“Pray the gay away” failed. Now it seems that if you can’t beat ’em, you might as well join ’em.
The Roman Catholic Church, homosexuality’s principal foe of the modern age, offered a conciliatory olive branch to the gay community with a promise from Pope Francis to not judge gay priests. This does nothing to change the official Catholic position that homosexuality is wrong. It does, however, downgrade the importance of focusing on sexual orientation. Make no mistake, the Church is changing to “get with the times,” so to speak.
Religions have always evolved like this throughout the ages in order to reflect current realities. The concept of sexual morality, for example, has shifted considerably with the increasing delay, and in some cases disappearance, of marriage. Gluttony is another deadly sin that you will be hard pressed to hear mentioned in modern-day sermons for fear of alienating a significant portion of the congregation.
Through it all, though, the source texts and principles have remained the same. Only the interpretation and emphasis have evolved. And so will it always be. The lessons? One, focus on the big picture: faith, compassion, industry, self-control, charity, and, most importantly, love. And two, take all contemporary religious rules with a grain of salt, knowing that many won’t stand the test of time. God will. Human opinions on His will won’t.
The religious can either dedicate their lives to furthering the well-being of the world and uplifting countless lost souls, or to the visitation of violence and oppression on those who run afoul of the latest interpretation of ancient texts and principles. Pope Francis seems to have signaled that he will go with the first approach. That’s cause for celebration.