Religious Conservatives Defend Pope’s Anti-Gay Message

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Dec 24, 2008

Catholic publications have rushed to the defense of Pope Benedict XVI's comments that the human race is as imperiled by gay and lesbian families as by the wanton destruction of the rain forests.

Saying that the "order of creation" must be respected, the pope claimed for the Catholic church a privileged place of instruction and authority over humanity, declaring that the church "must defend not only the earth, the water and the air as gifts of creation belonging to everyone, but it must also protect mankind against the destruction of itself. The tropical forests deserve our protection, but man as a creature deserves it no less."

The pope also denounced families that do not consist of a man, a woman, and children, saying that recognition of family structures other than that constitute an "author-destruction of mankind."

The pope made his remarks as part of his annual Christmas Message, which he delivered on Dec. 22.

Catholic Online in a Dec. 24 article, instantly grouped homosexuality with "promiscuity, pornography, [and] adultery" and declared that all those things are "hurting [gays] physically, psychologically, but most importantly--hurting them spiritually."

Catholic Online slammed Pink News for posting the headline, "Pope Benedict learnt nothing from his time in the Hitler Youth," and denounced headlines in the San Francisco Chronicle ("Pope Benedict at Christmas: Preaching bigotry disguised as compassion") and the Times of London ("Christmas was never meant to be about this").

The article defended Pope Benedict on the grounds that he had not used the world "homosexual," though he had made his meaning explicitly clear by talking about a divine plan for families to consist of one man, one woman, and children.

Read the Catholic Online article, "In this respect, he spoke not only to the problem of homosexual acts but also other sexual aberrations such as sex outside of marriage, adultery, pornography, and even contraceptive sex."

Added the Catholic Online item, "This is borne out by the fact, unreported by the mainstream media, that within the speech he urged the faithful to re-read the encyclical Humanae Vitae--known most for its prohibition of contraception."

Continued the article, "Trust me, the Pope is not going on about such matters to be popular, not because he has some vendetta against gays.

"He is preaching the truth out of love; love for God and his Truth, love for mankind as a whole, but specifically love for his fellow human beings who are hurting themselves with destructive sexual lifestyles."

Added the article, "The Pope has sounded the alarm on rejecting God's plan for human sexuality and pointed to the dangers for those involved and society in general of fostering such behavior.

"He is now experiencing the backlash, but like any good parent, he will weather it in patience and love, knowing that one day, his aberrant children will come to their senses or at the very least that he has tried his best to get them to do so."

The article went on to appropriate a quote from Penn Jillette, the comedian who, along with partner Raymond Teller, has hosted a documentary series titled "Bullshit!" devoted to debunking myths and superstitions.

Noting that Jillette is an atheist, the article quoted him as saying, "If you believe that there's a heaven and hell... how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible, and not tell them that?"

Meantime, at right-wing Christian site CNS, conservative author Ben Shapiro wrote a Dec. 24 op-ed piece titled, "Gay Community is Intolerant, Too," in which Shapiro did not deny that religious conservatives are intolerant of gays, but cast that intolerance in the form of a competition of ideas, declaring that, "There's intolerance on both sides. But someone has to win.

"The people should decide who wins."

Shapiro mentioned both Pope Benedict's Dec. 22 comments, and selected recent remarks of mega-church pastor Rick Warren, who has been in the news lately due to having been selected by President-Elect Barack Obama to deliver the invocation at next month's inaugural ceremonies.

Shapiro quoted Warren as saying, "I'm opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000-year definition of marriage.

"I'm opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage.

"I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage.

"I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage."

Those comments, as well as Warren's having worked for the passage of California's Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that revoked the right of gay and lesbian families to marry in that state, have contributed to the GLBT community's denunciation of the Obama pick.

Saying that Benedict and Warren were merely "articulating the same traditional Judeo-Christian perspective that has been a moral standard for thousands of years," Shapiro queried, "So why the hubbub?

"Warren is not stating that he wants to criminalize homosexuality. And the pope is merely suggesting that sexuality may be flexible, and that sexual behavior can be changed. Where's the big threat to the gay community?"

Added Shapiro, "The gay community constantly asks: If we want to marry, how does it hurt you?

"Here's a similar question: If religious people don't approve of homosexual behavior, how does it hurt you?"

Shapiro went on to claim, "We're not advocating violence against gays and lesbians--far from it."

Added the author, "We're just saying we don't approve of your behavior. It's that simple."

Acknowledged Shapiro, "The fact is, of course, that a religious standard of marriage does hurt gay people."

Added the writer, "The gay community wishes to hijack marriage and use it as a shield to legitimize traditionally immoral behavior.

"By opposing gay marriage, traditionally moral folks prevent the gay community from having its way."

Claimed Shapiro, "But by the same exact standard, the gay community's insistence that homosexuality be respected--their insistence that figures from Pope Benedict to Rick Warren treat homosexuality as a perfectly acceptable way of life--hurts religious people."

Explained Shapiro, "By opposing religious people's freedom to articulate their view on homosexuality, they encroach on religious freedom."

Noted Shapiro, "Someone's standard has to win. If the pope and Warren have their way, traditional morality will remain the standard and the gay community will feel left out.

"If the gay community has its way, traditional morality will be discarded and the religious community will feel left out."

Noting that whenever gay and lesbian equality has been put up to a popular vote, gays and lesbians have lost, Shapiro suggested that all such questions be put to the ballot, writing, "the systemic answer is simple: Let the people decide."

Added Shapiro, "The gay community has won its victories in the courtroom, calling on elitist judges to twist the words of state constitutions.

"It's illegitimate, and it cuts against the most basic American value: the right of the people to decide how to regulate their communities."

Wrote Shapiro, "The gay community has every right to oppose the pope and Warren. And the pope and Warren have every right to blast the gay community.

"That's freedom of religion and freedom of speech."

Not all GLBT people have condemned Obama's pick of Warren to deliver the invocation. Popular lesbian singer Melissa Etheridge and her wife, Tammy Lynn Michaels, both wrote op-ed pieces in which they defended Warren and contradicted the claim that the pastor is anti-gay.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


  • , 2008-12-24 12:59:40

    LOL. The Pope?Thankfully we live in a country where we have freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion.Kudos to CT and MA. Shame on CA.Cheers, Joe Mustich,Justice of the Peace,Washington CT 06793 USA

  • , 2008-12-24 13:00:53


  • , 2008-12-24 13:01:58

    oh gee, i meant:

  • , 2008-12-24 13:03:23

    one more time:

  • Rico, 2008-12-24 13:15:20

    You live, sir, in a country where Congress is enjoined from either establishing or prohibiting a national religion. You do not live in a country where religion does not exist and the sooner radical homosexualists come to grips with the fact that the vast majority of Americans embrace religion in their lives in some form or another and quit fighting a losing war against faith, the sooner we will have what the more enlightened among us want, which is actual legal equality. Only a handful of silly people demand it be called "marriage" and stand as without distinction from heterosexual marriage.

  • , 2008-12-24 14:16:58

    Quote: Added Shapiro, "The gay community has won its victories in the courtroom, calling on elitist judges to twist the words of state constitutions.Quote: "It’s illegitimate, and it cuts against the most basic American value: the right of the people to decide how to regulate their communities."I hate it whenever people use this rationale. The founding fathers NEVER intended for a majority to dictate the rights of a minority. Furthermore, the courts are based on the law, in the cases of gay marriage, the fundamental reasoning was "equality for all", not marriage is okay for heterosexuals and homosexuals can have something similar. ("Separate but equal". Sound familiar?) I also find it interesting that groups never refer to the courts as having "activist judges" when they rule in those groups’ favor. But sure enough, when those same groups rule against them, the suddenly become activists.

  • Rico, 2008-12-24 15:04:17

    14:16. If it is your intent to speak for the founding fathers on the matter of majorities, then you are going to have to first articulate your explanation of the three fifths rule for Negro slaves, the election of the Senate as originally constructed, and the withholding of suffrage from females and those without property. In point of fact, the founding fathers for better or worse intended a republic ruled by those with the greatest stake in it as demonstrated the acquisition of both education and property. They never intended this nation to be ruled by popular vote as you define it. I agree with you about separate but equal being outside the spirit of the 14th, however the point is the radicals insist on violating what is in essence a religious sacrament (marriage) rather than the more logical path of removing the whole connotation of state marriage licensing altogether in favor of civil unions. As always, one should look for solutions to places where solutions already exist, such as in Great Britain, rather than making up new crap and then trying to plagarize the Civil Rights struggle for justification. We saw how well THAT went over when California’s blacks rejected the insult lock, stock and barrel in early November.

  • , 2008-12-24 18:55:56

    From the church that murdered tens of millions of Muslims during the crusades, in the name of God. No wonder some of them hate us and are willing to take flying lessons.From the church that burned an estimated million women at the stake as witches. An orgy of nothing but power and male dominance, defended by their ’belief’ in God.From the church who tortured and murdered tens of thousands, for daring to say that the pope was wrong, eg in his pronouncement that the earth was flat.From the church that is most responsible for the hatred of the Jews, Jesus own people - it brought them power and money. It also reached its zenith when hitler, born a catholic, used this religious hatred to get elected, and then gain total power. And gave us the holocaust and 50 million deaths in WWII.From the church that so opposed women voting, still doesn’t allow women to be priests, and stood silently quiet while so many catholic nations engaged in the slave trade. And was so silent during the battles over ending segregation.And the church whose puritanical beliefs about sex turn alterboys into perverts as they become adults. And then the church hierarchy hid these creeps for decades, all the while talking about God.And our gay citizens, asking for respect and equality are the newest victims of this church. Haven’t we seen enough religious conservative hatred for a while in our nation, from another branch of the one God religions.Sure, the church does good things, especially re helping the poor who are desperate due to the economic situation brought on by the supporters of the religious right, the Bush republicans, whose secret God is named Greed. But like lots of other things, you can do a lot of good, and negate it all with just one bad bad bad deal.The pope can proclaim all he wants, but what he truly fears is that America, perhaps the last major western nation that does not recognize gay relationships legally, will do so, and show the church up for what it is - in so many ways medieval hatreds in the name of God.Thank God Almighty I have left this church along with my whole family.

  • , 2008-12-24 19:07:05

    I do see an interesting situation here. If the gay people were to accept civil unions, and these unions truly gave them all the rights of marriage, legally and contractually without discrimination vs married people, much of the battle would be over. The gay folks would have their rights, and gain in the eyes of so many good but religious people what the battle is really about - acceptance as decent human people worthy of our respect.Sure there would be some wacko religious people who are totally as polluted against gays as the south was polluted against racial equality. But with civil unions done correctly would come respect, and with respect would come acceptance and much of the hatreds would end.

    And in time, this could lead to what we really need in America - which is separation of church and state. Marriage has both a legal and a religious meaning. Ultimately the goal should be that marriage would be strictly a religious ceremony which confers no legal rights at all, just church blessing. And all legal marriages, gay and str8 alike will be known as civil unions. As they do in France, btw.So the gays would have legal equality, and yes there are a number of religious denominations that will do religious marriage or "committment ceremonies" for gay people, I’ve been to one of them.But the real real benefit will be the separation of church and state being improved. That we will not find right wing religion butting its nose into our secular laws.

  • , 2008-12-25 07:55:47

    The fact that numerous religious conservative publications and organizations are defending an irrelevant organization desperately trying to be relevant should come as no surprise. They used to condone the persecution of Jews, hundreds of years of child abuse and molestation and concealing it from law enforcement, persecuted Galileo and countless infractions and and atrocities does not make them right on this issue as well. I would have misgivings about trusting anyone who goes around imitating Liberace in dress and demeanor. No offense to Liberace or his fans.

  • Rico, 2008-12-25 10:03:06

    Great comment 7:55. That’s going to win us queers a lot of public love and support. If you want to continue living in America and you want to thrive in America, why you think making enemies of the over 60% of the total American populace who think of themselves as religious is a good plan. You’re clearly a northeast liberal, because only somebody that insulated could imagine the Catholic Church is an "irrelevant" organization. You also think of that ilk becuase you have surrendered yourself to hope that the courts will bail your sorry ass out when it comes to extremist gay demands. They may in the short run, but the thing about checks and balances is that imbalances correct themselves and overreaching by the courts always gets corrected. You’re going to have to eventually learn how to get along with others.

  • Rayosun, 2008-12-25 21:20:37

    There are some great Roman Catholic Democrats in this country. Their only problem is imagining that they owe their character and morality to their church rather than their party affiliation. I show on my http://LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/ and http://CatholicArrogance.Org web sites how moral so many liberal leaders are and how immoral so many Roman Catholic leaders are. And why liberals fight on behalf of gays and R.C. leaders fight against them.

  • , 2008-12-28 09:56:01

    "traditional morality will be discarded and the religious community will feel left out."?? Um... firstly straight people are doing just fine de-moralising their traditions without our help. But I don’t see how gays getting married would change any of their lives or beliefs (and their own so called demoralising acts).

  • , 2008-12-28 09:56:41

  • , 2009-01-01 15:16:13

    A Church of love? Of course not.. the Catholic church has managed to kill, murder, steal, abuse, hide criminals and purger itself for near on 2000 years.. changing the bible to suit itself.. and it’s agenda.. and it’s brainless followers continue to listen.. if you where looking for a modern day Satan.. or ’evil’.. you only have to look as far as the Vatican and the Pope.I stopped being a Catholic a long time ago, and found real truth in research, but what I would never do is take the word of the pope’s ’Truth’ and make it my own like so many ’christians’ do. If people being gay, is the only thing that bothers you in the world.. you are lucky but blind.What the catholic church hates, is the fact they have little control over the population and the world, we are still like Children learning to walk, but we don’t need the hate of this Criminal body to guide us.. we can now think for ourselves and most of us are wise enough to understand that homosexuality is as normal as hetrosexuality and has exsisted long before the Catholic church appeared.. and will be hear long after it has been destroyed by itself...

  • , 2010-10-25 03:20:47

    since when the religion takes care of the planet?! They make children as a rabbit, because this is the only way to make sex, and sex is good, so let’s make a lot of little ones and they can be as stupid as their parents, they don’t care about the water, the air, the green, they think they are going to haven, and haven is waaay better than here (not for me, because I really think their version of heaven is sooo boreing) so why take care of all that we have here if the apocalypse it’s coming? soon... Don’t pretend you care about the planet or the people, you only care about living forever because you can’t see the world the way it really is...when you make a real conexion with nature you don’t need a stupid god to guide you!! Religios suks

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