Catholic policy toward gays misguided


POSTED: Monday, March 29, 2010

Our parents were Catholics, as were our grandparents and great grandparents. We attended Catholic schools, including Jesuit colleges. Catholicism is as much our culture and heritage as it is our religion.

From the nuns in grade school to the Jesuits in college, we were taught to do what we knew to be “;the right thing,”; no matter what others might say, and to work diligently for change if we perceived any institution, including the Catholic Church, not to be doing the right thing.

We view the Catholic Church's current treatment of gays as seriously counter to the teaching of Jesus Christ. The Church's admonition that we love the sinner but reject the sin infers that sexually active gays are morally inferior. That strikes us as patently wrong.

None of the many gays we know claims to have chosen that sexual orientation. Our gay son, for example, laughs at the suggestion that someone would consciously choose to be homosexual. Although he does not view himself as a victim, and we could not be prouder of him, he considers it ludicrous that anyone would think he actually chose to be the subject of rejection, ridicule, condemnation and worse.

Just like his race and the color of his skin, our son's homosexuality was God-given. He could pretend to be heterosexual or asexual, but that would be a lie. It would not be who he is.

When he was still in high school, someone used a sharp object to carve a derogatory word deep into the trunk lid of our family car. We remember our shock upon first seeing those three large capital letters - F A G. It felt like those letters had been carved in our hearts. Of course it angered us, but mostly it made us fearful of what someone might someday do to our son.

Whoever carved those letters had somehow gotten the message that people like our son are inferior beings. Sadly, we view the Church's current position on homo-sexuality as one possible source for such a message.

Those who question that conclusion should ask themselves why so many gay Catholics feel abandoned by the Church. We believe their feelings of rejection are real and well-founded.

Susie Roth is an educator who with Jo Chang founded Da Moms, a local support group for families who have GLBT family members. Randy Roth is a professor at the University of Hawaii School of Law. They are members of the Jesuit-run Newman Center on the UH-Manoa campus, and Susie is a “;listening parent”; for Fortunate Families, a group of Catholics with gay children.