View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Exclusive diversity

I recently wandered into a Thomas Merton chat room.

I wanted to read about and discuss Merton and his writings.

Instead, I got sidetracked into a discussion about diversity.

Diversity is one of these words whose meaning is being stretched into something it did not initially mean.

Words like “choice” and “gay” have suffered similar fates.

But lest you think this is something new, Western nations in the gilded age referred to themselves as “civilized” when contrasted with Third World lands and cultures they wished to “civilize,” even as they behaved like barbarians pillaging, plundering, desecrating, patronizing, and dismissing those lands, and those land's cultures and traditions.

According to my dictionary, diversity means the “quality, state, fact or instance of being diverse; difference; dissimilitude; unlikeness … variety; multiformity.”

I have no problem with that. In all of creation there is diversity. Animals, plants, even humans come in a wide variety.

But that was not how it was used in the chat room – or how the word is being applied in our society.

Someone had posted a promotion for the Gay Games in Chicago – along with a related event featuring speakers, music and other actions all promoting the gay agenda.

I question why this was being posted in a site devoted to a Catholic priest in which we were supposed to be discussion his spirituality and writings.

Among the comments/responses from others were:

belated thanks for this article which had good links to people from many spiritual traditions and their struggle to help others realize we are not well placed to deny the Almighty's love for diversity.

Those with same-gender affection is a difference in the great and varied ways God has created human beings - an Identity issues, not one of choice or chosen behaviors but simply realization of Reality in all its wonder.

Diversity has come to mean not only the fact that there are differences in creation, but also acceptance and even celebration of those differences as legitimate alternatives.

If we mean race, for example, or the fact that people are male and female, or that some people are born with Down's Syndrome, etc., that's fine.

In this case, though, it’s a code word for accepting homosexuality (and its various permutations) as a viable and legitimate way to live. What they seek is acceptance of it on a moral level.

Now I will accept that some people are born with a predisposition to be homosexual (I don’t want to get into the whole nature/nurture debate here). I also accept that it is immoral to discriminate in many areas against people with this predisposition just because of the fact of the predisposition. I don’t believe they should be denied jobs, apartments, etc. just because they have the predisposition.

But that does not translate into accepting the morality of their actions if they give in to this predisposition.

I don’t believe we should discriminate against someone just because he is an alcoholic, for example. But I believe it would be immoral to accept and condone his drunken behavior if he drinks. I believe further we have a right and an obligation to say that his behavior is immoral.

But the proponents of diversity are going even further. Not only do they want us to accept homosexual behaviors, they want to discriminate against those who for moral reasons are not accepting of this behavior.

A man lost his job in Washington because he referred to homosexual actions as “sexual deviancy.” Then there’s the couple in Deerwood, Minnesota, who had to stop advertising their bed and breakfast and almost had to shut it down because a gay “couple” sued them after they said they could not rent a room to the gay couple (the bed and breakfast continues to run through word of mouth).

Meanwhile, even as the proponents of diversity say we should accept people of every faith – from Muslims to Mormons, with stops along the way for wiccans and practitioners of voodoo – and police depictions of them in the media, they say nothing about the frequent depictions of practicing Christians as ignorant, bigoted, and the object of ridicule. And if those Christians happen to comment on immoral behavior by some of the favored groups, heaven help us!

Diversity is coming to mean “acceptance of what we want to accept.”

It has become a form of exclusiveness.


Blogger Ron Legest said...

I wish we had more preaching like this in church. I keep telling you you should be a deacon.

They probably wouldn't let you, anyway

3:42 PM  
Blogger Barb, sfo said...

You're absolutely right.
Diversity in its true meaning of "variety" is a very good thing.
But the whole "accept and condone" idea, as well as "it's OK for me to condemn you for your views when they don't agree with mine" is another thing altogether.

8:43 AM  
Blogger onionboy said...

Yes, it's rather like what we Canadians mean when we say, proudly, that we are a tolerant society. We actually mean sinfull but as we have removed sin from the earth as well as our vocabulary we now say we are tolerant.

O {my art} {blog}

11:40 AM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Well put. We can accept people because they are people, despite their differences. But if the things that make them different are immoral, we don't have to accept those things at all.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"More love, more love, more love."
-Mother Ann Lee

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rock on Mr. Strong. Strong statement. I agree with you totally. Do we forget that we do not get our authority from man and his institutions, but the Authority of the Almighty God? I do not have to ask man if what God says in His Word is "correct" or not. God's morality is non-negotiable. And besides if the homosexual (not gay - that means a happy person) wants to be mad at anyone, then they need to take that up with Jesus of Nazareth, the God of Heaven & Earth. He is the One who made the rules, not Christians.

2:36 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Anon - soemtimes we get caught up in doing our own thing that it becomes hard to accept authority - from those appointed to have it, or even from God.

Look at the state of the U.S. Church when it comes to authority!

7:21 PM  

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