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07/31/2014

But does the Archbishop even believe in gay?

by Jeremy Hooper

Archbishop-Nienstedt Resized 2 While allegations swirl around him, John Nienstedt, the head of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who was extremely active in his state's unsuccessful fight to write discrimination into its constitution (they wrote equality into it instead), offered this statement to the Star Tribune:

“I’m not gay,” he said. “And I’m not anti-gay.” [Star Tribune]

But the thing is, if we are to judge him by his own conservative Catholic standard, there is absolutely no substance attached to this statement.

For years I've listened to every prominent conservative Catholic who fights against me, my sexual orientation, and my associated rights insist on making a distinction between my personhood and my "attractions." Conservative Catholics who fight on the anti-equality side never use the word gay. Jennifer Roback Morse, a conservative Catholic if there ever was one, "explained" it all a few years back when she said that people who share her view "don't really accept the category of gayness."

And if that's a true assessment (and it certainly comports with what I've monitored for all these years), then Ninestedt saying he isn't gay (or anti-gay) could be both true and meaningless. If following the logic, his self-assessment is kind of like him saying he's not a superhero. If he doesn't believe that people can even be gay, instead being only fallen people with "same-sex attractions," then his pontification (so to speak) around the word holds no water—holy or otherwise.

***

*Oh, but to be clear: he is very anti-gay.

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