When JP2 died and Pope Benedict was elected, I was rather bitter. But when Benedict retired (apparently to spend more time with his now former secretary) I found I just didn’t care anymore. I didn’t expect anything to change. Sure, the choice of a Latin American pope is a papacy of a different color, but beneath the surface, I thought that we could probably expect to see and hear more of the same from the new pope on gay issues.
If the Washington Post’s summary of Pope Francis’ positions is any indication, I was right. And I do have one thing I want to say to Francis before I go right back to not caring anymore.
The Post summed up Francis’ positions on five issues, including same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage: Don’t expect any change in policy here. Bergoglio opposes gay marriage and thinks gay adoption discriminates against children. He clashed with Argentine President President Cristina Fernández over the country’s legalization of same-sex unions, calling it “a move by the father of lies to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
However, Francis has preached respect towards homosexuals. “It should be understood that when we express our doctrines around sexual conduct, we do so within the standard truth we believe, but never without an attitude of respect and understanding toward individuals,” he said in 2003 after church buildings were vandalized during a gay pride parade.
Ok, Francis. Before we get to far along here, lemme just get something straight for you. (Pun intended.) I stopped letting people get away with their “love the sinner, hate the sin” bullshit years ago, and I’m not about to make an exception for you in that department. You can’t discriminate against me with “an attitude of respect and understanding.”
In fact, that 2003 quote reminded me of a George W. Bush that made me want to smash my television.
Crooks and Liars has the Bush speech from earlier this morning, and PoliticsTV has the video and transcript. I only watched about 5 minutes of it before I had to walk away or risk putting my foot through the television and getting stuck with a repair bill.
As this debate goes forward, every American deserves to be treated with tolerance and respect and dignity. (Applause.) On an issue of this great significance, opinions are strong and emotions run deep. And all of us have a duty to conduct this discussion with civility and decency toward one another.
Maybe somebody can help me out here, because I fundamentally (pun intended) do not understand how you can treat someone with tolerance, respect, dignity and decency and discriminate against them at the same time.
As I wrote at the time, that’s just another version of the same “love the sinner, hate the sin,” bullshit that people employ to purposely inflict needless pain on others and still pretend to themselves that they’re good people. You call it your “doctrines around sexual conduct.” I call it hatred because that’s what it is.
There are times when I wonder if we lose something of ourselves by not calling things what they are. Do we give people a pass they don’t deserve, because they are able to hide behind their religious beliefs? When people gather for the express purpose of denying equality to another group of people, what else can we call it but hate?
From a religious perspective, is it really possible to love someone that you don’t see as an equal? Is it possible to see someone as less than equal without hatred, or without at least contempt? If so, how?
From my perspective, either you see me as equal or you don’t. If you don’t, as far as I’m concerned it amounts to hate – and the actions taken to maintain inequality stem from hatred. I don’t care if it’s for religious reasons. If you can’t see me as equal – and treat me as equal – then you have to see me as (even slightly) less than human. You can’t really see me as equal and still deny me equal treatment. That’s called having your cake and eating it too.
I’ve heard all I can stand of “love the sinner, hate the sin.” My gayness is not what I do. It’s a part of who I am – who I’ve always been. It’s what I feel – have always felt – in my heart. Even if I became celibate (giving up my partner and my son), I would still be the same gay person. I would still feel the same in my heart.
My gayness is not something I do. It’s part of who I am, and what is in my heart. Hate it, and you hate who I am. You hate what is in my heart. You hate me.
It’s that simple. Isn’t it?
So, now we know where we stand. Not that there was every really much doubt.