A Christian response to Cardinal George

Timothy Kincaid

December 28th, 2011

A professor at the Chicago Theological Seminary has an unexpected response to Cardinal George’s wacky KKK comparisons. Well, it the seminary is affiliated with the United Church of Christ so it really isn’t all that unexpected. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite has invited the Cardinal to come experience the Pride Parade as her guest – because it would help him be a better Christian leader.

I would like to invite the cardinal because I have become an ally of the LGBTQ community and it has been an incredible spiritual and theological journey for me. I would like to share with him a small part of how important this journey can be for Christian leaders as well as parishioners.

I have learned so much from what a spirituality of truthfulness teaches, and how it can illumine a great deal about the Christian Gospel, as well as about theology, ethics, pastoral care, and worship. Over the years of teaching and learning with gay students, faculty, and staff colleagues, both at the seminary, around the nation and indeed around the world, I have gained from their courage in facing up to a world that is hostile to their very humanity, and challenging churches that claim they are not included in God’s love and care. Despite all the hurtful and harmful religious messages, many LGBT people nevertheless come to know God’s love and affirmation for exactly who they are.

The Cardinal may do well to listen to Thistlewaite, she’s no theological lightweight.

Pomo

December 28th, 2011

Sadly, conservative religious people (of all faiths) are not interested in dialogue. Although the same is true with militants of every category…

Blake

December 29th, 2011

Now that’s what I’m talking about! I wish a gay leader would reach out to the fools on the other side in this manner instead of leaving it to our straight allies. But still; spot on!

If we answer fear and ignorance with shouting for resignations and constant criticism we’re only going to encourage the building of a victem mentality in the opposition. But if we answer fear and ignorance with genuine heart-felt attempts at outreach and dialog-building we’re going to win hearts & minds to our cause. Which is Liberty.

Until C.George gets off his pompous ass and actually attends a Pride Parade he’s never going to question his own perception of it and of our movement as a whole. From his recent statements (and other writings) he clearly thinks our agenda is anti-religious. In reality it is Pro-Liberty with an emphasis on diversity and acceptance of that diversity. He probably doesn’t even understand why our symbol is the Rainbow Flag or what the colors of the flag mean. We’re never going to be able to tell him what we stand for unless he’s at the table, or parade, in this instance.

The sooner we convince Catholic leadership that we’re not naturally antagonistic toward them the sooner we can put the foolishness of the culture wars behind us.

Timothy Kincaid

December 29th, 2011

Pomo,

I disagree. Cardinal George is not interested in dialog, I suspect, but there are many conservative religious people who are.

I see that to be true in increasing numbers each year. Sometimes the dialog is strained or predicated on presumptions that make communication impossible, but they are trying.

For a long time conservatives mostly either ignored us or railed against us and had little interest in getting to know us. Currently most seem to be still in the “what are those miserable perverse sinners really all about and how can we heal their brokenness” stage, but they are finally actually trying to understand.

Timothy Kincaid

December 29th, 2011

Blake,

Gay leaders DO reach out all the time. Dignity, Log Cabin, Evangelicals Concerned, GCN, and many others exist in a large part for that purpose.

Of course they are rewarded by being called self-loathing kapos by a good many in our community, but they do it anyway.

Blake

December 29th, 2011

Sorry Tim, I should’ve said secular gay leaders. Some of the responses have been quite on the mark & I particularly like the Chicago Coalition of Welcoming Churches’ response: “The LGBT liberation movement is no threat to religion or spiritual community …and it is inflammatory to suggest otherwise.”

I am disappointed by the response of the secular leadership, however. And by the lack of other calls for conversation. I’m of the opinion that C.George is just scared by some of the extreme rhetoric & the video clips I’ve seen support that conclusion. If the HRC or local Illinois rights group took the time to write him and explain that the threatening language he’s hearing is coming from extremists who don’t represent the majority of gay rights advocates, he would be much more at ease. But they don’t. Rather they call for his resignation. Or criticize at him without talking with him. This asshole is pompous enough to send unsolicited public letters to the president yet nobody can find a reason to send him one?

As far as I can tell, the only invitation to attend the parade is coming from Susan T. I wish one had come from Truth Wins Out and the Rainbow Sash Movement as opposed to their actual responses. I wish that the movement to Ask the Cardinal Attend was gaining steam rather than additional calls for his resignation appear to be: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/22/cardinal-george-gay-pride-kkk_n_1165179.html . Nothing will be gained if C.George resigns other than strengthening the perception that gay rights and religious rights are naturally antagonistic.

Timothy Kincaid

December 29th, 2011

Blake,

Some of the groups you mention position themselves in ways that make it difficult to approach someone like George. Some are oppositionist my nature and design, others have built alliances that cause them to be perceived by conservatives as hostile.

Sometimes multiple messages are not a bad idea.

Calls for resignation are not inappropriate in that they establish that his comments are of such a nature as to be socially unacceptable. And I think that a resignation – rather than place the church and the community at odds – might send the message that the George’s position is at odds with both the church and the gay community. It might say that his offensive statements are not the position of the church.

But calls to redemption are also not bad as they offer a solution and a way to reverse the damage. And I very much think that they should be extended whenever and however possible.

I don’t think we must choose one or the other.

Donny D.

January 1st, 2012

Timothy, I think you’re right. Multiple stances from LGBT people and our straight cisgendered allies are appropriate because we’re too large and varied to think in one way about every issue. Also, we have differing life experiences and emotional stances, and our organizations and political stances have differing if sometimes overlapping groups of supporters.

Truth Wins Out probably couldn’t take a conciliatory stance because that would feel like a soul-crushing capitulation to TWO and its supporters, and reflects the way many of us feel. Plus TWO just doesn’t have enough respect for Cardinal George to hold out the olive branch with any consistency — if push came to shove, they’d fall back on their more characteristic oppositional stance. And that would be true for a great many LGBT people and allies.

Happily, we aren’t unanimously opposed to all Christians, nor unable to have any possibility of dialogue with Religious Rightists like Cardinal George.

By the way, I call George a Religious Rightist because I believe his invoking of the KKK isn’t just random bombast — I believe it’s part of the Religious Right strategy to associate LGBT people with anti-Black racism to create and exacerbate social division.

Blake wrote,

I wish a gay leader would reach out to the fools on the other side in this manner instead of leaving it to our straight allies. But still; spot on!

Straight allies have the advantage of emotional distance from our problems. That can be positive: they can be conciliatory to homophobic straight people when many or most of us couldn’t be due to too fresh scars from dealing with other homophobic straight people.

If we answer fear and ignorance with shouting for resignations and constant criticism we’re only going to encourage the building of a victem mentality in the opposition.

Now don’t start blaming us for their actions. The victim stance is mostly a cynical move on the part of a long-dominant movement that is only now starting to seriously lose public favor.

But if we answer fear and ignorance with genuine heart-felt attempts at outreach and dialog-building we’re going to win hearts & minds to our cause.

The problem with what you’ve just written is that the outreach and dialog-building have to be heart-felt. But many of us aren’t able to feel that way due to emotional trauma from abuse and brutality at the hands of people who think like George. It will take a lot of healing before some of us could attempt to seek common ground with Religious Rightists. Some of us have been too badly hurt and will never be able to so do.

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