Monthly Archives: September 2012

Is Zynga anti-Christian?

Dear Folks at Zynga,

I greatly enjoy your Facebook games, and spend a great deal of my time playing them.  However, for some time I have been meaning to raise an issue that I first noticed playing Farmville.  I had gotten away from “-ville” type games for a few years and had been focusing on playing more “traditional” games.  Recently, I started playing “the Ville,” which I greatly enjoy.  However, I noticed early in the game that there was a certain bias in the decorations available (same as I had previously noted in Farmville, which was one of the reasons I stopped playing Farmville a few years ago).  Even though, worldwide, 40% of the population is Christian, and 80% of the US population (still the vast majority of Internet users) profess some form of Judeo-Christian faith.  Including Muslims, the vast majority of the world’s population are of Abrahamic faiths.
Yet in “The Ville,” and similar Facebook games, the options for home decoration are decided non-Christian.  It would be one thing if they were purely secular–as for example many Protestants are iconoclastic.  
However, there are very clearly New Age, neo-pagan, Buddhist, Hindu and Taoist elements in the game, including the “Yin Yang” collectible power up feature that is required to complete some tasks.  As I have progressed in the game, I have discovered many game tasks which require having my character participate in New Age or neo-Pagan activities.  At first, I kind of overlooked the form of “spirituality” promoted by the “Sophie” character, and I overlooked the “flower power” features because I saw the “Flower Power Bed” as symbolic of the kind of brightly colored furniture I might have in a children’s room in my own hypothetical “dream house.”  Now, I have come across the “Enchanted Forest” task that requires me to have a “Zen Garden.”  Various tasks have required purchasing statues, wall decorations, paintings, etc., and while there are plenty of options representing pagan or far Eastern religious symbols, there are no options representing, minimally, Jesus, crosses or biblical events that are common to the cultures of at least 60% of the world and 80% of the United States.   
I am really quite surprised that more people have not raised an issue of this.  The more of these game tasks come up, the more I feel like I am violating my conscience to even play your games.  The main reason I have not quit is that I have been hopeful maybe you’re just not aware that this is a problem for many of your customers, and I wanted to see if, upon being informed of this issue, you would be willing to make these non-Abrahamic elements optional as well as provide alternatives at least common to people of Abrahamic faiths, if not provide specific options for Jewish, Christian and Muslim players to incorporate their particular faith elements into their home decor.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.  

A little blurb out of Atlanta, where Demonocrats are desperately trying to fight having statewide (and thus, virtual) charter schools. Now, charter schools have their problems–as do public schools, private schools, parochial schools and homeschools–there is no such thing as a perfect educational system as all educational systems are human institutions.

The article in question concerns how a pro-Charter School activist allegedly “shoved” a Democratic state senator and a representative of the state PTA, Sally Fitzgerald. They have a video showing the charter school lobbyist bumping into the PTA lobbyist, and the old woman teetering a bit, but they’re trying to file misdemeanor assault charges against him for it, and the state senator says he wants to see the guy “in prison.” Boy, I wish I could file misdemeanor assault charges against everyone who ever bumped into me! All of us have been bumped in the manner shown in the video, and I don’t know how many times I’ve been intentionally shoved, pushed over, etc., whether standing or in my wheelchair.

In any case, what strikes me is the last part of the article. Apparently, at the rally in question, someone (article implies it was Fitzgerald but doesn’t specify) challenged a young “charter school student” for being at the rally and “not in school”. Of course, that’s part of the point of homeschooling and virtual schooling: to give students the freedom to actually learn from life experience. Here’s my response that I wrote to the Georgia PTA:

Dear Ms. Fitzgerald,

I was alerted to the recent news story about your anti-charter school activism. While I believe charter schools are problematic, as are all models of education, I believe very strongly in school choice. The Natural Law, which is binding on all people but arbitrated by the Catholic Church as the only institution on earth that can speak for Jesus Christ, dictates that parents are the primary educators of children, and that educational institutions, whether secular or religious, exist only to assist parents in our rightful duty of educating our children according to our own values. The Popes also teach the principle of subsidiarity: since the primary social unit in God’s eyes is the family, all other social institutions exist to protect the family, and therefore management of various aspects of social life, particularly education, should be kept as local and as close to the family level as possible.

To wit, I was struck by the following comment in this article:
“She said every adult has the right to be concerned about truancy laws, even if the child isn’t their own.”
I found this comment interesting coming from someone who is apparently of the liberal persuasion, and was tied in the article with a Democrat legislator.
Do you also believe that every adult should be concerned about abortion, even if the child isn’t their own?

My mother in law was the second woman ever to get a PhD from Auburn and one of the first women in the country to get a PhD in microbiology. She grew up on a farm, and her mother kept her home once a week to do farm chores.

I have an MA in English from Valdosta State University with a 3.85 GPA, a BA from the SC Honors College with a 3.98 GPA (graduated at 19 and had open heart surgery between my junior and senior years). I’m Phi Beta Kappa, Golden, Key, National Honors Society, etc. I scored a 1350 on the SAT at 15 and graduated high school at 16. I had a combined 2180 on the GRE at 18. I have had numerous articles and conference presentations in the past 15 years.

I did all of this while suffering from a life threatening genetic disorder, of which I am in the final stages. I suffered an aortic dissection last year. I was frequently absent from school. I was “modified homebound” in 8th grade, and spent an entire quarter home from school in 10th grade. Even in college, I had to spend the semester before my open heart surgery at home. Thankfully, Disability Services at USC arranged for me to do my work from home, and my professors were very accommodating given my academic success.

Yet my whole life I was made to feel like a second class student because of “attendance.” Even though I was never penalized for it, I was always “penalized” by the many awards programs, scholarships, etc., that take attendance into consideration. I was penalized by attending awards ceremonies every year and seeing students commended for “perfect attendance” that I would never be able to achieve.

“Perfect attendance” is just another way that eugenicist Democrats put down the disabled. It means absolutely nothing to a student’s actual learning, since most real learning occurs at home. To emphasize attendance is to say that those who are blessed with healthy immune systems are better than everyone else, just because of their genes. It is saying, in essence, that a healthy immune system makes someone “more equal” than others. Of course, advocates of “perfect attendance” also promote vaccinations, which forces parents to be complicit in the evil of abortion by utilizing vaccinations derived from fetal tissue. And lastly, it encourages students to come to school when they are sick, which promotes contagion of other students and promotes poor education by having students attempt to learn when they are physically incapacitated.

Certainly, a student who is actively engaging in the political process by attending an event at the State House is learning far more than he or she would learn in the classroom, as advocates of so-called “unschooling” would point out. My 10 year old daughter knows more about biology and medicine than most high school or college graduates because she lives it in dealing with the genetic disorder we share.

I have utilized public and private schools, charter schools and homeschooling in educating my children. I believe that parents should be given as many options as possible to choose the best fits for their families and their individual children. However, I also believe that attendance rules are arbitrary and inherently discriminatory, and I look forward to the day when disabled people rise up to declare attendance rules unconstitutional.

Sincerely,

John of the Little Way, OCDS
North Augusta, SC

_Casablanca_ and Hollywood’s Deophobia

I finally watched _Casablanca_ last week.  I have this phobia of “important movies.”  I usually don’t understand them or what the hubbub is.  Sometimes, they’re so ingrained in the culture and so often parodied that I pretty much already knew everything important about them coming in, which was the case when I watched _Citizen Kane_.  I recently watched _2001_ for the third or fourth time, and still didn’t understand it–but reading the Wikipedia articles on it and the various sequels Arthur C. Clarke wrote was far more edifying than the movie itself.

So I always resisted _Casablanca_, but I really did enjoy it.  And I watched it with my daughter during homeschooling time, and kept annoying her by pausing the movie to explain various things and make it educational, but I think it was a great experience for both of us, and the movie is a fantastic story of sacrificial love. However, what struck me was how there were casual references to God and prayer–references that are almost totally absent from today’s movies.  Today, they’re replaced by references to yoga, karma and the like.

Whatever Barack Obama and his followers who booed God at the Democratic National Convention might think, the majority of Americans (including many liberals) still claim to believe in some kind of God, still claim to believe in Christianity in some form or another–so why is Christianity so taboo in the public sphere?

It’s not just that movies are afraid to acknowledge that God exists, or that Jesus Christ is the Savior–it’s that movies are afraid to acknowledge that *CHRISTIANITY* exists, even when they’re set in a past time.

A Facebook friend recently posited the notion of a “steampunk” story with a Cardinal Newman type character.  That inspired a cool discussion, but part of her point is that she enjoys reading “steampunk” fiction, yet it strikes her how these stories hardly ever mention Christianity or mention *Christians*, churches, clerics, etc. Steampunk, if you aren’t familiar with the term, is the term for contemporary science fiction set in the 19th Century–stories where technology that later existed is depicted in a science fiction manner as being developed a few decades early, usually powered by steam engines (hence the term).  The Robert Downey, Jr., _Sherlock Holmes_ movies might be qualified as steampunk, or most definitely _The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen_.  She was pointing out how steampunk novels take place in the Victorian era, yet they go out of their way to avoid suggesting that the characters are Christians, or that they live in a time when people were predominantly Christian.

Yes, I’ve had arguments with people online who insist that movies and TV shows still presume most Americans are Christians, and that’s why they *don’t* explicitly mention anything remotely Christian, except at weddings or funerals, but that doesn’t make sense.  

What struck me about _Casablanca_, though, was that it was all taken for *granted* in a true sense, the way that Flannery O’Connor talks about.  If _Casablanca_ were made today, with the same exact story and dialogue, people would make a big deal about how it was a “Christian” movie, and it would be marketed to “Christians,” and secularists would shun it, etc., because the characters talk about God a few times and are shown having basic Christian morals.  A few months ago, I watched _Soul Surfer_, which I knew had been promoted as a “Christian film,” and while it was good, and while the characters were clearly people of faith and all that, I questioned the use of the term “Christian film” for this very reason–if this movie had been made in the 1950s, no one would have thought to qualify it as “Christian.”  Given the frequency of girls in bikinis, it probably would have been labelled the opposite back then. 

Much as Cervantes injected his own faith development into the second part of _Don Quixote_, when Sylvester Stallone revisited both of his trademark characters a few years back, he emphasized that the Catholic faith he has rediscovered in recent years was an essential element of _Rocky Balboa_ and _Rambo_.  For _Rocky Balboa_, Stallone used the same marketing strategies as _The Passion of the Christ_ and _The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe_ and I think the same marketing firm as _The Passion_.  Yet again, neither film was a “Christian film” in the sense of explicitly promoting Christian theology or spirituality.  They’re Christian in a subtle way that Flannery O’Connor would approve of, and that’s a good thing in its own right, but I really don’t see why those movies or _Soul Surfer_ or some others in recent years should be separated into a distinct genre called “Christian,” as in “secularists, stay away!  God is mentioned herein!”

They call us homophobes for saying that homosexual behavior is a sin.  They call us misogynists for saying that contraception, fornication and adultery are sins.  

Well, they’re Deophobes.  They’re totally scared to death of God.  That’s why they booed God at their convention.  The Secularists, the Hollywood people, the “mainstream media,” the liberal elites are nothing else if not deophobes.  They will not allow any reference to God, church, ministers or even people-who-are Christians because they hate and fear Christianity.  They insist, when Christians are depicted, on depicting Christians as ignorant bigots and hateful people *precisely* because they hate Christians.  

Meanwhile, we’re so starved for any Christianity in popular culture that we jump at what used to be considered baseline, or even controversial, and say, “Hey! It’s something Christian!”  So movies about ordinary decent people who happen to read the Bible and pray and talk about God, doing ordinary decent things, are helped up as being in the same genre as great Christian classics like _Ben Hur_, _Going My Way_ or _Come to the Stable_.  

Even Kirk Cameron’s _Fireproof_ is basically a Hallmark Channel movie where the characters have a couple religious discussions–and most Hallmark Channel movies have some conversations about God or the Bible.

We need to stop kowtowing to the Deophobes, and start calling their bluff.  

_Percy Jackson_ Shows What’s Right With _Harry Potter_

The other night, I had the dubious pleasure of watching _Percy Jackson and the Olympians the Lightning Thief_, and what I got out of it is that it showed why the _Harry Potter_ series is both artistically and morally laudable.

1.  While both J.K. Rowling and C. S. Lewis have been criticized for the “derivative” nature of their work, and the matter can be debated in both their cases whether they’re hacks or geniuses, it is clear from the movie, at least, that _Jackson_ author Rick Riordan falls under the category of hack, since on the surface this is _Harry Potter_ with the names changed and “god” substituted for “wizard.”  The term “half-blood” is even used.  The movie doesn’t mention Triton, but apparently the overall theme of the series is that the Percy and his “half blood” friends (including a much less friendly counterpart of Hermione and a much more competent but more lascivious equivalent of Ron) must save the Olympians from the return of the Titan Triton.  
2.  To his credit, Riordan has done his homework.  Even the film was *mostly* accurate with its adaptations of Greek mythology, which is unusual even for films directly concerning Greek mythology.  My only gripe there is that if we’re supposed to believe the Greek myths were real, Medusa died, killed by the original Perseus, and there’s no explanation given why or how she was resurrected. I’ve never understood when fantasy stories refer to “a Medusa” (or “a Pegasus” for that matter), and I’ve also never understood why stories that try to use Greek mythology don’t just use one of the other Gorgons.  Also, Medusa was supposed to be ugly to look at, even without the snakes, and while I personally think Uma Thurman fits that category, I don’t think a lot of people agree.
3.  Maybe the books do, but the film doesn’t explain why the “Olympians” are so Ancient Greece-centric (for example, the “half bloods” are wired to read ancient Greek; see below), but most of them have emigrated to the US.
4.  Apparently, Barack Obama is a demi-god, at least according to the film.  When “Grover” the Satyr is explaining to Percy about the existence of demi-gods, and showing him around Hogwarts-I mean, the summer camp for half-bloods–he says that there are literally hundreds of demi-gods (children of gods and humans) alive today, some who live completely normal lives and others who achieve great fame, “I’m talking White House famous” (film came out in 2010; I’m sure they wouldn’t have made that suggestion of the president in 2007).  So, is this supposed to indicate that Barack Obama, Sr., was actually a Greek god?  Or perhaps to suggest that BHO isn’t actually a natural-born citizen, after all?
5. All good stories, particularly children’s stories, and particularly fantasies, include some level of wish-fulfillment.  It is not hard to see how the nerdy, bullied, abused, motherless children in C. S. Lewis’s books are all shadows of himself, particularly Digory Kirk (who both reflects Lewis as a child and an adult) and Eustace Clarence Scrubb (who, like his author, hated his own name).  

The abused, orphaned Harry Potter also provides children a character to sympathize with: what I love about the first few Potter stories is that they remind me of myself–obviously, I was raised by loving parents and Harry was raised by an abusive aunt and uncle who locked him in the closet under the stairs–but having been a misfit in general in my childhood, as I awakened to my faith, I found a sense of belonging in the Church and in academia.  When Harry found himself embraced by his teachers who saw his great potential yet unable to fit in with any but a few of his peers, that was my own experience.  

Rowling gets it just right.  While one of the popular arguments of the anti-Harry Potter crowd is that supposedly he is not adequately punished for the things he does “wrong” (violating relative, worldly rules for the greater good, which is something the Pharisees criticized Our Lord for doing, and which is also a basic tenet of Catholic moral teaching).  However, it is also very clear that while they’re trying to shape and encourage him, Harry’s teachers want him to learn obedience and humility because they know how Tom Riddle’s great power and potential had gone to his head.

Not in _Percy Jackson_.  In the first few minutes of the film, we see a discussion between Zeus (the guy from _Lord of the Rings_ who’s always popping up in “One does not simply . . . ” memes on Facebook) and Neptune, in which Zeus is accusing Neptune’s son of stealing his lightning bolt, because supposedly only a god’s son is capable of doing so.  Then we’re introduced to Percy, whom we first see underwater, saying he can only think underwater–gee, no mystery who Neptune’s secret son is, now, is there?
Percy’s horrible at English Literature, and comes home and laments to his longsuffering mother that the “special school” she sends him to isn’t working, and his ADHD and dyslexia are much too severe.  Then we are introduced to his very stereotyped oafish, abusive stepfather.  

Shortly thereafter, Percy’s English teacher turns out to be a Fury who has been sent to get the lightning bolt back from him, but she’s chased off by his mentorly and wheelchair-bound Classics teacher (played by Pierce Brosnan) who later turns out to be a Centaur.  His  best friend, who hobbles around on crutches turns out to be a Satyr.  I’m not going to summarize the whole film, but just establishing the characters here for this purpose.  The message here is:
a) people with physical disabilities are OK because they may just be hiding secret superpowers
b) English teachers probably are horrible monsters 
c) Percy is told his ADHD is just his godlike instincts for adventure, and his dyslexia is because he’s “hardwired” to read ancient Greek, not modern English.  So, people with ADHD and dyslexia, feel good about yourselves!  You’re probably like Percy, and too good for these lame-o schools.
d) Percy’s mom only stuck around with his step dad to “protect him” because his step dad stank, and the smell of his unbathed stepfather shielded the Olympians and their related monsters from recognizing his divine blood (yes, seriously, that is how it’s explained in the film).  After mom orders stepdad out of the house at the end, he finds Medusa’s head in the fridge and gets turned to stone.

Oh, that reminds me. . . . 
6.  THIS IS NOT A CHILDREN’S MOVIE.  PARENTS, DO NOT LET CHILDREN UNDER 13 VIEW THIS FILM.
I believe in striking the balance between being lenient and strict in all aspects of parenting.  We try to let our kids have an informed exposure to pop culture.  They know when we say not to watch something, we mean business, and they usually agree with us when we tentatively allow them to watch something we’re not comfortable with.  We tried to hold off Harry Potter till our eldest was at least 13, but my father in law kind of circumvented us on that one, but she’s well formed enough that it worked out.
But this is falling under the category of the Michael Bay _Transformers_ films: NO WAY IN THE NETHERWORLD.  

This is very violent.  There’s something about the CGI minotaur that really freaked me out, even more than the monsters in a Potter or Narnia film.  It didn’t even look like a minotaur except for the horns, and the fact that they called it that. The Minotaurs in the Narnia movies looked far more like what I’d imagine a “real” one to look like.  Granted, today’s kids are really immune to CGI special effects (“It’s OK, Mom, it’s just CGI,” they often tell their mom when she’s worried some special effect is too scary for them).  However, I dunno.  I found the creatures and violence in this film disturbing and inappropriate for anyone under 13. I don’t even think it’s the fact that the movie’s violent so much as that it’s so casual about violence.  

My dad talks of his experience trying to teach _Hamlet_ to kids in the 90s who found Hamlet’s dilemma problematic, not for the traditional reasons scholars have argued it, but for the simple fact that they saw nothing wrong with killing. “Why’s he hesitating at all?  The dude killed his father.  He should just off him and get it over with.”

That’s the approach of this film.  Got a stepfather you hate?  Stick a Gorgon’s head in the fridge & kill him.

7.  “All lives end in tragedy and despair,” says the boatman on the River Styx in _Lightning Thief_.  Interestingly, the Netherworld in this film is depicted as the Christian Hell more than the Greek Hades, and it is referred to as Hell while its ruler is referred to as Hades.  Much as in _Buffy: the Vampire Slayer_, where Hell is depicted as the ultimate reality, and “the jury’s still out” on God or Heaven, _Lightning Thief_ suggests that all souls end up in Hell, except for the select few who make it to Olympus (and presumably they have to be demi-gods to start with).  I shouldn’t have to explain why this is a bad thing.

8.  _Harry Potter takes place in a world where good and evil are clearly defined, in spite of those who insist that it’s morally ambiguous. This film is definitely morally ambiguous.  Socrates was accused of impiety for complaining about the moral ambiguity of Greek mythology, and this film is true to that element.  Neptune is the “good guy” among the gods, but only because we’re supposed to be cheering for Percy.  Zeus and Hades are both the “bad guys,” since their minions are both coming after him.
Grover commits adultery with Persephone, which is OK because Hades doesn’t really love her.
We are assured that all the gods are selfish (though that is by the character who turns out to be the actual “lightning thief,” but his position is never debunked).  

9.  Thus, _Lightning Thief_ completely precludes the possibility that Christianity is true.  I don’t mind fiction that suggests that pagan gods were real but that they were angels and fallen angels, or that they were aliens, or just super-powered humans, or even some other preternatural beings still lower than the true God.  Christian figures from St. Augustine to John Milton to C. S. Lewis have entertained the possibility that the pagan gods might have been or been based upon “real” beings.  I also have no problem with reenacting the Greek myths.
It is possible to take most fantasy or science fiction “worlds” and see the True God behind them.  This is what Flannery O’Connor says is the key to “Christian” writing, and I’d say it’s also the key to Christian reading and criticism: viewing the world with a Christian lens.  O’Connor says that fiction doesn’t have to discuss theology to be Christian, but merely see the world as one in which Christian moral, cosmological and spiritual principles are true, and work in practice.  This would be contrasted to a literature which is completely atheistic or pagan.  For example, while I saw _House, MD_ through to the end, I was dismayed at the middle of the second season when House hits rock bottom after breaking up with Cuddy, and he really starts to go crazy. When I saw House jump the shark–I mean, jump out of the hotel room–I said that there was no way he could return from that low a pit of despair without a proverbial “higher power” in his life.  No real person could descend so deep without committing suicide or going deeper into drug use unless he had God in his life.  

However, this movie holds that Greek mythology was completely *true*.  Zeus *is* the current ruler of the universe, though the Titans Again, all people go to Hades, and Hades is the Roman Tartarus or the Christian Hell, where the “real” Hades in Greek mythology was more like the Christian limbo or the Hebrew Sheol.  

Again, this shows what Harry Potter does right: the _Harry Potter_ books are filled with at least cultural Christianity.  There are churches, there are Christian cemeteries, Christian holidays, and citations of Bible verses.  It’s not clear that the characters are Christian in anything more than a cultural sense, but it’s *perfectly* clear that “Christianity” exists, and the overall providence and moral fabric of the stories holds true to Christian principles.  

While Rowling is not as overt as C.S. Lewis at showing the Christian God at work in her fantasies (and apparently, according to some people, even Lewis isn’t that overt, between those who insist Aslan is merely allegorical or those who insist that Aslan is a representative of “any great religious figure,” as opposed to being very clearly the Divine Word incarnate in a different way on a different world), it is still *possible* that had God chosen to give some people magical powers, and to create some kind of magical parallel world within our own where magical people could exist with fantasy creatures and practice magic freely, all that happens in _Harry Potter_ could happen in a world where Christianity is true.  Nothing explicitly violates Christian theology other than what violates known science, anyway.

That is not the case for _Percy Jackson_.  If Greek mythology was completely true, if all souls go to Hell, if Zeus is the ruler of the cosmos (and got there by force), and if beings who are part god and part human walk the earth in the hundreds or thousands, then Christianity is false.  

So that is the message that Rick Riordan and the producers of this film want to send to your children: Christianity is false, and you’re doomed to Hell, so “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.”

Natural Law, Homosexuality and Genetic Disorders

This is a theme I revisit from time to time, but I came up with a slightly different explanation of my point than I’ve used before in a Facebook discussion just now, so I’m copying my status and replies:

I don’t know why people on the “Right” don’t want to accept that same sex attraction can be genetic, and why people on the “Left” insist that because it’s genetic, that means it’s good. I have a genetic propensity for my arteries to explode. That doesn’t make it a good thing. DNA was corrupted by original sin: how, exactly, we don’t know, but it’s part of Catholic dogma, and therefore truth.

The “born that way” rhetoric suggests that because people are “born with” a propensity for same sex attraction, that means God designed it and it’s part of Natural Law, but it doesn’t.

Natural Law doesn’t have anything to do with genetics. It has to do with what it means to be a fully realized human being. Natural law doesn’t have to do with “nature” in the sense of science but “nature” in the sense of God’s plan. “Nature” in terms of what science talks about has been corrupted by original sin.

Nature hints at order, but nature itself is not ordered; it is disordered. That’s why I have Marfan syndrome. That’s why some people have Down’s syndrome, heart disease, cancer, alcoholism, etc. It’s why people in general have a compulsion to sexual promiscuity, whereas in a theoretically unfallen race, a man would feel no desire until he saw the woman God intended for him and said, as our first father said of our first mother, “This at last is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.”

As it is, we all have disordered inclinations that come from our genes, which have been corrupted by original sin. Some have disordered inclinations for violence; others for lust for the opposite sex; some for gluttony; some for possessions; some of us for all of them. Some people have a disordered inclination that makes them lust for the same sex. The Fathers tell us that we are all blessed with different degrees of virtue and different degrees of these disordered inclinations, and we should not lord it over people that have more challenges in one or another regard.

Thus, Natural Law is not, as many people mistakenly believe, the law of how things work “to begin with,” but just the opposite: it’s the law of how we can make things work the way God intended without original sin. Natural Law is often compared in Catholic ethics classes to agriculture, which in turn is a subset of Natural Law. A good farmer knows how to grow a tomato plant to be the best tomato plant it can be.

The objective fact is that my Marfan syndrome impedes me from being the best person I can be. In some ways, it gives me more of a hurdle to overcome than others have. In other ways, it impedes me from ever achieving some kinds of excellence. I will never be a lumberjack. I will never be a farmer in the true sense of the word, or a cowboy, or a carpenter, or any other work that requires a strong physique. I will never be a star dancer or a star athlete. I admire those who have been blessed with healthy bodies and can achieve these forms of excellence (though I also have a great disdain for the kind of “athletes” and the kinds of “sports” that focus on building up the body only to destroy it because I see them as throwing away God’s gift).
I see homosexuality as the same sort of thing. Some homosexuals can marry (in the proper sense, people of the opposite sex) and have children, and they just have to struggle their whole lives with homosexual temptation the way heterosexual married men often have to battle their whole lives with the temptation to adultery or lust. Others must live in chastity, and are prohibited by their genetic disease from participating in the form of human excellence that is marriage the same way I’m prohibited from sports, but just as I get to pursue a different kind of excellence in my asceticism, so they are called to use their disability to pursue excellence in chastity.