Michael Maher, Jr., Being Gay and Lesbian in a Catholic High School: Beyond The Uniform. Harrington Park Press, Binghamton, NY, 2001. Pp.169. ISBN 1-56023-182-3.
Reviewed by Kafkazli Seyyed Javad Miri Meynagh, University of Bristol, BRISTOL, England

Being Gay and Lesbian in a Catholic High School: Beyond The Uniform is an attempt to frame the question of the other within contemporary religious thinking without basing it on sacral reasoning. Michael Maher's attempt is of significance in the sense that he has freed the religious thinking of Catholicism from its Thomist philosophical and metaphysical principles by relying, instead, on a secularist accommodation approach to the grand issues of Being and Leben.

Within current social scientific debates the question of Being has been eschewed and overshadowed by the practice of Doing. Maher is setting aside the entire question of religion as a matter of "Worldview Transformation Force" by focusing on how to change the attitude of Catholics towards Gays and Lesbians; the question of uniformity or dis-uniformity should not be formulated within the parameters of religious thinking , but rather within modern paradigms.

The other more important issue is the very question of education and its purpose, and how the latter should be formulated, i. e. under what metaphysics: modern or catholic? Being gay or lesbian for Maher is a question of lifestyle; the parameters of style are not to be defined by the paradigm of Christian philosophy, because in U.S. people live under different social circumstances than those of the Apostolic Era.

The main problem of Maher's educational concern is with "Dis-integration'"at many levels, namely the familial, the social, the institutional, and the spiritual, as well as the identity issue, and the purpose of his concern is also to go beyond Catholic sentimentality. Nevertheless, one is left to wonder how integrity is possible at the level of taste without transcendence. If disintegration is a vice in need of rectification, then what does an "Integral Paradigm" mean for Maher in the absence of Christian Integralism? The Maherian discourse is an interesting approach to the riddles of modernity; it significantly suggests the pardoxicality of modernity in its Giddensian sense, where existential questions—in the absence of religious transcendence— cannot be addressed at the right level of intellectual discourse . Instead of analyzing the riddles of existence in terms of Being, one becomes engaged in the questions of Doing or Practice, which have no reasonable point of reference but taste. What could a religious education based on taste do for anybody, straight or otherwise?


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