Invasion of the Family Snatchers

I just watched this harrowing science fiction horror movie. Picture this:

Aliens from another galaxy invade a major American city, locking it away from the rest of the country. Businesses are shut down. Schools are closed. All roads in and out of the city are blocked. If you leave the city, you cannot return to see your family or friends again. The human citizens of the city are terrified to step beyond their own front doors.

The aliens have taken over the city to prepare for the arrival of their leader, the Great Tonpiff. They hold a massive Universe Meeting of the Aliens to rally and energize the crowds who have traveled from all over the galaxy to attend.

On the first day, the Mighty Dracinal addresses the crowd to rapturous, ecstatic applause. He tells them they must assemble in perfectly formed groups and spread their alien messages. The humans watch this rally on their televisions. Soon they, too, are swept up by the Mighty Dracinal's words. Most of the humans venture out of their homes and join the alien meeting. Before long, they are chanting and hollering. They become indistinguishable from the aliens.

Some humans, however, are more cautious. Listening carefully to the Dracinal's words, they realize that the 'perfectly formed groups' are exclusive little circles that reject those that do not look and act like the aliens. The Dracinal appears to be a peaceful and harmless alien but, in fact, he is teaching the humans how to spit out the undesirables. Those that feel rejected grow angry at the Dracinal and the aliens.

The human/alien crowd slowly begins to resent these undesirable humans for soiling their perfect groups ... and that's when the terror really begins.

Oh, wait. That is not a movie. That is real life.

The major American city is my city, Philadelphia. It is in lockdown for the World Meeting of Families this week, in preparation for the Great Tonpiff, I mean Pontiff, Pope Francis. All the major roads to the city are shut down, no one can go to work or to school, etc. The city, quite literally, is stopped for days for this event. Despite media reports of excitement, many Philadelphians are less-than-thrilled about this Pope-pocalypse and the disruption it is causing the city and its citizens.

The Mighty Dracinal in this story is Cardinal Robert Sarah who gave a morning keynote address on Wednesday. Cardinal Sarah stresses the importance of the "traditional" family within the church. He warns that church members should not "be tempted to soften Christ's teaching on marriage and the family." He specifically mentions same-sex unions (and other "self-seeking" unions) and admonishes the laws "that are passed that fuel this breakdown" of the family.

Cardinal Sarah is soft-spoken and, by all indications, a compassionate and peaceful man. But his message is alien to me because I am gay. He calls me a sinner. He equates my life with a "devil's lie." He says "God is a family" but then says same-sex unions are ruining families. So ... gay people are the enemies of God?

And, for this message, my city is shut down.

What does the Cardinal propose all these loving, selfless families do with the gays in their families? If they condemn homosexuality and reject same-sex unions, what then? Is he suggesting that the gays renounce their homosexuality and marry heterosexuals instead? This would strengthen families? Ha! I know plenty of gay men who repressed their homosexuality and ... well, let's just say their wives were not happy in the long run.

Gay people cannot become un-gay. Condemning them is not going to strengthen families. Rather, condemnation will cause anger, frustration, mental anguish, spiritual crisis, thoughts of suicide, etc. What kind of loving message is that?

The zeal and obsession over the Pope's visit in Philly is off-the-charts. If the World Meeting of Families wants us Philadelphians to greet them with open arms, maybe they could lay off the gay-bashing? Cardinal Sarah could have been more gracious toward his hosts. Doesn't his god teach something about grace?