Radio Show

Teaching Kids Tolerance


A radio listener calls into the Busted Halo Show with a question about how to raise her children to understand and respect the Church’s teachings, while also being sensitive to the needs of those who are marginalized in our society: “As a practicing Catholic parent with two teenagers, it’s difficult to raise children, to teach them, that marriage is a Sacrament, a gift from God, it’s to be celebrated in a Catholic church between a man and a woman. At the same time we try to teach them to be kind, but I feel like if we’re not teaching them to be activists and stand up for the people who feel like they’re being disenfranchised in society, then we’re failing. It’s hard sometimes to figure out the correct balance.”

Father Dave clarifies, “When you’re talking about the balance of marriage as a Sacrament and people who feel disenfranchised, are you particularly talking about people in the LGBT community?” The caller confirms that she is, and Father Dave responds, “So I think [in a broader sense] what you’re saying is ‘How can I raise my kids to be respectful of people that come from other traditions and even other walks of life?’”

Father Dave points out that we interact with, respect, and cherish people who have different beliefs than we do every day: “You could be talking about marriage and respect for the LGBT community, or you could be talking about any other thing — you could be talking about the fact that we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son and Savior, and how do we respect people in our community who are Jewish or Muslim?”

He acknowledges that, “It’s a tough row to hoe these days. In our society that likes to label everything and put things all in one box, [by saying] ‘Well, if you are so strongly Catholic and believe that marriage is a Sacrament between a man and a woman, then obviously you’re anti-LGBT community,’ when we would say, ‘Well, no, those things don’t necessarily go together.’”

Father Dave concludes that the caller’s concerns reflect “a very prominent issue” today, but it’s not all that different from a situation in which “parents who would like to pass on the faith to their children and put their children through religious education and have very close friends who are of a very different religion, who are Hindu or Jewish.” Ultimately, the caller can teach her children that believing the tenets of the Catholic faith and believing all people deserve respect, dignity, and compassion are not only not mutually exclusive — they are one and the same.

(Original Air 02-10-17)

Photo credit: CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic