At the risk of being just another voice among the din that is discussion about homosexuality, I am feeling compelled to address an important distinction in Christian belief. It has occurred to me that my last post leads to some interesting conclusions and the chance to share a song from my favorite band! The fact that we are not defined by what we do has important implications when we are talking about sin. This is especially important in terms of homosexuality. In the wake of the Chick-Fil-A controversy, a popular opinion has been rearing its ugly head: because some Christians believe homosexual acts are sinful, people think that we hate all gay people.
And therefore, using our free speech and freedom of religion to express these beliefs is apparently a horrendous act of bigotry. Granted, there are those Christians who missed the “love everyone” boat. But true Christian love says that we have innate human dignity, simply through being a child of God. We believe that our sinful actions do not define us, do not lessen that dignity. Therefore when talking about sinful actions, we should be sure not to attack the person him or herself. When we talk of disordered sexuality, it is not a comment on the person himself, but is viewed as any other disorder.
This gem from the Catechism is an example of something that might be interpreted as bigotry:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same-sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
This entire passage is about “homosexual acts,” which, like other sins, only lead to pain and emptiness. Nowhere does it comment on the people performing these acts. When the Catechism does speak of people with homosexual tendencies it says: “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.” (2358)
The Holy Spirit, who is so good to me, just led me to this perfect article in which the author discusses why he doesn’t label himself as gay. He also has a blog, which you should check out because he has a lot more to say on this subject, and is speaking from personal experience. The article has a great quote from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger(now the Pope!) on being defined by sexual orientation:
The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual” and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.