LGBTQ and the Pope and me

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Who has heard this before, “But, I have lots of gay friends!” Yeah, me too, and that is not an excuse for your opinion, nor does it make you an expert in anything. I have lifelong, close friends who identify with different sexualities and gender-definitions. But this does not make me special, it does not justify my opinions, it just makes me care more. It makes me deeply committed and intent on loving my friends and helping to create a world where they are safe and treated equally.

So what does this have to do with my “quest?” (I love quotes today!) (And parenthesis!) Well, the issue of equality for people who identify with different sexualities or genders is HUUUUUUUGE right now (hello Russia and the Olympics). With more and more states granting marriage rights to gay couples, with DOMA being struck down (yay!) there are segments of the Christian church that are going crazy trying to be “relevant” and yet maintain the ideological view that they hold to be “right.”

There are other churches (even in mainstream denominations), like one that I used to attend in Florida, that are fantastically progressive, overwhelmingly open, and constantly working toward equality and openness. I used to be employed at this church, and they also employed openly gay people in leadership roles (both paid staff and volunteer). The pastors repeatedly over the years have said (in somewhat blunted, but still definitive language) that they do not believe homosexuality is a sin. Recently, they started study groups specifically for the members of the church who are in the LGBTQ community, providing a place to invite friends, get comfortable, and study together. Yay! This church still holds my respect for it’s honesty, loving-ness, and work for social justice. But let’s be honest, it’s just not the norm.

Now the new pope has something to say about it. But frankly, it wasn’t much. I don’t expect him to come out of the Vatican, swinging a rainbow flag over his head, while Ru Paul preforms behind him, and proclaim that the Catholic church no longer sees homosexuality as a sin. But what did he say that got the world’s attention? Boil it down. He said, “shrug.” And while I am glad that he does not see himself as an arbiter or judge over mankind, that statement is not anything more than what the church SHOULD HAVE been saying for the past 2000 years. Color me unimpressed.

I am so done with half-assed statements of “support” to the LGBTQ community. Saying that you don’t judge people is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Because what you are really saying is, “I will not tell you to your face that I think you are going to hell, but you should pursue a relationship with Christ, cause if you don’t you will go to hell, and if you don’t stop being gay, you will go to hell.” or the classic “I don’t hate the person, I hate the sin.” BULLSHIT. If you call something a “sin” you are saying that people will go to hell for doing that thing. Don’t pretend that by watching GLEE or Ellen you are somehow safe from the logic of your theology. If you think something is a sin, then you think people will go to hell for it. There is no way to believe that, and not be judging them. So stop lying to yourself. It’s fucking irritating.

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