Turning the Other Cheek
Earlier this week, a story in Newsweek caught my attention. It talked about a couple, legally married in the state of Massachusetts, who, like many of us, wanted to raise their family with a strong grounding in faith, in the church they grew up in. But the couple is gay, and their church, in this case, is the Catholic Church.
I was struck by the fact that even though the church did not recognize their marriage and would never treat their family the same way as other families, they still remained committed to the church. If they were hurt that their church did not bless their marriage, they did not show it. They did not walk away from their faith. Instead, they had the grace to remain faithful within the church even though the church refuses to fully welcome them.
This couple in Massachusetts is not alone. Many of the devout GLBT people I know have worked very hard to think through what the church means to them because who they are has been so challenged by both their church and the wider world around them.
Some have tried with heart and mind and soul to abide by the rules they believe the church demands of them — and still they emerge with the conviction that they have been marvelously made as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender by God. They know God loves them with immense joy just as they are, and I cannot ignore their witness, just as I cannot ignore the tenderness of their commitments to their partner nor the testimony of their love for that other person which blends with their love for God in a mysteriously deep way.
And I cannot help feeling that when our GLBT brothers and sisters come to us in the church and say, “I want to make this church my home,” we must honor them with the same love and respect and pastoral care we would show any of our other brothers and sisters in Christ. How can we tell them they are not deserving of God’s love? Surely we cannot.