Peace, peace! But there is no peace.

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Feb 15, 2004

When two men began handing out fliers at St. Paul Church in Harvard Square recently, they had a message that probably would not have raised an eyebrow in most Catholic parishes: Stop same-sex marriage. But St. Paul, the Catholic church affiliated with Harvard University, serves an academic community with a politically liberal streak, and several of the most active parishioners are openly gay. On a recent Sunday, before 11 o'clock Mass was over, one outraged parishioner threw many of the fliers into the sacristy's trash and tore down some of the signs adorning a booth, before breaking down in tears. A second churchgoer, too upset to sit through services, went home and wrote an open letter that he distributed after Mass, calling the distribution of the flier "an injustice."

Tears. Tantrums. Atrocity stories. The story from today's Boston Globe (thanks to Amy Welborn for the heads up) is an excellent illustration of the futility of finding common ground, or even peacable disagreement, in the conflict over gay liberation.

Note that instantly, without discussion, all the emotional real estate is claimed by the gays, so that their opponents cannot move in any direction without accusations of gratuitous malice. Even to suggest that these opponents might have comparably serious sentiments is itself an act of hostility. In theory, one might hope to dialogue in a mutually respectful fashion. In practice, those who oppose the gay agenda have two options: either they back down, or they're forced into a posture of aggression they did not intend and find personally distasteful -- simply in order to hold their own ground.

We're not talking about louts shouting cat-calls from the sidewalk opposite a gay bar, or crackers passing out God Hates Fags broadsheets in the church parking lot. This concerns a Catholic Harvard grad who got the antecedent permission of his own Harvard Square pastor to set up a table. In terms of chances for a negotiated peace, this is the optimal set-up. And it's dynamited before it begins.

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