To tell the truth, to the people who know me best this may not come as such a shock, but to others who choose to ignore the facts that are right in front of them or choose to look the other way this might come as quite a revelation.
I’m GAY! I’ve known I was I gay ever since I was about 9 years old, although I didn’t have a name for it until much later in my adolescence. Even then the name I had for it was not a good, life affirming description. Back then I knew myself as a fairy or a fag or a homo. None of them good things to be.
I was not normal. If I was was then I would have been like everyone else right? Isn’t that what is normal? It was back then and still is to many people. Well of course, I am 52 as I write this, and I know better. Normal is whatever God made you. Most people accept that now. Still many people reading this may still say that I am not normal. For those people, I have nothing to say. If decades of scientific and psychological study doesn’t convince you then I guess nothing will.
I want to say this, though. Being gay doesn’t even begin to define who I am. It is only one piece of very a large, very complex puzzle that is Jeffrey B. Owens. It affects my marriage but very little else. Truly it only affects my marriage in what I consider to be minor ways. In fact, the only way that I can think of that my marriage is affected is in the bedroom. I live a celibate life because I have no interest in sex with women in general, and I will not step outside the bounds of my marriage to have an affair with a man. My marriage, my wife, and my family mean more to me than anything. When I got married it was until death do us part. Twenty-one and a half years later that hasn’t changed, and I don’t anticipate it happening at any time in the future.
I am Catholic, and that does affect the way I approach things. I don’t believe in pornography, and don’t use it even for a moment. I don’t believe pornography should be legal. It has never done anything but ruin people’s minds and lives. I don’t believe in pornography as free speech. I believe that free speech should have a limit (like not being allowed to shout “FIRE” in a crowded theater), and believe that pornography crosses the threshold of those limits. There is nothing good about it and it should be outlawed. There! Enough of my soapbox! I know that people reading this will disagree with me, and I accept that, but I have dealt with pornography before and it very nearly ruined me. I don’t want to see that happen to anyone else.
Another way that being Catholic affects my outlook is in the way I view homosexuality. My views on gay sex fall in line with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. While the CCC is clear that a person being homosexual is not a sin, homosexual acts cannot be approved. Specifically it says this in paragraph 2357 – 2359:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. 2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
As I said, my views of homosexuality line up with these teachings. I know that chastity is a difficult way of life because I am practicing it in my own life, but I also know that it is possible, again because I am practicing it.
Having said this, I call the reader’s attention to paragraph 2358 where it says “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. “ The RCC teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman because that it the way it has been for centuries, even millenia. But that flies in the face of the church’s non-descrimination policy. At least from my perspective it does. Call it what you want to. Call it marriage or domestic partnership, same sex couples should be entitled to all the legal protections and advantages given to same sex couples. It is only right in the name of non-descrimination. Still, I believe that the individuals in same-sex marriages should also practice chastity. It is not an easy thing to do, but it should be done. I, like the RCC, believe that the gift of sex is for the attempted act of pro-creation and that homosexual acts close the door on that possibility. Even couples in regular marriages who cannot get pregnant for some reason still open the door to the possibility of creating a new life. Who knows when God will open the womb of a barren woman.
NOW! Having said all of THAT, I quite understand homosexual couples who find difficult, if not impossible, to remain celibate. I used to be there myself. My views did not occur over night. They evolved over time. And while I have the courage of my convictions and believe firmly what I believe, I am not so arrogant as to believe that I am always right and that there cannot be exceptions to every rule. The truth is I believe that each person must make peace with their creator in their own way. Even the Apostle Paul tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. I am not about to impose my views on another individual simply because I could be wrong. I am not responsible for the souls of every other individual on this planet, but I am responsible for my own. Therefore, I will continue on in my beliefs where they concern my own life and I will leave it up to the individual to be responsible for their own.
I will not judge another person who is living out their own life to the best of their ability, and I will thank you not to judge me as I try to live mine out. I will not try to legislate my own morality as long you don’t try to legislate me out it. My Bible says to “judge not lest ye be judged.” I try to live by that!