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Holy Communion in Wyoming: Who Would Jesus Serve?

Mar 14, 2007 | Updated May 25, 2011

Judge not, that ye be not judged... Why beholdest thou the mote that is in they brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?... Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye."

Matthew 7: 1, 3, 5

A lesbian couple named Leah Vader and Lynne Huskinson in Gillette, Wyoming recently got a letter telling them that they will no longer be given communion by their pastor, a "Reverend" (I use the term loosely) Cliff Jacobson, at St. Matthew's Roman Catholic Church. Since apparently they were remembering the Sabbath day and keeping it holy because they went to St. Matthew's in the first place (and also presumably worshipping no other gods during Mass), one wonders, which of the eight remaining commandment did they break? Did they dishonor their father and mother? Covet their neighbor's ass (or, in more modern terms, Prius or Land Rover)? Nope. None of those. It's because they spoke up in favor of marriage equality for same sex couples.

Leah and Lynne had attended St. Matthew's since 1998. According to the AP, they received a letter from the "Reverend" Jacobson telling them they can no longer receive communion, in part because of their public position. Jacobson says the church reaches out to homosexuals, but that it must do so within its own moral structure. He says the Cheyenne Diocese played a role in the decision to bar the women from receiving communion.

This is almost too easy, so easy I nearly feel guilty pointing out the flaming hypocrisy of a Catholic priest (of all people) in Wyoming (of all places) during the Easter season (of all times) judging others based on sexual orientation. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. But I decided I had to, since Jesus warned the "Reverend" Jacobson not to do what he did (John 8:7: "He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.") He threw the first one, so now I'm going to toss a few back.

Let's deal with the Catholic part first, for which I need only to turn to the words of the saint for whom the "Reverend" Jacobson's parish is named--Mathew himself. As cited above, Matthew warns the "righteous" to focus on their own sins first rather than judging others. "Reverend" Jacobson says the Catholic Church must deal with issues of sexuality "within its own moral structure." What structure is that: the one that tacitly condoned and then covered up rampant child sexual abuse by priests? As if that wasn't bad enough, the Church not only didn't discipline Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law (a man who must give thanks daily for the statute of limitations, his protector), under whose leadership the abuse has been the most documented, but actually rewarded him by making him the head of Rome's Saint Maria Maggiore (the second holiest parish in the Catholic Church) and making him the only American cardinal to say one of the masses when John Paul II died. Yo, "Reverend" Jacobson: you got a few motes of your own, within your own institution, to focus on before you get around to Ms. Vader and Ms. Huskinson.

Ok, now, Wyoming. Two words: Matthew Shepard.

Finally, Easter. Easter is about a guy called Jesus, who took in the poor, the despised, the "least" of his time, and was crucified for so doing. In Matthew he warns people who fail to embrace the "other" that "Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of these, the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me...Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire." (Matthew 25:40-41 -- that pesky Matthew again! Bet "Reverend" Jacobson wishes he was at Sacred Heart of Jesus or any other parish but Matthew's by now...) I can't imagine that, in Gillette, Wyoming, there are many more people who are treated as the "least" than two open lesbians. But instead of following Jesus' example, "Reverend" Jacobson has banished two faithful congregants from his parish. There's the spirit of Easter for you!

I wish I could be as forgiving as Jesus was on the cross this Easter ("Father forgive them: for they know not what they do" Luke 23:34), but I can't. "Reverend" Jacobson knows what he is doing, so he gets no free pass. Growing up a Southern Baptist, I was taught that God wrote down each of our sins, and would ask us to explain them on Judgment Day. Get busy, "Reverend" Jacobson: as Desi always said to Lucy, "You got some 'splainin' to do!"

To Ms. Vader and Ms. Huskinson, I offer the advice of Matthew (him again!): "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."

(Matthew 7:6). Stop casting your pearls before these swine, who have turned and rent you. You are perfect in the eyes of God who made you and you don't need a priest or a Church to validate that. Jesus would serve you, if he were here.