FIRST PERSON

Hey Francis, Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Pope FrancisHow would you feel if I told you an organization that hates gays, treats women as second-class citizens and is known for molesting children was finally saying “acceptable” things about you? Would you drop to your knees in genuflection, or flagellate yourself till the cows came home?

Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church recently went on record saying some “nice” things about gay people and I have to be honest…in the words of Rhett Butler, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a shit.”

When the religion you’re peddling is known for the persecution and death of thousands of LGBT people throughout time, for supporting a doctrine that continues to cause many adolescent children to commit suicide, for the horrific handling of the AIDS epidemic when it was thought to only be a “gay disease,” for turning a blind eye when Father Tickle McPickle was raping countless boys and for pouring millions of dollars into campaigns to stop the legalization of gay marriage, I tend to be a little skeptical when you suddenly act so cordial by saying the church shouldn’t be so “obsessed” with gays. Obsessed like whom exactly, Jeffrey Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy?

So Pope, why the new tune? Are your congregation’s numbers really so bad that you are actually turning to the gays to fill the pews? Is this new “gay’s are sort of/kind of/maybe ok” ideology the equivalent to a “you can finally eat fish on Friday” kind of thing?

You’ll have to excuse me for waiting for the other Prada shoe to drop, but we’ve been down this road before — a kind word, an inviting smile, then the church politely opens the door, tips its hat and pushes us into the ovens.

No thanks, I’ll pass.

Another thing that gets my panties in a bunch are LGBT people who are applauding a few decent words from an archaic organization. We, as LGBT people, have come a long way. We no longer need to fit in with the bullies on the playground anymore. At this point I’m left wondering why we even care what man-made, organized religion thinks of us and why we need someone to manipulate ancient text to tell us if we are good, bad or indifferent.

By backing off from its usual hate speech, the church is basically dangling the proverbial carrot of inclusion. They beat the crap out of us for centuries, and then tell us we are not that bad so we keep running towards them for acceptance. Well, the power of acceptance is not theirs to give if we do not seek it.

JohnCarrollBeing ostracized by the church was one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. It allowed me to build my own strong relationship with God rather than having some priest in an elaborate frock and jaunty hat dictate it for me. It forced me to see God in everything around me and to realize that everywhere has the potential to be a place of divine worship. I don’t need anyone to tell me I belong anymore, because in the eyes of God, I always have.

So, say this actually is the change so many have been praying for, what’s to become of all those religious bigots now that “God’s mouthpiece on earth” is no longer giving them the green light to discriminate against us? I’ll be interested to see what they’ll do when they no longer have God to thank for their vile hatred.

Religious fanatics will have a lot of free time on their hands now that LGBT people are no longer held responsible for every natural disaster or terrorist attack. They will need to find some other place to put all that frenzied energy. May I suggest a knitting circle, Canasta group, or Oprah’s book club?

You know, my mother always told me, when someone says something nice to you, say “thank you.” So Pope Francis, thanks for the kind words, but sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here.

 

John Carroll is a Broadway performer, writer and activist. For more information on him, go to TheJohnCarroll.com.

Photo of Carroll: Kevin McDermott