US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Stop homophobia in the church--it "insults God"

By Caitlyn Schmid | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The choice of words and the tone of which we use to say them matter. As Kira Dault wrote about last week in her blog post regarding Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and her preference to use “undocumented immigrants” over “illegal aliens,” they mean a great deal.

Dublin, Ireland’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin called for a change in words and tone regarding gay rights debate. Fueled this week by an anti-gay prejudice speech from one of Ireland’s top drag queens, Miss Panti Bliss—also known as 45-year-old Rory O’Neill—the archbishop spoke up against the discriminatory culture of Ireland that promotes homophobia.

He also decried that anyone who uses church teachings to persecute the LGBT community is “insulting God.” Bigotry toward the LGBT community is “not just homophobic if they do that, they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people," he said. "We all belong to one another and there is no way we can build up a society in which people are excluded or insulted.”

Although Archbishop Martin reinstated the official church teaching that opposes gay marriage, he said that both sides of the debate “have to be careful about the way we speak and the language we use.” However, he wants to make it clear that "just because a person isn't in favor of gay marriage doesn't mean that one is homophobic." Because of Martin’s comments, O’Neill claimed him as a part of “Team Panti.”

This is not the first attempt to change the tone of the conversation of gay rights. Well-known and popularly quoted is Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff response to reporters while on an airplane returning to Rome from Brazil. “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis said.

Regardless of whether or not someone is favor of gay marriage, we need to continue changing the tone of the conversation to one of compassion, human dignity, and respect. We need to have a mature debate that is calm and that uses common sense instead of labeling one another and stereotyping one another. We need to watch what we say to one another and how we say it. We must go into the debate first and foremost with mercy and love.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.