Friday, February 14, 2014

Michael Coren's Stance on Homosexuality

Many people of the Christian persuasion have taken exception to the view Coren took of the gay question on his show the other day. The controversial clip is here. And, his Sun News article discussing the show is here.

I agree with Coren's take in the clip, nearly 100%. The "Christian guy" they interviewed was horrible and embarrassing.

In the culture war of Christians versus homosexualists, I doubt that there is any room left for reasonable debate, but I would like to think that, when we come to fight, we Christians will fight about truth, not an angry derivative of it. That is what that pastor was giving; Coren was much closer to the truth.

But there were two things I did not like about Coren's position, especially as expressed in the article, rather than the clip.

1. The use of the word 'tolerated.' I realize now that very often it's editors, not writers, who supply titles. But I think this one is a very unfortunate choice. Sun News more than any other organization should know what the phrase, "should not be tolerated," can mean. Toleration is an ambiguous word. I want to think that the British-born Coren understands it somewhat differently than I do. I would like to think he means by "is not to be tolerated," "is not morally acceptable." In that case I would agree that it is not morally right to insult gay people. Insults are not Christian - read the Sermon of the Mount. I do not think it should be considered illegal. In this day and age, in our current social climate, we need to move very far away from the use of the law to enforce moral views points and sensitivities. I hope he is not suggesting that it should be illegal, that people should be punished for using terms like "sodomite," or for understanding homosexuality the way that pastor does. If Coren means "not morally okay" then someone should tell him to avoid the use of the phrase, "should not be tolerated," because that suggests courts, fines, and prisons.

2. Secondly, Coren might not be incorrect to say that people don't simply choose to be gay, but he is incorrect to suggest that no choice is involved and that this is simply a matter of "being born that way." That's far too simplistic. Homosexuality, one's sexual profile, so to speak, involves a lot of choice. It involves a lot of things that 'happen to people,' and how one processes the things that happen to them. But alcoholism, drug addiction, pedophilia, and even religiousity, to be fair here, do too. That fact neither means they are in and of themselves good or bad. I would be willing to grant that for some people no conscious choice to be gay is made, but, frankly, for some people such a choice is conscious. Being gay is very popular today, very cool. That is a powerful motivator to people for whom such social advantage is quite attractive. If I am wrong, we will not see people who "thought they were gay, realizing that they were not" be a trend in about 15 years.

Let's be honest here, most homosexuals are not victims. Coren played it a bit to close to that script. In that he was certainly facilitated by that awfully misguided pastor he had on the show.

But no one's perfect. And Coren, he is pretty close to perfect.

After all, he has generously agreed to be interviewed by me for the Summer edition of the Catholic Review of Books. Yes, it all comes back to the Review for me, doesn't it?

And that's the byline. Oh sorry, I thought I was Brian Lilly for a second there.


And, I'm not talking about homosexuality any more for a long time. Facebook friends, post your stupid gay positive stuff as much as you like. I'm not agreeing with you by my silence. I am just going to put my mind to other things for a while.


  1. I certainly agree with your two criticisms of Coren’s position, with some qualifications for the second but no need to go further with that at this point.

    My greatest concern in regard to the TV episode referenced, as well as to many other segments of Mr. Coren’s show, on the subject of homosexuality, is a quite blatant disregard for the subject of the spiritual danger to the souls who practice homosexuality. The continued practice of such acts of grave depravity could well constitute grave sin and threaten the eternal soul of the individual involved. CCC#2357. Mr. Coren is on the record in his books quoting and giving the impression that he subscribes to this moral evaluation but he clearly is not making the connection with his “gay” friends on the airwaves, whose souls are in peril and who need to understand the huge risk they take by continuing in this behaviour. Therefore it seems he gives lip service to the Catechism on this point. It’s fine to talk about compassion, respect, love on the one side and then insults and intolerance on the other but when exactly is Mr. Coren going to get around to the subject of their souls? Mr. Coren is after all a Catholic and we are to be concerned, FIRST AND FOREMOST, with the souls of our fellow man. Love for our fellow man demands that we warn them if they are overtaken by moral evil and invite them to Jesus Christ before their opportunity passes because we know tomorrow is not guaranteed for any human being. Mr. Coren is a brilliant communicator. I have no doubt that he could incorporate this successfully into his script if he believed it. However, I think this is the very notion that he rates as offensive and which he believes should not be tolerated.

  2. You, of course, make the best fundamental point. But most of these people are not ready to hear that. I suppose if they first see us, not as haters, but as very good moral people, they will come to trust people like us to confide in. We know homosexuality cures nothing, and we just have to hope that sooner or later these people will realize that, and then come to us to ask our advice on how to be happy, because we were always loving and yet never compromised on our moral view.

  3. "Haters"? Sad that you've bought into that nonsense. It is not hate speech to instruct a wayward soul in the truth. It is an action of love and respect.

    To the point of "we were always loving and yet never compromised on our moral view" isn't that begging the question? My contention is that Mr. Coren IS compromising his moral view by emphasizing only half the Catholic truth. How many of those homosexuals who listen to him have heard him say that their lifestyle can lead them into judgment and hell? "Respect, compassion and sensitivity" is only half the truth.

  4. As someone who has just been blocked from Mr. Coren's Facebook page and labelled (along with many other very civil respondents) a "hater", I think you have correctly diagnosed a serious problem with his mode of presenting the position of homosexuals in our society, and the proper articulation of Catholic teaching on the subject. Sigh.

  5. Michael Coren has crossed a fine line between tolerance and acceptance. Its one thing to tolerate something meaning to have compassion for the sinner but its entirely another thing to accept the sin as acceptable. You can show love and respect for someone who is gay but that doesn't mean you have to agree with the lifestyle.

  6. I was gay myself but grew out of it. When I was nine I thought doing something like kissing girls was pretty gross. Now they're less gross but just generally irritating.