A Quick Thought On Terminology

I was reading a blog the other day from someone who takes issue with the term “same sex attraction.”

I guess the gist of the argument was that to use the phrase “same sex attraction” somehow confuses people as to what sort of “same sex attraction” one is talking about.

The example cited was the story in Scripture between David and Jonathan, and their close friendship. The author writes:

It would be extraordinary to read this story and deny that David and Jonathan feel a deep attraction for each other (and thus attraction to someone of the same sex). 

giphy (1)I find it extraordinary that the author would call a close friendship between men “same sex attraction,” since, well, no men I’ve ever met have ever talked about their friendships with other men by saying that they are united as friends because of their mutual “same sex attraction.”

Then the author continues with this:

Both the Bible and Christian tradition commend the sort of healthy and holy same-sex friendship experienced by David and Jonathan or Ruth and Naomi. 

So according to this author, when the Church uses the phrase “same sex attraction,” it somehow confuses people about the “same sex attraction” that exists between A) close friends of the same sex, such as David and Jonathan, or B). a daugther-in-law and a mother-in-law, in the case of Ruth and Naomi.

giphy (2)

He writes,

[T]here are different ways of desiring union with a person of the same sex, some of which are virtuous and some of which are vicious. Unfortunately, the term “same sex attraction” introduces unnecessary confusion by lumping all of these desires in under one category.

Really? There is that sort of confusion about what “same sex attraction” means?

According to this logic, then the “attraction” a guy feels towards his brothers is “same sex attraction,” and it’s a desire for “union.” Is the “attraction” a man feels towards his father, or uncles, cousins, or nephews “same sex attraction”?

giphy (4) 

No one has ever hung out with his beer drinking buddies, and toasted to their shared “same sex attraction.” No, they would say some version of, “thank God for friendship!”

I’ve never said to my brothers, whom I love deeply, that I desire “union” with them, nor have any of us ever considered that our love for each other is “same sex attraction.”

It is just so, so weird.


10 thoughts on “A Quick Thought On Terminology

  1. Yes. It’s obfuscation of language. The same technique they (the culture changers) used to desensitize us to abortion. “It’s not a baby. It’s just a fetus, or an embryo.” “Certainly, all men feel ‘same sex attraction.'” How society defines words ultimately shapes how individuals (especially the young brought up in that society) define reality.

  2. I have to agree with you on this. I think it’s important to point out in regard to terminology that just because one person may subjectively interpret something to be a troubling use of terminology does not mean that it is objectively a troubling use of terminology. We have clear guidance regarding self-identification in CCC 2333, for example. How we identify ourselves is not really debatable. Something like this is highly debatable, however, and I agree with you that the vast majority of people would not interpret it as this person has.

  3. A very important feast day is coming soon: St. Charles Lwanga. If you don’t know who he is and why this is a special feast day for us check out Fr. Barron’s youtube video below.

    Novena in Honour of Saint Charles Lwanga & the Martyrs of Uganda
    (Starts 26 May ends 3 June)

    In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

    O God, by whose providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: Grant that we who remember before you the blessed martyrs of Uganda, may, like them, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ, to whom they gave obedience even unto death, and by their sacrifice brought forth a plentiful harvest; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end, Amen

    Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be
    Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done,
    on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our
    daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we
    forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us
    not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

    Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
    Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is
    the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
    Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
    now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

    O Jesus, our Lord and Redeemer, through your passion and death, we adore and thank Thee.
    Holy Mary, Mother and Queen of Martyrs, Obtain for us sanctification through our sufferings.
    Holy Martyrs, followers of the suffering Christ, obtain for us the grace to imitate Him.
    St. Joseph Balikuddembe, first Martyr of Uganda, who inspired and encouraged Nephytes, obtain for us a spirit of truth and justice.
    St. Charles Lwanga, patron of the Youth and Catholic Action, obtain for us a firm and zealous faith.
    St. Matthias Mulumba, ideal Chief and follower of Christ meek and humble, obtain for us a Christian gentleness.
    St. Dionysius Sebuggwawo, zealous for the Christian Faith and renowned for your modesty, obtain for us the virture of modesty.
    St. Andrew Kaggwa, model Catechist and teacher, obtain for us a love of the teaching of Christ.
    St. Kizito, child resplendent in purity and Christian joy, obtain for us the gift of joy in our Lord.
    St. Gyaviira, shining example of how to forgive and forget injuries, obtain for us the grace to forgive those who injure us.
    St. Mukasa, fervent catechumen rewarded with the Baptism of your blood, obtain for us perseverance unto the death.
    St. Adolfus Ludigo, conspicuous by your following of our Lord’s spirit of service to others; obtain for us a love of unselfish service.
    St. Anatoli Kiriggwajjo, humble servant preferring a devout life to wordly honours; obtain for us to love piety more than earthly things.
    St. Ambrosius Kibuuka, young man full of joy and love of your neighbour; obtain for us fraternal charity.
    St. Achilles Kiwanuka, who for the sake of Christ detested vain superstitious practices; obtain for us holy hatred of superstitious practices.
    St. John Muzeeyi, prudent councilor, renowned for the practice of works of mercy; obtain for us a love of those works of mercy.
    Blessed Jildo Irwa and Blessed Daudi Okello who gave up your lives for the spread of the Catholic Faith; obtain for us the zeal of spreading the Catholic Faith.
    St. Pontaianus Ngondwe, faithful soldier, longing for the martyr’s crown; obtain for us the grace to be always faithful to our duty.
    St. Athanasius Bazzekuketta, faithful steward of the royal treasury; obtain for us a spirit of responsibility.
    St. Mbaaga, who preferred death to the persuasions of your parents; obtain for us to follow generously divine grace.
    St. Gonzaga Gonza, full of sympathy for prisoners, and all who were in trouble; obtain for us the spirit of mercy.
    St. Noe Mawaggali, humble worker and lover of evangelical poverty; obtain for us love of evangelical poverty.
    St. Luke Baanabakintu, who ardently desired to imitate the suffering Christ by Martyrdom; obtain for us a love of our motherland.
    St. Bruno Serunkuuma, soldier who gave an example of repentance and temperance; obtain for us the virture to repentance and temperance.
    St. Mugagga, young man renowned for your heroic chastity; obtain for us perserverance in chastity.
    Holy Martyrs, firm in your fidelity to the true Church of Christ; help us to be always faithful to the true Church of Christ.
    Let us pray
    O Lord Jesus Christ, who wonderfully strengthened the Holy Martyrs of Uganda St. Charles Lwanga, Matthias Mulumba, Blessed Jildo Irwa, Blessed Daudi Okello and their Companions; and gave them to us as examples of faith and fortitude, chastity, charity, and fidelity; grant, we beseech you, that by their Intercession, the same virtues may increase in us, and that we may deserve to become propagators of the true faith. Who lives and reigns world without end. Amen

    St. Charles Lwanga and the Martyrs of Uganda, we come to you asking your prayers of intercession on behalf of all who suffer from the unjust exercise of authority. May you who were so cruelly persecuted for your faith in Jesus Christ intercede for all who are oppressed, that they might be comforted by the Divine Mercy and empowered by the gift and grace of fortitude. May justice be the goal of all people and may all who are called by the name Christian join together in works of redemption directed at the sins and the structures of sin that afflict our communities. Amen.

    • I do know who he is! There’s a shrine near where I live with a relic of St. Charles Lwanga. He’s a very important saint in my life, so thanks for sharing this novena!

      • I saw his feast day Mass on EWTN and what blew me away and amazed me was when he was burned alive he told everyone before he died it only felt like water was being poured on him, he then brought his hands together in prayer. Our God is so incredibly merciful ! In the city I live in there is also a church here with a first class relic of Charles Lwanga and at times is placed on the Communion Rail for veneration.

  4. The author of the blog you cite takes the argument beyond reality. I always maintain attraction to others is natural – but I never mean it in the erotic sense or as in the beginning of infatuation – open to romantic love. I hate it that the story of David and Johnathan has been manipulated in this way. It’s disingenuous to play around with terms in that sense.

    For me the terminology is interchangeable, depending on who I am talking to. Some people think SSA is weird when contemporary language relies on gay. I feel as if I’m wasting my time insisting on specific terms when it is most important to convey the importance of chastity. A key component is really healthy same sex friendship. Men especially need solid, normal male friendship in their lives to give them balance and understand fraternal friendship without sexualizing it in order to somehow ‘own’ the friendship. Men accustomed to having sex with men really need to know that normal friendship is not about sexual intimacy – that normal guys are not interested in your friendship to complete them, as it were. Many will disagree with me of course, and I’m not sure I’m expressing it all that well.

    What is always troubling is when gay people feel themselves ‘falling’ in love with a same sex friend who happens to be straight – you read about such drama on some of the celibate-gay blogs. For me it signals that person has a genuine need to learn how to have healthy same sex friends who can help heal the distorted self image embedded in identity and gender theories. Not overtly of course – but simply by being or having friends one grows. No one really approaches friendship therapeutically. That would be just as weird.

    Sorry – I think I need to write a post rather than taking over your combox.

    Seriously, you’re the best Dan – you really write well and what you have said here makes total sense – somehow I felt the need to try and explain my POV here. Keep up the good work.

    • No, it’s quite alright! 🙂 I value your input, immensely. The thing I find about terminology is that there are a huge number of ways to talk about all of this. I’ll often use phrases like, “Well, I’m not really so much of a ladies man when it comes right down to it.” But it’s complicated for me, because I am attracted to quite a few women, so am I “gay,” or “bisexual?” I just find those terms–to use the 1986 Letter’s language–to reductionist, and put me in a box.

      All I know is that I refuse to say of myself that “I’m gay,” since it doesn’t really describe my sexuality–or my experience of it, and I try to recommend the same to young people so that they don’t put themselves in a box. Or more importantly, allow someone else to put them in a box.

      As to the “falling in love” with friends of the same sex, with the passage of time, that just doesn’t happen any longer for me. I think that’s a reflection of two things: choice over what to do with potential thoughts of such things. We do have the ability to channel or thinking towards, or away from certain ways of thinking. Secondly, I’ve come to the realization that what I need–and desire–from other guys is friendship, not romantic love. And that’s something that I think just takes time to reach, and a lot of the celibate gay folks are still on that journey. The problem is that I think many of them are getting stuck there, as if that’s a good resting place.

      Anyway, we soldier on.

      God bless you!

  5. I’m a little confused as to why you do not cite the sources for your blog posts. It seems to me that it is standard practice to link to your source or, at least, to indicate in a footnote from where the quote comes. I don’t think it’s fair to the original author or to your readers that you don’t list your source. This would allow the author to respond if he feels the desire to do so. Plus, it seems to violate the standard practice we all learned in school to give the reference to your reader, so your reader can look at the original source if he or she desires to do so.

    • Well, I’m not too concerned about standard practice–this isn’t an academic journal. 🙂 I’m not too interested in sending the readers of my blog to a blog that holds views I find very problematic to the future of the readers of my blog.

      I hope that clears up the confusion. Besides, if anyone wants to find the original source, all they need to do is to cut and paste the quote, plop it into their nearest search engine, and the original website would show up quite easily–but I wouldn’t be culpable for leading someone to a blog with writing that I find to be very problematic at times.

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