Theologians: Catholics Have “Civil Rights Imperative” to Seek LGBT Protections

Two theologians from Creighton University have called for Catholics to support LGBT non-discrimination protections in a new essay published in the National Catholic Reporter. In it, they specifically target the ill-founded opposition of U.S. bishops to such protections.

Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler provide an in-depth response to Catholic bishops’ repeated claims at local, state, and federal levels that expanding LGBT protections will infringe on religious liberty. The theologians disprove these claims and conclude further:

“[L]egislation protecting LGBT people from discrimination is a civil rights imperative that the Catholic church is obligated to support in a pluralist society.”

How did they arrive at this conclusion?

Salzman and Lawler begin by noting just how many controversies there presently are over LGBT protections, and that the bishops’ engagement thus far has been inadequate. The theologians identify the bishops’ 2012 statement on religious liberty, “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” as a key reason for the bishops’ present failings, and they critique it on three major points.

Source:  Bondings 2.0

 1991: When “Archbishop Instrumental in Passing Gay Rights Law” 

Today, Bondings 2.0 introduces a new monthly series on LGBT Catholic history.

In April 1991, Connecticut’s state legislature was debating a bill that would outlaw discrimination against lesbian and gay people  in housing, employment, and public accommodation.  The bill had originally been introduced in 1973, but always failed.  On April 5, 1991, in the midst of the debate, Hartford’s Archbishop John F. Whealon wrote a column entitled “The church and the homosexual person” in the archdiocesan newspaper The Catholic Transcript,  in which he stated that discrimination against lesbian and gay people “is always morally wrong.”

The following are some excerpts from Whealon’s column:

Archbishop John F. Whealon

“What is the official teaching of the Catholic Church concerning homosexuality? . . . The cornerstone of this teaching is the dignity of every human being.  Every person is made in God’s image and therefore worthy of love, and must recognize in self a spiritual and mortal soul, and must regard the body as good and honorable because God has created it and will raise it up on the last day. . . . The dignity of every son and daughter of God is basic for any Catholic in approaching this question about homosexual persons. . .

Source:  Bondings 2.0

Nondiscrimination laws merit church support 

On June 26, 2015, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalized same-sex marriage throughout the nation. Same-sex marriage was already legal in a number of individual states before that ruling, and a similar move toward equality is found in the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act, federal legislation that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. More recently, in 2015, the Equality Act was introduced by two members of Congress. If passed, it would provide comprehensive legal protection for members of the LGBT community by extending the prohibition of discrimination to include housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and serving on juries.

Meanwhile, this spring, three Southern states have been embroiled in controversy over legislation involving the rights of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people. On March 23, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law barring local governments from passing anti-discrimination measures intended to protect LGBT people. Lawmakers in Georgia and Mississippi passed legislation allowing discrimination against LGBT people on the basis of religious beliefs; Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed Georgia’s bill on March 28, while Gov. Phil Bryant signed Mississippi’s bill into law on April 5. Similar legislation in Missouri passed out of committee April 12, setting the stage for floor votes in late April

Source:  National Catholic Reporter

Pastor Names Helpful – and Not So Helpful – Ways to Help LGBT People in Uganda

Pastor Joseph Tolton published an op-ed in Religion Dispatches that explained the harm in “hactivism” for LGBT people in Uganda. The op-ed was in reaction to the news that an LGBT supportive group called “Anonymous” had hacked into several African government websites, posting messages of affirmation for LGBT people.

Tolton wrote the op-ed to remind the LGBT community in the United States that action in support for LGBT people in Uganda needs to be done at the direction of, and with the cooperation of the LGBT leaders on the ground in Uganda. The “hactivism” was widely condemned by the major LGBT organizations in Uganda.

Source: GLAAD

U.S. Catholics Overwhelmingly Reject LGBT Discrimination by State Legislatures

Marriage equality’s legalization in the United States last year has prompted an anti-LGBT backlash at state and local levels. Bills ostensibly defending religious liberty  allow legal discrimination for opponents of equality. Conversely, ordinances to expand non-discrimination protections  for LGBT people face strong religious opposition. Where are Catholics amid these debates?

New polling from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows 73% of U.S. Catholics support LGBT nondiscrimination protections, two points higher than the 71% U.S. average. 61% of Catholics oppose allowing business owners to deny service to LGBT people. Even those opposed to marriage equality are far more approving of non-discrimination protections,according to PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones.

Source: U.S. Catholics Overwhelmingly Reject LGBT Discrimination by State Legislatures | Bondings 2.0

The National Review has no idea why anti-gay adoption discrimination is a big deal – AMERICAblog News

Long after Kim Davis’s work as a religious activist is over, religious conservatives will still be fighting for their right to discriminate. And one need look no further than this column in the National Review from David French to get a sense of where they’re going to draw their battle lines.Taking aim at the Atlantic for characterizing a Christian adoption agency’s refusal to match orphans with LGBT couples as “discrimination,” French argues instead that, since these couples all eventually wound up adopting children via other, secular adoption agencies, they weren’t discriminated against at all. As he writes:

Source: The National Review has no idea why anti-gay adoption discrimination is a big deal – AMERICAblog News

Caribbean Priest Urges Constitutional Protection for Lesbians, Gays

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:




‘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.

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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.

via  Trinidad Express Newspaper 

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