Martin Sheen, a Roman Catholic best-known for playing President Bartlett on TV’s “The West Wing,” last month starred as conservative lawyer Ted Olson, one of two lead attorneys fighting against Prop 8 in Dustin Lance Black‘s play, “8,” sponsored by AFER. Variety talked with Sheen about “how he reconciles his religion with support for same-sex marriage rights.” Here’s his insightful, albeit lengthy, response:
My religion’s highest standard is conscience. Nothing can get between your conscience and God, not even the church, because for 2,000 years, my church has been lifting up as exemplary various men and women in their lives who have served as inspiration to all of us over the centuries, and we call them saints. By canonizing these people who we believe have lived exceptional lives, we declare, or the church declares, that they are in heaven, that they are with God. And yet over the same people of time, the church has not condemned a single soul to hell because it does not have the authority. It does not even have the authority to condemn Hitler. There is no authority in the church and that has never changed, and it cannot change otherwise they lose their authority. They do not have the authority to condemn anybody. They can’t say anybody is in hell. That is between [that person and] God. The church is not God.
The church is a conduit, and it is a spiritual journey, but it is not the end of the journey. Our lives are about living honestly in the community, serving each other. We carry our faith outside the church. The church is an institution, primarily of men, at least they are the major authorities. And so they are flawed,obviously. And so they are not authorized from preventing any member from following their conscience no matter what that is. You can’t get between a person’s conscience and their God. Nobody can do that.
Of course, the Catholic blogs are going nuts.
Lifesite News calls Martins comments an “infantile understanding of his Catholic faith,” and adds that “Sheen is representative of millions of confused and lost, but well meaning, Christians suffering because of their ignorance.”
Because the Church — and its bloggers — know all…
By the way, if you missed it, you can watch the Prop 8 play “8″ starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Jane Lynch, and Martin Sheen.
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