Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Twitter Conversation: "Church That Does Not Defend Humanity of LGBT People Is Not Credible When It Speaks About the Value of Life"

The tweet above is my response to the next tweet below. My tweet in response to Father Andrew Hart then produced a Twitter conversation that some readers (and perhaps Father Hart himself) may regard as raucous. It's there on Twitter, in case anyone wants to find and read it. 

Father Hart's tweet was in response to this tweet by Sister Helen Prejean:

Around the same time as this conversation took place on Twitter, Father James Martin was tweeting the following:

In my conversation with Father Hart, a key theme — from my side — is the imperative need for Catholic leaders to learn to listen, if they expect their witness to the value of life to be taken seriously. On the face of it, it seems obvious that one cannot credibly claim to be all about defending the value of human life when one refuses to listen to some human beings, doesn't it?

From where I stand, and from where many LGBT people and those who love us stand, Catholic pastoral leaders simply will not listen to LGBT people. They discard our experience. They ignore our witness to the grace that is in us.

They act as if we are not there when they make their noble proclamations about the value of all human life, and as if those proclamations can safely ignore us, since our humanity — which is lesser than that of other human beings — has been safely cordoned off by Catholic teaching that we are intrinsically disordered.

I am not sorry for telling Catholic pastoral leaders like Father Hart that they do not do a nearly good enough job of listening to LGBT people — as they proclaim and parse the truth and  hand it down as if they and they alone know and have it. I'm not sorry for pushing this point, because I really do care about the value of human life. 

And it bothers me tremendously that I live in a culture in which the people urging killing sprees targeting the most hapless and powerless in our society also happen to be "pro-life" white Christians — 60% of them "pro-life" white Catholics, in fact. The very people who, along with the Father Harts of the church, imagine that they and they alone own God's truth . . . .

The fact that "pro-life" Catholics and "pro-life" Catholic leaders cannot see the disconnect between what they proclaim about the value of human life and how they treat LGBT human beings, and cannot see that their "pro-life" teaching feeds right into the election of Donald Trump and the "killing spree" now taking place in my state in response to that election, can lead only to one conclusion: it's not really defending the value of human life that energizes the "pro-life" movement.

It's something altogether different. And this is precisely why "pro-life" Christian leaders do not intend to listen — not at all — to people like members of the LGBT community. Because what we have to tell them about our experience with "pro-life" Christians would shatter the pretenses and illusions that allow "pro-life" Christians to run to the polls in droves and elect Donald Trump — initiating state "killing sprees" in places like Arkansas . . . .

And they quite clearly prefer those pretenses and illusions to the hard work of engaging real-life human beings whom they consider beyond the pale — even as they talk about the value of all human life . . . . 

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