The LGBT Community Deserves To Hear More From The PopePope Francis spoke to millions over this past Easter holiday, and there’s no question that he’s the most progressive Pope to date.

His heart and mind focuses on the sick and poor and preaching for people not to judge others or ‘outcasts’ in our society– as Jesus was wrongfully judged. And even though the Pope preaches of not judging the LGBT community as well, I’m still not hearing the word ‘acceptance’ of gays and gay marriage as of yet–which is a huge word to leave out.

Although the Pope preaching tolerance is indeed a huge evolution from Catholicism’s centuries old practice of denouncing and condemning gays (which can incite bigotry and hatred) it’s still not enough to make a dent in preventing discrimination, abuse, suicides, false imprisonment and hate crimes. Simply because religious ambiguity can be interpreted both positively and negatively.

I, personally, wanted to test tolerance and acceptance in my local religious congregations to see which ones would welcome my “gay” family as fellow parishioners into their group. There was a Mormon church, a Jewish church, a Catholic church and a Muslim church. I simply asked them a very basic question– “I am in a same-sex, married relationship, with two children, will you accept my family into your parish? They all answered yes–however, all these faiths still do not sanction homosexuality and still preach against it.

So it would only be logical to assume that since these faiths are still not accepting homosexuality, they are more interested in trying to ‘convert’ me into being straight to ‘save’ my soul in some way.

Naturally, I passed on their offers since I have no desire to punish my soul by going completely against my truth and who I believe God made me to be –a good, caring woman who just happens to be gay.  I guess you could call me an “Evolved Catholic”–because our family developed our own spirituality, which embraces the BEST of ALL religions and it works out beautifully for us. We also have the perks of celebrating all the holidays we want!

I believe there is a difference between teaching tolerance or non-judgment– and preaching true acceptance and love for ALL people. Teaching tolerance or non-judgment alone can be ambiguous –AND it’s not always a step towards acceptance. It’s more like the steps in M.C. Escher’s iconic “Relativity” lithograph– that can lead to nowhere–or to an even worse place. Teaching tolerance or non-judgment can sometimes illicit people to “pity” the gay population in some way. And, truthfully, some religious fanatics have been known to kill people out of pity to save their “lost, wayward souls.”

Teaching tolerance alone can also have negative connotations, and make people resentful when they are forced into accepting or “tolerating” those they dislike.

When the slaves were freed and the blacks were given their rights, the white supremacists by law HAD to “tolerate” them –and they didn’t take too kindly to that –hence the Ku Klux Clan was formed. So the answer is to teach our children and future generations to love and accept ALL those who are different than them–and not JUST to “tolerate” or be “nonjudgmental” of them.

The Pope and ALL religious leaders also need to SPECIFICALLY say that the LGBT community should be loved and accepted UNCONDITIONALLY and WITHOUT PITY because God created them to be PERFECT JUST THE WAY THEY ARE–with no need to be ‘saved or ‘healed’ in any way.  The world NEEDS to hear those SPECIFIC words and the LGBT community truly DESERVES to hear them (after centuries) for once and for all– and nothing less. Amen.