Tag Archives: Gay Rights

Irish Pride

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Dublin gay pride 2013 (Photo: Giuseppe Milo from Dublin, Ireland)

Ireland is not the Vatican, and one referendum in a largely Catholic country doesn’t do a thing to change church doctrine. It is all the more disappointing then, when the immediate reaction out of Rome is to decry the decision of the Irish people to allow gay marriage as a “defeat for humanity.” The opposite is true.

In a country where well over 80% of the population are Catholic, the decision to allow gay marriage is supported by more than 60% of voters. Instead of chastising this decision as a defeat, the Vatican should declare victory that civil minded, God loving people can show such courage and respect to the family-minded GLBT community. The Irish should be proud of themselves.

Pope Francis, too, should be pleased to see fulfillment of his plea for tolerance and acceptance:

“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”
– Pope Francis

There is no better will than committing your life to the love and care of a spouse and creating a family bond. By withholding judgement and urging respect for gay people, Pope Francis is also sending out a message of inclusiveness.

At a time when the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated “nones” are growing faster than any other religious grouping, it is important for all faiths of tolerance and respect to reach out to new communities who broadly share their values and beliefs. More importantly, in the context of the Irish referendum, it is essential for the Vatican to respect the separation of church and state and recognize that the institution of marriage is no longer only a matter of spiritual identity, but a legal institution that has consequences for couples and families committed to caring for one another.

As the Vatican prepares to discuss family issues at the Synod of Bishops in October later this year, let us pray for a spirit of tolerance, inclusiveness and respect. That would be a true victory over the hateful and parochial attitudes of vengeance and dogmatism that only leads people to reject spiritual identity altogether.


Brotherly Love

You go girl! With all due respect to those who disagree with Pope Francis’ recent comments on gays, abortion and other liberal social issues, you should remember that God commands brotherly love:

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

1 John 4:7

The Pope is right to criticize that the Church Is too ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control . Make no doubt about it. The Pope is still far from blessing gay marriage or supporting other liberal social issues. But what he is saying is good news to progressives who feel that you can be believe in God without agreeing with every church policy. In short you can disagree without being disagreeable. Pretty good advice, huh?

Pope Francis isn’t just side stepping the tough issues, either. By focusing his attention on mercy and humility, he appeals on everyone to reject narrow-mindedness in favor of forgiveness. To ostracize anyone who pursues a loving and virtuous existence  – regardless of personal circumstance or sexual preference – is a rather un-christian-like thing to do.

Whether you are gay person trying to just live a “normal life” or a woman facing a difficult decision regarding pregnancy and family planning, there are plenty of difficult challenges to overcome even without the constant judging of others. Let’s leave judgement up to a “higher authority”. Mormon dance champion Benji Schwimmer makes a pretty good case that you can be both gay and a good Christian, if the Church would just let it be. I’m not mormon, but I like his attitude.

Rather than battling against our neighbor, believers of all faiths should embrace what is good in modern society and find ways to promote diversity and inclusion within our churches and public institutions.

Let’s move on, brother.