Sunday, October 19, 2008

Reflections at the end of a long day.

I would like to post more frequently; however, I've been very busy giving interviews, writing for newspapers and doing radio shows. Can you imagine trying to convince other people why racism is wrong? That was the battle fifty years ago. Or, trying to convince folks that women should receive equal pay for equal work? That was the battle forty years ago. Yes, I know, those battles are still being fought but, overall society acknowledges that racism and sexism are wrong.

A friend of mine, who is also a priest, recently heard a mother say of her gay son: I'd rather that he be dead than, that he be gay! Where did that woman get that idea? So much more work still needs to be done. We have to fight hard to keep civil rights. Psychologists suggest that some people would happily subjugate and oppress others, in order to feel powerful in their own lives which they view as impotent. One of the best definitions I've heard for evil came from a psychologist who spoke with the Nazi war criminals during the Nuremberg trials. He concluded that evil, is a lack of empathy for others and the scapegoating of innocent people.

Together we can preserve civil rights and make the world a more loving place.

17 comments:

Rose said...

Father,

You have no idea how much peace your words continue to bring to me. I do hope that at some point you find a place to preach where your understanding of Christ's love is accepted and appreciated. And if it happens to be in Fresno, I would be honored to make it the first church I have attended in 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Fr Geoff: I've never blogged either so I don't know how this works. At any rate, I am a parishioner at St Paul's (or I was until a couple of weeks ago). I called last week to ask for a forwarding address for you as I wanted to send you a card of support. "Pat", the office receptionist was rude but I am assuming she is harassed with all of the telephone calls and she was at the end of her rope. I just wanted to tell you that just that week I was planning on making an appointment w/you for a private confession. I can't call it a confession really but more of a discussion of all of the reasons why I am at odds with the church and yet I do find comfort in the ritual and setting of the Mass. I am at odds when I am asked to pray "...for us men and for our salvation...." which leaves out a whole population like me of females. I am at odds with a church who continues to penalize souls that are in pain and commit suicide just because they want to stop the pain; how this crucifies the family even more when the church won't sanction their burial. How I'm offended with a Church that thinks they can tell me how to vote. I don't go to Mass to hear about politics; I can read or watch the news for that. I go to Mass for weekly reminders and support to be non-biased, non-prejudicial, not-judgmental, and to catch myself on my own "stuff"; to be able to find God in whatever situation I find myself in. The church isn't there to tell me how to think and what to believe; it's there to offer me support and guidance. Anyway, that conversation won't happen but I do want to wish you the best in whatever your future has in store. Finally, someone in the Catholic Church told the truth and I for one am glad about that. Too bad that you will pay the ultimate price but you have faced the worst, it will only be better from here on. Take care and as someone far wiser than I said, "stand for something or you will stand for anything...". Take a stand Father, it's why God put you here. Take care, Francesca M Eidson

barbarab said...

Father Geoff,
Know that prayers are surrounding and supporting you from many places. Go with God.

Birdie said...

Father Geoff, I think a lot of people do feel powerless in such a fight as this, for a variety of reasons. They do not have your pulpit, so to speak. But they need to understand that the silence is literally fatal to so many, whether by their own hands or the hands of others. Our silence is killing the spirit, at the very least.

Those of you reading this blog can help by talking about the issue. Silence is no longer an option. Risk your own discomfort and maybe a little of theirs by bringing up the subject of equality in conversation with friends and colleagues. Get the topic into the general public awareness. Make people think about it.

This is the time. Father Geoff has given us the catalyst for action. Use it, and give his sacrifice even greater meaning: one that brought change.

Two Auntees said...

Father Geoff, Thank you for all that you are doing on behalf of the LGBT community. Your stand has given you a pubic voice that I am sure you did not expect. Your use of that voice has been heartwarming and healing to many.

Java said...

Does it seem like there are more voices calling for equal treatment, for civil rights for gays? From my perspective I cannot tell. I am relatively new to the glbt community, so I am now noticing a lot of pro-gay activity. 3 years ago I was a homophobe in an evangelical church. At that time I wasn't paying attention to the positive voices for glbt rights. Now that I notice the positive, I can't tell if it's really new, or if it's just new to me.

Anonymous said...

I'm a parishioner at Fresno's Newman Center. I just wanted to let you know I always enjoyed and learned something from your homilies. You have a spiritual gift. I miss you at church and wish there would have been another way for you to work for civil rights while staying with your congregation. I'm concerned about what you will do after the election. Have you given that any thought? You are in my prayers.

KJ said...

The quote of the mother of the gay man haunts me. Assuming she has a Christian faith, at what point does one prefer the loss of a child over trust in a loving God who knows the beginning from the end? I guess that point is when fear and bias consume peace and love.

I pray that that mother and her child will know the peace of Christ.

Syler Creedence said...

I don't understand how someone can wish there child to be dead. The attitude of hate from people like her, those whom we believe to love us the most (our family),is what keeps forcing homosexuals from leading a productive life. Fear of rejection and so the hide and become fake. Some even try to convince themselves that they are not who they are and so live a lie to make sure they are not "caught" being gay. I'm not "out" so to speak, but God has blessed me, (even at a very conservative Catholic College) with amazing friends who support me and the man I love. They genuinely believe that we need each other and were meant to be. And I thank God for those people.
God Bless you Father! Thanks for all the support!

Sue W said...

Fr. Geoff, We are in our mid-sixties, the parents of 4 "boys," now young men. Our youngest son is gay. He has always been welcome in our Catholic parish but he doesn't live in that parish. He reads and sees what our bishops and pope have to say about him, and he as well as the rest of our family, are deeply saddened by the discrimination they spew. We love our son and his partner just as we love our other three sons and their spouses. With what the California bishops have sent out to all parishes, telling us to vote for Prop 8, leaves us angry and disillusioned. I am very involved in ministry at our parish and have had to discern whether or not I can continue to serve or move to the Episcopal church.

I cannot thank you sufficiently for the risk and stand you took in Fresno. You are truly walking in Jesus' footsteps. To think you have been suspended by your bishop is extremely troubling. If there is any way we can assist you as you go forward in your life's work, please, please call on us.

revLois Keen said...

I'm one of the original members of a group that began as clergy of the Episcopal Church, called CFLAG for Clergy Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gay persons. There was such a crying need for a group of straight clergy coming out as being parents and relatives of LGBT family members, that we were asked by clergy of other denominations if they could join, too, and so of course we said "yes". Then, lay people began to want to be able to say they were church folk, specifically church families with LGBT family members, so now we're something like Church Families and Friends of...

CFLAG was founded because it became important to one clergy family to provide a network for other clergy to come out to their congregations as being supportive of LGBT full humanity before God because we have a vested interest in our own loved ones. You can find CFLAG at http://cflag.dioceseny.org/

For me, this fight is personal. I never want to have to talk one of my family down from suicide ever again.

FranIAm said...

I have been reading this blog since day one.

What I want to say today is something that has been on my mind, your post invites it.

A lot has been asked from you and you have risked much.

Make sure that you do what you need to take care of yourself, have good boundaries and a real support system.

Oh many of us are real enough, but not the core of your support.

I know that I am not the only one praying for you, but I do hope that you are doing what you need to do for yourself. Even Jesus took himself off the mountain when needed.

Pax et bonum from a Catholic friend.

episcowill said...

Since I first learned of you via Susan Russell and that memorable day when you last preached at Newman Center, I have followed you blog, and I have to say that I am in total agreement with those who look forward to your posts, no matter how brief or infrequent. I am convinced that your greatest days of ministry are yet ahead of you, and I am profoundly grateful for a credible voice being raised for LGBT people in these challenging times .

Peace to you,
Will in Concord

David said...

Father
not surprisingly, wise words for FranIam - the lady is incredible!

words which also reflect my prayers for your welfare.

'Make sure that you do what you need to take care of yourself, have good boundaries and a real support system.'

Shalom

David@Montreal

Anonymous said...

Dear Father Farrow,

You speak for more Catholics than you can possibly know. When my husband saw the article in the LA Times about you and your decision to speak out he immediately started reading aloud. Thank you for your courage and your faith as well.
We wish you peace and love.

LA supporters

Davis said...

My mother said the same words to me when I came out. In truth she didn't know what she was saying and by God's grace I'm secure enough to know that.

You're in my prayers, Father.

Fr. Marty Kurylowicz said...

It is too bad that we do not have 28 million dollars to educate people on sexual orientation, gender identity and the meaning of love and the harm of hate.

I have sent your address to your Blog out, including links to your ABC TV news coverage, to a number of professional colleagues who are supportive in the Detroit/ Ann Arbor areas, including in New York and many others up and the east coast.

It apparently has had some far reaching effects because I have been asked to attend a meeting tonight at one of the campus ministry groups, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan to discuss what Father Farrow stood up for and why. You have become a stimulus to stop the silence, because it is promoting discussions on the life and death issues of a sizeable population of people (LGBT).

What these people and especially the Vatican do not understand is that it is not only LGBT people they are hurting, but they are also hurting their parents, family and friends. If these people could only see the agony and worry on a parent’s face, who has a son and/or a daughter who is gay, about whether or not someone will try to severely harm them, even kill them. Parents worry enough as it is unendingly about their children and not to have the support of the Vatican for their LGBT children simply does not mirror Christ’s love for children. It is morally wrong.

Your standing up in good conscience for what was morally wrong has far reaching rippling effects. This is a very good thing; you have no idea just how helpful you have been to us. But this is also true of the many supportive people who have been and are continuing to respond to your Blog. Reading their comments do wonders to bring life back to the human spirit, especially after all the national gay bashing that went on in the two previous Bush’s presidential campaigns. Thanks to all of the people who have commented on your Blog and especially to you for standing up for truth.