Thursday, October 17, 2013

"Most Favored Sin" Status

Over at Facebook, I'm in the midst of a combox battle with one of Rod Dreher's readers.  She insists that homosexual behavior is not a sin, and that if I say it's a sin I'm

1. expressing a purely private opinion
2. a hateful self-righteous jerk 

She has found a "mainline" denomination that condones this behavior, thank you very much, and her pastor and fellow Christians have looked "deeply" into this issue and concluded that anal intercourse is something Jesus Christ and 4,000 years of Judeo-Christian history are just fine with and how dare I reject such "love", bigoted moron that I am.


Back when we were performing The Journey of St. Paul, we had a few shows where Lesbians got up and indignantly left the audience when I came to this part of the script ...

Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9-10)

Once I had a woman approach me in anger after a performance, complaining that I said such a thing.  She told me she had a "gay" family member and found this offensive.  "Take it up with the author," I said - meaning St. Paul or the Holy Spirit.

And yet ... homosexuals are only one of many sinners that Paul tells us won't "possess the Kingdom".

  • The funny thing is in all our performances of The Journey of St. Paul, I never had an Adulterer confront me with, "How dare you include the bit where St. Paul says adulterers are going to hell!  That's just not fair!"
  • I never had a fornicator say, "My brother-in-law likes to fornicate!  How dare you be so judgmental as to say that's a sin!"
  • Never once did a thief say to me, "Look, I'm a thief, and my pastor has looked deeply into the theology of this issue and he assures me that stealing is OK."

As Chesterton said, “Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.”

But today we are all in agreement - the one excusable thing - the one thing that is not really evil at all - is homosexual behavior.  Such a thing is, indeed, we keep insisting, a great good.  It has achieved a kind of diplomatic "most favored sin" status.

We are sinners in need of a savior.  Why don't we just admit that and stop trying to excuse our sins?  This lady called me "self-righteous".  What is is to be "self-righteous" but to claim that what you do yourself is "righteous" no matter what?  

She has yet to tell me she'll "pray for me".  Once she does, I'll know she's angry!

I may not be St. Paul, but I play him on TV.


ADDENDUM - It turns out the woman in question is actually rather intelligent.  She objected, more than anything, to my haughty tone in the combox battle and to my accusation that she was "sacrificing Jesus on the altar of buggery" - a catchy phrase, but not a particularly pastoral one.

She also finds herself drawn to the Catholic Church, but not drawn to Catholics (understandably).  So please pray that I have the grace to be more decent toward her, and to serve as a better Catholic witness than she's already experienced.


Kevin O'Brien said...

Actually, the woman suddenly became reasonable and objected only to my "tone". She had a point there. I apologized for being snarky.

Terence M. Stanton said...



Del said...

It's hard to get that "tone" thing right on the internet.

I can never tell if you sound judgmental, like Bill Johnson, or condescending, like Stanford Nutting!

I frequently have to tell myself that we are called to share the truth in love. And if I can't show the love, then the truth will have to wait.