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Monday, September 16, 2013
I generally agree with Frederick Fuller’s commentary (“Pick whatever biblical passage suits your fancy,” Sept. 11) on John D. Stec’s commentary of Sept. 5 (“When will the attack on the family end?”), but would like to add a few points.
First, if Stec found his sexual orientation condemned by most, would he concede that he’s evil? Or try to convince his persecutors that their fear of him is irrational? Or assert whatever legal rights he believed he had?
Thou shalt not kill is presumably a more important prohibition than that of homosexuality, since it’s one of the Ten Commandments. If everyone took that literally and seriously, this would be a much different world, and in my opinion, a better one.
While Paul spoke against homosexuality (or at least his words could be understood that way), I don’t recall Jesus ever doing so. In fact, Jesus is said to have told the mob that whoever was without sin should cast the first stone. Remember, too, the context in which he said that.
Then there’s the question of the definition of family. If a couple adopts a child, does that mean the child is not part of the family, since they’re not his or her parents by birth? Is it wrong for widows or widowers to remarry, since the person they marry won’t be the actual genetic parent of whatever children are in the family? Do families consist only of people with blood relationships, or can they include friends?
People are often uncomfortable when societal assumptions change. The reason Christianity became an important movement was because Jesus told us to love our neighbors and also our enemies. That’s exactly contrary to the world’s wisdom, but that’s exactly why Christianity became strong.
It offered something that paganism usually did not.
Have we forgotten how to follow these commandments, or did we never learn?
Families are indeed the most important units of our society, but if we follow what Jesus was teaching, we learn to include as much of the rest of the world in our family as possible.
We’ve seen what happens when exclusionary fanatics are allowed their way: violence and destruction. So if we want our race, which is at once the largest unit we immediately belong to, as well as our family in the ultimate sense, to survive, we need to learn inclusion. Jesus included many kinds of people that others disapproved of. To survive, we need to include not only all other humans, as repugnant as some might be, but all other life forms we share this world with. To do otherwise is to undermine the nothing short of miraculous ecological system that allows us to survive. To exploit that system for transitory gain is to create a world we can’t live in.
So let’s ask Stec what he would do if he had to walk in the shoes of gay or transgendered people. Maybe we’ll learn to stop hating when we begin understanding, and if we don’t want to understand, how can we protest when others hate us? Isn’t true success the ability to love, to see others from their perspective, and not just ours?
And isn’t that the message of Jesus, compassionate enough to die to give us that message?
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