Saturday, July 28, 2018

When a Story About Chewing Gum Is Not About Chewing Gum: Transgender Teen Denied Communion in Charlotte, North Carolina, Catholic Church

With all the really challenging things going on in the world around us right now, my choice to focus on this story might appear baffling. It's a "little" story, perhaps, compared with ones like the raging fire gobbling up a big portion of California, or the (shocking but unsurprising) revelation that the parents of many children snatched from their parents by the U.S. government at the nation's borders cannot be located and there are reports that some of these children are being sexually abused. 

Still, little stories are important, too. And what constitutes big and little is relative, isn't it? Here's a series of tweets I posted earlier this past week when news broke that a Catholic church in Charlotte, North Carolina, had denied communion to a transgender teen, and then was backed by the Charlotte Catholic diocese, who claimed that the reason the teen was denied communion was . . . wait for it: she was chewing gum during Mass! My thoughts about this story:

As you read this story and my response to it, please keep in mind that Belmont Abbey College, a Benedictine Catholic college in the diocese of Charlotte, has explicitly told the federal government that it wants a right-to-discriminate exemption from federal non-discrimination regulations as it receives federal funds, and that Belmont Abbey College explicitly states that it wants a right to discriminate against transgender members of the campus community. And keep in mind that the diocese of Charlotte has announced it is partnering with that same "right-to-discriminate-against-transgender-people" Catholic college, Belmont Abbey College, as it establishes a minor seminary on the Belmont Abbey campus.

Keep in mind as you read this story and my response to it that, as New Ways Ministry's commentary on it states, "there have been repeated anti-LGBT actions in the [Charlotte] diocese." Though this diocese with a very ugly track record of attacking LGBTQ human beings would like you to imagine this is a story about chewing gum in church — nothing to see here, move on — if you have a modicum of intelligence, you'll quickly see it's about something else altogether. Something more than a little sordid, in fact.

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