As soon as the new pope was chosen, certain voices from the Democratic Party subjected him to the litmus tests. Although I am not Catholic, I was very disappointed to see how quickly these voices dismissed the new pope.
They strained to acknowledge anything good about Pope Francis I because of his views against gay marriage. What did these folks expect from the leader of the Catholic Church? Has the church ever been supportive of gay marriage? Why should they tell the church what it must believe?
The new pope’s reputation of love of the poor and caring for AIDS patients was quickly glossed over when he failed to meet the litmus test.
Does this upset anyone in the Democratic Party? Are there any brave members willing to say, “Enough of this spirit of intolerance”? How can it be wrong for conservatives to behave this way but permissible for liberals? This is the spirit destroying civil discourse.
No matter how people try to twist it, we’re not talking about things like racial discrimination here. This is an aggressive agenda to require everyone to adopt the sexual ethics of those who prefer a gay lifestyle. A very small vocal group is trying to tell the Catholic Church what it should teach.
It’s incredulous to hear people subject the new pope to savage diatribes and bizarre labels like homophobe and bigot simply for taking a different viewpoint. I hope many brave folks will be sensible enough either to ignore the extreme rhetoric or to ask those who use it to behave with civility.
Over at the Huffington Post, they admitted that the selection of the first Latin American pope “may be historic,” but immediately demurred that “it may also mean more of the same when it comes to gay rights in the Catholic Church.”
They quoted Herndon Graddick, (president of GLAAD) saying, “For decades the Catholic hierarchy has been in need of desperate reform. In his life, Jesus condemned gays zero times. In Pope Benedict’s short time in the papacy, he made a priority of condemning gay people routinely. This, in spite of the fact, that the Catholic hierarchy had been in collusion to cover up the widespread abuse of children within its care. We hope this pope will trade in his red shoes for a pair of sandals and spend a lot less time condemning and a lot more time foot-washing.”
Beyond the deceptive misrepresentation of the views of Jesus clearly outlined in Matthew 19:4-6 and measuring the papacy by a litmus test on gay marriage, Graddick pointed to the church’s sex scandal, “the pedophilia that has run rampant in the Catholic Church.”
But, as Rod Dreher wrote last year for The American Conservative, “In the mainstream media, it was common —and, let me say, appropriate — to critically examine the institution of celibacy, and how it may or may not have helped to create a culture of sex and secrecy. But among the media, you were not to discuss homosexuality in relation to the scandal, except to point out that it had nothing at all to do with the molestation, and those who said that it did were just outright bigots.”
This kind of coercive control is both a mockery to true journalism and a threat to civility and democracy. Why should 1 billion Roman Catholics and their leaders change to conform to the sexual choices of a small vocal group who prefer homosexuality? Shouldn’t the church be free to abide by its historic position? Again, we’re talking about sexual choices not legitimate civil rights issues like racial discrimination. Those who choose a gay lifestyle are lawfully free to do so, just as the Catholic Church should be free to oppose gay marriage.
Is anyone else bothered by the use of coercion to force people to affirm a politically approved set of morals and values? If you believe that the institution and benefits of marriage should extend to those who prefer homosexual relationships, you should make your case with civility and refuse to demonize people who disagree.
Not all laws that govern a free people will be approved by all people. This is part of the reality of living in democracy. If, in a free nation, laws do not permit gay marriage, consenting adults who freely and lawfully choose to live in gay relationships, should not be treated with disrespect or cruelty for their choices. But they also must respect those who choose to hold a different viewpoint on the morality of homosexual conduct.
Steven W. Cornell is senior pastor at Millersville Bible Church. He is also a correspondent for Lancaster Newspapers Inc.
I don’t think beliefs should be shoved down anyone’s throats, whether it’s political or religious. That goes for ALL beliefs though. The church has done plenty of that with the hate towards gays and people have hated the church for other reasons. However the church has a very large following which means many LGBT youth ARE affected negatively. I don’t personally care for the new Pope, however it’s not my place to form a hateful opinion. For one, it’s pointless to fight hate with hate, not only that but I’m not religious. I don’t like his stance on certain things, but he’s free to teach what he wants, just like everyone else. I think people should just be a bit more aware of the harm they can cause with what they’re teaching. As long as he’s not a terrible human being I’m fine with him being the Pope.
In the end, everyone has their own opinion, but there’s a big difference between an opinion and shoving a belief down someone’s throat. Especially a negative one. But that’s just me. Great article though.
I appreciate the tone of your response overall. One thing I think we need to be careful about is projecting hate on those who take a different moral position on homosexual behavior. I have very definite convictions about homosexual conduct as being displeasing to God but I know for sure that I do not hate anyone who chooses a homosexual lifestyle. I can disagree without devaluing the personhood of those with whom I disagree on many issues.
Having read only your title (“New Pope Fails Litmus Test”), I presumed that you were going in a completely different direction with your post. My guess, though incorrect, does, however, point up how divisive this pope’s election has been–not to pro-gay papal antagonists, but to evangelical Christian observers. To wit, two phrases from your piece–“They strained to acknowledge anything good about Pope Francis I” and “What did these folks expect from the leader of the Catholic Church?” could just as easily have been written about any number of pundits from the evangelical blogosphere, particularly those responding to perceived gushing by the likes of Rick Warren, John Piper, Luis Palau, and even Russell Moore. Those taking on the gushers talk as if they somehow expected that the new pontiff could naturally be expected to make his first act as pope the abolishing of his own office and of the entire Roman Communion. “What did they expect?” indeed. Perhaps their longshot hopes were inspired by this parody from last year, in which Pope Benedict XVI resigns, but for reasons other than those he gave six weeks ago (he’s #8 in the story).