Comments: more about Getting Equal

The traditionalists have my sympathies to the extent that they are indeed strained between a rock and a hard place. Already, we have moved far enough from the most negative legacies of our past religious traditions that we can no longer feel comfortable with outright violence against people who are different.

So we now balance on two fine lines.

One is just how negatively we can continue to condemn people - not for being different in sexual orientation as such, but instead seek to condemn them for daring to express those loving parts of their personalities, lovingly, body to body. We keep seeing this fine distinction being made in conservative print, on occasion at least; but it simply may not be as helpful to ground condemnation as it promises to be on first look.

It is sort of like always saying, Yes the Queer Folks are awfully disgusting, but remember we are way too good as Catholic believers to ever get afraid, disgusted, and angry enough at them to beat the living daylights out of them, now aren't we?

The second fine line is even more fraught with problems of balance imperiled. That is the line about enforcement, about police powers. If the boundaries between church and the rest of community life were as clean and simple and clear as the condemnatory distinctions traditionalist believers so often wish to sustain, we should have little difficulty just letting the world be as fair and equal as it wants to be, while the church continues to deny food, clothes, housing, adoption assistance, medical treatment, and any number of other services that is might happen to provide in a given neighborhood.

But turning people away because you do not like their most beloved, who just happens to be another woman or another man, is getting pretty dicey. It seems to me that either the churches will learn to draw these lines differently - perhaps allowing far more openness in their general services to the community, while keeping as closed and tight-lipped as they might wish to remain inside liturgical-sacramental closed circles of belonging and participation; or the churches are vulnerable to having some outside solution urged upon them by various communities which increasingly see little or no harm done by most of the common decencies indulged in daily life by all of us, gay or straight or in-between.

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 21 August 2006 at 6:37am BST
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