Christianity & GLBTI

 

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Outing the Bible: The new queer theologians don’t need your approval

by Malcolm Gay, malcolm.gay@eastbayexpress.com
One thing is clear: 2003 was without a doubt the Year of the Queer. In a mere twelve months, the United States Supreme Court cast aside anti-sodomy laws in Texas, the Massachusetts Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage, and Democratic presidential candidates from Dean to Kerry endorsed the idea of civil unions. On the pop culture front, a fashion-forward quintet captivated the country, metrosexualizing hopeless breeders on Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Britney Spears briefly reanimated her career when she tongued that queen of reinvention, Madonna. Even our paragon of hetero hottieness J. Lo veered toward the Sapphic in Gigli. Bride magazine offered up its first story on same-sex weddings. Family-friendly Wal-Mart expanded its antidiscrimination policies to protect homosexuals. Even army generals came out of the closet.

But the gay parade didn’t stop there. The year’s crowning moment came on November 2, when the Episcopal Church ordained Gene Robinson as its first openly gay bishop. Of course, Robinson’s ordination has come at quite a price. Both at home and abroad, there are calls for Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold to step down. The conservative American Anglican Council is hoping to capitalize on the controversy, and is vying to replace the Episcopal Church of the United States as North America’s main representative body within the Anglican Communion. Several African provinces have denounced Robinson’s ordination, and the Anglican Church in Uganda formally severed its relationship with the US Episcopal Church, writing, “You officially … installed as candidate for bishop someone the Bible clearly shows to be in an unsuitable lifestyle.”

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October 18, 2007 – PinkNewsNews

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Homophobia turns young people off Christianity

by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Research into the declining respect for Christianity among young people has identitfied religious hostility to LGBT people as a major factor.

An investigation by The Barna Group, an evangelical market research company, into the attitudes of Americans aged 16 to 29, makes grim reading for religious leaders. 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young churchgoers said “anti-homosexual” describes Christianity.

Further research found that both groups said that Christians “show excessive contempt and unloving attitudes towards gays and lesbians.”

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5 April 2010 – Fridae

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It’s the gays’ fault

by News Editor
As homosexual clergy get blamed for the decades-long sex abuse crisis facing the Catholic Church (not unlike gay men being frequently accused of child molestation), gay and Catholic political commentator Andrew Sullivan explains why the blame is thoroughly misplaced.

With the Catholic Church and its spiritual leader Pope Benedict XVI in the headlines amidst a growing global clerical sex abuse scandal, Bill Donohue, president of the US Catholic League, took out a full page ad in The New York Times and on CNN blamed homosexual clergy for the sexual abuse of children.

Titled “Going for the Vatican Jugular,” the advertisement last Tuesday read in part: “The (New York) Times continues to editorialize about the ‘pedophilia crisis,’ when all along it’s been a homosexual crisis. Eighty percent of the victims of priestly sexual abuse are male and most of them are post-pubescent. While homosexuality does not cause predatory behavior, and most gay priests are not molesters, most of the molesters have been gay.”

Prominent gay and Catholic political commentator Andrew Sullivan hit back on his The Daily Dish blog, which is regularly named one of the most influential in America, and explained why blaming the child sex abuse crisis on homosexuals is so wrong:

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May 30, 2010 – The New York Times

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Prospective Catholic Priests Face Sexuality Hurdles

by Paul Vitello
Every job interview has its awkward moments, but in recent years, the standard interview for men seeking a life in the Roman Catholic priesthood has made the awkward moment a requirement.
“When was the last time you had sex?” all candidates for the seminary are asked. (The preferred answer: not for three years or more.) “What kind of sexual experiences have you had?” is another common question. “Do you like pornography?” Depending on the replies, and the results of standardized psychological tests, the interview may proceed into deeper waters: “Do you like children?” and “Do you like children more than you like people your own age?”

It is part of a soul-baring obstacle course prospective seminarians are forced to run in the aftermath of a sexual abuse crisis that church leaders have decided to confront, in part, by scrubbing their academies of potential molesters, according to church officials and psychologists who screen candidates in New York and the rest of the country. But many of the questions are also aimed at another, equally sensitive mission: deciding whether gay applicants should be denied admission under complex recent guidelines from the Vatican that do not explicitly bar all gay candidates but would exclude most of them, even some who are celibate.

Scientific studies have found no link between sexual orientation and abuse, and the church is careful to describe its two initiatives as more or less separate. One top adviser to American seminaries characterized them as “two circles that might overlap here and there.” Still, since the abuse crisis erupted in 2002, curtailing the entry of gay men into the priesthood has become one the church’s highest priorities. And that task has fallen to seminary directors and a cadre of psychologists who say that culling candidates has become an arduous process of testing, interviewing and making decisions — based on social science, church dogma and gut instinct.

“The best way I can put it, it’s not black and white,” said the adviser, the Rev. David Toups, the director of the secretariat of clergy, consecrated life and vocations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “It’s more like one of those things where it’s hard to define, but ‘I know it when I see it.’ ” Many church officials have been reluctant to discuss the screening process, and its details differ from diocese to diocese. In the densely populated Diocese of Brooklyn, officials are confident of their results in one respect. “We have no gay men in our seminary at this time,” said Dr. Robert Palumbo, a psychologist who has screened seminary candidates at the diocese’s Cathedral Seminary Residence in Douglaston, Queens, for 10 years. “I’m pretty sure of it.” Whether that reflects rigorous vetting or the reluctance of gay men to apply, he could not say. “I’m just reporting what is,” he said.

Concern over gay men in the priesthood has simmered in the church for centuries, and has been heightened in recent years by claims from some Catholic scholars that 25 percent to 50 percent of priests in the United States are gay. The church has never conducted its own survey, but other experts have estimated the number to be far smaller. The sexual abuse scandal has prompted some conservative bishops to lay blame for the crisis on a “homosexual subculture” in the priesthood. While no one has proposed expelling gay priests, the crisis has pitted those traditionalists against other Catholics who attribute the problem to priests, gay and straight, with dysfunctional personalities.

In 2005, the Vatican sidestepped that ideological debate, but seemed to appease conservatives by issuing guidelines that would strictly limit the admission of gay men to Catholic seminaries. The guidelines, which bolstered existing rules that had been widely unenforced, defined homosexuality in both clear-cut and ambiguous ways: Men who actively “practice homosexuality” should be barred. But seminary rectors were left to discern the meaning of less obvious instructions to reject candidates who “show profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture.” Though some Catholics saw room in that language for admitting celibate gay men, the Vatican followed up in 2008 with a clarification. “It is not enough to be sure that he is capable of abstaining from genital activity,” ruled the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, which issued the initial guidelines. “It is also necessary to evaluate his sexual orientation.”

Some seminary directors were baffled by the word “orientation,” said Thomas G. Plante, a psychologist and the director of the Spirituality and Health Institute at Santa Clara University, who screens seminary candidates for several dioceses in California and nationwide. Could a psychologically mature gay person, committed to celibacy, never become a priest? Dr. Plante said several admissions officers asked. Could the church afford to turn away good candidates in the midst of a critical priest shortage? The Vatican permits every bishop and leader of a religious order to make those decisions, which vary from stricter to more liberal interpretations of the rules. But the methods of reaching them have become increasingly standard, experts say.

Msgr. Stephen Rossetti, a psychologist at Catholic University who has screened seminarians and once headed a treatment center for abusive priests, said the screening could be “very intrusive.” But he added, “We are looking for two basic qualities: the absence of pathology and the presence of health.” To that end, most candidates are likely to be asked not only about past sexual activities but also about masturbation fantasies, consumption of alcohol, relationships with parents and the causes of romantic breakups. All must take H.I.V. tests and complete written exams like the 567-question Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, which screens for, among other things, depression, paranoia and gender confusion. In another test, candidates must submit sketches of anatomically correct human figures.

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