Catholic Church Denounces Move By Cuba To Support LGBT Rights
by The Associated Press
Posted: June 25, 2008 – 8:00 am ET
(Havana) Cuba’s Roman Catholic Church is protesting the communist government’s growing support of gay rights, including a daylong event raising awareness against homophobia and a law allowing sex-change operations.
“Respect for the homosexual person, yes,” said an editorial Tuesday in Palabra Nueva, the monthly magazine of the Archdiocese of Havana. “Promotion of homosexuality, no.”
The editorial signed by magazine director Orlando Marquez referred to activities held May 17 by Cuba’s Sex Education Center, which is directed by Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raul Castro.
The headline for this story from Associated Press caught my eye and freaked me out.
Apparently the Roman Catholic Church —anywhere in the world— is determined to be the last surviving entity which is rabidly anti-homosexual, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that it cannot understand human life, will not grow or change when the Holy Spirit is clearly calling to it, and does not model itself on the compassion and understanding of Jesus.
Isn’t it enough that the Roman Catholic Church in this country has stonewalled virtually every effort to root out clerical abuses, especially child molestation (of both girls and boys), has spent the contents of its offering plates to pay attorneys to defend an indefensible cover-up of corrupt clergy? Isn’t it enough that Pope Benedict XVI has told all other Christians in the world that they simply aren’t the church (and by implication cannot be saved) because they are not under his personal authority? Isn’t it enough that the American Catholic Church —one of the more open-minded pockets in the Roman Catholic Church worldwide— has put its energy and money into fighting even the most rudimentary protections for LGBT people under the law?
In another overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country, the Czech Republic, the right wing is still trying to block or harass all efforts to hold a gay pride parade. According to 365Gay.Com (read it here) yesterday the government banned anti-gay rallies that ultra-right wing groups were trying to hold simultaneously with a pride march in Brno, Moravia. While the Czech Republic, released from the iron grip of socialism has gotten quite liberal about gay people, it is safe to say the underlying Catholic hierarchical culture is trying to mobilize against gay rights. Sadly, hwoever, the churches in Prague are just about as empty as everywhere else in Europe, illustrating how totally out of touch the church is with the 21st century.
What is really appalling/amusing (can those things be said in the same breath?) is that the Castro regime is itself so backward that it is already fundamentally homophobic. For years it has only compounded the inherent homophobia/hypocrisy found throughout Latin America. Yet when it finally decides that it needs to address public policy issues concerning homosexuality in a more honest and just manner, here the Roman Catholic Archdiocese is essentially protesting such justice and in effect calling for continued repression.
In 1981 my spouse and I sponsored four Cuban refugees in this country, three of them gay men. I learned first-hand of Castro’s anti-gay policies. And I learned first-hand that Cuban men typically deny being gay as long as they are the so-called “active” sex partner rather than “passive.”
At the worst of the Marxist repression, Cuban gay men could be imprisoned merely for being effeminate. One of the four was extremely effeminate and had been in prison before being released by Fidel and kicked out of the country, directly into an American refugee camp. His boyfriend, who pleaded with us to get him out of the refugee camp, considered himself not to be homosexual because, he said, he was always on top.
No issue, apparently, is too big to prevent denial, hypocrisy or just plain bull! Alas, the church proves again that it will never willingly step over the line against the surrounding culture. If Latin America is homophobic, the then church somehow believes it must defend and protect that cultural bigotry.
Faked picture labeled “Gay Fidel” from this site
But when society has moved on —and I think this gesture on the part of Raul Castro’s regime indicates that even Cuban society is moving on—why does the church have to drag its feet even more?
—Pastor Dan Hooper