FOR CHRIST’S SAKE?
Easter:Season of redemption and renewal? Not for extremist Christians!ADRIAN GILLAN reviews yet another year of Christian gay hate…
84-year-old Papa Pontiff Pope John Paul II – dies; but not before musing: “It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if [gay marriage] is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man.”John Paul II’s fellow homophobe Cardinal Ratzinger – becomes Pope Benedict XVI!
Scots Catholics – get their cassocks in a twist after a senior bishop calls for a ban on gay teachers in their faithschools. Campaigners urge that – if the Catholic Church attempts to ban gay teachers from its schools – then the Government should either return Catholic schools to secular control; or cut their public funding.Bishop Jackson Nzerebende of Uganda – rejects over £185k of funding to help AIDS victims because the money has come from an American diocese that supported the election of the world’s first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson.
JUNE 2005AUGUST 2005
Exodus International (a worldwide umbrella group for ‘ex-gay’ ministries) – are urged by a ‘former ex-gay’ to remove his photo from their website now that he’s returned to the great queer fold (which, he admits, henever really left), quipping of the Christian quacks, “I can honestly say that in five years I did not meet oneperson that I believe had truly changed [orientation]. The harmful work of Exodus almost killed me and I don’twant others to suffer like that.”Presbyterian Minister Ian Brown – responds to claims from Belfast Pride organisers that religious groups havebeen inciting hatred in a bid to stop the annual event: “Why is it they can swear, stamp feet, foam at the mouth and shower all types of invective upon us, but the Christian is not allowed to tell them what God says concerning their sin?”
Joe Stark, father of 16 year old gay son Zach – on the decision to send his son to a Bible-based ‘ex-gay’camp: “We felt very good about Zach coming here… to let him see for himself the destructive lifestyle, what he has to face in the future and to give him some options that society doesn’t give him today. Statistics saythat by the age of 30 he could either have AIDS or be dead.”
Christian fundamentalists, Repent America – blame the death and destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans on local gay events like the annual Southern Decadence: “May this act of God cause us all tothink about what we tolerate in our cities and bring us trembling before His Almighty Throne.”
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Head of the Catholic Church in Scotland – uses a four-minute Time For Reflection slot inthe Scottish Parliament to claim gays are “captives to sexual aberration”, comparing them to prisoners in the city’s jail, waiting to be “set free”.
Living Waters (far-right religious group claiming to “cure” LGBs, and make them “ex-gays”) – are exposed for targeting vulnerable young people in UK youth groups, claiming – amongst other things – to offer help for those “addicted” to porn. Its chief tells a national newspaper, “We need to present what the consequence of this sort of behaviour is – infertility, sexually transmitted diseases, the breakdown of family life and fatherlessness for the next generation.”
The Vatican publishes its long-awaited document, Instruction On The Criteria Of Vocational Discernment Regarding People With Homosexual Tendencies – “The Church cannot admit to the priesthood those who practice homosexuality, have deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or those who support the socalled‘gay culture’.”The world’s first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire – visits the UK and attacks the Vatican, despite the Anglican Communion’s own problems: “We are seeing so many Roman Catholics joining the [Anglican] church. Ratzinger may be the best thing that ever happened to us. [Yet] I find it so vile thatthey think they are going to end the child abuse scandal by throwing out homosexuals from seminaries. It is an act of violence that needs to be confronted.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s top female judge – calls for gay couples to be allowed to fully marry, claiming civil partnerships are “marriages in almost all but name”.
JANUARY 2006Cardinal Keith O’Brien (at it again) – uses his New Year’s Day homily to attack civil partnerships, accusinglawmakers of endorsing “trends in society, which are ultimately ruinous of family life”.
Bishop Gene Robinson – who became the world’s first openly gay bishop in 2003: “I am writing to you from an alcohol treatment centre where, with the encouragement and support of my partner, daughters and colleagues, I checked myself in to deal with my increasing dependence on alcohol.”
The UK Government – is urged by campaigners not to bow to pressure from religious groups seeking opt-outs in imminent equality legislation, which would allow them to continue discriminating against queers in any goods and services they may provide, like housing and charitable care. The Archbishop of Canterbury – is called“spineless” by the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association, and guilty of “cowardice or selfinterest” in allegedly putting the survival of a unified Anglican Communion before the safety and well-being of gay people, both clergy and lay.