Brazil’s Bishops Silent After Violence Targeting Pro-LGBTQ Comedy Group; Other News Updates

Here are some items you might find of interest:

1. Right wing extremists in Brazil firebombed the offices of a comedy group criticized for its release of a Netflix Christmas special in which it is implied that Jesus is gay. No one was injured in the attack, which police are still investigating, but the violence comes after mass protests of the film, The First Temptation of Christ. Those critics included Brazil’s bishops who used heated language to condemn the film. So far, no church leaders in Brazil have condemned the attack.

2. Daniel Foote, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Zambia, cited Pope Francis in a statement critical of that nation’s laws criminalizing homosexuality. Foote, who was recalled over his pro-LGBTQ comments, wrote, in part:

“I agree that this this issue is completely up to Zambians to decide.  You are blessed with a diversity of Christian denominations, and while I understand that many are not Catholic, let me cite Pope Francis.  He has repeatedly spoken about the need for his Church to welcome and love all people, regardless of sexual orientation.  In 2016, the Pope said, ‘When a person arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, “Go away because you are homosexual.”‘”

3. A state senator in Indiana is again trying to bar private schools that discriminate against LGBTQ people from receiving state voucher funding, an effort prompted by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ spate of church worker firings. Senator J.D. Ford, a Democrat, introduced his bill for this year’s session.  Though he had attempted to do so before, this time  he has the support of Superintendent Jennifer McCormick, Indiana’s highest education official. The bill is unlikely to pass in the Republican-controlled state legislature. Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, which has so far fired three employees in LGBTQ-related disputes, received $1.5 million in state funding in 2018.

4. The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics posted a reflection on creation, LGBTQ issues, and fundamentalism by Jesuit Fr. Luís Corrêa Lima, a professor in Brazil who researches gender and sexuality.  Corrêa is also active in LGBTQ ministry. You can read his reflection, which is also available in Spanish and Portuguese, here.

5. Thanks Be to Pod, a progressive Christian podcast, featured an episode with queer Catholic Maria Michonski who spoke about how “she continuously feels a draw to Catholicism and its rituals” and that “ultimately, by separating her Catholic identity from the institutional Church, Maria is able to reconcile her sexuality with her Catholicism.” To listen to the episode, click here.

6. DignityUSA responded to the Synod on the Amazon’s final document by calling it a “mixed bag” that was both “remarkable” in how it addressed issues of ecology and economics, but fell short on issues of gender and sexuality, specifically in terms of women delegates not being able to vote and the question of banning gay men from the priesthood. For the full statement, click here.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, January 5, 2019

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