HUDSON, North Carolina — Faith In America, an organization working to end the harm to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth and families from religion-based bigotry, expresses its deepest hope and desire that the successor to Pope Benedict XVI will end the immense harm the Catholic Church has caused and continues to cause to innocent LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people, especially vulnerable teens. While Pope Benedict’s tenure has been marred by his erroneous treatment of the victims of pedophilia within the church, history will note his other great failing in continuing the religion-based bigotry against the LGBT community worldwide.
“It is critical for all to understand the devastating effects to a young person when their church leadership teaches that homosexuality is a sin and that they are not God’s best,” said Brent Childers, Executive Director of Faith in America and an evangelical Christian who once aligned himself with anti-gay religious teachings. “I have come to learn the unintended consequences of those that believe they are teaching what it is to be a good Catholic or Christian in fact are the very reason why LGBT teens suffer an unusually high rate of depression, attempted suicides, and worse, suicide.”
Childers said a large majority of Americans, from Catholics to Pentecostals, no longer hold the traditional religious perspective on homosexuality. According to a poll in January commissioned by a Southern Baptist-affiliated research group, only 37 percent of Americans consider homosexuality a sin.
The poll reflected an 8-percent drop in that number since the same research group asked the question in 2011. In addition, a recent poll from New York Times/CBS News found that more than six in ten American Catholics support equal marriage.
“Catholic voices are crying out for their church to acknowledge the immense harm caused when certain outdated and misapplied religious teachings are misused to justify and promote hostility toward gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender individuals, especially youth and their families,” Childers said.
“The Catholic community needs leadership that can right its wrongs and represent the new majority voice on this issue,” he said. “It is the coming moral voice of the universal church and it can no longer be stifled by the powerful and perverse agent of religion-based bigotry. It is our hope that Pope Benedict XVI’s successor will embrace such a voice and the good it represents for not only the Catholic faith but all faith traditions – indeed the spirituality of a global humanity.”
Faith in America is a nonprofit organization that nationally educates the public about the harm caused to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people when certain church teaching is used to promote and justify stigma and hostility toward that minority population. Brent Childers, an evangelical Christian who once aligned himself with the anti-gay religious industry, serves as executive director. For more information, see faithinamerica.com.
[From a News Release]