On one side we see “compassionate” souls pleading for a “tolerance,” which essentially amounts to license to do whatever you want. “If homosexual activity makes them happy, that's fine,” seems to be the attitude of this group. On the other side, we see self-righteous idiots making cruel jokes and basically spewing hatred.
And who sits in the middle? Men and women who experience attraction to people of the same sex. They didn't ask for it, and wouldn't have if they had been consulted. But here they are, watching the debate and wondering where they'll find the love they were put on this earth to live.
Throughout the Courage conference, I kept thinking about Pope John Paul II's beautiful line, “The only appropriate response to a human person is love.” Every human person was created in the image and likeness of God, and God is madly, wildly, passionately in love with each of us. So each individual has an awesome, incredible dignity. And each individual was put on this earth to love and to be loved.
So what is love? Is it an attitude of, “We just want you to be happy?” Of course not. Drugs make drug addicts “happy” for a while. Crime can make criminals positively giddy. No, love goes deeper. Love means wanting what is truly best for the other person — recognizing the image and likeness of God, and acting accordingly.
The men and women of Courage know that the so-called “gay lifestyle,” while it might make them “happy” for a while, is not best for themselves or for anyone. They know that the real love they sought within that lifestyle always eluded them. They know (as we all do, deep down) that they were made for something bigger, something deeper, something more profound — Someone more profound. They were made for union with God, but the gay lifestyle makes that union impossible.
This particular conference was intended to help youth ministers deal with the homosexuality issue in the youth ministry setting. It's a very important subject. Debate about homosexuality has become so polarized in our culture that it's nearly impossible — especially among teenagers — to even have a civilized conversation on the subject. Meanwhile, a certain small percentage of those teens (anywhere from two to ten percent, depending on whose statistics you believe) will in fact enter adulthood experiencing sexual attraction primarily to the same sex. Far more teens at some point suspect or fear they may be “gay.” Each of those teens is in a very vulnerable position. They want to love and to be loved. They look around and see two groups. One group is making “fag” jokes and essentially saying “We hate you,” while another group says “If same-sex relationships are where you find love, then you just go right ahead.”
Neither one really loves them. And neither road will lead to real love.
The road to real love is through “the narrow gate,” as Christ told us. It comes through union with God. And Courage helps the men and women who want to pass through that narrow gate — not by calling them names, and not by sending them on down the wide road, but by joining them on every step of the journey down that narrow road, and by squeezing through that gate with them.
Now that's real love.
(You may visit Mary Beth Bonacci's website at www.reallove.net.)