When I was a kid, many things we took at face value. We believed what we were taught and carried that with us wherever we traveled. Not until I attended college, did my views on the world at large change. Coming into contact with so many different people, from different points of view, religions, races, etc. opened up my perspective to many different ideas. What I believed as a child, may not be same today, but I still carry a faith that tells me tolerance of others is the way to go. “Judge lest ye be judged”, Who am I to say you’re wrong?
The other day, I noticed the doll sporting and odd look. “What’s got that mind of yours preoccupied doll?” I asked. My beautiful girl tends to overthink things, which can be quite debilitating at times. Looking up at me she asked, “Do you think gay marriage is a sin”. Her father, who was seated in between us, sat silent, working on the laptop. “No” I replied without hesitation. “Neither do I” she replied and then fell silent. I could tell she was still working through the problem and decided to help. “Why do you ask?” “One of my teachers said gay marriage is a sin and I wanted to stand up in class and tell her I disagreed with her”. “Did you?” I asked, “No, of course, not”. She replied and I immediately understood why.
She’s thirteen for one, attending a Roman Catholic grade school for another.
“Doll, there are many things within the tenants of catholic doctrine that I disagree with–not just the gay issue. But, in my opinion, saying gay marriage is a sin is the same as saying anyone not married in a catholic church is a sin. We’re all human, make mistakes, we’re all God’s children. I don’t think God separates us. I think mankind does that quite well on our own”.
She looked at me nodding her head, but her face still looked perplexed. So I decided to elaborate. “Have you ever noticed when strangers come to our church, when commuinion time comes around, the priest will instruct only catholics to participate in the bread and wine? Others may approach and receive a blessing, but not partake in the ritual?” She nodded quickly in response. “Do you know why they are not invited to partake?” I asked. “Because they don’t see the bread and wine as transfigured into Christ’s body and blood. We learned about this in religion”. “Yes exactly. But, doesn’t this make us seem more divisive rather than inclusive? Aren’t we setting a precedence that conveys we think we’re better than everyone else?” She furrowed her brow in thought. “There are many people like…” I named an individual she knows and sees as being very religious, as an example. “…who think we should be more welcoming and open up Christ and communion to everyone. Why should it matter how you perceive Christ in the host? Taking Christ in should be what’s important.”
“So it’s alright if I question or take offense at something they are teaching?” she asked. “Doll, you are an intelligent, sometimes over thinking thirteen-year-old girl. You are capable of finding your truth in the world. But, I’ll add, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater alright?” I tried. Quirking her head to the right she asked, “What does that mean?” “What I’m saying is don’t throw away all of catholicism because you disagree with parts of it. Continue to learn and grow your relationship with Christ/God; using catholicism in support of your faith.
“But what if a question on a test is something like True or False, gay marriage is a sin?” “Then follow your consciuous”. I said. “What if it’s a question of whether I pass the test?” “Then I think you have a bigger overall problem like studying for the whole test…” I said and smiled.
She nodded and agreed with a knowing “Ya” then stood up, gave me a quick hug before vacating the room. Her father who sat there trying to pretend he wasn’t in the room with us exhaled loudly and said, “Now, let’s get back to something important–like planning our vacation.” Smiling at him I agreed.