This article first appeared on the Time of Malta on Tuesday, July 13, 2010.
With reference to the article Muslims And Catholics Unite Against Gay Marriage But Disagree On Divorce (June 25), allow me to say that Imam Muhammed el Sadi’s reproved argument that homosexuality is unnatural, immoral, unhealthy and fruitless is totally senseless and can lead to violence if taken seriously.
Scientific and social science research has proven that gays and lesbians are healthy human beings and very much a product of healthy families. Let us not forget that a tree is judged by the fruit that it makes.
Shall we widen this argument of Imam el Sadi and conclude that the families who have a gay son or a lesbian daughter are unhealthy and fruitless families? Is it so difficult to comprehend that gays and lesbians are a gift from our families (I would even say a gift from God) to society?
Gays and lesbians, like heterosexuals, are the same in their nature and desires to relate, to love and be loved. The religious institutions cannot control this because it goes against God Himself and His creation. Yet, today we still hear of gay people being prosecuted and persecuted in Islamic countries. Does Imam el Sadi suggest we should use such measures to control and protect the “traditional” family?
The real factors that are leading to the destruction of the family should not be directed at and scapegoated on gays and lesbians. Gays and lesbians believe in traditional family models but also embrace diverse forms of families because gays and lesbians go beyond a face-value interpretation of the allegorical story of Adam and Eve.
The factors which are leading to the destruction of families are ample: poverty, violence, abuse and religious fundamentalism.
I remind Archbishop Paul Cremona that most couples that choose to get married civilly do so because the Catholic Church institution has proven through the years that it is no longer credible. Sometimes, the Catholic Church institution itself is a major social factor to the destruction of families. Let us not forget the child abuse cases by priests and religious. Let us not forget the promotion of passivity by the Church institution on women who were victims of domestic violence.
Before we can speak of families, we need to truly believe that every person has the right to love and be loved. Families are based on their members who should believe in love and respect for one another. Gays and lesbians believe in love and respect for each other and it is not surprising that gays and lesbians wish to have the right to marry because they understand this treasure of marriage more than those who have it and waste it. The Catholic Church institution needs to be reminded that, like the Christian community, they are on a journey of discovering the truth as revealed in experience and history. The Catholic Church institution does not hold the truth with regard to gays and lesbians but is on a journey of discovering it through experience. There are so many theologians who provide a bit of fresh air with regard to sexuality and homosexuality, such as Margaret A. Farley, John J. McNeil and James Alison. Such theologians teach us that we should go beyond the form but focus on the essence of relationships! The essence should be Christ, based on charity and justice!
The Catholic Church institution needs to go beyond seeing sexuality as simply an instrument of producing children. Sexuality is more than that, it is also a human desire to relate with others. The more the Catholic Church institution holds a negative interpretation of sexuality, the more its members (both heterosexual and homosexual) will end up in dangerous and destructive sexual behaviour towards themselves and others.
For the gay people who are struggling to find a balance between their Christian beliefs and their sexuality, my suggestion is to put your faith in Christ, not just the Catholic Church institution. Do not be afraid, this was the message of Pope Benedict XVI to the youth in Malta. Indeed, do not be afraid; out there are priests and people who go beyond devotion and a morality based on a lack of spirituality.
There are others who are more open-minded in embracing everyone as they really are and are promoting the well-being of everyone.