Cardinal Sends Kids Message of Hate

As a child, I revered, feared and obeyed adults. Told that God had entrusted our lives to them, I unquestionably heeded to their advice and held them in high esteem. And clerics, God’s earthy servants, were held in even higher esteem. I genuflected to them, whereas normally a polite hello or nod would have sufficed for an adult.

With most adults, I could go up to them freely and query them about matters of this world, but with clerics I infrequently did, and knew only to query them about matters pertaining to God in the company of approving church folks.

The infrequency of my queries to clerics as a child and the solemnity of their responses made me think that clerics did not give earthy advice — that was what the adults were for. Instead, they gave a special kind of advice — Godly advice, advice that is unhampered by human biases, untampered by human public courts of opinions, and unbinded by the principalities and dominions of corrupt power.

Perhaps that was the kind of advice being sought by a Boston-area youth at the recent World Youth Day activities in Toronto, Canada. The youth asked Cardinal Bernard Law, “How should Catholics live out the church’s teaching that Christians should love homosexuals, but oppose homosexual acts,” and whether it would be OK to attend same-sex commitment ceremonies.

Deliberately dismissive to his present day calling in light of a changed world and a dying church, Law’s devotion to defunct ecclesiastical doctrines about marriage mixed with his anti-queer hatred was not only heard by the youth who posed the question to him, but his vitriolic advice, unfortunately, was heard and spewed throughout the crowd.

Deliberately dismissive to his present day calling in light of a changed world and a dying church, [Cardinal] Law’s devotion to defunct ecclesiastical doctrines about marriage mixed with his anti-queer hatred . . . was heard and spewed throughout the crowd.

“Anything else that calls itself a marriage, isn’t a marriage, from our prospective, so that for us to give public recognition to that in any way would be to affirm a pattern of living that is not ordained by God. . . It would be inappropriate for us to be supportive of organized efforts to indicate that it really doesn’t make any difference, that it is up to personal choice,” Law responded.

Cardinal Francis Arizne of Nigeria, on many observers’ short list to be the next pope, expressed a shared hatred with Law when he told a Toronto parish, “Someone should tell people contemplating gay or lesbian marriage that it is not progress, it’s decadence.” In his attempt to muster up biblical authority in order to substantiate his hate speech, Arizne said that if lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people tried to marry during the time of the Old Testament, “The earth would have opened and swallowed then without a trace,” reported The Advocate.

Hate speech is on the rise in this country, and hate speech is so pervasive and prevalent in the American lexicon that we are anesthetized by its frequency, even when cloaked by a cardinal. Law’s advice to the inquiring child was hateful and his advice may become deleterious to the child’s social and spiritual life, and to all impressionable innocent listening ears.

Hate speech can oftentimes lead to hate crimes since hate is not a passive emotion. And statistics have shown the causality between hate speech and hate crimes, because hate speech is an aggressive act characterized by its deliberate intent to harm.

In fact, the etymology of the word “hate” derives from the Latin word odium, which is related to the word “odorous.” Hate derives from a foul place, a place of unbridled anger, fear, envy, insecurity, and, most importantly, low self-esteem, and its distinctive unpleasant odor reeks of ill will and enmity toward another person or groups of people.

Because hate has a strong opposition to and zero tolerance for inclusion and diversity, hate violates the love of God and the love of neighbor as oneself (Matthew 22:37-40), and it causes human brokenness, human isolation and human betrayal.

When gone unchecked too long in the soul of a person, hate metastasizes the soul into a malignant disposition in the world and a malevolent orientation toward the world, both a disposition and an orientation which is not born of us but instead is taught to us.

When gone unchecked too long in the soul of a person, hate metastasizes the soul into a malignant disposition in the world and a malevolent orientation toward the world, both a disposition and an orientation which is not born of us but instead is taught to us.

Children learn what they are taught and they get their lessons often from us adults. They are wonderful windows into our world, because children mirror who we are as a people and how we live as a nation.

Dorothy Law Nolte wrote in her seminal poem, “Children Learn What They Live,” that if children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy. “. . .If children live with tolerance they learn to be patient. If children live with fairness, they learn justice. . . If children live with security, they learn to have faith. . . If children live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world.”

As a child, one of the places I looked to find love in the world was from my minister. Where most adults’ advice only kept me on an earthy plain, my minister’s advice, I knew, would put me on higher ground.

Law and other clerics like him can easily step up to their present day calling in light of a changed world by expunging their hate speech. However, if they cannot wash their mouths of the hate they spew on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, perhaps they can think of its deleterious effect in the world, and, particularly, on the world’s children.

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