Tag Archives: homophobia

Bishop Vera, on the Sickness of Homophobia

“People who say homosexuals are sick, are sick themselves”

Bishop Raul Vera of Saltillo, Mexico, is renowned for his fearless work in favour of missing persons, immigrants, children and juveniles, indigenous populations, prostitutes and marginalized people of all types.  This includes standing up to the notorious and fearsome Mexican drug cartels, which has earned him frequent death threats, and speaking up against outrages of the Mexican government.

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His support for the marginalized includes strong support for gay and lesbian Catholics. Continue reading Bishop Vera, on the Sickness of Homophobia

Catholic Responses to Homosexuality: Hatred, or Simple Disagreement?

At Religion News Service, there’s an article about Fr James Martin’s viral facebook post, which, the report notes, has received

140,000 shares, almost 400,000 “likes,” and about 28 million — yes, million — views — and climbing.

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RNS follows up by quoting a response by Phil Lawler, who writes that where Martin sees “hatred”, he sees only “profound disagreement”.

Which is it?
Continue reading Catholic Responses to Homosexuality: Hatred, or Simple Disagreement?

In Mozambique, decolonization includes decriminalizing gay sex

The persecution of gay men and lesbians in much of Africa is a tragic hangover of the colonial period. It is not homosexuality that was introduced by the colonists and missionaries, but homophobia. Historians and social anthropologists have amassed extensive empirical evidence that a wide range of same – sex relationship patterns and gender variant behaviours were common-place in many traditional societies in all regions of the continent. An ILGA guide to LGBT rights worldwide has noted that only eight countries worldwide have never made homosexual activity illegal: ALL are in Africa.

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So it is, that when Mozambique undertook a comprehensive review of its statute book to remove all outdated colonial laws, one of those discarded was a colonial law that allowed “security measures” to be taken against those engaging in so-called “social perversion” .

Gay Star News has the details.

Mozambique officially makes gay sex legal

Continue reading In Mozambique, decolonization includes decriminalizing gay sex

Pope Francis, Gay Marriage – and Africa.

In the Philippines, Pope Francis made some observations about marriage when addressing a gathering of families, that have been widely interpreted as an attack on gay marriage, urging people to resist pressures to “colonize” the family. (Read the full text here)

At Bondings 2.0, Frank DeBenardo has a thoughtful reflection on the Pope’s message, which he describes as “problematic”. I have not yet read the actual text, or detailed reports of it, so withhold comment on the message itself, concerning marriage. Read instead, DeBenardo’s thoughts.  However, he does include a useful observation on the word “colonization” that this may have been prompted by the concerns of African bishops at the family synod. As an African myself, this struck me as important.  Continue reading Pope Francis, Gay Marriage – and Africa.

Gay Catholic High School Teacher Is Fired. But by Whom?

Bondings 2.0

A gay teacher was fired from a North Carolina Catholic high school, the first firing announced in 2015 after a year which saw more than twenty church workers losing their jobs over LGBT-related employment disputes.  Who is actually responsible for the firing the decision is disputed.

Lonnie Billard, who taught English and drama at Charlotte Catholic High School, was fired last summer after more than fifteen years of teaching during which he won the teacher of the year award multiple times. Billard was let go when his engagement to a male partner became public on Facebook. According to Billard, the firing comes directly from the Diocese of Charlotte, not the school. QNotes repots :

” ‘This was not a decision by Charlotte Catholic High School,’ Billard said in an interview with qnotes on Monday. ‘I had talked with one of the administration officials. He knew [about the announcement]. He didn’t care…

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Uganda Martyrs: Charles Lwangwa and companions

For queer Christians, the phrase “Ugandan Martyrs” carries a tragic double meaning. In Catholic hagiography, it refers to the execution / martyrdom in 1886 of a band of young men, pages in the Royal court of the Bugandan King Mwanga II, who had converted to Christianity and thereafter resisted his sexual advances. June 6th, is the anniversary of their joint beatification by Pope Benedict XV in 1920. Their feast day, known as the Feast of Charles Lwanga and companions, is celebrated annually on June 3rd.

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From a modern LGBT point of view, there is  a quite different significance, almost it’s polar opposite. This perspective recalls that in the cultural context of the time, King Mwanga’s expectation of sexual service from his pages did not make him a perverted monster, as seen by the missionaries. Before the arrival of European colonials, different forms of homosexual practice and non-conformist gender expression were commonplace across Africa.  Seen in this light, the execution of the pages was a legal penalty for resisting customary law – and the introduction by foreign missionaries of what has since become deeply entrenched cultural homophobia.

In recent years, the flames of  homophobia have been further  fanned by missionaries, this time especially by American evangelicals, who have promoted draconian legislation to criminalize homosexuality, carrying harsh penalties for those convicted of transgressions.  Along with the legal penalties, the popular mood in Uganda has become so hostile, that life for ordinary gay and lesbian people in the country has become exceedingly difficult. Even to be suspected of being gay, frequently frequently leads not only to simple social ostracism, but also to outright exclusion from homes and families, to discrimination in employment and social services,  to police harassment, to violence, and even to murder, such as that of David Kato. For many LGBT people,  the only viable response is to leave the country entirely as refugees seeking asylum abroad.

So, the double meaning of the phrase “Ugandan Martyrs”: from the traditional Catholic perspective, the martyrs are those who were executed in 1886 for sticking by their Christian faith, in the face of Royal commands to renounce it. For modern gays and lesbians, the words refer to all those who are persecuted or even murdered, often in the name of the Christian religion, for their sexuality.

For a more extended analysis and reflection on the martyrs, and what this commemoration means for queer people of faith, see Kittredge Cherry at Jesus in Love Blog, who introduced her post on the feast day, by observing (accurately) that

Tough questions about homosexuality, religion and LGBT rights are raised by the Uganda Martyrs whose feast day is today (June 3).

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