Sex, Gender and the Sacred

The road to the sacred runs through the carnal. Not only the Bible but Life itself reveals that sexuality is more spiritual than biological. The erotic is God's poetry of love calling us out of ourselves to awareness of beauty and to an expansive creativity and giving of ourselves. We go to God through one another, via loving, not apart from one another. --Paschal.

Friday, October 26, 2007


There are no homosexuals in Iran. We know this because President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came all the way to New York to tell us so.

In a speech at Columbia University, he said: "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country."

There are no gays in hockey. The reaction to the movie Breakfast With Scot tells us so. This 2007 Canadian flick tells the story of a gay man, a former Toronto Maple Leaf, who finally comes out of the closet when he and his long time partner adopt an 11-year old boy.

Outraged hockey fans are angry the Leafs gave the producer permission to use the team's logo in the flick, thereby promoting the idea there are gay players in the NHL. There aren't, of course. Gays in swimming? Well, OK, but not hockey.

As additional proof of that fact, I give you a statement from a sports reporter I once worked with. In a voice that brooked no argument, he stated: "There are no homosexuals in hockey." I was considering asking him about gays in football, especially Canadian football, but thought better of it.

And evidently, until Oct. 19, we were all certain there are no gays in children's literature. That was the day J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame announced, at Carnegie Hall if you please, that Albus Dumbledore, great wizard and headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is gay. Worse, she's known this fact for 10 years. Worst, as a young man Dumbledore fell in love with Gellert Grindelwald who turned to the dark side and became the rival he must destroy.

"A great tragedy," said Rowling, obviously sympathetic to Dumbledore's loss.

But, according to some people, Rowling had no business letting Dumbledore out of the broom closet.

"I didn't need to know that," said one newscaster, as though a bird had just pooped all over his desk.

Bloggers, commentators, parents, gay people, straight people, religious leaders and, for all I know, some hockey players, leaped to their computers and flooded the Internet with their opinions on the Outing of Dumbledore.

Here are but a few of the positive quotes now on the Internet: "I am happy that children who may be gay have another role model, especially since Dumbledore is bright, funny and loving" and "I am extremely hetero and I'm all for there being more gay role models in literature."

Here are a few of the negative comments: "Rowling is an evil witch" and "What do you say to your child who asks you what gay means?" and "Shame on all those who knowingly pass this kind of culture on to children in such an underhanded way" and "Saying that Dumbledore is gay at this point makes it entirely too obvious that the whole Harry Potter series is a perverted attempt at social engineering."

On Wednesday in Toronto, where she gave a reading at the Winter Garden Theatre, Rowling was asked again and again to explain and defend her decision to out Dumbledore. Refusing to back down, she patiently told reporters: "It would certainly never be news to me that a brave and brilliant man could love another man."

But what about the children upon whom J.K. inflicted this knowledge of a sexual world that the ones under four might not know about?

Referring to Dumbledore's ill-fated love for Grindelwald, Rowling said: "I think a child will see a friendship and a sensitive adult may well understand that it was an infatuation."

Controversy or no, one thing is for sure: Dumbledore is not here to speak for himself, being a fictional character and all. So perhaps Vincent Jacob-Ferland, 14, who came to the Toronto reading from New Brunswick, can have the last word.

Asked by a reporter what he thought about Dumbledore's sexuality, he shrugged his shoulders and said: "It's just his choice. It doesn't affect the story."


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