“Why does He eat with sinners?” The Pharisees asked. We know the answer: “Because He came to call sinners.”
But what about shunning? Sometimes you have to refuse to eat with certain people, in order to retain some kind of personal integrity. We would certainly have to refuse to eat with militant white supremacists or plotting terrorists.
After all, Lord Jesus said: “If your brother sins against you, tell him his fault, between you and him…If he does not listen, take one or two brothers with you…If he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you as a Gentile.”
St. Paul wrote: “Do not even eat with anyone who bears the name of brother, if he is guilty of sexual immorality, greed, idolatry, reviling, drunkenness, or swindling.”
Seems to me that the most-confusing gray area for us right now involves “gay marriage.”
On the one hand, a “marriage” ceremony missing the necessary man or woman to complement the other woman or man—that certainly offends God. Offends all the good, honest, faithful husbands and wives who have ever sacrificed and co-operated as friends in order to bear children and raise a family. Offends everyone who tries to use the word ‘marriage’ in an honest manner.
The very idea that two people of the same sex can ‘marry’ lies so far beyond the pale of honesty, in fact, that we probably do best just to ignore it. Better to see the whole pretense for the pitiable charade that it is. And try to respond with compassion.
Because, on the other hand: Some men do fall in love with other men, and some women with other women. And we cannot say that everything about such friendships is evil. That would not be true, at least not in every case.
And the aspect of the friendship that is evil may not be any of my business. Since homosexual marriage isn’t “wrong”—it’s simply impossible—then homosexual immorality remains a purely private matter, in and of itself. And private immorality only becomes my business when someone involved chooses to make it so.
We traditional Christians rightly resent the “gay lobby” for going on the warpath and trying to force our hands against our consciences. But that means we also have no right to go on the warpath, either.
We can’t go to any gay “weddings” as joyful guests. But, by the same token, we can’t cut people off, either—at least people who haven’t made any threats of violence. Family Fourth-of-July picnics and Thanksgiving dinners don’t need to become morality battlegrounds. Sometimes it’s perfectly Christian to pass the potato salad, smile, and talk about the weather.