A Response to Lisa Graas Re: "The Moral to this Story"

Lisa made a number of unkind, uncharitable, and outright untrue accusations toward me in her most recent blog post. Given that she turned comments off, I’m unable to respond at her blog so I will have to do so here in hopes that anyone who reads her unjust accusations will also find my rebuttal to them.

1. “If I were to now go and kill myself it would not be because of ‘Bipolarphobia’ on the part of Joann [sic]  for demonizing me based on my disorder, though she did do that.”

Apparently, Lisa’s definition of “dehumanizing” someone with Bipolar disorder is to do the following:

  • State that your husband (of 10 years and counting) has Bipolar Disorder.
  • State that, based on the fact above, you have learned to recognize the signs of when someone’s meds may be out of whack and may need adjusting.
  • State that you have seen signs of increased paranoia and excessive self-recrimination based on perceived insults in someone’s comments (see Lisa’s comment from September 26, 2011 at 1:22 am on this post, for example), and that such rants and ramblings, in your experience, can be an indication of instability on the part of the person with Bipolar Disorder, a sign that that person's current treatment regimen may not be adequate for their needs.
  • Suggest that perhaps that someone may need to visit her doctor to explore the possibility of a medication adjustment and/or new medication, in case the emotional instability has a medical cause. 

The dictionary definition of “dehumanize” is:  “to deprive of human qualities, personality, or spirit.” Given the facts above, I fail to see how Lisa’s accusation that I “dehumanized” her is accurate. I made no judgments regarding the state of her soul, her human qualities, her personality , or her spirit; I suggested that her WRITTEN COMMENTS indicated that her admitted medical condition might be affecting her judgment and ability to be rational, based on my ten years of experience living with and intimately knowing someone who also has her particular medical condition.

2.    “I am not what they think I am, therefore I will not kill myself. I know my value and dignity before God.”

Lisa suggested here that I stated that she has no value or dignity before God. This is false. I made no comments regarding her inherent worth and dignity as a human being and beloved child of God. My suggestions that she seek additional treatment for her medical disorder was in no way a reflection of her inherent worth and dignity as a beloved child of God. I am glad to know she won’t kill herself.

3.    “Leila and Joann [sic] have Bipolarphobia and wish to instruct me on my need to be aware of'homophobia'.  People are not brutalizing people with same-sex attraction who are dealing with it in a holy manner. If that EVER happened, the word 'homophobia' might possibly be a legitimate term.”

First of all, the assertion that I have “Bipolarphobia” would be news to my husband, who has had Bipolar disorder since before our marriage 10 years ago. You would think that my having "Bipolarphobia" would have resulted in his suicide by now, if Lisa is to be believed, yet we're still very happily married.

Second of all, what I wish to instruct Lisa on is the fact that bigotry and hatred against homosexuals does exist regardless of whether or not she acknowledges it. If it did not exist, I fail to see why the Catholic Church would state that ALL homosexuals, EVEN THOSE WHO ARE COMMITTING HOMOSEXUAL ACTS, “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (CCC 2358). Lisa seems to believe that only homosexuals living chastely deserve respect, compassion, and dignity – which make her comments above regarding her own value and dignity before God despite her Bipolar disorder truly ironic.

Unlike Lisa, I believe that all homosexuals, not just the ones who are chaste, have inherent value and dignity.  That does not mean that I condone homosexual acts, but that I believe people have inherent value and dignity despite their sins, regardless of what those sins may be.Lisa claims to be “listening to the Church.” However, the Church has said: “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.” (source)

Note that this paragraph makes no distinction between chaste homosexuals and practicing homosexuals, as Lisa does. It states that violent malice in speech and in action against homosexuals deserves condemnation wherever it occurs, regardless if the homosexuals in question are chaste or practicing. THIS is the Church’s definition of homophobia. This is the true, authentic definition of homophobia, but Lisa refuses to understand that. She will only accept the definition of homophobia as propagated by the liberal media instead of listening to what the Church says.

I’m sorry, Lisa, but I defer to the Church in this matter. I condemn violent malice in speech and in action against ANYONE – be they practicing homosexual, chaste homosexual, person with Bipolar disorder, etc. I’m sorry you cannot do the same.  If you choose to go against the Church with your opinions, then all I can do is include you in my prayers that you will one day come to understand that violent malice, in word or in action, against ANYONE due to their sins is unacceptable.

Comments

  1. wise observations. You are not far from the kingdom of heaven!

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  2. GMRUNNER, at this point I can only aspire to Purgatory, but thanks for the kind words anyway. :)

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  3. Clearly she has not read your blog, nor does she see your compassionate heart. I am sad that she became so caught up in her own insecurities that she failed to see that you were trying to help her. As someone who struggles with mental illness, it would be nice if people told me when they see that I might need more help because I know that when things go awry with my medicine, I am the last person to notice.

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  4. Amber, I've found that to be true with my husband... sometimes he won't realized he's forgotten to take his medication until I point out the changes in his behavior (it is really noticeable if he forgets a dose).

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  5. Where did you ever get the idea that Lisa has ever suggested any kind of "violent malice", in speech or in deed to homosexuals? Do you just like to make things up? Wow, a LIAR prattling on about what she deems 'sinful' in the person she's lying about. People like you give Catholics a bad name. Shame on you.

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  6. Zilla: I quoted the part of Lisa's post where she stated that very belief: "People are not brutalizing people with same-sex attraction who are dealing with it in a holy manner. If that EVER happened, the word 'homophobia' might possibly be a legitimate term."

    Based on the excerpt above, I can only conclude that violence against practicing homosexuals doesn't "count" as homophobia, in Lisa's opinion.

    Perhaps you should remove the plank from your eye?

    As for who gives Catholics a bad name... well, I happen to believe (unlike Lisa) that ALL violent malice in speech and action against homosexuals, whether chaste or practicing, an offense against human dignity. So, if you call me sinful you call the teaching authority of the Catholic Church sinful as well, because those are their exact words.

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  7. Lisa has never condoned violence of any sort against anyone. And FYI "homophobia" is a word ginned up by radical leftists to silence dissent and force compliance with the far left gay agenda and it was designed specifically to slander Catholics, such as the Pope. How lovely for them that they've got you in their corner. What's next, will you be railing against "abortophobia" too? You know, to defend against thought crimes that would hurt the feelings of the abortion industry promoters.
    Disagreeing with the notion that people should embrace that which they find morally objectionable is not "violence".

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  8. JoAnna, The Lisa Graas I know, has worked tirelessly for the pro-life cause. LIFE is precious to her, and she would never condone violence against anyone.

    Lisa's comment which is being used to paint her as someone who condones violence against 'practicing' homosexuals - "People are not brutalizing people with same-sex attraction who are dealing with it in a holy manner. If that EVER happened, the word 'homophobia' might possibly be a legitimate term.”

    JoAnna, to you, this means she thinks that it's ok to brutalize people who don't deal with their same-sex attraction in a holy manner, i.e. practicing homosexuals. To me, her comment means that the term homophobia is used by people who DO practice their homosexuality, and it's used against those of us who think homosexuality is a sin. It's a bad word, it's a demonizing word.

    The term homophobia should not be accepted/used by people who believe homosexuality is a sin. By condoning the use of the word, you're placing fault on the person who believes homosexuality is a sin.

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  9. Zilla -

    "Lisa has never condoned violence of any sort against anyone."

    Actually, yes she has. She denies the existence of violent malice in speech and in action against those with the homosexual orientation if they are practicing said orientation. See comment above.

    "And FYI "homophobia" is a word ginned up by radical leftists to silence dissent and force compliance with the far left gay agenda and it was designed specifically to slander Catholics, such as the Pope."

    Actually, no, the word has been hijacked to fit the definition above but it IS a legitimate term with a legitimate context. It can be defined as violent malice in speech or in action against those with the homosexual orientation. Contrary to what Lisa believes, it does exist.

    justsnapd8 - I know Lisa has worked tirelessly for the pro-life cause. That has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she denies the existence of homophobia. Just because someone is pro-life does not mean they are immune to questionable decisions and beliefs in other arenas.

    The term "homophobia" CAN be used to demonize those of us who consider homosexual behavior to be a sin. That does not mean that it is not a legitimate term with a legitimate meaning. See my reply to Zilla, above.

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  10. This is mean. Drop the subject and pray for your fellow bloggers.

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  11. Indeed, pajama mama, we can all use more prayer. However, as long as unjust accusations are made toward me, I will defend myself.

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  12. The term "homophobia" IS used to demonize those of us who consider homosexual behavior to be a sin.

    IMO, these terms are made up by people as a way to demonize other people who disagree with them. Webster states the first known use of the term 'homophobia' was rather recent, 1969. So from 1969 on, 'homophobia' has been used against us, but legitimately so?

    Early in your post, you defined 'dehumanize' for Lisa. Did you know what she she meant when she used that term? Must you refer to the dictionary to decyper what a friend is saying to you?

    No offense intended, but your insistance on the proper use of words, is something I would expect from a college age liberal.

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  13. I'm David Swindle, Lisa Graas' editor for about 8 months or so at NewsReal Blog. I'm now associate editor of Pajamas Media and hope that some day Lisa will write for me again.

    Lisa Graas is not a bigot and is tremendously tolerant of those with differing viewpoints. I am not a Catholic and she and I have very different views on social issues and culture. (I am of the West Coast variety of conservatism: Tea Party, Anti-Jihad, Pro-Israel, Pro-Gay, and Socially Moderate.) However, I have found her to be a genuinely decent person striving for truth. We have had dozens of exchanges and debates and while we don't always see eye to eye we feel heart to heart in a common pursuit of a stronger America and better world.

    As someone who's un-traditionally Christian but still very much in love with Christ, none of this public scourging really seems like particularly Christlike behavior. But maybe it's a Catholic, thing to do this; I don't know. Probably not, most of the Catholics I know are nicer than this.

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  14. The term "homophobia" IS used to demonize those of us who consider homosexual behavior to be a sin.

    Right, that's exactly what I said.

    IMO, these terms are made up by people as a way to demonize other people who disagree with them.

    Does that mean that Lisa is demonizing others by coining the term "Christianphobia"? (By the way, I don't believe she is, I'm just curious what you think.)

    Webster states the first known use of the term 'homophobia' was rather recent, 1969. So from 1969 on, 'homophobia' has been used against us, but legitimately so?

    The Vatican, in this document, stated that violent malice in speech or in action against those with same-sex attraction. That is what homophobia is in its proper context. As the Vatican rightly notes, it is an offense against human dignity.

    Early in your post, you defined 'dehumanize' for Lisa. Did you know what she she meant when she used that term? Must you refer to the dictionary to decyper what a friend is saying to you?

    Lisa is not my friend (something she makes abundantly clear on her blog, especially in the post to which my OP responded), so I have no idea what her especial definition of "dehumanize" is. I used the dictionary definition because that is the one I am most familiar with.

    No offense intended, but your insistance on the proper use of words, is something I would expect from a college age liberal.

    Well, I do have a degree in English. :) I also object to abortion advocates misusing words (e.g., a "ball of cells" instead of "embryo" or "unborn child"); do you think it is fine for them to do so?

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  15. David Swindle, may I assume that you also disapprove of the unkind and uncharitable accusations that Lisa made about me (the ones that prompted my blog post)?

    I never accused Lisa of being a bigot. It concerns me greatly, however, that she believes violent malice in speech or in action against those who practice homosexual behavior is acceptable, or that she believes true, legitimate homophobia (e.g., violent malice in speech or in action against those with homosexual orientation, practicing or not) doesn't exist.

    Should Lisa continue to ask all her friends to post on my blog on her behalf, I have no compunctions about posting publicly the numerous e-mails she has sent to me this evening, in which she repeatedly bears false witness against me and makes extremely unkind and uncharitable accusations.

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  16. First, let me introduce myself. I am Zillas friend and her friends are my friends and therefore whoever pisses her friends off, pisses her off and therefore pisses me off. I'm also not a christian, I'm a pagan (hold the pitchforks and torches ladies or I might have to invent the term paganphobia)) and so I won't feel the need to hide behind the bible like some of you here. JoAnna, you can come out from behind the bible now, I won't bite...hard.
    Whatever happened to the don't judge rule christians so proudly live by? Does that get suspended whenever it's convenient? How do you seriously devote a whole blog putting someone down and a fellow christian and friend at that? What the hell is wrong with you? Up there you say Mary is your inspiration. You think she would go around bashing and judging friends?
    Zilla is right you know. All these "phobia" terms are coined to keep people from speaking their mind and expressing their opinions. They are simply there to suppress the voices of those who disagree and make them feel bad.
    I have absolutely no problems with gay people, but if somebody does, it is their good right to make their opinion heard and it doesn't turn them into some phobic paranoid person.
    Take a good hard look in the mirror and ask yourself, if you are being the kind of friend your god wants you to be.

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  17. First off, I am ALSO a friend of Zilla's, and her friends are dear to me too.

    I'm a catholic, not practicing. Also I'm french Canadian, so don't correct my syntax Miss english degree.

    The catholic church has been demonizing gays for ever.It's a fact. They are sooooo busy fighting it that they can't see the pedophiles in it's own ''organization''. Thousands of child are being abused by the church every year, and millions are being dished out to silence them. That's a fact. Stop thumping your bible and smell the Java; gays are sinners according to the bible and teachings.

    As for the term ''phobia'', is arachnophobia a threat of violence against spiders?? Does it imply that violence should be made to spiders??

    Homophobia is a term the gays themselves use to describe someone,like the church, who devotes it's entire time bashing and demonizing gays. It's the argument of choice when debating a given subject and you run out of arguments.

    Islamophobia is the same....

    Stop hiding behind your bible and fancy degrees Joanna (I bet a degree in english really helps you succeed in the real world eh??) YOU are what's wrong with catholics: You take the scriptures to the letter and don't understand that it should be read like a fictionnal novel.

    I read Lisa's other blog entries, and nowhere I see her condoning violence of any kind. YOU misinterpreted, and JUDGED. How very christian of you.

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  18. Lisa didn't ask me to come here, I came of my own free will when I learned about what was happening to her. My friends Ute & Max also came here of their own free will, it's not Lisa's fault that I have awesome friends who will stand with me in defense of my friend who is being unjustly vilified by self righteous know-it-alls simply because she won't embrace an Orwellian word that is used primarily to attack Catholics for the thought crime of resisting an agenda that they find morally objectionable.

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  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  20. JoAnna - Actually what you said was:

    "The term "homophobia" CAN used to demonize those of us who consider homosexual behavior to be a sin." CAN and IS are 2 different words, with entirely different meanings.

    "Does that mean that Lisa is demonizing others by coining the term "Christianphobia"?"

    Has she used that term to demonize non-believers? Probably not. Actually, if Christianphobia is not a real word (yet), it should be. Remembering that 'phobia' means 'fear', I know a lot more people who are fearful of Christianity, than people who are fearful of homosexuals.

    Regarding the Vatican. I am not Catholic, so I won't go there. But I would ask you to step outside of the Church and look around.

    "Lisa is not my friend" - And that's sad, because Lisa is one of the kindest, most thoughtful, people I know. You have called her names, and picked apart words she uses. Would you do that to a friend IRL? Probably not. Yet because she is just a name on the internet to you, you feel free to exercise your superiority over her?

    As i stated, I am not Catholic. So looking at this strictly from a non-Catholic view, how do you expect to attract people to the church with this holier than thou attitude of yours? This is not said to 'demonize' you. It's just an honest opinion from another name on the internet. You need to do some soul searching, and find out what type of person JoAnna really is. You might not like who you see.

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  21. What MaxPower said and....
    Is blackmailing a catholic and christian thing to do?
    Justsnapd is right, you are splitting hair and picking words apart. Not something a real friend would do. Now in your religion, aren't you suppose to be humble and not exalt yourself above others? I have read the bible and if there is any truth to it, you are going against everything the bible teaches.
    I think you need to calm down on the virtual witch hunt and come back from the middle ages.

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  22. Max Power - I removed your 6:51am post because I don't tolerate swearing on my personal blog. Feel free to repost your comment without the curse words.

    justsnapd8 - "The term "homophobia" CAN used to demonize those of us who consider homosexual behavior to be a sin." CAN and IS are 2 different words, with entirely different meanings.

    Thank you, Mr. Clinton. :) In all seriousness, it's semantics. We're both right. Those on the liberal left can and do use "homophobia" as an false accusation against those who believe homosexual behavior is wrong. That doesn't mean that true homophobia doesn't exist, or isn't perpetuated against those of homosexual orientation (whether practicing or not). Fred Phelps and the WBC is a prime example.

    As for the statement "Lisa is not my friend" - it wasn't meant as an insult, but a statement of fact. I only "know" her due to her blog posts from The American Catholic, as well as the guest post she wrote at Little Catholic Bubble. We've occasionally commented in tandem at other blogs but before now we've never conversed, so far as I remember.

    When have I called Lisa names? I would like evidence of this, please. As for "picking apart her words," isn't she doing the EXACT SAME THING with her insistence that "homophobia" isn't a real word?

    I know who I am, and more importantly I know who I am to God. Lisa is a human being, a beloved child of God, with inherent worth and dignity. However, I believe she is wrong in her assertion that homophobia doesn't exist, and I believe that her increasingly irrational and unstable behavior is an indicator that her Bipolar Disorder is in an unstable state. My husband of over 10 years has BD and I can recognize the signs. All I want is for her to get help, and I'm not alone in that.

    Ute/Zilla - take a page out of justsnapd8's book and address your concerns to me with respect and civility. If you do, they might warrant a response. I don't have the time or the energy right now to respond to incoherent, nonsensical rants.

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  23. Look JoAnna, this is the way I see this mess, and yes, it's a mess. One of which I would have hoped the books would be closed on by now. Hopefully it is for Lisa, and for Leila as well.

    Your relationship with Lisa is distant at best. You're judging someone you know nothing about. She would NEVER condone violence toward a gay person, or any other person for that matter.

    She takes issue with people of her own faith, embracing the word homophobia. In your last comment you stated "I believe she is wrong in her assertion that homophobia doesn't exist", and by doing so, you embraced it. Do some research on the word, outside of the church. The word homophobia is a degrading word, and offensive, to me, and a lot of other people.

    Now what has happened, is that you misunderstood her (yes, you did), and perpetuated it by posting this. You have therefore 'possibly' hurt her credibility. I use the word 'possibly', as I'm hoping you and others will let this issue die. Close the books.

    Lisa does not condone violence against any human being.

    Lisa does acknowledge hatred and bigotry against gay people exists.

    Lisa takes issue with the acceptance of the word 'homophobia'.

    I understand that you are truly concerned for Lisa, we're all in the same boat on that one. But she is a woman of great faith, and would only ask for prayers. i.e. She doesn't need someone who admits to not being her friend to tell her she's in an unstable state. Just say a prayer for her and close the book on this misunderstanding.

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  24. Do some research on the word, outside of the church.

    If you knew anything about ME, you'd know that I'm not a cradle Catholic. Believe it or not, I do not live in a convent or monastery. I live in the world "outside the Church" and quite frequently do research outside of it. Perhaps you should do some research outside of your apparent anti-Catholicism and realize that those of us who defend the faith have practical knowledge of what it's like to live outside of it.

    "The word homophobia is a degrading word, and offensive, to me, and a lot of other people."

    I agree it's offensive when used outside of its proper meaning and context, just as the word "Christianphobia" might be offensive to those to whom it is directed (whether accurately or inaccurately). However, that doesn't change the fact that both can be legitimate definitions of a certain behavior (violent malice in speech or in action against those with homosexual orientation or those who practice Christianity, respectively).

    She doesn't need someone who admits to not being her friend to tell her she's in an unstable state. Just say a prayer for her and close the book on this misunderstanding.

    Sometimes it takes an outside observer to get through to people. I can only hope that if I'VE noticed her instability, perhaps her family has as well and can persuade her to get help. I'm happy to "close the book" now that I've defended myself and my reputation against Lisa's unfair, unjust, and uncharitable accusations. (However, Lisa herself won't let it die -- on Saturday evening alone she e-mailed me eight or so times with the same accusations; whenever I would respond and prove her accusations false, she'd go off on another tack.)

    She has been in my prayers from the outset, and I've told her so.

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  25. JoAnna - It's clear to me that you won't consider that you 'may' be wrong, about anything.

    "I'm happy to "close the book" now that I've defended myself and my reputation against Lisa's unfair, unjust, and uncharitable accusations." They weren't, and you've now proven that to me.

    Oh, a quick comment on your 2nd point in this post.

    "2. “I am not what they think I am, therefore I will not kill myself. I know my value and dignity before God.”

    Lisa suggested here that I stated that she has no value or dignity before God."

    JoAnna, narcissism is also a mental illness.

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  26. "JoAnna - It's clear to me that you won't consider that you 'may' be wrong, about anything."

    You and Lisa seem to share that affliction.

    "They weren't, and you've now proven that to me."

    You must have poor reading comprehension, as I proved all of Lisa's accusations patently false in my OP.

    "JoAnna, narcissism is also a mental illness."

    I am honestly bewildered as to what you mean by this. How is it narcissism to state that I did not deny Lisa's inherent dignity as a human being?

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