Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Of Christian love and gentle mice

Headline in the Ottawa Citizen this morning: "Church shuns MP for backing gay marriage." It seems that Charlie Angus, NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay, has been refused communion by his local priest, with the blessing of the priest's archbishop, for voting in favour of C-38. The "last straw" for the priest, apparently, was seeing Angus shake hands with gay MP Bill Siksay. ("Oooo! He touched one of them! No wine 'n' wafer for him!")

That increasingly odious oxymoron, "Christian love," needs to be named for what it really is. In the hands of people like Angus' priest, it is an active, virulent hatred, a life-denying, soul-destroying cult of exclusion. That is not to say that there are no Christians who exemplify humility, caring and an intolerance of injustice. There are many such, but they have little power and less authority. The late Pope put liberation theology under the ban, and an earlier Pope did the same for the worker priest movement.

And, lest anyone think I'm picking on the Roman Church, the fundamentalist Christianity of George Bush and his tens of millions of American supporters allows little room for compassion, fellow-feeling or turning the other cheek, as any Afghani or Iraqi civilian will tell you--the ones left alive, that is.

Did man once walk with dinosaurs? No doubt. We're still doing it. And, as a taxpayer, I'm helping to subsidize the scaly monsters. That has to stop. Charitable status for those who believe in caritas, say I.

Meanwhile, a human gene has been used in a spectacular feat of genetic engineering to make vicious mice
gentle. Maybe one of these days they'll transplant the gene back into people. Perhaps it could produce kinder Christians. At least it might have helped prevent a fistfight at the
Israeli Embassy.


Idealistic Pragmatist said...

"Did man once walk with dinosaurs? No doubt. We're still doing it."

That needs to go on a quote wall somewhere. Or into a .signature file.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

I feel really sorry for ACTUAL Christians though. The Christian Right has gotten so wacky and out of control that the whole religion (based on love, tolerance, understanding and forgiveness let's remember) has been paited with one brush.

It reminds me of the old Poli. Sci. exam question:

The "Christian Right" is neither Christian, nor right. Discuss.

I also liked Howard Dean's take (paraphrased from his recent appearance on the Daily Show):

You know, the Bible has a thousand passages on feeding the poor, and doesn't mention gay marriage once. But guess what the Christian Right is spinning its wheels on these days?

Scott Tribe said...

Just a note from my side of the fence... The United Church of Canada, the largest Protestant denomination, has endorsed the SS marriage bill.

Mark Francis said...

And yet, the Roman Catholic Church doesn't recognize civil marriages as being legitimate anyway.

laphroaig3 said...

Good sir, it appears you have a gift for words. ESPECIALLY the following:

"In the hands of people like Angus' priest, it is an active, virulent hatred, a life-denying, soul-destroying cult of exclusion."

Regardless of any persons political views, and I must say I have to agree with the above, this is eloquent language.


Media, Technology and Society

laphroaig3 said...

And scott tribe? Why don't you have your own blog. I saw one of your posts over at that crazy woman's blog Aizlynne or something, and it seemed a bit wasted on that audience. If you're going to be that detailed, it might be better if it was published on your own blog...perhaps you have one and I haven't found it yet, but when I click on your name it links to progressive bloggers only.

Scott Tribe said...

Perhaps because I consider Progressive BLoggers my home site? :)

Why should I want to write to a few people on an individual isolated blog, when I can do so with a fairly large audience? Prog Blog was formed to unite the left wing blogosphere.. forming my own blog would merely add to its fragmentation

I also write columns at BlogsCanada for Jim Elve.

Cyrano said...

My wife has a friend whose sister came out as a lesbian several years ago. The friend (a fairly strong Catholic) told her sister that under no circumstances would she be allowed to exhibit her homosexuality around her children, which included a ban on her sister bringing any girlfriends over. The rest of the family was very 'understanding', not wanting to create hardship for the sister. Anyway, recently, the sister had a change of heart and desired to leave a homosexual lifestyle. Guess who she turned to? The only one who had the gumption to 'speak truth with love', not the family who threw their beliefs out the window when it became inconvenient.

I've a good friend who lived as a gay man for years but who is now chaste and Catholic (and talking about hoping to get married someday? I haven't queried him too far on that one yet).

As an aside, for those who desire to leave the homosexual lifestyle, where is the love and support from the homosexual community? Instead, these people, in a sense twice rejected, have to face derision from those who claim the rest of society should show tolerance and acceptance towards them. Pot, meet kettle.

In your post, you show contempt for marriage, but then claim that all, no matter their inclinations, should have access to it. I'm beginning to think that those who've been saying that SSM is meant to be one more step to the abolishment of marriage were right.

Dr. Dawg said...

"Desire to leave the homosexual lifestyle?"


That's like talking about a "female lifestyle," or a "Black lifestyle," and no Michael Jackson jokes, please.

Even the use of the word "lifestyle" is offensive; it suggests that sexual preference is a matter of consumer choice. In any case, where is the outpouring of love from the Church when someone desires to "leave the heterosexual lifestyle?"


What, no answer?

In any case, I don't have to love the archaic institution of marriage to support equal access to it. It's the denial of access, not the institution itself, which is the issue here.

Cyrano said...

Could it be fair to say that if you don't see the value in the 'archaic' (I like the sound of that - it says, longstanding & timeless to me) institution of marriage, that perhaps you don't really understand why access to it should be limited? I don't happen to agree that 'equal access' is the primordial issue. The first issue is, "why does society support this institution at all?"/"What is the public value of marriage?". Once we answer that, we may just realize that not only is SSM incompatible with it, but so is our idea of easy divorce (and some of the other travesties that have led to a lessening relevance of marriage).

"lifestyle" = "living as a ..., and with all the attendant behaviours". I'm not suggesting that a person's orientation will simply change by a change of behaviour, although there are a significant number who seem able to achieve it over time with persistence. When a person deeply desires to (for example) follow the Church discipline of chastity, when heretofore it had been characterized by homosexual behaviour, where's the support by those claiming that we should support every sexual choice? I don't claim to put all sexual behaviour on the same level, hence the non-support for those seeking to have their alternate sexual behaviour validated (and yes, I'm the same way towards heterosexual non-marital behaviour, including when it's my own siblings who need a talking to).

Are you suggesting that sexual orientation cannot ever be significantly changed? Does this mean that you sweep under the rug all those who personally claim otherwise, in the same way you claim that one such as I would sweep under the rug the experiences of the relatively small number of homosexual people? (Which I don't think I do, by the way)(yes, I realize I'm putting words in your mouth, am I at all accurate in this?)

Dr. Dawg said...

"Are you suggesting that sexual orientation cannot ever be significantly changed?"

Ask yourself that question.

Can you simply will yourself to be attracted to other men (I'm assuming you're straight)?

"Chastity" is one thing: anyone can give up sexual activity. But maybe you should ask that friend of yours if he has changed his feelings.

Sexual orientation isn't a choice. Having sex is a choice. Under some circumstances, that choice is entirely appropriate. And I've heard no serious argument--only a lot of biblical injunctions and mumbling about "natural law," whatever that means--against homosexual activity per se.