Friday, January 4, 2013

Stealing Causes

So a Catholic bishop in England has cancelled "gay friendly" masses, in light of pressure from other Catholics. Have you ever felt that your cause has gotten railroaded? Something you really believe in took on a central tenet that has really missed the boat, or distracted what you thought was the important part of it? I've heard different women express this about the women's movement. Many feel it was taken over by the pro-choice movement. I've heard gay friends talk about their regret at the vitriol the gay marriage movement has directed at them at a time when they felt homosexuals were finally being accepted. I've heard black people complain that political movements for equal rights have turned into something completely different, something that has been twisted into pushing political agendas and not the actual furtherance of minority rights in our country. I use these examples to point out that there are important issues that fall under a general umbrella that strong personalities tend to push to the forefront of each "cause".
I feel like this is happening to the Catholic Church. Here is an organization that I see do so much good every day, that has unending compassion, that has members that sacrifice so much for their neighbors and communities. The message, however, that seems to get communicated is the church's intolerance of other people. I think these masses would have been a wonderful opportunity for the church to embrace those that are especially disenfranchised. Instead, people were protesting outside of the church during these masses. They weren't holding gay marriages in the church, just offering a mass that  celebrates the diversity and acceptance of the Catholic church and more importantly Jesus' love. I will admit that the gay marriage issue is a divisive one and one that both sides feel strongly about, but we need to be able to agree to disagree on this one. New rules: 1. Start accepting gay people as human beings who have the same rights and privileges as everyone else. 2. Stop calling people bigots because they feel that marriage is a ritual defined as a very specific thing and don't want to change that. I don't think these two concepts are mutually exclusive. Let me give some examples:

One can respect women and women's rights and still think abortion on demand is wrong.

One can support racial equality in this country and be against entitlement programs.

One can believe that the government can provide for its people without controlling them.

One can believe in the central beliefs of the holy church and still disagree with non-cannonic positions.

If you disagree with those, then you hate free thought (Sorry, I was just trying to show you how it felt). I don't have to agree with you, but I do need to respect what you believe in. That doesn't mean that I won't argue with you, but I will not demean you for your belief or treat you as less than human. I know it's cliche, but don't forget to hate the sin, and love the sinner.