Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Quote for Day: "We Have to Confess . . . That the Genealogy of Gay Suffering Has Roots Deep in Church History"

Michael Coren was once a leading opponent of marriage equality in Canada. His recently published book Epiphany: A Christian’s Change of Heart & Mind Over Same-Sex Marriage (Toronto: Signal, 2016) explains how he came to an epiphanic insight that his highly selective reading of Judaeo-Christian scripture to attack LGBTQ people (while he ignored the central affirmation of love, mercy, and justice in the bible) betrays what is most foundational in the Christian tradition.  

In an essay published today in The AdvocateCoren writes

My hands, however, are not clean. I may have never hated, but I gave hatred an intellectual veneer, I empowered those who now turned on me, I caused harm and hurt, and I am ashamed. I can’t expunge all of that, but what I can do is try to scrape away the grime from the Christian faith I love so very much and to present it as the embracing, empathetic, transforming creed it is supposed to be. It needs to be taken back from the reactionaries who have stolen it. Jesus commanded us to widen the circle, not close the doors; to include, not exclude. 
Yet we have to confess — and I use the word advisedly — that the genealogy of gay suffering has roots deep in church history, and just as Christians have in the past 50 years revised their understanding of and attitude toward the Jewish people, the same has to happen with the LGBTQ community. That by necessity will involve contrition, apology, and the opening wide of arms, mind, and soul. Nor do I mean the ersatz apology given by Pope Francis recently when he said in an interview that Catholics need to say sorry for offending gay men and women. No, Holy Father! You recently described those who promote "gender theory" — Catholic shorthand for same-sex marriage and full gay equality — as being similar to the Hitler Youth and have not changed a word of the Catholic catechism that speak of homosexuality as being sinful and disordered. Genuine sorrow demands not just words but actions.

After Orlando, these words need to reverberate through the cold, dark sanctuaries of Christian churches that are hostile, unwelcoming, unsafe spaces for LGBTQ people today. 

The photo of Coren's book is from its Amazon webpage.

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