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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Speak the Truth With Love

When you tell your child that "you shouldn't have done that", did you really mean, "I hate you"? When you tell a co-worker or someone you supervise, "Don't do that", do you really mean, "I don't like your kind around here and you should quit"? Our culture is redefining any unwelcome instruction as hate speech. We can't buy into that as parents, supervisors, or people interested in the direction of our culture.

Like many Catholics, I watched with great interest as we buried one great Pope and watched the College of Cardinals elect another. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as I'm sure you've heard, is now Pope Benedict XVI. None of that was really surprising, but the reaction from the far left in our church was astounding, and the farther left, the more hysterical the reaction. Matt Foreman of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force referred to Benedicts' "unrelenting venomous hatred" of gays and lesbians. Steve Weinstein, Editor of the New York Blade, said the former Cardinal "preaches hate". Locally, Fr. Breen of St. Edwards in Nashville expressed his "disappointment that we didn't get someone more inclusive". From all the hysteria, you'd expect something really radical to have been said, right?

What the Cardinal said, in writing for Pope John Paul II, was a reiteration of the moral teachings of scripture followed by this admonition:

Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.

Hardly hateful stuff. If you want to read some beautiful and heartfelt words from the new Pope, read his eulogy for JP II at Nobody with hate in their heart can write like this.

The point of this post is not Catholic politics or Gay and Lesbian politics. The point is that moral clarity on the job, in our families, or in our world is being redefined as hate speech or discrimination by those who don't agree. Whatever happened to respectful disagreement among people of good will? We can't inspire each other, much less the world, if we're afraid to speak the truth with love. Just know that, when you do, the name calling may start.