As a teenager who spent my years in high school explaining to my befuddled peers that I could still be a feminist and enjoy cooking, I was touched and inspired by Ariel Amundsen's article. Touched because her compassion and thorough explanation of such a sensitive subject during the high school years is remarkable; inspired because I see more and more girls with my upbringing (I, too, was raised Catholic) looking beyond dogma in order to appreciate our fellow man. Amundsen has a long, hard battle ahead of her, but kudos for tackling it so early and at such a potentially volatile time in one's life. I thank her.
-- M. Riordan
I'm a 16-year-old student from a public Raleigh, N.C., high school which is known locally as being too liberal for words. And here's news: Gay bashing is in. It's fashionable -- questioning the verbal degradation and harassment of "fags" is the quickest way to get harassed yourself. It might have something to do with the malicious intolerance of local Southern Baptists, or the view of popular musicians as merely "rebellious" for suggesting violence against homosexuals. Me? I think it's plain old evil rearing its head, and schools -- religious or no -- are too afraid to touch it. Thanks, authority figures!
-- John Ring
I'm sorry Ariel Amundsen has to witness gay-bashing at school. But she shouldn't assume that such behavior is confined to Catholic schools. I graduated two years ago from a public high school, and similar gay-bashing and harassment occurred. It seems to be a staple among teenagers, regardless of faith. Your school teaches against homosexuality, and mine taught tolerance. But the students harassed gays and suspected gays anyway. Teenagers are the most pigheaded people on earth, and it's hard to teach them anything they don't want to learn. So don't assume your school is at fault. The same kids would probably behave similarly no matter where they went to school.
-- Lillie Wade
Yes, the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are a sin. But it accepts that some people are homosexual and expects them to live a chaste life, just like heterosexuals. It offers counseling, guidance and acceptance to homosexual members.
The author portrays a horrible school where the students are full of hatred. She blames the church's stance on sexual issues and suggests that the students are victims of the church's antiquated position. I take a different view. I believe that if this school is horrible it is because the students do NOT follow church teaching on loving another as God loved us. These children aren't Catholic enough! If they were, then they would treat each other with the love, respect and tolerance that all God's creations deserve.
-- Meghan Collins
"[Abortion is] murder," if you believe it, seems to be the best possible argument against abortion (not a "tired Catholic tag line"). See, killing people is not OK. The line may be often repeated, but that's because a lot of people do believe it.
The Catholic Church does not want all unmarried people to have no sexual urges, and for all married couples to have children until the mother dies in childbirth. The idea of abstinence is that sexuality should reinforce the bond between married people; it's not supposed to be easy. And the church has stated that a family has a right to make the decision to abort a child if the mother's life is at risk -- no one is asking a woman to die in childbirth. (Plus, according to the Dec. 2000 edition of Maxim, the reference most readily at hand, the rhythm method is 80 percent effective, in comparison to an 86 percent effectiveness rate for condoms -- not such a big difference. And lots of people rely on condoms as their only means of contraception -- so don't knock people who like to do it "the natural way.")
Lastly, one need not take on the label of "feminist" (with its ERA and "like a fish needs a bicycle" connotations) to believe in and work for the equal rights and protection of women. A person should be defined by his or her actions and beliefs, not by the label he or she assumes.
-- Emma Terrell
Ariel Amundsen's article about sexual beliefs at her Catholic school was very well written and quite entertaining. The logic of her opinions, however, left a lot to be desired. Basically, she laments the fact that all her peers believe what they are in school to learn: Catholic doctrine. She, however, considers that doctrine wrong in the areas of homosexuality, abortion and abstinence.
My simple question to her is: Why are you a Catholic? A religion is a body of belief that is said to be ordained by God. Subscribing to a particular religion requires a mindset of acceptance based on faith. Logical criticism of a religion's tenets is NOT consistent with religious belief -- it is rational thinking, which is incompatible with faith.
If you believe in your mind that the tenets of Catholicism are wrong, then reject Catholicism. Better yet, reject all religion and forge your own morality, taking ideas from philosophies or even religions that seem right to you.
I have no sympathy for people who recognize the clear absurdities of their religion, but continue to identify themselves as adherents of the religion. They want to change the age-old beliefs of their faith, rather than changing their own affiliation. If you remove sexual intolerance from Christianity, it's no longer Christianity -- it's some new religion. So why retain religion at all, when belief based on faith is so inadequate a means of understanding the world?
-- J. Scott Peter