On abortion, gay marriage and antichrists …

Question & Answer

 
Chris from Nigeria, asks:

Question:

 
I want you to clarify for me certain issues that seem to me to impact our common existence. Are you in support of gay marriages and abortions? Do you think we have the antichrist and the Dragon in our midst today?

Answer: Rev. Matthew Fox

 

Dear Chris,

Thank you for your questions. I agree that they do impact on our common existence and our common humanity. I will try my best to respond to them.

The antichrist and the Dragon are metaphors found in apocalyptic literature. They speak to the gut and to the imagination but it would be very ill-advised to take them literally. (One should never take metaphors literally, as Paul says, “the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.”) As metaphor, one can no doubt find many applications. They are indirect ways to talk about Evil and talk about evil we should be doing; there is plenty of it to talk about in today’s world. And Evil, being spiritual, is all around and within—it is not just “out there” in others. Thus the need to be alert as all warriors need to be. The antichrist and the Dragon represent the places where injustice (and therefore Evil) reign.(1)

Regarding abortion, let me say this. I am against it in principle as I think we should always be conservative about the gift of life and seek to conserve it. At the same time I am not against people who have abortions—I have never known anyone who took the decision lightly but very often there are solid reasons to not feeling one is capable of a 20 year commitment and responsibility for a new person in one’s life. This is especially true as we have wandered as a species from extended families to more and more singular households. Of course rape and incest as well as the threat to a mother’s life may also convince someone not to bring a child to term. Though against abortion in principle, I am even more against others (invariably men and male-dominated institutions) telling a woman what to do with her body.

Is there common ground between a “freedom to choose” position and a so-called “pro-life” position? Yes, there is. (I say “so-called ‘pro-life’ because many of those who are most zealous about condemning abortion barely make any noise at all about the killing of life that happens after birth such as issues of injustice toward children as regards proper education, health care, etc.) Sometimes people forget that to have a law that allows abortion does not require anyone to have an abortion. Such a law only makes it safe for those who feel an abortion is necessary. Why is that a bad or immoral thing? People will have abortions—it has always been so. So why not make it as safe as possible? Such a law is the lesser of two evils; it saves lives.

Of course a lot of the need for abortion could be alleviated by smart birth control. To forbid both abortion and birth control makes no sense whatsoever in my opinion and the entire ideology is based on false teaching from St Augustine in the fourth century, a sexual neurotic if there ever was one. He taught that all sex was sinful because one “loses control” and must be justified by having a baby. Why? Clearly he never understood the relationship between sex and love; and sex and play; or mysticism and sex, i.e. “love without a why.”

As for gay marriage, yes, I am in favor. Love is love. My Bible says “God is love,” not “God is heterosexual love exclusively.” Why not give gay partners the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual partners, wouldn’t that make for a healthy society? Science has spoken on homosexuality as it spoke 400 years ago about the Earth going around the sun. Homosexuality is the Copernican Revolution debate of our time. The answers are not found in the Bible but in nature, therefore in science whose job it is to study nature. (St Thomas Aquinas warned that “a mistake about nature results in a mistake about God.”)

Science has spoken: About 8% of any given human population anywhere is going to be gay or lesbian. Why should they not enjoy the stability and privileges of marriage? We have counted over 484 other species with gay and lesbian populations so homosexuality is found in nature, it is a minority, but it is not “unnatural” (except for heterosexuals and heterosexuality is unnatural to homosexuals). Creation is very diverse. Clearly God wanted it that way. Vive la difference!

In addition, indigenous peoples in America have told me that the spiritual directors over the ages to the great chiefs here were homosexual. Why? Because homosexuals bring spiritual depth to a community. The same truth is found in Celtic tribes and in African traditions as well. To worship a homophobic deity then is to deprive self and society of spiritual energy. Why do that?

~ Rev. Matthew Fox

About the Author

Rev. Matthew Fox holds a doctorate in spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris and has authored 32 books on spirituality and contemporary culture that have been translated into 69 languages. Fox has devoted 45 years to developing and teaching the tradition of Creation Spirituality and in doing so has reinvented forms of education and worship. His work is inclusive of today’s science and world spiritual traditions and has awakened millions to the much neglected earth-based mystical tradition of the West. He has helped to rediscover Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas. Among his books are Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the FleshTransforming Evil in Soul and SocietyThe Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved and Confessions: The Making of a Postdenominational Priest

A new school, adopting the pedagogy Fox created and practiced for over 35 years, is opening in Boulder, Colorado this September.  Called the Fox Institute for Creation Spirituality it is being run by graduates of his doctoral program and will offer MA, D Min and Doctor of Spirituality degrees. With young leaders he is launching a new spiritual (not religious) “order” called the Order of the Sacred Earth (OSE) that is welcoming to people of all faith traditions and none and whose ‘glue’ is a common vow: “I promise to be the best lover of Mother Earth and the best defender of Mother Earth that I can be.”

(1) For an in-depth discussion on Evil you might want to see my book, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh, where I take the 7 chakras of the East and compare them to the 7 capital sins of the West to develop a fresh language about evil. Too often religion has oversold “sin” and in doing so shuts down discussion and debate about Evil—as if evil did not exist (evil is far bigger than sin).

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