Friday, April 17, 2015

The "Intolerant" SF Archbishop Who Won't Indulge Sin

A news story was released recently about a group of San Francisco Catholics petitioning to have Archbishop Cordileone ousted for creating “an atmosphere of division and intolerance”. You can read one of the covers of that story HERE for details. What I want to focus on are some of the complaints against the Archbishop.

He is accused of setting “a pastoral tone that is closer to persecution than evangelization”. Evidence cited to support this is a morality clause that defines extra-marital sex and homosexual acts as “gravely evil”. The problem with the complaint, though, is that the Church has ALWAYS taught about grave evils, their dangers, the need to warn and rebuke our brothers about them, and that these specific acts are such (cff. 1Jn 1:19, 5:16; James 5:13-16, 19; Lev 19:17; Mt 7:5, 18:15-17; 1Cor 5:1-13; Gal 6:1-2; Lev 20:13; Rom 1:27; 1Cor 6:9-10; MT 5:28; etc.). Is it “persecution” to warn people about the gravity of certain sins? No. It’s an act of mercy to point out the sins so that people can avoid committing them, especially when we have media outlets, the entertainment industry, and LGBT advocacy groups trying to normalize sinful behaviors.

Another complaint is that he appointed a Priest at a particular parish who “marginalizes women’s participation in the church by banning girls from altar service”. Well, what is “altar service” for? Is serving at the altar the ONLY means by which a woman can participate in the Church? No. Women participate in the Church in various ways, just like men do. So, why not as altar servers? Perhaps this Priest recognizes that the purpose of having altar servers is to train future Priests. Since women cannot be Priests, it makes sense that being an altar server would be a task for boys, in this Priest's view. Does this mean that women can’t be lectors, or extra-ordinary ministers of Holy Communion, or greeters, or take up the gifts, or pass the collection basket, or serve the poor in the community, or pray for people, or actively participate in the Mass with prayerful attention and focus on Christ at the altar? Nope.

This same Priest [picked by Cordileone] was also accused of passing around a “pamphlet about sexuality that asked whether [children] had masturbated, engaged in sodomy or undergone an abortion”. That sounds pretty serious on the surface, but first read the pamphlet and see if you see anything in there that’s inappropriate (aside from calling sin “sin”). Here’s the “pamphlet” that was distributed:
We Catholics call it an “Examination of Conscience” or a “Primer to Confession”.

Cordileone is accused of singling out same-sex “marriage” as a sole agenda item. I don’t doubt that he spends a great deal of time and effort combating this serious moral issue of our day. The news is seemingly infatuated with the topic and the LGBT advocacy groups are as vocal as ever about it. So it makes sense that the Church would be putting much focus here. But I have a hunch that it’s not the only item on his agenda. The Archbishop is charged with shepherding Christ’s Flock, and that involves a great deal…including fraternal correction and teaching right from wrong, good from evil.

One “accusation” I actually found humorous was that Cordileone “is going in a direction that is completely opposite where Pope Francis is going”. If this group of Catholics really believes that Francis is heading in a direction of subjective morality, indifference to sin, and tolerance of sinful lifestyles, then they have simply not been paying attention. Sure, the media has portrayed Francis in this way sometimes; but what the media says vs. what the Pope actually says are often two very different stories. The Pops still recognizes sin as “sin” and still teaches us that, while loving the sinner, we must not indulge in sin. That’s the Pope’s message, and it’s Cordileone’s message, and it is the message of the Church for 2,000 years and counting.

Jesus Christ gave us His Church to teach us about Him, preach His Gospel, and lead us to an eternity with Him, where sin cannot enter. We have this life to learn to avoid sin and to become “holy as [Christ] is holy”…“perfect as [God, our Father] is perfect”. Archbishop Cordileone is doing his part to help us find Christ and live a life according to God’s commands. That’s not being “intolerant”; that’s being a loving example of Christ and a servant to the children of God.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Jesus Ate with Sinners, But You Can't Bake Their Cake? A Dialog with SSM Proponent

I entered into a discussion with a proponent of same-sex "Marriage" who believes that refusing to bake a same-sex wedding cake is bigotry and hypocrisy. The original discussion was about twice the length as what you will see here, as I removed our back-and-forth that got off-topic, the expletives, repetitive statements, and most of the more blatant unsupported assertions/presumptions. In a way, this could be a disservice because he made many false claims and used several deceptive tactics that Christians should know how to recognize and refute. But I've covered many of them before in other articles, so for the sake of brevity, and to keep it on topic, I edited out much of that.

My words will appear in blue font, his in black.

JM: Jesus regularly ate dinner with thieves and prostitutes, but you’re telling me it’s against your religion to bake a cake for a gay person?
[A dialog ensued with other people where he stated that a refusal to bake a cake for someone, even if we disagree with the message, is bigotry and we have no right to refuse service on any basis.]

Dave: It's not against my religion to bake a cake for a gay person. In fact, it's also not against my religion to be friends with a gay person, to love that person, and to encourage that person to grow in Christ. Quite the contrary.

However, it IS against my religion to encourage a person in their choice to sin and to turn from God, their Creator.

I don't have the right to hate anyone, and hate of anything except sin IS against my religion. But I DO have the right not to condone sin and not to participate in someone's choice to sin, and not to encourage them in their sin. And a gay person should not have the right to force me to accept and actively encourage/promote their lifestyle choice.

Should a baker have the religious right to refuse to bake and decorate a cake for someone who wants "God Hates Gays" written on the cake? Such a statement on a cake would be against my religion, but according to you, I don't have the right to refuse to make that cake.
What about KKK members who want a "KKK" cake baked for them? Since their bigotry is against my religion, do I have the right to refuse to make a KKK cake? According to you, I don't have the right to refuse them.

JM: More Honorable than some of the other comments I have gotten.

Baking a cake for a stranger is not encouraging any behavior... However all you christians seem to believe that this creator is forgiving, just ask for forgiveness... You all sin right? If you're always sinning, what's the point in refusing service to someone simply because they are a gay person? There's nothing that you can't be forgiven for right? [You say you don’t hate anyone, but only hate the sin, and choose not to condone sin.] But you still sin right? So, do you condone yourself? Baking a cake is not encouragement [of sinful behavior], it's baking a cake. By [your] Logic no atheist should have to condone the lifestyle choices of Christians either.

"should a baker have the religious right to refuse to bake and decorate a cake for someone who wants "God Hates Gays" written on the cake?"
That isn't the issue, though yes, I would not agree with that and they should have the right to refuse to write something like that.

"Such a statement on a cake would be against my religion, but according to you, I don't have the right to refuse to make that cake."
No, Where did I ever say that you don't have the right to refuse to write a bigoted statement on a cake? THE VERY ISSUE HERE is that Bigotry should be rooted out and made an example of. Your suggestion that I would force you to write something like that goes against the whole reason I made the post.

"What about KKK members who want a "KKK" cake baked for them?"
The KKK are violent bigots, who are actually in favor of a lot of christian opinions on how to treat gay people. Gay people are NOT the KKK, they don't rally to talk about how much they hate [people]. They are simply people who love someone of the same sex who hasn't hurt you, nor tried to hurt someone else on the basis of ignorance.

Dave: I did not say that baking a cake encouraged any behavior, nor did I imply it. However, baking a cake and then decorating it with homosexual themes (a same-sex wedding, for example) implies, at the very least, my support and promotion of such. I have the right not to promote or support that. I don’t have any problem baking a cake, or having coffee, or being close friends with any person, regardless of their lifestyle choice. But I won’t encourage sinful aspects of their lifestyle choice by adulation, complacence, flattery, approval, etc (including the decorating of a cake with homosexual themes). There is no reason a person should feel that I hate *them* just because I don’t choose to support their *lifestyle*. I don’t equate a person with their lifestyle…a person is more than what they do.

Yes, I still sin. But I realize that sinful acts are *sin* and I try to avoid them and do not expect people to support my sinful habits or to promote my sinful choices. When my friends point out my sin to me and help me to avoid sin, I am grateful to them for pulling me out of sin and leading me closer to God.

Asking if I ‘condone myself’ when I say I do not ‘condone sin’ is fallacious and ridiculous. A person is not equal to their actions. People are more than what they do…we are a *WHO*, not a *WHAT*. Why do you define a person by what they do, instead of by who they are?

"By that Logic no atheist should have to condone the lifestyle choices of Christians either."

Well, atheists DO condone many lifestyle choices of Christians, such as scientific discovery, a legal system based on morality (do not kill, do not steal, do unto others as you would have them do, etc.), welfare for the poor, raising one’s children, etc. But as for accepting Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, no, atheists cannot be coerced into decorating a “Christ is Risen and I accept Him” cake. As far as I know, no Christian has sued an atheist baker for refusing to decorate a Christian themed cake.

"[Whether a baker has the religious right to refuse to bake a “God Hates Gays” cake] isn't the issue, though yes, I would not agree with that and they should have the right to refuse to write something like that."

It is exactly the issue. In the one case, you are implying that a person who does not support a homosexual lifestyle should be coerced into supporting a homosexual lifestyle by decorating a homosexual themed cake. On the other hand, you are saying, explicitly, that a person who does not support a bigoted lifestyle should NOT be coerced into supporting a bigoted lifestyle by decorating a bigoted themed cake. Your position there is hypocritical. You also beg the question by equating “bigotry” with “refusing to support a lifestyle choice” (homosexuality in this case). It isn’t bigoted to not support/promote a lifestyle. Christians do not hate the person, we hate sin. Hating sin is not bigotry.

"The KKK are violent bigots…."

But I’m talking about whether I have the right to refuse to promote their LIFESTYLE because of my beliefs. I realize they are violent bigots. But if one of them wants a “KKK” cake, do I have the right to refuse? I believe I should, on the basis that I do not support their lifestyle choice of bigotry…*because bigotry is a sin*. In the exact same way, exactly parallel to this, I should have the right to refuse to bake a homosexual-themed cake because I do not support the homosexual lifestyle choice of homosexuality…*because homosexuality is a sin*.

"Gay people are NOT the KKK, they don't rally to talk about how much they hate [people]..."

SOME gay people do not do these things. Some do. While the KKK is infamous for its hatred of Catholics, for example, some of the most hateful anti-Catholic speech I have heard came from LGBT activists. In the same way, even some Christians preach hate of gay people while most do NOT preach such things. *Christianity*, though, is against SIN, not people. People who sin (which is EVERY person alive) are still people, and the goal is to root sin out of our lives and encourage each other in growth toward our Creator.

"Gay people are simply people who love someone of the same sex who hasn't hurt you, nor tried to hurt someone else on the basis of ignorance."

And I love them very much and I empathize with their struggle. I know many people with same-sex attraction whom I adore. But I don’t condone sinful actions and, at least in the case of my friends/family, they are grateful for my position against sin, just as I am grateful for theirs.

JM: The whole point you miss with this large comment entirely is that YOU are Mistreating them, based on something they have no control of. We said it was wrong to do that with blacks. Why do you still do it with Gays? In the Bible, it never says you can't eat with a slave, but slavery is okay. And BTW...

"(I.e., if I don't accept a person's lifestyle, then I must certainly hate the person and see them as an abomination.)"

[Expletives, incoherent and off-topic banter redacted]

Dave: I'm not mistreating anyone. I'll bake a cake for anyone, regardless of their lifestyle. But I won't decorate it to support their specific lifestyle if I believe that lifestyle to be sinful.

Can you provide me the Chapter/verse in the Bible you are referring to that says I have to hate a person and see them as an abomination if I don't accept their lifestyle?

That's where it ended. I never did get that Bible passage he was talking about. I realize there are verses that say that sinful acts are an abomination to the Lord, but nowhere does God tell us that we must see people as an abomination because we disagree with their lifestyle choices. We are taught what sin is and instructed to avoid sin, help each other avoid it, and grow toward God our Creator. Over and again, "JM" is equating a person with their actions, while condemning the Christians whom he accuses of doing exactly that. [And rightly does he condemn them if they do so, even if he is being hypocritical while doing it.]