Monday, March 8, 2010

Matthew 25:31-46, the Church, and Gays

I wrote late Saturday night about a Catholic school that has elected to kick out the child of a lesbian couple. This news follows the story of the Washington DC's Archdiocese's decision to stop providing family medical coverage for its employees instead of risking the possibility that it might someday be placed in the position of providing health benefits to a gay employee's same-sex spouse. And don't forget that they stopped providing foster care and adoption services because they might end up working with gay parents.

My initial inclination was to shake my head and shrug my shoulders and then move on. The Catholic Church is free to do what it wants and who am I to criticize them for standing firm on social issus. But they're not really, are they? Read the blog entries on this subject from the man responsible for giving the heave-ho to that poor pre-schooler, Father Bill Breslin. He not only defends the decision to cast out this child, but he rationalizes why it's not necessary to cast out the children whose parents violate other Catholic no-no's like divorce, re-marriage, living together out of wedlock, or those who pretty obviously use birth control. There's no sense of grace towards this child. Just a priest justifying his hypocracy. And read the comments. The readers love him all the more for protecting the children of this school from the kid with the pariah parents.

I've never worked for Catholic Charities, but I did once work for Lutheran Social Services. I wasn't hired because of my Lutheran faith (or despite my lack of Lutheran faith), but because of my job qualifications. My guess is the same for Catholic Charities. How many remarried spouses has the Catholic Church provided health coverage to over the years? How many people who pray to other gods receive health coverage through Catholic Charities? How awful and dispicable must gay spouses be that this business feels comfortably cozy with cutting off all families from health coverage. Makes you wonder how far this cut-off goes? Is it just health insurance? Does this cover FMLA-leave requests? Sick time to care for ill family members? It'll be interesting to see how low the Church will sink in its efforts to distance itself from gay families.

Matthew 25:31-46 (New International Version)

The Sheep and the Goats
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Which brings me to Matthew 25. Are the Church, its leadership, and its membership acting as a herd of goats in these situations -- particularly in the Boulder, CO, scenario -- or are they sheep? Where is their sense of grace? Their compassion? They're sense of service? I don't see it. If it's there (and I'm quite serious with this request), please point it out to me. I don't see the exception to gay families and their kids in Matthew 25, but maybe there's another translation out there that they're working with.

I'm sorry for ragging on the Catholic Church for stuff like this, as there have been other private Christian schools that have chosen to expel kids for being gay or for having gay parents, but the Catholic Church is the one that seems to be in the forefront these days. It seems like the institutional church has become more about proving that its increasingly anti-gay and less about practicing Christ's principles.

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