Saturday, October 16, 2010

Arizona Catholics Kick Off Celebration of Manhattan Declaration: Local Clergy Push Back

Timothy Kincaid reports at Box Turtle Bulletin today on the upcoming out and proud celebrations in the diocese of Phoenix--out and proud celebrations of Catholic homophobia, that is.  While one gay youth after another kills himself or herself and not a single top American Catholic leader even addresses the problem, the diocese of Phoenix intends this Sunday to kick off a celebration of the noxious Manhattan Declaration which seeks to impose on our entire pluralistic society the uniquely Catholic rhetoric of disorder to describe gay and lesbian persons.

But as Kincaid notes, there's push-back against this defiant faith-based homophobia at a time when gay teens are killing themselves due to bullying that's often rooted in churches themselves.  Push-back from other people of faith.

A group of pastors calling themselves No Longer Silent--Clergy for Justice plans to protest the Mass kicking off the celebration of the Manhattan Declaration.  As Kincaid notes,
But what is seldom understood is that in America there is no one religious position on homosexuality. While the media pits “gay activists” against “people of faith” for more dramatic ratings, the truth is that a good many people of faith, congregations, regions, and even denominations loudly and proudly support gay people and their full inclusion into society.

But it is not just the media’s fault. It is, to an extent, our fault as well; we have been too compliant in allowing our enemies to set up the religion v. homosexuality dichotomy. And blame also rests on our religious allies who have allowed the discussion of religion in our country to be dominated by right-wing extremists. Those who are more religiously liberal have been embarrassed to sound as though they were claiming to be “real Christians” and were hesitant to denounce the beliefs of others, even those who espouse views that are exclusionary and homophobic.

But that may be changing. More and more I see men and women of the cloth publicly standing up and declaring anti-gay attitudes to be immoral and contrary to God.

It was in Phoenix earlier this year that Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted excommunicated Sister of Mercy Margaret McBride for supporting the decision of a hospital ethics committee to approve medical intervention to save the life of a pregnant woman who, doctors advised, could not carry her 11-week old fetus to term without risking her life.  Bashing gays and putting women in their places: two sides of the same coin in Catholic hierarchical thinking.  

Thank God for those courageous people of faith, including increasing numbers of lay Catholics, who challenge the claim of members of the Catholic hierarchy to be doing God's work as the engage in this ungodly behavior.

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