Monday, April 14, 2008

[Xanga] Re: Catholic Church turns away fine people who are gay

Submitted to the Wilmington, Delaware News Journal November 24, 2006.

I write regarding Jim and Sheila Batty's November 19th letter opposing Catholic indictments of homosexuality, specifically attacking their characterization of the stance against homosexuality as a "disorder."

The diction of the Battys' letter reveals two systematic errors: that condemning homosexuality damns their son "just for being who he is, and that the Church's charge is "bring[ing] people back to the faith."

The Battys implicitly view their son as homosexual, not as a person with homosexual desires. The church does not indict him: Scriptural condemnation is of sin, not of persons. The Battys forget that "loving the sinner" does not imply "loving the sin."

The Church condemns homosexuality not to save the unbeliever, but to present Biblical doctrine (e.g., Romans 1:26). The goal of such proclamations is not disenfranchisement, but dissemination of Scripture. As Augustine of Hippo wrote, the church is "[charged] to feed [God's] sheep."

Saying "the church hierarchy is making judgments" implies that judgments fall outside clerical oversight. But what is the church other than a caretaker of statutes drawn from Scripture? To strip the indwelling Holy Spirit of its "judg[ing] the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12) enfeebles its work of creating "approved workmen" (2Tim. 2:15).

-Jason G.L. Chu; New Haven, CT.

Original letter reproduced below:

"Catholic Church turns away fine people who are gay

We are writing regarding the latest indictment of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community by the U.S. Conference Of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Church. As Catholic parents of a gay son, it is difficult for us to believe that our church would turn our son away just for being who he is.

We do not consider our son to be disordered because of his sexual orientation. We find him to be a fine gentleman with a terrific job, a loving and kind individual. Apparently only heterosexual individuals are allowed to participate fully in their faith.

If there is any disorder, it is the stance of the Catholic Church. Discrimination should not be considered a Catholic family value. The Lord was inclusive, not exclusive.

By making these statements, the church hierarchy is making judgments. In the Catholic Church's efforts to bring people back to the faith, they are turning more away.

Jim and Sheila Batty, Wilmington"
Originally printed November 19, 2006, in the Wilminton, Delaware News Journal, online archive available.

I think there are other theological misunderstandings regarding condemnation, the nature of the church, and the nature of justice, that were contained in the original letter, but due to length constraints (200 words), I was unable to address them above.

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