Just as Pope Francis appears on Rolling Stone magazine’s cover, Catholics and people of faith worldwide have called on him to condemn anti-LGBT laws implemented in several nations recently through a new campaign called #PopeSpeakOut.
“[It] encourages Twitter users to use the hashtag #PopeSpeakOut to ask Pope Francis to condemn laws in Nigeria, Russia, Uganda, India, and Jamaica, places that ‘legislate and enforce death dealing policies and/or the suspension of civil rights based on sexual orientation or gender identity,’ according to the campaign’s website…
“The website also gives visitors the option to email Pope Francis, with text asking him to ‘to stop discrimination, hate, and violence against gay and lesbian people by condemning Uganda’s anti-gay bill and similar efforts in other nations.’ “
Pope Francis has used his global profile and popularity to speak out for human rights, and now many have asked why Catholics, including the pope, have not spoken more strongly when acts of LGBT discrimination and violence occur. Writing in the Catholic Herald, a columnist asks the question “Shouldn’t Catholics be protesting loudly against anti-gay persecution?” The article continues:
“The Catholic Church’s position on such laws are clear: they are are unjust. And it sometimes seems that the Catholic Church is standing atop two boats heading in opposite directions, with radical, illiberal anti-discrimination laws in the West and ultra-conservative morality laws in the developing world. Barbarism in one direction; decadence in the other…
“Catholics should see this as a matter of social justice. As [Niall] Gooch [a Catholic] has argued, as much as Catholics oppose discrimination laws that affect adoption agencies and B&Bs, and various other radical secularist measures, what’s happening in Nigeria is surely far, far worse than schools using the charity Stonewall’s material.”
This defense of LGBT human rights would also be in keeping with Pope Francis’ more welcoming attitude for all people, as when he said the famous remark “Who am I to judge?” or called for the Church to be a “home for all.” A Kenyan newspaper, KTN, carried an opinion piece which highlighted the promise of Pope Francis if he would use his voice to stop anti-LGBT efforts:
“Pope Francis is set to reverse centuries of blind intolerance, misogyny, and useless ‘culture wars’…He’s the right man for the job, and the historic moment.
“Pope Francis said not a word when France became the largest predominantly Catholic country to permit gay marriage. Apparently he was too busy washing the feet of the poor to tweet. You’ve got to admire Pope Francis because he ‘gets it’. The Church needs him to ‘modernise’ to survive….
“The basic mission of the Church ought to be social justice, as Pope Francis has emphasised. That’s the lesson I take from Jesus. The man from Judea and Nazareth was a social activist who would’ve embraced gays and gay rights.”
New Ways Ministry encourages you to participate in the #PopeSpeakOut campaign. Visit NoMoreTriangleNations.com or click here for suggested tweets. Share this information with your friends and networks and encourage them to participate, too!
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry