Dear Cousin Butchie,
I have waited to read something on your blog which will even start to explain both Hurricane Sandy and the massacre in Newtown, CT. I have observed and heard that you are still one of the gay people who go to church, so I'd be interested in how you either whitewash or bamboozle answers to these events which have impacted on so many people. In simple terms, WHERE WAS GOD?
The evangelists have made their statements about these tragedies being the fault of gay people seeking marriage, and that the world is close to ending because we have removed prayer from our schools.
I hope you have something to offer on this issue because I am almost at the point of wanting to claim that I am straight, date women and go back in the closet.
Dear Scared Rabbit,
First of all-- Don't get all indignant and attempt something which can never totally occur. That equals a Silly Rabbit, not a Scared one.
Thank you for your message. I have attempted to write about the two major unthinkable crises (plus many more) which have occurred since October 29th. Each time, I realized I was not saying anything new or helpful. I was repeating those statements of despair and disbelief and confusion. I also shared in the tears of so many of these people, and I realized that the basket passed in church was simply not enough to help these people. I also noticed the dramatic ways so many people volunteered time and treasure and talent to make some of these outrageous events less isolating.
The only way I can reply to your question is to explain the way I "tailor" my beliefs. I'll warn you in advance that most of you know I am a practicing, but ever so heretical, Roman Catholic. I realize that many compare this to being a Gay Republican, and that even Cousin Butchie finds weird.
My belief is in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That God is not all-powerful as we've been taught from bible passages which have suffered a great deal in the translations and re-translations, the contradictions, and the fact that the bible is a compilation of sex and murder and brutality, etc. It has be used to advocate slavery, racial segregation, the rights of women, the very lives of gay people being referred to as "intrinsically evil" and "abominations" and "Sodomy." THESE 'CONCLUSIONS' COME FROM PEOPLE WHO KNOW VERY LITTLE ABOUT THE BIBLE. EVEN WHAT THEY HAVE READ, THEY HAVE NOT BOTHERED TO STUDY AND DISCERN.
Just a few examples of the foolishness of just listening to the words in the bible , I recall back in seventh grade I was taught by a Christian Brother who had it in his syllabus to tell the hormone-popping boys about the mortal sin of masturbation. He went to a New Testament passage which states that if a person's eye offends it should be plucked out, but the clincher was that anyone whose right hand offends should cut it off. I paid no attention to this instruction or I would have easily become blind and amputated. Strangely, the other boys didn't buy into it either. If I could go into detail about what usually happened in the showers after gym class, you would better understand the dichotomy here.
The evangelists have a very hard time trying to figure out what world catastrophes mean. Sure that they can come up with an answer, they go to the last book of the bible, Revelations (or the Apocalypse) where they find some of the most mentally distrubing writing on earth. It has all of the earmarks of an hallucinatory adventure... and there is something for everyone to read and "see the light." This includes impending floods, plagues, pestilence, etc. In any given generation, believers could "see the handwriting on the wall," Alas! Each generation passed and the readings stayed the same but continued to be fuel for the guilt and level of fear they wanted to create. It's also interesting to note how much of the past warnings have been changed by men and women, and hopefully at the will of God. Social justice systems, care for the poor, the development of anti-viral medications to lessen the AIDS pandemic, the invention of medical procedures which prevent what would have been previously a certain death. The list could go on indefinitely.
We live at a moment in history when there is more global knowledge of what is happenening in all of its sectors than ever before in history. In past centuries people knew very little, if anything, about life beyond their own nation. We do know of catastrophic floodsand earthquakes and plagues. The problem is that there was often the belief that their generation was solely being chastised. Try, if you will, to imagine what life will be like in one hundred years.
We also have medications which radically improve the plight of those mentally ill. Even our processed foods may be keeping us healthier than food in past which was spoiled and bacteria-laden.
Before I try to sum up my beliefs, I want to respond to what I have heard and read from people of some kind of faith to explain what cannot be explained.
Here goes: The Connecticut murder of twenty children and seven adults is a result of taking God out of the schools thus making them unsafe.
ANSWER: Well, the Roman Catholic Church has never taken God out of the schools, but this has not stopped the sexual molestation of both boys and girls by priests and nuns. We also find that the cruelty of the nuns back then was worse than the charges made against the priests. And let's not forget the members of the hierarchy who (in God's name) hid the life-altering abuse. It has been seen as not an isolated incident, but a global problem which seems to have been closely orchestrated by the Vatican to keep from going bankrupt.
These outrageous events have been caused by same sex couples demanding to marry and ruin heterosexual marriage. We are seeing God's wrath.
ANSWER: No one has ever shown that allowing the marriage of two people of the same gender in any possible way harms heterosexual married couples. It's a cheap shot, but we are now facing a situation in our major cities in which 70% or more of babies are born to unmarried straight people. When the straight people do decide to marry, the divorce rate is over 50%. Then, there's infidelity, parental child abuse, etc. AND does someone really believe that a straight married man will ruin his marriage by hooking up with a gay person because he is really gay? Bisexual, promiscuous, a hustler...YES! But no straight man has sex with a gay man to ruin his marriage. It wasn't on fertile ground anyway.
So..... I am Catholic because I have been fortunate enough to find good priests. Never were they at the closest Catholic parish, but they were within driving distance. I believe we have made God into a puppet we pray to in the hope of getting what we seek. Often, it is subtly inferred that the more prayers God gets, the better the outcome of the intention. It has resulted in people storming heaven with prayers for a successful carnival, etc. I will never forget the lady who sincerely prayed that her legally blind brother would get his bus driver's license.
The God of my understanding is the God who loves us and is ready to welcome us home, no matter how sick or battered or depressed. He (She) doesn't frivolously decide which problems to solve for us. I remember that one of my mother's favorite books was "When Bad Things Happen to Good People," by Rabbi Harold Kushner. I find it a lifeline in my prayer experience.
Also, I recall being told by a Catholic priest that the Torah says that WHEN MAN CRIES, GOD CRIES. [I have yet to track that down, but it's too good to let pass].
This, my dear readers has gone in different directions, but I hope it gives you, my readers, some sense of the need we have to follow an established faith tradition....AND ALL THAT GOD IS WAITING FOR IS FOR US TO COME ALONG AND REFORM IT IN EACH GENERATION.
Have a great 2013!