouted, “Hey there, sweets. Come check out the ring around MY collar”??? I don’t think so. My guess is that it’s probably coming from circumstances in which there is an implied understanding or explicit agreement to keep these priests’ same-sex encounters a secret. The people who are threatening to “out” these Catholic priests are violating the honor of their past agreements and violating the dignity that the hypocritical priests have tried to stitch together.

      My conclusion is that both the closeted gay/publicly anti-gay Catholic priests AND the people who want to out them are engaged in a pattern of pushiness that’s reprehensible.

      • le pelerin

        Here are some random thoughts. Out practicing gay priests. The Church will be better for it. Out heterosexual priests who are unfaithful to their vows. These caracters are not the ones talking against sin anyway because they have been compromised. To condemn a gay lifestyle would be to condemn themselves. They’re not doing that.

        I think the Catholic Church sees this as a fight worth fighting for, i.e. the saving of our culture and saving of souls. Laugh if you want. When you go into battle, you expect to get bloody. The Church is speaking out and is getting bruises along the way. Don’t expect them to roll over. Henry the 8th tried to get the church to agree to a simple divorce. He failed. The Church lost a lot but didn’t give up to get along.

        The Ottoman empire replaced christianity by force. Now all those areas that once were christian are muslim. Convert or die is what happened. That seems to be the wish tactic of this group. Do it our way or we’ll crush you.

        Finally this guy thinks like I think but says it lot better: http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/2961

  • le pelerin

    Oh, and I’m glad few if any Catholic priests signed the petition to support foolishness. Come on religious leaders, lead, now you’re just following the current downstream to perdition. The blind leading the blind!

  • Ralph

    I agree with you pelerin. We can’t expect the Catholic Church to roll over. They never have, since the Counter-Reformation. The Catholic Church is too busy rolling over altar boys to roll over itself.

  • Ralph

    Although, when you call marriage, family, love, justice and equality “the current downstream to perdition,” I’ve just got to wonder what kind of crap you have in mind for “up stream.”

  • le pelerin

    virtue and heaven

  • Ralph

    So virtue and heaven are the upstream source of anti-marriage, anti-family, anti-equality, and anti-love?

    Keep that crap downstream from me, man. And downwind!

    • le pelerin

      Invincible ignorance.

      • Yes, throwing up your hands and calling it “invincible ignorance” absolves you of the need to rationally explain why calling an attack on marriage anti-marriage is ignorance, why calling an attack on family anti-family is ignorance, why calling an attack on equality anti-equality is ignorance, why calling an attack on love anti-love is ignorance.

        It’s really cheap and lazy to just say “invincible ignorance,” as though that were some sort of cogent argument. It’s not even a complete sentence.

        That’s your witness? God wants you to be cheap and lazy in your defense of the faith?

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