Brandon Ambrosino went to Liberty University, Jerry Falwell’s old outfit. His roommate was his boyfriend, but he experienced nothing but love from the academics there. He tells of fearfully avoiding the topic of his homosexuality, and being a different Brandon with each person, but feeling their love. It wasn’t so bad after all. These 6000 words are worth reading. He dropped out, thirty credits short of his degree. I found his article through this.
Students at George Washington University are campaigning to expel a priest from the Catholic chaplaincy for his hate-speech on a blog. He said, “Every single rational person knows that sexual relationships between persons of the same sex are unnatural and immoral. They know it in their hearts.” Or so this article, which supports the priest, says. However it cites this article, which is more neutral. Legacy and Bergen say they are primarily upset about the counseling Shaffer offers. They say he urges students who have homosexual feelings to lead a life of celibacy. The first article neglects to mention that those campaigning against the priest are Catholic.
I don’t particularly resent Greg Shaffer for calling me irrational. I think I know better which of us is irrational. I resent him for using his position of power over students in his care to urge them to action which harms them. I resent him from persisting despite the conflicts this creates in his victims.
Ambrosino writes of three particular encounters with academics. He is in awe of each, their self-confidence, intelligence and charisma, and he is terrified they will bring up the issue of his homosexuality and tell him What The Bible Says about it. They don’t. They are generous and gentle with this confused, hurting boy. So he coins the word homophobiaphobia. I was expecting him to be… well, a homophobe. But as I put on my seatbelt, I realized that all that time, I was the one who was afraid. Not him. I’d been warned my whole life about homophobia, but no one ever said anything about homophobiaphobia.
It is rational to fear the hostile strong. Phobia is pathological when it is fear of the weak and unthreatening. Ambrosino was afraid because the other guy had all the power.
He went to that University because his girlfriend did, then she broke with him. In his terror and shame and pretence, which he adopted because of the way his society treated gay people, he knew his very nature was vile and sinful. I don’t know what those academics’ attitude to gay sex was, but probably they thought it is always sinful, or they would be teaching elsewhere. In the UK, people with degree-level education are overwhelmingly in favour of equal marriage, but it is not so, I understand, in the US.
Shaffer is playing his wicked power-games at a more enlightened University (I hope). He has to insist on his lie that homosexuality is wrong, because the whole atmosphere of the campus does not insist on that. The article supporting him whines about “persecuted” Christians, but the persecution goes the other way. His victims were in a relationship, and he sought to break it.Legacy, Bergen and Ambrosino are growing up, and I hope able to love and accept themselves and be themselves- no thanks to pervasive homophobia.