add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );A Response to The Torch's View of Humanity and Morality - BANG.
Andrew Guarino and John Sexton / Gavel Media

A Response to The Torch's View of Humanity and Morality

“...the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are gravely immoral and detrimental to the human person…if an LGBTQ+ resource center funded by Boston College would affirm the homosexual acts of students, this would represent a grave moral discord between BC and the university’s commitment to the teachings of Jesus Christ.”

I abhor the fact that I gave light to an article riddled with homophobia and naivety in something of my own, but I believe it is crucial if I plan to respond to such words. The Torch did not respond to The Gavel’s request for comment.

The Torch, Boston College’s Catholic Newspaper, recently published an article effectively denouncing Boston College’s decision to integrate LGBTQ+ resources into the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center (BAIC) on campus. The majority of students at BC condemned this decision, feeling as though it was a lukewarm approach to actually creating space for LGBTQ+ students on campus, one that in part takes away resources from AHANA students in the process. In an article from The Gavel published this time last year, the authors expressed that “grouping the two identity groups that BC neglects the most…highlights the lack of care the university has for its marginalized students.”

However, The Torch criticized this decision for a far different reason: an outdated, vacuous justification under the guise of Catholic teaching and scripture.

The incumbent Pope Francis is the first pope to be a member of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, and the first pope to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Pope Francis first spoke about the LGBTQ+ community in 2013, ten years ago, when he said ​​"the key is for the church to welcome, not exclude, and show mercy, not condemnation.” In 2019, Pope Francis reiterated that the Catholic teaching states that homosexuality is “not a sin.” In fact, this past February, Pope Francis said that the criminalization of same-sex acts “​​is a problem that cannot be ignored…a sin…an injustice.”

While I don’t have a religious background myself, I’m struggling to understand how The Torch can persist with homophobic rhetoric when the leader of the Catholic Church, the leader of their religion, actively condemns people who do so. How they can use religion as a weapon against life under a faith that proclaims to love all people. How they can criticize Boston College, the liberal arts university they chose to attend, by stating that an LGBTQ+ resource center would “represent a grave moral discord between BC and the university’s commitment to the teachings of Jesus Christ.” Based on the declarations from Pope Francis that oppose criminal penalties against homosexuality and embrace people of all sexual orientations under the name of God, it appears that Catholic teachings oppose whoever wrote that article from The Torch, not gay people. 

Reading more into the pathetic and evidently groundless words of The Torch, the author writes that “If Boston College feels that sexually confused students are being underserved, then perhaps it could more aggressively promote opportunities for spiritual guidance.”

You do not need to be a genius to connect that The Torch’s push for BC to “aggressively promote opportunities for spiritual guidance” for LGBTQ+ individuals is essentially their way of saying “we need conversion therapy.”

Conversion therapy is a pseudoscientific practice of attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. While I’ll spare you the range of methods used in conversion therapy, one prominent way to go about it is through spiritual counseling and interventions.

A 2018 report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law states that “698,000 LGBT adults in the US have received conversion therapy” and that “an estimated 57,000 youth across all states will receive conversion therapy from religious or spiritual advisors before they reach the age of 18.” The same institute released a report in 2020 finding that people who experience conversion therapy are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide. The general suicide rates for gay youth in the US? At least one attempt every 45 seconds based on a study from The Trevor Project. By this measure, in the time it took you to get to this part of the article, at least 3 LGBTQ+ teenagers have attempted suicide.

The Trevor Project writes that “LGBTQ youth are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but rather placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.” Essentially, because of words published and perpetuated by The Torch that call the existence of LGBTQ+ people “gravely immoral,” teenagers are attempting suicide. This is not a weak connection, but rather a harmful, disgusting, direct correlation.

I want to address that the decision made by the BC administration to group both the AHANA community and LGBTQ+ community on campus is not one that any student advocated for. BC has the resources, funds, and space on campus to provide distinct resources for students of these identities, yet they are actively choosing not to. The inclusion of LGBTQ+ services in the BAIC effectively diminishes the overall amount of energy and resources allocated to AHANA students, generating additional burdens on AHANA students by forcing them to sacrifice staff, funds, and space due to our administration’s lack of care and respect for these communities. Marginalized groups on campus deserve individual attention and resources, and BC has the means to cater to them accordingly.

If I have one thing to say it is that you should not come to a liberal arts college, and frankly you are not wanted, if you have a fear of encountering people who exist outside of your sheltered bubble of what a person is and can be. LGBTQ+ people exist whether you like it or not, and they have since ancient history. The LGBTQ+ community lives in every facet of every community in the world, including and especially in Boston, and despite pushes for the erasure of their existence and humanity, nothing is going to change.

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