"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them" (Gen.1:27)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gen. Pace's Warped Sense of Morality

Gen. Peter Pace, current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is in the headlines today, having stated his belief that, "homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral."

How odd that a man who has played such a significant role in one of the most immoral actions in recent American history -- the launching of a pre-emptive war that has cost the lives of thousands of Americans and countless thousands of Iraqis, and that fails to meet every measure of a "just war" -- would call upon "morality" to condemn the physical expressions of love between individuals whom God created as gay.

The general, it would seem, has a very odd sense of morality.

No doubt it might be claimed that such a view of gay and lesbian people might be expected from someone who was raised Catholic and who has received Catholic recognition as someone actively living his faith. What else would you expect? If that's the case, however, then why would the good general -- being so concerned with morality, with living his faith and doing what is right -- fail to follow the teaching of the US Bishops who are on record questioning "the moral legitimacy of any preemptive, unilateral use of military force"?

One might surmise that the general believes the Church is right on the gay thing, but wrong on the war thing. Sounds to me like the cafeteria-style approach to "morality" so abhorrent to conservatives and others who have all the answers!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

When the Oppressed Become the Oppressors

Naively, I used to think that the experience itself of being part of an oppressed group would be enough to transform one's ability to see the injustice experienced by others who are oppressed, outcast, or unaccepted in society.

How wrong I was!

Recently, two friends and I were enjoying dinner upstairs at a gay restaurant in DC's Dupont Circle area. It was a cold night and the streets and sidewalks were still slick and slippery with the ice from snow earlier in the day. As we sat near our window, I looked out and saw that an eldely woman had slipped and fallen. An older man was kneeling down beside her as she lay on her back, dabbing at what appeared to be a bloody cut on her forehead. Fortunately, a passing police cruiser stopped and provided the needed assistance. As this scene unfolded, two patrons from the bar next to the dining room came closer to the window for a better view. As one turned around to head back to his martini, he said loudly for everyone to hear, "Oh, it's just some bum!" My dinner companions and I stared at each other incredulously, not believing what we had just heard. Collectively, we were embarrased that "one of us," another gay man, could so easily dismiss another human being.

It seems, however, that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is also quite able (and willing!) to forget the oppressions of the past. Katharine Jefferts Shori was elected last year to lead the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion. At a recent meeting of the primates, or heads of all Anglican Communion Churches meeting in Tanzania, she agreed to call upon the Episcopal Church not to consecrate any more gay bishops and to cease the blessing of same-sex unions. Does Jefferts Shori fail to remember that it was the courage and boldness of the Episcopal Church to allow the priestly ordination and episcopal consecration of women that brought her to where she is today? Does she not realize that she could never have reached her position of pastoral leadership in most of the other Anglican Communion churches which still do not allow women to wear the collar, let alone the miter!?!

Jefferts Shori claims that she still supports the "full inclusion" of gay men and women in the life of the Church. How then, can she reconcile this position with her signature on the Tanzania document? Perhaps she has been in the promised land of episcopal leadership too long and forgotten what life in Egypt was like!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Misuse of Marriage

In these days when there is so much vilification of the notion and supporters of "same-sex marriage," it has become standard fare for those who oppose efforts at legalizang same-sex unions to speak of heterosexual marriage in nothing short of glowing terms. "Marriage," "traditional marriage" and the "institution of marriage" are spoken of as if these could save any society from whatever cultural ills might ail it.

Thus, it was a refreshing dose of reality to read the remarks of Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations, atthe 51st session of the Commission on the Status of Women. In decrying many of the ways in which some nations, cultures and societies around the world fail to respect the human dignity of women and girls, Migliore stated that, "Even the institution of marriage is sometimes misused to give a safe facade to sexual exploitation and slave labor by means of what are known as 'mail order brides' and 'temporary brides'."