Dr. J and Tyler Clementi

Has too much been read into a comment? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Yesterday, I found out that Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, known as Dr. J, of the Ruth Institute, was on the receiving end of some remarks from leftist homosexual activists concerning her supposedly misusing the suicide of a young man named Tyler Clementi. Dr. J is someone I consider a friend so I wanted to look into this since I have never known her to be anything but loving and respecting. I remember meeting her in NC one time and being introduced as her friend when we hadn’t spoken that much. I happily accept the title. I’m very proud of Dr. J’s commitment to marriage.

Still, I wanted to be as fair as I could. I talked to her and she said she would let me listen to the podcast without comment first so I wouldn’t be swayed by her. Fair enough. I listened twice. Then I questioned her about it. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of her response from what I heard, but later on, I looked back at it again and realized “Why yes. That makes perfect sense.” As it turns out, I had misinterpreted just as well. For that, I do offer my great apologies, but I want the reader to know that Dr. J was fine with me listening and coming to my own conclusions. That is her great character there.

So what is going on? At a talk, Dr. J spoke about how some people in the homosexual community get exploited. Okay. Let’s start there before we go on. Are we going to say this never happens? Is it the case that no one in the homosexual community could never take advantage of another homosexual in a sexual sense? There really doesn’t seem to be much controversial about that. You could be someone who thinks homosexuality is perfectly okay, and still agree with it. I think heterosexuality is what is right, but I am freely able to admit this happens. I would also admit this can even sadly happen in marriage when a spouse is treated as just an object of sexual pleasure and nothing else.

Let’s hope we’re agreed then. Sexual exploitation happens and it’s wrong.

In talking about this, Dr. J told Catholic students, who share her worldview, that she thinks chaste friendships should be what is sought. The idea I gather is that men need to form friendships with homosexual men and women need to form them with homosexual women. They need to be treated like men and women regardless of their sexual attraction. If I’m wrong on her stance, I’m open to correction.

Dr. J also said that in our culture, we sexualize everything. Will anyone disagree with this? You can’t go anywhere without finding sex being an active part. Now to an extent, this is understandable. I think that being too open about sex is a problem, but so is being prudish. I found the Ragu commercial during the Olympics absolutely hysterical and I think there is a fun and open way for Christians to maturely talk about sex, and no, I don’t mind the joke about it from time to time. It’s a funny topic after all!

Yet for us, any relationship is automatically sexualized and this can give us confusion in our society. Dr. J said that as a woman, she should have only one sexual relationship. As a married man, I am the same way. The only relationship I should have that has a sexual component to it is the one I have with my wife. In our society, too often sex is made a part of most every relationship.

Now in light of talking about sexual exploitation and the homosexual community, she told about Tyler Clementi. The story from GLAAD on Clementi is that he was a student at Rutger’s who committed suicide after his roommate recorded him kissing another man.

When this was brought up by Dr. J, she asked the students if they knew about this. Admittedly, on the recording, this part seems ambiguous. You can’t tell what the students say. Dr. J says she won’t go into it. My first impression was that that meant the students already knew about it. I have been told that that is not correct. What happened was no one had any clue and it would have been seen as a tangent and a long one to explain at a Q&A so don’t go into it while other people are waiting for questions.

Dr. J had said that people can be caught by activists in the homosexual group who might want to use them to further push their own agenda. Would anyone really deny that this is plausible at least? Don’t people in politics use other people on a regular basis to further their own agenda without taking into account the person?

Let’s state some things further that I don’t think would need to be stated, but I’m sure Dr. J would agree with.

First, that this happened to Tyler Clementi is a tragedy. Suicide is always a sad thing. I don’t know anyone in this debate who is looking at the suicide of Tyler Clementi as a good thing. It is something that we all wish to avoid.

Second, the action of the roommate was also wrong. In our culture of sexting and such, too often these kinds of incidents spread around the internet like wildfire. Yes. It is wrong for several young women to be sharing sexual pictures of themselves, but what we do with it is worse.

Third, bullying of anyone is wrong. This is also the case by the way for the homosexual activists on Dr. J’s facebook page. For all the time they spend talking about love and tolerance, they sure don’t show it. In fact, their comments are further confirmation of what Dr. J has said consistently. We can expect this kind of treatment when we speak against the party line. That they give Dr. J this treatment now is reason enough to suspect that if they gain power, they’ll do even worse.

In fact, GLAAD in a page complaining about Dr. J lists statements she’s made they don’t like. That’s their choice! They have a right to not like her statements and positions! What they don’t have on the page unfortunately is reasons why Dr. J’s opinions are wrong! Saying “I don’t like X!” does not count as an argument against X. It could be for the sake of argument that Dr. J is wrong. It is not enough to show she is wrong by having outrage.

So getting back to what was going on, in the worst case scenario, it was a statement that a young man could have been taken advantage of by someone in the homosexual community and the tragic ending of that was suicide. Who would deny that this is a plausible situation? Who would deny that this is also a possible situation?

The sad reality also is that exploitation will still sadly go on. There will be people who will use the death of Tyler Clementi to push their own agenda. The sad reality is that GLAAD could very well be doing the same thing. Does that mean that they are doing that? No. It means they need to be aware of that possibility.

As it stands right now, it’s my contention that this whole thing is being blown out of proportion. In fact, Dr. J has offered to meet with the Clementis. Personally, that sounds like an excellent idea. Let them meet and discuss the situation and see if they think Dr. J did something wrong. I do not doubt if Dr. J was given a convincing reason to show that something she did was improper, she would be the first to offer an apology. We would not need to ask her to. She is that kind of person.

Hopefully, we can move past the accusations that have been going on and try to sit down and listen to what is being said. We may not like it, but our dislike is not an argument in itself. No matter what position one takes in this debate, one needs to try to have a rational basis for what they think.

Let’s hope the apostles of tolerance and open-mindedness and diversity are willing to consider this approach. Somehow, I doubt it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

GLAAD’s page complaining about Dr. J as well as links to their position on Tyler Clementi can be found here: http://www.glaad.org/cap/jennifer-roback-morse