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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ashes To Gay Bashes, Dust To Dust.


Today is Ash Wednesday. A day which mirrors the start of Jesus fasting for 40 days in the dessert. But I chose not to attend mass and be marked as a Catholic today. 
Like most others I was born into a religion. Beliefs, traditions, prayers and practices were instilled in me from the time I wasn't old enough to question why.

I attended Catholic school where the phrase "liberty and justice for all, the born and the unborn" ended our morning Pledge Of Allegiance. Nuns, priests, prayers and church were part of my daily life and felt very normal. I was baptized, made my first communion, and sang in the church group every Sunday. But when it came time for me to make my confirmation in eighth grade, I refused. My mother was mad, but even at thirteen I knew I didn't want to commit to any one religion for my entire life.

As I got older, I became more distanced from the Catholic church. One major dividing factor for me was that I am a pro-choice liberal, and believe church and government should have no place in my uterus. I also am a staunch believer in LGBT equality.
In my life, I have been lucky enough to visit some of the holiest places on Earth. I have been to Buddhist monasteries in China, lit candles inside The Vatican, left prayers in The Wailing Wall, stood on the site of Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection, and appreciated the beauty of Muslim prayer calls echoing over Jerusalem. 
Through all of this I have come to believe that religions are not as different as we all think they are, but the world NEEDS them and is a better place because of them. Imagine the chaos and killing that would erupt if no one believed in judgment day, or consequences in afterlife. 

I had high hopes that the Catholic church was about to merge with our modern society with the new "cool" pope. Unfortunately recent statements regarding gay families seem to contradict everything Jesus would believe in if he were alive. To me Jesus was a leader who's strongest message was loving everyone equally and helping others during times of need.
Which makes me question, why is the church's leadership so closed minded when it comes to acknowledging gay rights and marriage?
Why should a man loving a man be treated differently than woman loving a man? Why deny a child a loving home because of sexual orientation?
One obvious reason is that this is a threat to their perception of what is considered traditional. Another is that they take the Bible as fact, but if that IS the case, the contradiction lies here:

The Bible says: Leviticus 20:13: If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them. 

Romans 1:26-28: For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.

And from the catechism of The Catholic Church: 
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

Though the Catholic church does not believe in evolution, perhaps the time has come for them to evolve. Clearly many other things in the Bible are no longer practiced. You know.....stoning, animal sacrifice.....all of the dietary laws in Leviticus. WHY BIGOTRY?!

 I guess since murder and stoning are illegal in our day and age, the best the church can do is imply that being gay is a problem and a choice not accepted.  In a recent event that sparked controversy, A Denver priest stopped a a woman's funeral, because he would allow no indication that the mother of two was gay in the church. I personally know many LGBT who believe in Jesus and God, but feel so marginalized that they no longer go to church. I can see why. 

Until the Catholic church becomes a place where all are truly loved and accepted, I will no longer consider myself Catholic. I continue to hold out hope that someday the Catholic church will fully blossom into the religion Jesus would have intended it to be. If that day ever arrives, I will proudly have my head marked on Ash Wednesday. 

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