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  #1  
Old Nov 24, '11, 9:55 am
Melinda Selmys Melinda Selmys is offline
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Default Witnessing to Gays

I'd like to weigh in on the previous featured “Ask An Apologist” question. I think that there are serious problems with the advice given, and that the issue bears wider discussion.
The original question involves a Thanksgiving dinner where a gay couple will be attending:

“My sister-in-law invited her gay brother and his "husband," who are "married" -- as defined by our judicial system here in Massachusetts... I'd like to do the charitable route and go, but I feel I must stand up for what we believe and be a witness of our faith to both the adults and the kids. What do you think?”

Michelle Arnold's response is quite long so I won't quote it in full, just include the paragraph that I most take umbrage with:

“Now, back to your point of view. I completely sympathize with your discomfort over the idea of seeing teens given an example of "gay married life" over their turkey and cornbread, especially if the men are not willing to behave for the sake of the children as if they are merely platonic friends. By attending such an event, and appearing to sanction such a relationship, you could indeed be contributing to the corruption of the morals of children. In that light, attending such an event is hardly "charitable."”

This is a variant on a question that I see all the time, which basically amounts to “My children might see a gay couple in a normal setting. What do I do?” It's accompanied by the idea that by refusing to have anything to do with gay people unless they are single and (ideally) closeted, we somehow witness to the truth about human sexuality.

This is homophobia. I'm going to repeat that, because it's a dirty word in Catholic circles. It's homophobia. It is a fear of being around people who are conspicuously gay, and it is contrary to Christian witness. The primary message of the Christian community to the world is one of hope, healing, redemption, and joy in the love of God. Instead of being terrified that our children will see a happy gay couple and immediately be tempted to jump on the rainbow bandwagon, we should be hopeful that the gay couple will see a happy Catholic family and be drawn by the joy that they see there. We should live in the belief that our faith is more real, more secure, stronger and more persuasive than the secular alternatives. If it's not, if our faith cannot withstand contact with the real world, then it's not faith at all, it's just a husk of faith with no integral strength – I believe that “whitewashed sepulchre” was the image that Christ used.

Last edited by Melinda Selmys; Nov 24, '11 at 10:12 am.
  #2  
Old Nov 24, '11, 10:00 am
gubernova gubernova is offline
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

Agreed...Before it was white people afraid to take their kids to a black family"s thanksgiving. Yesterdays racists are todays homophobes....
  #3  
Old Nov 24, '11, 10:28 am
Brywan Brywan is offline
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

What about having your kids around relatives (heterosexuals) who co-habit without the benefit of marriage?

What about having your kids around relatives who are addicted to pornagraphy?

What about having your kids around people who are addicted to alcohol?

What about having your kids around people who are anti-semetic? Racist?

What about having your kids around relatives who have divorced and remarried without the benefit of annulment?

What about having your kids around relatives who are verbally abusive to one another?

What about having your kids around relatives who worship the almighty dollar and have clawed their way to the top over the backs of others?

What about having your kids around relatives who use the Lord's name in vain?

What about having your kids around ___________________________ (you can fill in the blank here with your "unforgiveable sin")

Personally, I think being in a diverse group of people with your children provides opportunities to discuss with them (privately) what we believe and why we believe it. It also provides the opportunity to model behavior that is humble, gracious, merciful and more conscious of its own faults than those of others.

Other people can't make us dirty. The dirt comes from inside our own hearts.
  #4  
Old Nov 24, '11, 10:45 am
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melinda Selmys View Post
I'd like to weigh in on the previous featured “Ask An Apologist” question. I think that there are serious problems with the advice given, and that the issue bears wider discussion.
The original question involves a Thanksgiving dinner where a gay couple will be attending:

“My sister-in-law invited her gay brother and his "husband," who are "married" -- as defined by our judicial system here in Massachusetts... I'd like to do the charitable route and go, but I feel I must stand up for what we believe and be a witness of our faith to both the adults and the kids. What do you think?”

Michelle Arnold's response is quite long so I won't quote it in full, just include the paragraph that I most take umbrage with:

“Now, back to your point of view. I completely sympathize with your discomfort over the idea of seeing teens given an example of "gay married life" over their turkey and cornbread, especially if the men are not willing to behave for the sake of the children as if they are merely platonic friends. By attending such an event, and appearing to sanction such a relationship, you could indeed be contributing to the corruption of the morals of children. In that light, attending such an event is hardly "charitable."”

This is a variant on a question that I see all the time, which basically amounts to “My children might see a gay couple in a normal setting. What do I do?” It's accompanied by the idea that by refusing to have anything to do with gay people unless they are single and (ideally) closeted, we somehow witness to the truth about human sexuality.

This is homophobia. I'm going to repeat that, because it's a dirty word in Catholic circles. It's homophobia. It is a fear of being around people who are conspicuously gay, and it is contrary to Christian witness. The primary message of the Christian community to the world is one of hope, healing, redemption, and joy in the love of God. Instead of being terrified that our children will see a happy gay couple and immediately be tempted to jump on the rainbow bandwagon, we should be hopeful that the gay couple will see a happy Catholic family and be drawn by the joy that they see there. We should live in the belief that our faith is more real, more secure, stronger and more persuasive than the secular alternatives. If it's not, if our faith cannot withstand contact with the real world, then it's not faith at all, it's just a husk of faith with no integral strength – I believe that “whitewashed sepulchre” was the image that Christ used.

Completely agree and thank you, thank you, thank you for posting your humane, logical, compassionate sentiments.
I wish you were around for the "christian baker" thread a few days ago!
We could have used your smarts and true Christian heart.

I know families who sequester their children 24-hours a day to make sure they see nothing that is different from their way of life.
That is fear, not love!
That is handicapping the child, not equipping them!

What happens when the child goes out into the world? Not good. It does encourage homophopia, among other issues.

I sure wish more people on this site felt as you do...
  #5  
Old Nov 24, '11, 10:59 am
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the 7th one the 7th one is offline
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

Quote:
Originally Posted by gubernova View Post
Agreed...Before it was white people afraid to take their kids to a black family"s thanksgiving. Yesterdays racists are todays homophobes....
Excuse me?!
One concerns physical diffrences of no moral value, the other concerns behavior judged by the church to be immoral. The comparison is not logicaly valid.
It is one thing to be mean to someone who behaves in a way you feel is wrong. It is another to stand up for your value
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  #6  
Old Nov 24, '11, 11:09 am
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followingtheway followingtheway is offline
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brywan View Post
What about having your kids around relatives (heterosexuals) who co-habit without the benefit of marriage?

What about having your kids around relatives who are addicted to pornagraphy?

What about having your kids around people who are addicted to alcohol?

What about having your kids around people who are anti-semetic? Racist?

What about having your kids around relatives who have divorced and remarried without the benefit of annulment?

What about having your kids around relatives who are verbally abusive to one another?

What about having your kids around relatives who worship the almighty dollar and have clawed their way to the top over the backs of others?

What about having your kids around relatives who use the Lord's name in vain?

What about having your kids around ___________________________ (you can fill in the blank here with your "unforgiveable sin")

Personally, I think being in a diverse group of people with your children provides opportunities to discuss with them (privately) what we believe and why we believe it. It also provides the opportunity to model behavior that is humble, gracious, merciful and more conscious of its own faults than those of others.

Other people can't make us dirty. The dirt comes from inside our own hearts.
Not that I support homosexual acts but come on people, it's not the worst sim out there
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  #7  
Old Nov 24, '11, 11:16 am
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Justicia et Pax Justicia et Pax is offline
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

Great thread, well said
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  #8  
Old Nov 24, '11, 11:24 am
Elizabeth502 Elizabeth502 is offline
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melinda Selmys View Post
I'd like to weigh in on the previous featured “Ask An Apologist” question......
Instead of being terrified that our children will see a happy gay couple and immediately be tempted to jump on the rainbow bandwagon, we should be hopeful that the gay couple will see a happy Catholic family and be drawn by the joy that they see there. We should live in the belief that our faith is more real, more secure, stronger and more persuasive than the secular alternatives. If it's not, if our faith cannot withstand contact with the real world, then it's not faith at all, it's just a husk of faith with no integral strength – I believe that “whitewashed sepulchre” was the image that Christ used.
Happy Thanksgiving, Melinda. You and I have conversed about similar subjects before, not quite in this vein, however.

I also saw the AAA response to which you refer. I do think that the Apologist was trying to help the questioner reconcile the moral discomfort (as opposed to emotional or social discomfort) anticipated, with the questioner's contrary (positive) impulses. In that respect, I thought that some of the alternatives listed (in bullet points) were good suggestions. However, I found the long response somewhat contradictory, in that the first part suggested that the questioner reflect on what could be perceived as a "churlish" response by the couple in question (and perhaps by others, too?). By contrast, the second part seemed to support a slicing-and-dicing solution.

I have some experience with this because this occurs in my family. A male relative who experimented with homosexual behavior for a long time also lived with his partner. Not only were we family members invited to their shared abode (many, time times) -- invitations which we accepted without contingencies -- the couple was also invited to holiday and event celebrations at equally many events when held in the homes of other relatives. That included heterosexual weddings, baptisms, First Communions, etc. It never occurred to any of us to boycott these events, or withhold invitations to the couple. These events included children and teenagers.

No problem ever arose, with regard to the behavior of the couple, the reaction of others, or any conversation regarding the couple. Their relationship was actually never discussed. These were not events "celebrating their relationship." They were events celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, family reunions, sacramental occasions, funerals. I have no idea if any of our own "witness" to the couple had any effect on my male relative's eventual return to heterosexuality, but I cannot imagine that rejection of one or both of them would have accomplished the same, or resulted in a break-up of their relationship. (Obviously they did eventually break up. All of us remain friends with the ex- partner. He continues to be invited to all family events, just as before, along with my male relative, with whom he is still friends. We consider this ex-partner part of our extended family, and I cannot imagine rejecting him; he has been extremely generous and kind to all of us.)

I must say, however, that I consider these situations entirely and fundamentally different from witnessing to a gay "marriage."
  #9  
Old Nov 24, '11, 11:42 am
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domandcarols domandcarols is offline
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

Quote:
Originally Posted by followingtheway View Post
Not that I support homosexual acts but come on people, it's not the worst sim out there
Sodomy is a grave sin..
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  #10  
Old Nov 24, '11, 11:50 am
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followingtheway followingtheway is offline
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

Quote:
Originally Posted by domandcarols View Post
Sodomy is a grave sin..
Not the worst
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Old Nov 24, '11, 11:51 am
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

Michelle Arnold was dead on in her answer. To answer otherwise, to act otherwise, is a slippery slope to the normalization of homosexuality, teaching "alternative lifestyles" in grammar school, and even homosexual "marriage", and even at the very end allowing homosexuals to adopt and raise children...

Oh, wait, we're already there, which makes her answer all the more pertinent.
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  #12  
Old Nov 24, '11, 11:53 am
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

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Originally Posted by followingtheway View Post
Not the worst
So it's okay to sin or encourage sin as long as it's not murder?
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Old Nov 24, '11, 11:58 am
Catholic90 Catholic90 is offline
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melinda Selmys View Post
We should live in the belief that our faith is more real, more secure, stronger and more persuasive than the secular alternatives. If it's not, if our faith cannot withstand contact with the real world, then it's not faith at all, it's just a husk of faith with no integral strength – I believe that “whitewashed sepulchre” was the image that Christ used.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaddyGirl View Post

I know families who sequester their children 24-hours a day to make sure they see nothing that is different from their way of life.
That is fear, not love!
That is handicapping the child, not equipping them!


What happens when the child goes out into the world? Not good. It does encourage homophopia, among other issues.

I sure wish more people on this site felt as you do...
Spot on!

I see many "fear-filled" posts on these boards. I've questioned people on why they feel so fearful. None ever answer!
  #14  
Old Nov 24, '11, 12:00 pm
Catholic90 Catholic90 is offline
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

All are sinners. All are human beings. Some people's sins are just more visible than others.

If we ostracize all who have sinned, we would be mighty lonely.......
  #15  
Old Nov 24, '11, 12:02 pm
Melinda Selmys Melinda Selmys is offline
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Default Re: Witnessing to Gays

Hey all! Glad to see the positive response. Khalid, the issue here is that Christianity is not a religion that's about avoiding all possible slippery slopes and rejecting any influence that might, however mildly, lead to the normalization of sin. It's about bearing the good news of Redemption to a world that desperately needs it. If the Catholics in my life had behaved the way that Michelle Arnold suggests, I would probably have a PhD in Queer Studies and be living with my partner and her cats in Vancouver. Instead, I'm married (to a man...ooh la la) and have six kids. The people that we refuse to associate with are people, they are the very people to whom we are called to be Christ.
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