The obituary of Sally Ride, the first woman in space, included the revelation she was a lesbian. I wondered how the public would compare her with the recently departed football coach, Joe Paterno, of Penn State.
Although Joe Paterno’s teams won lots of football games, apparently he was aware of child abuse by his staff and did not make certain it stopped. I’m sure he, like many of the high ranking clergy in the Catholic church, did not want his program to receive bad publicity.
Unlike Paterno, Ride lived what was reported to be an exemplary life with no such black marks. She started and ran a nonprofit which encouraged young women to enter the sciences. She did not ruin lives.
Nevertheless, if one polled the public after Ride’s lesbian disclosure, I would guess Paterno’s career in the testosterone game of football would cause a majority of the public to see him, not lesbian Ride, as the one who sits with the Almighty today. Such is on the street theology in the U. S.
What would change the minds of people who would judge a person’s entire character by their sexual preference? I would guess there is nothing but the sands of time.
While young people who see the exemplary life of Sally Ride as evidence she is a person to be admired, an older generation judges her as a sinful person and sees Joe Paternal as the something above reproach, “a leader”.
I don’t believe either is in heaven. So far as we know, it does not exist.