National Religious Leaders Reject Pope's Defamation of Same-Sex Couples
- National Religious Leaders Reject Pope's Defamation of Same-Sex
Press Release, Thursday, February 24, 2005
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.
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
Richard Lindsay, Religious Roundtable Liaison