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The Church issued the following statement today:

It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election.

Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States — that of free expression and voting.

While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.

Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information.

Let me get this straight. It is "wrong" for protestors to make Church worship places part of the democratic process. These would be the buildings owned by the Church, the buildings which host those who fund the Church, the buildings which serve as symbols of bigotry enacted into law. But it is not "wrong" for the "Church" to pay for the removal of the right for loving couples to marry? Does a protest at a Temple make the matter too personal for Church members? Does the Church now say this should be the most civil and depersonalized of public discourse? I've never really had reason to agitate against this Church, but it has now bought itself and its membership a front row seat on the wrong side of this civil rights battle. It cannot claim to be innocent.

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A few years ago, I embraced the Catholic faith. To me, it made sense. It happened to be the traditional (but unpracticed) faith of my famiy. My wife's family are practicing Catholics. I am a member of my local Knights of Columbus council. I work for a now-independent social services agency that was spun-off of from Catholic Charities. I believe in the Apostle's Creed, common to virtually all Catholic-derived churches. I believe in the Real Presence of the body of Christ in the eucharist and in the Real Presence of the spirit of Christ in the community of the Church. I believe that the Church's mission on earth is to spread social justice (mercy, love, compassion, peace) in communities of 2 and communities of 6 billion. In spite of its own shortcomings, the Church has generally been an agent for positive (if painfully slow) progress in the world.

At the end of October, the Church is prepared to release an Instruction through the Congregation for Catholic Education that will bar men with homosexual tendancies from the priesthood. According the Catholic World News, "The text, which was approved by Pope Benedict at the end of August, says that homosexual men should not be admitted to seminaries even if they are celibate, because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder which detracts from their ability to serve as ministers." [emphasis added.]

As you can tell from the rest of my journal, I'm a liberal, a feminist, and a queer queer (bisexual). I knew when I started investigating the Catholic faith that the Church was not incredibly friendly toward non-heterosexual people. I, mistakenly(?), thought this was an issue upon which the Church was making progress. Now that the Church is renewing its ban on educating and ordaining those with homosexual tendencies regardless of their behavior, I'm devastated.

I no longer have faith that the Church will seriously address the issues that brought about the scandalous child abuse crisis. It is more interested in pointing the blame at chaste, devoted servants than looking at the culture in the heirarchy of the Church. It is more interested in politics than in actually seeking to provide a safe place for children and adults to worship in community.

I no longer have faith that the Church will seriously address its repression of women via exclusion from the priesthood. I no longer have faith that the Church will provide aid, comfort, and companion to the people of the world in a socially just manner. The Church will become more selective and judgemental in choosing who deserves its help and upon whom it bestows the Holy Sacraments. This saddens me.

Over the month of October, I'll be reflecting and praying about the Church and its role in my life. Right now, I feel very strongly the need to leave the Church. How can I remain a part of a community which judges me to have a "serious personality disorder" based on my sexual orientation? Even psychology/psychiatry base diagnoses of disorders on behavior or impediment to behavior. Ultimately, whether I am called to stay or leave, it will be difficult to say the least.

I'd appreciate any thoughtful, constructive commentary readers may have. I'm not interested in a debate.


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May 2009

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