QUOTE TO NOTE: What Jesus Said About Condemning Gays
In the context of the Supreme Court’s recent hearing of oral arguments in the two marriage equality cases, James Salt, executive director of Catholics United, a political organization, had this to say:
“Christ did indeed say many things, but let’s face it: not one of them was about condemning gay people. It’s troubling that so many people who claim to follow his word have such difficulty understanding his real message. Christ’s message was to bring good news to the poor, not to ostracize gays, inflame phobias or create division.”
You can read the full article in which this excerpt was quoted in The Vindicator, a newspaper from Liberty County, Texas.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
James Salt is right. Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. It is even quite possible that Jesus had an great opportunity to make a pronouncement when the centurion asked for a healing of his servant. (Mt. 8:5-14) In those days it was quite normal that a Roman soldier would have had this servant as a sexual partner. My point today, though, is not to enter into the “proof” argument for or against church teaching. I want to raise the issue of the development of behavioral norms that we LGBT folks can support in unity, fighting the sterotype of LGBT’s as having an “anything goes” approach.
Let me put today’s point into context. I’ve been trying to circulate the idea that what we should be doing as LGBT’s is to bring about within the church a 21st century way of dealing with dissent. Using our moral power–only posible if all of us and our allies “come out”– to create “The Galileo Reconciliation Commission” (GRC). This would be the place where dissent protocols would be developed to save us from any more persecution because of “heresy”. No more silence, no more excommunications, firings, universal, inflammatory declarations. Pushing the pope or any convinced person to change their belief about homosexuality is a rather futile approach. Getting the most pastoral of our opponents to support “civil” unions is, of course, a great move forward. But this “moral bind” they are in is not really necessary. The GRC taking up homosexuality and many other issues as apt for change doctrinaly, is more truth-seeking route, more historically compelling.
O.K. as the overwhelming majority of Catholics pressure the church at all levels to create the Galileo Reconciliation Commission,(GRC) we need to be prepared ourselves to promote a credible set of norms for sexual behavior. Not “everything goes.” Yes, I know that the loudest folks like Randy Engel simply classify us with all criminals of all history, as sex-crazed, completely narcissistic, preying upon minors for gratification… These are not the people who will join the creation of the GRC. But I know that there are decent people who aren’t sure about our commitment to norms. I’ve even found myself in “coming out” being invited to group sex along with smoking pot. The most difficult challenge to me came recently from a priest of my diocese known for his support for reform and for LGBT rights. He told me that I could never be accepted as a promoter of gay rights because I’m still married to a woman. He said, “You have to do more than talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.” So a rigid norm is already in place that a 43 year old faithful relationship entailing family has to be abandoned because of my sexual orientation? I don’t think so.
I hope that Catholic LGBT’s are working on such norm establishment. The UUs and UCC have published a comprehensive sex education manual. I’ve recently become aware of Brian McNaught’s extensive work. But where is the Catholic effort? Just demanding that we be loved or at least respected as Jesus teaches has to have some particulars behind it.