NEWS NOTES: Trans Health, Fr. Martin, LGBTQ+ Poster, Successful Fundraiser, and Gay Baseball Player

Here are some items that you may find of interest:

1. U.S. President Donald Trump is considering rolling back an Obama-era directive that prevented doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies from discriminating against transgender people, reported The New York Times.  The Department of Health and Human Services is drafting a proposal for White House approval.  In a suit against the directive brought by a coalition of groups, including a network of Catholic hospitals, a Texas federal district court judge temporarily stopped enforcement of the protections for transgender patients, saying that Congress had outlawed discrimination based on sex — ‘the biological differences between males and females’ — but not transgender status.”  The judge also said that the Obama-era rule probably violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because it does not offer exemptions for faith-based groups.

2. Despite a petition to remove Fr. James Martin, S.J., as the commencement speaker at the Jesuit-run Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama, the campus administration is supporting the renowned author, reported  The petition was motivated by Martin’s books “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.” 

The poster mentioned in item number 3.

3. In Armagh, Northern Ireland, parents at St. Patrick School have hired a lawyer to complain that the school put up posters for an LGBTQ+ youth forum sponsored by Cara Friend, an LGBTQ+ organization, reported  A spokesperson for Cara Friend said, “The reality is that there are LGBTQ+ students in this school. This poster could potentially have given support and information to someone who really needs it and, in the balancing of rights, that would outweigh any objections this one family could have as it does not detract from any rights or protections afforded them.”

4. Last week, Bondings 2.0 reported that a Montana priest complained when a gay couple was serving on the planning committee of a fundraiser for Billings Catholic Schools.  As a follow-up to that story, reported that the fundraising gala was an unexpected success with over 660 people attending, “an increase from last year’s attendance, according to Foundation executive director Jan Haider.”

5. carries a first-person coming out story by Michael Holland, a college varsity baseball player at Felician University, a Catholic school in New Jersey. In a contemporary twist to delivering “coming out” announcements, Holland informed his friends and teammates that he was gay by sending messages out on Twitter and Instagram.  He received enthusiastic support in response.

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, May 20, 2018


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