Pope Francis and Obama: Homosexuality, Priesthood, Marriage and God’s rules

Same Sex Marriage

Same Sex Marriage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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!

Celibacy Stories 2014-02-24_2305

How Celibate Gay Christians Can Encourage Straight Chastity

Reblogged from Spiritual Friendship: Over at The American Conservative, Rod Dreher offers some commentary on Eve Tushnet’s recent piece on gays in the Church: Eve is correct, it seems to me, that gay Christians who are unafraid to tell the … Continue reading →

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Pope Francis: Who am I to Judge?

Will Catholics Start Embracing Homosexuality?


4 responses to “Pope Francis and Obama: Homosexuality, Priesthood, Marriage and God’s rules

  1. Interesting and thoughtful presentation of a difficult-to-digest matter. What Kevin overlooks is the long-held notion that the family is the foundation of society and that the children of that family enjoy the benefits of having a male father and a female mother, who as a team play a major role in the healthy upbringing of the child. Kevin, no doubt, will offer exceptions to the rule; for example a father who abuses his children or an alcoholic mother. But those are exceptions. What he and Obama promote may not seem so serious a rendering of society today as will students of history note when they look back at 2012 to investigate what caused our demise. I wonder if Kevin believes that evil exists. Of course, that is another topic, right?

  2. Chuck Wentworth

    I agree with some of what you are saying here, and while legally, this might not have much to do with religion, I have a hard time believing that those who vote against gay marriage, do so for any other reason than religious beliefs and teachings- even if they aren’t completely aware that this is why they are doing it. I personally think, that if holy books made no mention of God saying that a man should only lie with a woman, that a.) bigots would have no justification for their prejudice and b.) we probably wouldn’t make much of a fuss over who marries whom. It’s a moot point because we do indeed have religion and so we must deal with the issues. I think my biggest question is this…how exactly would legalizing gay marriage, infringe upon the rights and lifestyles of heterosexuals? And when people say, we must “protect the sanctity of marriage”, I’m curious to know, what are we needing to protect it from. I wrote about this issue here: http://roundersandrogues.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/the-gay-marriage-roller-coaster/. I’m fascinated by the logic and quite frankly, the lack of humanity.

  3. Thank you Jerry and Chuck. I read, and like the post you wrote about this issue on your blog very much Chuck. I recommend it. Like Jerry, I am a Bible believing, devout Catholic. I’m not a bigot. Neither is Jerry. I don’t think that everyone who is against same-sex marriage is a bigot. This issue is about a long-held social, legal and religious custom. What I am trying to do, here on this post, is to expand the discussion beyond the ‘opposite sex’ rule regarding romance, sex and marriage. Let’s discuss all the other rules, religious and social, surrounding romantic-love, family-love and marriage. I actually was not tempted to point out abusive or alcoholic parents to affirm that children deserve a good wholesome upbringing. I do agree wholeheartedly that the rules of marriage (religious and secular) need to be collectively obeyed to protect marriage and families, and build a stronger society. Family absolutely IS the foundation of society, and that foundation is quickly crumbling. It’s weakening because social and religious rules and expectations are lapsing, big time. However, these ‘rules’ extend far beyond gender requirements. Marriage, in all the different ways it’s done, is essentially two people making solemn, public promises. Why aren’t we picking on married heterosexuals, like Newt Gingrich, who think it’s okay to keep a mistress? If God says one man and one woman, which if you read your Bible beginning to end, you can see where that ‘evolved,’ –as did rules about ending a marriage — And some folks, by genetics or choice, are polygamous, should we ban them from marriage? For the purposes of this discussion, that was NOT a rhetorical question. This is not a religious OR secular issue. It is a religious AND secular issue. Religious society and secular society has to decide how these rules are to ‘overlap’ …ALL these rules, not just regarding gender. On this post, I want to move past the discussion of ‘same-sex’ marriage, under the presumption that from a civil standpoint, it’s allowed, so we can discuss the OTHER rules regarding romance, sex and marriage, as they apply to all couples: single, married, straight or gay. I’m a single (formerly, faithfully married) celibate heterosexual. So is my girlfriend. We don’t ‘go all the way’ for the same reasons (the only reasons) that affect the discussion of same-sex marriage: God’s rules. Believe me, here in America, it has nothing to do with society’s expectations! Surprisingly, and this really crawls my ass, there are many believers in our own churches, who in agreement with God, are dead set against sex and marriage between same-sex couples, yet have no compunction with breaking the rest of God’s rules regarding opposite-sex, sex and marriage. So, what say ye-all about this:

    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? Should secular laws ban adulterers, let’s say ‘serial adulterers’ and/or swingers, from marriage by it’s traditional definition and stated vows? Should we restrict them to ‘civil unions?’

  4. Pingback: Romney is for Abortion…’Pro-Multiple-Choice’ | Bangari Content Gallery

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