Monday, January 17, 2011

The origins of homophobia – August 20, 2003 - Public Broadcasting Service


Homosexuality is just one of many variable traits among humans. People vary in height, skin colour, musical talent, food preferences and religious beliefs. Most differences are not made into issues. Where they are, e.g. race, religion or gender, we don’t usually consider the trait itself, but the hostility to it, as the issue.

Race is not the issue, racism is. People’s differing faiths are seldom the issue -- we treat that as a matter of private belief -- but religious intolerance is the social issue before us. We understand that to be female is not in itself the issue, but sexism is.

With sexual orientation, people tend to focus on homosexuality as the issue, when by the same principle as the above examples, it should be homophobia that should be the real issue. Here, homophobia is loosely defined as negative attitudes towards and intolerance of homosexual persons.

Some may argue that homosexuality is unique in that there are moral constructions against it. But moral constructions are merely the rationalisations for underlying homophobic attitudes, just as once upon a time, moral constructions were used to justify slavery or to subordinate women (and are still used today)… 

Homophobia as a reinforcement of categories; categories as denial of acts

Professor Elizabeth Young-Bruehl, a psychotherapist, makes the point that homophobia is quite unique among other kinds of hatreds in that it starts off as a  hatred of certain acts, which is then extended to a class of people. Other hatreds, e.g. antipathy to blacks or women, are expressed in terms of general categories. She suggests that homophobes hate acts that they themselves can and usually do engage in, so, to repudiate these acts they must assign them clearly to another category of people. The category is all that stands between them and those acts.

She notes that when the differences between themselves and certain types of homosexuals are clear, homophobes are less strident about categories. They can go to the Mardi Gras in New Orleans and enjoy being photographed with the drag queens. (In the Asian context, think about how many tour groups happily watch transvestite shows in Thailand). But when homosexuals are too close to home -- when they hold hands or kiss in public like heterosexuals -- the line of difference, the categorization, is threatened and homophobes are enraged…

Homophobia as an extension of sexism

Male prejudice against gay males is a form of sexism. It is part of male denigration of femaleness. The psychoanalyst Richard Isay has argued that fear of homosexuality per se is secondary in homophobic men to their fear and hatred of what they perceive as feminine in other men and in themselves.

For this reason, men are not generally prejudiced against lesbians, who present no threat to their masculinity. However, some men view butch lesbians as competitors for the attention of women, and see in femme lesbians a spurning of men. Sometimes we see the reaction where the men say, let’s show them what real love is -- and from here, it’s a short hop to sexual assault.

Women can have a fear of being approached or even raped by a butch lesbian while they react to a femme with what might be called an anxiety of similarity -- "she is just like me, so I could be a lesbian like her."

Homophobes are authoritarian, status conscious, intolerant of ambiguity and rigid

Researchers using questionnaires and interviews have developed a profile of the homophobic person. He or she is authoritarian, status conscious, intolerant of ambiguity, and both cognitively and sexually rigid. But the homophobes thus profiled are motivated less by conventional sexual morality than by a desire to preserve a double standard between the sexes, that is, to preserve traditional-- traditionally sexist--masculine and feminine gender roles…
Read complete article:

Homophobia, Religion, and Psychology
Andrew Keller

Homophobia, the term for inflammatory remarks about homosexuals, can be more aptly described as “the socialized state of fear, threat, aversion, prejudice, and irrational hatred of the feelings of same-sex attraction” (Smith 88). In the following paragraphs, we will examine studies that focus the effects that religion and psychology can have upon homophobia. In general, there is a positive correlation between religious authoritarianism and homophobia. What we will try to add to the studies - using elaborations of ideas from Sigmund Freud and Erich Fromm - is an answer to questions like the following: What does this have to do with psychology? Why should the average person care about this? What can we do to reverse homophobia?

Much of the studies that we found deal with two factors - religious fundamentalism and right-wing authoritarianism - that make for a strong correlation for homophobia. The first, an article by Bruce Hunsberger, examines the first of these two facets of religious belief. Religious fundamentalism is defined as “the belief that there is one set of religious teachings that clearly contains the fundamental, basic, intrinsic essential inerrant truth about humanity and deity” (Hunsberger 5). The basic idea is that people who are religious fundamentalists believe that their way is the only true way, and that they must fight against all who oppose it. In the case of Hunsberger’s study, religious fundamentalism was positively correlated with homophobia, in both of the two areas in which the tests were conducted, Ghana and Canada.

In the case of this study, there could be many reasons for the relationship between religious fundamentalism and homophobia. Hunsberger concludes that, when men come from same-sex schools, homophobia among religious fundamentalists increases; when women from same-sex schools are evaluated, however, the result is a decrease in homophobia (8).

Now we must go further and provide some psychological insight into this finding. Erich Fromm, in his book Psychoanalysis and Religion, speaks about incest. He states that incest is a desire to remain attached to the comfort of home; yet he goes further than that. This yearning for solidarity, according to Fromm, extends to “the tribe, the nation, the race, the state, the social class, [and] political parties,” and becomes “the roots of nationalism and racism, which in turn are symptoms of man’s inability to experience others and himself as free human beings” (81). If we extend this idea even further, we can begin to understand the relationship between religious fundamentalism and homophobia. By this definition, one’s religion would become part of things such as the tribe or nation; and homophobia would become just another word for such hatred as nationalism and racism.

In the book Overcoming Heterosexism and Homophobia, Warren J. Blumenfeld creates a link between homophobia and anti-Semitism. He states that, throughout history, dominant groups represent target groups “in a variety of ways in order to maintain control or mastery” (Blumenfeld 131). He also gives the example of the Employment Discrimination Act, which grants rights to gays and lesbians. Some people, he says, oppose it on the grounds that gay people are using their status as a victim as a way to obtain special privileges. This logic infuriated people such as Senator Paul Wellston, who said it is “precisely the kind of argument that has been made . . . in behalf of the worst kind of discrimination against Jewish people” (Blumenfeld). The point here is that there are many types of incestuous groups. In making a connection between homophobia and anti-Semitism, we can start to disassemble the hatred.

The second article to address is entitled “Homophobia, Irrationality, and Christian Ideology: Does a Relationship Exist?” The authors of the article, Caroll Plugge-Foust and George Strickland, found a positive correlation between both Christian ideology and irrational beliefs with the Homophobia Scale (2). Here the idea is that homophobia is based on an irrational hatred, as we stated in the first sentence of this section. The religious ideas are the same as the first study. The most important part of this study is the use of Ellis’ Irrational Beliefs Scale. This scale contains eleven items dealing with beliefs common in U.S. culture that, if endorsed by the taker, would indicate a neurosis (Plugge-Foust 7). The study did, in fact, find that there is a correlation between irrational beliefs and homophobia as well as Christian ideology and homophobia (Plugge-Foust 9).

What could this mean? This article deals with both the religious and psychological aspects of homophobia, so there is less to elaborate upon. But, for the sake of our argument, let’s elaborate anyway. Fromm, again in the book Psychoanalysis and Religion, touches upon the idea of irrational thinking. He gives the example of a Stalinist:

We talk to an intelligent Stalinist who exhibits a great capacity to make use of his reason in many areas of thought. When we come to discuss Stalinism with him, however, we are suddenly confronted with a closed system of thought, the only function of which is to prove that his allegiance to Stalinism is in line with and not contradictory to reason (Fromm 57)

Again, we can extend Fromm’s thoughts. Since this is simply an example, one can say the same thing about the positive correlation between irrational thinking and homophobia: The homophobic person who is otherwise rational can exhibit great amounts of irrationality when talking about his or her feelings toward homosexuals.

The third article we will discuss is entitled “Religiosity, Authoritarianism, and Homophobia: A Multidimensional Approach,” by Wayne W. Wilkinson. Instead of using fundamentalism or irrationality as a basis for homophobia, Wilkinson uses the term right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), defined as “a sociopolitical construct characterized by submission to recognized authorities and the social norms established by those authorities, and hostility toward groups seen as violating these norms” (57). By this definition, RWA is not very much different than religious fundamentalism. Both are characterized by the idea that the group to which the person belongs is right, with the underlying assumption that anyone else is wrong.

The findings of the third study contrast with the first. In this case, people scored low in RWA; they also scored low in homophobia (Wilkinson 63). The most striking part of the study is these people did not view their world as a “dangerous place typified by ‘menacing outsiders’ threatening the established norms” (Wilkinson 63). Most likely, this schema is the reason for the low levels of homophobia. There are many things to think about regarding this third study. First, the students were from a higher socioeconomic background than those from the first study. We will not dwell on this aspect, but there could be a relationship there. Second, Wilkinson concludes that the low level of RWA - or, as he states, authoritarian self-righteousness - may have led the group to withhold the _expression of positive views of gays, such as granting them the same rights as everyone else (64). In other words, they lack the ability to claim moral authority so much that they do not even want to say what should be done to counteract homophobia. These findings, of course, are a good thing; and they are also an excellent way to finish our evaluations of research.

We have talked about Erich Fromm in this part of our project in order to do make our point clearer. Fromm most certainly addresses authoritarian religion. In his view, the authoritarian type of religion - whatever type it may be - leads humans to make the types of errors in judgment that we have talked about regarding homophobia. One of these views is the belief of the absolute truth of one’s beliefs, which leads to incestuous thoughts of nationalism, racism, and, as we have explained, homophobia. Another distortion of authoritarian religion is irrationality. Like the case of Stalinism, people can be rational in all aspects of their life, except when it comes to their attitudes toward homosexuals. Thus far, we have left out the most important part of Fromm’s argument: the humanistic aspect of religion. What does this mean, exactly? We have already seen the humanistic side of religion in this project. The individuals who scored low on the RWA test are examples of this care for man. They know the dangers of hatred such as homophobia. Instead of trying to describe Fromm’s thesis, we will close this part of our project with his own words:

Beyond the attitude of wonder and of concern there is a third element in religious experience, the one which is most clearly exhibited and described by the mystics. It is an attitude of oneness not only in oneself, not only with one’s fellow man, but with all life and, beyond that, with the universe (Fromm 95)

Works Cited

Blumenfeld, Warren J. “Homophobia and Anti-Semitism: Making the Links.” Overcoming Heterosexism and Homophobia: Strategies that Work. Sears, James T. and Williams, Walter L. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997. 131-140. This essay deals with the ways in which anti-Semitism and homophobia are interconnected. The article starts with a quote from Senator Paul Wellstone in which he decries discrimination against homosexuals, using the argument that it is the same as discriminating against Jews. The essay then describes ways that you can create ice-breaking activities to dispel myths about both gays and Jews.

Fromm, Erich. Psychoanalysis and Religion. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978. Fromm, in this book, outlines the two types of religion - humanistic and authoritarian - under which, in his opinion, all major religions fall. He also speaks of the methods of incestuous behavior that carry over into society, such as racism and nationalism.

Hunsberger, Bruce; Owusu, Vida; and Duck, Robert. “Religion and Prejudice in Ghana and Canada: Religious Fundamentalism, Right-Wing Authoritarianism, and Attitudes Toward Homosexuals and Women.” International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 9 (1999): 181-195. The studies conducted are the same, just in two different places, in order to contrast or compare each of them. What they found is that, in both places, religious fundamentalism was positively correlated with homophobia; right-wing authoritarianism was positively correlated with negative attitudes toward women, and was therefore moot for this paper. They also found that when men go to same-sex schools, their attitudes toward gays worsen; for women, they get better.

Plugge-Foust, Caroll; and Strickland, George. “Homophobia, Irrationality, and Christian Ideology: Does a Relationship Exist?” Journal of Sex Education and Therapy 25 (2000): 240-245. This study investigated the relationship between homophobia, irrational beliefs, and religious ideology. The sample consisted of about 150 students, who anonymously and voluntarily completed Ellis’ Irrational Beliefs Scale, the Homophobia Scale, and the Doctrinal Label Scale of the Christian Ideology. The study showed a positive correlation between homophobia and irrational beliefs. Conservative Christian ideology was the best predictor of homophobia.

Wilkinson, Wayne W. “Religiosity, Authoritarianism, and Homophobia: A Multidimensional Approach.” The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 14 (2004): 55-67. This study investigated the relationship between religiosity, right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), and homophobia. In contrast to the other two articles, RWA (or just plain religious ideology) was low in the test-takers, which made for a low amount of homophobia. In fact, the researcher concludes that the participants felt positively about homosexuals, but were afraid to voice their opinion out of fear of sounding too moral.

Is Homophobia Associated With Homosexual Arousal?
By Henry E. Adams, Lester W. Wright, Jr., and Bethany A. Lohr,
University of Georgia - 1996

The authors investigated the role of homosexual arousal in exclusively heterosexual men who admitted negative affect toward homosexual individuals. Participants consisted of a group of homophobic men (n = 35) and a group of nonhomophobic men (n = 29); they were assigned to groups on the basis of their scores on the Index of Homophobia (W. W. Hudson & W. A. Ricketts, 1980). The men were exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian videotapes, and changes in penile circumference were monitored. They also completed an Aggression Questionnaire (A. H. Buss & M. Perry, 1992). Both groups exhibited increases in penile circumference to the heterosexual and female homosexual videos. Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. The groups did not differ in aggression. Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.

Hostility and discrimination against homosexual individuals are well-established facts (Berrill, 1990). On occasion, these negative attitudes lead to hostile verbal and physical acts against gay individuals with little apparent motivation except a strong dislike (Herek, 1989). In fact, more than 90% of gay men and lesbians report being targets of verbal abuse or threats, and more than one-third report being survivors of violence related to their homosexuality (Fassinger, 1991 ). Although negative attitudes and behaviors toward gay individuals have been assumed to be associated with rigid moralistic beliefs, sexual ignorance, and fear of homosexuality, the etiology of these attitudes and behaviors remains a puzzle (Marmor, 1980). Weinberg ( 1972 ) labeled these attitudes and behaviors homophobia, which he defined as the dread of being in close quarters with homosexual men and women as well as irrational fear, hatred, and intolerance by heterosexual individuals of homosexual men and women… Photo

The results of this study indicate that individuals who score in the homophobic range and admit negative affect toward homosexuality demonstrate significant sexual arousal to male homosexual erotic stimuli. These individuals were selected on the basis of their report of having only heterosexual arousal and experiences. Furthermore, their ratings of erection and arousal to homosexual stimuli were low and not significantly different from nonhomophobic men who demonstrated no significant increase in penile response to homosexual stimuli. These data are consistent with response discordance where verbal judgments are not consistent with physiological reactivity, as in the case of homophobic individuals viewing homosexual stimuli. Lang (1994) has noted that the most dramatic response discordance occurs with reports of feeling and physiologic responses. Another possible explanation is found in various psychoanalytic theories, which have generally explained homophobia as a threat to an individual's own homosexual impulses causing repression, denial, or reaction formation (or all three; West, 1977). Generally, these varied explanations conceive of homophobia as one type of latent homosexuality where persons either are unaware of or deny their homosexual urges. These data are consistent with these notions.

Another explanation of these data is found in Barlow, Sakheim, and Beck's (1983) theory of the role of anxiety and attention in sexual responding. It is possible that viewing homosexualstimuli causes negative emotions such as anxiety in homophobic men but not in nonhomophobic men. Because anxiety has been shown to enhance arousal and erection, this theory would predict increases in erection in homophobic men. Furthermore, it would indicate that a response to homosexual stimuli is a function of the threat condition rather than sexual arousal per se. Whereas difficulties of objectively evaluating psychoanalytic hypotheses are well-documented, these approaches would predict that sexual arousal is an intrinsic response to homosexual stimuli, whereas Barlow's (1986) theory would predict that sexual arousal to homosexual stimuli by homophobic individuals is a function of anxiety. These competing notions can and should be evaluated by future research. Photos

The hypothesis that homophobic men are merely aggressive individuals is not supported by the present data…
Read more:
Journal of Abnormal Psychology, American Psychological Association, Inc.
1996, Vol. 105, No. 3,440—445

GAY YOUTH SUICIDE | BENEDICT XVI & BISHOPS Child Sexual Abuse Cover-ups – Negligence Protecting (1) Children & (2) LGBT Children | Family of Rutgers suicide victim lends name to bill – November 19, 2010 – CNN

Benedict XVI - INTERNALIZED HOMOPHOBIA –"It [homosexuality] remains something that is against the Nature that God originally willed.” - UNSUBSTANTIATED ANTIGAY STATEMENT – Selective Attention – Dissociation – Process of Projection - permits EXTERNALIZATION of unconscious conflicts - rejecting own unacceptable urges by rejecting lesbians and gay men (who symbolize those urges) without consciously recognizing the urges as own. - PLANK & SPECK - Luke 6:40-42 & GALILEO

Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the EU Member States, Part II – The Social Situation | European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights - 2009 --- 


7. Religious institutions

It was reported in interviews with LGBT NGOs that in several Member States, including Cyprus,276 Greece,277 Latvia,278 Lithuania,279 Italy,280 Poland281 and Romania,282 church representatives, particularly from Orthodox and Catholic denominations, engage in political debate concerning LGBT rights, often mobilising and lobbying against the adoption of such rights. On the other hand, Jewish and Muslim figures and institutions were not found to play a significant role in anti-LGBT mobilisation or political debates regarding LGBT rights in any of the Member States.

For example, in Lithuania, the church has taken a position against LGBT rights. The Minister of Social Affairs and Labour stated283 in Parliament that the inclusion of amendments to the Law on Equal Treatment (implementing the Employment Framework Directive 2000/78/EC) weakening protection for LGBT persons was discussed and approved by the Lithuanian Bishop's Conference, and MPs argued against anti-discrimination legislation by referring to 'the Christian traditions of Lithuania'. The Orthodox Church in Romania has lobbied for a change in the Constitution to deny the possibility of same-sex marriage.284 LGBT NGOs in Italy285 and Poland286 said during interview that they consider the Catholic Church as one of the key political actors against new LGBT rights legislation.

Diversity and discrimination in religious organizations

In Finland, a study287 based on interviews with ten employees of the Evangelical Lutheran Church who identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, found that although the general move towards a more open social climate and the ongoing debate around the status of sexual minorities within the Church was leading church employees to consider the possibility of leading an open life, at the same time, public debate has created pressure and made people fearful of taking a stand: “The risk of being 84 stigmatised or discriminated against is present in many of the daily situations involving discussion about the status of lesbian, gay and bisexual people within the Church.”288

In Sweden, the Association of Parishes and Pastorates of the Church of Sweden together with EKHO (Swedish Ecumenical Association of Christian Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgendered People) participated in the EQUAL project “Normgiving Diversity” focusing on three professions with a normative standard-setting function in society: the police, the church and the army in an attempt to promote awareness of sexual diversity among employees in the long term.289

In some Member States, the exemption for employers to be able to discriminate against employees who do not 'act in good faith and with loyalty to the organisation's ethos' are interpreted by religious organisations in ways that include sexual orientation. As the Commission has noted, ‘[m]any of the difficulties encountered in implementing the sexual orientation provisions of the Employment Equality Directive relate to the breadth of any exceptions applying to employers with a religious ethos… These exceptions are sensitive because some employers may be hostile to homosexuality because of religious beliefs.’290

In Germany, Kolpingwerk, a Catholic social organisation with a focus on education (in children’s homes and youth centres, among others), which is exempt from the antidiscrimination law as a denominational organisation, dismissed a 53-year-old gay employee after his sexual orientation was discovered.291 In the Netherlands, the Dutch Equal Treatment Law contains similar exemptions for employment for associations based on religion or belief. These associations may impose requirements on the occupancy of a post which, in view of the organisation's purpose, are deemed necessary to live up to its founding principles. The Equal Treatment Law stipulates that such requirements may not lead to distinction on the sole grounds of political affinity, race, sex, nationality, heterosexual or homosexual orientation or civil status, but the requirements may be based on 'additional circumstances' which are not further specified. The EU has criticised these justification grounds, in reaction to which the 85 Commissie Gelijke Behandeling [the Equal Treatment Commission] has proposed that these provisions should be restated.292

Fieldwork in Latvia revealed that the Lutheran Church has, on two occasions, excommunicated ministers for their dissenting views on homosexuality and LGBT rights. One minister revealed that he was gay and publicly expressed the view that homosexuality was not a sin and did not contradict Christianity. He was excommunicated for promotion of sinful behaviour. Another minister, at the time the dean of the University of Latvia's faculty of theology, was excommunicated after criticising the Church’s action in the above mentioned case. He now serves as an Anglican pastor in a small Anglican congregation in Riga - the only established religious denomination in Latvia supportive of LGBT rights.293

In Ireland, religious bodies own and manage the vast majority of primary schools and a significant number of secondary schools. This might contribute to the invisibility of homosexuals and bisexuals in schools. Religious bodies also own and manage a significant number of hospitals and health services. Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act exempts religious bodies and services in cases where discrimination is demonstrated as necessary to preserve the ethos of the religious body, but this exemption has never been tested in court. In Hungary, the theological faculty of Karoli Gaspar Calvinist University has a policy that bars students following a 'homosexual way of life' from being educated as pastors or religion teachers. The Supreme Court of Hungary has ruled in favour of the faculty and decided that it was permissible to exclude lesbians and gay men.294

The promotion of diversity regarding sexual orientation is often difficult in environments controlled by religious organisations hostile to LGBT issues. For example, in Malta, where the Catholic Church administers around one-third of the schools, according to the National Minimum Curriculum 'teachers must keep in mind the context of the moral and religious values of the students and their parents'. In this context the Maltese Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) has reportedly been barred from disseminating leaflets or education materials that present LGBT issues.

However, there are also examples of religious institutions across the European Union that have a different approach to LGBT persons and issues. For example, in the Netherlands by 1995 the synod of the Netherlands Reformed Church had already issued a statement that members of the church have equal rights, regardless of their sexual orientation or way of life.295 In 1990 the synod of Emmen of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands “called on all congregations to accept homosexual members, in office too”. In 1995 the Lutheran synod of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands decided to bless these homosexual relationships in the church, as well as stating that there are no theological arguments ‘against blessing two people in their promise of lasting friendship, devotion, and faithfulness’.

In Finland, reportedly since 1999 the Kallio parish (Kallion seurakunta) in Helsinki has embraced “rainbow people” and the “Rainbow Masses” have been held in connection with Gay Pride events in Vaasa, Helsinki and Tampere.296 An ecumenical group called Yhteys (alliance) is working to promote more liberal attitudes towards sexual and gender minorities within the Church. In Sweden, as was mentioned earlier the Church participated in the 2008 Pride event.


In some Member States religious institutions and organisations often engage in political debates concerning LGBT rights, lobbying against the adoption of such rights and thus hampering new legislation in this area. Some religious groups and figures in some Member States are also active in mobilising demonstrations against LGBT events.

In some Member States the church owns and administers a significant number of schools, social services and community centres used for public debates or events. LGBT NGOs have been denied access to such premises and have been barred from disseminating information on LGBT issues or participating in political debates.

Exemptions in anti-discrimination legislation, allowing employers to discriminate against employees who do not 'act in good faith and with loyalty to the organisation's ethos' are interpreted in ways that result in discrimination of LGBT persons in some Member States.

There are also some positive examples of religious organisations engaging with LGBT persons.
Read complete report:

Gay Catholic - Nichi Vendola - Possible ITALY’S PRIME MINISTER

Catholic, communist, gay
By Chase Madar,
January 9, 2011 – Times LIVE

Meet the new star of Italy's left, Nichi Vendola, who, unlikely as it seems with this profile, is poised to capitalise on the country's increasing disgust at the outrageous antics of its once untouchable prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, writes Chase Madar…

Vendola is the governor of Apulia, heel of the peninsular boot, one of Italy's poorest and most socially conservative regions. That it should elect (and re-elect) a governor with a background in the Rifondazione Comunista (Communist Refoundation party), which he helped found in 1991, but is also openly gay, is counter intuitive, even if Vendola is a professed Catholic. He is now one of Italy's most popular politicians and may lead a coalition of left and centre-left parties in the national elections of 2013. He is a charismatic scrapper, and has the Italian right worried. Photo 

Vendola can use the battuta, too. In November he enraged the right-wing governor of prosperous northern Lombardy by declaring it the most "mobbed-up" region in Italy. The Camorra, with its base in the south, has managed to penetrate northern Italy, but still, having a southerner criticising the north is a novelty. And reversing decades of anti-communist Stalin-baiting, Vendola has condemned Berlusconi for embracing Vladimir Putin and the "business is business" approach to buying energy from authoritarian states like Russia and Libya.

When asked if he might become the first gay prime minister, Vendola said there had already been one, whose identity he had sworn never to reveal.
Read complete report:

USA Cross-party Catholic Leadership Gay Marriage Support

New England Republicans warming to,
or at least ignoring, gay marriage
 by Rob Anderson,
January 13, 2011 – The Boston Globe

Republicans have taken control of the legislature in New Hampshire, but they have decided not to pursue a repeal of the state's gay marriage law. Instead, they will focus on jobs and economic issues, according to House Republican leader D.J. Bettencourt. Photo & Bio

"The social issues must take a back seat," Bettencourt said. "Everyone was in agreement we have to immediately get to work on the budget, retirement and reform education."

Their decision to ignore social issues in general, and gay marriage specifically, follows similar decisions made by Republicans in Massachusetts. Failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker hardly brought up traditional wedge issues on the campaign trail last year, focusing most of his energies on economic issues. He even picked Richard R. Tisei, an openly gay state legislator, to be his running mate…
Read more:

N.H. Republicans won’t try to repeal gay marriage law
by Norma Love,
January 13, 2010 – AP, The Boston Globe

To focus instead on jobs, economy

CONCORD, N.H. — House Republicans have decided not to pursue a repeal of New Hampshire’s gay marriage law this year and plan instead to focus their energy on finding ways to improve the state’s financial footing.

House Republican leader D.J. Bettencourt confirmed to The Associated Press yesterday that jobs and the economy will be the top priorities on the House GOP agenda to be announced today, which the GOP will use as its policy making scorecard for the next two years.


Gay marriage was enacted two years ago when Democrats controlled the Legislature. Governor John Lynch signed the law and has repeatedly said he would veto any attempt to repeal it. Photo 
Read complete report:

Catholic Lawmakers Backing Gay Marriage
January 2011 – Opposing Views

Elected officials who are Catholic are stepping up to support marriage equality—often despite heavy-handed tactics by the Catholic hierarchy.  Political figures know that Catholics in the electorate continue to grow in their acceptance of marriage equality for LGBT people.

Recent Pew Research shows almost 50% of Catholics, regardless of how often they attend church, support full marriage equality. Photo

In Rhode Island, a Catholic bishop recently lashed out at state officials for introducing a bill for marriage equality to the General Assembly.  Governor Lincoln Chafee responded, “Our foundation here in Rhode Island was built on tolerance and acceptance and this is an area I want to move our state forward on, by building on our strengths of centuries ago.” ...

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo (above) said in his inauguration speech, “We believe in justice for all, then let’s pass marriage equality this year once and for all.”… Current New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan is against marriage equality but has not yet pushed back against Cuomo’s plans to move forward toward equality.  A recent Siena College poll found that 56% of New Yorkers support marriage equality… 
Read complete report:

Catholics Stand by Their Consciences on Marriage Equality
Ann Craig,  
January 10, 2011 – GLAAD

“Gov. Martin O'Malley has said that he would sign a SAME-SEX MARRIAGE bill into law.”
Maryland set to expand gay rights, same-sex marriage
By Evan Glass,
January 12, 2011 - CNN congressional producer 

Washington (CNN) -- Maryland is poised to become the sixth state to recognize same-sex marriage as proponents say they believe they have enough support to pass such a measure in the upcoming legislative session.

The expansion of gay rights appears to have gained significant traction as Maryland's General Assembly begins its 90-day session Wednesday. Not only are Democrats optimistic about their chances of approving same-sex marriage, but a leading Republican, sensing momentum on the issue, has instead countered with a proposal to grant civil unions to gay couples.

Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has publicly stated that he would sign a marriage bill into law. Maryland then would join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C., in sanctioning same-sex marriages.
Read more:

Gay Friendship 
Aelred of RievaulxSpiritual Friendship” 
January 12, Feast Day

An Excerpt from the Introduction:

Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) was a twelfth-century Cistercian abbot and well-known spiritual writer, whose treatise, Spiritual Friendship, is widely considered a classic of Christian spirituality. Inspired by Roman statesman, and orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero’s philosophical dialogue, On Friendship, Aelred approaches his subject from a decidedly religious standpoint, examining both the theoretical and practical aspects of friendship in the light of faith in Christ. Christian friendship, he maintains, is all about extending the fellowship of Christ to another. The more two persons grow as friends, the more they should sense the gentle, unobtrusive, yet abiding presence of this quiet third partner in their lives. He affirms this belief when talking to this friend Ivo at the outset of Book One, stating, “Here we are, you and I, and I hope a third, Christ, in our midst. Read morePhoto

Why is friendship important?

A. God created man for companionship.
God has not left his creations alone but gives them a society. Human, likewise,
were not left alone but given fellowship. By forming the second human from the
rib of the first, God reveals that human beings are created equal.
Man is born with a desire for friendship.
Since a need for love is built into out nature—even evil men desire friendship
(however false)

B. To live without friendship is to live like a beast.
I would say that those men are beasts rather than human beings who declare that a
man ought to live in such a way as to be to no one a source of consolation, to no
one even of grief or burden; to take no delight in the good fortune of another, or
impart to others no bitterness because of their own misfortune, caring to cherish
no one and to be cherished by no one.
Without companionship riches hold no charm for the greedy, nor glory the
ambitious, nor pleasure for the sensuous man.
He is entirely alone who is without a friend
Read more:

Russell, Kenneth C., "Aelred, the Gay Abbot of Rievaulx", Studia Mystica 5:4 (Winter 1982), 51-64

ABSTRACT: Was St Aelred of Rievaulx, the 12th century abbot of a Cistercian monastery in the north of England and the renowned author of Spiritual friendship, The mirror of love and several other spiritual classics, a homosexual? in Christianity, social tolerance, and homosexuality, John Boswell says bluntly that "there can be little question that Aelred was gay and that his erotic attraction to men was a dominant force in his life". Boswell analyses Aelred's writings to establish that he did exhibit a preference for love relationships with members of his own sex. Once this is demonstrated he is eager to move on to the next figure in his historical survey. Boswell's conclusions seem sound, but is it enough to know that Aelred was a homosexual? Surely, once it is established that Aelred was gay we want to know how this factor influenced his life....Aelred felt that his teaching on love was applicable to everyone, but the fact is that his refined understanding of the value of human love and of the laws by which it must be governed came out of his own gay experience....He became a saint and a spiritual master not by repressing his sensitivity but by trying to respond to its appeal. [excerpts].
Read more:
"Aelred, the Gay Abbot of Rievaulx" (1109 – 1167) January 12, Feast Day

Lesbians, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis 
- The Second Wave
By Judith Glassgold, and Suzanne Iasenza. 2004

New Rules Affirm 
Pope Benedict's Stance Against Gays
By Daniel Williams,
October 8, 2005 – The Washington Post

ROME, Oct. 8 -- In the first five months of Pope Benedict XVI's reign, stern opposition to homosexuality in and outside the Roman Catholic Church has quickly become a prime public message for the Vatican. Photo  Spain Gay Angels 

The new pontiff plans to issue guidelines that attempt to inhibit homosexuals from entering seminaries to train for the priesthood. Church inspectors have embarked on a tour of U.S. seminaries and, according to their working papers, are tasked to ask: "Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary? (This question must be answered.)"

Benedict also has energetically fought legal recognition of homosexual couples. Photo Britain Gay Angels 

For the church and for Benedict, taking a public stance on homosexuality is not unusual. Church observers have noted that for the quarter-century before becoming pope, Benedict, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, served as the Vatican's chief enforcer of orthodoxy, drafting official positions regarding homosexuality.

"No doctrinal chief has ever written and spoken about homosexuality as extensively as Ratzinger has, because homosexuals have never had the freedom to organize and demand recognition they enjoy today," wrote author John L. Allen Jr. in a biography of Benedict, published before he became pope.

His papacy's early focus on homosexuality is a reaction to outside events, some analysts have said: the spread of so-called civil unions or marriage rights to same-sex couples, and the disclosure of sexual abuse by priests. Vatican officials have largely blamed the abuse on homosexuality…

Some bishops note that the church already has prohibitions on homosexuals from entering the priesthood and suggest that a restatement will only make the church look intolerant, Vatican officials say…
Read complete report:
Related links:

Impending rules 
on gay priests create Catholic divide
by Charles Honey – October 8, 2005
The Grand Rapids Press

When the Rev. Martin Kurylowicz came out to his Sparta parish eight years ago, he said he had struggled for years with his homosexuality.

The Catholic priest says the struggle would be made harder for many others if the Vatican issues new rules that reportedly would ban gays from becoming priests… 

…"I sizzled when I read it," said Kurylowicz, 55. "It's very hurtful, is what it is. In this day and age, there's no reason for it. It sends a message that there's something wrong with gays."

Kurylowicz said he spoke out then to raise awareness of violence against gays and teach others homosexuality is not a choice but an inborn trait. Church leaders still don't understand that and contribute to gays' poor self-esteem, he said… 

…"Kids as young as 4 or 5 know they're different," said Kurylowicz, a psychotherapist… "They grow up with this pervasive guilt, which sabotages their growth and motivation." The result is thousands of dollars in therapy to accept their natural orientation, he said, adding, "Does the Vatican want to take that on, like the tobacco industry had to take on for the damage it caused consumers? "…
Read complete article: 
by Charles Honey 
Religion Editor 
The Grand Rapids Press – Archives

July 2010 

President of the United States
United States Congress
United States Supreme Court
50 United States Governors 

Dear -- --------, 

My name is Fr. Marty Kurylowicz, a Roman Catholic priest from the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan ordained June 16, 1979. 

In March 1997, after attending a National Symposium of the New Ways Ministry that was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I learned that children as young as 4 and 5 years of age know that they are different. This feeling "different" is only identified in their adult years as being gay. However, the harmful influence of antigay social and religious norms -- in particular, for Catholics, the Vatican’s unsubstantiated antigay teachings -- are severe and last throughout a child’s lifetime. The harmful effects are not isolated only to these children who grow up to be gay, but also affect their families, siblings, friends and anyone whom they might consider special in their lives. They are a prescribed societal sentence of implicit isolation, which place at risk of suicide so many innocent adolescents and young adults. They stifle an enormous amount of human potential in the world that otherwise could be put to use for finding cures for diseases, offering better ways of maintaining peace among people and improving the quality of life for everyone in the world. 
Gay Marriage - “SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE” Does Not Give Churches Or Benedict XVI - The Freedom To Abuse Children or Adults. July 2010 - By Fr. Marty Kurylowicz

SEXUAL ORIENTATION is less about sex and more about LOVE, being one with another human being - ATTACHMENT THEORY 
 “Auschwitz – Benedict XVI - Christmas 2008 - Brokeback Mountain” (NP) 
Nothing in life is more precious than the intimate relationships we have with love ones. Healthy love relationships delight us give us confidence to take on challenges and support us in difficult times. Photo

Difference Between Life & Death
Being “In” And Living “Out” Of The Closet
"Why, It Is A 'Gift' From God!!!" - Monastic Wisdom - Absolute Fright For Benedict XVI
March 1997 “Coming Out”
"$126,000.00 as reported by Bishop Walter Hurley, May 27, 2006 – The Grand Rapids Press"
By Fr. Marty Kurylowicz

I thought that love
was just a word
They sang about in songs I heard  
It took your kisses to reveal
That I was wrong,
 love is real
La Vie En Rose
Edith Piaf
DYS SUM – A blog for the GLBTQ community

Gay marriage -> Restoring 
"Hope of Love" 
To Children In Early Childhood -> Marriage Equality

March 23, 2010 – by Fr. Marty Kurylowicz
Marriage Equality, like Galileo, is the truth about the facts of growing up gay. Marriage Equality will not become a reality until people learn that its most vital purpose is that it restores the “hope of love” to children in early childhood – essential to their development and well-being for life. 
Without Marriage Equality we teach children how to hate love and how to be mean and indifferent to people as adults. With all due respect, without Marriage Equality we would teach them in much the same way as has been shown by Benedict XVI and the hierarchy, especially in their lack of care and protection of children for decades.

Same-Sex Marriage: The Legal and Psychological Evolution in America - 
by Donald J. Cantor, Elizabeth Cantor, James C. Black, and Campbell D. Barrett. 2006

Gay marriage isn't revolutionary. 
It's just next. 
By Stephanie Coontz, 
January 9, 2010 
The Washington Post

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee - unyielding force supporting - DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL Repeal Act of 2010 – ENDS discriminatory policy that “forces young men and women to lie,” – to lie – “about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”

"Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit."

Homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah 
by The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson 
December 8, 2010 – The Washington Post

Bullying: Not Just for Playgrounds Anymore 
by Rev. Barbara Kaufmann, 
January 11, 2011 – The Huffington Post

Bullying is not just for playgrounds anymore. An alarm has been ringing across the cultures of an entire globe catching the attention of leaders and educators who desperately search for its cure in programs that teach sensitivity and empathy to youth. All of the educational materials define bullying and tell how to recognize its many forms -- verbal taunting, physical harm, racial and sexual prejudice, cyberbullying and more. Bullying is defined as "persistent unwelcome behavior." How do we know when a behavior is unwelcome? We feel it; it deeply rattles our sensibilities -- sometimes to the bone, or in a new discovery -- to the bones of an icon. Photo 

Bullying can intrude anywhere -- at home, at work, online, on the highway, on the playground... and now it appears to reach even into the afterlife. Bullying almost rose to new heights to take an even more sinister turn recently when Discovery Channel announced its plans to air Michael Jackson's Autopsy: What really killed Michael Jackson? There was such a backlash of outrage by the family, Jackson's estate, fans and the general public, that Discovery was forced to "postpone indefinitely" the crossing of that line. So for now, that human indignity was avoided and humanity is safe; or is it?

Is something really important being missed in the campaign against bullying? Is the subject of bullying being viewed through a lens that is too narrow? We might need to back up a bit, widen the focus and adjust the scope to a broader fisheye view. Has bullying permeated an entire ecosystem? A worldwide ecosystem?

What makes bullying possible is a culture that blurs the lines of humanity and human dignity. Bullying survives when an ecosystem supports it. When that ecosystem accepts the dehumanization and inhumane treatment of its constituents, an "anything goes" climate renders its' narrative as empty of humanity. People are irreversibly harmed in such a climate...

The Journals of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, of Family Psychology, and the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, tell us that bullying creates children who suffer from anxiety, depression, loneliness, and PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and are at risk for suicide, peer rejection, conduct problems, anxiety, behavioral difficulties, hyperactivity, academic difficulties, rule-breaking behavior, reactive aggression and are also at risk for problems in young adulthood -- psychiatric disorders and criminal offenses. The question then becomes, what kinds of adults does this produce?


Read complete report:

Rev. Kaufmann is a minister and award winning writer with one goal -- "to simply change the world." A contributing editor and writer for Voices Education Project, a global humanitarian organization and pedagogical institute, she and Voices Ed have just completed their first incarnation of a work-in-progress curriculum: "Words and Violence" for middle school, high school and college level students. It is available for free at A collection of some of her work in story may be found at
Read more:

NY lawmaker objects to gay pride billboards –
 AP, January 15, 2011
The Wall Street Journal

'I am gay' billboards igniting controversy
by Paul Nelson,
January 15, 2011 – Times Union

Supporters say signs bring awareness; foes say they give wrong message

SCHENECTADY -- The colorful attention-grabbing billboards of gay black men in a church and on the basketball court are creating a firestorm of controversy on an issue that continues to drive a wedge in segments of the African-American community.

City Councilman Joseph Allen said Friday that he came in for both scorn and support after publicly expressing his displeasure this week that the billboards send the wrong message to impressionable youngsters, particularly those being raised by single mothers who may not have positive male role models.

"This kind of billboard is putting the stamp of approval on a gay lifestyle," said Allen, who is black and insists he is not homophobic.

He said he has talked with the city lawyer about taking down the billboards in Schenectady but was told the advertisements are protected under First Amendment rights.

Tandra R. LaGrone, executive director of Albany-based In our Own Voices, said the group is sponsoring the awareness campaign because it is consistent with the mission of promoting the health and welfare of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people of color.
Read more:

Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the EU Member States, Part II – The Social Situation | European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights - 2009

GAY YOUTH SUICIDE | BENEDICT XVI & BISHOPS Child Sexual Abuse Cover-ups – Negligence Protecting (1) Children & (2) LGBT Children | Family of Rutgers suicide victim lends name to bill – November 19, 2010 – CNN

"Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit."

Homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah 
by The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson 
December 8, 2010 – The Washington Post
Pontifical Academy of Sciences ...had direct discussions with John Paul but” – not with Benedict XVI … refuses to discuss controversial topics such as contraception… November 5, 2010 –
Gay Marriage & Galileo:
Pope described as …"so averse to anything intellectual that everyone has to play dense and ignorant to gain his favor"
The Trial of Galileo - by Douglas O. Linder (2002)

facing the Roman Inquisition - Read more

 Biblical quotes used to Condemn Galileo

Ecclesiastes 1:5 (New International Version)
5 The sun rises and the sun sets, anhurries back to where it rises.
Ecclesiastes 1:5 (New American Standard Bible)
5 Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; And hastening to its place it rises there again. 

1 Chronicles 16:30 (New International Version)
30 Tremble before him, all the earth! 
The world is firmly established; icannot be moved.
1 Chronicles 16:30 (New American Standard Bible)

30 Tremble before Him, all the earth; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved

Psalm 93:1 (New International Version)
1 The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; 
 the LORD is robed in majesty 
 and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.
Psalm 93:1 (New American Standard Bible)
1 The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved

Psalm 96:10 (New International Version)
10 Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns." 
 The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; 
 he will judge the peoples with equity.
Psalm 96:10 (New American Standard Bible)
10 Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be movedHe will judge the peoples with equity."  

Psalm 104:5 (New International Version)
5 He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.
Psalm 104:5 (New American Standard Bible)
5 He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever.
Read more:

AUTHORITARIAN ≠ AUTHORITATIVE – June 27, 2009 | Pope described as …"so averse to anything intellectual that everyone has to play dense and ignorant to gain his favor"-- The Trial of Galileo - by Douglas O. Linder (2002) | Benedict XVI UNSUBSTANTIATED Antigay Teachings

"If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" Mt 6:23 | Benedict XVI – "Light of the World" | Hitler – "Mein Kampf" | NARCISSISTIC BULLY | WORLD REMAINS SILENT

Gay Marriage - WITCH HUNTS ->The Crucible (1996) -> McCarthyism 1940’s -1950’s, -> Benedict XVI 2005 Photo

30 years of Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s - Directives To Hierarchy – To make - THREATS, SILENCE, HARM AND DISPOSAL of Catholic Personnel Supportive of LGBT Adults and Children Photo 

The Truth Will Make Us Free:
 A Queer Year in Review 
by Rev. Patrick S. Cheng, Ph.D., 
December 28, 2010 – The Huffington Post

Anti-gay Christians love to quote John 8:32, which says that "the truth will make you free." According to them, if only lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people would simply accept the truths of the Christian faith, we would discover the error of our ways, repent of our sins and miraculously change our misdirected sexual orientations and/or gender identities.

As an openly-gay theologian, ordained Christian minister and seminary professor at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I agree that the truth will make us free. However, the anti-gay Christians have it backwards. As the groundbreaking events of 2010 have demonstrated, it is actually the truth of the fundamental goodness of LGBT people and our lives that will make us free. Ironically, this truth also will free anti-gay Christians of their own heterosexist prejudices and theological blind spots.

What were some of the truths about the goodness of LGBT people and our lives that were demonstrated in 2010? In August, the first fully-litigated U.S. federal court trial about same-sex marriage concluded that there was no rational basis for prohibiting LGBT people from entering into civil marriage. The trial court struck down California Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that stripped LGBT people in California of the right to marry. Judge Vaughn R. Walker's ruling demonstrated the truth that LGBT civil marriages are grounded in the same ethical values of love, mutual caring and commitment as non-LGBT civil marriages.

What if the warning of Romans 1:18-21 against the "ungodliness" and "wickedness" of those who "suppress the truth" -- and those whose "senseless minds" are "darkened" -- actually referred to those anti-gay Christians who fail to acknowledge the truth and empirical evidence about the fundamental goodness and loving nature of LGBT people and our relationships?
Read complete report:

Patrick S. Cheng is a theologian, seminary professor, and ordained minister. He is the Assistant Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He holds a Ph.D., M.Phil., and M.A. in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. He also holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Yale College.

Patrick is an ordained minister with the Metropolitan Community Churches, an LGBT-affirming Christian denomination that is open to all people. He is the coordinator of Queer Asian Spirit, an organization dedicated to the spiritual and religious lives of LGBT people of Asian descent around the world and their allies. Patrick lives with his husband of nearly two decades, Michael. His website is
Read complete bio:

Know thyself – Plato  John Paul II

This above all: to thine own self be true, 
 And it must follow, as the night the day, 
Thou canst not then be false to any man. - William Shakespeare

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. - Luke 6:40-42  Photo 

What you cannot do is accept injustice.
From Hitler – or anyone.
You must make the injustice visible – be prepared to die like a soldier to do so.
Mahatma Gandhi

Kids Are Being Hurt!!!

No comments: