An essay donated by Susan Humphreys
2013-JUL: Pope Francis' comments on homosexuality
"Judge not that ye be not judged."
From the news reports it seems that Pope Francis shocked many reporters on the plane on his return flight to Rome from his trip to Brazil. Reporters seem to me are trying to read more into the Pope’s words than are there. They seem to be making "much ado about nothing"!
In essence the Pope said that he loves homosexuals they are also God’s children and that it isn’t for him to judge.
"Love the sinner, hate the sin" is standard fundamentalist Christian terminology.
'It isn’t for me to judge" is also a fundamentalist Christian phrase.
There is nothing new or surprising for either statement to come from this Pope. There is nothing that signals a change in attitude from the Vatican.
I had one fundamentalist Christian say to me that "he wasn’t judging homosexuals, God was." I suspect the Pope if he was honest with reporters and challenged on it, he would have made a similar comment.
HOWEVER! It seems to me that determining that homosexual acts are sins is being judgmental. The Bible passages that mention same-gender sexual behavior refer to abusive and exploitative sexual practices NOT to loving consensual sexual practices.
The Bible never tells anyone they are to deny homosexuals their legal rights. The Bible never tells anyone that marriage is ONLY between one man and one woman for the purpose of procreation. Deciding the Bible says these things is being judgmental.
As for the Pope deciding that he won’t address the issue of errors made by his predecessors, that is also being judgmental. OR to be more precise to admit that his predecessors made errors, that their words and actions were their own words and actions NOT the words and actions of an infallible and perfect God is being judgmental.
Sometimes life puts us into a position where judgment calls should be and must be made. That is the only way to acknowledge past wrongs in order to make the changes needed to right them. That is the only way to keep wrongs from happening. To decide not to judge is making a judgment. To fail to make the call when one should is a weakness in one’s character.
Too be honest the whole "judge the sin not the sinner" phrase seems plain hoaky -- a piece of self-righteous double speak. Are there sins running loose out there without any causative agent? Do murders just happen or is there a person holding the gun and pulling the trigger? Does this terminology attempt to release individuals from taking responsibility for their actions? Can someone be a murderer without committing the act? Can someone be a homosexual and not commit a homosexual act? Well sure they can remain celibate for life as the reasoning goes, because to have a loving consensual relationship with a same sex partner is regarded as BAD, a SIN.
Can Popes make BAD judgment calls and not be BAD people? That is really what it all boils down to. If you condemn others for their "Bad" judgment calls how can you not condemn the Popes for theirs? Yet folks do condemn the homosexual (even when they claim they aren’t being judgmental) by denying them their legal rights including their right to marry the person that they love and to whom they are committed. Often homosexual acts are declared to be worse than adulterous acts, for example. Yet they don’t demand that adulterers be denied their legal right to marry.
I’m not being judgmental or anything, but the Bible tells us that we aren’t to bear false witness. Bearing false witness is not just about spreading outright lies and misinformation about others it is also about not being honest about one’s own actions. It seems that is what the Pope is doing, bearing false witness with misleading remarks about his own actions, claiming he isn’t being judgmental when he is and thus excusing his action for not being judgmental when he should be. But hey judge the sin not the sinner!
Originally written: 2013-JUL-31
Latest update: 2013-AUG-02
Author: Susan Humphreys