Pope Francis reached out to gays kinda sorta not really.

The internet is abuzz with a quote from Pope Francis:

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked.

And I can’t figure out why secular folk are celebrating.  Maybe we’re so used to complete and utter loathing of homosexuals by the Catholic Church that we missed the qualifier in that sentence: “…and he searches for the Lord.”

And if they aren’t “searching for the Lord”?  What if they just love someone of the same gender?  What then?  Homosexuality is not a quality made acceptable only by the adoption of faith.  Whether a person loves Jesus or not, it doesn’t matter what brand of naughty bits to which they are attracted.

And for those who say the reason for celebration is the signaling that this Pope will depart from the draconian hatred of LGBT people embodied by Francis’ predecessor, may I remind you that Francis is vehemently opposed to equal rights for gay people.  When marriage equality was being considered by the government of Argentina, then Jorge Bergoglio said in a letter to the country’s four monasteries:

“The Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family… At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children.

He also said that gay parents were an abomination and a threat to the well-being of children:

“At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.”

Yes, you read that correctly.  Gay people adopting children is a form of discrimination against children in the eyes of the current pope.

So when the pope asks “Who am I to judge?” in the same breath he suggests one needs to submit to all kinds of loony beliefs being advanced by the Catholic Church in order for someone’s gayness to become ok, the answer is simple: he’s the same jackass who has been judging gay people his entire life and who will continue to do so when they aren’t Catholic (or even when they are) and just want to marry a consenting adult of whom the Church does not approve.

So go ahead, celebrate the fact that even the pope must bow to political pressure eventually.  But let’s wait a bit to break out the champagne on the pope, the Catholic Church, or the majority of is adherents coming to grips with the notion that gay people are normal, loving members of society who are doing nothing wrong.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Park James

    The pope is making a qualified endorsement of homosexuals, when any moral human would make this endorsement without qualification. The only good thing I can say about this pope is that he’s better than the last, but that’s almost saying less than nothing.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Vatican reversal of Pope Francis’ statement in three… two… one.

    If children of homosexual parents are going to be discriminated against in advance, then it’ll be Christians leading the way, as they right now.

    • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

      I was just thinking the same thing. The last time this pope tried to say something the least bit not-awful about a group the church condemns (namely, us) the Vatican wasted no time in putting out a correction. This time I’m expecting something like “Of course, you still have to stop being gay and you have to convert to Catholicism immediately. Otherwise we will judge you very harshly”

    • EvolutionKills

      Yeah, that is pretty shady logic, isn’t it?

      So the Church can’t allow gay adoption because of the social stigma and ostracism the Church has itself cultivated. Why is it not surprising to see their devotion to circular reasoning is not limited to just biblical justification? It’s a travesty they put so much effort into causing other human beings needless suffering.

  • Jasper

    I’d love to know what a particular gendered parent brings to the table that the other can’t.

    • Jasper

      … outside of, say, vague amorphous “fatherness”

    • Loqi

      Why, that’s just too easy. Allow me to explain:

      *waves hands furiously*

      And that’s why we can’t let gay people get married and/or adopt. I hope I cleared that up for you.

    • Allan Hamilton

      How would one explain such a concept to someone that may very well come from such a dysfunctional family as one without both a father and a mother? Their very upbringing would both serve as an example and as an insurmountable barrier to understanding an opposite state of being. One does not just “believe” in the value of God’s word in this regard. Believers have all experienced the positive aspects of his presence in traditional families.

      • The Other Weirdo

        Believers have all experienced the supposed positive aspects of his presence this belief in traditional families.

        There. Fixed it for you. Let’s be honest, no one’s actually experienced his actual presence.

      • Jasper

        Not sure if serious

        I come from a stable traditional mother/father home. I don’t see it. also, placebo effect… how has that been ruled out?

      • Loqi

        Edit: Disqus’ mobile interface doesn’t like multiple replies…

        Feel free to explain it to me. I grew up with a mother and a father (in a Christian household, no less!).

      • Jasper

        I guess it’s too optimism to expect that it’ll be explained to dumb little me how this is different from “you can’t see the invisible BubbleGum forest unless you believe enough”

  • Loqi

    How eager we are to pretend the world and its people are better than they actually are. The only positive I see here is that the pope is starting to feel the need to pander to the pro-equality side.

    • invivoMark

      Step 1: Pretend that religious people are better than they actually are.

      Step 2: Notice that all the people who are good people are also religious.

      Step 3: You just proved that religion makes people better! Yay!

  • baal

    Nothing like arguing to the ‘best’ in order to skip past the ‘good’ and do nothing. I don’t accept 1M1F couple = best parents but let’s put that aside a moment. We have kids in foster care or with single parents. Those kid’s lives get better if they get permanent placement or if they get a 2nd parent. The Pope’s position is that it’s better to not do good since we should wait for the ‘best’ outcome. That’s silly at best. There isn’t a shortage of kids with needs.

  • BobaFuct

    Taken in context, the statement is pretty meaningless and actually in line with much of Christianity…he’s specifically talking about gay priests, CELIBATE gay priests. If you got the gayz but don’t have man-sexytime, that’s okay. Being gay isn’t strictly the issue, it’s the gay sex that’s technically forbidden. He’s choosing his words very carefully to sound progressive and enlightened, without saying anything that’s fundamentally contradictory to church/christian doctrine, all the while remaining as intolerate as ever…very clever, that Francis.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Pope Francis has repeatedly proven very good at reiterating Catholic doctrine in such a way that makes it sounds much less offputting than when previously stated by Pope Benedict. Benedict was such a bad mouthpiece for explaining doctrine to non-Catholics (and maybe Catholics too?) that it’s easy to think Francis is breaking ground where he’s actually just cleaning up the PR mess that was left for him.

    That said, I don’t completely dismiss the new pope’s statements as meaningless. It is meaningful that the Church recognizes- at the highest levels- that it is losig on this issue and needs to soften its tone (if not alter its position).

    • The Other Weirdo

      How long did it take before the Vatican negated one of his statements that reached out to the atheists?

      • Kubricks_Rube

        Did they really negate it, or just clarify that “redemption” is not the same as “salvation”? I remember a number of commenters pointing out the difference when Francis first brought up atheists.

        • EvolutionKills

          I’m not sure, but then I don’t really care. Being considered for either ‘redemption’ or ‘salvation’ by the Pope is about as equally meaningful to me. Which is to say, not at all. I wouldn’t even care at all about his opinions if they didn’t hold so much sway outside of his own person.

        • The Other Weirdo

          He made a relatively sort-of positive statement. The Vatican’s clarification was “no, y’all are still gonna burn.” That’s a negation, as far as I am concerned.

      • Loqi

        I’d call it a clarification more than a negation. What he actually said wasn’t anything new or progressive, he just tactfully omitted the “you all deserve to be locked away and burned for eternity” part. People latched on and made it more than it was, and the Vatican had to clarify it was just as regressive as always, they just worded it differently because it scored better with the focus group.

        • The Other Weirdo

          Yeah, I remember, but in mind, that’s still a negation.

          • Loqi

            I don’t follow.
            “I brought you a frosted, baked food traditionally served at birthdays and weddings.”
            “Hooray! You brought a pizza!”
            “Uh…no. I brought a cake.”
            The third statement does not negate the first statement. It says the same thing in a less convoluted manner. It certainly negates the reaction of the second person, but that’s not quite the same thing.

          • The Other Weirdo

            I don’t see why. I eat desert pizza with apple topping and frosting all the time. Besides, you are comparing real things with made-up opinions.

    • EvolutionKills

      But in a way, isn’t that worse? When you know your position is untenable, instead of actually changing your position, you just put more effort into hiding and obfuscating what it really is?

      It’s like the difference between Honda and General Motors. GM spends far more on lawyers, lobbyists, and advertisers, than they do on engineers. Honda spends the majority of it’s money on engineering, knowing that their reputation for reliability is worth more anything else. And just like the Catholic Church, it’s a shame how much more successful being super shady can be…

      • Kubricks_Rube

        I don’t think Francis is being shady though. The media are the ones acting like celibacy for gays is a new position.

        • EvolutionKills

          Good point, which in a way makes the whole situation even worse. We expect the Pope to paint the Catholic Church in the best light, but it’s sad how uncritical the general media is being of the new Pope…

  • EvolutionKills

    So when the Pope says “who am I to judge?”, what he really means is “I know my God is going to judge the SHIT out of you”…

    It’s at times like theses, I find solace in the words of George Carlin.

    “I have as much authority as the Pope. I just don’t have as many people who believe it.”

  • Keane Sanders

    We also seem to forget that he still reaffirmed the Church’s position that, oh no homosexuals are toootally cool–it’s just homosexual *acts* we hate.

    So, y’know, gays, lesbians, bisexual and queer individuals can still go fuck themselves. But now the Church can say that it doesn’t condemn them while it goes around condemning them.

    • EvolutionKills

      There is an Xzibit meme to be made here, but I just don’t have the heart for it…

  • Makoto

    In the same speech, he also reaffirmed that women are a no-no as priests. So, status quo, but with fancier language to make it sound nicer.

  • Link Daddy

    Shame on him for reiterating the true position of the Catholic Church on the issue! He needs to be more enlightened and disregard Scripture. He is the head of the Church, right? He can just change doctrine with the stroke of a pen…
    Pope Francis is Jesus’ representative here on earth. If he did not tell you the Truth, that would make him a liar and an apostate. Listen to him and learn.

    • baal

      Are you drunk Link Daddy?

    • Fred

      I agree with you Link Daddy, the pope is a liar.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Learn what? That the country’s dominant religion’s mythical sky daddy is an asshole?

      I already knew that.

  • Fred

    “The Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously
    harm the family… At stake is the identity and survival of the family:
    father, mother and children. But, who am I to judge?

    “At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated
    against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a
    father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection
    of God’s law engraved in our hearts. But, who am I to judge?

    That lying turd.

  • M.S.

    I guess I am not as cynical as others who commented here, ;-). I see it as a baby step. Yes, the Church still has a long way to go, but its a baby step.
    I’ve been impressed with Pope Francis’s effort to embrace and accept gays and Atheists, among others, in his recent comments. Its a start.

  • SMStauffer

    Actually, his statement was in response to questions about gay priests,
    so “searching for the Lord” would sort of be a requirement for that.
    “Pope Francis on Monday said that he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation. “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis said, according to media reports. … He said that homosexuals should be treated with dignity and that no one should be blackmailed or pressured because of sexual orientation. . . However, nothing in what he said suggested acceptance of anyone, priest or otherwise, engaging in homosexual acts. “http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/30/world/europe/pope-francis-gay-priests.html?_r=0

  • Rain

    At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.

    And there we have the smug self righteous self-justification for the existence of their religion. Everyone knows Catholicism is true, and therefore should burn in hell if they don’t believe it. Never mind the total non sequitur of people having to burn in hell for it. Seems a little extreme, lol.

  • Juan Martin

    Pope Francis has said that sexual orientation is not sin, but the actions resulting from it are. Simple. True. The reality is that no matter what man say or try to impose, there is only one acceptable, healthy and beautiful relationship among two people, and that’s between One Man and One Woman! The old saying that opposites attract each other is very true when it comes to sex. We should listen to the One who Created us, because He is the One who says: “I abhor” when two people of same gender have sexual relationships. I believe we should give ear to Him, especially when he does not say that He “dislike”, “find strange”, “against nature” etc. but He clearly says: “I ABHOR!”! Is God homophobic? No! He loves people and He loves those who struggle with sexual orientation. To say that God loves the sinner but hates sin is true also when it comes to gays. I am not homophobic. I love gay people, I just cannot accept their actions as healthy and normal, because they are not! John Kerry just announced that the US is going to give visas to same sex couples as they do to hetero couples, as long as the countries of origin accepts their marriage. Boy, this wave is growing like the one that swallowed the Poseidon! But no matter what the government, the media and all the gay lobby says, nothing will legitimate this evil lifestyle.