Tagged: Courage

Scalia’s Son Was Chaplain for Catholic Anti-Gay Group

Just days after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia shockingly equated homosexuality with murder in an appearance at Princeton University, another troubling revelation has emerged: Scalia’s son Paul, a Roman Catholic priest, has served as chaplain for the Arlington, Virginia chapter of Courage, an official Catholic apostolate that ministers to people with so-called “same-sex attractions” — or what the rest of the world refers to as lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.

In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Michael McGough writes that Paul Scalia’s anti-gay beliefs are so extreme that he isn’t even willing to concede the fact that gay people exist:

He has written: “We must always distinguish the person from the attractions. Most errors in this area come from the reduction of the person to the attractions: to say,  ‘A person who has homosexual attractions must be homosexual.’  This reduces the human person to the sum total of his sexual inclinations.”

The last time I heard that frighteningly dehumanizing lie was when I was undercover receiving “ex-gay” therapy at the Bachmann clinic. No joke.

McGough also points out that when the Vatican acknowledged the reality of homosexuality, it too earned the wrath of Scalia the Younger:

In a 2005 article in the magazine First Things, Paul Scalia warned against the labeling of high school students as “gay” and even took the Vatican to task  for using the term “homosexual person,” which, the younger Scalia said, “suggests that homosexual inclinations somehow determine, which is to say confine, a person’s identity.”  Of course, this is a straw man; psychologists and other who speak of a gay identity don’t argue that “gay” is an exhaustive description of an individual’s personality traits, only that there is more to being gay or lesbian than participation in sexual acts.

Courage, the “ministry” that Paul Scalia was affiliated with, uses a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous to encourage Catholics struggling with “same-sex attractions” to suppress their sexuality and live totally celibate lives. It’s essentially a Catholic version of the widely-discredited “ex-gay” programs, just wrapped in a more subtly-colored bow.

As I read McGough’s op-ed I couldn’t help but be reminded of the lyrics of a song from the legendary musical South Pacific:

 You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear, you’ve got to be taught from year to year. It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear — you’ve got to be carefully taught. . .

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late — before you are six or seven or eight — to hate all the people your relatives hate. You’ve got to be carefully taught.

Hmmm, I wonder who taught little Paulie Scalia to hate LGBT people?

One of the nine people who will get to decide next year whether LGBTs are worthy of basic human rights, that’s who.

Anybody else see a problem with that?

Originally posted at Back2Stonewall.

TWO Slams Philadelphia Catholic Archdiocese for Offering Anti-Gay Sports Camp

Contact: Wayne Besen, Executive Director
Phone: 917.691.5118
Email: wbesen@truthwinsout.org


Truth Wins Out Slams Philadelphia Catholic Archdiocese for Offering Anti-Gay Sports Camp 

Male Retreatants Taught to “Resist” Homosexuality Through Athletic Activity

BURLINGTON, Vt – Truth Wins Out slammed the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia today after the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Kathy Boccella revealed it plans to hold an all-male sports camp this weekend with the purpose of teaching men how to “resist homosexual urges.” The retreat is sponsored by a group called Courage, an official archdiocesan ministry that uses a 12-step program, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, to encourage Catholics struggling with so-called “same-sex attraction” to suppress their sexuality and live totally celibate lives.

The idea that homosexuality is a treatable disease like alcoholism, or that sports can somehow influence a person’s sexuality, is an insult to common sense that’s totally detached from reality,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “The so-called ‘Courage’ ministry masquerades stereotypes as science. It’s shameful that the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia is selling this snake oil to vulnerable parishioners.

The Courage camp, in which “men physically compete on the field while enriching their souls through a daily regimen of prayer, confessions, mass, and the Liturgy of the Hours,” is being held at a Philadelphia-area seminary after a bruising week for the ex-gay industry. Dr. Robert Spitzer, author of a widely-repudiated 2001 study that claimed certain “highly motivated” homosexuals could change from gay to straight, retracted the study and apologized to the LGBT community. Additionally, the Pan American Health Organization, an arm of the World Health Organization, condemned so-called “reparative” or “conversion” therapy as a violation of human rights and a threat to the health of its victims.

By promising celibacy rather than a cure, Courage is serving up the very same discredited anti-gay propaganda as the better-known ‘ex-gay’ programs – wrapped in a more subtly-colored bow,” said John Becker, TWO’s Director of Communications. “But whether it’s praying or playing, it doesn’t work. You just can’t ‘play away the gay.’

News of the Courage “ex-gay” camp comes at the same time that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is defending Msgr. William J. Lynn, its former secretary of the clergy, against criminal charges that he protected predatory priests. Msgr. Lynn is the highest-ranking Catholic Church official in the United States to face trial on charges related to child sexual abuse. The Vatican is said to be monitoring the landmark case.

For the Philadelphia Archdiocese to demand that LGBT Catholics repress their natural, adult sexuality at the same time as they’re defending a man who shuffled pedophile priests between unknowing parishes, displays a level of arrogance that can only be described as astounding,” said TWO’s Becker. “The archdiocese has lost any moral authority to force its Stone-Age sexual strictures on gay and lesbian Catholics.

Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.


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Originally written for and posted at Truth Wins Out.


Pro-Gay Catholics Vastly Outnumber Homophobic Bishops

Earlier this month I visited Milwaukee to attend the Call to Action National Conference, a gathering of progressive Catholics from around the country, and introduce pro-LGBT attendees to the organization I work for, Truth Wins Out.

Many readers will understandably balk at the words “progressive,” “pro-LGBT,” and “Catholic” appearing in the same sentence. However, these words and concepts are far more compatible than many people realize.

Not that equality-minded people could be blamed for thinking otherwise. After all, the Catholic Church and its affiliates vociferously push an insidious anti-gay agenda. New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan was the most outspoken opponent of the state’s marriage equality law. Minnesota’s Catholic bishops are leading the charge to add an anti-gay amendment to that state’s constitution, calling the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples a “top priority” in 2012 and using tax-exempt church resources for political purposes.

The Knights of Columbus, a lay Catholic group, bankrolls the National Organization for Marriage, which fights against the civil rights of LGBT people across the country. In fact, in 2009 the Knights spent more money fighting marriage equality than they did on all other social programs, such as food banks and food drives, combined.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops formed a Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage in order to organize and galvanize opposition to same-sex marriage nationwide. (Dan Avila, the bishops’ Policy Advisor for Marriage, was forced to resign this month after publishing a column in which he stated that homosexuality was caused by the devil.)

And the Catholic Church even has its own “apostolate” for gay people, called Courage, which counsels members to abandon their natural sexuality for a lifetime of celibacy and endorses the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, a leading proponent of “ex-gay” conversion therapy.

But the bigotry of the Catholic hierarchy is only part of the story. In fact, the beliefs of the rank-and-file Catholic faithful couldn’t be more different. Recent polls have repeatedly shown that a majority support granting same-gender couples the freedom to marry.

survey released in March by the Public Religion Research Institute, billed as “the most comprehensive portrait of Catholic attitudes on gay and lesbian issues assembled to date,” found that a large majority of American Catholics – a whopping 71 percent –support civil marriage equality for same-sex couples. It further states that “Catholics are more supportive of legal recognitions of same-sex relationships than members of any other Christian tradition and Americans overall” and that “Catholic support for rights for gays and lesbian people is strong and slightly higher than the general public.”

Perhaps most revealing, though, is the PRRI’s finding that “less than 4-in-10 Catholics (39 percent) give their own church top marks … on its handling of the issue of homosexuality.”

Social justice has long been an important component of the Catholic faith tradition. The Church is outspoken in its support of labor unions (Pope John Paul II even asserted the fundamental principle of “the priority of labor over capital” in a 1981 encyclical.), immigrants and financial reform, as well as its opposition to capital punishment. American Catholics appear to view the issue of LGBT equality as one of social justice as well, consciously rejecting the bigotry of their religious leaders in much the same way they reject the official prohibition on contraception (98 percent of Catholics use forms of contraception banned by the Church).

So let’s resist the impulse to stereotype all Catholics as anti-gay extremists. After all, our community knows the sting of prejudice all too well. Instead, work together with pro-equality Catholics, as many organizations are doing already.

Let’s speak out together against the Catholic Church’s institutionalized bigotry and work towards a society that’s truly just for all people.


Note: this op-ed was originally published in the Wisconsin Gazette.