#Humanum Day Two: How many ways can you dismiss gay lives?

In my unpacking of Day One of the big anti-LGBT conference that is currently underway at the Vatican, I focused on the obvious "culture war" courting that is front and center at the event, the eye-opening inclusion of (at least one) speaker who has publicly advocated for laws that punish homosexuality with jail time, and the generally sad message that the Pope, by hosting and blessing this conference, is choosing to send out to the world.  I'm sad to say that Day Two was even more pointedly anti-gay than the opener.

Tony Perkins, an invited guest with one of the most anti-LGBT quote banks of any American pundit, summed it up like this:  

Of course by "natural marriage," the American anti-equality activist really means the exclusionary view that proudly excludes same-sex couples.  But Tony is right in saying the whole thing unfurled like a pep rally for the discriminatory view.

Let's start with one of the morning's first speakers, Dr. Jacqueline C Rivers. In her speech, Rivers insisted that marriage equality activists are undermining the Black Civil Rights movement, but comforted the applauding attendees by telling them "God will not be mocked":

At another point, Rivers even suggested that her and her compatriots' current fight for "natural marriage" is as much of God's calling as the fight to end segregation.  Which is sadly not surprising.  For all of the attendees' self-assuring insistence that this is an event about unity rather than divisiveness, it is the latter that keeps rearing its unfortunate head.

Then there was Russell Moore, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Convention.  Moore used his time at the podium to pit marriage equality against human flourishing.  Here's a snip:

Or what about American megapastor Rick Warren?  Warren, who s no stranger to saying animus-laden things about LGBT people, used some of his time to portray marriage equality for same-sex couples as simply a trend.  A fad.  As something that will soon go out of style:

Which, quite frankly, tells you about all you need to know when it comes to Rick Warren's low regard for our lives.  He seems to have no problem telling this Vatican crowd that people like me and families like mine are playing out some sort of teen trend because he, like so many people who speak so loudly about us without ever really knowing us, doesn't care about the deep and fulfilling worth that we have to offer a society that does and has always included people like us.  And I know he doesn't care—and I mean truly care in a recognizable sense, not care in the falsely compassionate way that some anti-LGBT leaders will claim—because anyone who did care about us, the millions of human beings who do in fact populate the space of the world left around Mr. Warren's bombast, and anyone who did care about our worth, our welfare, our families, and our legal recognition would never have the audacity to make our marriages and families sound like skinny jeans that will be looked back upon with buyers' remorse.

Let's move on to the one other thing I want to focus on from today: the video that the Vatican organizers played to its invited guests.  This is actually one in a series of six videos, but this one is the clip that really made it's  anti-LGBT intentions known.  In the part that I have cued up here, you'll first see "blogger, philosopher, and sexotherapist" Thérèse Hargot Jacob demand that the words heterosexuality and homosexuality are simply meaningless terms that were "created for political battles," which she couples with weird implications that sexual orientation somehow pulls the focus off of gender.  Then she is immediately followed by Phllippe Ariño, a self-described "non-practicing homosexual" who has fought marriage equality around the globe (in fact he left the French anti-equality org. Manif Pour Tous because he thought they were too soft).  Ariño also suggests that being a gay man is born out of pain and hurt and misunderstanding about what it means to be a man and therefore the only route for the gay person is in celibate "friendships" and trust in God.  Take a look:

The conference could've of course found countless proud gay Catholics who could speak quite articulately on a life experience that doesn't come close to matching Mr. Arino's own suggested personal struggles.  That's what they would've done, had they wanted to had a real dialogue about what it means to be gay and Catholic on this planet.  But real dialogue is not what this conference was intended for, sadly.  They are clearly more focused on portraying our sexualities as somehow "disordered" versions of being men or women, with the untenable and deeply offensive position of "you can be gay; you just can't *be* gay" being the take-home message they are trying to send.

This message of gay people always getting left out by virtue of how we were created is certainly coming through loud and clear.  And true, this anti-gay tone may please the many political "culture warriors" in attendance.  I'm just not so sure it will play as well with those outside this auditorium of the converted.  In fact, I'm pretty sure it won't.