National Religious Leaders Reject Pope's Defamation of Same-Sex Couples
WASHINGTON D.C. - The National Religious Leadership Roundtable today rejected Pope John Paul II's statement in his recently-published book calling equal civil marriage rights for same-sex couples "part of a new ideology of evil."
"We share with the rest of the world concerns for the Pope's health in light of his recent illness, and pray for his strength and wholeness. But we cannot be silent when he questions the human dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people," said Bob Gibeling* on behalf of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable.
"As the Pope's fellow clergy and religious leaders, we strongly disagree with the Pope's statement that protecting the rights of gay people, 'attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man,'" Gibeling continued, "We call on him to remember that the essence of the Christian faith and all religious tradition is the continued empowerment of the poor, the outcast and the marginalized. We believe that greater recognition of the inherent value of gay and lesbian families through equal rights can only lead to strengthening of the family and humankind."
Gibeling added, "As people of faith, we call on the Pope to pray and consider the devastating results of his statements to millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians. We challenge all religious leaders to contemplate the reality that history and the Creator have brought the world to a place of understanding that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are a necessary component of the human family."
National Religious Leadership Roundtable member Sam Sinnett, President of Dignity USA further commented, "One cannot properly teach morality on homosexuality if one excludes the vast body of medical and social science knowledge that shows it is a normal part of the great diversity of God's creation and if one excludes the lived experience of same-sex couples experiencing love and intimacy in the families they form," Sinnett called on the Pope and other Roman Catholic leaders to, "properly form their consciences and abandon their misguided attempts to equate homosexuality and same-gender marriage with evil."
"If same-sex marriage qualifies as part of 'a new ideology of evil,' then the world is in far better shape than I thought," said Catholic theologian and National Religious Leadership Roundtable member Mary Hunt, Co-director of Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER).
"Marriage, whether in a same-sex or opposite-sex context, is a celebration of love and commitment, fidelity and family, and all desirable aspects of common life. Poverty, greed, war, and ecological destruction would better fit the Pope's category of 'evil' and be more worthy of his scrutiny. In a world full of such evil, the power of same-sex love is a refreshing antidote."
* Bob Gibeling is a member of the steering committee of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Religious Leadership Roundtable and a member of Lutherans Concerned.
First convened in 1998, the National Religious Leadership Roundtable of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is an interfaith collaboration of more than forty denominations and faith-related organizations. The Roundtable seeks to reframe the public religious dialogue on issues involving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community by amplifying the voices of LGBT-affirming people of faith, countering religious voices of bigotry and intolerance, and working to advance full equality for all.
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