This whole Chik-fil-A furor seems to be creating an interesting bout of finger-pointing about Jesus, gay marriage, and tolerance. One justification of Christ embracing homosexuality came from a fairly liberal (no pun intended) interpretation of Mark 7:15 “…here is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.” Honest. This commentator actually justifies sodomy with this quote. I did a google search and found websites – yeah, plural – that actually expound on this as an endorsement of homosexual acts.
I thought I would simply point out that Christ was criticizing Pharisees who placed too much emphasis on ritual purification – He was simply stating that if a man is pure and follows Him, no impure thing from the world can taint his soul. Sheesh. I guess when you have nothing to stand on, you really stretch. I gotta give someone credit for actually poring through the Gospels, finding that passage, and creating the most tenuous chain of logic ever to justify a shaky thesis.
Now, I know that Jesus supported traditional marriage and would not support homosexuality. After all, the Catechism of the Catholic Church wasn’t imagined out of the air but a carefully constructed framework of tradition and statements of belief that is the core of our Church. So I did some digging – this is what I came up with:
“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’” (Matt. 19:4.)
Sounds like an endorsement of ‘traditional’ marriage to me. Some people argue that homosexuality was simply a part of the Greco-Roman culture of the First Century. That doesn’t mean he approved – in fact, he made his injunction about marriage quite clear. He quoted Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, linking the laws of the Old Testament to make them relevant to those of us who hold to the New Covenant. It also is approbation for the listener – and us as readers – that God intends us not to heed the conventions of ‘modern society’ but to hold to the will of God in all things.
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46-47.)
Jesus was stating that the deeds and words of the prophets of the old Testament all led to one thing – the Son of Man incarnate among us. Christ was the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the Word made Flesh – the living embodiment of God’s law and will.
“Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God. And such some of you were; but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God.”(1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles – he had a daunting task in cosmopolitan communities like Corinth. The polytheistic Grec0-Roman culture was replete with gods and goddess celebrating all manner of carnal pursuits and pleasures. While this letter cautions all Christians in Corinth to live holier lives, the Greek for ‘liers with men’ is ‘arsenokoitai’ (arseno=men, koitai=bed). And, I agree with some criticisms that this applies to heterosexuals as well; it is unfortunate that we have become such a sexually permissive society that chastity is the exception instead of the rule.
“For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error.” (Romans 1:26-27)
Again, in the face of a Roman empire that was officially permissive of such activities, for this position to be so strongly expressed it was clearly an core tenet of Christian practices and beliefs.
But wait, the last two aren’t from Christ’s mouth! You are correct, but He said this:
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for he will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:12-14).
This is to say that after Pentecost, one of the gifts of the Spirit would be the spirit of truth. Because of this gift, as Christians, we believe that the Bible has been written through the Grace of God and by the gifts of the Spirit. We believe that the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters are indeed canon.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines this issue with compassion but in a manner that is clear:
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection
“…Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.” John 8:11
‘Sin no more’. That’s not tolerance – it is forgiveness.