Jesus and the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade


If you live in Boston then you know what a big deal Saint Patrick’s Day is.  As the old saying goes, “everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day.”  If you have been following the news these last few weeks you know that there has been an on again off again relationship between the parade organizers and a group homosexuals who wish to march in the parade.  I am not sure why everything has to be about sex but I will leave that for another essay.  As much as I disagree with the homosexual lifestyle I am having a difficult time with this because I believe that discrimination, for any purpose is a sin.

The entirety of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about loving God and loving your neighbor and I find it difficult to reconcile this Gospel mandate with discrimination.  How can you love your neighbor if you discriminate against them?  Jesus surrounded himself with the, shall we say, less desirable in the community.  He accepted them as humans, created in the image and likeness of God, but he did not accept nor did He condone their activities or their lifestyle.  He showed them that God loves them and He also showed them they path to righteousness, but He did not discriminate against them.  The question is often asked “what would Jesus do?” and I think that is the wrong question to ask because well, we are not Jesus.  The question is, “what would Jesus want us to do?”

A survey released last week by the Public Religion Research Institute titled, A Shifting Landscape: A Decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Issues, stated that one-third of millennials (adults between the ages of 18 and 33) left the church because of their perceived idea of how homosexuals are treated by the church.  (I also think they were going leave anyway and this is just an excuse.)  I say perceived as I would be interested to know if these same people actually know what the teachings of their church, or perhaps the teachings of Christ, has to say on the issue.  However, perception is a large part of the game.  Again I am not suggesting the Church change their teaching on Homosexuality anymore than I am suggesting the Church change her teaching on sex outside of marriage, which is called fornication by the way and a sin.  But maybe we could show a little bit more love and understanding.

As I suggested earlier in this essay, I believe homosexuality to be a sin, the action that is not the inclination.  But I do not believe that the homosexual person is “objectively disordered” any more than any other person who sins.  As a result of the fall of humanity humans have a propensity toward sin, we have to make a choice between doing what God wants us to do and what the enemy of God wants us to do.  So in essence homosexuality is a choice, the same choice we all have to make between sin and not sinning.  The Church does not need to change her teaching but maybe she needs to change the way she deals with people.

A year ago Pope Francis was elected as the Bishop of Rome and the head of the world wide Roman Catholic Church.  Almost immediately he brought a breath of fresh air into the Church.  I will draw attention to the fact that he has not changed one dot or tittle of the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church but he is speaking in a language that is filled with love and understanding and I find that very refreshing.  I am not saying that rules are not important, because they are, but love is more important that the rules as love is the number rule of the Gospel.

But back to the parade.  As an American I am a supporter of free speech, in fact I served and continue to serve, in the armed forces of the United States to secure that right.  Although I have never been in combat, I have served almost half of my adult life and believe I have taken part in securing the freedoms we cherish for the next generation.  But we stand at a cross roads between free speech and morality.  I believe that people have the freedom to pretty much do what they want as long as it falls within the confines of the law, the law of the state that is.  I believe that the group of homosexuals has a right to march in the parade and I also believe that the organizers of the parade have the right to not allow them to march.  The reason given was they did not want the parade to turn into a political statement, I can agree with that.  This is the difficulty of living in a free society as much as I disagree with the lifestyle they have chosen I have to support their right to live that lifestyle.  Just because I disagree with something does not mean I do not support their right to believe it.

A few years ago I attended a rally of the Tea Party folks in Worcester.  This is a group of people who have a vision of America that they believe is right, I do not agree 100% with them but who agrees 100% with anyone about anything?  What discouraged me, and I know this is a small minority of people so relax, but there were some folks holding signs displaying an image of the President of the United States as Hitler.  I find this disturbing on many levels but I also understand that protest is what made the United States, well the United States!  You see freedom of speech has to extend past what we agree with or it is not freedom at all.  As much as I disagree with the Obama as Hitler posters I have to support their right to carry them.

To my belief, and you are free to disagree with me of course, but what we as Church need to do is to love people.  If we demonstrate the love of Christ to those around us we will be a force to be reckoned with rather than a Church that is becoming insignificant in the world.  Sure the world hates us, but we combat that hate with love.

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