Saturday, January 15, 2011


While Jesus did have a strange dislike for figs, homosexuals are not so much as mentioned in the Gospels.

I just finished watching an interesting documentary called "For the Bible Tells Me So" which looks into the question:

"Does God really condemn loving homosexual relationships?"

The documentary points out that there are precious few Biblical passages addressing homosexuality and that the loving, monogamous homosexual relationships of today were not really something that existed in Biblical times. There were no words to describe this type of relationship in the Ancient Greek and Hebrew. Scholars discuss in particular passages from Leviticus, Genesis (the story of Sodom & Gomorrah), and Romans suggesting that there is reason to believe that these are references to ritual practice, anal rape for the sake of humiliation, and male prostitution, respectively. And not to judge... but

1.) I don't want to follow all of those Jewish rules, like not eating bacon

2.) I think all kinds of rape are bad (duh!)

3.) I feel comfortable saying that men would be better off NOT prostituting themselves

Amusingly, one of the scholars admitted that maybe the Catholics have been right that scripture interpretation shouldn't be trusted to the uneducated. "There's nothing wrong with a 5th grade understanding of God as long as you're in the 5th grade."

Anyway I tend to agree with Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu in that I can't imagine God punishing someone for being gay any more than I can imagine God punishing someone for being born black or a woman. But the Catholic Church does not teach that homosexual inclination is a sin, but rather the sexual act itself. And so, the Catholic Church, thankfully!, sidesteps the issue of gay bashing by saying there is nothing inherently wrong with being gay so long as gay people are celibate. This puts the evil of gay sex on par with masturbation and premarital sex (or even marital sex with the use of contraceptives). As Monte Python so aptly put it, "Every sperm is sacred." Jen from the Conversion Diary explains here how she came to terms with the idea that sex should never be devoid of its life-creating potential. (

This is not homophobia. [That's not to say there isn't homophobia in the church; e.g. a certain Cardinal pinning pedophilia on the gays. I don't quite understand this. I'm attracted to men and not attracted to young boys, so why should men who are attracted to men be any different?]

The problem with openly gay Catholics is to respect these people while respecting the Eucharist. Because the wafer Jesus is at the center of the Catholic faith, nobody wants to go without. A common characteristic among the Catholic Saints is a profound love of the Eucharist, connecting all Catholics-in-a-state-of-grace through the Body and Blood of Christ. Originally, any uninitiated visitors to the church were asked to leave prior to the Liturgy of the Eucharist because of the intimacy of the Sacrament. Through the Eucharist, God and man are joined as one in a way similar to the joining of man and woman as one flesh through sexual intercourse. So it's in some sense obvious why the church does not want to allow the participation of anyone who is not 'right' with God. Taking communion outside of a state of grace is considered a grave sin indeed, like exposing Jesus, and for that matter the entire communion of Saints, to an STD. For this reason, anyone publicly living in sin is excluded for participating in communion.

[There are the mortal sins which are like STDs that have to be cured through confession before taking communion, and there are the venial sins which are basically like non-communicable, minor infections that can be healed in other ways. The location of this line is sometimes a point of contention among Catholics (although it shouldn't be!), with liberal Catholics bordering on the opinion that there is no such thing as mortal sin.]

What is an openly gay Catholic to do aside from leave the church? One remains celibate. This is the ascetic lifestyle of gay Catholics like Eve Tushnet, a convert to Catholicism. She chooses to accept the teaching of the Church, and lives an openly gay but celibate lifestyle while finding ways of redirecting sexual energy in a healthy way. (

Another approach would be to make some waves. The Episcopal Church ordained their first openly-gay non-celibate bishop in a ceremony at the University of New Hampshire in Nov 2003. This story is covered also in For the Bible Tells Me So. But when a religion is radically redefined does it still mean anything? Why stubbornly cling to a religion when one does not believe the moral and theological teachings? I have to say, I think Eve is right.

But the point is that nobody is Biblically obligated to be a hater. But if you need to hate something, hate the figs!