By Kevin Leland
I have to break into the fiction story I’m posting for Lionel Roy, to blog about President Obama’s decision to announce that he personally believes that homosexuals have a right to same-sex marriages.
UPDATE: Now, a year later, Pope Francis makes some very important remarks about Homosexuality.
Do you want to hear something that I really love about our country? It is integrated. Now let’s take that word out of its usual context, and raise it to a higher level. Here is the definition of integrated, from dictionary.com:
We can’t help it. In fact, Americans are so integrated, it almost makes me feel bad for bigots. You can see where bigots are quickly becoming a bullied minority. Our kids go to school, where they are taught not to bully anyone, and make friends with other kids, those kids’ parents come to drop off their kid at our house, we open the door and invite the little girl, her daddy, and her other daddy into our living room, offer them a drink, and talk about how we can’t believe the amount of homework the kids have been getting lately. Or, we investigate the families of our children’s friends, as soon as they make them, and if we find out their parents are the same sex, we tell our daughter that it’s okay to be friends with that girl in school, just –no hanging out after school.
In fairness to the word ‘integrated,’ and, to those good Americans who oppose same-sex marriage, without any bigoted or malicious intentions, let’s put this in perspective of definition 4., -the sociological one:
–of or pertaining to a group or society whose members interact on the basis of commonly held norms or values.
I get that, with the same-sex marriage issue, we are dealing with some commonly held norms or values; ancient, religious and social ones in fact, that’s for sure. I also used to think ‘civil unions’ were a better solution, out of respect for ‘traditional marriage,’ i.e., ‘the basis of a commonly held norm.’ But I’ve changed my opinion after educating myself quite a bit more on the topic, this education including, most importantly, listening to the views of homosexual acquaintances and friends, as well as strangers who have spoken out in the blogosphere.
Do you want to hear what else I love about our country? Not, just our ‘traditional values’ but more so the freedom we’re given to choose between tradition or values. I love that we value our traditions, as long as they remain, for the most part, right and just. I really love that we (or at least some of us) constantly put these traditions, new or old, to the test. See me standing in front of Planned Parenthood, holding that sign protesting abortion, or at the state house speaking out against physician assisted suicide? Even though it always seems to take a lot longer, with a lot more struggle than it should, when we finally see that the ‘value’ of freedom and equality for all Americans of any gender, race or creed, trumps our ‘tradition,’ then we scrap the commonly held norm, or at least modify the tradition.
Now I know no one wants to hear what I love about my church, but you’ve read this far, so you are probably committed to finishing it to the end. Thanks. I hope you will comment too. I love that the Catholic Church interprets God’s rules, and spells them out for us in the Catechism, Canon Law, and most beautifully, like no other Christian denomination –in the Sacraments. Marriage is a Sacrament and a vocation. As American theophiles (lovers of God) we believers believe that society improves when God’s laws become state laws –so we exercise our American right to participate in the legislative process, and try to change civil law, going for a kinder, more golden-rule society, for believers and unbelievers alike.
God has rules about marriage, that is true. He says, one man, one woman in faithful conjugal union. True again. I’m not advocating same-sex sacramental or religious marriages. If I ever do, someone, please –burn me at the stake. But listen up my fellow American Christians: Neither are American gay couples who want to marry! This is a state / civil thing, not a church / religious issue. We decided when we first became a country, that to start off with, and get better and better at integration, we needed some separation between these two entities that co-exist within our borders, and in our own hearts and minds.
I think most of us do a really good job at harmonious interrelation, and it’s getting better all the time. We have gay bars and straight bars, but we don’t have ‘gay only’ or ‘straight only’ bars. We haven’t had ‘whites only’ bars for decades. I was born the same year that we scrapped a law banning marriage for couples who were different genders –but also different colors. 18 years later, I served in the military when it didn’t allow homosexuals to serve. 25 years after that, I’m voting for a black President who supports gay marriage, and scraps ‘don’t ask don’t tell.’ I detest Obama’s position on pro-life issues, and I’m praying for those stances of his to also ‘evolve’ –to equal rights for all Americans, from conception to natural death. But, I’m in complete agreement with him on this marriage equality issue, and I’m proud that my State of Vermont recognizes gay marriages.
Christ warns us not to ‘strain out the gnat and swallow the camel.’ That’s exactly what believers are doing when they see God’s rule banning same sex marriage being challenged by people of a different creed, and they get all up in arms, when in our own churches, the vocations of marriage, the priesthood and religious life are all in big trouble. This is mainly because believers are breaking more of God’s rules about love, sex, romance and marriage than those outside of our church groups. Christ also admonishes us to take the stake out of our own eye before we take the speck out of another’s. That’s one thing about Jesus, He has a lot of good sayings! I like the saying:
Let gays marry so they can be miserable like the rest of us.
The above, obviously is not one of Jesus’ sayings. Would the same people who want to make it illegal for same-sex couples to marry, be okay with another law that makes it a crime to cheat on your lawfully wedded, opposite-sex spouse? Adultery is against U.S. Military law. Does anyone know if a married, homosexual soldier who cheats on her same-sex spouse can be prosecuted by the military’s NJP? Secular state laws set ages of consent for sex, and minimum ages for marriage. According to Catholics, and many other religions, God’s rules about celibacy ban sex before and outside of marriage. Is the church also going to take away the right to marry from all heterosexual couples who are not virgins? Then, get the state to try to follow suit?
Is that enough questions to get a good discussion going? I hope so!
Now, with Pope Francis speaking out on this issue, maybe this discussion will wind up!
- Cardinal Downplays Pope Francis’ Gay Remark: Homosexual Acts Are Still A ‘Sin’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Pope Francis Didn’t Say Anything Radical About Homosexuality, So Stop Pretending He Did (patheos.com)
- How to read pope’s gay remarks (edition.cnn.com)
- Pope Francis says it is not his place to judge homosexuals (abc.net.au)
- Opinion: What do pope’s remarks on gays mean? (cnn.com)
- Colima allows same-sex civil unions (bbc.co.uk)
- It’s Not What the Pope Said About Gays, It’s How He Said It (world.time.com)
- Pope Francis says gay priests ‘should not be marginalized’ (theolympian.com)
- Homosexuality and the Church (evehuman.wordpress.com)
- Who Am I to Judge? (cultofcuriosity.wordpress.com)