August 19, 2002


UGH. I finally got around to looking at the website of these Catholic anti-Disney people, and my feelings could at this point not be more mixed.

They are the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property. Browsing through their website, I found the tone familiar---it has the same sort of “sustained outrage” that I have come to expect from a lot of progressive sites. Of this, I approve; too many people have become totally apathetic in their acceptance of things they disagree with, and sustaining the outrage and calling others to action is important.

As for the things they get outraged over... some are pretty straightforward---many of their items are in protest of someone making fun of the Catholic Church, or its major players (Jesus, Mary, the Pope). I'm sort of annoyed that they think this sort of “blasphemous” discourse shouldn't take place, or shouldn't be broadcast or displayed; but whatever, they have a right to say their piece and convey their outrage. Fine. There's something about an anti-abortion rally---fine.

Then I get to two very interesting items: one, from last January, was a letter to Bush and Rumsfeld in support of not granting the Al Qaeda detainees POW status. Their basis is that these people are not honorable, therefore don't deserve any protections. WHAT?? I'm not even going to go into this, it was hashed over enough back in January, but suffice it to say that in addition to being wrong this struck me as really out of place for a Catholic organisation.

The second eyebrow-raiser was last December, when this group wrote a letter to Bush praising his decision to withdraw from the ABM treaty. Come on guys, what are we, Protestant fundamentalists? Last I checked, Catholics weren't hell-bent on bringing about Armageddon.

But now for the flyer that started all this. Apparently it's one of their older campaigns, from 2000. The title of the flyer is “Disney's next victims?” with a picture of two cute little kids. What, are we supposed to think that all those evil gay people are going to convert them or something? In what sense exactly are they supposed to be Disney's “victims”? Ah, but further down we see a quote from Matthew 18:6:

But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.
This is an odd choice of translation, talking about someone who would “scandalize” the children, whereas (go click on that link above) all the versions I can find refer to either offending the little ones or causing them to sin. (The New American Bible, which I'm given to understand is the Catholic standard, uses the latter interpretation.) Any one of them, though, is problematic, as kids aren't scandalised or offended by depictions of gay people on TV and in movies, unless their parents teach them to be, and such depictions aren't very likely to lead the little ones to sin---but it might lead them to be a little more tolerant of others, or a little less self-loathing if they turn out to be gay themselves.

But that's just the cover. Inside, there are some examples of what's so bad about Disney (preceded by the sentence “Did you know that each time we buy from Disney, we help destroy the family?”---Yeah, whatever.) The problem cases seem to be the TV show Ellen, Gay Day at Disney World, the book Growing Up Gay, and the movies Priest and Dogma. One of these things is not like the other... the objection to the movie Dogma is that it's blasphemous, which, well, it is. The others, though, all evidently are bad because they are accepting of homosexuality. (My favourite comment is about Gay Day, which “turns Disney premises into a modern day Sodom and Gomorrha[sic].”. I have to giggle at that---what exactly do they think those gay people are doing at Disney World??)

So many things about this irritate me, but I think most of it boils down to the inherent assumption made in the flyer, which is that merely being homosexual is bad, or at least that being a practicing homosexual is vastly worse than being a practicing heterosexual---or else why aren't these people boycotting, y'know, all the entertainment companies that depict unmarried relationships between straight people? I.e., all of them? According to actual Catholic doctrine, being homosexual is not a sin, and having gay sex (out of wedlock, which is at least for now tautological) is no different than having straight sex out of wedlock. But you never see TFP or any of these other morality groups getting their panties in a bunch over all the unmarried relationships all over the popular media.

Actually, there's another thing that irritates me about this, which is the assertion that homosexuality is somehow inimical to “the family”. But there's nothing about the fact that two people are of the same gender that will make them automatically worse at forming a family than any other two people. And one thing that's particularly bad for “the family” is when one member thereof discovers his or her homosexuality (or bisexuality, or transsexuality) and lives in fear of the disapproval of the rest of “the family”, or gets forcibly ejected from “the family” for being the way they are. My thoughts return to the two cute little kids on the cover, and wonder: if one of them turns out to be gay, aren't they a bit more likely to become TFP's next victims?

"I'm sure we could manage a reasonable middle ground, what with that "intelligence" and "flexibility" stuff going for us as a species." --Jonathan Prykop

Posted by blahedo at 1:57pm on 19 Aug 2002
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