Friday, March 21, 2014

On Westboro Baptists and the Guilt By Association Fallacy

The news reports are coming out that the founder of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church (hereafter referred to as WBC) has died. While I pray for his soul as I would for any person who lived in error, I certainly cannot praise his "mission."

I'm sure that may surprise some. The media, over the past few years have consistently placed stories of WBC antics in the news whenever Christians have spoken against government attempts to redefine marriage.   It comes across as an Orwellian Two Minute Hate, trying to link Christian moral teaching with extremist hatred.

This is the Guilt by Association fallacy, which argues:
■ It is pointed out that unsavory person A accepts claim X.
■ Therefore X is false.

The point is, the truth or falsity of a belief is not nullified by the character of the person or group that holds it. It is quite possible that a person can hold a true belief for a false reason or go to an unjust extreme in applying the truth,  but that false reason or that unjust extreme does not mean Claim X is false.

The majority of Christians who recognize homosexual acts are contrary to God's will also reject the extremist views of the WBC.

Consider the signs carried by the WBC.  Now consider what the Catechism has to say:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward 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. (2333)

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons 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.

There can be no just comparison of the WBC and the Catholic Church.  So people should stop seeking to use the WBC as a bugbear to vilify Christian moral teaching.

No comments:

Post a Comment