Richard Rodriguez: Churches, Families, Mothers, Children

November 24, 2008

Salon has an interview with Richard Rodriguez ostensibly about the reasons prompting many churches to target same-sex marriage and GLBT rights.  He sees it as a marker, even a scapegoat, for the problems churches face understanding their role in light of the increasing breakdown of traditional families, the increased social roles and opportunities for women over the last generation, and the increased numbers of divorces and families headed by women.  The “desert religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — are male religions,” says Rodriguez.  Their perception is that God is a male god and Allah is a male god.”

Some, we are told, need a simple explanation, or at least, someone to blame.  The cognitive dissonance between a male God and an increasing feminized world must be explained.  Perhaps, perhaps not.  I don’t know, but it’s a fascinating subject.

What interests me most, though is his description of the ties and the love between mothers and their gay children, and the ties and the love he sees between gay children and their elder parents and neighbors:

…I suspect the revolution will come not from the male church but from how women treat their children, and whether or not women are willing to reject their children. I don’t think they are. I saw too many times during the AIDS epidemic that when death came and the disease took its toll, if one parent was there, it was almost always the mother and not the father. That bond is so powerful.

I also think about the role of gays as caregivers to the elderly parent while siblings are too busy with their children. At the Most Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco, which is the gay Roman Catholic parish, a number of old Irish women essentially adopted the gay parishioners, and were adopted by them, because their children had moved to the suburbs, or Pennsylvania, or Orlando, and were no longer in a position to care for them. That’s a bond that no one really talks about.

I’ve seen this many times.  In my own life, with my parents.  With my current partner and his parents.  With my former partner and his parents.  With my former partner’s other partner.  And so on.

Sometime soon I hope I have time to ponder this and write something more about the subject, my own observations and thoughts.


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