“Too many of my sisters and brothers in the gay community don’t seem to understand the power of religion,” White lamented. “They have been rejected by religion. They hate the idea of religion. Therefore, they’re not going to deal with religion, which is fatal, because religion is the heart of homophobia. Without religion there would be no homophobia. What other source of homophobia is there but six verses in the Bible? When Bible literalists preach that LGBT people are going to hell they become Christian terrorists. They use fear as their weapon, like all terrorists. They are seeking to deny our religious and civil rights. They threaten to turn our democracy into a fundamentalist theocracy. And if we don’t reverse the trend, there is the very real possibility that in the end we will all be governed according to their perverted version of biblical law.”

Gay activist and Christian pastor Mel White quoted in a post by Chris Hedges over at TruthDig titled, The War on Gays.

10 Tips for Children of Gay Couples that Get Teased

Thanks, Martina, for the heads up on this.

All children will likely get teased at some point while growing up, and sadly, there isn’t much that their parents can do about it. However, when a child has gay parents, it often opens the door to teasing that is much more targeted and intense, and that can prove difficult to manage. Learning how to handle teasing can help boost confidence and empower a child to seek help from a trusted adult.

If you’re a gay parent who is concerned that their child is getting teased, encourage your child to:

  1. Be confident: No matter what the reason is for being teased, it is far less fun for the teasers if the person getting teased is comfortable with themselves and their situation, and doesn’t come across as bothered by the teasing.
  2. Understand their situation: Urge your child to talk to you about any questions that they might have about your relationship. The more children understand their family, the more comfortable they can be in their own skin.
  3. Ignore the teasing: Encourage your child to just ignore the teasing; the teasers are obviously trying to get a rise out of the child using whatever methods it takes. If they think your child is embarrassed about their parents being gay, then they are going to latch on to that and tease your child to provoke a reaction.
  4. Be open: Encourage your child not to hide who he is. If having gay parents is not a big secret, the kids will spend less time teasing your child about it.
  5. Be educated: Many children are uneducated about gay couples and may feel like they are the only children with gay parents. Help your child to learn about other gay families and be educated enough to answer common questions that may arise.
  6. Speak to a teacher: There are rules against bullying in schools today. Make your child aware that teasing or bullying him because his parents are gay is a hate crime and one that will not be tolerated in the school.
  7. Encourage education at school: Support your child in speaking to the principle to inquire about having a speaker come in and discuss diversity with the student body. Make sure that gay parenting is covered as one of the ways that people are diverse. Education will often open the eyes and hearts of a lot of people. Kids can be pretty open-minded when they are given the facts.
  8. Lead by example: Make sure that your child knows he should not be discriminating against anyone else. If you have a diverse set of friends, your child will grow up learning to be accepting of others.
  9. Find or start a support group: It’s important to have people in your support system that understand what you are going through. Encourage your child to join a support group and if there isn’t one at school, encourage him to start one. This group can be for anyone that has experienced teasing. Your child can ask the school counselor for help with this task.
  10. Find an online forum: If you are in an area that is not open to gay rights and you feel like you are trapped with small minded people that don’t understand you and don’t want to understand you, encourage your child to reach out and connect with others over the Internet.

Many children who tease others do so because they are afraid of what they don’t understand, and to cover their lack of knowledge they tease rather than to admit that they are ignorant. Helping your child learn to deal with teasing can help him to grow stronger and more confident in who he is as an individual.

<em>Complete Article <big><strong><span style=”font-family: arial; color: #ff6600;”><span style=”color: #cc0000;”>HERE</span></span></strong></big>!</em>

Vatican Denounces Nun Over Book on Sexuality

The Vatican’s doctrinal office on Monday denounced an American nun who taught Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School for a book that attempted to present a theological rationale for same-sex relationships, masturbation and remarriage after divorce.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that the book, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” by Sister Margaret A. Farley, was “not consistent with authentic Catholic theology,” and should not be used by Roman Catholics.

Sister Farley, a past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and an award-winning scholar, responded in a statement: “I can only clarify that the book was not intended to be an expression of current official Catholic teaching, nor was it aimed specifically against this teaching. It is of a different genre altogether.”

The book, she said, offers “contemporary interpretations” of justice and fairness in human sexual relations, moving away from a “taboo morality” and drawing on “present-day scientific, philosophical, theological, and biblical resources.”

The formal censure comes only weeks after the same Vatican office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a stinging reprimand of the main coordinating organization of American nuns, prompting many Catholics across the country to turn out in defense of the nuns with protests, petitions and vigils.

The nuns’ organization, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said on Friday that its board had declared that the Vatican’s accusations were “unsubstantiated,” and that it was sending its leaders to Rome to make its case. Three bishops have been appointed by the Vatican to supervise a total overhaul of the nuns’ organization.

The censure of Sister Farley, who belongs to the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, is the second time recently that a book by an American nun has been denounced by the church’s hierarchy. In 2011, the doctrine committee of U.S. bishops condemned “Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God,” by Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, a professor of theology at Fordham University in New York.

The Vatican’s doctrinal office, led by an American, Cardinal William J. Levada, has spent more than two years reviewing Sister Farley’s book, which was published in 2006. The office first notified Sister Farley’s superior of its concerns in March 2010, and said it had opened a further investigation because a response she had sent to the Vatican in October 2010 hadn’t been “satisfactory.” It said her book had “been a cause of confusion among the faithful.”

The dean of Yale Divinity School, Harold W. Attridge, a Catholic layman, and the president of the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Patricia McDermott, issued statements in support of Sister Farley. So did 15 fellow scholars who, in a document released by the divinity school, testified to Sister Farley’s Catholic credentials and the influence she has had in the field of moral theology.

Cardinal Levada’s statement about the book, dated March 30 but released on Monday, said, “Among the many errors and ambiguities of this book are its positions on masturbation, homosexual acts, homosexual unions, the indissolubility of marriage and the problem of divorce and remarriage.”

He said that the book “cannot be used as a valid expression of Catholic teaching, either in counseling and formation, or in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.” The statement said Pope Benedict XVI had approved its contents and ordered its publication. It comes as the Vatican struggles to contain a controversy over leaked documents that have shown infighting and mismanagement in the papacy of Benedict XVI, who on Sunday concluded a three-day meeting in Milan to promote family values.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Vatican had not called for any sanctions against Sister Farley and was not expected to do so because she has retired from teaching. He added that it was “quite normal” that documents signed by Vatican offices are published much later than when they were signed, according to “internal bureaucratic and organizational needs.”

Sister Farley’s book finds moral and theological justifications for same-sex marriage, which aside from abortion, has become the major galvanizing political and moral issue for American bishops. The statement took Sister Farley to task for writing that same-sex marriage “can also be important in transforming the hatred, rejection, and stigmatization of gays and lesbians.” She wrote that “same-sex relationships and activities can be justified according to the same sexual ethic as heterosexual relationships and activities.”

“This opinion is not acceptable,” the Vatican statement said. It said that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” that are “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law.” It said that Sister Farley’s assertion that sometimes divorce is a reasonable option for couples who have grown apart contradicted church teaching on the “indissolubility of marriage.”

The statement quoted liberally from some of the racier passages in “Just Love,” including ones in which Sister Farley writes that female masturbation “usually does not raise any moral questions at all.” She adds that “many women” have found “great good in self-pleasuring – perhaps especially in the discovery of their own possibilities for pleasure – something many had not experienced or even known about in their ordinary sexual relations with husbands or lovers.”

The Vatican said that this assessment contradicts church teaching that “the deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.

Complete Article HERE!

Vatican’s assessment of LCWR about fear, not doctrine


The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith’s April 18 doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is not about doctrine. It is not primarily about protecting the faith or ensuring an ecclesiology of communion, no matter how many times these terms are woven through the report. It is fundamentally about fear — fear of the loss of power — and the willful use of dominative control to defend that power.

The abundance of religious themes and language do not mask this punitive effort to shore up the crumbling authority of hierarchical leaders. Nor does the document hide the anger that roils beneath the protestations of gratitude and concern. The final report of the LCWR assessment reveals a desperate attempt on the part of some fearful and angry church leaders to protect their turf — to maintain an all-male church leadership, to keep women and laypeople under their authority, and to shield the homophobic-homosexual subculture in the leadership of the Catholic church.

When fear rules

The pattern of using coercive intimidation to control others in one’s household is called domestic abuse. Domestic abuse does not need to involve physical violence — in fact, many abusers never beat their partners. Instead, the threatened person strikes out psychologically to evoke compliance. Public humiliations, corrections, threats, accusations of disloyalty and demands for absolute obedience make up the typical arsenal of the abusive person. In extreme cases, the abuser monitors the actions of the other, keeps a record of his or her transgressions, restricts his or her activities, discredits his or her reputation, takes charge of his or her decisions, and threatens to withdraw support if unquestioned compliance to demands is not maintained.

These abusive acts will sound curiously familiar to anyone who has read the proposed implementations of the Vatican doctrinal assessment.

While females can and do commit domestic abuse, statistically, they do so at much reduced rates, inflict less physical harm and commonly have different motivations than male perpetrators, making domestic abuse primarily a crime against women. Yes, a crime — like child sexual abuse — something many bishops, archbishops and cardinals in the Catholic church failed to take seriously until they were forced to do so by lawsuits and public outcry.

But has transfer of learning taken place? Do they get it? Do they get that they cannot treat women and children as stepping stones to power, privilege and pleasure?

Whether through hits or humiliations, broken bones or broken spirits, threats of bodily harm or warnings of impending excommunication, the goal of abusers is the same: Assert absolute control. Wear the person down until he or she gives in or gives up. Use punishment if he or she dares to claim his or her own authority.

The most dangerous time in a household where domestic abuse is present is right after the person being abused has stood up to the abuser. Have too many members of LCWR claimed their own authority? The classic domestic abuser seeks one thing above all else: obedience to dictates. It is not surprising that obedience is alluded to on every page of the final doctrinal assessment document.

In fact, the mandate for implementation of the results of the doctrinal assessment reads like a how-to manual for the most common form of domestic abuse — no physical violence, just a resolute campaign to rein in those who have dared disobey the master, or, in the case of LCWR, the pope and bishops: “to implement a process of review and conformity to the teachings and discipline of the church, the Holy See” (page 7). Pretty clear.

Diagnosing the abuser

Mental illness, including personality disorders, compound domestic abuse but are not its primary cause. Domestic abuse is power abuse. In its most prevalent form, it is conscious, coercive conduct by men those believe they have the unconditional right to use forceful tactics to enforce their rules and maintain absolute control over those they deem subject to them.

What kinds of people abuse others? While there is no single profile of the domestic abuser, research has identified characteristics frequently seen among perpetrators of all types. Ironically, there is not much difference between those who use their fists and those who use words alone to demand obedience.

* Abusers believe they are entitled to maintain power and control over those in their households (institutions).
* They may believe they have an obligation to compel obedience for the benefit of the victim and the good of the household (church).
* They do not identify their controlling and hurtful tactics as abusive and are insulted when others perceive them that way.
* Perpetrators tend to perceive all interactions within relationships through a prism of compliance or disobedience.
* Abusers tend to be insecure men who need to establish dominance to feel confident.

The single most conclusive thing we know about domestic abuse is that it is learned behavior. Abusers have gained knowledge of abusive behaviors by seeing them in action, either in their families or in the various cultures to which they belong. This applies to religious cultures where the seminarian is taught early to bow to the wishes of his rector, to obey his bishop and to submit to the cardinal — all of whom kiss the ring of the pope.

All of this bowing, obeying and willful submission programs the brain to normalize hierarchical authority, and in some less secure individuals, to deeply internalize this way of relating and to replicate it.

As in sexual abuse, church leaders who have witnessed domestic abuse in their families or who have experienced such abuse as children may be particularly susceptible to behave abusively themselves. When a fragile ego combines with learned patterns of abuse, the stage is set for domestic abuse.

While abusers do not fit neatly into any particular diagnostic category, their behavior is not considered “normal.”

Psychologically healthy adults do not mandate obedience, forbid dialogue about subjects they do not wish discussed, or use oppressive tactics to gain control over others. Personally secure leaders don’t issue orders to other functioning adults, threatening punitive measures if they are not obeyed.

Often described as having a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality, most abusers can be quite civilized and even charming when they need to be. Their ability to function as CEOs of companies and preside over large corporations does not eliminate them from the pool of the insecure who strike out against those who threaten them. Some male abusers have been found to harbor a secret loathing of females, considering them inferior. Since such attitudes are certainly present in the history of the church (read St. Jerome), it is possible that its influence still inhabits, consciously or the unconsciously, the collective mind of church leaders.

The persistent desire of hierarchical leaders to keep women under their control and out of their sphere of leadership, especially women theologians, suggests that the “Jerome Syndrome” might still be operative.

[Fran Ferder is a Franciscan sister, clinical psychologist, author and professor at Seattle University.]

Complete Article HERE!