A few things about Mr. Von B that you may or may not know: I'm gay (yes, I know, shocking), I am in a 10-plus-year relationship with a man, I have two four-legged kids whom I love dearly, my family means the world to me, there is nothing I wouldn't do for those I consider friends, and, oh, yeah, I was raised Catholic, and I'm the godfather of my Jedi!
Now, when I say I was raised Catholic, I mean I'm from an Italian Catholic family. I went to church every Sunday and on all holidays. I attended CCD weekly all the way through high school. I have an uncle who is a priest, and my family would attend Catholic festivals several times throughout the year. At one point I even considered becoming an altar boy. So, growing up, I was extremely religious. I never had blind faith, but my faith meant a lot to me and was part of my identity.
I do not consider myself Catholic any longer. Sadly, I don't think I ever will, nor do I think I will ever return to the Catholic Church. Would I like to? Yes, if the church could come into the 21st century, something I don't ever see happening. I did try three years ago, though, when my Jedi were born. To be their godfather, I had to be a Catholic in "good standing," so I joined a parish here in Columbus, Ohio, and began attending mass again. At first I was going in order to ensure that I could be a godfather, but then I was going in hopes that I could reconnect with the church. That did not happen. Now, some may think that that is because I'm gay, and yes, that is part of it, but it's not the only reason. For me it's also about a balance between what the church teaches and what science has proven and can prove. As I said, I have never had blind faith. I have always questioned what Catholicism taught. It's in my nature to question things until I understand. I find that most, if not all, organized religions are centered on having this blind faith. This is just something I can't do.
Even if I could get past the blind faith issue, I find the Catholic Church hypocritical. The Catholic religion preaches acceptance and love, but when it comes to LGBTQ individuals, it's a whole different story. Then it becomes about teaching hate and intolerance. I'm sorry, but this is something that I can't understand and am not willing to allow myself to be exposed to.
The perfect example of this is happening in my home city of Columbus. A Catholic high school, Bishop Watterson, fired a teacher of 19 years, Carla Hale, because she is gay. Carla's mother passed away, and the obituary included Carla's partner's name. So instead of supporting one of their teachers in her time of mourning, they fired her. Columbus Bishop Frederick Campbell has been quoted as saying that Carla Hale wasn't fired because she is gay but because her "quasi-spousal relationship" with another woman goes contrary to the church's moral teachings, and also because it was necessary to maintain "integrity of our faith."
Does any one else see the irony in his statements? A lesbian teacher in a loving, long-term, committed relationship violates the church's moral teachings and weakens the faith, yet dozens, if not hundreds, of Catholic priests molesting and preying on young children don't seem to violate the church's moral teachings or affect its integrity at all. Well, it seems that way to me, because these priests aren't fired or even prosecuted by the law; they are just moved to a different parish. To me, the latter seems to go against what the church teaches, whereas the former seems to be exactly what the church teaches.
I have a great amount of respect for Carla Hale for working in an environment like a Catholic high school. Given everything I have read, she seems to be a fantastic teacher whose students love her. So why the hell does it matter whom she loves? Shouldn't the only thing that matters be her job performance? I also find it difficult to believe that there are no teachers at that school who have divorced a spouse or had an affair, both of which go against what the Catholic Church teaches.
As I said, growing up, I was extremely religious and involved in the Catholic Church. What I took away from those years was what it meant to be a Catholic, or, more generally, a religious person: We were all created in God's image, none of us is perfect, and all we can do is strive to do our best and love one another. After I walked away from Catholicism, I learned that the Catholic Church cherry picked which biblical books it wanted to recognize as canon. I also learned that the Bible has been translated and interpreted differently depending on who was doing it.
We should be following the meaning of the words, not the actual words. Throughout history the words of the Bible have been used to justify some terrible things; the crusades and slavery immediately come to mind. Today the words of the Bible are being used to justify hate, intolerance and inequality once again. Isn't it time to get past the words and get to the meaning of those words?
Funny how the ones preaching the words can't see the meaning, but those being preached against can.
This blog post originally appeared on Diary of a Drag Queen's Husband.