Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Charles Rice Gets Cock-Blocked By The Observer

I would usually let Bill take this one, but I couldn't resist...

Charles Rice is a veritable piece of crap.
Our lovely, student-run, independent newspaper, The Observer, has afforded this piece of crap a megaphone since 1992 that he may use once every two weeks. Unfortunately, he cannot resist the temptation for excessive conservative dickery when he has it.

Today, The Observer decided not to publish Dr. Rice's column on the Catholic teaching on homosexuality. It's great to see The Observer using journalistic discretion properly. We must not confuse this discretion from true censorship, which is about squelching ideas we oppose on their opinion alone.

Matt Gamber, the editor of The Observer, gave the following reasons for the decision:

#1: The column "far exceeded" the length guidelines of the newspaper

#2: “I personally had some concerns with the content of the column, particularly considering The Mobile Party comic incident earlier in the semester at The Observer.”


I will refrain from addressing the specifics of his column because he is not worth my time. There are simply too many examples of bigotry here. If you would like to see Bill's delightful butchering of his past comments, click here. Because I am not concerned with the judgment of our Lefty's readers or the potential damage done by publishing his words, I will include them below:



"Right or Wrong"

March 3, 2010
A column by Charles Rice

A big issue at Notre Dame a few weeks ago was “sexual orientation” and the status of the Notre Dame Gay/ Lesbian/ Bisexual/ Transgender (GLBT) community. Enough time has passed to make it useful to review some of the governing principles as found in the teaching of the Catholic Church. That teaching includes four pertinent elements:

Homosexual acts are always objectively wrong. The starting point is the Catechism: “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction to 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.” No. 2357.

Homosexual acts are doubly wrong. They are not only contrary to nature. They are wrong also because they are extra-marital. The Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, issued in 1986 with the approval of John Paul II, said, “It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behavior therefore acts immorally. To choose someone of the same sex for one’s sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals of the Creator’s sexual design.” No 7.

Since homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered,” the inclination toward those acts is disordered. An inclination to commit any morally disordered act, whether theft, fornication or whatever, is a disordered inclination. “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies,” says the Catechism, “is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.” No. 2358. That inclination, however, is not in itself a sin.

“[M]en and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies,” says the Catechism, “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” No. 2358. In a culture which tends to marginalize and disrespect those with physical or psychological disorders, it will be useful to recall the admonition of the 1986 Letter that “The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation…. Today the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she… insists that every person has a fundamental identity: the creature of God and, by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.” No. 16. The prohibition of “unjust” discrimination, however, does not rule out the making of reasonable and just distinctions with respect to military service, the wording of university nondiscrimination policies and other matters including admission to seminaries. As the Congregation for Catholic Education said in its 2005 Instruction on the subject, “the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’” No. 2.

“[M]en and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies…. are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives, and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition…. Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.” Catechism, nos. 2358, 2359.

The positive, hopeful teaching of the Church on marriage, the family and the transmission of life is founded on the dignity of the person as a creature made in the image and likeness of God. The “gay rights” movement is, instead, a predictable consequence of the now-dominant contraceptive ethic. Until the Anglican Lambeth Conference of 1930, no Christian denomination had ever said that contraception could ever be objectively right. The Catholic Church continues to affirm the traditional Christian position that contraception is intrinsically an objective evil.

Contraception, said Paul VI in Humanae Vitae in 1968, is wrong because it deliberately separates the unitive and procreative aspects of the sexual act. If, sex has no intrinsic relation to procreation and if, through contraception, it is entirely up to man (of both sexes) whether sex will have any such relation, how can one deny legitimacy to sexual acts between two men or between two women? The contraceptive society cannot deny that legitimacy without denying itself. Further, if individual choice prevails without regard to limits of nature, how can the choice be limited to two persons? Polygamy (one man, multiple women), polyandry (one woman, multiple men), polyamory (sexual relations between or among multiple persons of one or both sexes) and other possible arrangements, involving the animal kingdom as well, would derive legitimacy from the same contraceptive premise that justifies one-on-one homosexual relations.

It would be a mistake to view the homosexual issue as simply a question of individual rights. The militant “gay rights” movement seeks a cultural and legal redefinition of marriage and the family, contrary to the reality rooted in reason as well as faith. Marriage, a union of man and woman, is the creation not of the state but of God himself as seen in Genesis. Sacramento coadjutor bishop Jaime Soto, on Sept. 26, 2008, said: “Married love is a beautiful, heroic expression of faithful, life-giving, life-creating love. It should not be accommodated and manipulated for those who would believe that they can and have a right to mimic its unique expression.” Space limits preclude discussion here of the “same-sex marriage” issue, which we defer to a later column.

18 comments:

Bill said...

"The prohibition of 'unjust' discrimination, however, does not rule out the making of reasonable and just distinctions with respect to military service, the wording of university nondiscrimination policies and other matters including admission to seminaries."

Why? If getting kicked out of school or losing your job for your sexual orientation are examples of "just" or "reasonable discrimination what discrimination would be unjust?
In one paragraph he cites passages in the catechism calling on Catholics to give respect and justice to gay people and then in one sweeping sentence he renders the very passages he quoted completely meaningless.

The word games used to mask bigotry behind a veil of authority are classic Charles Rice. I stopped criticizing his column on Lefty's because I couldn't bring myself to read that trash anymore.

ShamRockNRoll said...

Charles Rice is a dithering old bigot. He's had a column since 1992, in OUR student newspaper. Fuck him. It's about time The Observer rejected his bigoted garbage. They should stop printing his column altogether. We already have one regular right-wing column written by a student, with no regular left-wing column to counter it.

Bill said...

http://www.ndnation.com/boards/showpost.php?b=backroom;pid=223366;d=this

Here's the email exchange between Rice and the Observer's editor in chief Matt Garber

Selected quotes:


Garber:
"While your piece was well-researched and I trust the information was factually correct, I did not feel it lent itself to creating a productive discussion, all things considered. I was a bit concerned with certain language as well.

In the future, if you would like to examine this topic, we thought it might be beneficial to do so in a point-counterpoint format, perhaps with an author of an opposing or differing viewpoint. That way, each "side," to speak, would have the opportunity to present relevant facts, evidence and analysis to define its position."

Rice:
"In a university that claims to be Catholic, I am not willing to restrict my presentation of Catholic teaching to a format that treats the authoritative teaching of the Church as merely one viewpoint or “side” among many. If you require that future columns of mine on homosexuality comply with a format such as you propose, it will be inappropriate for me to continue writing the column for the Observer."

Oh snap. I think this was the last Charles Rice column. Good riddance.

On the other hand, I'm concerned that the Observer's editorial staff still hasn't learned their lesson from the cartoon incident. They refused to print a column that was merely an admittedly "well-sourced" defense of the status quo (allowing ND to discriminate against LGBT students) but they did print a cartoon whose poor excuse for satire could easily perceived as recommending a hate crime against those same students.

Garber's idea to turn Rice's column into a point-counterpoint style is an interesting one but it misses the point. No other columnist has ever been subject to this kind of treatment. The real solution should not have been to suppress Rice's column, but to include a true progressive column for once. This act by the editorial staff just strikes me as a belated apology for the cartoon controversy.

Liz Furman said...

thank fucking god. I hope he never writes a column again. i think we've all seen enough of his bigoted, self-righteous opinions printed in our newspaper.

Joe said...

Charles Rice is the Antichrist.

I'm eternally grateful that I never considered applying to ND's law school knowing that this is the type of bigoted, hateful, and unholy product that they hired.

What an evil, evil man. I hope that God may one day forgive him for his unbridled hatred and vindictiveness.

This is a man who is stubbornly and completely sure of his worldview-he knows for certain just who in this world are second-class citizens.

As a modern-day Hitler masquerading as a former professor of "law" (I must wonder how he can consider himself ethical enough to meet bar standards), he separates the good Catholics from the gays-the former gain heaven while the latter will suffer for eternity.

Aly said...

Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention Henry. Rice's article is honestly one of the most disgusting things I have ever had the displeasure of reading. His response to The Observer - his unwillingness to engage in a FAIR, open debate/discussion - only serves to further show his close-minded nature. That might be the most disgusting part of the entire thing - his refusal to even acknowledge another side of the issue.

ShamRockNRoll said...

I just voted in the new poll asking what to do with the Charles Rice situation, and selected "Replace his column with a progressive one." I wanted to explain my choice: My intent is not to remove a conservative voice and replace it with a progressive one to sway the bias of The Observer's editorial page. However, there are already two regular columns by arch-conservatives, and NONE by liberals/progressives. Replacing Rice's column, which is always the most bigoted and hateful of the two, with a liberal voice would add balance to the editorial page of The Observer.

Jess Mahon said...

Henry, thanks for this post. It's important to see that even as the general population has forgotten about the comic controversy (and in turn, about the struggle for equality at ND) there is still plenty of hate being spread around. Just last week one of the organizers of the demonstration received some pretty disgusting hate mail. I'm happy to see that the new editor was able to recognize how damaging the publication of Rice's bigotry would have been, but I agree with you Bill...his intentions were probably apologetic.

In other (gay) news:
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you...Roy Ashburn!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/04/roy-ashburn-arrested-anti_n_485419.html

Gregory said...

"Bigoted"? That's a pretty loaded word. Let's go to dictionary.com.

Bigoted means "utterly intolerant of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own."

I'm not sure exactly why Mr. Rice is being called bigoted, but it sounds like the people who are cursing him might well be.

Maybe you disagree with his reasoning. If so, please explain your own. Calling someone a piece of crap because you disagree with him is basically the epitome of bigotry.

Or maybe I'm being a stickler for correct usage of English vocabulary, and you guys don't think that he's literally a bigot.

ShamRockNRoll said...

Gregory, which word would you prefer we use to describe someone who beliefs gays and lesbians are not equal to their straight brothers & sisters, and who tries to use his skewed view of Catholicism to justify that they also be discriminated against not only at Notre Dame, but under the laws of the United States? We used to do that to a lot of other people too... and bigoted describes that quite accurately.

I think bigoted sums up Charles Rice's columns, and the opinions he often expresses about gays, women, and liberals perfectly. He takes Catholic doctrine out of context to dishonestly use it as support for his own superior vision of the way the world should be--namely, treating gays as less worthy beings. In the second to the last paragraph he even tries to equate homosexuality with bestiality. Beautiful. Indeed, he is a veritable piece of crap.

Now, do I think I am superior to Charles Rice? No. Not as a human being. I believe we are equal in worth before the eyes of God--I also believe we are equal under the law. These are opinions that Charles Rice does not hold for people different from himself.

I do think my ideas of how human beings should treat and respect each other are superior to those of Mr. Rice. Does that make me a bigot? No. Not unless you would also call me a bigot for saying that my belief that my idea that blacks and whites are equal members of society, and should be treated thusly under the law, are superior to the ideas of a modern day Klansman. Surely you wouldn't suggest that I was being bigoted in that case?

Bill said...

That is nowhere close to a comprehensive definition of bigoted. Still, if you have read his column on a consistent basis (as I have) it becomes fairly obvious that even by the minimalist definition of bigoted that you offer, Charles Rice is a bigot.

Gregory said...

I still don't really see the bigotry. It seems like Mr. Rice is basically quoting the catechism a whole bunch of times. I'd admit that he's provocative. But I think the bigotry accusations are basically just emotional, ad hominem attacks.

At least shamrock attempts to make the beginning of an argument. It happens to be one of the most tired, overused arguments in the history mankind: "X is a lot like the civil rights movement of course, so please support X. If you don't you are a bit like the Klansmen." This comparison seem superficial at best. You let this dubious analogy do all the work for you, without explaining how it makes any sense.

Also, you claim that he "tries to equate homosexuality with bestiality." If you can explain how he "equates" them, without completely butchering the English language, I'll eat my hat. You, on the other hand, basically do equate his views with the racist views of a Klansman. So, when he does it (which he didn't) it's outrageous. When you do it, it's a perfectly legitimate form of argument.

Rice quotes the following: “[M]en and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies,” says the Catechism, “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” Yeah, a real fire-breathing hatemonger...

You know, assertions are all fine and dandy until you realize that you have nothing to back them up other than your own indignation.

Bill said...

I don't throw the label of bigot around flippantly, and I'd rather not apply it to a professor at my alma mater. However, I can't speak for the rest of the writing staff or our commenters.

I disagree with the majority of what he says in this column, but since his argument draws primarily from the catechism that forces me to conclude that I (and presumably, the others on this blog) disagree with the catechism on these issues as well. I wouldn't go so far as to say that this makes him a bigot, but others are free to make that case.

Professor Rice is arguing for denying certain rights and privileges to members of an often discriminated group. Many people would draw parallels to people in the past who made the same case for denying rights to people based on race, who society would now refer to as bigots. Rice (as well as people who agree with him) does not believe that his position is a bigoted one, since to him homosexuality is a disorder. In his eyes, the concept of sexual orientation, rather than being something beyond one's control that cannot be used as a just way to discriminate against a person, isn't even worthy of utterance without quotation marks, suggesting his own incredulity toward the idea.

Someone who doesn't believe that sexual orientation even legitimately exists and who sees homosexuality as a disorder equivalent to an inclination to commit theft, clearly could never understand how wishing to deny rights to homosexuals would be considered bigoted. Those who disagree with him on those rather crucial points would come to an entirely different conclusion.

So while this column in particular would not serve as sufficient evidence to prove that Charles Rice is a bigot to someone who takes a similar position as he does, the accusation is not entirely baseless if one considers the perspective of the accuser.

And while we're on the subject of definitions, Merriam Webster refers to a bigot as "a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance"

I can only assume that those who are accusing Rice of bigotry for this particular column would be referencing something more akin to the above definition.

The definition that you offered from dictionary.com, "utterly intolerant of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own." would probably not apply in this case, since we are not talking about intolerance of a belief or opinion. I do, however, take issue with your use of this definition as a suggestion that those who were offended by Rice's column are the real bigots:

"Calling someone a piece of crap because you disagree with him is basically the epitome of bigotry."

Calling someone a piece of crap because you disagree with him is the epitome of argumentum ad hominem (and it's really rude) but it's not bigotry per se. But by this definition Charles Rice would most certainly qualify for bigotry since he has argued in the past for denying someone speaking privileges at the university for taking a different public policy position than he does, and he has also argued that people who vote differently than he does don't belong in the Church.

Accusations of bigotry tend to be emotional and ad hominem anyway, but that doesn't always make them wrong. And in the future, if you want people to be more fair and open-minded when talking about issues such as this, I suggest you extend them the same courtesy.

ShamRockNRoll said...

Bill does an excellent job at explaining why Rice's comments are bigoted, so I won't add much to that. I also wasn't just using this column of his to justify my calling him one, as the sum his columns provide us with a long history of his bigoted, and often sexist, views.

The fact that you need an explanation for my use of the civil rights analogy makes me wonder if you, Gregory, are of the same bigoted frame of mind as Professor Rice?

Do you need me to paint you a picture? I don't see how it is hard to understand. Catholic doctrine aside, Rice also advocates that homosexuals be discriminated against under the laws of the state. In doing so, he is of the mindset that homosexuals are not full citizens, just as bigots before him believed that minority races were not full citizens. It's a pretty simple analogy. People are born with a sexual orientation. Professor Rice, and it appears Gregory as well, believe that people should be treated differently under the law because of how they were born.

Hence, my unapologetic use of the word bigot.

Bill said...

My impression was not that Rice doesn't consider homosexuals as citizens, but that he doesn't consider them their own distinct group worthy of special rights, like racial, ethnic, or religious groups. This means that discrimination against them is A-OK, and doesn't even need to coincide with the denial of their citizenship or personhood.

ShamRockNRoll said...

I didn't mean that he thinks they're not actual citizens, but that he thinks they are not "full citizens", as in that they are not deserving of equal rights under the law--not special rights.

Anonymous said...

I suppose he does want to "discriminate", but that's way too vague to be an even interesting point. We all discriminate in one sense or another. The point is: Does he want to discriminate unjustly? I assume you guys would say yes. But what right is he denying people? There's not some sort of blanket right, whether we mean civil right or human right, to marry whomever you wish. And there's not some sort of blanket right to adopt whenever you wish.

You need to be more focused and clear in your arguments. Maybe it'll turn out that he is wrong or that he is bigoted, but no one has really made much of a case.

I really don't see where Rice's "dickery" comes in. He has strongly held opinions. He seems to have done a lot of research and a lot of thinking on these subjects. I don't really sense ill will on his part against anyone else.

Part of tolerance is treating your opponents with charity and patience. When I see opponents spoken of with such venom I wonder where all the tolerance is.

One of the reasons I find the civil rights movement analogy to be so ironic is that many of the marchers themselves would have agreed with Rice's views on this subject. So, we're left with the fun observation that the civil rights movement had a whole bunch of bigots in it.
Here's one example, but you can find a lot more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_John_Neuhaus

-Greg

Bill said...

"There's not some sort of blanket right, whether we mean civil right or human right, to marry whomever you wish. And there's not some sort of blanket right to adopt whenever you wish."

Are you sure that's what I was arguing for? I did a Ctrl+F search for "marry", "marriage", and "adopt" on this page and the only results I could find were from you and Charles Rice. The discrimination we were talking about was workplace discrimination, one of the much more obvious forms of discrimination that Charles Rice advocates. Please don't put words in our mouths.

"You need to be more focused and clear in your arguments. Maybe it'll turn out that he is wrong or that he is bigoted, but no one has really made much of a case."

By your own comment it would appear that you've read less than half of the arguments against your position in these comments, so it is more likely that you just haven't noticed anyone making the case, rather than that no one has.

"One of the reasons I find the civil rights movement analogy to be so ironic is that many of the marchers themselves would have agreed with Rice's views on this subject. So, we're left with the fun observation that the civil rights movement had a whole bunch of bigots in it.
Here's one example, but you can find a lot more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_John_Neuhaus"

This might be the least convincing argument against gay rights I have ever seen and is altogether an unremarkable piece of trivia. Someone opposes discrimination for one group but supports it for another. Wow, never heard of that happening before.