Lesbian and gay Christians warn of deepening dangers

By staff writers
April 24, 2006

Lesbian and gay Christians warn of deepening dangers

-24/04/06

Religious groups are presenting a deepening threat to the lives of gay and lesbian people, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) has said.

The Pope and other leaders of faith communities within western democracies "are now determined to reverse the legal changes and social tolerance that have embraced lesbian and gay people and their families over recent years" a statement from the organisation has said.

The comments come ahead of their 30th annual conference, which takes place this weekend in Cardiff.

The conference will assess the increasing danger that sections of their own faith community represent to the lives of the tens of millions of lesbian and gay people in the world.

"Since 2003 with the election in America of the first openly gay bishop [Gene Robinson] to a mainstream Christian denomination lesbian and gay Christians have experienced an increasingly ferocious attack on their presence within the Churches and society at large" the Movement says.

ìThe response from some faith communities to an increasingly secular world has been to seek out scapegoats for their institutional failure and gay people are usually amongst the first. The culture of the Church has traditionally blamed the victims of its abuse for its own ills. Paedophile priests were moved on and promoted while their victims were made to feel they were the criminalsî said the Revd Richard Kirker, General secretary of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM).

ìHomophobia often runs hand-in-hand with anti-Semitism, Islamaphobia, Zenophobia and a general hatred of all foreigners; alarmingly we are seeing all of these increasing in our own society so we will be welcoming the insights of a Jewish Rabbi and others to our conference to address this troubling developmentî said Mr Kirker.

ìWhile people are increasingly aware of the dangers of a skewed fundamentalism in other world religions they are unaware that there is huge growth in a similar Christian fundamentalism, often perilously close to the mainstream. It seems that it is easier to pack your churches with a message of hate and violent condemnation rather than a message of peace and reconciliationî he said.

Welsh Priest and Director of Communication for LGCM, the Revd Martin Reynolds welcomes the return of LGCMís national conference to Wales for its 30th anniversary. ìWe always have a warm welcome in Wales and we are particularly delighted to be using the award-winning facilities available in Cardiff Bay.

The Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas; the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan; and the Leader of Cardiff City Council, Rodney Berman will be attending a Civic Reception on Saturday at the Cardiff Millennium Centre.

ìWe want all people, but particularly the lesbian, gay and bisexual community to know that God loves them and welcomes them as his children despite the distorted messages they often hear from our troubled , compromised religious leaders. But this is also a wake-up call to gay people, they should be aware of the rise of the religious and political Right who would destroy usî said Mr Kirker.

Lesbian and gay Christians warn of deepening dangers

-24/04/06

Religious groups are presenting a deepening threat to the lives of gay and lesbian people, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) has said.

The Pope and other leaders of faith communities within western democracies "are now determined to reverse the legal changes and social tolerance that have embraced lesbian and gay people and their families over recent years" a statement from the organisation has said.

The comments come ahead of their 30th annual conference, which takes place this weekend in Cardiff.

The conference will assess the increasing danger that sections of their own faith community represent to the lives of the tens of millions of lesbian and gay people in the world.

"Since 2003 with the election in America of the first openly gay bishop [Gene Robinson] to a mainstream Christian denomination lesbian and gay Christians have experienced an increasingly ferocious attack on their presence within the Churches and society at large" the Movement says.

ìThe response from some faith communities to an increasingly secular world has been to seek out scapegoats for their institutional failure and gay people are usually amongst the first. The culture of the Church has traditionally blamed the victims of its abuse for its own ills. Paedophile priests were moved on and promoted while their victims were made to feel they were the criminalsî said the Revd Richard Kirker, General secretary of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM).

ìHomophobia often runs hand-in-hand with anti-Semitism, Islamaphobia, Zenophobia and a general hatred of all foreigners; alarmingly we are seeing all of these increasing in our own society so we will be welcoming the insights of a Jewish Rabbi and others to our conference to address this troubling developmentî said Mr Kirker.

ìWhile people are increasingly aware of the dangers of a skewed fundamentalism in other world religions they are unaware that there is huge growth in a similar Christian fundamentalism, often perilously close to the mainstream. It seems that it is easier to pack your churches with a message of hate and violent condemnation rather than a message of peace and reconciliationî he said.

Welsh Priest and Director of Communication for LGCM, the Revd Martin Reynolds welcomes the return of LGCMís national conference to Wales for its 30th anniversary. ìWe always have a warm welcome in Wales and we are particularly delighted to be using the award-winning facilities available in Cardiff Bay.

The Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas; the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan; and the Leader of Cardiff City Council, Rodney Berman will be attending a Civic Reception on Saturday at the Cardiff Millennium Centre.

ìWe want all people, but particularly the lesbian, gay and bisexual community to know that God loves them and welcomes them as his children despite the distorted messages they often hear from our troubled , compromised religious leaders. But this is also a wake-up call to gay people, they should be aware of the rise of the religious and political Right who would destroy usî said Mr Kirker.

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