We need to have respect for all

By 
  • July 12, 2007
As I was sitting in on a group discussion, the topic of same-sex relationships arose. The majority of people in the discussion were Catholic and all had pretty strong opinions on the subject. This is to be expected, though what is not to be expected was some of the rude and hurtful comments I heard in that conversation. The fact that someone I know is gay was sitting right beside me made the whole experience that much worse.
Many people disagree with the concept of same-sex marriage and relationships and this is understandable. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and values. But just because you do not agree with something does not give you the right to ridicule and ostracize others. It is incredibly disappointing to see someone being put through so much pain because others don’t accept their lifestyle.

We have grown up learning the teachings of the Bible, in particular the concept of the golden rule — to treat others how we wish to be treated. Jesus always taught us to love and respect others from all corners of the world. So why do some of us limit ourselves to those who share the same beliefs?

It is fine that people disagree with the concept of same-sex relationships, what is not fine is when people who are gay are physically and emotionally abused for being the way they are.

All human beings deserve respect no matter their race, religion, age, gender or sexual orientation. People must see that we are all really the same and what matters is what lies beneath. All humans have emotions. Just because someone is gay does not mean that they do not feel. If everyone lived with the knowledge that we are all equal it is sure that there would be much less violence in this world.

Though all of this is not to say that Catholics do not receive negative feedback in return. A perfect example is the staged same-sex marriage by a gay rights group in Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral. Twenty gay activists with the group Act Up held a mock lesbian wedding in the cathedral, one of them actually dressing up as a priest in front of shocked churchgoers and tourists. This emotionally harmed many people who were in the church at the time or people who later heard about the incident. If Catholics are to respect people of a certain sexual orientation, we deserve respect in return.

I have endless thoughts and opinions that clash with other people, but why let these differences create boundaries that stop us from creating valuable relationships?

If you befriend a person whom you really like and get along with, then later find out they are gay, will that stop you from continuing to talk to them? If it does, just think of all the incredible friendships you could be missing out on because of it. If we truly want to follow the Word of Jesus let us begin by respecting people from all walks of life.

(Grech is going into Grade 12 at Bishop Allen Academy in Toronto.)

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