Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Agape is Love

I remember in my class we were talking about whether or not people were born gay or straight.  I mentioned that there is evidence that the homosexual tendency may be genetic, but nothing conclusive.

But I told them flat out that if they ever were able to isolate the "gay gene," and were able to test for it, then I would be terrified.  I asked my students why I would be terrified.

Most of the answers were things like,
-it would disprove your religion
-it would mean I would have to support gay right
-it means the Bible is wrong
-it would lead to more acceptance of homosexuality in the Church.

I made clear that all of the Church's current teachings would still be consistent even if it was proved that the "gay gene" determined their orientation.  None of their answers were the reason.  I told them it was a practical effect that I am positive would happen.

It was finally one student, who was gay, who raised her hand and said, "Because a lot of the babies with the 'gay gene' would get aborted."

And that was exactly it.

I said to them that my fear would be that some parents would see the "gay gene" as a defect that they would rather not deal with and would rather abort the child than deal with the challenges.  Perhaps I am overly pessimistic, but I know that there is a large percentage of parent who abort children who are found to carry genetic markers for Down's Syndrome.  I told my students that it horrifies me to think that someone would think that because someone is gay that their life somehow has less value.

What I found was that a lot of my students looked at me like I had two heads.  I had just spent the previous week standing boldly for the Church's orthodox teaching on human sexuality (whether I did it effectively is another question).  But many of them could not understand how I could passionately defend the belief that homosexual sex is sinful while at the same time get so passionately worked up about the horrors of aborted homosexual children.  For many of them, there is no separation between a person and their actions.

And to be sure, the way we live affects who we are as people.  But Christ told always that we are not to judge persons but actions.  We are called to have unconditional love, also known is agape, for everyone.  I am horrified when someone is treated inhumanely because of their sexual orientation, just as I am when anyone is treated inhumanely for any reason.

So often, our culture conditions the young to think that acknowledging the immorality of homosexual sex means that we also hate those who engage in those acts.  But we are not called to hate.  In fact, I never understood how someone being homosexual was supposed to impel me to hate.  The most negative emotion I can muster is sadness for those who separate themselves from the truth of Christ.  And that is how I feel about anyone who commits sin, including myself.  I separate myself of the truth of Christ every time I sin and that fills me with sadness.  While I know what actions are right and wrong, how could a sinner like me judge another sinner?

But a person is a person and agape is love.

When the terrorist attack occurred in Orlando a few days ago in the gay nightclub, the overwhelming response from Christians all over the world has been prayers and charity.  All the Christians I follow online have been urging all of us to unite in prayer.  Chick-fil-a, which is often labeled an anti-gay business, opened their grills on Sunday and gave away free food to people in Florida who were donating blood for the victims.  Priests from our pulpits preached Christ's words of love and compassion.

My heart is broken for all those who were murdered in Orlando.  And I cannot imagine the suffering of those who lost loved ones in that horror.  Now is the time for comfort to those who are afraid.

We are called to give the unconditional love of God to everyone.  We are all made in God's image.  It is not our job to wait for others to live according to the Gospel before we share with them Gospel charity.  This is not a compromise of our orthodox beliefs.  It is the fulfillment of the New Commandment to love one another as Christ loves us.

So let us continue to pray and offer charity to our brothers and sisters who are suffering and remind them that Christ suffers with them.

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