10/16/2014 09:11 am ET Updated Dec 16, 2014

Is the Catholic Church Evolving?

Humanists are sometimes criticized for having an adaptable set of values, but I find the ability to evolve one's thinking to be an advantage in the face of our rapidly expanding knowledge of the world. After all, holding to outdated ideals despite evidence disproving their relevance is blind faith that benefits nobody. Now it appears that the Catholics are starting to get with the humanist program.

The Church is undergoing an ideological evolution on one of their most infamous tenets: opposition to homosexuality. The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops recently released a document referring to LGBTQ couples as partners instead of sinners, and said that the Church should recognize the positive aspects of same-sex civil unions.

This positive step forward for the Church shows the ability of Catholic leaders to change their thinking in light of new information and recognize the value of same-sex relationships. The Church should build on this new outlook. While it's unlikely that the Church will outright endorse LGBTQ marriages for Catholics, it should revise its position on a wide host of issues that affect the LGBTQ community on a daily basis.

To begin with, the Church should encourage American bishops to no longer support legislation that seeks to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Given the Church's new position, it has no place preventing same-sex marriages between Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or nontheists, even if it doesn't support similar marriages for Catholics.

Secondly, the Church should stand up in support of workplace and housing anti-discrimination legislation that helps the LGBTQ community while also opposing religious exemptions to those very provisions. If the Church truly wants to show that it values LGBTQ people then it should have no problem endorsing the idea that people shouldn't be discriminated against at their job or home simply because of their sexual orientation.

Thirdly, the Church should cease all support of churches or movements, whether here in America or abroad, that condone anti-LGBTQ teachings. Parts of Africa and Eastern Europe are undergoing a religious crusade against LGBTQ people, enshrining discrimination into law and encouraging violence against gay people, and the Church must establish itself as a defender of those that are victimized by these actions.

Finally, the Church should publicly support the use of condoms by LGBTQ individuals (and everyone) in order to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The Church is infamous for its opposition to the use of condoms, especially when it comes to procreation, but by supporting their use here the Church would help millions of people susceptible to AIDS and other diseases.

If the Catholic Church really wants to step into the 21st century and show that it recognizes the inherent worth of LGBTQ people then it must fully adopt a live-and-let-live ideology when it comes to same-sex relationships while defending the basic human rights of these very same people. The Church isn't expected to endorse same-sex Catholic weddings, but if it really is evolving its thinking, it is obligated to use its considerable wealth and influence to support the rights of LGBTQ people.