Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 26, 2005
Former activist disputes gay priest
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
"What is subject to our control is whether we act on (impulses), and whether we embrace them or resist them."
- Alan Yoshioka
Saying someone's sexual orientation was objectively disordered is "not much different from saying it's an illness." That view, he says, is "discredited today."
That's why he says the document is "humiliating," because it is "shaming people" by "attacking their personal identity" and saying they are "not fully a whole person." "The Church is one of the major institutions that is promoting homophobia and shaming gays."
Yoshioka recalls with sadness that he used to share Renshaw's perspective.
"I used to think of being gay as another ethnicity," he said in a telephone interview from Toronto. "I went so far as to say if I stopped being gay I wouldn't be me anymore."
In fact, he hated hearing that people were praying for him, including his own parents, who he once cursed during a telephone conversation.
"I viewed it as a kind of spiritual rape," he said.
He used to dismiss the idea that you could love the sinner and hate the sin. "It's only as I experienced God's love in a very powerful way that I was freed to transfer my allegiance," he said.
He began to see the truth as the Apostle Paul described in the first chapter of Romans, when he describes what happens when men start worshipping creatures rather than the Creator.
"There is a very deep connection, I believe, between homosexuality and idolatry," he says. "I would put other men in a place where God should be and likewise placed myself in a role where God should be."
When he was wrestling with the question of whether homosexual acts were indeed sinful, he had an assurance that if the acts were sinful, God would give him the strength to resist if he submitted himself to God's will. He has remained celibate for the past five years.
However, Yoshioka finds some conservatives who claim homosexuality is a choice "tedious" and "annoying."
"Some conservative people have rather unrealistic notions about the extent to which these feelings are subject to our control," he said. "What is subject to our control is whether we act on them, and whether we embrace them or resist them."
Yoshioka would like the Church to continue to ordain priests who may have deep-seated homosexual tendencies as long as they believe Church teaching, practise celibacy and do not identify with the gay culture.
However, if the Church decides that it must reject even those priests, he says he will respect that decision.
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