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Sunday, February 26, 2006

It's called protestantism, I think that's what you're after.

I just read a strange Pioneer Press article (HT Southern Appeal), "Catholic couple clashes with church over gay rights".  The situation is all kinds of screwed up, which we should have known from the very beginning, given that

"In their 20s, he was a Roman Catholic priest; she was a teacher and a nun. They fell in love and chose to marry."

Well, that's just not the best way to score points with the Church, now is it?

What's more, they have a gay son:

"Now, love looms tall again to test the St. Paul couple's strong ties to Catholicism. The church has toughened its stand against Catholics in same-sex relationships. And one of the couple's six children is gay."

Toughened?  If by that you mean that the stand is the same as ever.  
So they're upset, predictably:

"At the Cathedral of St. Paul, people wearing rainbow-colored sashes — considered a political statement in support of people in gay relationships— are refused communion."

Honestly, who does that?  I went to mass there last night and didn't see anything of the sort, but it was my first time there (they have a 7pm instead of 5pm, and I was running late on everything, as usual) so I can't really say whether or not it's actually a big deal.  

"All gays want is the protections heterosexual couples have," Charlie Girsch says.

And that means that the Catholic Church should be ok with it?  Also, why is it always "protections"?  Furthermore, Charlie, you need to work on your grammar.

"Charlie Girsch felt another sort of sting when he was denied Communion because he wore a rainbow sash. He realized he had lost, however briefly, the white, male — and straight — privilege to which he was accustomed.

"In some ways, it didn't hurt," he says. He knew he could go back to the Communion rail without the sash and partake of the sacraments."

Now, I can't figure out if this is supposed to be a news story, but receiving communion is emphatically not a matter of straight white male privilege, nor has it ever been.  Lines like that seriously drive me crazy.  Here's the bottom line Charlie.  Opposition to gay marriage is not the same thing as hate for gay people.  Trust me on this one.  No sensible person hates your son for being gay.  There probably are people who do, but they are probably not incredibly bright.  Church is not a place to score political points, and you of all people should know that, having been a priest.  Or maybe, I would guess, you just don't get it.  Your past actions would tend to suggest this conclusion.  You aren't going to change the Church's mind on this, so leave politics to political institutions; you just might make some progress there.  For what it's worth, I don't dig the Archbishop's postcards either, and I am more or less ok with civil unions.  If you want religious sanction though, I can't help you.  I'm sure there are some sects out there that would be glad to let you wear whatever sash you want.        


But what does this have to do with protestantism? I'm not sure ol' Martin Luther would have been on board with the whole rainbow sashes either. He would have considered them gauche (and the lifestyle it represented immoral, but only as a secondary concern.) On a related note, we should have a catholic - protestant debate sometime. "Popery and Romanism are anti-patriotic! Discuss, etc." I think it would not only be fun, but controversially fun, which is much better.
I didn't mean to derite protestantism generally, as you are of course correct; many if not most protestant denominations would have the same objections to this sort of behavior. I just don't have time to sort through all of the denominations (and nondenominations for that matter) to figure out who is in and who is out, I just know that there are some out there who would find the rainbow sashes absolutely fabulous. Given that we were just discussing the Catholic position, and since I'm pretty sure the Orthodox churches aren't cool with this, that leaves only one place for the answer to lie. As for the sashes being terribly gauche, I agree, but it made me wonder what the Episcopalian position would be...
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