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6 November 2013
We went to a funeral today at our local Catholic church. It was a woman who performed a zillion years ago with the long-defunct Davis Comic Opera Company and I expected to see a lot of old DCOC people there, but there were only 3, besides us, scattered throughout the congregation.
When I walked in the church, I realized how long it had been since I was last in that building, which was where I decided to become a "recovering Catholic." Years ago, they painted the inside of the building. There was lots of talk about it at the time. They painted it all white and I remember Paul being upset about how much money they spent on remodeling the church when there are so many poor people in Davis who could have used that money. In fact, he went to the pastor and voiced his complaint. (Naturally the comments fell on deaf ears).
I never saw the paint job because I had stopped going to church before they began the remodel. And Paul has been dead 14 years, which kind of puts it in perspective!
I left the church for many reasons, but the straw that broke the camel's back was when a priest and nun in San Francisco, who ran a ministry to the gay community there, were ordered by the Vatican to stop doing it. I stood in church after that reciting the Apostles Creed, in which we professed to believe all the things that Catholic Church teaches and I realized that as I recited it, I was lying. I didn't believe any more. I never went back.
At the funeral today the gospel included the beatitudes...
Then they sang a song which included the lyrics
And then I thought of my friends
Ellen and Shelly have been working to feed the hungry in Davis for as long as I've known them. They are the first ones to show up when a friend is ill or in need of moral support. They have raised four children together and yet they, and thousands...millions...of others like them are shut out of the Catholic church and many other churches simply because they have lived together in a loving, committed relationship for more than 40 years.
When the goveernment finally said it was OK to marry in 2008, they were the first ones to be married in Yolo County, and they have continued to work tirelessly to get that same privilege for other same gender couples who love each other and want their committed relationships to be legalized.
I thought about the Vatican shutting down any outreach to the gay community. I thought about my friend Steve, who joined a group that was invited to visit Jerry Falwell's compound in Virginia, to sit and eat lunch and discuss matters of mutual importance--only to be turned away because Falwell refused to eat with "sinners." I think of Pastor Martin Ssempa in Kenya, working to get the government to pass a "kill the gays" bill, which would require all homosexuals to be executed and all supporters to be imprisoned. I think of the look of hate on the faces of the Russian demonstrators I have seen at Gay Rights marches in Sacramento. I think of the phalanx we made to protect gay teens who wanted to march to the Capitol to express their concerns and at the hate messsages that were screamed at them from so-called "good Christians" on the streets. I think of John Boehner who just yesterday said he would not bring a Senate-passed bill protecting the rights of gay people from being fired for being gay...or for being thought of as being gay...to the floor of the house for a vote.
And I ask the question, which has been asked many times before...if he were here, what would Jesus (who never said one word about homosexuality) say about the hatred, persecution and exclusion of his gay children going on in his name.
Somehow I think he'd rather be at a Gay Rights event.
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