censorship

Minnesota Catholic School Deems Mere Discussion of Being A Gay Teenager Too Controversial For Print

Benilde-St. Margaret’s, a Catholic high school in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, doesn’t want want to upset The Jesus, so rather than let students speak openly about their thoughts on the Catholic Church’s 400,000-distribution anti-gay DVD Preserving Marriage in Minnesota, administrators removed an editorial from the school newspaper that called the film a piece of crap.

The Knight Errant student newspaper published a news story last Thursday about the bishops’ “Preserving Marriage in Minnesota” DVD. But it was the two editorials that accompanied it — and the online comments they inspired — that created the uproar. One staff editorial challenged the bishops’ arguments against same-sex marriage and called the DVD “unsubstantiated.” Senior Bernardo Vigil helped write the piece.

“We did expect a little bit of a pushback from that, which there was. A lot of the comments were ‘this shouldn’t have been published, this is a Catholic school,'” Vigil said. But the op-ed that touched off the cyberstorm was editor Sean Simonson’s piece, “Life as a gay teenager.”

That doozy — published in full here — has Sean (pictured) acknowledging that he considered suicide as a way to end all the animosity aimed his way for being gay. “Every day you hear someone use your sexuality — a part of you that, no matter how desperately you try, you cannot change — as a negative adjective. That hurts,” he writes. “You fear looking the wrong way in the locker room and offending someone. Politicians are allowed to debate your right to marry the person you love or your right to be protected from hate crimes under the law. Your faith preaches your exclusion — or damnation. And no one does anything to stop it. Recently, the Archbishop used money donated by an anonymous source to denounce same-sex marriage. That’s right: a major religious leader used non-Church money from a questionable source to publicly condemn your right to express your love in a public and binding manner.”

After the piece ran, school principal Sue Skinner called Sean’s parents and spoke to Sean. Then she had the two editorials removed from the paper’s website, replaced with this note: “While lively debate and discussion clearly has its place in a Catholic school, this particular discussion is not appropriate because the level of intensity has created an unsafe environment for students. As importantly, the articles and ensuing online postings have created confusion about Church teaching.”

Ah yes, another example of school administrators, and not students themselves, creating inhospitable environments for gay teens. Because merely talking about being gay, and the struggles queer youth face that are directly connected to the Catholic Church and its teachings, are “not appropriate.”

[MPR]