In a contrarian move, I’m going to defend the “hypocrisy” of the good Cardinal O’Brien as distasteful as that might be to that malicious Protestant part of me gleefully going, “Hah! Progressive Sanctification my ass!”
I am not sure is what is actual argument that most “homophobes” are closet homosexuals themselves about. This is simply the classic “genetic fallacy”, the attempt to dismiss an argument or premise by tracing the “genealogy” of the belief to some psychological roots. The genealogy of a belief is a distinct question from the validity of a belief. To trace the subjective roots of a belief isn’t the same as engaging the belief itself, all it does is illuminate the history of the person, but says nothing about the belief as an objective proposition independently of the subject. It would be like attempting to dismiss Bertrand Russell’s mathematical arguments concerning the reductibility of mathematics to set theory by claiming that he’s only making this argument because he wants the mathematical universe to be elegant and systematic and perfectly logical, etc (which he did openly declare especially after his anguish over how his perfect ideal of mathematics have been destroyed by Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem). Whether or not mathematics can be reduced to set theory surely involves mathematical argumentation, not arguments over the origin of this belief in the subject.
And even if we want to sidestep this fallacy by saying that the Cardinal’s behaviour, although not invalidating his arguments, does cast into doubt his “credibility”, (whatever that means), still doesn’t really make sense. Is a struggling alchoholic’s warnings against alcohol to be dismissed because he’s fearful about his “alcoholic side”? Or is a struggling drug addict’s diatribes against drug use to be rejected simply because he’s fighting against the need within him to take drugs and is horrified with that part of himself? Surely it is precisely those who have experienced first hand and intimately those perceived evils who would be the most vehement in their rejection of it. If anything, it should enhance his credibility, not diminish it, for he is an authority and knows “what-it-is-like” to precisely struggle with such a “sin” and still reject it, etc. After all, isn’t it a common criticism of heterosexual’s criticism of homosexuality that they don’t “suffer” or “go through” the same thing and therefore don’t know what it is like and have no right to comment? Well, then shouldn’t these “closet gays” who know what it is like then should be all the more credible?
If you’re straight and you criticise homosexuality, you’re being oppressive and unsympathetic and don’t identify with gays. And if you’re gay and still criticise homosexuality, then you’re being self-loathing and STILL being oppressive.
You simply can’t win!
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