Gay/LGBT Pride Month will be over in about two weeks. Wanting respect is reasonable, but I don’t agree with much of what’s said on this issue.
Don’t worry, I won’t be spitting venom. Even if I felt like it, which I don’t, that kind of trouble I don’t need.
First, I’d better talk about love and respect, and why I think both are important.
Also what being a Christian, a Catholic, means. And what it doesn’t.
I do my level best to love God, love my neighbor, and see everybody as my neighbor. (Matthew 22:36–40, Mark 12:28–31; Matthew 5:43–44; Mark 12:28–31; Luke 10:25–30; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1825)
That’s because I follow Jesus, the Man who is God.
Our Lord endured torture and death for sinners like me.
“Like me?” I’ll get back to that.
Ever since our Lord stopped being dead, we’ve been passing along the best news humanity ever had — God loves us, and wants to adopt us. All of us. (John 1:12–14, 3:17; Romans 8:14–17; Peter 1:3–4; Catechism, 27–30, 52, 1825, 1996)
Acting as if love matters doesn’t happen. Not in my case. Not consistently, and never perfectly.
Being a Christian doesn’t make me one of the ‘righteous’ folks, a spiritual aristocrat.
I don’t always avoid what I know is bad, or love others as I should.
That’s a sin.2 It keeps happening, which makes me a sinner.
I do think I need God’s mercy. That, and enlightened self-interest, is why I try to avoid hurling insults at ‘those sinners over there.’
I’m a rational creature, a person. I decide what I do, like the angels. (Catechism, 311)
Nothing I do can change my basic nature. I’ll always be a human: with the power, limitations, and responsibilities, that go with my nature. That’s scary. (April 7, 2017)
I think respect makes more sense than lashing out at my fellow-sinners.
Respecting dignity, and practicing forgiveness, doesn’t make a sin okay. But remembering how often I’ve made regrettable decisions, and how easily I could have made others at least as regrettable, helps me avoid self-righteous indignation. Or curb it, when I forget.
One decision I don’t regret is the one that kept me alive, about a half-century ago.
I’m okay with that: particularly since someone very dear to me killed herself.
Developing good judgment doesn’t mean becoming judgmental.
That’s because sin isn’t just about me and God. I’m not loving my neighbor if I see nothing wrong with someone hurting my neighbor. (Catechism, 2196)
It’s a matter of hating the sin, loving the sinner: and leaving the judging of persons to God. (Catechism, 1861)
I remember the ‘good old days’ before 1968, and thank God they’re not coming back.
I don’t celebrate Gay/LGBT Pride month.
I won’t spit venom, either.
If I felt hate for folks in a gay pride parade, television repairmen, rabid protesters, or anyone else — my job would be purging that hate, not expressing it.
My attitude toward folks dealing with unusual attractions is no great virtue. I’m too aware my own temptations to feel smugly virtuous.
Folks like these Westboro Baptist Church activists? I must not hate them, either.
But like I said, having good judgment should be part of being human.
What they’re doing is a very bad idea, and they shouldn’t do it. Nobody should. They’re not typical Christians, by the way. I don’t even think they’re typical American Protestants.
I’ll admit that in their case, it’s very well-hidden. But I hope it’s there. Somewhere.
Apparently the Westboro bunch say the Catholic Church and Islam are “Satanic frauds.”
It’s not a particularly original claim, but effective in some circles. (June 4, 2017)
I don’t, obviously, think they’re right.
And I can’t agree with what they’re doing, or how they’re doing it.
I think God loves each of us. One of their slogans is “God hates you.” That doesn’t leave much room for solidarity.
Or, in my case, desire to love. I think they’re wrong about a very great deal.
I hope that at some level they want to fix what is not right in today’s America.
However, I think their zeal and dedication could be directed in better ways.
Again: I do not sympathize with their methods, or their mangled version of Christianity.
But hating them is not an option. Imitating them would be a huge mistake.
And I don’t think pretending that America is just fine the way it is, or was, makes sense.
What does make sense, I think, is remembering that human dignity is important: everyone’s dignity.
“…Above all the Church knows that her message is in harmony with the most secret desires of the human heart when she champions the dignity of the human vocation, restoring hope to those who have already despaired of anything higher than their present lot….”
“…Citizens must cultivate a generous and loyal spirit of patriotism, but without being narrow-minded. This means that they will always direct their attention to the good of the whole human family, united by the different ties which bind together races, people and nations….”
(“Gaudium et spes,” Blessed Pope Paul VI (December 7, 1965))
I’ve got more to say, but that’ll wait until the next post.
Acting like love matters:
- “Living With Consequences”
(March 5, 2017)
- “Anger and Whitewashed Tombs”
(February 12, 2017)
- “Celebrating Mercy”
(November 21, 2016)
- “Hating People: Not an Option”
(November 15, 2016)
- “Temperance, Catholic Style”
(July 10, 2016)
“SIN: An offense against God as well as a fault against reason, truth, and right conscience. Sin is a deliberate thought, word, deed, or omission contrary to the eternal law of God. In judging the gravity of sin, it is customary to distinguish between mortal and venial sins (1849, 1853, 1854).”
- “The Eighth Day: Two Millennia and Counting” (April 16, 2017)
- “Making a Universe: Why Bother?” (January 29, 2017)
- “The Minden Monster, What Killed Lucy” (September 23, 2016)
- “Sandra and Tommy: Apes and Ethics” (July 15, 2016)