Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dallas Cathedral of Hope pastor offers perspective on repeal of DOMA

The Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson, of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, TX, now a congregation of the United Church of Christ, has an important commentary on the call for the repeal of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, link here.

She says that neither  house of Congress is likely to be able politically do to the right thing now. 

She also makes some acute comments on other areas, including not only the lifting of “don’t ask don’t tell”, but also gay parents and foster parents. She comments on the inability of unwillingness of school districts to control bullying. She also notes that in the minds of some (religious) people, homosexuality is “the only unforgiveable sin.”  It has also struck me, especially given some of my own history (the William and Mary expulsion often discussed in these blogs – see Oct. 22), that the historical preoccupation with homosexuality seems anomalous when compared to the rest of most of western moral teachings.  Most moral issues today have to do with making choices and dealing with the consequences of these choices when they affect other people directly.  Even though it may usually have a religious rationalization, ideas about gender conformity seem to have to do with a system of thought that requires everyone to “fit in” to a social structure, so that everyone else feels motivated to make and keep the common emotional commitments expected of them. 

The 2005 book by Paul Robinson, “Queer Wars: The New Gay Right and Its Critics” (University of Chicago Press” has an interesting analysis of this perspective, discussing Oxford’s John Finnis, and E. I. Patullo.  Robinson writes, on p 50:

"Homosexuality ... threatens the way straight couples need to understand the role of sex in their lives and its social implications. 'The deliberate genital coupling of persons of the sex is repudiated because  ... it treats human sexual capacities in a way which is deeply hostile to the self-understanding of those members of the community who are willing to commit themselves to real marriage in the understanding that the sexual joys are not mere instruments to, or mere compensations for, the accomplishment of marriage's responsibilities, but rather enable the spouses to actualize and experience their intelligent commitment to share in those responsibilities, in that genuine self-giving.' "

This may sound like a mouthful of words, but it seems to say something like, “I can’t do what I think I should do unless everyone else has to do the same thing.”

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Palo Duro canyon near Amarillo, TX  (Although in 1983, a state representative from Amarillo introduced one of the most antigay bills ever, HR 2138, trying to ban gays from everything after the advent of AIDS; I was living in Dallas at the time.)   

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