The leading gay titles in UK publishing Attitude, Diva, GT and PinkPaper have joined together for the first time to make a joint statement:
"As our country hosts the Pope this week, we – the leading gay press – stand united against his out-dated stance on homosexuality. We oppose and challenge his view that gay people are unequal, deserve less respect and are a threat to society. Instead, we regard the hate he encourages as one of the greatest threats to fairness and freedom, which should form the foundation of any society, and indeed, religion."
As I blogged yesterday I agree that we have a right to make our concerns known about the intolerance. However, yesterday in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow the Pope said:
"The evangelization of culture is all the more important in our times, when a "dictatorship of relativism" threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man’s nature, his destiny and his ultimate good. There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatize it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister."
While I'm not excluding religious belief, like my friend Caron did earlier in her outrage, there is one thing the church has been changing its truth through time. Nor do I think like the other letter in the Guardian this morning which my other friend Mícheál is a co-signatory of that highlighting only some change within the church, sexuality acceptance, while ignoring others, birth control, is truly an upholding of all of society's most vulnerable
Currently there are still those in the Catholic Church fearful of loving the person of the same gender as themselves who they love. Living in fear of being excommunicated from the faith they feel at home in. The Pope in the past has claimed behaviour beyond traditional heterosexual relations was a "destruction of God’s work". Therefore the assumption is that if you are gay the Pope is expecting you to be celibate and if you are in a relationship for that to be celibate.
However, that is not what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7: 7-9
"I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion."
It is one of those passages that clicked into place with me along with others, that lead me to my personal believe that I can be gay and a Christian in the one breath. It is impossible to stay a gay, passionate man and not act upon it. The same goes for heterosexual men and Paul himself only wished that all could be like him for the benefit of God's work not that all should, but that is separate issue for the Catholic church to deal with.
The assumption and the suppression is what leads to a lot of anxiety in a lot the LGBT community. It is not atheist extremism that is the problem from them but also the religious fervour of those they respect. As it is I don't wholly agree with the Fry, Dawkins et al letter. Indeed I'm actually glad that in recent months both Attitude and GT have run articles on people of faith who also happen to be gay.
Following on from the Issues issue which looked the level and causes of depression in the LGBT community Attitude’s Editor, Matthew Todd added to the above joint statement:
"We receive letters every week from young gay people trying to deal with the shame they feel trying to come to terms with their sexuality. We know that rates of suicide and depression are higher amongst gay teenagers than amongst their straight contemporaries and I believe there is a direct link to the persecution of gay people by religious leaders such as the Pope.
"I will be proudly joining Saturday’s demonstration and I urge all people who want to see equal rights for gay people and women and an end to the Catholic church’s terrifying stance on condoms to do so too."
Not that being gay is a mental condition but the struggle in parts of our society, and most especially the religious elements can lead to mental health issues. There is struggle to be accepted even if we can accept ourselves from others. It is not made easier by repression of churches who are commission to love one another as Christ has loved them and not to judge one another.