Monday, December 24, 2012

What kind of “God” do we back?

I wonder if the conservative ideologues of our society envision “God” as packing some sort of powerful pistol (or maybe an assault rifle) underneath his robes, with which he uses as part of his efforts to punish the wicked amongst us.

Personally, I find that image to be appalling – bordering on sacrilegious! But some of the nonsense-talk I hear on many issues makes me wonder.

WE DEFINITELY HAVE a difference of perspective amongst us when it comes to the concept of God and organized religion and its role on so many issues.

For when it comes to anything related to gay people, we often hear how religion is the reason why we should be opposed. Their behavior is an abomination, we’re told. It is the factor that will bring down the very fabric of our society.

Because, as we always hear from the Rev. Fred Phelps at his group’s outrageous protests and pickets outside of funerals, “God hates fags!”

Which is why I was pleased to learn of a group of clergy members – including many from Chicago – of many denominations who on Sunday came out in support of having the Illinois General Assembly pass changes in the law to allow gay couples to marry just like straight ones have been able to for generations.

THEIR LETTER, AS reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, said, “We dedicate our lives to fostering faith and compassion, and we work daily to promote justice and fairness for all. Standing on these beliefs, we think that it is morally just to grant equal opportunities and responsibilities to loving, committed same-sex couples.

“There can be no justification for the law treating people differently on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” the letter read.

Yet I notice that some of the responses I’m reading on the Internet to this action implies that these religious leaders are not being legitimate. If they were, they’d be opposes – is what the ideologues seem to want to believe.

It actually reminds me of an old Doonesbury comic strip in which the “B.D.” character is arguing with the “Rev. Scot Sloan” character about whether a “God of Compassion” or a “God of retribution” is more legitimate.

I’M NOT ABOUT to get into a theological dispute over whether God exists to punish the wicked. Although a part of me thinks that such a god is not one really worthy of our respect or worship. Maybe our fear and/or contempt, but little else.

But it has me wondering how the role of the clergy will play in the upcoming political debate concerning gay marriage – which in Illinois is likely to be a hot-button issue at some point during 2013.

I’m not about to say that only the absurd people who have managed to get themselves ordained as ministers are going around speaking out against homosexuality. We’re far from that point.

I don’t doubt that many of my fellow Catholics will come up with their own arguments – although it should be noted that there are many Catholics who disagree with the church’s official teachings on the issue.

BUT THE IDEA that the masses among the clergy are a little more concerned with equality, rather than punishment, is a sign that we really are changing as a society.

And maybe the Illinois legislators who are preparing to bring up gay marriage as an issue will actually have a chance in the near future of getting a favorable vote on the cause – which many people really view as being solely the business of the individuals involved; and no one else!

It may also be the reason why the ideologues who also are concerned about firearms and their all-consuming “right” to possession may be taking to that issue so much in recent days.

Why else would we have National Rifle Association officials going around talking about the need to have armed guards in the public schools, if not arming the educators themselves?

THEY REALLY DO think it would be an “ideal” if a teacher could pull out her pistol and shoot dead the mentally ill individual such as the man who walked into a Connecticut school building earlier this month and caused the deaths of 26 individuals.

Somehow, I’d like to believe that God almighty (in whatever form you conceive of him to be) finds that image to be as horrific as I do.


No comments: