STEPHANIE WANG | USA Today | The Salt Lake Tribune
Indianapolis • It’s bigotry! It’s hatred! It’s discrimination!
That’s the tenor of the talk these days as powerful advocates try to write protections into law for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Those advocates, battling against conservative Christians who are staunch in their beliefs of right and wrong, wonder why anyone would deny others their rights.
But some Christians say they’re tired of being made into the bad guys. They’re tired of being called the bigots, the haters.
Because they feel the same way: It’s bigotry, toward them. It’s hatred, directed at them. It’s discrimination, against them.
They are the ones being bullied, they insist. In a country where the cultural tide seems to be moving away from hard-and-fast biblical prohibitions, they feel the government is abandoning them. Once at the core of American politics, some evangelical Christians feel increasingly relegated to the fringe, betrayed by their own conservative lawmakers as their cultural dominance is usurped by a smaller group wielding the heft of the media and corporations.
As the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) concludes its annual meeting this week, it reveals itself as grossly out of touch with both grassroots Catholicism and with Pope Francis. While there were certainly some who objected, the strong majority of US Bishops set forth an agenda that has little to do with the Gospel of Jesus, is opposed by the majority of US Catholics, and will squander Church resources, even as parishes, schools, and service programs continue to be shuttered due to decimated diocesan budgets.
USCCB members voted 210-21 (with a handful of abstentions) to promote a Voters’ Guide for Catholics that instructs Catholics to evaluate candidates based on their positions on abortion and same-sex marriage. In an even more lopsided vote (233-4), the bishops set their priorities through 2020 as:
• Family and marriage (including attempts to rollback same-sex marriage and support for government officials who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples)
• Ending abortion and limiting access to contraception
• Vocations to priesthood
• Religious liberty
Wait a minute! Where is the emphasis on supporting immigration reform and assistance for refugees fleeing war and violence? As the gap between rich and poor continues to widen, and as resources continue to flow to the few, why is ending poverty not at the top of this list? Do US bishops not believe our Church should be on the forefront of efforts to end climate change and its devastating effect on our one God-given planet? Where do efforts to end structural racism, misogyny, human trafficking, or terrorism fit among their concerns?
BALTIMORE (AP) — U.S. Roman Catholic bishops, at their first assembly since gay marriage became legal nationwide, vowed Monday to uphold marriage as only the union of a man and a woman and to seek legal protections for those who share that view.
Some bishops said they were committed to reversing the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling last June. Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, said a concerted effort was needed to “build a consensus” to do so. As a model, he pointed to new state laws that have made it harder to obtain an abortion, even as the procedure remains legal nationwide.
“I don’t think because five Supreme Court justices changed the public policy on such a fundamental issue that we should just accept it. I think we have to be as strong as we have on the pro-life issue,” Naumann said at the gathering of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore.
Members waited in line to hand in their resignations from the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City on Saturday.
JACK HEALY | New York Times | MSN News | November 15, 2015
SALT LAKE CITY — Ever since she was an infant being blessed during a church naming ceremony, Lindsay Matson had been on the books of the Mormon Church. As it has done with millions of other members, the church kept note of her spiritual life as she moved from congregation to congregation, took youth leadership posts and married at age 19 in a Mormon temple.
But now, she and other Mormons upset over new church policies that declare same-sex couples apostates and restrict their children from baptism and other rites are venting their objections by demanding that their names be struck from the church’s meticulously kept records.
During the weekend, Ms. Matson and two daughters, one of whom is gay, joined more than 1,000 people lining up in a park here beside the church’s temple spires for a mass resignation. Most had not been to church in years, but they described deep ties: They had grown up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gone on missions, raised their children as Mormons. Even as their faith and attendance ebbed, they remained members on paper.
One of the things I find most fascinating about my Savior is how He teaches me lessons with such patience. If, in any given situation, I fail to learn the lesson He’s intended for me, He quickly provides another situation in which I’m given another opportunity to learn. And these chances usually come with a few bruises, scrapes, and the occasional black eye.
So it is with my Mormon Church. Last week, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints altered the handbook of policy instruction for local leaders, making two major changes: First, the definition of apostasy was expanded to include anyone in a same-sex marriage, making Church discipline mandatory and no longer left to the discretion of local leaders. Second (and for many, far worse), children of LGBT couples are barred from blessings at birth and baptismal rights until they are of legal age (most Mormon children are baptized at age 8), and even then not without permission of the First Presidency.
Mormons have a deep history of persecuting LGBT individuals. Think back to 2008, when our involvement in California’s Proposition 8 caused such grief and heartache for our LGBT brothers and sisters. Not so visible was the strife it caused inside our very own Mormon community. We lost many Mormons as the fierce campaign supporting Prop 8 pitted mother against daughter, and father against son — eroding families, the cornerstone of the church.
Many of the 270 clergymen assembled at the Vatican this week agreed that this gap existed and that the church needs to find a way to engage in dialogue with the world.
“We need to speak about what the church teaches but must also avoid a ghetto mentality,” Archbishop Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council of Social Communication, said during a synod press briefing on Tuesday.