Thursday, December 3, 2009

Vatican Cardinal: Gays "Will Never Go to Heaven"

     Myth: People are not born gay, they are conditioned to be gay.

     Fact: People are not born Catholic, they are conditioned to be Catholic.

     Try preaching that truth to the Vatican, where the Ansa news agency reports:

     Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan said that while the Church regarded homosexuality as an "insult to God", this did not justify discrimination against gay and transsexual people.
     "Transsexuals and homosexuals will never enter the kingdom of heaven and it is not me who says this, but Saint Paul."
     St. Paul also told people not to get married because he believed the world was coming to a quick end (1 Cor 7:8).  And furthermore, why would we homosexuals and transgendered people want to spend an eternity in a heaven full of homophobic, closeted clergy?  That is, assuming, of course, that they would be there.

     Barragan continues:
     "People are not born homosexual, they become homosexual, for different reasons: education issues or because they did not develop their own identity during adolescence. It may not be their fault, but acting against nature and the dignity of the human body is an insult to God."
     I am the perfect example of why his reasoning and psychology are wrong.

     I grew up in a very Catholic family, in small town conservative Iowa, and did not have any gay role models, family members, or friends.  I was formed in the church's seminary system (in which Barragan was  also formed), had a decade of Catholic spiritual direction and psychological counseling, and even had a Catholic counselor that tried to help me "recover my lost heterosexuality."

     Everything in my childhood rearing was set up to raise me as a straight Catholic boy, but throughout , I never had sexual fantasies about women, I never masturbated thinking about women, I never had wet dreams about women (save for one, when I was 18), and I remember being attracted to males and not females since I was in preschool and kindergarten.  I never made a choice to be gay.

     Also, does Cardinal Barragan not realize that he just condemned a large percentage of the Catholic clergy and religious that have lived throughout history?  What a hypocrite!

Nice Ruby slippers, John Paul.
Did Judy lend you those?

My Hero: Julia Sweeney on God

     Last night, SHE and I watched Julia Sweeney's one-woman show Letting Go of God.  (You may remember her from her days on Saturday Night Live.)  It had been two years since I first listened to a recording of Sweeney's honest, humorous, vulnerable, and profound performance.  If you haven't seen or listened to Sweeney's performance, there are multiple showings of it in the coming days on Showtime, so TiVo it!  Or, you can order it at her website

     Her spiritual journey is so much like my own: growing up Catholic, trying to be the best Catholic possible, and finding that her search for god ultimately led her to the humble discovery that there is no god, only the mysterious frailty of life and beauty in the universe that must be revered in awe and respect, and most importantly: lived.

     I hope I can work with her someday: I wrote the perfect nun role for her in a screenplay!

I'm sorry God.  It's not you.  It's me.  It's just, I don't think you exist.  I mean, God, look at it this way: it's really because I take you so seriously that I can't bring myself to believe in you.  If it's any consolation, it's sort of a sign of respect.
-Julia Sweeney in Letting Go of God

Gay Hollywood: Meredith Baxter Out; Rupert Everett In

     Meredith Baxter, TV mom of one of the most popular TV series of all times, Family Ties, came out of the closet as a lesbian to Matt Lauer on Today. Yey for Meredith!

     Ms. Baxter told Mr. Lauer:

     I’m not a very political person. I’ve done political things before. It’s been brought to my attention that this [coming out] is a political act.  Even though that’s not what it feels like to me. It just feels like personal exposure, and it’s uncomfortable. But my understanding is that so much research has been done that says that if anybody knows someone that is gay or lesbian then when they are addressing gay and lesbian issues, political issues, that effect their rights, they are less likely to vote against them, to take away their rights.  So if you knew me before, and you cared about me before, I’m the same woman.  I’m the same mother to all these children, and if I can be that lesbian you know now: “Okay, well if I vote this way then that actually might affect this person I know, that Meredith.”
     The full interview is embedded at the end of this post, and you can read more in People.

     Baxter's longtime co-star and TV hubby, Michael Gross, told People:

     She has been [fairly open about being a lesbian], particularly in Los Angeles.  When we go out together, she travels with her partner. I've seen [them] hold hands in public. She's never made an issue of hiding it. I think in some ways, Meredith is more comfortable with this because who wants to live as someone other than yourself?

     Another popular 80s actress came out as a lesbian earlier this year: Top Gun heartthrob and no longer The Accused, Kelly McGillis.  McGillis told People:
     I tried really hard not to be who I am. I tried super hard.  It was a difficult journey for me to come to terms and be whole and happy with who I am.

     What more could you want for the people you love than for them to be "whole and happy" with who they are?  Of course, that's not what Hollywood wants.  In Hollywood, money is the bottom line and Hollywood still holds onto the old belief that if an actor is gay/lesbian and out of the closet that no one will accept him/her playing a straight role.  So, much for the typical Right Wing condemnation of Hollywood being full of leftist commie homos out to destroy Christian values.  One value they have in common is the closet.

     One actor, who led the coming out charge in Hollywood twenty years ago, Rupert Everett has learned the hard way that being honest about one's homosexuality is the death knell to being a Hollywood star.  At age 25, he was supposed to be the next big leading man, everyone wanted to work with him, and then: he came out.  His memoir, Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins, tells his tale.

     The following snippet of Carole Cadwalladr's interview of Everett in The Observer sheds light on being out in Hollywood:

     "The fact is that you could not be, and still cannot be, a 25-year-old homosexual trying to make it in the British film business or the American film business or even the Italian film business. It just doesn't work and you're going to hit a brick wall at some point. You're going to manage to make it roll for a certain amount of time, but at the first sign of failure they'll cut you right off. And I'm sick of saying, 'Yes, it's probably my own fault.' Because I've always tried to make it work and when it stops working somewhere, I try to make it work somewhere else. But the fact of the matter is, and I don't care who disagrees, it doesn't work if you're gay."

     It's quite an outburst. But then Rupert Everett has committed two apparently unforgivable sins in the eyes of Hollywood: he's not only gay, he's openly gay. And it's not a career path that he'd recommend. "It's not that advisable to be honest. It's not very easy. And, honestly, I would not advise any actor necessarily, if he was really thinking of his career, to come out."
     Who are the famous gay Hollywood stars? There aren't any, although he says that there are "probably" plenty still in the closet. But "I think, all in all, I'm probably much happier than they are. I may not be as rich or successful, but at least I'm vaguely free to be myself."
     Free to be one's self.  That's what those of us who make the leap of truth to live honestly earn.  It's painful. It's heart wrenching.  But, it's worth it, even if we do lose our careers, some friends and family in the process., because, the alternative is duplicity, hypocrisy, and shame.  I thank Meredith, Kelly, and Rupert for their honesty, and I do hope what Meredith said will come true, that people will consider those of us they know when they go to the polls to vote on our civil rights.