I was sickened to see the article in the Huron Church News (Oct.’08) on “Children’s Festival 2008”. I participated as a musician at that event so I was aware of the program and the day’s events. I was horrified when I read the following: “...if you could preach in church, what would you talk about? Laura responded: I’d preach about the importance of same sex blessings”.
This article was about a CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL. It is unfortunate that Laura has not received better preaching from God’s Holy Scripture. But what is worse, is that you printed it!! It is very sad that this issue is being placed on the same page as a children’s event. The adult’s dirty laundry is polluting the minds of our children. It is no wonder that the world wide Anglican church looks at the Anglican Church of Canada with disdain. I am certain that an article about a Children’s event taking place in most parts of our world would not be paired with this issue.
I am concerned that this comment was included with this article and I pray for the “Lauras” in the Anglican Church of Canada. I join with the prayer from the world wide Anglican church that the Canadian church would repent of her waywardness and return to the truth of the Bible.
After reading Ms Patstone’s contribution to a benign journal, I, too, was sickened. I’ll explain.
Some weeks ago, I happened upon a TVO programme that studied the British Empire’s involvement with slavery. The researcher was in Ghana at a former British slavery depot. She was standing in a basement holding room with her Ghanaian guide; the room was about the size of St. James’ lower parish hall. The guide explained that, typically, the room would have been filled with about 3000 men. Their wives and children would have been separated from them and held in different rooms. All would be waiting for their deportation as slaves. Families separated forever; lives changed forever with horrid consequences.
What sickened me, aside from this factual representation of what occurred in that basement room, was the fact that a Christian chapel stood over the room. And, ‘the truths of the Bible’ were being preached while thousands of native Ghanaian suffered in inhumane conditions, not unlike the concentration camps of the Third Reich.
Just last week, we were called to remember the lives of those who suffered death while fighting for the freedom of humanity. Our rector told his parish how he will remember the name of a two year old Jewish child, Dora Rosenblum, who succumbed in a concentration camp.
I was reminded that the German Jewish community was one of the targeted groups for the Nazis as they sought to purge Germany of race enemies and “lives unworthy of living”. Six million Jews were slaughtered. Five million Russians, Poles and Roma died in this purging as did four million Catholics and thousands of mentally disabled, other religious minorities and approximately 55,000 German homosexuals.
The treatment of homosexuals detained in post-war concentration camps went unacknowledged by most countries or churches. Some that did escape were even re-arrested and imprisoned based on evidence found in the Nazi years. It was not until the 1980’s that the German government acknowledged this episode, and not until 2002 that the government apologized to the gay community. In 2005, the European parliament adopted a resolution regarding the Holocaust where the persecution of homosexuals was mentioned:
27 January 2005, the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Nazi Germany’s death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau where a combined total of up to 1.5 million Jews, Roma, Poles, Russians and prisoners of various other nationalities, and homosexuals, were murdered, is not only a major occasion for European citizens to remember and condemn the enormous horror and tragedy of the Holocaust, but also for addressing the disturbing rise in anti-semitism, and especially anti-semitic incidents, in Europe, and for learning anew the wider lessons about the dangers of victimizing people on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, social classification, politics or sexual orientation...
Fast forward to the new millennium: not only are Afro-Americans allowed to marry but, and merely 150 later, a powerful Afro-American couple will soon reside in the White House. Homosexuals are no longer jailed (1969, Canada decriminalizes homosexual acts) but are serving as priests in the Anglican Church. Today, same-gendre parents are supported by the positions of a number of organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the Child Welfare League of America, the American Bar Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the North American Council on Adoptable Children, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
The American Psychological Association has stated that:
There is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation: Lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children...research has shown that the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish...
The strongest conclusion that can be drawn from the empirical literature is that the vast majority of studies show that children living with two mothers and children living with a mother and a father have the same levels of social competence. A few studies suggest that children with two lesbian mothers have marginally better competence than children in traditional nuclear families, even fewer studies show the opposite, and most studies fail to find any difference. The very limited body of evidence with two gay fathers supports this same conclusion.
In the United States, the F.B.I. reported that 15.6% of hate crimes reported to police in 2004 were based on perceived sexual orientation. 61% of these attacks were against gay men. The important word here is ‘hate’. Open acts of violence against gays are socially unacceptable, we would all agree (I hope). But what about what ‘soft’ acts of hatred...like a letter to the editor.
Hate: to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest.
My sickened response to Patti Patstone’s reply to Laura’s answer came from the awareness of hate mongering. “The adult’s dirty laundry is polluting the minds of our children”. I would agree with you Patti: but it is the dirty laundry of political, social and religious intolerance and discrimination that pollutes minds.
My hope rests in the “Lauras” of her and future generations to come to power who will forgive the sins of their parents and will tear down the walls of this type of discrimination and intolerance.
For you, Patti, I recommend these words for prayerful contemplation: Matthew 25:40, "Truly, I tell you, just as you did to the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.". From St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel every day; if necessary, use words.” And from Martin Luther, “Love is the image of God.”