Monday, July 13, 2015

Inquisitions, Church Apologies, and the Reaction of Christians to the Obergefell Decision: Three Interlocking Statements

There's a theme linking these three keen observations, it seems to me — and I wonder if others see it, too. First, Mapgie in Madrid noted here several days ago, as we were discussing Kiko Arguello's Neocatechumenal movement through the lens of Brittmarie Janson Perez's fine analysis, 

Any speech from any Spanish Catholic leader simply has to start with the word "Sorry". Sorry for the Inquisition and expelling of the Moors, sorry for stamping on progress, free debate, and education, sorry for destroying Latin American indigenous populations and forcing conversion under pain of death, sorry for promoting division within Spain, sorry for supporting Franco and isolating the country from the rest of the world, allowing genocide, regression, and intolerance. I´m sorry to be so negative, I just wish this guy would learn what "introspection" means.

And here's Candida Moss at Daily Beast commenting on Pope Francis's recent public confession of the church's sin of colonialism in Bolivia:

We should commend Francis for publicly acknowledging and apologizing for the ways that the Church has acted. It's this kind of honesty and transparency that helps to heal the wounds of the past, not only in Bolivia but in other parts of the world—like the U.S.—where the Church's reluctance to own up to her crimes has made it seem deceitful and hypocritical. Francis, by comparison, is a breath of fresh air—his openness and off-the-cuff style set him apart from his predecessors. 
But for a church that claims nearly 2,000-year-old roots for itself this also raises another larger question; Just how much dissent, negativity, and destruction does any pope or Church leader want to own up to? We might note that while Francis apologized to indigenous groups in Bolivia he did not meet with similar parties in Ecuador earlier last week, despite requests made by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities. 

And, finally, here's Mariam Williams writing in National Catholic Reporter this morning about the very different response Christians in her online social networks had to the Obergefell ruling, as compared to the response she heard from her LGBT friends:

Christianity has an ugly history of promoting one human's race, gender or sexual orientation as superior to that of another. People who have intersecting identities as Christians and as members of marginalized groups have had to learn how to occupy many spaces simultaneously in order to affirm their humanity. They've had to interrogate their faith, face difficult challenges to it and make decisions about how they will live freely within it. As [Pauli] Murray summarized Major J. Jones' Christian Ethics and Black Theology, "It is a sign of maturity when an oppressed people are no longer willing to adopt without question a religion or God who accepts the idea of inequality for any part of the human family." 
People want and deserve love and acceptance because they are human. That should be enough of a reason for the church to give it. And enough of a reason to question why the church isn't, as Rev. Candice Benbow said, "radical in its expression of love/acceptance."

Mariam argues that non-gay Christians have a lot to learn from LGBT folks, especially those who have struggled (and suffered) to stay connected to Christian communities. If they were willing to learn, that is . . . .

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