Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Pope and the Archbishop

I just noticed, as I wrote that last post, the Pope on the TV saying more stuff against homosexuality, which is best seen in the context of what the Archbishop of Canterbury was saying a few days ago, about borrowing our way out of a mess that we got into via greedy borrowing being a bit like what alcoholics do. That mess was, I think, more to do with who the City employed and why; but still, why did we let them get away with it? And why'll we probably do the same again? The thing about homosexuality is that it's very emotive. I'm sure the Pope isn't unaware that he's pandering to homophobia, even if he talks about the sin and not the sinner. After all, a similar sin is thinking lustful thoughts about a woman other than one's wife, e.g. when watching a movie (which a lot will be doing this xmas). Marriages tend to break up because they are felt to be falling short of the dream, not because gays come out of closets. And a worse sin is pride, of course; especially pride in such trivia as being straight, or white. The thing about homophobia is that it's obviously like racism and antisemitism etc. People, even straight people, often feel insecure about their sexuality (as the Church has traditionally encouraged them to), and a way to feel better about it with very little subjectively obvious psychic cost (if one's straight) is to think to yourself that at least you're not one of those disgusting gays. The similarities with racism and poor people's views of their own social positions are obvious (not to mention the Church's traditional role in antisemitism). A man can know that he's sexist and letcherous, but comfort himself with the thought that at least he fancies women. And a woman can know that she's fat and lazy, but comfort herself with the thought that at least she's a woman. The irony is that the Church traditionally regarded marriage as second-best to the monastic life (and another irony is that the latter attracted homosexuals, of course... I could go on, but I'll just wish you a merry xmas :)

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Yes!!!
It's so frustrating to me. Jesus spoke quite specifically about divorce. He never said anything about homosexuality. There's good reason to dispute the context of all the other NT referecnes to homosexuality. And yet, we somehow make room for divorcees in the pews but continue to ostracize homosexuals. (People sometimes object that divorce is a one time decision but homosexuality is ongoing. The problem with this is that are people with dozens of divorces under their belt and yet we still manage to think God's grace is sufficient for them, but not for the homosexual.)

In my brain the actual status of homosexual activity is very much an open question. (Recently participated in several illuminating discussions over at my blog.) What's not up for debate is the church's hypocrisy.