I started a new job a few months ago and have become good friends with a few of my coworkers. My closest friend is a lesbian who lives with her girlfriend and they plan to have the girlfriend inseminated within the year so they can have a child (or two). Another coworker is gay and is celebrating 21 years with his “life partner.” Between these two and other secular, liberal-minded coworkers, soooo many conversations, jokes, and comments are said that are far from moral and far from promoting the dignity of life and human sexuality.
My response to all of this has mostly been silence, or comments/questions that don’t allude to the fact that their beliefs and lifestyle are extremely NOT okay by my Catholic morals. As I would like to be a positive witness of Christ’s love to them, I don’t want to ostracize myself by sharing my views and making my friends feel attacked and unaccepted for “who they are.” At the same time, I feel a little uncomfortable not expressing my discomfort with inappropriate jokes, etc. I feel that I have even become used to my gay coworkers talking about their partners, where previously it would make me uncomfortable because it was a constant reminder of a life lived in separation from God. I dislike that I’m becoming kind of desensitized to all of this.
I guess my questions is, is there anything I can do in this situation, other than wait for them to request my opinion on their life decisions? I feel that even if I were to bring it up to them they would get defensive, or if I were very open about it I would not be taken seriously or be shut out. I could never repair that and would not be an effective witness to them. But at the same time, I can’t be untrue to who I am or what I believe. Thoughts?
I don’t think bringing things up will help win any souls because too many people are trained to interpret anything that does not affirm LGBT activity as hostile or “homophobic.” Do not deny your faith when asked directly, however (that is a sin). If your faith does come up in conversation, focus on things you agree on (build a common ground) before moving on to the more difficult questions (if they ask).
Just live your life how Jesus would want you to. Keep your eyes on Him at all times. Be loving toward sinners. And pray for them.
A lot of LGBT people have been victims of abuse and/or bullying and are need need of someone to listen. Strong nonsexual same-sex friendships have helped a lot of people. Be a good friend.
Nobody agrees with every decision their friend makes, but I think directly stating your beliefs on same-sex activity and insemination will draw these people further from the Church. A lot of people have a bad view of Catholicism right now (the secular media likes to over-represent scandals and under-represent charitable works), and you might be the only practicing Catholic that they know, so how you act is very important.
I believe that the Lord would wish you to pray for them, and for the child that may be born to one of the gay couple that you mention. God loves them and perhaps no one else has ever specifically prayed for these persons. The results of your prayers for them may not perhaps be evident, but they are of eternal value to those for whom we pray.
Loving God we ask an outpouring of grace for these persons.
We entrust them to Your merciful love
While I firmly believe [via a family member] that sexual identity is beyond a matter of choice, personal conduct is very much within our control. Teens and young adults all face the battle of hormones, so sin in my mind is almost a forgone conclusion till they graduate this phase into true adulthood. [The burden should lessen by then hopefully!]
Religious institutions combat or mitigate this “energy” by trying to fill their children’s lives from an early age with things like athletics and band. Truly the idle mind is the devil’s workshop. In the workplace, it is an imperative in my mind to set and maintain strong standards of conduct. This is one of the lessons that we have to go through in the maturation process of becoming an adult. Everyone deserves a second chance, but often, and I include myself in this example, we have to actually feel the sting of our actions before we can grow into adulthood.
You should NOT have to endure vulgar behavior no matter what the source or nature of that “humor” is from. I would politely escalate my displeasure of these filthy exhibitions to your level of comfort, and then I would document and file a complaint with human resources.
No one should have to endure this type of torment on a daily basis. You are not asking for much, just normal civility. DO NOT feel like the heavy, turn it over once you have made your feelings gently known.
If all else fails, consult a lawyer, or quit. Please know these are simply my views. Consider praying for guidance when it comes to something as important as a job you like and sustaining your financial livelihood
Among your co-workers are there any heterosexual couples who are living together unmarried, or who are divorced and remarried? Those couples are also living contrary to Catholic/Christian morals. How do you treat those couples?
I suggest that you treat the same sex partners the same way.
Pope Francis has advised not to obsess over such matters. Make your views known quietly and politely and then basically drop the subject unless they start the conversation with you. If you go on and on and on about it, then you will be ignored and your words will be wasted.
Could you give some examples of what kind of jokes? Would you find these jokes offensive if they pertained to male/female couples? Are they explicit, or do they just involve two people of the same sex having a romantic relationship with all that entails?
Unfortunately, you’ve mixed up friendship with workplace relations.
In the workplace, you should not be subjected to comments that you find personally offensive. In fact, it is a violation of federal law for you to be in a hostile workplace particularly when your religious beliefs, sex, age, race, ethnicity, etc., are impugned. In many states, that also applies to your sexual orientation (IMHO, while that obviously would mean that a homosexual person would be have cause for an action where anti-homosexual comments/jokes were made, the same should apply to a heterosexual person being subject to jokes/comments/innuendo by homosexual people).
What I would suggest is, in the long term:
First, work on finding a different job with a less hostile environment.
Second, I would keep work relations separate from personal friendships. The reason being that you can pick and choose your friends. You have to work with people regardless what their political or cultural views are. Keeping an emotional separation from them is a necessary part of being able to do so.
In a practical sense regarding the situation, I would confront your co-workers at the first sign of them impugning your beliefs or attempting to push their beliefs on you. By “confront” I do not mean lashing out, but calmly stating that their comments are personally offensive and inappropriate for a work environment. If they do not respect your “diversity”, then I would speak to your manager or your company’s HR department (specifically the EEO office if there is one) about it. If you get no satisfaction there, I would go to the EEOC and level a complaint against the company.
All throughout this, I would take very careful notes about what was actually stated by these people and what was actually stated by you. (Who-what-where-when type of things).
One other thing: I would not expect a positive result out of this and I would expect that you would be retaliated against both by your co-workers, your managers, your HR department, and by the EEOC. If you dare to say anything about being offended, you will be instantly labeled as a “homopobe.” You may even be fired. Non-discrimination generally only goes one way…
I think this comment is key. While some things they say may contradict Christian belief, not all of it “pushing an agenda”.Letting people in the office know that your significant other is expecting or that you want to have children is considered acceptable in most office environments. Negative and hateful comments about those who disagree with their life choices would be inappropriate on their part. To think about it in another context, imagine if someone in your office practised a religion you disagreed with and spoke about how they were educating their children in the faith. Even though you believe the faith to be wrong and that it would be better for the children to become Christian, you wouldn’t suggest that they had no right to speak about their children. If, however they started talking about their children and how they were protecting them from the evil, false cult of Christianity, you would have a reason to complain.
As for the sexual comments, you mention that you are responding with silence or questions. This may be misinterpreted as you being shy, or uncomfortable or uncertain about your sexuality. Setting some boundaries by explaining you aren’t comfortable with that level of personal disclosure in the office, or the ever helpful reply :too much information" will give people the understanding they need to choose their comments more wisely.
This also places a responsibility on you to find and initiate topics that are more wholesome or decent. We had a man in an office I worked at who if the conversation lulled for a while, would start making rude and crude comments about things which sparked others to do likewise. By a couple of us having things to toss into the conversational mix, this was mostly avoided in the office with no fireworks or legal issues. Oftentimes people would rather discuss something interesting and only resort to trash talk when they’ve run out of topics.
I wanted to say something else about this topic. While it’s true that homosexuality is a sin, Christians should respect gays and treat them like we would any other person. I am not saying that homosexuality is morally right (it’s sinful according to the Bible), but at the same time, Christians should NOT make fun of, look down upon, call names, etc to gay people.
Jesus was kind to sinners. We should act the same.
Thank you all so much for your insights and thoughts on this situation. They confirmed that my instincts were correct and gave me encouragement when I felt uncertain and doubtful and needed outside wisdom and guidance. I appreciate it so much, thank you! God bless you all!