Always Our Neighbors

September 2004

You’re a good neighbor, and when a new family moves in next door or across the street, you introduce yourself and offer to help out somehow, and you know your wife will bake them some cookies.

Ah, but what would you do if the two cars in the driveway over at the new neighbors’ sport rainbow-flag bumper stickers? The two men who just moved in, you correctly deduce, are homosexuals. David Morrison, writing in Our Sunday Visitor (June 6) says you should treat them just the same. Says he, “We must open ourselves and offer friendship,” for example, by “helping dispose of moving boxes” and explaining “how trash pickup works in the neighborhood.”

But St. Paul would seem to give the opposite advice: “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness…” (Eph. 5:11).

Even Alexander Pope, the poet, would seem to disagree with Morrison: “Vice…seen too oft, familiar with her face/We first endure, then pity, then embrace.” Commenting on these lines, the Ramsey Colloquium poignantly said, “To endure (tolerate), to pity (compassion), to embrace (affirmation): that is the sequence of change…that has advanced the gay and lesbian movement with notable success” (First Things, March 1994).

But Morrison says, “Simple friendship does not necessarily mean approval….” However, it will mean approval if no disapproval is expressed — and how likely is it that you’d voice your disapproval? The same-sex couple will take your friendship as affirmation.


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New Oxford Notes: September 2004

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