- Boycott the Knights of Columbus
- A wedding sermon.
- An open letter to my parish community.
- Why was a college student in the car of drunken Archbishop-elect Cordileone at 12:26 AM, when Cordileone was arrested for a DUI?
- When the Church married Same-Sex couples.
- How It All began
- The Supreme Court’s Decisions and the New Mason-Dixon Line
- What the Vatican & American bishops DO NOT want you (and Politicians) to know.
- The Morality of Sex, gay & straight.
- San Francisco in archbishop Cordileone’s sight
Thursday, January 12, 2012
The Price of Hate and Compromise
Tonight I sat down to check messages on my computer and I found myself overwhelmed with incredible sorrow as I read the following post, “CA Teen Filmmaker Commits Suicide After Making ‘It Gets Better’ Video.”
The article goes on to say that Eric James Borges a 19-year-old resident of Visalia, CA was, “Not accepted by his birth family, Eric James was striking out on his own, trying to deal with his personal situation, but also wanting to help others. Sadly even involvement with the Trevor Project was not enough to help him navigate the turbulent waters of young adulthood.”
Eric grew up in Visalia, California, a town I know very well because I lived there for 15 years. One year 1989 as associate pastor at St. Mary’s (the wealthy White parish) and 14 years as pastor of Holy Family Church (the poor Latino parish) located at 1908 North Court Street in Visalia.
The website for the City of Visalia speaks of the pro-South culture of Visalia during the Civil War that alarmed the Federal government enough to build a military installation in 1862 to prevent an uprising, centered in Visalia, in favor of the Confederacy.
Visalia, like most rural communities in the USA, is socially conservative. I recall walking down Main Street about ten years ago; a new shop had opened up called, “Prim and Proper.” Another priest, also assigned to Visalia quipped, “That’s Visalia.”
There is much that I loved and still love about Visalia, but there exists a dark side to most conservative rural towns in America. They are very wonderful places to live IF you happen to belong to the majority and conform to conservative ideas/values, or at least appear to conform. Eric’s story is chillingly familiar because it is the story of far too many of us.
Most of us become aware of our sexuality at puberty. Our physical attraction (sexual orientation) slowly “dawns” upon us uninvited, it simply emerges as we grow from children into adolescents. The greatest fear for a young LGBT person at this point in their life, is that they would be rejected by the very people that they love the most in this world, their family and their friends. As survival mechanism LGBT children adapt by denying who they are, they learn to lie about themselves to their parents, siblings, friends and classmates.
The price of all of this is ultimately self-hatred. The Center for Disease Control’s 1999 Youth at Risk Behavior Study, found that one-third of gay adolescents attempt suicide. One-Third! Not reflected in those statistics are the abuse of alcohol and drugs by LGBT youth. Not reflected in those statistics are the large numbers of gay teens that are driven from their homes, or emotionally alienated by parents practicing “tough love.” Parents attempting to force their children to be something they are not, heterosexual. All too often parents have been misled into adopting this tough “love” by clergy.
The fact that the hierarchy of many religions, including Catholicism, promote these attitudes towards LGBT people and makes them accomplices to this moral evil. The prejudice, emotional and physical violence, alienation of affection between parents and their children, the resulting despair and tragic suicides can all be traced back to religious authorities who willfully disregard the insights of psychology.
Pope Benedict XVI, just this week, made the absurd and unsubstantiated statement that; gay marriage was one of several threats to the traditional family that undermined "the future of humanity itself".
In the USA those states that have Marriage Equality laws have substantially lower divorce rates that those that prohibit Same-sex marriage.
Consider the following report from the BBC,
“A UK HIV charity said there was a clear link between happiness and health.
Research has already suggested that gay men are more likely to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts than heterosexual men, and that social exclusion may be partly responsible.
Same-sex marriages are legal in six US states, with Massachusetts the first to allow them in 2003.”
“Researchers from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health surveyed the demand for medical and mental health care from 1,211 gay men registered with a particular health clinic in the 12 months prior to the change, and the 12 months afterwards.
They found a 13% drop in healthcare visits after the law was enacted.
There was a reduction in blood pressure problems, depression and "adjustment disorders", which the authors claimed could be the result of reduced stress.”
“A spokesman for the Terrence Higgins Trust, a UK-based sexual health and HIV charity, said: "There is a known link between health and happiness.
"It's no surprise that people who are treated as second class citizens tend to have low self esteem, which in turn makes them more likely to take risks.
"Whether this is drugs, alcohol abuse, or unsafe sex, treating gay men unequally has lasting repercussions for their health."
Tragically, society (like our President) is “evolving” too slowly to have saved the life of Eric James Borges, 19, of Visalia, California. Hopefully, his death will outrage us to speak louder, work harder and fight more uncompromisingly for full federal equality and protection. For the human dignity that is every person’s birthright.