|You can sing a rainbow, too.|
My first Facebook acquaintances with rainbow flags were, unsurprisingly, out-and-proud men who self-identify as gay. Apparently one was once-upon-a-time distressed thinking that I did not know he was gay. He felt deeply worried about it, and asked B.A., and B.A. assured him that I knew, which annoyed me, as actually I didn't know. I never assume anyone is gay until he tells me he is. Occasionally I gather that a particularly hip and stylish Catholic pal with certain mannerisms might experience same-sex attractions, but I assume from the company he keeps and his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament that he lives a life of strict chastity, and if he should fall into sin, he drags himself to the confessional and does his penance like everyone else is supposed to do.
Anyway, my out-and-proud pal, of whom I am very fond because he is quite lovable, self-deprecatory and utterly without malice, has draped a photo with the flag, and I was not surprised. Oh well, I thought. Oh well. I felt even more resignation about the gay chap I met in local literary circles; I'm amazed he's so tolerant as to want to be Facebook friends with Catholic me, but I'm glad as he is a gifted artist and well worth knowing.
When a Catholic professional stage manager I know draped her photo in the flag, I thought, with a little less resignation, Oh well. She's in theatre. She might even experience SSA, although I don't remember her mentioning this at university.
But then I espied another Catholic friend, a married mother of multiple children, covered in the rainbow stripes, and I was shocked. Holy crap, I thought. I don't believe it. It wasn't that I thought she wouldn't be PC; she lives a PC kind of life. I guess I hadn't realized how far PC has gone.
I began to go through all my Facebook friends. A Catholic Studies PhD grad in the stripes--Being a smartass as usual, probably. Girl I knew in high school--Well, I have long thought she is ashamed of her Catholic upbringing and tried to hide it that time. Musician--Not gay, but not Catholic either. And then--Oh no...WHAT? This makes no sense!
But even then, I could see that from a sense of compassion she might do it. Or from love of child. "What if your child turned out to be gay?" people ask mothers, and the mothers hug their babies and inwardly pledge to accept their children and their decisions no matter what. In a moment of maternal tenderness, this woman might have thought "Well, Caesar's not so bad"--he was a baby once--and chucked a pinch of incense before his statue.
Because that's what it comes down to, doesn't it? Nobody blames the average pagan Roman for having burnt incense before the gods of his nation. He didn't know any better, and he thought it a noble civic thing to do. And, if we think charitably, we might even see why the Romans were cheesed off at the Christians--widely rumoured to be utterly hateful people, said to do hateful things, especially to children--refusing to embrace the famous Roman tolerance of all things religious. The Romans adopted all kinds of foreign gods. The more the merrier. Plus, the Christians apparently hated Rome so much they burnt it down, etc., etc., etc. The very fact that they wouldn't burn teeny tiny pinches of incense before a statue of almighty Caesar... How intolerant can people be?!
We have many stories of Christians refusing to burn the incense and dying horribly yet paradoxially gloriously because of it. We don't have as many stories about Christians just going ahead with it and burning the incense, although my Asian Theology prof LOVED stories like that. He practically licked his lips as he related the tale of some Japanese ruler nattering triumphantly over a tortured, broken formerly-Christian European missionary. Nice, eh? Must check to see if the prof is still a priest.
Anyway, the conclusion of this rant is that it almost doesn't bother me that men I know to be openly gay have wrapped themselves in the rainbow flag, but I am utterly horrified that married Catholic women raising their children as Catholics have. I wonder if they actually know that there are thousands of people with same sex attractions--particularly Roman Catholic and other Christian people with same sex attractions-- ho do not attend Pride parades, and do not fly the rainbow flags, and who might not appreciate such token gestures of "solidarity."
Meanwhile, and more pertinent to my own experience in life, I wonder if they know what a scandal they, the flag-draped-married-Catholics, are even to Catholics who do not struggle with those kinds of sexual temptations. e.g. me. It's scary enough to be a tradition-loving Catholic in the UK, to say nothing of the arts world, to say nothing of the theological world, without ordinary people-in-the-pews suddenly forgetting on what marriage is.
I have to say I have a heck of a more respect for my funny, friendly out-and-proud pal, whose name I bring before the Divine Mercy whenever I remember, e.g. now, than I have for such PC Catholics. So shocked. So disappointed.
On the other hand, perhaps they