Gay Christians Ask the Pope to be Christian
by Noah Lugeons
Before you ask, no, homosexual Christian is not an oxymoron. While the percentage of gays that are Christian are somewhat lower than the general population, it only correlates to about an 8% drop. That is a far smaller correlation than we find with age or political affiliation. It seems vexing to an atheist that one would voluntarily belong to a group that believes they themselves are evil, but there are enough liberal churches around and the promise of eternal paradise is too strong for the overwhelming bigotry to outweigh the decades of indoctrination.
In the wake of the Catholic Church’s increasingly central role in worldwide homophobia, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) is pressuring the Pope to publicly denounce this increasingly rampant bigotry. They’ve endorsed an open letter that simply asks the Pope to stop pressuring gays into “reparative” therapy and to respect the human rights and basic dignity of same-sex couples.
Before we move on to what a heartless jackass Benedict will eventually be when he decides to complete ignore this letter, let’s take a minute to reflect on the stakes here. In the US, this kind of thing manifests itself when, for example, the Catholic Churches in Illinois threaten to shut down their orphanages rather than abide by a law that would give equal rights to gay couples. But in places like Africa it manifests in laws that would make being gay a crime, punishable by death.
Could a few words from the Pope bring all of this to a screeching halt? Of course not. Would a strong Christian voice calling for gays to be treated equally and fairly be a powerful message? Would it reach the right ears? Would it make a difference? Of course it would.
One of the chief problems with empowering religious institutions is the fact that they’re slow to move. The Catholic Church is struggling to catch up with the 18th century at this point so it’s hard to imagine that they’ll adopt any of these new-fangled “modern views” about equal rights and eclectic human dignity. They’re quick to forgive their own priests for torturing and raping children of both genders, but a simple word condemning executing gays is probably too much to ask for.
The failure of the Christian community to rise up with a powerful voice that condemns the worst elements among it is the primary reason why I feel that the world needs atheist activists. We need to be there to say what they won’t. We need to be their to criticize those voices that the religious community holds above criticism. We need to embrace the handle of “anti-Christ” and wear it as a badge of courage. Given what Christ represents in the modern world (homophobia, intrusive policies, inhibition of scientific progress, historical revisionism, massive ignorance and misogyny), I’m happy to be as far on the other side of the spectrum as I can get.