Mixed Signals from ABC

I didn’t watch the Academy Awards on ABC this year. But then I never watch them. I didn’t watch them even back in the days when the event was not dominated by the trendy leftists in Hollywood. I’d prefer to watch a test pattern. And I haven’t seen Brokeback Mountain or the other films with homosexual themes nominated for the Oscar this year.

But we should be able to accept the testimony of the devotees of these films, who were eager to proclaim this year the “gay moment” in Hollywood. I haven’t heard anyone deny that the films were produced to advance the homosexual agenda; to “free” society from its “backward,” Bible-based ideas about homosexual love, to “open” our minds to the “normalcy” of same-gender sex. Central to this theme is the proposition that homosexuals cannot be blamed for their sexual longings; that they are not something an individual chooses or should be expected to overcome; that “gay is good,” a legitimate “alternative lifestyle.”

This is the logic behind the t-shirts and placards we see at Gay Pride demonstrations, with sayings such as “God loves me and God made me gay.” It is why we are told that there should be no guilt associated with homosexual activity; why homosexuals should be permitted to marry, adopt children, lead Boy Scout troops, to be ordained to the priesthood, teach elementary school. It is why homosexual activists feel free to brand those who oppose them as psychologically disturbed, as homophobes.

The corollary to this train of thought is that homosexuals should not be expected to deny themselves sexual pleasure merely because of society’s hang-ups; that they are not “deviant”; that it is unrealistic and unfair to expect them to control their behavior in this way; that it would unnatural, in fact, for them to thwart the expression of their sexuality.

Yet just two days before the Academy Awards, on the Friday, March 3rd edition of ABC’s 20/20, we were told that there are homosexuals who should do all these things — homosexuals who should be expected to say no to their sexual desires, to control themselves, to refrain from indulging in sexual impulses even if they are intense and alluring. And I would be willing to bet that many of the Hollywood folks who were looking for ways to proclaim their open-mindedness over Brokeback Mountain were nodding in agreement if they were watching 20/20 that night.

The segment of 20/20 in question centered on a dentist in Texas who seemed to have it all. He was a good-looking man with a good-looking wife and two good-looking children, with a thriving dental practice that afforded him the good life; big house, big boat, fast cars, a plane. His staff thought him a great guy, pleasant, out-going, generous.

There was one thing peculiar about him, however. He would disappear for two and three days at a time. His wife was curious, but not enough to fret. She thought he was on fishing trips with his buddies or off to see his family or business associates — until she found out that he had been caught in an FBI sting operation. Deborah Roberts, the ABC commentator, paused and lowered her voice to prepare the audience for the shocking news she was about to announce: The dentist was a member of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), who flew frequently to Mexico to engage in sex with teenage boys. The FBI had the goods on him. Dum-de-dum-dum.

Roberts went to Texas to interview the dentist’s wife, his neighbors, his office staff. There was no mistaking the look on her face or the tone of her questions. She was appalled by the behavior of this man. She wondered aloud about how anyone could be so unkind, so unthinking, so irresponsible, so reckless, so shameful, so foolhardy. What kind of man would throw away all the good things he had in life — home, family, a successful profession, the respect of colleagues and neighbors — to indulge his passions, his deviant, his unacceptable, his reprehensible passions? The message was clear: Why didn’t this man exert some self-control, act like a grownup, a husband, a father, a man of honor?

But, wait a minute: What about the logic of the homosexual activists extolling the message of Brokeback Mountain? Doesn’t it apply to this dentist? One must assume that he did not choose to have sexual longings for young boys. He wasn’t stupid. He knew that he stood to lose all he had achieved if his secret life were uncovered. Yet he flew to Mexico for sex with teenage boys anyway. We have to conclude that his urges were powerful.

Well? Does the fact that the urges were not his choice and powerful mean that they were natural? Did God give these longings to him — or just to the homosexuals that Hollywood is lionizing in films these days? Why should this dentist be expected to control his sexual urges, when the cowboys in Brokeback Mountain and those they represent are not? Why should he have been expected to say no to what NAMBLA tells us is a normal and healthy form of sexual expression?

Some will say this dentist’s behavior is different because he was married and a father and engaging in sex with underage boys. Sorry. That doesn’t work. If this dentist produced the testimony of eye-witnesses confirming that he sought out boys over the age of 16 while in Mexico, Deborah Roberts would have been just as wide-eyed and aghast at his behavior. It is absurd to maintain that homosexual sex with a 15-year-old is appallingly reprehensible, but fine just a year or so later. And the fact that he was married is not germane: The characters in Brokeback Mountain were married. Indeed, their marriages were depicted as the obstacle that stood in the way of their “natural” longings.

So how does the logic go? That those who use words such as “shameful” and “appalling” for NAMBLA members are to be praised for taking that stand; that it is common sense to condemn pedophilia, polygamy, incest, bestiality and a host of other behaviors, which the leaders of the modern homosexual movement tell us they do? (Whether they are sincere in this protestation is another topic.) Is it that good and honorable men should be expected to say no to these deviant urges, but not to the categories of homosexuality that are in vogue in Hollywood these days; that it is narrow-minded for the Catholic Church, Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham to use the Bible to draw the line on normalcy in sexual matters, but fine for Hollywood screenwriters and producers of television documentaries to set the boundaries for us instead?

James Fitzpatrick's novel, The Dead Sea Conspiracy: Teilhard de Chardin and the New American Church, is available from our online store. You can email Mr. Fitzpatrick at fitzpatrijames@sbcglobal.net.

(This article originally appeared in The Wanderer and is reprinted with permission. To subscribe call 651-224-5733.)

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