When a group of Polish Catholics declared support for a gay rights campaign, their involvement was quickly condemned by the country’s bishops conference. Having raised the issue in the church, however, the group is determined to press on and ensure the atmosphere of understanding engendered by Pope Francis finds a louder echo in Poland.
“The bishops’ reaction is only a first step — what matters is that they’ve now felt it necessary to take up a position on LGBT issues,” explained Dominika Kozlowska, editor of the Catholic monthly Znak (The Sign). “The Catholics who’ve engaged in this campaign will also continue to talk about these issues in publications and discussions. Though the bishops have accused us of infringing Gospel injunctions, they’ve also said things in the process which haven’t been said in the church here before.”
The campaign, “Let’s exchange a sign of peace,” was launched in early September with nationwide billboards depicting clasped hands — one with a rainbow bracelet and the other with a Catholic rosary.
Source: National Catholic Reporter
During the 2014 Family Synod, some attention was paid to African bishops’ complaints that some Western countries were attempting to make development aid conditional on African acceptance of gay marriage. The complaint is unjustified – there are no countries attempting to do so. There are however, some attempts to make aid conditional on progress with lesbian and gay equality in other areas – and that could be counter – productive. Africans can be very suspicious, and with good cause, of anything that looks to them like neo – colonialism, or “colonialism of the mind”.
In a recent interview with Okayafrica, David Kuria, former chairman of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) and Kenya’s First Openly Gay Political Candidate, explained the difficulty. He also came up with a constructive counter proposal, which would not make aid dependent on legal change, but which could nevertheless contribute to progress on LGBT equality. Continue reading Neo – Colonialism and Gay Rights in Africa
The Caribbean is not noted for its tolerance of LGBT rights, but as Trinidad debates a proposed new constitution, a Catholic priest has caught national attention for speaking up in favour of building LGBT protections into its Chapter on Human Rights:
PRIEST BATS FOR GAYS
‘They should have rights as other people have’
A Catholic priest has come out in support of the gay community, saying their rights, including the right to love whomever they want, should be included in the Constitution.
Adsense code, 460 x 60
Dr Fr Stephen Geofroy captured the attention of the audience with his comments during consultation on the draft Constitution at the University of the West Indies Sport and Physical Education Centre, St Augustine, on Monday evening.
Geofroy said the matter should not be debated further and instead Government should be embracing of all its people.
“Now on the issue of sexual orientation being subject to further national discussion…discussion about what? Aren’t LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender), aren’t they not humans still, yes or no?” said Geofroy.
“Yes? Then they should have rights as other people have,” he continued as he received loud applause from the packed hall.
Geofroy said there was no debate on whether gays are people or not as they have expressed themselves clearly that they are part and parcel of this country’s culture.
“We’ve come over a long history of slavery and indentureship and now it is time to break the many things that denigrate the person,” said Geofroy.
“This is certainly one of the things we have to do and we have to be very decisive of it.”
Geofroy said there has been discrimination on the basis of race, colour and class in this country.
“…I don’t see the difference with sexual orientation. We are citizens of a country and people have the right to love who they want irrespective,” said Geofroy .
He said to continue discussing the issue at a national level without taking a decision was to go the way of other countries such as Nigeria and Uganda as part of a political agenda.
“I think we should avoid that like the plague,” he said.
Geofroy said the rights of a minority should not be suffered because of the majority as the bill of rights speaks to upholding the dignity of all.
“We do not belong to a theocracy, neither are we in a religious oligarchy where people impose their beliefs on others,” said Geofroy.
He said if it was this way then moves would be made to criminalise adultery, masturbation and the use of condoms.
“Then all of these things should be looked at and in my tradition I would say first, they are all sins so I think we have to be very careful on human rights and our rights to our own belief but not the right to impose it on the rest of the population,” he said.
- The disordered language of LGBT teaching
- Catholic LGBT Ministry, Johannesburg
- LGBT Christians Supported by Dutch Government
- UN to Vatican: “Child Abuse” Includes Discrimination
- Indian Priests Directed to “Speak More Sensitively” on LGBT Issues
- Celebrating the “Goodness” in Same – Sex Relationships
- The need for dialogue and listening in LGBT Ministry
- Openly Gay Priest Speaks Out
- “How to Be Happy, Catholic and Gay” (Towards a 12 – step Recovery Program)
According to “Vatican digs in after gay marriage advances” (Tribune, Nov. 11), the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriages because “Catholic teaching holds that homosexuals should be respected and treated with dignity but that homosexual acts are ‘intrinsically disordered.’” If you truly believe the former, how can you believe the latter?
If you believe in treating blacks with dignity, but that they should also be slaves, what kind of dignity is that?
Being polite and kind is not treating someone with dignity, which means “the quality of being worthy or esteemed.” How is denying a life of committed love to someone wired to be attracted to the same sex treating them with esteem?
Of what worth do you esteem them to be worthy of? Of being an emotional eunuch? It’s that self-fulfilling approach that makes them “disordered.”
Catholics aren’t treating gay men with dignity; they aren’t treating them as worthy men created with liberty and the freedom to pursue happiness in their own way. No, with marriage, it’s the pursuit of happiness the Catholic way — even if you’re not Catholic — or not at all.
That how it was in the Middle Ages, not in 21st century America.
Salt Lake City
-letter to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Still another grouping of churches has now come out clearly on the side of gay rights, declaring that homosexuality is “a natural or genetical reality”.
Last month, the US Episcopalians gave the go ahead to the appointment of gay & lesbian Bishops, and to the church blessing of same-sex unions. (Since then, two dioceses have named four lesbian or gay candidates to the episcopate in Los Angeles and Wisconsin_. Last week, the British Quakers agreed to begin performing religious marriage services, as opposed to mere blessings, for same sex couples, and to formally request the UK government to change the relevant legislation – the first major religious grouping to take a lead on the issue.
Now, in India, there is another church taking a stand in favour of equality. A gathering of protestant and orthodox church leaders has declared that as a homosexual orientation is natural, it is “unscientific” and contrary to human rights to condemn people for something over which they have no control. They have also urged other churches to rethink their position, called for a reinterpretation of Scripture, and said there is a need for a rethink in christian theology on homosexuality .
This follows a court decision to legalise homosexual relationships, which had been criminalised under colonial legislation. My impression is that the court decision has not been widely welcomed, and has been strongly criticised in some conservative circles, so it is encouraging to see that here too, churches are willing to take a lead. Indeed, the declaration makes clear that they believe they have an obligation to teach their countrymen on the issue, proposing a series of workshops in every Indian state to inform and educate ordinary people on the rights of people with a same sex orientation:
“A forum of Protestant and Orthodox churches in India has said homosexuality is “a natural or genetical reality”, adopting a radically different stand from other influential Christian denominations across the world.”
“The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), which represents around 1.3 crore Christians in the country, also said the rest of the Christian world needed to “rethink’’ its stated position that homosexuality is a sin against God.”
“The NCCI said it wanted the Church to take a more “open’’ view. “Homosexuality traits in a person could be genetical, hence natural. It is unscientific to throw stones at some people because of their natural instincts over which they have no control,’’ said Rev. Christopher Rajkumar, the secretary of the Justice, Peace and Creation Commission of the NCCI.”
The NCCI has also issued a document urging its member churches to “accompany the People with Different Sexual Orientation (PDSO) in their journey” and to protect the human rights and dignity of such people. The forum proposed “re-reading and re-interpreting scriptures from the PDSO perspective”.
According to Rev. Rajkumar, it is the duty of the church to inform the common people that homosexuality is a natural process. “Blind opposition to homosexuality amounts to human rights violation,” he said, adding that a rethink is needed in Christian theology to embrace the homosexuals into its fold.
From the Telegraph, Calcutta( emphasis added)
I have noted before that every step forward by one major church grouping puts pressure on the others, as we have already seen in the letter of complaint from some English Bishops to their Swedish Lutheran counterparts. Meanwhile, we are still waiting on the US Evangelical Lutherans (meeting in Minneapolis 17th -23rd August) , who are due to take important decisions on gay ordinations and gay marriage.
The Methodists, it is true, have disappointed by failing to change existing regulations against admitting “homosexuals ” to their congregations – but at least they discussed the issue.
Others will be forced to do the same in the next few years, again and again, until change has come across a wide front.
(See also: Gay clergy making small strides)
After the Vatican’s initial statement that it would not support the proposed UN declaration on homosexuality was met by world wide protest, they attempted to calm the opposition by explaining that “of course” they opposed the execution of homosexuals and all other “injustice”, but could not support the declaration because it “could” lead to the enforcement of gay marriage. The declaration, of course, says nothing about marriage.
When this initial response led to still louder protest, a further clarification was forthcoming. The problem now appears to be that the declaration could lead to putting homosexuals on the same statutory “level” as other people, which they point out, not even France, the proposer of the motion, does. This is just opening a collective mouth to change feet.
As with marriage, the declaration is NOT about legal equality – else why would France be proposing a motion they do not comply with themselves? The Vatican’s two responses so far are no more than evasive smokescreens. They have repeatedly made sanctimonious statements supporting “compassion” and opposing “injustice” against homosexuals, but are singularly incapable of translating this into concrete terms. The motion proposed was simply an exploratory declaration. The minimum just response we might have expected from the Vatican would have been a statement of support in principle, coupled with explanations of their reservations. (I leave aside at present the obvious question: why should we not have full legal equality?).
The Vatican has an appalling record on LGBT and other sexual minorities. Their hostility is not justified in Scripture, nor in the practice of the early church. A number of saints are now known to have had same sex lovers, or other intimate companions – as do a significant proportion of clergy, at all levels, today. But during the course of history, an initial acceptance became toleration, to hostility, to outright persecution, leading to prejudice, violence, and murder – directly by burning under the Inquisition, indirectly by feeding a frenzy of public hostility and secular legal oppression.
They have backtracked from these past excesses, claiming to oppose “injustice”. But they still declare the “condition” to be “morally disordered”: a statement which, by completely ignoring plain facts of history, biology and social sciences, is itself morally disordered. Further, for this declaration they continue to align themselves with those countries which even today, still have a death penalty for homosexuals. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.
Until they can fully and frankly acknowledge and apologise their past iniquities against gay and other minorities, and realign themselves unequivocally on the side of simple justice, we must reject their flimsy excuses, and continue to hold them to account.
- Gratitude for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (John McNeill Spiritual Transformation)
- “Speaking the Truth” on Catholic LGBT Inclusion (Queering Theology and Ministry)
- In Minnesota, Catholics Support Marriage Equality. (Queering the Church)
- Gay Adoption, Gay Marriage as Moral Obligations: Two Jewish Views (Queering the Church)