Hatred of Gays Has No Place Christian Life

“Is Love Genderless Thing?”

by Rev. Stephen V. Hamilton,

 

Fr. Stephen V. Hamilton

Fr. Stephen V. Hamilton

Psalm 23 tells us of the work of the Lord who shepherds us.  And it gives us insight also into the work of shepherds who continue the work of Jesus in ministry.  The psalm told us this about the shepherd: “Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.  He guides me in right paths.”  Scripture indicates repeatedly that sheep need a shepherd.  They wander.  They get lost.  They venture into danger and places that are not good for them.  A shepherd is needed to lead to “right paths.”  Scripture and Jesus himself use this imagery to describe the guidance our souls need to stay on the right path leading to Heaven.  This is a challenge for modern ears.  We sort of find it endearing that we are sheep of a flock.  But that attitude can rapidly change when a shepherd actually calls us away from the wrong paths that are celebrated in secular society.  In other words, the shepherd is usually appreciated when he calls himself a shepherd.  But he might meet resistance when he actually shepherds.

 

“Gay Marriage,”  How Did We Get Here?

With this in mind, I am going to venture into a difficult topic.  I want to speak about the development four weeks ago that same-sex marriage is now legal in Oklahoma.  More precisely, what I hope to focus our thoughts on is NOT gay marriage itself but rather the deeper question of how we got here, how we arrived at this day.  Anytime I speak on a difficult or charged topic I always find it necessary to state clearly that it is not my intention, it is not in my heart, to offend, but to be a shepherd guiding into right paths.  By the time I conclude I hope you will see that my remarks are directed to everyone and not only to those who identify with same-sex attraction.  It is important to state here: We must always show compassion to those who identify with same-sex attraction.  The self-righteousness that would shun or shame such persons is not of God.  The empty moralizing that would make a person’s dignity dependent upon a heterosexual orientation is not what the Church teaches.  We do not condone homosexual actions but we must always exercise patience and understanding to help carry the burdens of those who need our support in a struggle over sexual orientation.  Hatred directed toward a person who identifies as gay has no place in the life of the Christian.  If we do not walk with such persons, if we shun them, in what sense can we claim to be Christ’s Body?!

 

Love is a Genderless Thing.

The day after same-sex marriage became legal in our State the Oklahoman ran an article in which a prominent metro-area Protestant pastor was quoted saying, “Love is a genderless thing.  Love is the same whether a man marries a woman, or a man marries a man, or a woman marries a woman.  It is the same” (Oklahoman, “At church ceremony, 14 couples recite vows,” 7 October 2014, page 3A).  Reading that quote I found myself asking, Is that true?  In what sense is love genderless?

That statement is true IF we are speaking of God.  The First Letter of St. John says, “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8).  God is complete being itself.  He is not limited to one gender.  We use personal pronouns for God, but we do not in any way mean that God is male or female.  The pastor’s words seem to make sense then.  But was he speaking of the reality of God when he said, “Love is a genderless thing?”  No!

Next, try to imagine ‘love’ as a thing in and of itself.  In other words try to imagine the reality expressed by the word ‘love.’  The concept of ‘love’ is without gender.  Consider love of a family member or love of one’s country.  The reality being expressed by the word ‘love’ does not itself have a gender.  The pastor’s words seem to make sense then.  But was he speaking of the concept of love as a thing in and of itself when he said, “Love is a genderless thing?”  No!

Let’s remember: The pastor was speaking specifically about the context of marriage when he uttered that remark.  So, I am left to ask: What can “love is a genderless thing” possibly mean when we are discussing the incarnate, in-the-flesh love between human beings who are, in fact, embodied as a gender – male and female?  Can such a statement possibly be true when used in the context of that union whose very purpose is to bring two bodies together?

 

Gender Influences Your Whole Life

Consider your own gender.  My being male influences my whole being.  Everything I do is in some sense influenced by being male.  In that sense, it can reasonably be said of the things I do that “A male person did that.”  Gender is not strictly compartmentalized from the rest of the aspects of my life; rather, it influences my whole life.  Gender influences our whole being and is part of how we live and move and express ourselves through our body.  And when we speak of sexuality and sexual activity, how much more clearly is gender involved?  When a human being loves, and especially loves another person, that is an embodied act of the whole person.  Now, that love does not have to be genitally sexual, but it is in fact engendered because it is a human being, male or female, who loves.  Christianity believes a truth that secular society rejects, namely, that the body is important.  What we do in it, and with it, and through it matters.  It matters for life on earth.  It matters for our judgment and for eternity.  St. Paul writes: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body” (2 Cor. 5:10).  Jesus’ Resurrection – in the Body! – shows us the body’s value.  The body is not some meaningless vehicle, tossed away once our life on earth ends.  It wasn’t so for Jesus.  And it isn’t for us.  Jesus took the resurrected Body into heavenly life.  After death, our resurrection will mean our souls are reunited with our bodies such that we enjoy transformed bodily life in Heaven or suffer loss through bodily life in Hell.  We will experience heaven or hell in the body.  That’s our faith in resurrection.

 

How did Gender get Separated from Love?

So, how did we arrive at a point in society when a patently false statement like that pastor’s can be uttered and seemingly accepted?  How did gender get separated from love?  How did the power of gender to generate life become separated from love?  Remember the context here is marriage.  So, if sexual love in marriage doesn’t require gender then it has no meaningful connection to the natural design for procreation and for the generation of human life.  If sexual love has no meaningful or necessary connection to procreation, then what remains for love between two human beings?  What remains is purely physical gratification and whatever mutual support the partners decide to settle for.  If love is nothing more than physical gratification of two people then truly gender doesn’t matter.  But, I ask you, is THAT what love is in a human sexual context?  Is that what love is in your marriage?  I don’t think so.  And since marriage is precisely the context, then the pastor’s words are absolutely false.  Furthermore, the words are morally dangerous since a pastor guided people down wrong paths.  His words are shown to be false by observing the Natural Law, that is the order visible in creation and the order clearly present in sexual love, which shows it to be made for the mutual complementarity of the genders, male and female.  His words are shown to be morally dangerous because, among many reasons, they contradict scriptural teaching that what we do in the body matters both for our flourishing here and for our salvation.

 

Contraception, Let’s not be Naïve Here.

All of this falsehood has been allowed to spread because heterosexual love has been willfully stripped of its meaningful and necessary connection to procreation.  The prevalent use of contraception has made it possible to separate the intrinsic order of human sexual love.  Let’s not be naïve here.  Contraception hides under labels of ‘responsibility,’ and ‘safe,’ and ‘protection.’  But, in fact, what it is primarily about is separating what God joined together in sexual love to be shared by the two genders.  God joined in sexual love the good of spousal unity (or bonding) and the good of procreation (or babies).  I think we need to admit what has happened in society here.  Those advocating same-sex relations and same-sex marriage are in some sense reflecting what they see in the practices that are so prevalent among heterosexual couples.

It’s as if they are saying to heterosexuals, “Well, if you can opt whenever you want for a sterile love, one not connected to the baby-making power of the genders, then why can’t we opt for that too?  If you can opt whenever you want only for the gratification part of love, then why can’t we opt for that too?”

 

The World Needs the Witness of Your Total Self-giving Love

And here is where I hope you hear that my words are not primarily about those in same-sex relations or marriage.  Rather, my words are more for heterosexuals in marriage.  The world needs you to resist the disorder that is introduced into human sexual love when contraception is practiced.  Sexual love is disordered when its God-designed meaning to bond the spouses and to generate babies is willfully separated by contraception or other means.  And so to you who are called to live a holy vocation in Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony I say: the world needs the witness of your total self-giving love.  The world needs your witness of trust in God’s design for love that is expressed when heterosexual love is lived in a fully human way to bond you to your spouse and to bond you to a son or a daughter who embodies your love.  And so the right path I want to shepherd you along today is to recognize the desperate need the Lord has for you to live your marital love in a fruitful way.

 

The Spiritual Malpractice of Shepherds

                For many of you there have been sins in the past.  You may have been swept up in the contraceptive message of society and in what I will call the spiritual malpractice of shepherds who remained silent or who gave false advice.  If that is the case, then repent.  Have no fear!  The Lord loves us and heals us in his mercy in the confessional.  If your fertile years are past and you feel guilty about past decisions.  Then help the next generation.  Offer sacrifice and penance for yourself and for them.  Be an apostle for the full meaning of marital love and speak to your children and to your grandchildren, to anyone who will listen, and call them to a meaningful expression of human love that respects the order established by God.  If you are still in your fertile years, learn Natural Family Planning and reverence God’s place in your marital love.  If you are young and looking ahead to marriage, then practice discipline in chastity now, and recognize that when you marry you need to be ready to have babies.  If you aren’t ready for babies then you aren’t ready for marriage.  You who are called to live an engendered love are the hope to return society to our moorings of respect for spousal love that will help all people truly flourish.  Come Lord Jesus, shepherd us in right paths!

 

Slight editing.

 

by Fr. Stephen V. Hamilton

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12 comments to Hatred of Gays Has No Place Christian Life

  • […] this very important issue. Check out two of his recent awesome homilies that touch on the subject here and […]

  • TMS

    Greetings tg. You and I know that we must be strong in the Lord. And the spiritual battle is the great battle, being played out in every soul. Can’t recommend enough the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. My personal favorite is the exercises as preached by Miles Christi at various locations around the U.S. This experience of the Spiritual Exercises reveals the battleground, the weapons, the enemy, the strategy and the path to victory. AMDG

  • TMS

    The genderless-ness of God would appear to be a notion that does not have any sound basis in reality. If it did have any basis, we could find it in scripture and in tradition. We do find, conversely, that the (male) person of Jesus Christ taught us to pray, Our Father, who art in Heaven….. Those genders, or sexes, if you will, father and son, are not feminine. And the Blessed mother is indeed and clearly feminine/of the female sex. Heaven forbid that faithful catholics should reduce ourselves to pandering to the sexual revolution in order to explain an important point of doctrine regarding same sex attraction. It is clearly evidenced by Revelation in Scripture and held by Tradition (not to mention historical evidence) that God our Father sent his only Son. And the role of Mary has been revealed, and yet her immaculate heart is still so misunderstood. Pray the rosary, friends, pray the rosary. You will receive graces and with them, understanding and wisdom and even more gifts.

  • Sarah

    Colleen if you would read the Scripture in Lev 18:22 you too will know how GOD feels about men lying with men, or Lev 20:13 you would learn that men having sex with another man like with a woman is detestable.

    Every church should accept homosexuals, bisexuals, lesbians, transgenders etc so they would have the opportunity to learn about Jesus Christ, and what he is asking from all of us..

    the LGBT community have a heavy cross to carry but like everyone else, they must carry it, remaining faithful to the teachings of GOD.

    The Scriptures teaches us the wishes of the Holy Spirit, and what is from satan.

    GOD Bless you

  • tg

    Colleen, Gary O and Bede answered perfectly. When have progessives in the Catholic Church ever been oppressed? Look at Hans Jung. It’s the traditional priests and bishops who don’t get away with anything. They get moved to Malta or forced to go on a sabitical. Even if they are caught in a lie like Cardinal Kasper, nothing happens to them. Look at Mahoney and how many kids were abused during his reign. Nothing happened to him. Yet they are going after Bishop Finn. No bishop whether liberal or traditional should protect a priest that abuses children. Why can’t we just be Catholics and obey the laws of the church? If you don’t like the rules, them become a Protestant.

  • Gary O

    Coleen, first of all “things” aren’t going the other way. So called “same-sex marriage” will always be against church teachings. Same thing on divorce and re-marriage. We can’t allow what the Lord taught against. One way Coleen, to know whether anything is from the evil one is to know what the Church teaches and what is in the Catechism. It’s is so sad that the HF has got us to a place where because of his ambiguity, the expectations of people like you that want us to have a democratic church are running so high for change.

  • Bede

    There really are no such things as “progressive” or “conservative” Catholics. There are Catholics, and then there are Heretics. Stay in the middle road…that’s where the narrow door is located.

  • lisag

    The reality is there are no private sins. The sins of the bedroom spread in to the community and now they are blasted over all the media. How can a sinner say don’t do that to another sinner and still practice their own sin. They can’t. So to not feel like a hypocrite all sins become accepted. Parents cannot insist upon morality within their ranks when they are overburdened with their own immorality. Actually saying no to children who withhold love unless it is all acceptance or nothing is rarely found. Family members who shame each other and friends into accepting sinful actions is cruel. The only way to get out of this mess is to only obey God, to make our relationship with Jesus more valuable than any other and to stop seeing our importance in material things and earthy accomplishments.

  • Br. Christopher B.P.P.

    There must be no hate. There must be an absolute hate for the sinfulness of this

    behavior. There should be no radical agenda forcing others to view this behavior

    as normal. Justifying sinful behavior should have no agenda in the church. Gays

    must repent just as all sinners must repent. My message to a gay person would be

    to leave your radical agenda at the front door. Leave your gay flag at home and

    come to church seeking forgiveness like everyone else. Stop trying to justify and force

    others to accept this sinful behavior as something normal. Stop dancing around the

    crucifix as though Our Blessed Lord is not offended. My conversion came about by

    presenting myself before the crucified Lord asking for forgiveness. Where there is

    true contrition there will be total forgiveness and the possibility of healing this sinful

    and unhappy affliction.

    There is no other way for me to minister to homosexuals other than speaking the

    truth. Its a tough love business that can only be achieved by example.

    Br. Christopher B.P.P.

  • Maria

    In Christian life there is no place for hatred of any kind, but a search for sainthood. A heart that hates rejects the love of God, it is void and empty of divine grace, it is at an obstacle for spiritual growth, it slowly destroys itself with a poison that is impossible to eradicate but by the Blood of Jesus crucified. Forgiveness, reconciliation, acceptance of self and others in the Sacred Heart of Our Blessed Lord is the only way to peace and unity. The issues of a homosexual life style, gay marriage, homophobia, pre-marital sex, birth control, abortion, and so many other grave problems of immorality find their solution in repentance and in the search of holiness, in living God’s precepts, in walking the path os righteousness, in carrying our cross every day and in following our Lord, Jesus, who died for us to free us from sin and to give us eternal life and eternal happiness. Any sacrifice that we can offer in His Holy Name is nothing compared to what He has done and continues to do for all of us. May Our Blessed Lord be praised and glorified now and forever! +

  • tg

    I don’t hate them but I’m sick of the radical ones pushing their agenda in my face. I think that’s how a lot of people feel. We can’t even say we think sodomy is a sin without being called a homophobic. Now after the synod or sin nod whatever, everyone thinks the Catholic Church and Pope Francis are accepting same sex marriage. Even the intentions at our church said “for the synod of the family and for us to accept what the Holy Spirit asks” – I wondered what the hidden meaning was. If the Catholic Church one days recognizes so called same sex marrige, it’s not from the Holy Spirit but from another spirit – the father of lies.

    • Coleen

      Let’s see if I have this straight. In the days when progressive Catholics were being oppressed by ultra conservatives, they (the progressives) were to fall in line and obey the Pope. Now that there is some evidence that things might be going the other way some people are singing a different tune. Finally, tg, just how do you presume to know the wishes of the Holy Spirit or the devil for that matter?

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