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’sDiagnostic 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.” AsNPR reports, aCatholic university in Steubenville, Ohio, Franciscan University, has been in the spotlight for referring to homosexualityas “deviant behavior” in the description for a course in its School of Social Work.

Here is part of the course description forSWK 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”

TheChronicle 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. Itspublic relations department notes that it was one of “only” fifteen schools named the “Top Conservative Colleges” by theYoung 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 Rather than acknowledge that it was using outdated and misleading terminology, Franciscan University defended the course description, as it stated to NPR: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 inthe name of clinging to an offensive and false description of homosexuality?


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Christopher M.
Christopher M.5 years ago

I think they have the behavior confused with the orientation.

Christopher M.
Christopher M.5 years ago

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.

Mickey Mcgregor
Mickey Mcgregor6 years ago

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

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson6 years ago

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

Beth M.
Beth M6 years ago

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

Anita Wisch
Anita Wisch6 years ago

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

Just saying......

Heather G.
Heather G6 years ago

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.

pam w.
pam w6 years ago

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."

Heather G.
Heather G6 years ago

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

And Cain and Abel married their sisters.

Lauren Graham
Lauren Rischel6 years ago

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.