Monday, January 30, 2023

What Some Call A Sin

Pope Francis has called for the repeal of laws that make being gay a crime.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church.

“Being homosexual isn’t a crime,” Francis said during an exclusive interview Tuesday with The Associated Press.

Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against LGBTQ people, and he himself referred to the issue in terms of “sin.” But he attributed such attitudes to cultural backgrounds, and said bishops in particular need to undergo a process of change to recognize the dignity of everyone.

“These bishops have to have a process of conversion,” he said, adding that they should apply “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us.”

Generosity of spirit would suggest that those of us who do not belong to his church or follow his teachings or even believe in his god should welcome this statement, and I do.  After all, whether or not this atheist but practicing Quaker accepts his and his church’s dogma doesn’t matter; he still has sway to some degree over what his followers and his hierarchy teach and control, and that’s a lot of people all over the world.  Given the Roman Catholic church’s record on the matter within their own ranks, it’s at the very least an acknowledgment of reality: there are a lot LGBTQ people in the world and they should be left alone to live their lives in peace.

But later on in the interview with the AP, the pope said this:

On Tuesday, Francis said there needed to be a distinction between a crime and a sin with regard to homosexuality. Church teaching holds that homosexual acts are sinful, or “intrinsically disordered,” but that gay people must be treated with dignity and respect.

Bantering with himself, Francis articulated the position: “It’s not a crime. Yes, but it’s a sin. Fine, but first let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime.”

“It’s also a sin to lack charity with one another,” he added.

And there you lose me, Friend.  Calling something a “sin” slaps a religious label on it, and going on and saying “homosexual acts are sinful, or ‘intrinsically disordered'” puts us right back in the same boat he was already bailing out.  If he’s talking about “acts” such as making love — the physical part, or as the kids say, “gettin’ busy” — the church might be skating out on some thin ice, since being in love and sharing it isn’t just what happens in the bedroom (or wherever you do it).  I remember somewhere reading about love being about something you do with all your heart, your soul, and your mind, and that includes the parts beneath your swimsuit.  In my experience, being in love is pretty much of a binary state: either you are or you’re not, and there’s no point where you say you can do one thing but not the other.  So let me just suggest that the Roman Catholic church should stop worrying about what two people do in their private life, and calling it a sin when there’s a whole lot of criminal activity and child abuse that they have to clean up in their own house doesn’t help.  As someone once noted, let he who is without sin…

This ordination of private acts and personal feelings as a sin or a crime by the church or the state (vide the anti-transgender laws being foisted upon America by hypocritical busybodies) is one of those quirks in human nature that really makes me wonder why that part of human nature has failed.  It isn’t “woke” to want to treat people with respect to their faith, their gender, or how they arrived at those elements in their life, and as long as it doesn’t harm you or steal your money, it’s none of your business.  Live and let live, and realize that what you might call a sin according to some superstition or mythology isn’t a whole lot higher up the highway than arguing ad nauseum about Star Wars vs. Star Trek.

That said, I’m glad Pope Francis doesn’t think my life is a crime.  Not that it’s going to change how I have lived it lo these seventy-plus years, but I’ll take whatever his generosity can offer.  That’s the Quaker way.

3 barks and woofs on “What Some Call A Sin

  1. The sin is the act not the person committing it. The sin is the fun stuff of sex outside the sacrament of marriage. Don’t matter if your gay or straight, two boys, two girls, one of each, put a ring on it. I have a friend who is a homosexual, a priest and celibate. Sinless in that regard.

    • Sin is a religious concept. For those of us who do not believe in the superstitions and mythologies of religion, the term is meaningless.

  2. According to Christian teachings sin, all sins, including shaving (squaring of the face) and wearing garments of mixed threads (cotton polyester) are an ‘abomination’ unto God. Deserving of eternal damnation.

    The Jewish tradition simply identifies sin as a wrong path taken and requiring walking back and choosing more wisely.

    It gets weird when you notice that the guy on the cross was a practicing and orthodox Jew and quite brown in color. And a person, if he existed at all, who never hear the word “Christ” (Christos) in his lifetime because the word was coined at least 60 years after his passing (and/or resurrection).


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *