NEWS NOTES: Justin Bieber Supports Queer Catholic Fan; Catholic Politician Says Homosexuality a “Mental Illness”; And More

Here are some news items that you may find of interest:

1. Pop singer Justin Bieber offered supportive words to a young Catholic fan who had recently come out as queer. The fan reported difficulty finding a welcoming church because, “Everybody is so homophobic.” Bieber replied that “my breaks my heart for you. I’m so sorry,” reported Gay Star News

2. Homosexuality is a “mental illness,” stated a political candidate in Florida who is Catholic. PinkNews reported that Donald McBath, a Republican who is also a divorce lawyer, said in an interview, “Abstain, if you really have that mental illness. It’s not love.” LGBT groups have criticized McBath, who still claimed he could remain impartial if elected to the judgeship he seeks.

3. Villa Madonna Retreat House, a center run by the Diocese of Saint John in Canada, cancelled a retreat by an anti-LGBT organization that focuses on the “sexually broken,” including lesbian and gay people. LGBT advocates had criticized the center for hosting the group. Villa Madonna officials are not commenting on why the retreat was cancelled, according to CBC.

4. A gay man who attended Canisius College recently discussed in OutSports how the Jesuit college helped him come out. Alex Valvo, who now referees collegiate hockey, wrote, “One would think that attending a Catholic school would drive me even further into the closet. . .In fact it did the opposite. In my four years at Canisius I was exposed to a world I never got to experience at my rural high school. I met people who were openly gay and proud of it.”

5. A local Kentucky columnist sharply criticized Louisville’s Archbishop Joseph Kurtz for defending the “First Amendment Defense Act,” which would undercut protections against anti-LGBT discrimination to supposedly protect religious liberty. Linda Allewait wrote, in part, “Kurtz’s strawmen are on fire. He can stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes on where exactly discrimination and the blocking of rights are occurring in this country. . .we should talk about the rampant religiously sponsored and government funded discrimination that takes place in this country every day. Is Kurtz ready for that dialogue?”

6. Catholic officials endorsed a new law in Oklahoma that allows religiously-affiliated social service agencies to discriminate against potential foster or adoptive parents who are LGBT, reported Into. Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City and Bishop David Konderla of Tulsa said they were “grateful for Gov. Fallin’s support of religious liberty.”   An LGBT rights organization in Oklahoma plans to sue the state to have the law repealed.  In Kansas, where a similar law was recently passed, Michael Schluttloffel, director of the Kansas Catholic Conference, said LGBT activists want to “use the power of government to crush” people who oppose equality because of their religious beliefs.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, July 7, 2018

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