Pope John Paul II released a new book last week that immediately drew criticism from Jewish groups and from organizations working to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination. In his book the Pope compares abortion to the Holocaust and declares that the legalization of same sex marriages is "part of a new ideology of evil.” The Guardian reports:
Paul Spiegel, the head of Germany's Central Council of Jews, told the Netzeitung daily newspaper that "such statements show that the Roman Catholic church has not understood, or does not want to understand, that there is a tremendous difference between factory-like genocide and what women do to their bodies".
It is unfortunate that the release of the book coincided with the Pope’s recent health crisis. We prayed in our church today for the Pope’s health. However, Roman Catholic officials went ahead with publication of the book despite the circumstances and the misguided and ill-considered remarks made by the Pope need to be addressed. The National Religious Leaders Roundtable of the National Gay and lesbian Task Force takes up the issue of the Pope's remarks on same-sex marriage:
Washington D.C. - The National Religious Leadership Roundtable today rejected Pope John Paul II’s statement in his recently-published book calling equal civil marriage rights for same-sex couples "part of a new ideology of evil." "We share with the rest of the world concerns for the Pope’s health in light of his recent illness, and pray for his strength and wholeness. But we cannot be silent when he questions the human dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people," said Bob Gibeling* on behalf of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable.
"As the Pope's fellow clergy and religious leaders, we strongly disagree with the Pope's statement that protecting the rights of gay people, 'attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man,'" Gibeling continued, "We call on him to remember that the essence of the Christian faith and all religious tradition is the continued empowerment of the poor, the outcast and the marginalized. We believe that greater recognition of the inherent value of gay and lesbian families through equal rights can only lead to strengthening of the family and humankind."
Gibeling added, "As people of faith, we call on the Pope to pray and consider the devastating results of his statements to millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians. We challenge all religious leaders to contemplate the reality that history and the Creator have brought the world to a place of understanding that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are a necessary component of the human family."
Click here to read their full statement.
For more information on freedom of choice and faith please visit the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights. And make sure you visit The National Religious Leaders Roundtable of the National Gay and lesbian Task Force to learn more about their work. The United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns is another great resource.