But Emmett was inconsolably convinced that sinful thoughts are, well, sinful. For example, You shall not covet your neighbor’s house (some older Bible translations use the word wife). Emmett reminded me coveting is something one feels or thinks, but does not necessarily voice.
I looked at Emmett fully understanding his meaning although I put up a façade of bafflement. He said this example demonstrates that breaking God’s rules inwardly is equivalent to breaking them outwardly. Yes, even thinking about sinning is akin to actually doing the sin. This realization, coupled with God’s policing of our deepest unspoken thoughts makes it impossible to hide the sin of sinful thought from Him.
What could I do? Emmett, a happily married man, finally broke down and hugged me in the empty church parking lot. It was awkward to feel another man’s five o’clock shadow scraping my well-shaved cheek, so I concentrated on the fog hanging on the dark horizon while he sobbed. Nevertheless I admired Emmett. Unlike most Catholics I’ve met he was a deep thinker about his faith. But he had built a solid argument of about his wicked thoughts, and all but signed his execution orders. Sure God forgives, but He also orders the penalty for homosexuality, or wicked thoughts thereof, is la morte followed by an eternity of Hell. If there is forgiveness to be had, it is between Emmett and his Maker. My job on that night was to ensure they met.
I knew it was time for the end of Emmett as the conversation and hug were almost at the awkward stage. The church lights were off and it was getting late.
(to be continued...)