Before I start my usual From the Editor, I would like to welcome Sacramental Whine: An ISM Podcast to our family of advertisers. I was personally interviewed for this wonderful podcast by its founder, Bishop David Oliver Kling. You can listen to this podcast at http://sacramentalwhine.libsyn.com. If you like it, please consider connecting with Bishop Kling to arrange an interview.
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Now for our regularly scheduled From the Editor:
I have started to wonder if we as a people have lost common respect and decency when interacting with one another. In the past week, multiple opportunities to confront phobia against the LGBTQI community multiple times. I have also had to confront bigotry and racism cloaked in the robe of religion several times too.
Since when did showing others common courtesy become a violation of the teaching of the Christ or of Sacred Scripture? When did respect for our fellow human beings become an evil act? I have searched Scripture extensively and have not found any order to treat those different from us as evil.
What I did find was this:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5:43-48
Or what about this:
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. – James 2:1-9
There are many more verses just like this in Holy Scripture. But I think you get the idea.
It is our calling to love all people. This means even those you think are unworthy of your love, or those you disagree with. This especially means those who are different from the “norm” and who society treats as outcasts.
The LGBTQI community, our family who are people of color, migrants and refuges, and those who do not fit into our neat little boxes are the people those verses refer to. We should treat them with love and respect too!
It is not evil to use a person’s preferred pronouns. You are not being Christ-like when you mis-gender someone, when you call them derogatory names because of their gender or sexual orientation. Instead, you are refusing to follow the teachings of the Christ.
One last point, I have had many ministers throw Saint Paul’s words in my face to prove that trying to be supportive of the LGBTQI community or of other’s religious beliefs is teaching a false teaching. Since when did Saint Paul’s words suddenly become more important than Jesus’? Last time I checked, Jesus kind of out ranked Paul!
So before you attack someone else, before you mis-gender them to prove some false religious point, before you neglect the poor, the homeless, the immigrant, remember that Jesus called on you to love all those wonderful human beings. After all, Jesus reminds us that all human beings are created in the loving image of God!
Practice a different way to be Catholic by following the true teachings of the Christ.
Until next time,
Blessings and all my love!
The Right Rev. Gregory Godsey, OSFoc is the Managing Editor of Convergent Streams. He is the Presiding Bishop of the Old Catholic Churches International and the Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of Saint Maximilian Kolbe (AL, FL, GA, and SC). He is also the Director of the Office of Communications and Media Relations for the OCCI. He lives in North Augusta, South Carolina with his wife and son.