Friday, September 14, 2012

Franciscan University in hot water over course on "deviant" behaviours

It was reported on Public Radio this week that the Franciscan University of Stubenville, Ohio, is to have its Social Studies program examined following protests from alumni who count themselves amongst the Franciscan Gay Alumni and Allies Facebook group.

The offending course description reads:
“Deviant behavior focuses on the sociological theories of deviant behavior, such as strain theory, differential association theory, labeling theory and phenomenological theory,” states the course description. “The behaviors that are primarily examined are murder, rape, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, mental illness and drug use. The course focuses on structural conditions in society that potentially play a role in influencing deviant behavior.”
As one can read at the National Catholic Register:
Up until 1973, the American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a mental disorder.

“It strikes me that the gay alumni group, as so often happens, are overreacting to the word ‘deviant,’” said Phil Sutton, a psychologist and psychotherapist in South Bend, Ind., who launched Franciscan University’s master’s degree program in counseling 23 years ago. “Whereas in psychology we talk about ‘abnormal’ or ‘dysfunctional’ behavior, sociologists talk about ‘deviant’ behavior, meaning self-defeating behavior that is outside the norm. Franciscan’s use of the word is consistent with sociology, and, in that sense, they are not wrong to use it.”

“The research shows that same-sex behavior is medically, psychologically and relationally harmful,” added Sutton. “So there is nothing in the ‘deviant’ definition that is unrealistic. There is no doubt that you can talk about those who engage in that behavior as psychologically distressed, and there is no doubt that, in a secondary sense, it’s harmful to those who participate in it.”
I couldn't help checking St Paul's list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God:
Neither the immoral (literally "fornicators", according to a footnote), nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals (footnote: Greek has "effeminate nor sodomites." The apostle condemns, not the inherent tendencies of such, but the indulgence of them.), nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9-10 RSVCE Ignatius Bible edition)
So St Paul groups active homosexuals in with other "deviant" kinds of behaviour. The DSM can change its classification for proper scientific reasons or for politically correct reasons. The Word of God is eternal, however. Note that St Paul continues:
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
So it's possible to change, by the grace Jesus pours out upon us at our conversion and Baptism and subsequently through the reception of the Sacraments, and openness to the Holy Spirit! Another thing the "gay" lobby considers anathema.

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