Discrimination and the Catholic Church: Nigeria

It’s not often that I agree with a Catholic Herald opinion piece on anything to do with LGBT issues and the Church, but here is one by Ed West, Deputy Editor, where I do. Catholic teaching is absolutely clear that discrimination, malice and violence against gay people is totally unacceptable, and should be strongly resisted. The obvious conclusion, as the writer points out, is that Catholics should be loudly protesting the anti – gay legislation in Nigeria. (What he doesn’t say, which i would add, is that we should also be loudly protesting against any discrimination, malice or verbal violence within or by the church and its institutions – as for, example, at Eastside Catholic High School, and other institutions that have unjustly fired excellent teachers, musicians and other staff).

Shouldn’t Catholics be protesting loudly against anti-gay persecution?

Nigeria’s new laws contravene Catholic teaching – and we should say so

Nigeria has become the latest country to impose extremely harsh measures on people in same-sex relationships. This is part of a trend towards a world morality gap and follows developments in Russia, Uganda and India.

The Catholic Church’s position on such laws are clear: they are are unjust. And it sometimes seems that the Catholic Church is standing atop two boats heading in opposite directions, with radical, illiberal anti-discrimination laws in the West and ultra-conservative morality laws in the developing world. Barbarism in one direction; decadence in the other.

Yet even educated people in Britain are hardly aware of the Church’s opposition to such laws (few noticed when the Church spoke out in India last month). They lump in the Catholic view on sexuality with that of the rabidly intolerant governments of Nigeria and Uganda. And Catholics don’t seem to be making much effort to dissuade them.

As one Catholic, Niall Gooch, wrote on Twitter: “Christians should be more vocal about laws & governments that encourage anti-gay hostility.” He has a point. Instead, it’s left overwhelmingly to secular, often anti-religious, campaigners.

Gooch points to Articles 2357 and 2358 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which say that gay people “must be accepted w/ respect, compassion, & sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

Catholics should see this as a matter of social justice. As Gooch has argued, as much as Catholics oppose discrimination laws that affect adoption agencies and B&Bs, and various other radical secularist measures, what’s happening in Nigeria is surely far, far worse than schools using the charity Stonewall’s material.

-read the full post at CatholicHerald.co.uk

(but be warned that reading the comments could seriously harm your blood pressure).

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