I am often asked how can I spend 33 years on the front lines of the Culture War and not become burnt out. The terrible truth is that I enjoy the battle, but every so often I need to take a break and when I do, I work on my novels.
Rather than struggle with a hard copy publisher, I have put Book 1 of my 3 volume novel From Herod’s Court on Kindle.
From Herod’s Court is an historical novel about a woman mentioned in the Gospel of Luke – Ioanna, wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas. According to Luke, she was healed by Jesus, followed him and paid for his food with her own money. She was present at the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. According to the Orthodox tradition, she was there when John the Baptist was executed and buried his head. The first volume deals with her early years during the reign of King Herod the Great.
While I have taken the liberties accorded to a historical novelist, I have tried as best I could to be accurate in every historical detail. However, historians and Biblical scholars have differing opinions about dates and other facts. In the end I just had to choose between the various theories.
The book is suitable for teenagers.
If we are going to save our culture, it is important that Christians change their approach toward homosexuality. Fighting the GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) agenda in the legislatures and courts will not succeed as long as the GLBTQ activists define the debate. We must treat same-sex attraction and sexual identity disorders (the so-called transgendered and queer) as what they are –preventable and treatable problems.
Such a change in attitude has happened before with alcoholism and abortion and needs to happen again.
In the 19th century alcoholism was considered an untreatable and deadly condition that destroyed lives and families. Many people came to believe that prohibition of the sale of alcoholic beverages was the only solution. The 18th amendment passed, but failed to achieve its goal. After repeal, alcoholics were treated as a joke in films or even heroes, but a quietly growing movement – Alcoholics Anonymous, a 12 step program based on spiritual insights – provided the answer. There are still alcoholics and drunk drivers, but now there is hope and help. Millions of men and women are living full lives in recovery.
Before Roe v. Wade, pregnant unmarried women were treated as pariahs, hidden away in shame until they delivered and surrendered their babies for adoption. Such treatment drove some to seek illegal abortions. After the Supreme Court’s decision, the pro-life movement was formed. At first many pro-lifers categorized the women having abortions as selfish and heedless, but soon the movement’s attitude changed. The pro-lifers realized that the mothers were the second victims of abortion — driven by fear, pressured by others. They needed help. A network of pregnancy help centers sprang up across the country. Sidewalk counselors stand outside abortion clinics to be sure that every woman contemplating abortion knows that real, practical help is available. Post-abortion counseling groups minister to women traumatized by their abortions. Those involved in the abortion industry, those who saw the carnage and emotional damage first hand and repented of their involvement, are speaking out against it. The pro-life movement now presents a message of mercy and love, not condemnation and shame.
A similar change of attitude is needed as regards same-sex attraction (SSA) and sexual identity disorders. Before GLBTQ activists began to demand full legal and social acceptance for their agenda, including the redefinition of marriage, persons with SSA or sexual identity disorders were either ignored or treated as comic relief – stereotyped as limp-wristed fairies. Society saw the problem but didn’t ask and those with SSA were not supposed to tell. The Church told them very clearly that what they were doing was wrong, but didn’t offer a path out of their problem. This in spite of the fact that a small group of therapists were working on understanding the causes of same-sex attraction and using various types of therapy to help those experiencing these problems to change their behavior and in some cases their sexual orientation.
Had these efforts received the kind of attention they deserved a great deal of suffering could have been avoided, however instead the GLBTQ movement grew and now besides demanding the redefinition of marriage, they are pushing for legislation to prevent treatment.
However, in spite of the lack of support, progress in the understanding of SSA has been made. While there is no single cause for SSA or sexual identity disorders, there is no evidence that people are born that way and can’t change. Cases histories reveal similar patterns of early attachment disorders, failure to identify with same-sex parent or peers, traumas, and deficits, and a high rate of childhood sexual abuse. There is nothing compassionate about an attitude which just leaves such persons alone to act out, while their underlying problems go unaddressed. Those with SSA and sexual identity are far more likely to suffer from other psychological disorders, suicidal ideation, depression, substance abuse problems, relationship instability, victimization, and for the men sexually transmitted diseases. Although one hears about it less frequently and in spite of advances in treatment, the AIDS epidemic continues unabated among men who have sex with men. ‘Transgendered’ males, that is men who want to be or think they are women, are at the highest risk.
Therapy is not about pushing down same-sex desires and trying to stir up other sex attraction, rather therapists help their clients discover the roots of the problem. According to Joseph Nicolosi, a leader in the field and author of Shame and Attachment Loss: The practical work of reparative therapy:
“We do not accept the fatalism of the “born that way” concept. Instead we propose an alternative model – addressing and resolving the underlying conflicts that have, in our view, laid the foundation for the symptoms of same-sex attraction.”
Just as there are AA groups in every community, pregnancy help centers in every city, and sidewalk counselors in front of every abortion clinic, there need to be support groups and therapists in every part of the country dedicated to helping men and women with SSA and sexual identity disorders find their way to freedom.
Pope Francis sought to address the problem of how to deal with a priest with SSA. He said that he couldn’t judge. If a priest or indeed anyone is living chastely in though and deed, even if tormented by temptation, then we should not condemn him for his temptations, particularly when these spring from childhood traumas and deficits, but the problems faced by persons with SSA are not restricted to disordered patterns of sexual attraction. A man who is sexually attracted to other men will often have problems with authority. If he has not forgiven his father, he may have problems understanding what it means to be a father to all. He may be prone to non-sexual self-comforting behaviors. His attitudes to the Church’s teachings on sexual sin may be distorted.
While persons with SSA didn’t choose their temptations, there is nothing merciful about leaving them to struggle with such temptations alone, or pretending that resisting them is easy. Such men need specific help. If the Church has failed in the past to provide such help, we need to repent and remedy the situation. We should be praying for those struggling with this problem. They are not our enemies, but our friends, relations, and co-workers.
We can do so with assurance and if we do our part the grace will be given. In the 6th chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul lists the various sexual sins including, but by no means limited to those promoted by GLBTQ activists. To those who committed such sins, he offers a sure hope:
“And so were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Published in Crisis , August 27, 2013
Talk given in Brescia, Italy 2013
Since 1980 I have been following the campaigns of sexual revolutionaries, and of those pushing sexual and reproductive rights and attacking marriage and the family. Like many of you, I asked why? Why were so many people engaged in such destructive activism? Therefore rather than reading those who agreed with me, I focused on those who didn’t. I didn’t concentrate on what they put out for public consumption, but what they wrote for one another. I sought to understand their theories, their backgrounds, and their objectives. Through my blog, articles, writings, speeches and, books, The Gender Agenda: Redefining Equality, which is available in Italian and Spanish, and One Man, One Woman, I have tried to explain these to those who share my views. I thought this was important because we need to be able to answer their challenges and educate our children. When our opposition referenced studies that supposedly supported their agenda, I read the full text of the articles. Read more…
In her 1957 book My Mother who FatheredMe, Edith Clark sought to record the complex dynamics of marriage and family life in three different communities in Jamaica. The provocative title of the book gives the impression that single mothers are able to effectively take over the role and duties of an absent or non-involved father. The contents, however, tell a very different story. In a areas of Jamaica where marriage was rare and many children were born out of wedlock, mothers and in some cases grandmothers moved into the vacuum left by the absence of a biological father becoming the primary providers and caregivers, but the book provides ample evidence that such situations were not equal to a family, founded on the marriage between a man and a woman and including their biological children. Although it may not have been her goal, Clark paints a very grim picture of what happens to children and women in a community where marriage between the biological parents of children is the exception rather than the rule. Read more…
Twenty-five years ago, when I was still working on an Apple 2c with a dot matrix printer, I wrote a long essay attempting to explain to pro-life, pro-family Christians the nature of the battle we were facing. Since all I had was a hard copy, a friend scanned the essay for me. The battle continues. In 1990 I focused on gender. In 1995, I saw that homosexuality would be the new battle ground and recently I have watched the battle switch to the promotion of ‘transgender’ rights. Still, it is good to go back and look at where I began. The following is an introduction to my paper
Recently I was asked to give a seminar that would train women to speak up against the various ideologies which are attacking our society, our faith and the lives of unborn children. No matter what part of the battle we have been engaged in, the arguments against the truth fall into certain predictable patterns and behind these patterns are ideological assumptions which directly challenge the sovereignty of God. In order to defend the truth we must first understand the roots of the opposition to that truth. I hope the following observations will be helpful to all those involved in the same battle. Read more…
Today’s scripture calls us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. How difficult that is. There is no question that President Obama is the enemy of the unborn, the enemy of marriage, the enemy of the Church. He and his minions can barely open their mouths without uttering lies, and yet our Lord calls us to love him and to pray for him. I wish I could say that I succeeded in this task, but the fact is I continually fail. Nevertheless, I must keep trying, beginning again every day.
This doesn’t mean that we must cease opposing his policies and pointing out the lies and distortions. Jesus in his confrontations with the Pharisees and scribes never gave in to relativism. Never said, “Well you have you opinion and I have mine.” It certainly would have been easier for him and later for his Church to just go along, but he didn’t and we can’t. Jesus is the truth and those who belong to him must defend the truth about life, about marriage, and about the human person.
When we are tempted to anger, when we want to hate those who hate us, those who are persecuting our faith and promoting anti-life policies, we must look to the cross and there we see Jesus, his back raw from the lash, nails piercing his hands and feet, gasping for breath enough to say “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Those pushing for the acceptance of openly gay leaders and scouts into the Boy Scouts argue that concern about an increase in sex abuse is unwarranted, because gays are less likely to be pedophiles. The problem with this reasoning is that the concern is not about pedophiles, defined as men whose sexual interest is confined to pre-pubescent children, but the sexual abuse of adolescent boys. The two studies frequently referenced to support the claim at gays don’t molest children are not relevant to the question. Read more…