Tag Archives: Homophobia

Pope Francis, Gay Marriage – and Africa.

In the Philippines, Pope Francis made some observations about marriage when addressing a gathering of families, that have been widely interpreted as an attack on gay marriage, urging people to resist pressures to “colonize” the family. (Read the full text here)

At Bondings 2.0, Frank DeBenardo has a thoughtful reflection on the Pope’s message, which he describes as “problematic”. I have not yet read the actual text, or detailed reports of it, so withhold comment on the message itself, concerning marriage. Read instead, DeBenardo’s thoughts.  However, he does include a useful observation on the word “colonization” that this may have been prompted by the concerns of African bishops at the family synod. As an African myself, this struck me as important.  Continue reading Pope Francis, Gay Marriage – and Africa.

Uganda Martyrs: Charles Lwangwa and companions

For queer Christians, the phrase “Ugandan Martyrs” carries a tragic double meaning. In Catholic hagiography, it refers to the execution / martyrdom in 1886 of a band of young men, pages in the Royal court of the Bugandan King Mwanga II, who had converted to Christianity and thereafter resisted his sexual advances. June 6th, is the anniversary of their joint beatification by Pope Benedict XV in 1920. Their feast day, known as the Feast of Charles Lwanga and companions, is celebrated annually on June 3rd.

Uganda_Martyrs

From a modern LGBT point of view, there is  a quite different significance, almost it’s polar opposite. This perspective recalls that in the cultural context of the time, King Mwanga’s expectation of sexual service from his pages did not make him a perverted monster, as seen by the missionaries. Before the arrival of European colonials, different forms of homosexual practice and non-conformist gender expression were commonplace across Africa.  Seen in this light, the execution of the pages was a legal penalty for resisting customary law – and the introduction by foreign missionaries of what has since become deeply entrenched cultural homophobia.

In recent years, the flames of  homophobia have been further  fanned by missionaries, this time especially by American evangelicals, who have promoted draconian legislation to criminalize homosexuality, carrying harsh penalties for those convicted of transgressions.  Along with the legal penalties, the popular mood in Uganda has become so hostile, that life for ordinary gay and lesbian people in the country has become exceedingly difficult. Even to be suspected of being gay, frequently frequently leads not only to simple social ostracism, but also to outright exclusion from homes and families, to discrimination in employment and social services,  to police harassment, to violence, and even to murder, such as that of David Kato. For many LGBT people,  the only viable response is to leave the country entirely as refugees seeking asylum abroad.

So, the double meaning of the phrase “Ugandan Martyrs”: from the traditional Catholic perspective, the martyrs are those who were executed in 1886 for sticking by their Christian faith, in the face of Royal commands to renounce it. For modern gays and lesbians, the words refer to all those who are persecuted or even murdered, often in the name of the Christian religion, for their sexuality.

For a more extended analysis and reflection on the martyrs, and what this commemoration means for queer people of faith, see Kittredge Cherry at Jesus in Love Blog, who introduced her post on the feast day, by observing (accurately) that

Tough questions about homosexuality, religion and LGBT rights are raised by the Uganda Martyrs whose feast day is today (June 3).

Recommended Books:

 

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Catholic Archbishop Condemns Homophobia, Supports Civil Unions

Dr Diarmuid Martin told RTE that the Church had to be very careful that this was not done in the forthcoming debate on the same-sex referendum in the Republic.
Archbishop Martin said he felt that the debate had already got off to a bad start.
Discussions have to be carried out in a “mature” way so that people can freely express their views, while at the same time being respectful and not causing offence, he said.
He said Church teaching was that marriage was between a man and a woman, exclusively, but that this approach did not exclude gay people from celebrating their union by a different means.

 

Responding to Dr Martin’s comments, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network said they are disappointed by the comments made by the Archbishop of Dublin regarding same sex marriage and homophobia.
GLEN’s Brian Sheehan described it as “a missed opportunity” to tackle the role of the church and church teachings in creating what it said were “some of the difficult realities for lesbian and gay people in Ireland today”.
However, he welcomed Dr Martin’s acknowledgement of the impact that a culture, which still has homophobia as part of it, has on those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Enda Kenny called for a rational, calm and considered debate ahead of a referendum on same sex marriage next year.
Also speaking on RTÉ’s This week, Mr Kenny said he never considered legislating for same-sex marriage and that it was instead an issue for a referendum.
He also promised to partake in the discussion in the lead-up to the referendum.
Mr Kenny said the Government deemed it important for people to have a debate before they vote in the impending referendum.
“We believe that it’s important the people have a rational, common-sense. calm, considered and compassionate debate about this and I hope that happens.
“Next year people will make their decisions. I didn’t consider legislating for this, it is a question for a referendum and it will be held next year,” said Mr Kenny.
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Archbishop: Homophobia Amounts to "Godophobia"

anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. They are not just homophobic if they do that – they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people

– Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin

This is hardly revolutionary stuff – it’s embedded in the Catechism, and in all formal Church documents on the subject of homosexuality: we deserve to be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity”, and any violence or malice, in words or actions, is to be deeply deplored.

Sadly, for too many Catholic bishops and some orthotoxic conservative Catholics, it’s a principle which is simply ignored, which is why it’s welcome whenever a leading cleric states what should be routine. What’s even more widely ignored, is that other principle clearly stated in the documents, that unjust discrimination must be avoided. When Catholic leaders routinely apply that principle, and avoid all unjust discrimination in employment and elsewhere within the Church’s own institutions – that really will be something to celebrate!

HOMOPHOBIA is “insulting to God”, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has warned.

In the wake of the so-called ‘Pantigate’ controversy over homophobia comments made on RTE and a defamation settlement, Dr Martin said: “God never created anybody that he doesn’t love.”

Speaking to the Irish Independent, the senior cleric said this meant that “anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. They are not just homophobic if they do that – they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people”.

MOCKED

Referring to the revelations made last week by TD Jerry Buttimer, that he was beaten, spat at, mocked and harassed because he was gay, Dr Martin expressed concern saying: “Certainly the sort of actions that we heard of this week of people being spat at because they were gay or ridiculed . . . that is not a Christian attitude. We have to have the courage to stand up and say that.”

He added: “We all belong to one another and there is no way we can build up a society in which people are excluded or insulted.

“We have to learn a new way in Ireland to live with our differences and for all of us to live with respect for one another.”

via  – Independent.ie.

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South African Bishops – Applying Catholic Teaching on Anti-Gay Laws, Violence

News to make me proud to be a South African Catholic 🙂

South African Catholic Bishops Condemn Anti-Gay Laws — Will You Join Them? 

South Africa’s Roman Catholic bishops have joined Catholics worldwide in condemning anti-gay laws popping up in nations around the globe. In an editorial in a Catholic weekly periodical, they specifically targeted anti-gay legislation in Uganda and Nigeria.

The Southern Cross is a Catholic weekly supported by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which also includes bishops from Botswana and Swaziland. In the editorial, the bishops urged the Catholic Church to oppose “draconian legislation aimed at criminalising homosexuals” as these laws are inconsistent with Church teachings. It stated further:

“These laws are not intended to render same-sex acts illegal — they already are, and punishable, in most African countries — but to persecute people on the basis of their sexual orientation. Such laws are not only unjust, but they also have the potential to tear at the fabric of society if they are misused to facilitate false denunciations for gain, advancement or vengeance, much as what Christians are exposed to in Pakistan under that country’s intolerable blasphemy law.”

The editorial does not just oppose the legislation, but also condemns the populist politics and homophobia from which these laws have emerged. Noting negative effects such as discrimination and higher rate of suicides for LGBT people, especially youth, the editorial goes so far as to criticize a Spanish cardinal who made anti-gay remarks in January:

“Homophobia is largely premised on a false notion that homosexuality is chosen and curable. This month, Spanish Cardinal-elect Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, retired bishop of Pamplona, made the astonishing claim that homosexuality is a ‘defect’ comparable to his condition of high blood pressure…

“Their position is in conflict with Catholic teachings. The Church cannot sponsor the criminalisation of matters of private morality, and much less the advocacy of human rights. Prejudice and the persecution of homosexuals are in defiance of Catholic doctrine.

“Jailing homosexuals for being gay and insisting on their human rights, or even for having sex, self-evidently is a sign of ‘unjust discrimination’ that lacks in respect and compassion.”

via  Bondings 2.0.

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Irish Education Minister: ‘Education plays a key role in tackling homophobia and transphobia’

The Irish Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn TD today opened a European Union conference on homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools, and emphasised the importance education plays in reducing such prejudice.

Ruairi Quinn opened the conference which aimed to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools
Mr Quinn opened the conference, which was organised by the European region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), and Irish organisations GLEN, and BeLonG To.
It is the first ever EU-level conference on homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
The aim of the conference was to bring together national policy makers, teachers, school leaders and NGOs, in order to debate, and tackle the issue of bullying, reports GCN.
The Minister for Education said: “Education plays a key role in supporting LGBT young people and also tackling the underlying prejudices which can lead to homophobic and transphobic bullying”.
Michael Barron, Director of BeLonG To Youth Services said: “There is a growing understanding of the seriousness of the issues for young LGBT people, both in Ireland and across Europe. The Department of Education has recently published a national Action Plan on Bullying that fully integrates measures to tackle prejudice, including homophobia and transphobia which are the root causes of much bullying.
“The lessons being learned in Ireland can contribute to further developments across Europe, much as we can learn from innovative and successful practices in other countries.”
Kerry County Council passed a motion in support of equal marriage on Monday, becoming the latest local authority in Ireland to vote in favour of marriage equality.
The motion was tabled by Labour Councillor, Gillian Wharton-Slattery, after she was approached by members of the gay community, asking why the motion had not been passed yet.
A study published last week suggested that many gay and bisexual teenagers who are bullied at a younger age – are picked on less by the time they reach 19 – but they still remain disproportionately affected by the problem.
Anna Grodzka, Europe’s first transgender MP spoke out about poverty and social exclusion in the LGBT community last Sunday at the National Lesbian and Gay Federation Conference in Dublin.

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Sexual Healing: Evangelicals Update Their Message to Gays

At the world’s largest ministry for homosexual Christians, there’s no more talk of “curing” same-sex attraction. 

Thirty years ago, Alan Chambers was a Christ-loving 10-year-old with a terrible secret. He knew he was attracted to other boys. He also knew that the Bible called homosexuality an “abomination.” After nearly a decade of hiding his feelings (and his love of shopping and decorating) from family and pastors, he discovered a ministry called Exodus International. Today, Chambers is the president of Exodus and the author of the book Leaving Homosexuality. He oversees more than 260 ministries, spearheads large annual conferences, and is married to a woman.

More recently, Chambers publicly rejected reparative therapy — a school of counseling that aims to make gay people straight. At the Gay Christian Network Conference in January of this year, Chambers told the audience that “99.9 percent of [Exodus participants] have not experienced a change in their orientation.” Around the same time, he pulled all reparative therapy books from the Exodus bookstore. His actions irked a number of therapists, including one marriage counselor, improbably named David Pickup, who argued that Exodus had “failed to understand and effectively deal with the actual root causes of homosexuality.”

The question is whether Chambers’s changes will filter down through the rest of his organization. One of Exodus’s policy statements promises that the group will “stand with the LGBT community both in spirit, and when necessary, legally and physically, when violence rears its head in Uganda, Jamaica, or anywhere else in the world.” It’s no coincidence that those particular countries are mentioned. Just last month, Exodus board member Dennis Jernigan traveled to Jamaica, where homosexuality is a crime, and urged the country not to change its laws. In 2009, another board member gave a speech in Uganda that inspired a Christian campaign to make homosexuality punishable by death.

” (On Friday, the day after we spoke, Exodus sent out a press release distancing itself from Jernigan’s statements and announcing his resignation from the board.)

-full report at Atlantic

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