A Hollywood movie released in 2013 starring and directed by Jason Bateman called Bad Words. The comedy’s premise was that a middle-aged man who works as a proofreader finds a loophole that allows him to compete in the national spelling bee against 12 and 13-year-old children. Parents, students and administrators are all outraged. They declare that It’s not fair. But Mr. Bateman’s character insists that the rules allow it, so tough luck for the children who, not even he disputes, are being unfairly pushed out of their own competition.
The difference between Bad Words’ fictional story and the real world in 2022 is that in the movie, the antagonist exploits the existing rules to his own advantage. In society today, it seems many folks declare themselves a victim or somehow disenfranchised and expect the world to change rules, laws and societal norms to accommodate them. Some even suggest that perhaps there should be no rules at all.
A prime example of how off-kilter our world is today would be traveling with emotional support animals. Some war veterans who have PTSD were allowed to travel with their canine companions. The dog kept them calm, secure and better able to function. Airlines initially embraced the concept.
It made perfect sense, except there is little room for common sense in our incredibly selfish society.
Soon people with a note from their therapist started traveling with their animals under the guise of emotional support. The list of animals grew from dogs and cats to snakes and dwarf horses. One anorexic woman inexplicably claimed that her 70-pound pig brought her emotional support.
As the animals became more common and more absurd, the airlines were forced to make a declaration that enough was enough. As a result, virtually no emotional support animals are allowed on commercial aircraft anymore. The occasional horse and pig ruined it for those in real need.
Another example of the masses being expected to cater to a tiny minority is ripped from present-day headlines. Each year 480,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA sports. Traditionally competition has been divided up for purposes of fairness. Large schools compete against other large schools. Small schools compete against other small schools. Men squared off against men, and women competed against only women. In the craziness we call the 21st century, however, a few dozen men can now declare themselves to be women and compete against the ladies. This is patently unfair to the women, of course. Still, much like the anorexic woman who took her 70-pound pig on the airplane with her regardless of the impact on other passengers, transgenders are saying the hell with the other half-million athletes.
The NCAA should take a page from the airlines and declare enough is enough. Unlike the fictional spelling bee film, there are no rules that make it acceptable for a man to compete in women’s sports. Changing the rules governing nearly 500,000 to meet the whims of a few dozen makes no sense whatsoever.
The most absurd demand for change may have come this past week from Germany. A group of just over 100 people claiming to be active Catholics came out as LGBTQ or non-binary. Among those making their declaration and demands were priests, teachers and church child care workers. They created their website to call on the Catholic Church to embrace their various forms of alternative lifestyle.
One priest, Father Uwe Grau, allegedly from the diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, is quoted on the group’s website as saying, “I don’t want to hide my sexual identity anymore.”
One worker in pastoral child care self identifies as queer and non-binary. Raphaela Soden says, “It’s time to finally make it clear that we exist and how wonderfully queer the body of Christ is.” Christ is queer? Pardon me?
There are several problems with the group’s claims of discrimination and exclusion. First and foremost, no one is forced to belong to the Catholic Church. It is entirely voluntary. Like virtually every organization on earth, the Church has its own rules. Members are expected to follow those rules. Unlike most organizations, the Catholic Church has been around for a couple of thousand years. The rules and beliefs aren’t new and weren’t exactly sprung on anyone.
The priest declared that he no longer wants to hide his sexual identity makes one wonder. Priests can’t marry. Priests are required to be celibate. Ordained priests who grew up with heterosexual inclinations have ceded their sexuality to their vocation. Why should it be different for a gay priest? Father Grau apparently missed the class in seminary school about obedience. If he doesn’t understand even the most rudimentary rules governing his behavior as a Catholic priest, perhaps he shouldn’t be one. That’s not discrimination. The exact same is true of a heterosexual priest who can’t keep his zipper up.
Let’s put a little perspective on this. The Catholic Church has been around for two thousand years. At no point in its history has the Church been okay with homosexuality. Celibacy has been officially part of the priestly gig, regardless of sexual orientation, for nearly 900 years.
It is estimated that there are 1.1 billion Catholics on planet earth. More than 22 million of them live in Germany. Only the ultimate in modern-day arrogance could lead one hundred German individuals to think the Church should toss out 2000 years of teaching and the beliefs of a billion people to accommodate them.
The approach of those 100 malcontents isn’t new, of course. King Henry VIII didn’t want to follow the rules of the Catholic Church either. In 1534, the king wanted to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to marry Anne Boleyn. The Catholic Church frowned on divorce (and continues to even today.) Because the Holy See wouldn’t accommodate his demand, Henry VIII banished the Catholic Church, created the Church of England, declared himself its leader and then granted his own divorce.
History remembers Henry VIII as a ridiculously self-centered individual who thought the rest of the world should acquiesce to his demands, regardless of what the established rules called for.
Is it any different now? Should the whims of 100 alternative lifestyle individuals compromise the integrity and history of the Catholic Church? Should a few dozen athletes confused about their gender literally ruin NCAA sports for 240,000 women?
Society most certainly shouldn’t mock or bully someone because that person has chosen a different path, a different hairstyle or a different lifestyle. Neither should society be expected to conform to each whim and trend of every tiny minority. People should be allowed to live their lives as they wish, but those same people must realize they have no right to demand that the rest of the world agree with them.
• Tim Constantine is a columnist for The Washington Times and hosts “The Capitol Hill Show” podcast every week from Washington, D.C.