Gathering Places


Sunday, May 20, 2001

Many churches open
doors to gay faithful

MICHAEL GOLOJUCH JR. writes: "The cross is a reminder that the Catholic Church sees me and every other member of the gay community as a second-class citizen. So much so that the bishop or one of his spokesmen fights to makes sure that the gay community does not receive the same rights as the straight community."

As a deacon at Central Union Church and one who is working with the Log Cabin Republicans to establish a chapter in Hawaii, I was saddened by Mr. Golojuch's sentiments. His letter, moreover, omits some profound truths about Christianity and gays in Hawaii.

The cross symbolizes all that is good and pure in the human experience for Christians; gays are not excluded from the faith journeys that God offers all his children. Central Union Church is an open and affirming church that welcomes gays to become members and serve openly in all offices and capacities.

No one in our church family who is gay feels oppressed or victimized by a cross or what it represents. The decision to embrace this covenant came from prayer and heartfelt compassion. We have a few members associated with the Alliance for Traditional Marriage and Values; lo and behold, the walls have not come crashing down as some would like.

In recent years there has been a resurgence of gay and gay-friendly religious and spiritual groups embracing many denominations in Hawaii. Dignity Honolulu serves gay Catholics with compassion and hope. Integrity opens its arms to gay Episcopalians. Affirmation is an organization ministering to gay Mormons.

Gay discussion groups and Bible study circles flourish in Hawaii. Both the gay press and mainstream media here have done little to report this trend. Could it be that stereotypes a vocal few have of gays and religious communicants would be challenged? God forbid!

People across the religious spectrum are rediscovering that, as the Rev. Peter Gomes writes, "We have reached that point where so many thousands of able, disappointed and questing people are prepared to exchange the good life for the life that is good."

The U.S. Constitution is clear; the government cannot compel anyone, including Michael Golojuch embrace a specific religion or denominational path. That responsibility belongs to the self-reliant individual. Golojuch's embrace of Mitch Kahle seeks to carry-on a rift between gay liberationists and so-called religious fundamentalists. Many on both ends are, in fact, mirror images of each other. The divisive rhetoric is much the same.

Some "issuepreneurs" have based their careers and livelihoods on perpetuating conflict between the gay community and religious-oriented people. It's a business; there's money to be made, and notoriety to be attained. The citizens of Hawaii are under no obligation to buy into this twisted relationship both extremes have with each other. Neither is the media.

A symbol of "oppression, death and misery" for gays? How sad. Michael, you don't need a lawsuit to usher in your need for healing; you need a loving God whose compassion, warmth and love are there with you. There's plenty of room at the Lord's table for all his children. There are many paths available to you; don't give up. You're welcome anytime.

Jeffrey Bingham Mead is a deacon at Central Union Church.

E-mail to Editorial Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin