NEWS NOTES: Mother Honors Deceased Gay Son with Anti-Bullying Activism; Catholic Support Grows for Businesses’ Right to Discriminate; And More

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

1. Alba Lucía Reyes Arenas, the mother of a gay student who died by suicide after being bullied by officials at his Catholic school, has been propelled by her son’s death to become a leading LGBT advocate in Colombia. The Washington Blade reported that Reyes sued the school and eventually won her case in 2015 with a favorable ruling from the nation’s Supreme Court. Since then, Reyes has launched the anti-bullying Fundación Sergio Urrego to honor her son, participated in a number of international LGBT events, and witnessed an amendment named after her son about LGBT inclusion in schools that is  be added to the country’s non-discrimination law.

2. Data from the Public Religion Research Institute found that Catholic support for the right of small businesses to refuse services based on their religious beliefs has risen, according to Pride Source. Support for such refusals jumped nearly ten percentage points, from 29 percent in 2017 to 38 percent in 2018. However, 58 percent of Catholics still rejected such refusals targeting LGBT people.

3. Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, was featured as a Catholic leader in the Human Rights Campaign’s resource, “Coming Home to Catholicism and to Self.” He commented, “For LGBTQ Catholics, coming out is often an intensely spiritual experience, responding to the immense love that God bestows on all people, everywhere. Catholicism affirms that all of our major life transitions are opportunities for God to give us grace. Although the institutional Catholic Church does not yet recognize it, coming out as LGBTQ is also a sacrament, a moment where we embrace the true and holy way that God made us.”

4. Catholic bishops in Argentina helped defeat legislation that would have made sexual education in the country more LGBT-inclusive, reported Crux. Opponents said the proposed changes would be an imposition of “gender ideology,” an increasingly frequent talking point by church leaders worldwide. The bishops’ conference released a statement suggesting the legislation would curtail religious schools and parents’ right to educate their children according to their values and run the risk “of certain ideological positions that want to be imposed as a common thought.”

5. The Shepherd Express profiled the renewed activities of Dignity/Milwaukee, which has been revitalized after falling dormant in the mid-1990s. The group has liturgies twice monthly, which are notably led by a deacon “approved by the Archdiocese who brings communion” for a service that “reflects the character of the traditional Catholic Mass.”

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, January 26, 2019

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