That's the question being posed by a number of Dutch gay rights activists, who held a little direct action yesterday during Mass at a Church in the town of Den Bosch. The protest was held in response to an incident a few weeks ago, where a man in the Netherlands was denied Communion by a priest because of his sexual orientation. What did the protest look like?
Well, stylish, of course. Demonstrators numbered in the hundreds, and dressed in pink wigs and pink clothes. Somewhere, Lady Gaga is feeling a little jealous this morning.
But pomp and circumstance aside, the substance of their protest gets to the heart of a really interesting religious question. Is it theologically sound for the Catholic Church to deny gays Communion?
Sure, the Church is allowed to hold whatever institutional beliefs it wants, and no state should really infringe upon that. But using bread and wine as a political weapon seems a little contrary to the symbolism behind Communion, right?
Communion has its roots in the Last Supper, during which Jesus offered Communion to his apostle buddies, including Judas, the man who was technically responsible for putting the wheels of the crucifixion in motion. Now that surely seems like more of an egregious action than falling in love with someone from the same gender.
Bygones, perhaps. But the issue of Communion as a political weapon has just begun to scratch the surface. Folks in the Netherlands turned out en masse (en Mass? Haha ... yay, puns!) to protest the denial of Communion. Is it just a matter of time before this happens in the U.S., too? Look to Rhode Island, where Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin has told Rep. Patrick Kennedy that he can't receive Communion because of his political beliefs.
Jesus is a lot of things to a lot of people, from savior to made-up figment of the imagination. Whatever he is, here's one thing he's not: homophobic. That trait can be applied to bishops, to priests, to Catholic columnists weighing in on the subject of figure skating. But let's get our biblical history correct: Jesus didn't use Communion as a political weapon.
And he never said anything about homosexuality.And if he were walking the grounds today, I've no doubt that he would be wearing a pink wig and a pink dress, and joining the hundreds of queer folks in the Netherlands calling out the hypocrisy of Church leaders.