Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Archbishop Peter Jensen – YOU need to resign as Archbishop of Sydney
Following my recent post on the perils of “we”, comes a particularly egregious jump from the singular to the plural:
''As far as I can see … the lifespan ofpractising gays is significantly shorter than the ordinary so-called heterosexual man … what we [sic] need to do is to look at why this may be the case and we need to do it in a compassionate and objective way.''
Evidently, Archbishop Jensen is quite the amateur actuary. I am puzzled why he first emphasises the “I”, because I thought that it was uncontroversial that gay men and lesbians have higher rates of the following than the general population: substance misuse, mental illness, and suicide. Gay men (at least in
and some other first-world
countries) additionally have higher – this time much higher – rates of HIV
infection, and related diseases, than the overall male population. Australia
From this list, suicide is the only item which incontrovertibly shortens one’s lifespan. If Archbishop Jensen really thinks that the suicide rate of gay males and lesbians in
is unacceptably high – and for adolescents, especially, it clearly is – then I
suggest that invoking the Australian Christian Lobby’s Jim Wallace as exhibit
one here is curious. In fact, it is
rather like stabbing a blameless victim, and then turning the knife, while
piously muttering to the dying figure: “See, we told you that your life expectancy
was less than ours.” Australia
The other items in the above list also probably shorten one’s lifespan. AFAICT, tobacco is most actuarially contra-indicated substance to misuse, but again, if Archbishop Jensen is really saying gay men and lesbians should give up smoking (and if so, I’m all with him), his worthy micro-message is hopelessly lost in his broadside. Likewise, if he is concerned about gay men’s continuing high rates of HIV infection (and who isn’t?), why on earth wouldn’t he use last night’s media spotlight to plug the single, scientifically-accepted prophylaxis for this highly-preventable (since c.1985, at least) condition – condom use in male-to-male anal sex?
Of course, the previous paragraph is rhetorical – Archbishop Jensen’s use of the qualifier “practising”* gays makes it plain that his concerned body-politic “we” does not, by definition, include gay men, other than non-practising ones. His logic is impeccable, though. Non-practising gay men don’t need to worry about HIV infection – if you hate yourself enough to deny your core being, then you’re “objectively” all the more likely to add to Archbishop Jensen’s oh-so “compassionate” body count.
* I assume by “practising” he means sexually-active.
Update 7 October 2012