- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 2, 2000

Anyone who still doubts the existence of a culture war over homosexuality should read news reports of Pope John Paul II's comments about a "gay pride" rally in Rome.It was not by coincidence that homosexual activists timed their event, World Pride 2000, to coincide with the Catholic Church's holy year celebrations in Rome. The leaders cheerfully admitted wanting to stick it in the church's face. Imma Battaglia, one of the organizers, made an obscene remark about the pope and added, "Of course it's provocative and the choice of Rome was deliberate."

The homosexual event culminated in a raucous parade, complete with bare-breasted transsexuals marching past the ancient Roman Coliseum, which to many believers is a symbol of persecution against the early Christian church. Confronted with such ugly demonstrations on his doorstep, the pope denounced the event as an "affront" to the Grand Jubilee that has drawn hundreds of thousands of Catholic pilgrims to Rome to honor the 2,000th year of the Christian era.

The pope reconfirmed Catholic teaching that homosexual acts are "objectively disordered" and violate natural law. At the same time, he urged Christians to treat homosexuals with "respect, compassion and sensitivity" and to avoid "unjust discrimination" against them.

But homosexual activists aren't aiming merely for respectful and sensitive treatment; they seek to silence any objectors to their behavior.

Homosexual convert Mel White, a former evangelical adviser to the Rev. Jerry Falwell, now leads mass "direct action" protests against churches that he sees as havens for "homophobic haters." Mr. White, who fancies himself a "gay" Gandhi, described to Time magazine his approach toward Christian denominations: "We don't debate anymore. You change your policies, or we're going to split you apart and leave." Those defending biblical morality against homosexual activism, he says, are guilty of "spiritual violence."

The mainstream media no longer tries to disguise where it stands in this cultural battle. An Associated Press story on the Rome confrontation cast the homosexual marchers in Rome as heroes and World Pride as a "watershed for the gay community." The opposition to the homosexual celebration an opposition that the Associated Press scrupulously noted included Italy's neo-fascists "boomeranged and instead focused attention to discrimination against gays." In the eyes of the media, when the homosexual lobby wins, it's a victory for "civil rights." When it loses, as in the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the Boy Scouts' right to operate by their own moral code, it's a perpetuation of "discrimination." (AP, with a straight face, reported that the Scouts' image has been tarnished by their court win.)

While many homosexuals are content to live their own lives without pushing for state approval, the militants who drive the gay political agenda cast their struggle in civil rights rhetoric crafted for racial minorities, and portray themselves as victims no matter how much money and power they acquire. Anything short of complete government sanction, including legal marriage for homosexuals, is deemed "oppression."

At stake is whether "gay" activists will succeed in setting up a system within the culture that undermines fidelity, marriage and strong families led by fathers and mothers the Judeo-Christian morality that has undergirded civilization for thousands of years. In Vermont, a "civil unions" law now tells citizens that homosexual relationships are worthy of the same government support as traditional marriage (short of giving them that name). In Massachusetts, teens as young as 14 were taught how to perform homosexual acts too graphic to describe here. The event, held at Tufts University, where a Christian group was expelled from the campus for refusing to have a lesbian leader, was endorsed by the state's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. Anyone who doesn't agree with these developments is deemed a hater and a bigot.

In the face of such abusive and extreme tactics, Pope John Paul II should be applauded for his unshakable stance. "The church," he said, "cannot silence the truth because it would not live up to its faith in God the creator and would not help discern what is good from what is evil." We can hope that others will follow his example and refuse to be intimidated any longer.

Robert H. Knight is senior director of cultural studies at the Family Research Council (FRC). Peter J. LaBarbera is a senior writer at FRC and the president of Americans for Truth.

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