Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.

Tolerating Intolerance

04-13-2014Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

"Trouble, oh we got trouble, right here in River City, with a capital T".

Recently the CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich was forced to resign from his position because he had donated to the CA Prop 8 campaign in support of traditional (1 man- 1 woman) marriage. The supporters of same-sex marriage let it be known that no dissent will be tolerated and anyone who holds positions contrary will be shunned from polite society. Traditional Marriage supporters have been compared to Holocaust deniers, segregationists, racists, bigots, and mentally deranged persons. Not really the group you would want to belong to, right? So it makes lots of sense to join the other side, after all if you say you are gay/lesbian or much, much better trans-anything you get all the accolades, a cheering-section, special protections, designated safe places at schools and universities and the full support of our media and government. Who wouldn't want to sign up for this club? Nuts not to...

Still the lack of tolerance that this episode displayed is truly bone chilling. Even to the point that some of the biggest supporters of same-sex marriage found it revolting for a pluralistic society like ours. Andrew Sullivan, a long time advocate for same-sex marriage said, "Will he [Brendan Eich] now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us."

At this juncture the question is how should we as Christians who take biblical morality with all seriousness respond? Our society has lost, at least on this issue the ability to have serious civil reasoned dialogue on the issue of same-sex marriage. It now seems to be that brute force will win the battle. And of course responding in kind will only escalate animosity and division in our country. Our nature as Christians is to be the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world". Which means first we stand firm on our principles and don't capitulate because of the consequences of failing to do so. So we best consider the cost, which as the example above shows might be very steep.

This situation is exactly why Jesus told us to "pray for our persecutors, pray and do not curse them". This is just what we will watch Jesus do this Holy Week. He did not react in kind, he did not condemn, he did not even raise his voice against his persecutors. And yet he came out victorious. But we can't forget that in between there was the passion and the crucifixion, the nails and the thorns. So too will there be for us. Jesus also foretold that belief in Him could cause conflict in families, setting one member against the other. The issue of same-sex marriage has certainly done that in many families. While we shouldn't be surprised, it remains a heart-breaking wound if your family has been so affected.
Walking this Holy Week with Jesus, retracing his footsteps is the best preparation we can have if we are being called to walk the road of suffering, ridicule, and pain.

In the 20th century one of Communisms fatal flaws was a misunderstanding of the nature of the human person. Because of that Christians who understand humans to be made with an innate need for God were the first to be sacrificed to the ideological altars of Marxism. But in the end communism had to collapse because it was built on a false premise. However not before much bloodshed and suffering. Likewise on the issue of marriage a misunderstanding of the true nature of the human person, made as complementary, man and woman, is heart and center of the push to redefine marriage. It too will not stand but will fall on its own weight being built on a very deceptive foundation. But again not before lots of ugliness and pernicious treatment befalls its opponents.

So we walk with Jesus, we know where the walk ends and when we find ourselves at the empty tomb on Easter Sunday we will know that all will one day be well.

Fr. John B.