A friend sent me a link to this article on Facebook and I felt compelled to respond.
To put it bluntly, the Cardinal, despite his clarification is still full of crap, and it’s about time I sit down to write a series of essays on faith, the Bible and homosexuality (AFTER this semester). Lord knows I’ve studied, prayed and agonized over this for long enough to be an expert on the topic (insert mad little laugh here). Even if I were to interpret the Bible as literally as these people do, the Cardinal’s statements would not hold up to fair scrutiny.
For now, let me say regarding the book of Leviticus, eating shrimp and lobster is also an abomination, as is having sex when you are menstruating. And the day that our government starts obeying the Old Testament and begins stoning adulterers to death I’ll consider listening to such arguments against homosexuality.
As for Paul and the New Testament, when I see women keeping their mouths shut in church, and praying only with their heads covered, I will stop calling the Christian Right a den of hypocrites.
The reason Christians recognize some of these commandments but dismiss others is that we interpret the Bible in it’s historical and cultural context, and apply logic and science only to the issues with which we are comfortable, ignoring those considered out of date or silly when applied to ourselves. The truth is most people don’t understand why a woman would love another woman, or a man would wish to have sex with a man. It makes us uncomfortable, so we decide it must be wrong. Interestingly enough Biblical arguments have been used to assuage this same sort of discomfort regarding inter-racial marriage. And not so long ago in our nation’s past we can find seemingly good men supporting from the pulpit the ownership of slaves by upholding Paul’s admonitions to treat them fairly, as implied consent.
Ultimately the Bible, as is made clear in the New Testament, is about love, so when I see the church as a whole start to really make a difference in the world, not of politics so much as charity and daily kindness, I may begin to think that they are onto something at last. As it is, their general behavior indicates that Jesus’ greatest command was not to love one another but to judge one another.
I am a family man, and I am not out to destroy the institution of marriage. To hear such accusations (the words of a divorced minister I know come to mind) is not simply insulting but astounding. To quote my 13-year-old son, “Have these people even looked at the divorce rate in this country? They have been successfully devaluing the institution of marriage without your help for years!”
And finally, for those who think that same sex attraction is a choice, I ask that you share with us a little testimony about the day you chose to be attracted to the opposite sex. If it was a choice for me, it had to be a choice for you. I’ll be writing a lot more on this topic in the future. There are many who will not change their minds, despite facts or logic, but I hope that by addressing the words of those to whom I have been so tired of listening, I might provide a little courage to one or two self-doubting souls to reject the false guilt and judgmentalism that they have suffered because of the innacturate and prejudicial teaching of men like the Cardinal.
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I think it is easy to misconstrue the words of an old man, growing up in a different era. I grew up in a traditional, Spanish, Catholic family whose roots go back many hundred years in Venezuela (1598, to be exact). My great uncle (93), who is visiting, was the youngest brother of the Archbishop of Caracas. My uncle is never short of morality tales and he was asked about the Church and homosexuality by my cousin, who is gay. The following summarizes my uncle’s response.
I think you must begin with the mindset that attraction is a temptation easily manipulated by Satan. To be attracted to the opposite sex is the path of God because you then marry, which is to sanctify the union between man and woman. The sanctity recreates Eden and Adam and Eve (pre-original sin). Marriage, then, is a defense against darkness and allows man and woman to procreate safely (from a virtuous standpoint) and fill the world with other enlightened beings.
This is good, you marry a good woman, make a family, provide for your children, worship God and you create stability for generations.
Now, those that would be attracted to the same sex are simply succumbing to the temptations of Satan and turning their backs on the sanctified, enlightened path. Homosexuality creates no sanctity, no relation in harmony with God because it does not follow any of God’s examples. In fact (at this point gesture in the air with your finger), homosexuality spreads chaos because it disturbs the natural order. Homosexuality allows Satan to establish himself within a community and to undermine the good of the whole.
What is wrong with the world today is that we have strayed from the teachings of God and we allow and condone behaviours that are against God’s teachings.
But, my uncle continues, God loves you all the same and is always willing to accept you back into His world.
I think the old Cardinal believes the same sort of thing. He is a good man with a good heart but his view of the world is so centered on the view of JP2 that he accepts no absolute but his own. Which comes from God, of course. Through Jesus.
I believe that most Christians speak out more against the sin of homosexuality because those who practice it are very vocal in their attempts to force people to accept their sin. I am not aware of any group of adulterers or those having sex during menstruation speaking so passionately about why their sin should be accepted.
I agree, we should call sin sin and not categorize it. The Bible is clear in its condemnation of the practices of homosexuality, so please do not defile God’s word or degrade yourself by trying to show how homosexuality is biblically acceptable.
I don’t know who this Cardinal is and it is not important. Christians are to love all people regardless of their sin. Condemnation of sinners is also a sin. But, condemnation of sin is mandated by God and His Bible.
Will you be out in front of Red Lobster this week with your placards proclaiming that “God hates shrimp” then, brother? It seems that crustacean lovers the world over are passionately, avidly trying to justify their sin every day, even selling it on TV.
And Burstmode, there are many men and women who marry and do not have children, or stop having children, ending the possibility by surgical means. I do not see this example anywhere in the Bible. In fact, it goes against the command to “be fruitful and multiply,” does it not?
And I do not doubt that the Cardinal is an otherwise good man, but we spend so much time concentrating on this issue. Why?
Well blow me down and call me queer! Here we have once again the Church tormenting gays again! You’ll not make it to heaven, you will not pass go, you will not collect heavenly benefits. My, what a boring place heaven will be with out us gays and lesbians, not to mention the bisexuals, transgendered and Two-Spirited!
Who will do their hair? Who will decorate their clouds tastefully? Who will use the power tools to remodel the bathrooms? Say it isn’t so! Not mentioning the fact that several times, more than I can remember a certain priest telling me that I was going to go hell…. hmm… heaven without people who fit into just one group? How banal!
The Cardinal is I am sure just expressing his freedom of religion — certainly not practicing homophobia or anything like that! Geez, I guess those of us that are still in the closet, will probably get into heaven, as we haven’t told the Church our feelings. Won’t he be surprised when we get there! I mean, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son for us… I don’t remember them saying.. except for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the like!
Jeesh! get with the times Cardinal Barragan! Those who practice hate are less likely to go to Heaven than those that practice love – love of all people, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation etc…
I expect an apology worthy of a man (he is a man.) that doesn’t side-step what he said by blaming it on St. Paul no less! So Cardinal, please click on the picture of The Wizard of OZ in the top right corner and make that apology. Hurry! There is still time to repent!
Your point is well taken, my uncle had no children. In his view, God did not choose to bless him in that way so he adopted and raised 6 children from less well-off relatives.
My point was not that my uncle or the Cardinal were right, merely that their world is considerably more black and white than ours.
I think the modern reaction is, as is common these days, polarization. There seems no middle ground on which to advance; it has become an either/or proposition.
The bible is an attempt to codify morale behaviour. As such, it is open to endless interpretation. I have a hard time seeing Jesus rejecting homosexuals simply because they are homosexual but I see mankind do it more often than not.
It is a quandary for which there is no easy answer.