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  • Hope on Union

"Pride Month"

June is Pride Month. The current LGBTIQA+ pride movement promotes self-affirmation, dignity, equality, greater visibility, and acceptance of LGBTIQA+ people. It fights for pride, not social stigma.

The Church must recognize its leading role in perpetuating the suffering of the members of the LGBTIQA+ community. The Church labeled anyone with differences as "abnormal" and "social misfits." While these labels covered an extensive array of differences, including physical disabilities, mental illness, racial differences, and intellectual abilities, LGBTIQA+ people have been especially targeted.

The rise of anti-LGBTIQA+ in the Church is directly tied to the clerical celibacy that was instituted in the 5th century at the Second Council of Lateran. The driving force of cleric celibacy was the cost of church expansion and clergy sexual misconduct. As the Church spread, it was cheaper to have priests live in cloisters than have their own families. And there were also many accounts of clergy sexual misconduct against men, women, and children they were charged with serving.

The Church's push for cleric celibacy also included "sex for creation only" language as the Church was addressing the sexual relations among the clergy struggling with celibacy in cloisters. Over the years, the procreation theology became "anti-sex" and ran afoul with the post-WWII societies that saw firsthand the carnage of the Nazi hatred language.

Under Nazi control, not only Jews but also the gay community were gassed in the concentration camps. While the world embraced the Jewish suffering through remembering Holocaust, the attempted extermination of the gay community did not raise the same global horror.

As the post-WWII societies pushed for religious diversity, the influence of the Church diminished, and the new social norms included sexual expressions that were free of procreation expectations. The communities were freeing themselves from theologies instituted to control the clergy's misdeeds more than a millennia ago.

The Gospels have stories after stories of Jesus performing miracles, but these stories are not only about Jesus' ability to perform miracles. These stories show the power of God being shared with those whom the societies of that time had labeled misfits. The socially oppressed were given self-pride while the socially powerful were rebuked. Jesus instituted a new norm of acceptance by God. The divine acceptance of the poor and cast out restored their self-worth while stripping self-proclaimed hollow values from the arrogant.

While Jesus accepted everyone, the Church has not. While the love of God is free for everyone, the Church has misrepresented it and said it was conditional. While God is the only judge, the Church claims it has the power to judge. While God is love, the Church hates.

Acceptance of LGBTIQA+ persons as equal members of society is the work of repentance of the Church. Rejection of LGBTIQA+ persons was by the Church for its own purposes, and the Church now has the responsibility to recompense for its sin.

We have much to repent about in June.

Pastor Sunny

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