A friend sent me a kind of poster today and suggested that I may share it with whomever I wish to share it with. It says:
Jesus regularly ate dinner with thieves and prostitutes but you’re telling me it’s against your religion to bake a cake for a gay person?
I do not understand the point of the poster. I also do not think that thieves and prostitutes were the regular dinner companions of Our Lord. But, I quibble.
In any event, I wrote the following letter to my friend whichhas been edited for this appearance:
I have been told by others that the man who introduced me years ago to the lady I would marry is a homosexual. We have been friends a long time. And the subject of his sexual attraction, or mine, never entered in any way into our friendship. As far as I know, he has lived a celibate life. I would bake him a cake, but he is an excellent cook. He is also an expert gardener, and an accomplished, self taught, artist. He is a deeply spiritual fellow, too.
Another friend, one of the strongest and fiercest men I have ever known, I was told was a homosexual, too. He died young; from alcohol and drug abuse. He had a troubled childhood, but no more troubled than anyone I knew in my neighborhood. The only difference between him and my other friend was, as I learned much much later in my life, he was actively homosexual.
There was another friend of my youth who, when we were in our mid-teens, suggested that we engage in a common homosexual practice together. I declined, politely but definitely too. This person really never had anything to do with me after, and soon disappeared from the neighborhood.
I wrote a little essay about that incident, and one or two other similar incidents, which was published in a local on-line journal. For the next several weeks I was labelled a homophobe and my cruelty and hatefulness analyzed and criticised by many people, none of whom had the slightest idea who I was. I was amazed and amused. But, I concluded that their motivation was hate and their purpose was to silence me, and anyone who thought as I did, or dared discuss similar experiences.
I have been groped by homosexuals, and propositioned; not often, but it has happened. Thankfully, that no longer happens…at least not in the last twenty years; the last one to do so was a Catholic priest. I regularly pray for him.
I do not know where you may have conceived the idea that I think it against my religion to bake a homosexual a cake. I have had homosexuals in my home as guests on many occasions, and cake has often been among the things available to eat; sometimes, even, cake that I baked.
In addition, like Jesus I have eaten dinner with thieves and prostitutes. I have dined, too, with capitalists and bankers and tax collectors and attorneys and soldiers. And, since I have been a cook from time to time, baked a cake for not a few of them.
Now, I know that the little thing above is something designed in opposition to the recent law passed in Indiana. It is, as are most things of its type, a silly simplification of the argument against the law. Besides its silliness, it gets it wrong, completely, and like the folks who hatefully labelled me, misrepresents thereby the reason and purpose of the law, and, I think purposefully and maliciously so.
I have no doubt that Christ ate with homosexuals while here on earth. We know for a fact that he was in contact with adulterers. And we have evidence that He convinced at least one adulteress to reform, too. Perhaps, in those possible meals with homosexuals, he convinced one or more of them to reform their way. But, what the Savior’s dinner company has to do with a law designed to support the free exercise of religion puzzles me, very much. I do not attend any celebrations of so-called “Gay Pride” for reasons which have to do as much with my faith as with good taste, decorum and decency. I suspect that Our Lord might not either, though I do not come across any posters similar to the one above questioning our motives for not standing in the crowd waving rainbow flags while half clad, or unclad homosexuals parade by, pridefully, while suggesting that because Christ ate and drank with sinners we should watch homosexuals parade.
Indeed, I can envision a time, given the way things have been “progressing” when attendance at such bizarre and barbaric displays will be mandatory. Such things are what this law seeks to protect us from; and I think it a great sadness that we need a law between a God given right enshrined in our founding document as the first right and those who would forbid its free exercise. I thank you for the invitation to share this document, but I honestly do not know anyone who I think would welcome or benefit by it.
PS: In no way did I mean to criticize or demean the priest I mentioned above. I still attended his Masses, still received the sacraments from him. He still heard my confessions and gave me absolution for my sins, and I prayed then for him as I do now. I like what St. Thomas More said: “Pray for me, and I will pray for thee, that we may merrily meet in heaven.” I see no reason why we should not. Perhaps, if that were the case, universally, people might respect the faith and religious beliefs of other people and not demand of them things which would cause them to violate them. I think Jesus would like that.