I have great affection for the disturbed, the scarred, and the psychologically abnormal. Between second grade and the time I left independent contracting for corporate life I have only made two close friends who were baptized and, at any time I knew them, practicing Christians; one since broke down and is convinced he is a woman. The disturbed, scarred, and psychologically abnormal attract us, or at least they attract me, because they showcase an Augustinian example of our damaged human nature and how sinful it can be. This the disturbed do from a safe distance, safe enough that we do not see how damaged and sinful we are. They are those who live on the fringe of society, not as victims of broken families and violence, but because they do not really fit in, those on Bergoglio's "peripheries."
Until recently, one such group was the homosexual community. The arrant self indulgence of what has traditionally been a promiscuous demographic elicited many general conclusions about that group, not all inaccurate, but certainly incomplete. A friend, the out-of-wedlock child of a lesbian academe and a mafioso, would moonlight as a dancer in a squalid little club—the sort Omar Mateen targeted in June—during his military days. He once reminisced of a quiet consensus that the hedonism acted as a bandage on a bloody soul, that engaging in mindless acts of the flesh was like a drug high, a happy escape that yielded a lower and lower rate of return until one haunted such places out of deference to one's social banker. His stories neatly preface St. Augustine's reflection that God "fashion[s] sorrow into a lesson for us" (Confessions II.2.4). Many of the people in the gay community "enjoyed" themselves, but were also aware that they were fighting a litany of personal troubles (broken households, abusive fathers, drugs, disease, lost friendships, harsh relatives) by developing boisterous extroversion, the personal disposition that fittingly allows them to be over-represented in music and the arts.
I do not mean to glorify the gay community, far from it. However, anecdotally I have held the friendship of a few members of that community who are more aware that they are broken individuals than the average middle-class parishioner at the Temple of Mammon, the American shopping mall. My friend's pink version of a lonely hearts' club possessed not a few patrons who seriously wondered how far off God's path they had trod and how their parents felt, despite all the consoling words of support and acceptance. I knew a few who attended Mass infrequently, sitting at the back of the church and fraught with trepidation, listening to the words of Christ pass judgment on their actions (as is the case for all sinners).
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to contrast these experiences with a more modern take on the alternative lifestyle demographic. A friend compelled me to attend a fundraiser for a worthy cause with some of her friends, including a noticeably bored Muhammadan and a gay couple. Gone was the outlandishness, extroversion, and self-awareness that many in the public rightly or wrongly associated with that path in previous times. These two were card-carrying members of the Temple of Mammon and regularly attended the American mall. They were early thirty-somethings, held lower management jobs at major firms that produced low six digit salaries and three weeks of vacation, they worked out, shaved closely, and were "looking to settle down." They looked less like Quentin Crisp, more like prissy, domesticated house cats. They had no interest in current affairs, past affairs, or the cause at hand. They had just "moved in," woken up late, and enjoyed a morning with fresh air through open windows. There was nothing offensive about them, but there was nothing intriguing about them either. In them was no sign of the scars of their predecessors from the 1980s, none of the self-congratulatory politics of modern university professors, nothing but pure middle-class mediocrity. I might have asked the submissive of the pair what he thought of Oscar Wilde were I not so certain he would cough up a fur ball.
While the gay community has never been a paragon of Christian virtue, there were once a few unique qualities that allowed those in it the chance to glimpse at the Truth throughout their lives and, in their darker, more private moments, consider accepting It.
Can the devil not even leave alone those who he has already confounded?