START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

Catholic School Says Homosexuality Is “Deviant Behavior”

Catholic School Says Homosexuality Is “Deviant Behavior”

Once upon a time in the not-distant-enough-past, homosexuality was wrongly considered a disorder and listed as such in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). It was not until 1973 that the APA changed the DSM and said that homosexuality is not a mental illness.

But there are still those out there who think that a person can be “cured” of homosexuality and made “normal.” As NPR reports, a Catholic university in Steubenville, Ohio, Franciscan University, has been in the spotlight for referring to homosexuality as “deviant behavior” in the description for a course in its School of Social Work.

Here is part of the course description for SWK 314 Deviant Behavior: “The behaviors that are primarily examined are murder, rape, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, mental illness and drug use.”

In other words, this course at Franciscan University equates homosexuality with crimes including murder, rape, robbery and drug use, as well as referring to it wrongly as a mental illness.

A “Top Conservative College”

The Chronicle of Higher Education says that Franciscan University has “strong ties to the Roman Catholic church.” This is a bit of an understatement.

Over the past two decades, I have taught at four different Catholic universities in the Midwest and the East Coast. Franciscan University is a different sort of institution, with a reputation for a far more stringent application of certain teachings of the Catholic church. I witnessed this personally, after one of my students cut off all communication with old friends and myself after entering a program in Steubenville.

Franciscan University has made no secret of its conservativism. Its public relations department notes that it was one of “only” fifteen schools named the “Top Conservative Colleges” by the Young America’s Foundation (YAF).

University Defies Alumni Request to Remove Offensive Description

Members of a Facebook group for gay and lesbian alumni of Franciscan University discovered the offensive description and contacted the school about changing it.  Rather than acknowledge that it was using outdated and misleading terminology, Franciscan University defended the course description, as it stated to NPR:

“Franciscan University follows Catholic Church teaching in regard to homosexuality and treats homosexual persons with ‘respect, compassion, and sensitivity’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2358) while holding homosexual acts as ‘intrinsically disordered.’”

The university says the term “deviant” is used in the sociological sense, to mean “different from the norm.” And it says the course “covers a wide range of topics including crime, alcoholism, heterosexual deviance and homosexuality.”

Indeed, when two alumni contacted Franciscan University officials about changing the course description, a university attorney lawyer told them to cease to use its name and logo for their Facebook group.

Franciscan University Could Lose Accreditation For Its Social Work Program

An accreditation body, the Council on Social Work Education, has said that Franciscan University’s social work program could be in danger of losing its accreditation due to referring to homosexuality as “deviant behavior.”

Stephen Holloway, director of the Council’s office of accreditation, said that the course description “raises a flag.” His organization’s accreditation standards include a diversity requirement because “understanding diversity and difference and their dynamics in society is critical for social workers to be effective in working with diverse populations.”

A loss of accreditation would cause serious difficulties for students enrolled in the social work program and for those who have graduated from it. They could find that their degrees (required for their jobs) are invalidated.

It will be interesting to see whether Franciscan University responds to the Council’s concerns. Is it willing to lose accreditation in the name of clinging to an offensive and false description of homosexuality?


Related Care2 Coverage

5 Reasons to Support a Ban on Ex-Gay Therapy

Chick-fil-A President Speaks Out Against Gay Marriage

Pope Tells US Bishops to Fight Gay Marriage, Cohabitation


Read more: , , , , ,

Photo by WikiProject Public Art

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
8:31PM PST on Feb 6, 2013

I think they have the behavior confused with the orientation.

5:04PM PST on Feb 6, 2013

And when viewed through a Christian lens it IS unacceptable behavior. Sociologically speaking, deviant behavior. Tells me absolutely nothing new.

Using the Bible as a standard for proper Christian behavior, you CAN make a case that this the above is a given. And I am making that case for sake of argument.

12:22PM PST on Jan 15, 2013

I applaud Franciscan University for defying political correctness and speaking the truth. Homosexual acts are violations of nature.

12:38PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

bc they are bat shit crazy. and ignorant. this whole debate is stupid. let people love each other!

4:37PM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

Deviant behavior= all of the priests who abused young children, everyone who covered up for these pedophiles.

8:13AM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

Yes, catholics should be careful who throws the first stone....Priests = pedophiles......

Just saying......

8:55AM PDT on Sep 19, 2012

I agree, Pam. I was just trying to point out that if someone believes in God and the Bible they have to believe God created ALL people, not just straight people.

8:39AM PDT on Sep 19, 2012

Heather, humans evolved over millions of years as part of the primate evolutionary "bush."

It wasn't until someone realized that human fear could be controlled by creating "religion" that ANYONE was "married."

8:30AM PDT on Sep 19, 2012

Jeff F, God created ALL people...Adam, Eve and Steve.

And Cain and Abel married their sisters.

11:32PM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

greg c. mentioned something that has puzzled me all my life. If the fable of Adam and Eve had any logic, then who did these two sons marry? Apparently there were neighbors, which by logic would suggest that they were not the first in the 'hood. See what happens when the dominant cult's story is looked at by someone who quit going to Sunday school because I didn't like being told what to think?

As for calling homosexuality 'deviant behavior', "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
Sound familiar, you touchy-feely priests? Instead of hating on others, perhaps you should clean your own house. Something like not recycling pedophile priests (which is still going on, even with the searchlight of truth shining right on you). It's time to lose the arrogant attitude, hypocrites.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

Re 3, if you are going to intervene physically, then unless you are a martial arts expert or can bark…

I love Passion flower it's so pretty

Brilliant rescue, the man deserves a medal.

meet our writers

Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK


Civil Rights


Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights


Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!