Saturday, April 06, 2013

Melinda's list: Selmys' forty ways to love a lesbian (and hate Michael Voris)

Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (CCC #2357)

After being questioned by many (including myself) for condemning Michael Voris' documentary, “FBI (Faith Based Investigation) into Homosexuality," as erroneous, but then not giving any evidence to support this claim, former queer (her term) turned married Catholic mother of six, Melinda Selmys, went back to the blogging board and "called Voris' bluff," coming up with forty so-called errors in Voris' film. Sadly, many of these claims stretch the limits of credulity (if not veracity) and, as in the case of both of Selmys' previous two works on the subject ("How to Speak About Homosexuality" and "What I Mean By Acceptance"), raised more questions than they answered.

Part scholarly research and part knee-jerk reaction, Selmys herself admitted that many of Voris' "errors" are not actually errors at all, but merely her personal objections to Michael's style. For example, Error #6, "The entire 'history' section suffers from massive Western chauvanism. The result is a misleading and lop-sided portrayal," appears to be merely a typical feminist beef without fact, and #12, "Paranoia abounds. This is strictly speaking not a factual error, but it is an extremely problematic form of thinking," is even more problematic in that it harkens back to the original problem; Selmys is merely calling Voris names without giving reasons. As early as the third grade, students are now taught to give evidence to support their answers, and all parties concerned would have probably been better served if Selmys had made her list shorter and left such name calling off of it.

On the other hand, Selmys does give her reasons for the criticism of the scripture Voris uses, but one would be hard-pressed to find an orthodox Catholic who finds them reasonable. Of course, editing, both for context and balance, is a valid topic for the reviewer, and while many of Selmys' many suggestions for inclusion in this video seem valid, hers would have been a Lord of the Rings (uncut version) epic rather than the 94-minute documentary that Michael did. Still, her criticism "Scriptural quotations are consistently clipped in order to make them as harsh and condemning as possible, sometimes in a way that does damage to the actual text and its context," especially when she then cites "Romans 1, in particular," is peculiar. For as anyone familiar with Romans 1 can tell you, the longer you read Paul's rant against the gay Romans, the more "harsh and condemning" it becomes. "Mutual degradation of their bodies" and "unnatural relations" becomes "every form of...evil, greed and malice" and later "senseless, heartless, ruthless..." to name a few. So if Voris could be accused of anything in this case, it would be mercy rather than overkill.

But if Selmys' critique of Voris' use of "Romans" is curious, her problem with his reference to Genesis 19–at least to the orthodox Catholic–is just crazy. "No discussion of the obvious fact," claims Selmys, "that the sexuality portrayed in Sodom was ritualized gang-rape of supernatural beings (angels), not consensual sex between human male individuals." Since, as Catholic Answers states, "[t]hroughout history, Jewish and Christian scholars have recognized that one of the chief sins involved in God’s destruction of Sodom was its people’s homosexual behavior," perhaps this novel interpretation of the passage can be attributed to the six or so homosexuals on the strange New Evangelization staff that Selmys is a part of and that Voris, not surprisingly is not. Notwithstanding the fact that the Church fathers have consistently taught the (main) sin of Sodom was homosexuality and not rape, if this "gang-rape" teaching was current Catholic theology, would not the Catholic Catechism referenced Genesis 19 in support of section #2356, which has to do with rape, rather than section #2357, which deals with homosexuality? Which makes me wonder what Selmys' real problem is anyway...

For when she critiques Voris' film, "It is strongly implied that Ancient Greece is the only historical society in which homosexual relations were socially accepted in order to develop the inference that this is highly abnormal. Actually, they were widely accepted during certain historical periods in Japan, China, certain parts of India, the Arab world (there was a particularly fertile period of homoerotic Muslim poetry and spiritually [sic] during the late Middle Ages), pre-colonial America...etc. etc," does she really disagree with his point that throughout history, unnatural sexual relationships were in the minority? Or is she merely making this list to make a plug for "homoerotic Muslim poetry," and those friends of hers who enjoy it? And when she complains, "Voris conflates 'sexual orienatation' [sic] with 'chosen sexual behaviour' in order to try to deny any legitimate affinity between the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement. This is very poor argumentation: it's a classic example of redefining the terms in mid-argument so that they will be better suited to making your point," is she really upset about Voris' choice of words, or does part of her think that this "affinity" is legit?

Surely Selmys knows that gays in America have all the same "rights" as straights with one exception; and those who now use this gay rights vs. civil rights argument have their eyes on that one prize, namely gay "marriage." But as Selmys professes to follow CCC #2357 that calls homosexual acts "intrinsically disordered," a "grave depravity," could she be arguing for gay couples living together in a chaste relationship? Certainly, this seems highly unlikely, given the fact that when she broke off her lesbian relationship to become Catholic and her girlfriend suggested it, Selmys replied this was "impractical" and "wouldn't work." Or is she throwing this diabolical bone of gay marriage to her non-Catholic friends in some Machiavellian attempt to one day win them over?

Selmys claimed in her rebuttal to my first article on her that I was suggesting that she should not write based on the fact she wasn't perfect. I replied my criticism was instead that while she was advertising herself as a Catholic, she, by mixing Catholic teaching and secular logic, was really playing with fire. Melinda, you argue with Voris' explanation that "'One can conclude that it's their [gays'] behaviour that's causing the problem,' the problem being elevated rates of mental illness in homosexuals" (from Voris Error #4) is simplistic and inconclusive. But did not St. Paul, who said that unnatural relations developed into senselessness and heartlessness, argue the same thing?

Could it be that your former "confused...suicidal, self-harming," self was caused to some, if not a large degree, by your homosexual relations? It is wonderful that you are a Catholic wife and mother now, and as a Catholic husband and father I couldn't be more happy that God has given you these graces. But as your "conservative" Catholic friend who likes to write a bit himself, I pray that, for the sake of your many devoted readers, your past demons (and present anger at Voris) do not begin to creep into your present apostolate and poison it forever.

Related: Speaking about homosexuality? Melinda Selmys' 'queer' way to save gays
Reprinted on RenewAmerica.


Lydia McGrew said...

This is an excellent post. I would also point out that the analogy between the homosexual "rights" movement and the civil rights movement has had terrible effects in other areas. For example, Christian businessmen have been forced to celebrate homosexual relationships (e.g., photographing lesbian commitment ceremonies, baking celebratory cakes, and the like) and adoption agencies have been run out of town because they would not place children with homosexual couples. In general, even before we get to homosexual "marriage," the homosexual rights movement, explicitly analogizing homosexual activity to race, has had a terribly destructive effect through misguided non-discrimination policies which force people not to take homosexual behavior (and even "orientation") into account where it *is relevant*.

So while it is true that the word "marriage" may be the only "civil right" that homosexuals have yet to obtain in many jurisdictions, this is in general a bad thing. The homosexual rights movement needs to be rejected by Christians in a much more root and branch fashion.

Anyone who objects (as Selmys evidently does) and wishes to _maintain_ the analogy to the racial civil rights movement is tacitly rejecting Christian teaching concerning homosexuality in various ways.

It's important that we not think that homosexual "marriage" is the only watershed issue. There have been many other watersheds that area already past, as the argumentation before the Supreme Court recently showed.

Christians need to reject homosexual adoption and the general demand that homosexuality be treated as irrelevant, which is often a wrong demand. If Selmys isn't prepared to do this because she's more concerned with the narrative of victimization, then we know where her priorities lie.

Christine said...

It's noteworthy that at least one blogger who struggles with SSA (and who has been a big critic of Michael Voris in the past) admits to being troubled by what Selmys has written and agrees that Michael's documentary is accurate.

Christine said...

Just going on what Lydia said, Catholics should be aware that the Church forbids any support (moral or otherwise) for legalization of same-sex civil unions. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made this clear in a 2003 document: Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons.

"In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, CLEAR AND EMPHATIC OPPOSITION IS A DUTY. (emphasis added) One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application."

Tom O'Toole said...

@Lydia -- Thanks for your kind critique. Yes, I was thinking about going more into the myriad of ramifications same-sex marriage/unions create, but for the sake of not making MY article Lord of the Rings (uncut version), I didn't. So what a blessing my first comment did so so succinctly! Keep fighting the good fight.

God's grace & Mary's prayers,

Tom O'Toole said...

Thanks Christine; Terry is cool and a darn good artist. And like he said, "Michael Voris' style is one thing - his content quite another."

Terry Nelson said...

I think I have to do a post on this and link to you Tom - great points. Thanks for the kind words too!

Tom O'Toole said...

Thanks Terry. Looking forward to your insights. But you'll always be one up on me, with the advantage of being able to illustrate your writing also. Although your icons are my favorite (I have a real soft spot in my heart for icons!) your "Blognic in an Egg" is great!! Is that Voris with the monkey? You'll have to do an egg with Michael and Melinda (forced to be) together.

Melinda Selmys said...


I think you've totally misunderstood the purpose of my list of 40 points. My problem with Voris is that he is arguing for a position which is, in essence, true, but he is arguing for it using arguments which any gay activist can kick over in his sleep. When such a weak strawman of the Catholic position is put forward by a Catholic apologist, it's painful and embarrassing. It makes it look like we don't have any real arguments, and like we don't have anything of substance to offer to any homosexual who might consider converting.

Tom O'Toole said...


I think your finally stating that Voris' film is "in essence, true" is an important admission, because when you first commented that Voris' "work [was] just long catalogues of factual and logical errors... My problem is not with people telling the truth about homosexuality, my problem is with people mistaking anger and disgust for truth," I can confidently tell you that not only did Voris and his fans feel that you were accusing him of lots of lies, but the great majority of the gay activists who follow you believed so too.

But forget for a moment the fact that Voris stated that he is writing for a wide audience, not just gay activists or practitioners. Forget for now that when you say he "assumed that the rates of mental illness and substance abuse found in a sample which includes a large number of promiscuous homosexuals will accurately reflect the experience of those in long-term relationships...studies have found that being in a long term relationship is a major predictor of improved mental health outcomes for both straights and gays," most orthodox readers see this as your clever if convoluted okay for gay marriages. Forget that when you chastise Mike for deliberately(?) substituting “sexual orienatation” with “chosen sexual behaviour” in order to try to deny any legitimate affinity between the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement," devout Catholics see this as your subtle, just below the surface way of saying this Catholic thinks this affinity is legit. What do you think your gay readers conclude from these passages other than that gay rights ARE civil rights, and that "committed" gay "marriage" is just as good (moral) as marriage between a man and a woman--something the Catholic Church does not and cannot teach. Finally, what do you, as a Catholic author/wife and mother of six, hope they will conclude?

God's grace and Mary's prayers,
Tom (and even my professors call me "Tom," so of course I hope you can too:))

Tom O'Toole said...

Terry, I'm humbled by your too kind inclusion of my analysis of "Melinda's List" on your post, "Another take on Selmys versus Voris". But tell me... did I not see a Nelson rejoinder to Melinda's not-so-kind comment? Poof!... perhaps a magic wand's at work...

Jeanette O'Toole said...

Michael Voris' response to Melinda Selmys' article:

Jeanette O'Toole said...

More from Michael Voris: Born This Way, 04-11

Anonymous said...

They are organized and have voted in their candidate with big financial backing through the Victory Fund The Administration has reciprocated by installing their reps in leadership power positions in government, education and business.
We on the other hand are at odds.

They have a handbook......

We do too and it is called the Bible!

Start by reading a non inclusive version and quoting the Scriptural passages against sins of the flesh. Read the Epistle of St Jude and rebut the priests who say Sodom was the sin of inhospitality!

I recommend this version also recommended to me by Eastern Rite CATHOLIC priests for the best commentaries/explanations on passages given by the Early Church Fathers.