Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another Shot Fired

Another shot fired.

The Pope made a controversial comment that many are interpreting as hostile towards gays. Here's an article from BBC.

[Edit #1: Yeah, I realize the Pope was talking about behavior and not people, but let's be honest. The vast majority of gay and straight people will not make that distinction.]

[Edit #2: I decided to make another edit to the sentences above and below because I can acknowledge that it wasn't consistent with the heart of the message in this post.]

The culture war over beliefs and interpretations about sexuality and justice continue to rage on and both sides will continue their own version of a witch hunt. In the last two months, we've gone from Proposition 8 passing in California, to national protests to repeal Prop 8, to Rick Warren being selected for Obama's inaugural invocation (in my opinion, a premature gesture for the appearance of bridge building without first establishing relationship so that the selection would make sense), to coordinated responses by HRC and other organizations calling on Obama to affirm a commitment to GLBT justice and equality, to the Pope addressing Cardinals and staff (and essentially the world) making more comments against homosexuality.

This war must end.

Dignity and respect has nothing to do with our own personal opinions about things we disagree on. At the very least, we need civility. The ideal would be love, but perhaps that's too much to ask for during this holiday season. Each of us needs to consider the impact of our words - especially if, from our perspective, our intent is good.

We cannot continue to hurt each other.

We must elevate the conversation beyond the politics of our differences. Now more than ever do we need to create a space beyond the framework of "I believe this and you believe that". We need to create a space where we can come together based on what we have in common, not on what we don't have in common. We need people, both gay and straight, willing to become "Journey Christians".

If this is you, then be part of what we're trying to do at www.TwoWorldCollision.com.

5 comments:

Andrew Marin said...

Good word Brother Eric!!! We're going to do this thing together in God's holy and precious Name!!!! Here is my take (and agreement) from a straight conservative Christian - http://love-is-an-orientation.blogspot.com

Love you Eric!!!!

Earl said...

Well said, my friend. We have quite a ways to go, but thank you for your contribution. ::hug::

naturgesetz said...

"The Pope just said that saving humanity from gays is just as important as saving the rainforest."

But he didn't.

The BBC said , "Pope Benedict XVI has said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction."

Not exactly the same thing as "saving humanity from gays."

But he didn't even say that. That is their interpretation — spin, if you will — on what he said. I think the actual quotes give the substance of what he said on the topic quite completely. I went to the Vatican website, where the full text of the speech is given in Italian and German. What he is saying is that humanity, human nature, is as much God's creation as the rest of nature — male and female He created them — and thatto attempt to redefine human nature is to attack the work of the creator and to risk the destruction of humanity as surely as ecological irresponsibility risks destruction of rainforests and other parts of our physical world.

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2008/december/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20081222_curia-romana_ge.html

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2008/december/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20081222_curia-romana_it.html

The first url gives the text in German, the second in Italian. The passage in question in two paragraphs following the number 1. about 3/4 of the way through the speech.

You will note that he never mentions "Homosexual behavior" as such, much less "gays."

I am reminded of the parlor game where a person whispers a message to another, who passes it on to another, and so on around the room. And at the end, the message is completely unrecognizable as what was said at the beginning.

And apart from the fact that the BBC and you are reading into the speech some specifics which weren't there, I would think that you ought to recognize in fairness that rather than pooh-poohing the distinction between people and behavior (which you recognize) you should be attempting to underscore it when you are commenting on statements like this one.

Your "Editorial" comment was not nearly so bad as this from the BBC report:
"Rev Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of Britain's Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, described the Pope's remarks as "totally irresponsible and unacceptable".
"When you have religious leaders like that making that sort of statement then followers feel they are justified in behaving in an aggressive and violent way," she said." That sort of inflammatory nonsense is truly not conducive to the sort of respectful dialogue which you claim to desire. But, to a lesser degree, neither is your Editorial comment on behavior versus persons nor your shifting from the BBC's term "homosexual behavior," which nowher appears in the speech, as far as I can see, to "gays." It makes it look as if your purpose is more to incite anger than to dialogue respectfully.

Please try to live up to what you call others to.

Eric said...

thanks for your comment naturgesetz. because of it, i realized that i needed to modify the post to reflect more of what my intentions were with the post - which is to call for a different approach. thank you.

the fact that there is already a response by GLBT organizations around the world regarding the Pope's comments (as I said in the post) underscores the need to elevate the conversation beyond the constant reactions between people who have different opinions, perspectives, and interpretations (both about scripture and about people's comments). whether or not i underscore the distinction between behavior vs. people is besides the point because i really don't think the debate will change anyone's mind.

that's why we need to change the conversation beyond the lens of sin/not sin.

it's good that people are finally talking about faith and sexuality. now we just gotta frame it so that we don't kill each other in the process.

thanks again for your comments and respectful correction.

naturgesetz said...

Thanks, Eric.

I think if you and the readers go to the link in the article to "Papal Address: Key Extracts" and read the first two sections, headed "On 'human ecology'" and "On 'gender'," you get the core of what he said.

To me, this comes across, not as saving humanity (in the sense of the population of the world) from gays or even saving humanity from homosexual behavior, but as saving people from a faulty theory of gender which could lead them to live in a way contrary to the God-given truth of their own humanity (in the sense of human nature). In other words, as I read it, it's about saving people from their own mistakes, saving the humanity of individual persons, not saving the human race from some people's behavior.