Coming from a Roman Catholic background, there are certain things I have been taught. Things like the importance of loving the outcast and the persecuted. I feel as though this idea is hard to find in practice.
My unpopular opinion is that members of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) community should be welcomed as part of the Catholic tradition and all other faith traditions.
I’ve been involved in musical theater for most of my life, and many of the friends I have made in this community have turned away from their faiths because they feel as though their faiths have turned away from them or their friends who identify as LGBTQ. Why is this something that we just accept as the norm?
Some act as though their faith is an exclusive club and everything outside of what they believe is not acceptable. I think we often forget that Jesus was a leader of the counter-culture in his day. It was counter-cultural to be friends with the tax collectors, the prostitutes and the lepers. Yet Jesus valued and loved them beyond measure.
Members of the LGBTQ community “sin” no more or less than your average Catholic does, yet because of one controversial aspect of church teaching, they are kicked to the curb and deemed less valuable.
In some cases this is literally true. Of the homeless youth in America, 40 percent are LGBTQ persons who have, in essence, been thrown out of their homes because “virtuous” Christians, Jews, and Muslims refuse to accept gay people, even if those gay people are their own children.
My heart breaks for these kids who have had everyone give up on them. Even among those who are not cast aside so severely, there is still pain that comes from the social condemnation often fueled by religious teaching, and members of the LGBTQ community are judged for merely being who they are.
These two things are obviously wrong, so why is my opinion still unpopular in some circles? What is the cause of this hatred for gay people?
It stems from those who consciously or unconsciously distance themselves from the humanity of LGBTQ persons. Those who back away from LGBTQ persons out of fear or out of silent judgment are directly or indirectly practicing persecution.
We should act as Fr. Greg Boyle S.J. said, as “men and women for and with others,” not just for others. I encourage us all to stand on the margins with those being judged. As we all move towards those margins, the margins begin to dissolve, and we can finally live in a world of peace and love for all people.