Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pope Frances and Gays

Pope Frances' rhetorical question recently, "Who am I to judge a gay person?" was a refreshing development. I am under no illusion that the Catholic Church is about to abandon decades of discrimination against gays, but the new Pope's statement offers a bit of hope that things may get better, even in the Catholic Church.

God knows more Christians and Christian Churches should be asking themselves the same question the
Pope asked. I simply cannot understand how anyone who reads the Gospel of Christ can harbor hatred for gays. The gospel makes it clear that Christ, were he physically alive in the world today, would be found in the company of gays on a regular basis. He would also be offering them unconditional love and acceptance.

But some Christians seem never to cease acting like they are God's little helpers in deciding who to condemn for their sins and who to persecute. In today's paper, Pat Robinson, is at it again. Robinson has a bad habit of publicly proclaiming to know when and why God is going to punish a person or group of persons. Today, he said that America and the American people will feel the wrath of an angry God if the United States helps to broker a Middle East Peace by allowing Jerusalem to be divided by the Christians and Muslims. I am a life long practicing Christian and I believe God does speak to us from time to time; but I absolutely do not think God tells Pat Robinson who is in line for punishment and who is not. Robinson is just another religious nut who has caught the attention of the press because he can be depended upon to represent all Christians as nuts. In the collective mind of the national press, all Christians are nuts and Robinson proves their point.

The new Pope also made news recently by proclaiming that he was sure there would be people in heaven who had been atheists during their lifetimes. It is another indiction of the change Pope Frances might bring to the Catholic Church should he live long enough.

My experience has shown me there are, in fact, atheists who exhibit all the characteristics of Christians. They just can't rationalize a transcendent God. I can't imagine a loving God condemning someone for using the power of their mind to reach a decision that is inarguably justified by any rational standard.

As I told one of my atheist friends recently, "If I'm right in my faith you and I will both die and find ourselves at peace in God's Kingdom. If you are right in your lack of faith, you and I will both die and be at peace in oblivion. Either way, there is nothing to fear."

As a Christian I continue to value my gay and atheist friends and I do not try to hide them from my Christian friends. I'm elated to know that Pope Frances approves of that.

Jack Scott

6 comments:

  1. Jack, another well written blog I really have to aggree with you.

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    1. Thanks Cary, I appreciate your comment.

      Jack Scott

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  2. I feel that there is real hope for gay Catholics in Pope Francis' comments. I am not expecting miracles, but I do see glimmers of hope! Hugs, Patrick

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    1. We appear to be on the same page Patrick. As I said, I don't expect the Catholic Church to throw off hundreds of years of corrupted thinking; but to me, there is more hope in Frances' public musings than in his predecessor who never strayed an inch from Catholic tradition.

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  3. I wish I shared your optimism! Pope Francis made it clear he sees homosexuality as "sin" but he said he would not (my interpretation) spend his time condemning them. His example was with the woman found in adultery. Jesus challenged the angry (judgemental crowd) by inviting anyone who was without sin to cast the first stone. As a gay man, I take no comfort in knowing that the Pope will not actively condemn me but just let the teaching of the church speak for itself. Sorry... the Catholic Church has it wrong & needs to face up to it!

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    1. Bill, as there is room to hope for change in Frances' public expressions, there is also plenty of room for pessimism. As I wrote I don't hold out that the church is about to repent for hundreds of years of discrimination (and judgementalism); but there is no doubt that he has opened some doors that his predecessor, Benedict, would have never opened.

      I agree with you fully that the Catholic Church has it all wrong in many areas of its theology, but then again so do the churches of the Protestant right.

      Jack Scott

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I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

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Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott